Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell: Old Yellow Moon (Warners)

4 Mar 2013  |  <1 min read

Two-part question to Emmylou and Rodney: What took you so long (they've been musical pals for almost four decades) and why songs – albeit good ones – mostly from back-catalogues? Longtime fans of Harris – who rightly applauded her exceptional concert here last year – will embrace this and forgive her that throat-catch breathy vocal inflection (which becomes... > Read more

Open Season on My Heart

Palma Violets: 180 (Rough Trade)

3 Mar 2013  |  <1 min read

It's possible to enjoy and maybe even admire this English quartet (who pose cheerfully by Liverpool's Magical Mystery Tour bus on the inner sleeve) because of their energy, the bellicose single Best of Friends and their enthusiasm. But over the 11 tracks here on their debut album you are left with the overall impression that while they sort of like the Clash and garagerock and all that, they... > Read more

Chicken Dippers

The Ruby Suns: Christopher (Sub Pop)

3 Mar 2013  |  1 min read

While in some parts of the Unknown Mortal Orchestra album they embrace a whiff of gentle psychedelia (and has no one noticed McCartney melodies in their mix?), this is a territory which the Ruby Suns have long found seductive and enchanting. And over their first two albums they certainly managed to couple an assured sense of pop with seductive and often enchanting songs. There were... > Read more

Starlight

Salim Ghazi Saeedi: namoWoman (salimworld.com)

25 Feb 2013  |  1 min read  |  1

Over nine tightly drawn and economic instrumentals (all under five minutes), mutliple-threat Saeedi who plays everything here locates himself in that edgy post-metal prog world where pictures in sound are painted by searing guitar, jazz-influenced piano, sombre cello (or is it arco bass?) and much more. But, as his name suggests, Saeedi also has a point of difference. From Tehran, he... > Read more

man

DJ T-Rock and Squashy Nice: Getting Through (Why)

25 Feb 2013  |  <1 min read

At the start of this slightly mad but always enjoyable hip-hop mash-up a sampled voice says, “welcome to a new kind of listening experience . . . this record is different/different/different”. But that's not entirely true. As a clever meltdown of supple beats, rapid scratching, samples from obscure Southern country-soul, Mexican horns, bumpin' bass and much more from some... > Read more

43 Flavours of Jam

Chris Stamey: Lovesick Blues (Yep Roc)

25 Feb 2013  |  <1 min read

Given Stamey was one of the mainmen in the dB's who bridged Beatlesque power-pop and college radio indie-rock (eg REM) in the Eighties, this solo outing might come as a surprise. He mostly dials down the backbeat and repositions himself as singer-songwriter with one foot in the slightly dull country-folk camp (the funereally paced seven minute title track) or gets tripped out in a... > Read more

Astronomy

Donna Dean: Tyre Tracks and Broken Hearts (donnadeanmusic.com)

25 Feb 2013  |  2 min read

While the title of this album might look like an easy and reflexive nod to earthy country music and it's brokedown traditions, you need only flick straight to the second song Twister to be persuaded that New Zealand's Donna Dean is someone special. She writes with the poetic economy of musicians like James McMurtry and Dolly Parton, and authors like Appalachia's Ron Rash, in that she can... > Read more

Long Time Gone

Devils Elbow: Broken Record Syndrome (Hit Your Head Music)

19 Feb 2013  |  1 min read

Devils Elbow -- the core of which is singer/guitarist Alec Withers -- deliveerd one of Elsewhere's best of 2010 albums with the excellent Sand on Chrome, an album that picked up favourable notices everywhere in New Zealand for its gritty country-flavoured folk-punk which drew on ragged alt.country and bar band rock'n'roll. Another album is due later this year -- the title track here is to... > Read more

Broken Record Syndrome

Eels: Wonderful, Glorious (Universal)

18 Feb 2013  |  <1 min read  |  1

Mark Everett (aka Eels) has written albums about family death/illness (not as bleak as that sounds, but dark nonetheless), knows his way around an uplifting pop song and on Hombre Loco (2009) alternated searing Neil Young-rock with disarming ballads to parallel the Jekyll'n'Hyde nature of our base and sublime desires. Everett can be into slightly difficult-to-follow concepts, but you... > Read more

On the Ropes

Endless Boogie: Long Island (No Quarter)

18 Feb 2013  |  <1 min read

New York's Endless Boogie – who played Auckland last year – might not seem to do very much but, like the Ramones, it's more than enough. The truth-in-packaging quartet nail down some sleazy but tight boogie riffs while singer-guitarist Top Dollar yelps like Captain Beefheart or growls like John Lee Hooker and twists out white-knuckle psychedelic solos. They don't believe... > Read more

General Admission

Pantha Du Prince and the Bell Laboratory; Elements of Light (Rough Trade)

11 Feb 2013  |  <1 min read

Very much in the territory of ambient music (publishing held by the appropriately named Outer Worlds), this 43 minute album is one long piece of five seamlessly interlocking parts and owes something to Balinese gamelan and people like Phillip Glass (in his so-called “minimalist” period). But it has been conceived by producer/remixer Du Prince (aka Berlin-based Hendrik... > Read more

Photon

Richard Thompson; Electric (Proper/Southbound)

11 Feb 2013  |  <1 min read

Englishman Richard Thompson's 2010 Dream Attic was a courageous leap of faith: a live album of all new and therefore unfamiliar songs recorded before American audiences. But this godfather of Anglofolk – and superb electric guitarist – pulled it off in some dyspeptic and angry songs, and that energy spills over onto this album in the taut Stuck on a Treadmill (the indignity... > Read more

Where's Home?

Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing: Eeling (Muzai)

11 Feb 2013  |  1 min read

Given their chosen name, you can guess that this Auckland four-piece don't expect (or possibly want) mainstream recognition either at home or abroad. And you don't want to know what comes up if you do a web-search or look on You Tube for them.  But because this is on the always interesting indie label Muzai (who have Bemsha Swing which, despite being named for a Thelonious Monk tune... > Read more

Dance of Salome

Omar Carmenates: The Gaia Theory (Rattle)

6 Feb 2013  |  1 min read

At its most extreme interpretation (as some have joking applied it), the Giaia theory which contends all life on Earth is interconnected says if a butterfly flaps its wings in China there may be a tornado in Kansas some time later. Okay, that is ridiculously extreme but the principles of interconnectivity would seem to be becoming more and more apparent as species die out and others (their... > Read more

Waiting: Still

Aaron Neville: My True Story (Blue Note)

4 Feb 2013  |  <1 min read

Hmmm. Neville – whose high voice is most often described as angelic – on a selection of favourite doo-wop songs from the 50s/early 60s, and produced by Keith Richards and Don Was? First question: Who does backing doo-wop vocals behind That Voice? Fortunately it isn't guitarist Richards' throaty croak but members of some original doo-wop groups (the Jive-Five,... > Read more

Be My Baby

Jack Landy: Lost and Found (independent release)

4 Feb 2013  |  1 min read  |  1

If we were allowed to use big words like "peripatetic" here at Elsewhere we'd certainly use it about world traveler, musical itinerant, busker and on-the-road singer-songwriter Landy, originally of Auckland to where he has now returned. His bio says he's worked at sea, busked in Italy and Maseilles, and the opener here is Lost In Copenhagen (Later there are songs of farewells... > Read more

High Society

Various Artists; West of Memphis; Voices for Justice (Sony)

4 Feb 2013  |  <1 min read

Celebrity has been debased by reality television, but its power and influence to do good (rather than flog a product or self-serving career) shouldn't be underestimated. Amy Berg's doco West of Memphis about three US teenagers convicted of triple murder in 93 was made with high-powered support from Sir Peter Jackson (who produced it) and came with the heft of  Johnny Depp, Eddie... > Read more

Joy

Villagers: {Awayland} (EMI)

29 Jan 2013  |  <1 min read  |  1

If there was an issue with multi-instrumentalist Conor O'Brien's otherwise excellent 2010 solo debut album Becoming a Jackal (under his nom de disque Villagers) it was that he repeatedly wrote as a universal, wisdom-infused observer, the all-seeing “I” as it were. This more sonically expansive outing – former pop-rocker and sometime folkie embraces electronics, horns,... > Read more

Judgement Call

Pop Levi: Medicine (Counter/Border)

28 Jan 2013  |  <1 min read

Back in 2007/2008 Mika and Pop Levi brought welcome injections of camp, glam-pop fun back into the foreground. Dressing up, being silly in videos, and delivering hand-clap and often ironically enjoyable songs were their hallmarks. Not to be taken seriously. Unfortunately after Levi's Never Never Love album the puff went out him. You'd hope this new one would put breeze back in the... > Read more

Police $ign

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Friendly Fires (Universal)

21 Jan 2013  |  <1 min read

The Late Night Tales series of invited-guest's mix-tapes succeeds or fails not just on the compilers' taste, but how they craft a running order of diverse tracks. Some smart invitees – Trentemoller's spooky collection and Midlake's post-folk theme come to mind – go for an over-arching mood while others – 39 film theme snippets for At the Movies – never identify... > Read more

One Most Memorable