Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Various Artists: Acoustic Cafe (Putumayo)

19 Nov 2011

Although many compilations on the Putumayo label are indifferent or perhaps of little interest to Elsewhere (the kids songs from around the world etc), this one leaps out . . . but not so much as to give you a fright. This low-key collection of 11 acoustic tracks serves as fine introduction to many of the artists while also providing a coherent and interesting album in its own right.... > Read more

Danger and Dread

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings: Soul Time! (Daptone)

14 Nov 2011

Soul singer Jones' credentials were unequivocally accepted when people learned she'd been a prison officer at Rikers and a security guard for Wells Fargo. Tough don't get more tough than that, and allows her to sing gutsy soul, funk and rhythm and blues like Etta James-meets-James Brown. This 12 song collection (mostly written by DK bassist/producer Bosco Mann) gathers previously... > Read more

Without a Trace

Lindon Puffin: Hope Holiday (Aeroplane)

14 Nov 2011    1

It's been four years since Puffin's album Show Pony which was impressive for its folk-rock-cum-pop. But this impressively packaged outing kicks things up a few notches as the melodies grip more firmly and there is a real power pop ethic applied (the Petty-like Change of Season), some of which must be attributed to the snappy production (and drumming) by Wayne Bell and having the likes... > Read more

Fresh Cut Rose

The Unfaithful Ways: Free Rein (Native Tongue)

14 Nov 2011

While so many educated urbanites who never be caught dead chopping wood by lamplight have immersed themselves in a kind of rural Americana, this group out of earthquake damaged Christchurch look to a less explored tradition, straight country music without the "alt." prefix. And that makes them very refreshing . . . although that seems an odd thing to say about lyrics which speak... > Read more

Yesterday I Loved You But Today I Just Don't Care

Pink Martini: A Retrospective (Inertia)

9 Nov 2011

If you haven't already fallen for the considerable charms of Portland's multi-lingual, sophisticated, funny and utterly delightful 14-piece Pink Martini helmed by Thomas Lauderdale and which features the vocals of China Forbes, then you have clearly been asleep. Stepping lightly between classic Forties and Fifties slick pop, chanson, latin moods and lounge (among other genres), they deliver... > Read more

Hey Eugene

Various Artists: Sweet Inspiration, The Songs of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham (Ace)

7 Nov 2011    2

Here's a long overdue collection, the songs of the Penn-Oldham songwriting team out of Alabama and Memphis whose songs were covered by the likes of Percy Sledge, Dionne Warwick, Charlie Rich, Etta James, Solomon Burke, the Box Tops and Irma Thomas, all of whom are here. So here are 24 country-soul songs from their classic period in the Sixties (andJeanne Newman's previously unreleased It... > Read more

I Met Her In Church

Hallelujah Picassos: Rewind the Hateman (HP/Rhythmethod)

7 Nov 2011

In one of the liner note essays here Ross Cunningham says when he first got a copy of Auckland band Hallelujah Picassos debut album Hateman in Love he kept playing it because "it sounded like a compilation". I always felt the same. Cunningham says he came to them through hip-hop, I'd heard them from the reggae direction but, again as Cunningham notes, when you saw them live... > Read more

Crack Dub

Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa: Don't Explain (J&R Adventures)

7 Nov 2011    2

Janis Joplin would scare the daylight out of most sleeve sucking, infantile women pop singers cluttering the charts and few have taken her as a role model. Hart played Joplin in a stage production and seemed well cast given her sandpaper-brushed roar. Here with Black Country Communion guitar virtuoso Bonamassa, she covers material by Tom Waits (Chocolate Jesus), Etta James (I'd Rather... > Read more

Well Well

Primus: Green Naugahyde (Prawn/Southbound)

7 Nov 2011

After almost a decade with no new material it's a surprise to find California indie-rockers Primus (who did the original theme to South Park) still around. But on this typically edgy, odd and bass-oriented outing they sound as out-there as ever on material which welds funk, jazz-rock and Zappa-like lyrics (about salmon farmers, ecology, spaghetti westerns, burgers) together into their... > Read more

Lee Van Cleef

Slow Electric: Slow Electric (Panegyric/Southbound)

3 Nov 2011

If the name Guided by Voices hadn't already been claimed, it could apply to this collaboration between vocalist/pianist Tim Bowness and keyboard player/software designer Peter Chilvers with Estonians Robert Jurjendal (guitars) and trumpeter Aleksei Saks who perform as UMA. Existing somewhere between wistful and ethereal ambient music, Miles Davis' emotionally distant trumpet and wispy... > Read more

Criminal Caught in the Crime

Josh Rouse and the Long Vacations: Josh Rouse and the Long Vacations (Bedroom Classics)

27 Oct 2011    1

Sort of “what I did on my vacation, part two” from this fine singer-songwriter who began so well with albums like Dressed Up Like Nebraska, Under Cold Blue Stars and Nashville which took him from the late 90s into the middle of the last decade. But after the cruise-control El Turista last year (nice but slight) and this nine song/25 minutes offering, you get the impression... > Read more

Bluebird St

Various Artists: The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (Egyptian/Sony)

26 Oct 2011    3

Just as Wilco and Billy Bragg teamed up in the 90s and set to music unrecorded lyrics by Woody Guthrie (the two volumes of Mermaid Avenue), so here unrecorded songs by country legend Hank Williams (1923-53) are given life. Apparently Bob Dylan intended to do the project himself but, perhaps wisely, called in sympathetic heavy hitters (Norah Jones, Jack White, Vince Gill with Rodney... > Read more

I'm So Happy I Found You

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (Mercury)

25 Oct 2011    2

Although comparisons are odious, you can hardly escape lining up this solo debut by Noel Gallagher (the brains of Oasis?) with that of brother Liam (the mouth?) whose recent album under the name Beady Eye whose Different Gear Still Speeding was an enjoyable post-Oasis romp and a lot more cheery fun than cynics might have expected. Of course expectations are higher for anything by Noel given... > Read more

Stop the Clocks

Various Artists: Late Night Tales, MGMT (Latenighttales/Southbound)

24 Oct 2011

Despite how pleasing it is to see the Chills' Pink Frost here alongside Velvet Underground's Ocean, Spacemen 3's Lord Can You Hear Me? and the largely overlooked country act Charlie Feathers (with Mound of Clay), this selection by MGMT doesn't have quite the same frisson of discovery and atmosphere as a recent LNTales predecessor, the compilation by Midlake. Nice to see The Great Society!... > Read more

Suicide

Snakedog: Road (Snakedog)

19 Oct 2011

Singer-guitarist Dave Mulcahy (once of Flying Nun's JPSE back in the day) and drummer Steve Gilbero out of Christchurch in New Zealand have been chewing this one over for a while. Apparently they did the original demos five years ago, then looked at them again in '08 and finally this year re-arranged and edited the nine songs with assistance from producer Nick Roughan (Dimmer etc) and friends... > Read more

Animal

Shin Joong Hyun: Beautiful Rivers and Mountains; The Psychedelic Rock Sound of South Korea 1958-1974 (Light in the Attic/Southbound)

17 Oct 2011

Because hipper-than-thou DJs, compilers and archivists have been trawling the secondhand bins and record collections of the global village for the two decades or so, we have been introduced to the rare delights of local pop from unexpected places such as Kinshasa and Colombia, Soweto and tropicalia-infused Brazil.  Because there has been such a drift net trawl through Africa (and... > Read more

The Man Who Must Leave

Sonic Youth: Hits are for Squares (Geffen)

17 Oct 2011

Smart move under a great title. Not a "greatest hits" (has there been even one?) or even a "best of", but a selection of their favourite SY tracks chosen by the likes of longtime fans Radiohead, Eddie Vedder, film maker Gus Van Sandt, actress Catherine Keener, Beck and others. That piques interest on a number of levels -- and then they add the six minute-plus Slow... > Read more

Superstar

The Bandana Splits: Mr Sam Presents The Bandana Splits (Boy Scout)

17 Oct 2011

Perhaps we should blame Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, but it seems there's a lot of retro-pop around these day (check Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents). And here Brooklyn's Annie Nero, Lauren Bathrop and Dawn Landes get together around a single microphone to revive lightweight 50s and 60s pop (close harmony singers, girl groups, bubblegum, kitsch) for frothy but largely unmemorable fun in the... > Read more

Coo Choo

JJ Grey and Mofro: Brighter Days; Live (Alligator/Southbound)

14 Oct 2011    1

For a decade, Florida singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Grey and his band (sax and trumpet alongside lap steel and organ) have joined the dots between Otis Redding and Stax singers out of Memphis, the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and disaffected Southerns on welfare. A white guy who sings up an aching rhythm and blues storm (“brighter days, where have they... > Read more

Dirtfloorcracker

Green Pajamas: Green Pajamas Country! (Green Monkey Records)

12 Oct 2011

Although we have learned that Jeff Kelly of Seattle's Green Pajamas -- a band which has consistently delivers seductive and intelligent paisley-pop grounded in the spirit of the mid-Sixties, see here -- grew up playing country music with his father, this new album is something of a surprise. But a surprise in a good way. With longtime bassist Joe Ross, singer Laura Weller from his... > Read more

Why Good Men Go Bad