Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Hello Sailor: Surrey Crescent Moon (Warners)

22 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

The mythology and facts surrounding Hello Sailor as the Famously Dissolute Ponsonby Rock Band of the Seventies probably does them a disservice these days. They long since ceased to be that band and those people. And while they've been an occasional working band they haven't been represented by albums which means this new one – their first in 17 years and perhaps encouraged by last... > Read more

Bungalow Ave

Ann Peebles: The Original Soul Sister (Music Club)

22 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

How do you judge the greatness of artists? One way is by how many of their songs are covered by others (we call on the songbooks of Little Richard, Otis Blackwell, Diane Warren, Ellie Greenwich, Lennon-McCartney, Bacharach-David etc). Another way is if someone is so singular that few would dare cover their songs (Nick Cave, Madonna, add your own names).  Ann Peebles, the powerful... > Read more

I've Been There Before

Spiro: Kaleidophonica (Real World/Southbound)

16 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

One of the most insightful and enjoyable books I have read in recent months is Rob Young's Electric Eden; Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music. Young's musical landscape encompasses Delius, William Morris and William Blake as much Donovan, obscure traditionalists, Fairport Convention and John Martyn, the Incredible String Band, the Beatles' Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane, Davy Graham, Julian... > Read more

Spit Fire Spout Rain

Jimmy LaFave: Depending on the Distance (Music Road/Southbound)

15 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

It has been five years since Texas singer-songwriter (and foremost Dylan interpreter) LaFave's much recommended Cimarron Manifesto. Too long for those of us who immerse ourselves in his emotional, cracked and intelligent delivery of lyrics which cut to the heart of relationships (intact or broken) or conjure up the mythic. The latter is evoked on his stark treatment of Dylan's Red River... > Read more

Clear Blue Sky

Crime and the City Solution: A History of Crime; Berlin 1987-1991 (Mute)

15 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

Subtitled An Introduction to Crime and the City Solution, this 16 track collection puts this dark and often demanding band -- mainman Simon Bonney pitching somewhere between Jim Morrison and Nick Cave -- under the spotlight in the years when they were in Berlin, appearing in Wim Wenders Wings of Desire and had Birthday Party/Bad Seed Mick Harvey in their constantly morphing line-up. Founded... > Read more

New World

Lee Hazlewood: A House Safe for Tigers (Light in the Attic/Southbound)

15 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

Following the release of the collection The LHI Years; Singles, Nudes and Backsides, comes this reissue of a film soundtrack, a film which by every account was pretty bizarre. Filmed on the Swedish island of Gotland in '74 -- four years after Hazlewood had moved to the country so his son could avoid the US military draft -- it is considered a "semi-documentary" at best and... > Read more

Souls Island

Diana Krall: Glad Rag Doll (Verve)

15 Oct 2012  |  <1 min read  |  2

Canadian jazz singer/pianist Diana Krall had an assured if undramatic career until her 2004 album Girl in the Other Room, mostly co-written with new husband Elvis Costello, which included more interesting songs (Tom Waits' Temptation among them). This album – in a cover where she's draped like a sultry dominatrix – pushes further. Longtime producer Tommy LiPuma is... > Read more

Prairie Lullaby

Grizzly Bear: Shields (Warp/Border)

9 Oct 2012  |  2 min read

Right now I'm reading I Hate New Music; The Classic Rock Manifesto. And it's not the best preparation for this new album by Grizzly Bear. Author Dave Thompson's credo is simple: "You look at the Cult and you see the Doors. You look at the Black Crowes but you see the Faces . . ." Yes, he's a grumpy old man arguing (in a very funny way) that classic rock of the most maligned... > Read more

A Simple Answer

Beth Orton: Sugaring Season (Warners)

8 Oct 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

Beth Orton has been one of the most interesting women singers this side of Kate Bush whose albums have always been rewarding and pushed the boundaries of the expected without being alienating. She still commands a pop hook and her engaging voice is a flexible instrument which she has placed into different and interesting settings. This, her first album in six years after time out for... > Read more

Call Me the Breeze

Flying Lotus: Until the Quiet Comes (Warp/Border)

8 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

Flying Lotus -- aka Californian Steven Ellison -- is the kind of artist who is giving tripped-out ambient electronica a good name with this deliberately noctural sounding outing. His music, as witnessed on this dreamscape fourth album, doesn't entirely float off into the ether but remains cleverly grounded through influences from world music, downbeat neo-jazz, hip-hop and soul while still... > Read more

See Thru to U (ft Erykah Badu)

Various Artists: Lawless soundtrack (Sony)

8 Oct 2012  |  <1 min read

Music to a movie with interesting credentials. From the novel The Wettest Country in the World by Matt Bondurant about his bootlegging grandfather in Virginia, a screenplay by Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat (The Road, Cave's Proposition and Ghosts of the Civil Dead), it is a Depression-era gangster-cum-bootlegger story starring Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman. And... > Read more

Fire in the Blood/Snake Song

The Rubens: The Rubens (Ivy League)

8 Oct 2012  |  <1 min read

Australia's earnest Rubens may wrap their album in bright colours but that floral-delic rocket crashed into a wasteland is a metaphor: this is teen agony pop-rock about having love shot down (My Gun), coming to terms with yourself (“took something bad to show me what I had” on Never Be the Same), struggling with putting the blame on someone (the aching but tune-avoiding Lay It... > Read more

Elvis

Van Morrison: Born to Sing; No Plan B (Exile)

1 Oct 2012  |  1 min read  |  3

Because he's released many indifferent or awful albums in recent decades (the prosecution calls What's Wrong With This Picture of 2004), one of Van Morrison's best – the appropriately titled Keep It Simple, 2008 – went largely overlooked. It was refined, focused and he sounded almost at ease with the world. Almost. While this isn't quite up there with that, its... > Read more

If in Money We Trust

Sera Cahoone: Deer Creek Canyon (Sub Pop)

1 Oct 2012  |  <1 min read

Seattle-based Cahoone keeps good company. Early on she drummed in Band of Horses, has toured with Grand Archives, and co-produced this with Thom Monahan who does those duties for Devendra Banhart and Vetiver. Her album Only As the Day is Long four years ago announced a mature, thoughtful writer taking a lead from Neil Young's early acoustic albums into rewarding areas of self-analysis... > Read more

And Still We Move

The Doubtful Sounds: The Pop Album (doubtfulsounds.com)

1 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

On the brief opening track here Doubtful Sounds promise "a pop album you'll want to listen to" and thereafter deliver a sort of early Flying Nun guitar strum'n'jangle which brings to mind early Chills, Bats et al. So the promise of "a pop album that'll make you smile" is true in one aspect, smiles of recognition. Recorded in Auckland, sounding Christchurch/Dunedin... > Read more

Colonel

Go Stop Go: Go Stop Go (Luca Discs)

30 Sep 2012  |  1 min read

Elsewhere has always had a soft spot for decent pop music of all persuasions, whether it be uplifting power pop, jangly guitars, affecting heartbreak/bedroom mope Pop Frenzy stuff or . . . The thing about disposable pop music is that it can be hard to shake off. So, not so disposable after all. Go Stop Go from Auckland deliver various kinds of pop from the driving single/opener If You... > Read more

Space

Antony and the Johnsons: Cut the World (Unspk)

24 Sep 2012  |  1 min read

There are many people these days -- Leonard Cohen, Laurie Anderson, Bjork, Rufus Wainwright (who delivered an exceptional, witty, sometimes emotionally intense, upbeat then flamboyantly outre show on Friday night in Auckland), Scott Walker, Dudley Benson and many others -- who exist within the broad parameters of "rock culture" (because that's where they are mostly interviewed,... > Read more

I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy

Beachwood Sparks: The Tarnished Gold (Sub Pop)

24 Sep 2012  |  <1 min read

Given this is the first album in over a decade by this Californian jangle-pop/country-rock group – whose reference points are Buffalo Springfield and Laurel Canyon bands of the late 60s/early 70s -- it's perhaps best to trace their lineage backwards. Drummer Aaron Sperske recently spent time in Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (Mr Pink guests here), guitarist Dave Scher toured as... > Read more

Leave That Light On

The Bemsha Swing: Against Friends and Lovers (Muzai)

24 Sep 2012  |  <1 min read

Courageous and/or foolhardy is a furious post-punk bassist and guitaring duo (with a pneumatic drill drum machine, buzz-shred guitar chords) which would name itself after a Thelonious Monk tune. That seems designed to incur wrath and condemnation, but fortunately jazz aficionados are not going to venture into this world of bruising but white heat pop-rock delivered with widescreen intensity... > Read more

Piano Wire Promises

Dinosaur Jr: I Bet on Sky (Play It Again Sam)

24 Sep 2012  |  <1 min read

The favourable reviews and fan reception for this album -- their third since hatchets were buried and they reformed in 2005 -- have tended to emphasise that there is something comfortable and familiar about Dinosaur Jr here, and that it somewhat downplays the thrilling noise of their first incarnation. All true. So another way of looking at that might be a disappointing, unchallenging... > Read more

Pierce the Rain