Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Seasick Steve: You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks (Liberator)

Seasick Steve: You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks (Liberator)

Steve – who makes or adapts his own guitars, counted Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain as friends and had Grinderman, Ruby Turner and KT Tunstall on his raw 08 album Started Out With Nothing And I Still Got Most of It Left – has been a hobo, busker and record producer in his time, and his blues-infused albums reflect stories of a hard life. He got his break on an '06 Jools... more >>

Treasures

13 Jun 2011    1

The Webb Sisters: Savages (Proper)

The Webb Sisters: Savages (Proper)

Best known in the wider world as part of Leonard Cohen's touring band – the backing vocalists, multi-instrumentalists and cartwheelers – Charley and Hattie from Kent have at the studio desk here uber-producer, heavy-hitter and fan Peter Asher (James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, longtime senior vice-president at Sony). And you can guess they aren't short of studio talent either:... more >>

Calling This a Life

6 Jun 2011

Boris: Attention Please (Sargent House)

Boris: Attention Please (Sargent House)

Witnessing the full firepower of this Japanese psychedelic drone-rock band at Sydney's Vivid Festival last year – earplugs supplied – was a revelation. When they were loud they were very, very loud but when guitarist Wata stepped up to bring her ethereal voice into play they were dreamily psychedelic and rather special in a cinematic prog-rock way. This, their 17th studio,... more >>

Party Boy

6 Jun 2011

The Feelies: Here Before (Pop Frenzy)

The Feelies: Here Before (Pop Frenzy)

When a band which made one your favourite albums three decades ago -- Crazy Rhythms, an Essential Elsewhere album (here) -- gets together for their first album in 19 years you enter with trepidiation. You know things can't and shouldn't be the same, and you remind yourself that after some dodgy stuff Wire of the same era delivered a more than merely creditable album last year. The... more >>

On And On

30 May 2011

Holly Throbsy: Team (Spunk)

Holly Throbsy: Team (Spunk)

There has been an audible trend in blockbuster movies to employ actors who speak in a constant whisper which is then amplified for the big screen. The normal speaking voice of these actors we do not know. It happens in music too and a couple of tracks here are little more than amplified whispers (prime offender It's Only Need), and much of this album is in the barely-there category in its... more >>

To See You Out

30 May 2011

Gurrumul: Rrakala (Skinnyfish)

Gurrumul: Rrakala (Skinnyfish)

With his full name on his debut album Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu reduced to more manageable Gurrumul, this blind Aboriginal singer-songwriter (a former member of Yothu Yindi and the Saltwater Band) here continues his way into global domination in the world music/folk genre. Unlike many Aboriginal performers who use traditional instruments or deliver bog-standard reggae, the... more >>

Gurrumul: Warwu

29 May 2011

F in Math: Couch (Flying Nun)

F in Math: Couch (Flying Nun)

The witty nom de disque here belongs to Michael Logie, former bassist with New Zealand's Mint Chicks who makes some steps as a solo artist working with computers, electrobeat and processed vocals. You can guess the words "squelchy" and "edgy" will be applied to this -- as they invariably are when lo-fi computer sounds are being generated -- but in places Logie has... more >>

F in Math: Elephant Heart

24 May 2011    1

Bruce Cockburn: Small Source of Comfort (True North)

Bruce Cockburn: Small Source of Comfort (True North)

Bruce Cockburn – whose sole skirmish with chart success was Wondering Where The Lions Are in 1980 – is the Richard Thompson of Canada. And if you don't get the reference that's the point. Both are respected and influential folk-rock songwriters/guitarists, but their gifts go largely unacknowledged beyond admiring musicians, the critical community and a loyal fan base.... more >>

Bruce Cockburn: Driving Away

23 May 2011

The Waifs: Temptation (Jarrah)

The Waifs: Temptation (Jarrah)

This award-winning Australian folk-rock-blues outfit is much tougher than their fragile name suggests and over five albums, an EP and considerable touring at home and in the States (where they have recorded in Nashville, this one in Minneapolis) they have made a name for their dry, spare and harmony-embellished songs where emotions are worn upfront. They aren't averse to a little... more >>

The Waifs: Beautiful Night

22 May 2011

Giant Sand: Center of the Universe (Fire)

Giant Sand: Center of the Universe (Fire)

In an in-depth interview with Elsewhere, Howe Gelb of Giant Sand was asked which album he would single out for anyone coming to the massive reissue programme of a couple of dozen Giant Sand albums and a dozen release under his own name. His answer was immediate. He picked Center of the Universe from '92. "It was the only time I was allowed to live how I always wanted to live, which... more >>

Giant Sand: Milkshake Girl

16 May 2011

Joe Bonamassa: Dust Bowl (J&R/Southbound)

Joe Bonamassa: Dust Bowl (J&R/Southbound)

There are some extraordinary guitar talents -- Roy Buchanan comes to mind immediately -- whose gift just seems to go right past an audience you know would appreciate it, if they just shifted their attention in that direction. Bonamassa -- who also has lungs like leather and can write terrific blues rock songs also -- is another. He's been playing for more than 20 years (he's only 34,... more >>

Joe Bonamassa: Black Lung Heartache

16 May 2011

Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (New West)

Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (New West)

Perhaps because there is already so much Steve Earle in the world -- this is his 14th studio album by my account -- there is very little frisson of delight or surprise coming from this album. Little Emperor would seem to be addressed to George W Bush ("no pomp and circumstance, no more shock and awe, you're just a little emperor that's all") but seems belated -- although no one... more >>

Steve Earle: Lonely Are the Free

16 May 2011    1

Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador)

Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador)

The captivatingly named rock troubadour Vile from Philadelphia offers a kind of alt.folk-cum-indie rock skew which refers to Cohen as much as Cobain. But he also has an ear for a mainstream rock melody (Puppet the the Man here with AOR guitars behind his echoed alt.rock vocals) and recently said his current listening includes the Stones' Love You Live and Neil Young's On the Beach from... more >>

Kurt Vile: Runner Ups

13 May 2011

The Felice Brothers: Celebration, Florida (Spunk)

The Felice Brothers: Celebration, Florida (Spunk)

While it's interesting to read in a promo slip that this new album by the so-far fascinating Felice Brothers "casts scenes of dreamy characters and stories interwoven like a block of primetime TV", this is promo-hype. It presumes you will actually be engaged enough to listen with unswerving intensity through the sonic haze of distant voices, lo-fi folk-tropes and ramshackle... more >>

Felice Brothers: Oliver Stone

12 May 2011    1

Ben Waters: Boogie 4 Stu (Eagle/Shock)

Ben Waters: Boogie 4 Stu (Eagle/Shock)

If nothing else -- and there is more "else" -- this album should attract attention for the version here of the Bob Dylan-penned track Watching the River Flow which features, for the first time since '92, the Rolling Stones line-up with former bassist Bill Wyman. Okay, Jagger did his vocals and harmonica parts in France, Keith his guitar in New York and Wyman added his bass later,... more >>

Ben Waters and the Rolling Stones (with Bill Wyman): Watching the River Flow

11 May 2011    1

L/O/N/G: American Primitive (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

L/O/N/G: American Primitive (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Those with passion for edgy alt.country and Neil Young in vinegary acoustic-rock mode need only know Chris Eckman (the Walkabouts, the innovative Sahara blues-influenced band Dirt Music) is one of those behind this occasionally churning, electro-rock outing with musicians from Slovenia where he now lives. The other prime mover is Rupert Huber (of the European downbeat electronica outfit... more >>

L/O/N/G: Shame This Darkness

11 May 2011

Standard Funk Ensemble: Happenstance (jazzpiano.co.nz)

Standard Funk Ensemble: Happenstance (jazzpiano.co.nz)

Vocalist Georgia Woods here -- who may have been the prime mover behind this project -- has been an actress and stage performer for a number of years (Gilbert and Sullivan in Australia, member of the Auckland Theatre Company) and performed the highly successful Highlights -- Blondes and Their Songs. She is something of a trouper too and sings in restaurants, bars and in cabaret. But for... more >>

Standard Funk Ensemble: Evenin'

10 May 2011

Miss Black and the Light: Black Light (Ode)

Miss Black and the Light: Black Light (Ode)

It seems a shame the reggae-driven grooves are pushed right to the front end of this otherwise interesting album because that sound has become, as previously noted at Elsewhere, such a default position for so many New Zealand artists. Miss Black (Ngapata Black, daughter of the great Whirimako Black) finds a real point of diference when she gets into a more soulful style (the steamy... more >>

Miss Black and the Light: Don't Stop

10 May 2011

Various Artists: Heartland (Sony)

Various Artists: Heartland (Sony)

From time to time I am approached to write liner notes for albums, and I only ever accept those which I think are interesting -- like the collections of New Zealand psychedelic music under the banner A Day in My Mind's Mind -- or those which make me think a bit. And a collection of "heartland" radio hits made me think about how far some critics, like myself, are removed from what... more >>

Front Lawn: Andy

10 May 2011    1

Golden Kanine: Oh Woe! (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Golden Kanine: Oh Woe! (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

There seems to be an interesting musical culture in Sweden which every now and again appears on the scanners of the rest of the world. In the pop world we can see a lineage between the Wannadies and Peter Bjorn and John, but there is something else also. It sounds like there is a small and individual scene which, for want of a better word, might be considered a Scandinavian take on... more >>

Golden Kanine: The Devil

9 May 2011