Music at Elsewhere

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STKS: Rhythm and Brown (M4U Records)

1 Aug 2011

In November 2010, when most media people were looking the other way unfortunately, a new Auckland-based record label M4U launched itself with a showcase of its talent in a hip bar on Ponsonby Rd. The two most impressive acts bookended the night: the terrifyingly talented young singer Ria who stopped the chatter from her first soulful notes, and at the end the rather more mature... > Read more

Ignite

Harry Manx and Kevin Breit: Strictly Whatever (Canada Factor/Southbound)

1 Aug 2011

These two "mature" singer-guitarists from Canada have appeared at Elsewhere previously with their fine In Good We Trust album, and Manx on his ownsome with a reissue of a 2001 album (here). It would be fair to observe that their expansive oeuvre (blues, alt.country, folk, nods to recent Dylan etc) on a variety of instruments (lap slide, National steel, electric sitar, mandolin,... > Read more

Carry My Tears Away

Black Wings: Meltwater (Powertool)

29 Jul 2011

When a band names itself Black Wings and opens an album with tracks entitled Grave and Straight Jacket you know it should come with that warning sign they have at theme parks: "This is a dark ride". And these dark rides have their musical references in early Chills and Cure with a smattering of the dreamscape the Church brought to Priest = Aura. The thrum and rolling hum which... > Read more

The Pahiatua Track

Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers: Starlight Hotel (Signature/Border)

28 Jul 2011    1

Les alt. than country, Zoe Muth from Seattle invites favourable comparisons with Eilen Jewell and early Emmylou Harris, and a whole host of Nashville writers who are smart enough to still have their hearts in the honky-tonks. These are pedal steel and mandolin stories which cut out the fat and get right down to the sad and lonely bones of heartache or true friendship, or kick along with that... > Read more

New Mexico

Pitch Black: Rarities and Remixes (Remote)

25 Jul 2011

New Zealand's premier electronica act Pitch Black -- Paddy Free and Mike Hodgson -- have also been its most exportable as they have taken their innovative shows (lights, cameras, live action) to a global audience via installations, exclusive parties, fashion shows and the like. Their albums have always been stand alone items however which work just as well in the absence of the light show... > Read more

Kaikoura Dub (from Whale Rider)

Okkervill River: I Am Very Far (Jajaguwar)

25 Jul 2011

The last appearance of Texas' Okkervil River was them providing emotional support and the musical context for damaged cult figure Roky Erickson on his exceptional, moving True Love Cast Out All Evil. Their singer/songwriter Will Sheff is one of the smartest around (he writes the most extraordinary and emotionally insightful ballads) and has a keen sense of pop history which he draws on... > Read more

Rider

Richard Thompson: The Folk City Broadcast (Left Field Media)

25 Jul 2011    2

There seem no half-measures with the legendary English singer-guitarist Richard Thompson. People either “get” him or – despite acclaim as one of Britain's greatest guitarists, the OBE and honorary PhD he received this year, and being credited as founding British folk-rock with Fairport Convention in the early 70s – they remain indifferent to, or ignorant of, his... > Read more

Walking on a Wire

Gomez: Whatever's On Your Mind (Shock)

25 Jul 2011

Split between the UK and USA, seven studio albums into their career and with songwriters Ian Ball and Ben Ottewell having released solo albums (rusty voiced Ottewell's being the excellent alt.folk Shapes and Shadows) hardly seems to have damaged Gomez, who started on a career high when they won the '98 Mercury Prize for their Bring It On debut, an accolade crippling to a lesser band.... > Read more

I Will Take You There

Vetiver: The Errant Charm (SubPop)

25 Jul 2011

Although on the receiving end of polite but unimpressed reviews in some circles, there's no denying the quiet charm of this album which suggests last light in California and the sun glinting off the top of small waves which roll onto a warm beach as lovers are silhouetted at the water's edge. Although they haven't entirely abandoned their former folk influences in favour of Brian Wilson... > Read more

Fog Emotion

Brian Eno: Drums Between the Bells ((Warp)

19 Jul 2011

Brian Eno first encountered the work of poet/spoken word artist Rick Holland more than a decade ago and despite some small attempts to collaborate things didn't come to much. Until now. Here Eno creates the textural soundbeds for these readings of Holland's work by various people (himself included) and sometimes they have a drilling, intense electrostatic quality (Glitch, Sounds Alien,... > Read more

Pour It Out

The Antlers: Burst Apart (French Kiss)

18 Jul 2011

The previous album by New York's Antlers -- Hospice, reviewed here -- was so impressive musically and in its conceptual ambition I'm at a loss to know why I didn't include in the Best of Elsewhere 2010 list. More fool me. It wouldn't have been to everyone's taste as I noted, but my final line about singer/guitarist/writer Peter Silberman ("a major talent emerging") is confirmed by... > Read more

Hounds

Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven (YepRoc)

18 Jul 2011

The former Blaster (a band he shared with his brother Phil) has been delivering his earthy, rootsy blues out there on the road for decades now. He was briefly in X and the Gun Club, but mostly he's been taking his dusty, country-edged dark baritone to narratives about what he sees out there: railroads and desert highways, the losers and lost, the street angels and Texas bars. This... > Read more

Johnny Ace is Dead

Rosy Tin Teacaddy: All Mountains Are Men (Earl Grey Records)

18 Jul 2011

The Department of Conservation seems an unlikely sponsor of local music, but under its Wild Creations artist-in-resident programme the indie.folk duo Rosy Tin Teacaddy (Andy Hummel and Holly Jane Ewens to their parents) spent six weeks at Lake Tarawera and wrote what became this gently delivered concept-album collection released a fortnight ago on the 125th anniversary of the Tarawera... > Read more

Beauty, My Dear

Various Artists: Paul McCartney's Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

18 Jul 2011

With the current reassessment of Paul McCartney's career immediately post-Beatles -- driven by the reissue of Band on the Run and the McCartney and McCartney II albums -- Mojo magazine offered a 15 track cover CD of "The Roots of Paul McCartney" which was a collection of songs which had influenced him. This 29 song collection however is far more extensive and interesting. Both... > Read more

Hippy Hippy Shake

Samantha Fish, Cassie Taylor, Dani Wilde: Girls with Guitars (Ruf)

18 Jul 2011

Nothing like naming your album with a product description, right? This lead/bass/rhythm trio (with drummer Jamie Little) bridge sultry blues, a soul-kiss and rock'n'roll blues (bassist Cassie the daughter of the great Otis). Wilde's Stax/Aretha/sexy vocals impress and she's a double threat, pulling out mercurial and razor sharp lead solos. They deliver fine originals, and a feisty... > Read more

Leaving Chicago

New Telepathics: Clapping with Rockets (OUR Records)

12 Jul 2011

New Telepathics' multi-instrumentalist mainman Darryn Harkness has certainly covered the waterfront in his 20-year career. He's been in straight ahead rock bands, the From Scratch percussion ensemble, written music to accompany the silent film Nosferatu, pulled together bands feeding off the spirit of Sun Ra and Fela Anikulapo Kuti, written self-published poetry, played and lived in the UK and... > Read more

River Calls Me Now

The Cave Singers: No Witch (Jajaguwar)

11 Jul 2011

Over two previous albums this Seattle-based outfit weren't easy to pigeon-hole (alt.country, boho-folk, indie.something?) but were always interesting because of that, and not the least for singer Peter Quirk's distinctive vocals which were “quirky” for want of a better word. Here however they really throw in some visceral and edgy material (the abrasive and tense Black... > Read more

Faze Wave

The Vietnam War: The Vietnam War (Round Trip Mars)

7 Jul 2011

Despite the explosive connotations of their name, Auckland's Vietnam War are far from an incendiary rock outfit. Rather, they are in that country rock lineage which reaches back to the Byrds (there's a little pre-Sweethearts Byrdsean jangle in the mid-ground of the opener High Window) and runs through the Band, and to the early Renderers and the Warratahs/Wayne Mason in New Zealand. They... > Read more

Same Thought

Joe Ely: Satisfied at Last (Rack 'Em Records/Southbound)

5 Jul 2011

The very good news is that the great Joe Ely -- who has delivered a few patchy albums in the past decade -- doesn't sound at all "satisfied" as the album's title would suggest. In fact from the opener The Highway is My Home to Butch Hancock's Circumstance 40 minutes later this tight'n'tidy 10 song collection has much of the old Tex-Mex and narrative fire-power of some of his best... > Read more

Leo and Leona

The 3D's: Early Recordings 1989-90 (Flying Nun)

5 Jul 2011

Inspired by everything from the Pixies and Neil Young's El Dorado EP, sonic noise and folk music, the 3D's were a Flying Nun band which inspired passionate loyalty for the visceral power of their sound and often weaving, beguling melodies (from singer Denise Roughan as well as the guitars). The re-release last year of their early albums (Hellzapoppin', The Venus Trail and Strange News from... > Read more

Evil Kid