Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Panther and the Zoo: More Fun (download)

5 Sep 2011

The 2009 EP by this delightfully melodic, Auckland pop-rock outfit Think About It Not Exploding was a mere four songs . . . but was one of those enticing little tasters which left you wanting more. Much more, in fact. So at last here is the nine song album (short, and smart again, you are left wanting more) and you cannot help admire songwriter Graham Panther's lightly gentle but assured... > Read more

Maybe You Get What You Want

The Jayhawks: Mockingbird Time (Universal)

5 Sep 2011    1

Something to speculate on. What if John Lennon had quit the Beatles around the time of Help!/Rubber Soul when it was clear he and Paul McCartney were going in different writing and personal directions. Say he'd gone off into more personal and introspective writing and Macca had steered the band along a more pop route? No Revolver for a kick-off. In a sense something similar happened... > Read more

Pouring Rain at Dawn

Various Artists: After Hours, The Collection; Northern Soul Masters (Rhino)

4 Sep 2011

Northern Soul was a British phenomenon in the late 60s/early 70s when clubs in the north played beat-driven American soul for pilled-up patrons of venues like the famous Wigan Casino, the titular subject of a terrific doco by Tony Palmer. The music was rarely from mainstream labels like Motown and much of it came on long lost or deleted singles. A decade ago the archive label Rhino... > Read more

Something's Burnin'

The Smithereens: 2011 (eone)

4 Sep 2011

It was probably helpful for the long-running power-pop/rock Smithereens out of New Jersey to remind themselves what year they are in with this album's title. Their most recent outings have been covers of the Beatles' first US album Meet the Beatles! (Meet the Smithereens!), one of Beatle b-sides then a truncated run through the Who's Tommy. Fun for them, but you did wonder why.... > Read more

Rings on Her Fingers

Aly Cook: Brand New Day (Ode)

3 Sep 2011

As with Katie Thompson, this mature and intelligent New Zealand singer-songwriter raised money to fund her debut album through the Sellaband scheme. And she's already on her way to raising money for her follow-up. You have to hand it to her, in her late Forties she isn't going to wait around for fortune to come a-knockin', she is out there being proactive. And you can hear why people might... > Read more

Country Storm

FleaBITE: In Your Ear (Jayrem)

3 Sep 2011

Everyone is allowed to have fun, right? Which is why Elsewhere sometimes includes bizarre or just plain stupid stuff when it pulls From the Vaults. And also why we posted the Fatcat and Fishface album for kids (C'mon, tell me that isn't Yoko Ono on the posted track). And that is also why we are posting this by FleaBITE -- from the Fatcat and Fishface family -- who are smart enough to... > Read more

You're a Drip

Tim Finn: The View is Worth The Climb (Universal)

2 Sep 2011

Some argue that the best songs emerge from anxiety, emotional dislocation and melancholy -- but more mature songwriters know that not to be true. As Lucinda Williams noted in this interview, it is possible for an artist to conjure up states of mind from experiences. People like Williams -- and Tim Finn -- have a wealth of life experiences to draw on. Finn's albums often sound best when... > Read more

Opposite Signs

Bierut: The Rip Tide (Pompeii)

1 Sep 2011

Within the very bland cover - despite the gold impressed lettering -- lies the typically colourful, romantic sound which we have to come associate with Zach Condon and his associates who bring accordion, horns, a touch of "South of the Border" as well as ukulele and pump organ. Although scrupulously crafted -- you don't write horn lines like these without considerable skills --... > Read more

Goshen

Randy Crawford: The Best of Randy Crawford (Rhino)

31 Aug 2011

Gosh and oh gee. Another Randy Crawford compilation. Is there no end to these things? They seem to come around about every five years or so -- and of course the track listing is always much the same. So rather than "review" this one here is an interview with Randy from '99 in advance of a New Zealand tour which you might take some amusement from . . . On the line from her... > Read more

Rainy Night in Georgia

Meredith Monk: Songs of Ascension (ECM New Series)

30 Aug 2011    1

Meredith Monk's ethereal vocal music often seems to exist between the chapel and the arthouse, at home being bookended by a choral group and Laurie Anderson. Over the decades her work has extended from its minimalist origins into instrumental works, theatrical productions, opera (Atlas) and film (Book of Days), and yet its spare, skeletal structure is commanding by virtue of its... > Read more

Respite

My Pet Dragon: Mountains and Cities (Gimme That Sound)

30 Aug 2011

About 16 months ago Elsewhere gave a Heads Up on an impending album by this group out of New York (here). As far as I can tell the impending album never arrived . . . but this seems to be it. A long time in the pot, obviously. Now a fully formed band around singer-songwriter Todd Michaelsen, this album has a chest-swelling urgency in places which belies its long gestation period. The... > Read more

Moonshine

Various Artists: Rucks, Tries and Choruses; The History of NZ Rugby . . . in Song (EMI)

29 Aug 2011

Could any other country on the planet compile a disc of rugby songs? Maybe Wales? South Africa? But how many could get two discs worth of songs (comedy, serious, some sung by former players) which are this much nostalgic fun. We might take rugby seriously in New Zealand, but are clearly not that po-faced when you go through this exceptional 33 track compilation pulled together by the... > Read more

Rugby Rock (1960)

Jolie Holland and the Grand Chandeliers: Pint of Blood (Anti)

29 Aug 2011

This being Holland's first album since 2008's excellent The Living and the Dead, it naturally arrives much anticipated. But while some have suggested it harkens back to her style on the very popular Escondida of '04, to these ears it sounds the natural extension of its predecessor. She again has the same producer Shahzad Ismaily, her songs have a slightly battered and emotional quality,... > Read more

Little Birds

The War on Drugs: Slave Ambient (Secretly Canadian)

29 Aug 2011

From the amusing band name (yep, the bad guys won that particular war, bro) through their swooning post-REM pop-rock, this fine and play-loud album so adeptly juggles Tom Petty/Byrds, slacker alt rock and post-grunge 90s pop (Evan Dando/Buffalo Tom) you can't help but like it. And Philadelphian songwriter Adam Granduciel's has seriously smart takes on that period when the word-spewing... > Read more

Come to the City

The Bambi Molesters: As the Dark Wave Swells (Glitterhouse)

29 Aug 2011

Although “surf rock” sounds a limiting description, echoing guitar twang can equally conjure up wide-open dry spaces (albums by Australia's Cruel Sea) or brooding spaghetti westerns. And this memorably named Croatian instrumental group manage sea, sky and gunplay – and more. The producer/string arranger is Chris Eckman formerly of the American alt.country folk... > Read more

Leslie Stevens and the Badgers: Roomful of Smoke (Fuse)

29 Aug 2011

Although a reviewer for America's No Depression said Stevens' voice reminded of Emmylou Harris' (although confusingly added “but you will never be confused it”) Harris' crystalline sound doesn't come to mind at all for me. (Maybe Melanie's high-pitched folksiness in places.) But this former LA punk has convincingly moved into alt.country/singer-songwriter territory and... > Read more

Ballpark Lights

Brigitte DeMeyer: Rose of Jericho (BDM)

28 Aug 2011

Although now five albums into her career, it is highly likely few have heard of this soulful country-rock singer who here co-produces with Brady Blade. She has a little gospel and blues in her (religion is scattered throughout) and marries that to fiddle and mandolin-coloured tunes which are instantly memorable. And many shine with the optimism which comes from having done the hard work and... > Read more

West Side Mama, South Side Me

Gotye: Making Mirrors (Universal)

24 Aug 2011    1

No New Zealander has to apologise for noting the most outstanding track on this third album by Australian wunderkind singer/producer Gotye -- aka Wally de Backer who slayed them on home turf with his '06 album Like Drawing Blood -- is the third track Somebody I Used To Know which features expat Kiwi singer Kimbra. That Kimbra has her own classy, intelligent and exceptional debut album Vows... > Read more

Bronte

Jakszyk, Fripp, Collins: A Scarcity of Miracles (MPL)

23 Aug 2011

With the (almost) complete Pink Floyd catalogue being re-presented shortly, the Moody Blues arriving on our shores and bands like The Mars Volta, Radiohead and Porcupine Tree pushing the boundaries, there seems to be quite a lot of progressive rock, if not exactly old school prog-rock, out there. Of course it never really went away and certainly guitarist/experimentalist Robert Fripp, a... > Read more

The Price We Pay

Simon Comber: The Right to Talk to Strangers (CPR)

22 Aug 2011

On singer-songwriter Comber's earlier album Endearance there was an exceptional song, Please Elvis (which you can read about here), and it alerted the listener to the poetic shifts in his lyrics. This EP confirms Comber's lyrical smarts and in places goes even deeper than that impressive album. His voice sounds more resonant, stronger and deeper in places also -- and that makes for a... > Read more

Twin Insomniacs