Music at Elsewhere

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Dudley Benson:Live Series Volume One (Golden Retriever/Border)

6 Aug 2012  |  2 min read

Dudley Benson's EPs and albums always have a sense of occasion about them. They arrive as specially thought out, beautifully packaged little gifts with delightful or dramatic artwork (the Peter Stichbury cover painting on the limited edition vinly EP Minerals and Rocks, the applique by Florence Dennison on Forest) and there is a sense of control and care about their contents. Benson's... > Read more

Purerehua

Alt-J: An Awesome Wave (Infectious)

6 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read  |  3

These days genre-ignoring bands are so common they require no introduction or explanation. But few are as provocative as Alt-J out of Cambridge, England who pull together slivers of Anglo-folk with hip-hop beats (like sons of the Beta Band), electronica ideas rendered acoustically, electro-blip from recent Radiohead, a cappella harmonies and angular pop of the romantic Belle and... > Read more

Fitzpleasure

Delicate Steve: Positive Force (Luaka Bop/Southbound)

6 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read

Appropriately on the usually left-field/world music label Luaka Bop, comes the indie/outsider New Jersey-based multi-instrumentalist Steve Marion who was hailed in the New York Times' review pages with his debut. Marion writes and records everything himself on this instrumental album (aside from guests on wordless vocals) and manages to meld George Harrison's sentimental slide... > Read more

Wally Wilder

The Lumineers: The Lumineers (Dualtone)

6 Aug 2012  |  2 min read

Although few would argue that musically this Colorado three-piece are doing much different in acoustic-driven (and sometimes string-enhanced) rootsy folk-rock, they do have in their ranks a very smart songwriting pair in Wesley Keith Schultz and Jeremy Caleb Fraites. Their catchy single Hey-Ho (you can bet bar bands in Dublin are covering it even now) has picked up plenty of good notices,... > Read more

Dead Sea

Coach: Family Tree (Aeroplane)

6 Aug 2012  |  1 min read

The thing about this Auckland band's often frustrating and ultimately dissatisfying debut album is that, even on repeat plays, you might be left with the impression there are two sides of the same brain in operation, but the better and more romantically inclined of them pulls the other equally promising wig-out rocking half back into line. Guitarist/singer and predominant songwriter Abraham... > Read more

I Have Two Shadows

The Sensitive Drunks: Hill and Hay (indie release)

5 Aug 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

There's always something refreshing about a band which is unpretentious and sounds to be making music which is pop, memorable and like it had an audience of like minds as its target. Such a band is the Sensitive Drunks out of Perth, West Australia who admit their brief was the songs should be fun and catchy, they should not take themselves too seriously "and we should be able to... > Read more

Perth Girls

Trip to the Moon: The Invisible Line (Jazzscore)

30 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read

Trip to the Moon is another installment (the fifth?) of the long-running if intermittent project of Auckland multi-instrumentalists/producers Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie, and various fellow-travelers: here Greg Johnson on trumpet, saxophonist Jim Langabeer, Ian “Dr Glam” Chapman on hang drums, guitarist Nigel Gavin, bassist Peter Scott and oud player Haitham Mazyan.... > Read more

Still Very Cool

Elton John Vs Pnau: Good Morning to the Night (Universal)

30 Jul 2012  |  1 min read

In the same way you splutter, "Well, I never saw that one coming" about the film Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, you might utter the same about this where Australia's electronica dance duo Pnau sample from Elton John's Seventies albums . . . and get him to the top of the British charts for the first time since a greatest hits back in 1990. If however you had followed the fine... > Read more

Telegraph to the Afterlife

Jukebox the Ghost: Safe Travels (Yep Roc)

30 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read

The two previous albums by this New York-based trio were so full of ambitious, often piano-led pop songs you suspected they could suddenly go prog-rock, or make a leap into being one of the great bands of our time. Which makes this one a sometimes radical departure as they haul back that scattershot ambition and those occasionally short-concentration-span ideas to come out punching with... > Read more

Adulthood

Rodriguez: Searching for Sugar Man (Sony)

29 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read

Taken independently of the acclaimed doco which gives this collection its title, these songs may still sound to many like some stoner Dylan '65 full of tripped out folk-cum-soul poetic strangeness (Crucify Your Mind) or drugged ennui (Sugar Man). Rodriguez had one very good album in Cold Fact, another of lesser returns (Coming From Reality) and that was his career. Gone in about 18 months,... > Read more

Inner City Blues

Module: Imagineering (Loop)

27 Jul 2012  |  1 min read

The recent release of the Loop label compilation album Winter -- downbeat'n'drifting electronica mood pieces for these snuggle-down colder days -- draws attention to this previously released album by Module (Jeramiah Ross). His gentle piece Reflections Scatter was the perfect opener for that compilation. Although that sleepy piece is here, after the equally astral-ambient... > Read more

Reflections Scatter

Various Artists: Country Funk 1969-1975 (Light in the Attic)

25 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read

Although the promotion of this 16-song collection might make out the notion of "country funk" is somehow a strange and unfamiliar animal, the territory has been well mapped -- from OC Smith's Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp and Bobbie Gentry through Tony Joe White to JJ Grey and Mofro -- that the horn-driven soul-funk country sound connects with relative ease. Jeez, even Elvis went... > Read more

Lucas Was a Redneck

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Greatest Hits (Blackheart)

24 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read  |  1

If you quickly read the cover sticker on this belatedly released, 2010, 21-song double disc you'd be hooked,as you might think it pulls in eight songs by the Runaways (Jett's former band) alongside remastered versions of those old familiars I Love Rock and Roll and Crimson and Clover. But be warned on a few counts. First, Jett hardly had enough hits to justify being spread this thin,... > Read more

Love is All Around

Advance Base: A Shut-In's Prayer (Caldo Verde/Southbound)

23 Jul 2012  |  1 min read

With the economy of a poet Owen Ashworth, who is Advance Base, sketches in lonely lives reduced down to telling images and gives his characters names, and delivers his songs with spare arrangments of rhythm box, synths and piano. If this idea sounds vageuly familiar it is because under a former guise Ashworth was the truly wonderful Casiotone for the Painfully Alone whose album Etiquette... > Read more

David Allen

Eleni Mandell: I Can See the Future (YepRoc)

23 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read

Possessed of kd lang's melodic skills and swooning delivery, with an ear on classic Fifties and Sixties pop which was a hallmark of the best Rumer songs and just enough folk-noir to bring shadows to what sometimes sounds sunlit, little-known Eleni Mandell from Los Angeles here serves up an album of real depth. It's a measure of Mandell's credibility that on her eighth studio album this... > Read more

I'm Lucky

Joan Osborne: Bring It On Home (Saguaro Road)

23 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read  |  3

Joan Osborne's mid-90s hit (“what if God was”) One of Us almost killed her career. A 32-year old gutsy soul-blues singer with an earthy stage act, she struggled to distance herself from the teen audience which embraced it. Osborne - interviewed at the tme here -- was closer to Joplin than Jewel. She increasingly sang blues and toured with Motown's Funk Brothers (she... > Read more

Game of Love

The Metropole Orkest: The Wine of Silence (DGM/Southbound)

23 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read

Holland's Metropole Orchestra has an impressive track record in performing with musicians from across the rock, pop, jazz and world music spectrum. Down the decades they have worked with people such as Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson and Tony Bennett to Antony and the Johnsons, Mike Patton, Joe Cocker, Brian Eno, Andrea Bocelli, Basement Jaxx . . . For this album they turned to the... > Read more

Midnight Blue

Various Artists: TV Sound and Image (Soul Jazz)

23 Jul 2012  |  1 min read

More than two decades ago a budget price company in the US put out a collection of 65 television theme songs (Popeye, Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, The Munsters etc) and while serious critics and reviewers sniffed, they laughed all the way to the bank. In New Zealand there were similar such projects and again the public lapped them up because they brought back memories and settled... > Read more

The Avengers

Lawrence Arabia: The Sparrow (Unspk)

16 Jul 2012  |  1 min read

Because this deftly orchestrated album of slightly worldweary pop by James Milne -- aka Lawrence Arabia -- has already picked up five star reviews and critical acclaim at home and abroad, it perhaps hardly needs Elsewhere's assistance to bring it to your attention. But let it be noted that references to the European sounds of Scott Walker and Serge Gainsbourg, whom Milne says he was... > Read more

Lick Your Wounds

Kurt Shanks: Blood Line Heart (Plus1/Aeroplane)

16 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read

At a crucial point in the lovely Auckland-located ballad These Are The Days, the mood drops, hooking you with intimacy, and Kurt Shanks speak-sings, “No, I don't desire any sales pitch today . . .”. It goes down like a wooden wonton, and unfortunately such lyrics – cliches like “mind over matter”, or “girl, we fit like a glove” in the... > Read more

These are the Days