Music at Elsewhere

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BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Faithful (ECM/Ode)

19 Dec 2011

Pianist Wasilewski who leads this trio has appeared a number of times previously at Elsewhere, with this group, as a member of Tomasz Stanko's ensemble and with trumpetr Enrico Rava. He -- and his trio -- has impressed every time. But this album finds them really pushing themselves: Night Train to You is a 10 minute piece which swings and is full of sparking, energetic piano; the album... > Read more

Woke Up in the Desert

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Fatoumata Diawara: Fatou (World Circuit)

19 Dec 2011

Yet another artist out of Mali who confirms that country -- alongside only Jamaica perhaps -- seems to have more gifted and distinctive performers per head of population than any other country on the planet. This debut from the ear-pleasing, hypnotically melodic and folk-framed Diawara is given subtle, warm and clean studio production by label boss Nick Gold in conjunction with Diawara and... > Read more

Bissa

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 The Bats: Free All the Monsters (Flying Nun)

19 Dec 2011

The rolling, aural signature of the Bats' guitars and locked-in rhythm section has always sounded at its best when it drops the tempo and engages with a romantically woozy sound which -- when married to lyrics of optimism and gentleness -- just brings a smile. This lovely album - which doesn't stray far from their template -- will have you smiling with recognition and warmth as it unveils... > Read more

When the Day Comes

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Jeffrey Foucault: Horse Latitudes (Signature)

19 Dec 2011    1

For his first album of originals in five years – the follow-up to his gripping Ghost Repeater – this beardy and rustic Americana singer/songwriter ups the stakes as his strong, dark brown and assured voice takes on life, loss and love in iron-hard images which bring to mind Leonard Cohen (“strange birds on the fence line, it's going to get cold tonight”) or Tom... > Read more

Last Night I Dreamed of Television

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Tom Waits: Bad As Me (Anti)

19 Dec 2011    4

At the end of the local edition of this exceptional album -- Tom Waits' first studio album in seven years -- there is a disconcerting litany of images entitled with seeming certainty After You Die, but which in fact asks the more pointed question, "what is it like after we die?" Waits yowls through it like a man broken on a rack, and it's a scary ending to an album which touches... > Read more

Satisfied

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Ryan Adams: Ashes and Fire (Sony)

19 Dec 2011    1

Those with a passing interest in Ryan Adams' highly productive career -- which most recently stretched to published books of poetry -- will be understandably bewildered that there is a new album, given he announced his retirement in '09 . . . and subsequently kept releasing albums from his not inconsiderable song vaults. This solo album however is a return to his career with an album... > Read more

I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Keith Jarrett: Rio (ECM)

19 Dec 2011

In one of the most colourful ECM covers in memory comes this equally vibrant solo piano set by Keith Jarrett, recorded live in Rio in April 2011. This richly textured double disc -- six unnamed pieces on the first, nine on the second -- finds the pianist in total command of his gift for rhythmically complex and melodically unpredictable improvisation. Jarrett dips (and frequently dives... > Read more

Rio Part IX

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 The Black Keys: El Camino (Nonesuch)

19 Dec 2011

Although Black Keys' previous album Brothers was on the Best of Elsewhere 2010 list and this one will certainly be in this year's final countback, the two albums are very different. Where Brothers was grounded in classic soul and old school r'n'b and blues, this one kicks up the primal rock'n'pop from the get-go. As a touchstone consider Gold on the Ceiling which sounds like the Glitter... > Read more

Run Right Back

Roy Harper: Songs of Love and Loss (Union Square)

12 Dec 2011    3

English folk-rocker Harper – now 70 – is much eulogised by senior (male) British rock critics and has latterly been hailed by the neo-folk movement (Fleet Foxes, Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom etc). Led Zepp acknowledged him with Hats Off To Harper (on Led Zeppelin III) and he sang on Have a Cigar on Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. Schooled equally in American... > Read more

Another Day

Paley and Francis: Reid Paley and Black Francis (Cooking Vinyl)

12 Dec 2011

After the Pixies split in the early 90s, Black Francis became Frank Black for enjoyable power-pop and post-punk solo albums with odd lyrical content of no fixed direction, and later worked with various Nashville musicians, among them songwriter/pianist Spooner Oldham. Francis/Black was unpredictable, as was that Pixies reunion. But this is an odd, sometimes likably ramshackle... > Read more

On the Corner

America: Back Pages (Shock)

9 Dec 2011

There's a slight irony here perhaps -- America covering other people's songs? But weren't they the band many thought had covered a Neil Young song with their huge hit Horse with No Name? Certainly sounded like a Young song at first hearing. This time out though Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley pick up material by Paul Simon (his America oddly enough, which is the oopening track), Joni... > Read more

Caroline No

Amy Winehouse: Lioness; Hidden Treasures (Island)

7 Dec 2011    1

The title of this posthumous album considerably oversells its 12 song contents, most of these are not treasures or even offer much in the way of new material she was working on at the time of her death. Rather, this is a cobbling together of some excellent material alongside stuff which wouldn't have made the cut to any album, just maybe footnotes in some future box set. Now that there... > Read more

Wake Up Alone (2002)

Gold Medal Famous: 100 Years of Rock (Powertools)

7 Dec 2011

Out of Wellington, New Zealand -- where people like to put on fancy dress for parties -- comes Gold Medal Famous who recently recorded a song, John Key is a Dick (BBQ Reggae Version) which might help you get a bead on them. If they are serious they certainly disguise it well, especially on this album with songs titles like Don't Just Text Me, Call Me, I Want to Make You Come, They're... > Read more

100 Years of Rock

Various Artists; Where the Boys Are; The Songs of Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield (Ace/Border)

6 Dec 2011

Right at the end of Captain and Tennille's huge pop hit Love Will Keep Us Together in '75-- written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield -- you can hear Toni Tennille spontaneously weave in the line "Sedaka is back". In fact Sedaka -- who had been writing pop hits with lyricist Greenfield since Connie Francis' Stupid Cupid in '58 -- had never really been away. The previous year... > Read more

Get Rid of Him

Marilyn Crispell, Richard Nunns, Jeff Henderson: This Appearing World (Rattle)

6 Dec 2011

These days it's not uncommon to see a Japanese restaurant offering “tapas”, people to speak of pan- Pacific fusion food (Japan-meets-Polynesia-meets-California?) or for one of the best Italian restaurants in Sydney to have a chef trained in New Zealand. (True, Lucio's in Paddington). But if music be the food of love then let's talk about pan-Pacific fusion sounds where... > Read more

Missed Children

Peter Gabriel: New Blood (Real World)

5 Dec 2011

In the mid Nineties when no tribute album to Van Morrison had been forthcoming and none seemed planned, Morrison took matters into his own hands and on No Prima Donna -- with Lisa Stansfield, Elvis Costello, Sinead O'Connor, Marianne Faithfull and others -- delivered a tribute album to himself which he produced. This new Peter Gabriel album has some of the same quality. In 2010 Gabriel did... > Read more

Intruder

Ash and the Matadors: An Evening Echo (1.11.11)

2 Dec 2011

This band from southern New Zealand came to attention at Elsewhere with their ruggedly interesting EP The Mansion Tapes in 2010 at which time they earned the comment, "An EP as calling card, better will doubtless follow". This is the debut album which follows. But frankly, some of it is disappointing and rather shapeless (or familiar) guitar rock which must sound good on the... > Read more

88 Fires Again

Various Artists; Legendary Wild Rockers (BBE)

30 Nov 2011

Collated by UK retro-DJs Keb Darge and Little Edith, this is 20 tracks of rare Fifties rockabilly and surf-rock where guitars twang, rhymes are kept simple but effective, saxes honk, Little Lil breaks hearts, those left-hand breaks somehow end up in the bayou and a place called Flipsville seems just around the corner. Yes, this is one for those who love the whole loud, fast and out of... > Read more

Little Lil

Ozric Tentacles: Paper Monkeys (Madfish)

29 Nov 2011

Some great bands can just go right past you if you're not paying attention, and by being a little too far out-of-it you might miss one that you actually need at those “special” private times. Sky Cries Mary out of Seattle – a swirling techno-psychedelic rock band of sky-scaling intention – have always been a particular favourite when time seems to stretch and... > Read more

Knurl

Sigur Ros: Inni (XL CD/DVD)

29 Nov 2011

Among the many delightful things about Sigur Ros -- the ethereal Icelandic quartet which sings in some made up language -- is you don't need to bother yourself with song titles. Their music is a sonic texture of electronics and plaintive vocals which slides past with a deliberate detachment but a sense of the epic. This double live CD set was recorded at London's Alexandra Palace in late... > Read more

Luppulagid