Music at Elsewhere

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Vanessa McGowan: Mermaids and Whiskey (vanessamcgowan.com)

18 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

In a classy cover and under a tempting title comes this, the debut album under her own name for double bassist/singer-songwriter McGowan who was one half of the quietly acclaimed Her Make Believe Band alongside guitarist/singer Cy Winstanley, who also happens to be part of this small band (and with whom she now appears as the Tattletale Saints). Recorded live in The Bunker on Auckland's... > Read more

New Familiar Town

Tim Walker: You/Me (Native Tongue/Aeroplane)

17 Nov 2012  |  <1 min read

New Zealand singer-songwriter Tim Walker has already done the business before this, his debut album: the opener here Lullabies and Maybe Baby right at the end won him the Musicoz International Artist of the Year award earlier this year and more recently he has supported Greg Johnson on his Small Towns and Ball Gowns tour. That latter connection makes sense because i imagine if Johnson and... > Read more

It Hurts the Heart

Jackal: Only Everything

16 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

Going to flip all the cards here and say that much as I like some kinds of hard rock and metal, I originally thought Auckland's Jackal probably weren't going to be my band. Dense, nail-gun riffery and hammered-down drumming I like and they deliver that early up with Rivet Head . . . but on this, their third album, they stretch into areas beyond the familiar attack. Stealing a Glass Eye... > Read more

Rivet Head

Danny McCrum: Letters to the Future (dannymccrum.com)

15 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

Danny McCrum is one of those Kiwi pop-rock journeymen whose albums seem to go largely ignored by the mainstream print media (they have been reviewed at Elsewhere, see here) and probably even by radio. Pity on the radio end of thing, because every album seems to have at least two songs which sound ideally suited for being belted out on a building site or -- on the quieter end of things --... > Read more

Make Your Own Light

John Cale: Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood (Domino)

12 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

Although Lou Reed embodies the spiritual core of Velvet Underground, in the fortysomething years since John Cale quit he has made the more interesting music. From venomous and gristly rock (Guts, Sabotage/Live) through instrumental music and affecting spoken word (his adaptation of fellow Welshman Dylan Thomas' poems), Cale has never been predictable. On his last outing blackAcetate... > Read more

Mothra

Tori Amos: Gold Dust (Mercury)

12 Nov 2012  |  <1 min read

Having recently tried to read Tori Amos' self-indulgent 2005 book of thoughts and conversations Piece by Piece (is there no goddess or mythological figure she doesn't identify with?), it takes great effort to remain interested in her music, especially for this album where she revisits songs from her 20 year career with Holland's Metropole Orchestra. But, as with Kate Bush, Amos did... > Read more

Silent All These Years

Plum Green: Rushes (plumgreen.co.nz)

12 Nov 2012  |  1 min read  |  2

Singer-songwriter Plum Green has a good back-story. Apparently "the daughter of a jazz-singing Parisian showgirl and a saxophone-playing Jewish intellectual" and born in an East London squat her parents broke into. She also has a good back tattoo which, if like her back story is real, we hope she doesn't live to regret. Doesn't matter though, because right now though she sings... > Read more

Harpy

John Rowles: If I Only Had Time (Universal)

11 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

This unnecessarily expansive collection -- two discs, 53 songs and doubtless a tie-in to the autobiography -- confirms a few things about the big voiced singer. That he could really belt out pop hits in his early days (Girl Girl Girl from '67 puts him on equal footing with the great PJ Proby); that as he tried to find a style he was very mannered in his delivery; that he has a good story... > Read more

Girl (1967)

Neil Young: Psychedelic Pill (Warners)

5 Nov 2012  |  1 min read  |  2

Now this makes more sense. Although some enjoyed Young's recent Americana which saw him reunited with Crazy Horse after a decade, it was clear that was just the throat-clearing rehearsal on old folk and American roots music. This sprawling double disc is what it was leading too, but typically it isn't quite what we might expect. With Crazy Horse, Young had delivered some of the... > Read more

For the Love of Man

Zen Mantra: How Many Padmes Hum? (Muzai)

5 Nov 2012  |  <1 min read

As so much New Zealand music -- especially what was once called "alternative" -- gets codified for radio play and aims for a middle ground, the Muzai label out of Auckland (with a slogan "independent fighting spirit") has provided some exciting, unpredictable and genuinely alternative listening. In recent times Elsewhere has mentioned the Wilberforces, Sunken Seas and... > Read more

I Wonder What It's Like Out There

Kora: Light Years (Kora)

4 Nov 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

Among the encouraging signs in New Zealand music at present -- the counter argument to all the pop which seems aimed more at radio programmers and funding money than coming from the heart -- is that some bands are moving past reggae as their default position. The ubiquity of reggae (and its cousins dub and ska) has meant it has become the most cynical of styles in that it's the easy option... > Read more

Last Generation

Waylon Jennings: Goin' Down Rockin' (Southbound)

4 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

Subtitled "The Last Recordings", this 12 song collection appears a decade after Jennings' death at age 74 but the title almost came true many decades previous. Jennings had been playing with Buddy Holly and gave up his seat on that final flight which killed Buddy, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens. If the plane had been any bigger it might have taken not just Waylon but also Dion... > Read more

The Ways of the World

Slim Chance: The Show Goes On; The Songs of Ronnie Lane (Fishpool/Southbound)

29 Oct 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

There is a lovely but very sad doco The Passing Show about the life of the late Ronnie Lane, formerly of the Small Faces and Faces, who died -- more correctly wasted away through multiple sclerosis -- in '97. Lane went his own unique way after he quit the Faces and lived like a genuine back-to-the-land gypsy/hippie lifestyle and toured with his band Slim Chance like some traveling circus.... > Read more

Rats Tales

The Doors: Live at the Bowl '68 (Warners)

29 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

Anyone charting the career trajectory of the Doors would doubtless have it as a rapidly rising inverted V with an equally sudden if rather more bumpy decline after the peak and perhaps a little leap up at the very end. That peak was 1968 after their exceptional self-titled debut album and Strange Days and before the popular but less interesting Waiting for the Sun. That last flicker was... > Read more

Moonlight Drive

Various Artists: Country Soul Sisters (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

28 Oct 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

In a cover which bears no relevance to its contents and a 25-song decade-indifferent pastiche which roams freely between Jeannie C. Riley (the great Harper Valley PTA, of course), Lynn Anderson's white trash fantasy of Fancy (yeah, you wish!) and on to Patsy Cline's Ain't No Wheels on This Ship, this scattershot collection of assertive Southern women singers probably aims towards a feminist... > Read more

Two Whoops and a Holler

Daniel Boobyer: Time Killed the Clock (Tasman Records)

23 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

When Wellington musician Daniel Boobyer sent an e-mail to Elsewhere asking our interest in his forthcoming album the reply was quick. I said he had me at "vinyl". Yes, Boobyer has released this album on limited edition vinyl -- damn fine sound too, I have to say -- but he thoughtfully includes a free download code so you can also access it that way. If you don't want the vinyl... > Read more

Hollow Days

Various Artists: Don't Fake the Funk (Sony)

23 Oct 2012  |  <1 min read  |  2

There are some people whose knowledge of black music -- old school r'n'b, soul and funk in particular -- is so deep and wide as to be unimpeachable and impeccable. One such person is Murray Cammick, the former editor of Rip It Up, so when you see the liner notes to this locally compiled double CD set are penned him you stand back and bow deeply in his direction. He da man. And here... > Read more

Shake Your Rump to the Funk

Hello Sailor: Surrey Crescent Moon (Warners)

22 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

The mythology and facts surrounding Hello Sailor as the Famously Dissolute Ponsonby Rock Band of the Seventies probably does them a disservice these days. They long since ceased to be that band and those people. And while they've been an occasional working band they haven't been represented by albums which means this new one – their first in 17 years and perhaps encouraged by last... > Read more

Bungalow Ave

Ann Peebles: The Original Soul Sister (Music Club)

22 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

How do you judge the greatness of artists? One way is by how many of their songs are covered by others (we call on the songbooks of Little Richard, Otis Blackwell, Diane Warren, Ellie Greenwich, Lennon-McCartney, Bacharach-David etc). Another way is if someone is so singular that few would dare cover their songs (Nick Cave, Madonna, add your own names).  Ann Peebles, the powerful... > Read more

I've Been There Before

Spiro: Kaleidophonica (Real World/Southbound)

16 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

One of the most insightful and enjoyable books I have read in recent months is Rob Young's Electric Eden; Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music. Young's musical landscape encompasses Delius, William Morris and William Blake as much Donovan, obscure traditionalists, Fairport Convention and John Martyn, the Incredible String Band, the Beatles' Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane, Davy Graham, Julian... > Read more

Spit Fire Spout Rain