Music at Elsewhere

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Nino Tempo and April Stevens: Hey Baby! The Anthology (Atco/Border)

20 Jan 2012

Right up until opening the booklet to this 24 track anthology of this duo who had the huge hit Deep Purple in 1963/64, I always thought Tempo and Stevens were a couple. The love lyrics of their originals certainly suggested that. But they were brother and sister, born to a first generation Italian-American family in Niagara Falls. Their father was a grocer and mother an aspiring beauty... > Read more

Boys Town

Billy Bragg, Volume II (Yep Roc)

16 Jan 2012

As anyone who has interviewed a number of musicians would attest, you often never know what you are going to get. The woman who make the nicest music can often be bitter and acerbic, yet the dark Goth-metal guy is the most polite person you ever met. But in my experience Billy Bragg was exactly as I had been lead to believe by his music and what other interviewers had said previously: He... > Read more

Tears of my Tracks (demo)

Little Axe: If You Want Loyalty Buy a Dog (On U/Southbound)

16 Jan 2012    1

Guitarist Skip McDonald (aka Little Axe) and On-U Sound producer Adrian Sherwood team up once again for an album which exists at the interface of old blues and contemporary dub, and with just enough gospel sensibility (and Nyabinghi drumming on I Got da Blues) to give a spiritual dimension to its innate earthiness. Back in 2006 the Little Axe album Stone Cold Ohio was one of the Best of... > Read more

Grace

Natalia Mann: Pasif.ist (Rattle)

10 Jan 2012

One of the legitimate complaints made about certain types of New Age music in the Eighties and early Nineties -- and latterly with fusion world music -- is that the music becomes acultural and stateless, existing in a place where cultural resonances are hinted at rather than effected. While that can make for some fascinating "world" music, it can also lead to an emotional... > Read more

Time

Jackie DeShannon: Come and Get Me, The Complete Liberty and Imperial Singles Vol 2 (Ace/Border)

9 Jan 2012    3

Ask anyone of "a certain age" who the best/most interesting women pop singers of the mid Sixties were and they might tick off a familiar list: Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black, any of the Spector school of girl groups, the Supremes and so on. It's unlikely Jackie DeShannon from Kentucky would come to mind for most but she was certainly in the top rank, but also one of the most... > Read more

Hold Your Head High

The Cure: Bestival Live 2011 (Lost/Border)

9 Jan 2012

Anyone who has seen the Cure recently -- say at the Vector Arena in Auckland -- will know that the band which once played very short songs now plays extremely long sets. For my money you could have snipped 25 minutes out of the middle of their Vector show and not felt short-changed, but definitely less bored. And so it is with this two and a half hour/double disc recorded live before 50,000... > Read more

Primary

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011, READERS' CHOICES

20 Dec 2011    4

If you're lookin' for trouble, you've come to the right place, sang Elvis. And indeed I was when it came to my Best of Elsewhere 2011 albums list. As always – and rightly so – everyone has their own “best” albums list. Sometimes the readers' selections crossed over with mine (which are here) but, as expected, astute listeners heard what I didn't. So here... > Read more

AND HERE THEY ARE, THE BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 ALBUMS

19 Dec 2011    1

Yep, it is utterly subjective (so I can't be right and you can't be wrong, and vice-versa) but here are the best/most durable/most enjoyable/utterly disturbing 30 albums of the past year which I heard. Yes, I missed a few big ones that connected with you or other critics -- but these are the ones I have listened to repeatedly during the year . . . and fully expect to be listening to in years... > Read more

A song for us music writers??

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Matador)

19 Dec 2011

The solo projects and collaborations of Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth) have certainly covered a lot of musical landscapes from visceral guitar noise to . . . Well, to this which is mostly gentle, dreamy singer-songwriter work with acoustic guitar, harp, violin and producer Beck on synths, vocals and bass. To a great extent -- because of the intricacies of the arrangements which... > Read more

Space

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Wilco: The Whole Love (Warners)

19 Dec 2011

Artists who make lurching changes of direction often revert to prior form after a while: Certainly after U2's darker trilogy -- Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop -- they went back to their familiar stadium-shaped mainstream ballads, and Radiohead's most recent output has been more accessible than the unsettling Ok Computer and Kid A. Even David Bowie -- after the "Berlin trilogy" of... > Read more

Sunloathe

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Tiny Ruins: Some Were Meant for Sea (Spunk)

19 Dec 2011    1

Tiny Ruins is the nom de disque of Bristol-born, Auckland-raised (from the age of 10) singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook who recorded these songs in "a diminutive [sic] hall, once the local school of South Gippsland's Morraya, Australia" (which doesn't appear on any map of that region south east of Melbourne that I can see, unless they mean Moyarra). No matter, that perhaps adds... > Read more

Tiny Ruins: Old as the Hills

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Howe Gelb and a Band of Gypsies: Alegrias (Fire)

19 Dec 2011    2

The enormously prolific Howe Gelb (interviewed here in depth) is behind the Tucson band Giant Sand (from which Calexico became a more commercially successful split-off) and has also recorded a dozen albums under his own name. And as a reissue programme of about 30 Sand/Gelb albums starts to filter through he also releases this, a beguiling project which saw him taking his dark vocals,... > Read more

Howe Gelb and A Band of Gypsies: The Hangin' Judge

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)

19 Dec 2011    1

A propos of not much, Fleet Foxes' chief songwriter Robin Pecknold recently recorded New Zealand singer-songwriter Chris Thompson's Where is My Wild Rose? for an EP and it appears on You Tube (just with stills) here. But . . . to the matter in hand. If it's fair to say FFoxes' debut album was unexpected, then we might also observe that this one is highly anticipated. However their... > Read more

Fleet Foxes: Battery Kinzie

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Blitzen Trapper: American Goldwing (Sub Pop)

19 Dec 2011

Still sounding like they were breast-fed equal parts Grateful Dead, early Neil Young, White Album-era Beatles and Elton John's country-flavoured Tumbleweed Connection-gone-grunge, Blitzen Trapper -- an always interesting outfit from Portland -- constantly defy expectation but shift easily from songs about drinkin' whisky in a car to casually psychedelic country, and aren't ashamed to kick... > Read more

Girl in a Coat

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Jonathan Besser: Campursari (Rattle)

19 Dec 2011

Since coming to New Zealand more than 30 years ago, the pianist-composer Jonathan Besser has enjoyed a highly successful and diverse career, first with violinist Chris Prosser in the Besser and Prosser duo, with electronic artist Ross Harris in Free Radicals, then his own ensemble and latterly with the small group Bravura. His works have been performed by the NZSO, the New Zealand String... > Read more

Shine

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

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 Lucinda Williams: Blessed (Lost Highway)

19 Dec 2011

Although Lucinda Williams admits things are going well in her life (see interview here), she also adds that no one is ever permanently happy and she lives in this world with all its sadness and misery. And she has had a few encounters with those things herself, notably the estrangement of her brother after the death of their mother, and the death by suicide of Vic Chesnutt a few years back.... > Read more

Lucinda Williams: Ugly Truth

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Azam Ali: From Night to the Edge of Day (Six Degrees)

19 Dec 2011

Nominally lullabies from around the Middle East, this breathy and exceptional album by the Iranian-born Canadian-resident Ali -- singer in the band Niyaz -- becomes something much more hypnotic as here keening voice explores those delightful microtones common in the music of the region. Very much the global citizen -- she lived in India as a child, relocated to LA with her mother in '85,... > Read more

Dandini

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas (Inertia)

19 Dec 2011    2

Alongside his Alzheimer's diagnosis and a farewell tour comes this self-announced “final studio album” by the 75-year old legend whose career spans from LA session guitar work in the late 50s as one of the famous Wrecking Crew on Phil Spector productions, to being a touring Beach Boy, solo hits with Jimmy Webb songs and movies all before the close of the Sixties.... > Read more

Hold on Hope