Music at Elsewhere

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Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Mature Themes (4AD)

27 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read

Pink's unfocused, shapeless and sometimes lazy turn at the Aotea Square Laneway Festival was disappointing for all but deaf loyalists. And surprising too, because he'd seemed an oddball perfectionist plundering pop's past and obscure byways for ideas. Mercifully this album's title is a joke: the surreal and often rude lyrics (the nympho song), stylistic pastiches (disco to Beach Boys?... > Read more

Kinski Assassin

Ry Cooder: Election Special (Warners)

27 Aug 2012  |  1 min read

With the Republicans calling up arch-conservative Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's monied-up running mate and the gob-smacking misspeak by Missouri congressman Todd Akin about "legitimate rape" (not to mention the oddball physiology he cited), Ry Cooder must be kicking himself that he went so early with this collection of overtly political songs. Still, maybe the old fish-barrel adage... > Read more

Kool-Aid

Artisan Guns: Coral (Warners)

27 Aug 2012  |  1 min read

Unlike so many young bands who leap quickly onto record, this Auckland band (once described as "young" but now "mature" might better) have progressed slowly and steadily towards this debut album after two fine EPs. Elsewhere caught up with them way back (see here) after being impressed by a live performance in a record company boardroom, and has followed them with... > Read more

It Aches

Poor Moon: Poor Moon (Sub Pop)

20 Aug 2012  |  1 min read

When Phantom Light, the second track on this debut album for Poor Moon, opens you'd be forgiven for saying aloud, "Oh, Fleet Foxes". And indeed Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott -- half of Poor Moon, add to them brothers Ian and Peter Murray -- are both members of that band. There are plenty of the FF's Anglofolk and close harmonies at work throughout, although the... > Read more

Holiday

Chris Robinson Brotherhood: Big Moon Ritual (Warners)

20 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read

Robinson is frontman for the Black Crowes, the band which married the Allman Brothers' soulful Southern rock with a stoner take on the shambling Faces but more recently slid into post-Band country-rock with their excellent Before the Frost recorded live in the late Levon Helm's studio. Robinson's solo albums have been of no fixed focus but drew on Americana, rock and country and... > Read more

100 Days of Rain

The Darkness: Hot Cakes (Liberator)

20 Aug 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

You'd have to have had your sense of humor gland removed not to have enjoyed England's Darkness ("Give me a D", "Give me an Arkness") when they emerged out of Lowestoft, the end of the train line, a decade ago with their glam rock-opera ambitions and a keen sense of the absurd. They referred to much more famous groups they opened for as their "warm down bands"... > Read more

She's Just a Girl, Eddie

Sun Kil Moon: Among the Leaves (Caldo Verde)

20 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read  |  1

With only a few exceptions – John Lennon's emotionally excoriating Plastic Ono Band springs to mind – the album-as-catharsis is more interesting for the artist than the audience. As are songs about touring. Here Sun Kil Moon – aka Mark Kozelek formerly of Red House Painters – bridges both with 17 wordy, acoustic songs drawn from his diary of incidents,... > Read more

The Winery

Happy Mondays: Double Double Good; The Best of the Happy Mondays (Rhino)

20 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read  |  2

One of the funniest and best gigs I ever saw was Black Grape in New York where a barely vertical Shaun Ryder read lyric from massive cue cards on stage, rapper Kermit bewildered everyone with his inaudible but energetic rhymes and there was a table on the balcony reserved for Blur who weren't even in the city at the time. It was utter madness and the American record company people I was with... > Read more

Stayin' Alive

Thieves: Thieves (thievesss.bandcamp)

20 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read

While I'm sure the three members of Auckland band Thieves wouldn't claim to be reinventing the rock genre (or would hope they wouldn't), on this six-song EP -- their second I believe -- they do manage to make an interesting impact in throbbing and moody widescreen rock, notably on Sudafed which delivers a real cineramic wallop. Soma Holiday runs it is a close second in that it is an... > Read more

Soma Holiday

Deep Sea Arcade: Outlands (Ivy League)

13 Aug 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

Hard to know what constitutes "indie" these days, but given the single Girls from the debut album by this Sydney band has been getting play on BBC Radio 1 in the UK and sounds impeccably poppy, they would seem to me to be fairly mainstrream . . . or at least could readily find their place there. That they've opened for Kaiser Chiefs and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds would... > Read more

Lonely in your Arms

Go Kart Mozart: On the Hot Dog Streets (West Midlands/Southbound)

13 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read  |  1

Like Madness-gone-electronic in their often astute and/or witty observations about British culture, Go Kart Mozart is the brainchild of Lawrence (Felt, Denim) who here announces on the first track that "Lawrence is taking over". Maybe. Maybe not. While this can be irrepressibly catchy in its pop manoeuvres (plenty of familiar hooks and singalong choruses), and you wouldn't... > Read more

White Stilettos in the Sand

Peter Posa: White Rabbit; The Very Best of Peter Posa (Sony)

12 Aug 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

Last week, in anticipation of the success of this album, I was preparing a profile of Peter Posa -- yet to run -- and it was my pleasure to ring him back later and congratulate him. At 70 (71 next month) he had just deposed 18-year old Justin Bieber from the top of the New Zealand album charts. Many people under 45 might be baffled by who this old upstart is (people under 25 are forgiven... > Read more

Caravan

Two Cartoons: Jelly Tip Lips (twocartoons.com)

10 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read

Given that this five-song EP by the Dunedin duo of Isaac McFarlane and Bradley Craig is just 17 minutes long it certainly packs in a lot of musical information. You can tick off indie pop (Scientific Life), UK-influenced driving power pop done on the cheap with a nod to Fleet Foxes (Technicolor Turncoat), alt.rock chock full of hooks (Rainbows), folk-influenced balladry (Better Coast) and... > Read more

Technicolor Turncoat

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