Music at Elsewhere

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New Build: Yesterday was Lived and Lost (Lanark)

2 Jul 2012  |  <1 min read

Something of a pocket-sized superduo – Felix Martin from Hot Chip, Al Doyle who has worked with Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem – New Build (augmented by friends and fellow travelers) shave off familiar electro-dance from their collective pasts as well as nodding modestly in other directions. If the first third hardly excites by offering much new, innovative or interesting... > Read more

The Third One

Smashing Pumpkins: Oceania (Martha's Music)

25 Jun 2012  |  2 min read

When Smashing Pumpkins splash down for an Auckland concert at Vector on August 4 -- from whatever planet mainman Billy Corgan has been on lately -- it will be on the back of this album which some have hailed as their best in quite a while (not saying much) or dismissed as a typically bloated but aggressively pumped-out edition full of familiar SP drama, melody and noise. Which, when you... > Read more

The Celestials

Here We Go Magic: A Different Ship (Secretly Canadian)

25 Jun 2012  |  <1 min read  |  1

With gentle washes of pastel shades and the occasional sweep of vibrant Impressionist colour and energy, this collection of 10 songs by Brooklyn's experimental quartet feels like a series of aural paintings which also makes pit-stops in jerky white-funk minimalism (Make Up Your Mind) and folk primitivism (I Believe in Action sounds like a sophisticated, cool-kids big city take on West... > Read more

Make Up Your MInd

Clap Clap Riot: Counting Spins (Universal)

25 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

Must be four years at least since I saw this fizzy, fiery post-punk pop outfit play one of their early gigs, so this debut album does seem rather long overdue. Although it has been anticipated by some singles (three I think, among them the terrific top-down-highway pop-rock of Yoko Ono which appears here). There's a real power pop band lurking behind the buzzed up guitars and something like... > Read more

Growing Up

Max Merritt and the Meteors: Been Away Too Long (LosTraxx)

25 Jun 2012  |  1 min read  |  2

The excavation of New Zealand's musical history continues with this album, even though proto-rock'n'roll star Merritt from Christchurch had shifted to Australia and by 1969 -- when this 41 minute set was recorded at a Melbourne "club" -- was powering out r'n'b' touched with some ripping jazz licks (by saxophonist Bob Bertles). Merritt had been the next major star to emerge after... > Read more

Gonna Send You Back

Factories: The Supreme Cosmic Consciousness Births a Star Child in Negative Space at Absolute Zero (Monkey)

20 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

Calling all occupants of interplanetary craft, here's your soundtrack for space travel. Factories out of Christchurch (Matt Ragg and Sean Bennetts) appear to have strapped themselves into the studio and been fed a diet of astral-plane space rock, mind altering psychedelics, early Pink Floyd, the film 2001, A Space Odyssey, Amorphous Androgynous, Battles, Can, Tortoise . . .  And... > Read more

Chlorophyll

Patti Smith: Banga (Sony)

18 Jun 2012  |  2 min read  |  1

Although Patti Smith's albums have sometimes been given a rough ride at Elsewhere for their self-mythologising, pretentiousness and lack of subtlety (see here and here), there is no denying her importance in the rock pantheon, nor that her recent autobiography Just Kids is one of the finest books written by a musician-cum-poet. It is pleasing to report therefore that this collection finds... > Read more

This is the Girl

Various Artists: The Journey is Long; The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project (Fuse/Border)

18 Jun 2012  |  <1 min read

If Gun Club's writer/singer Pierce's cult status wasn't achieved by his death at 37 in 1996, it has been confirmed by the Sessions Project in which fellow travelers (Nick Cave, various Bad Seeds, Tav Falco) and admirers (Tex Perkins, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan) pick up Gun Club or Pierce unreleased songs. The first collection We Are Only Riders last year let Cave, Lanegan, Harry, the... > Read more

The Brink

Various Artists: Born into This; The Music of Rattle (Rattle)

18 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

As regular readers of these pages will know (Ha! Always wanted to say that), the Auckland-based label Rattle -- and its imprint Rattle Jazz -- have been Firm Favourites at Elsewhere for delivering music which is often "elsewhere". If some of the jazz has been straight-ahead, you could not say the same for the albums by Dave Lisik, some of the avant-classical releases or those of... > Read more

Journey Pt 6 (from Hikoi/Journey)

The Walkmen: Heaven (Inertia)

18 Jun 2012  |  <1 min read

If your only previous encounter with New York's Walkmen was their wonderfully ramshackle 2004 album Bows+Arrows (which included the thrilling, student radio single The Rat) or their unasked-for remake of the Lennon/Nilsson album Pussy Cats, then the delightful and sometimes gripping Heaven will surprise. With producer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes' Helplessness Blues), they have stepped up... > Read more

Heartbreaker

Joey Ramone: " . . . ya know?" (Liberation)

13 Jun 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

Tall, skinny, not especially attractive and a bundle of emotional problems, Joey Ramone was one the most unlikely icons in rock. He hid behind hair and shades while the turmoil of the warring personalities in the Ramones battered him in ways which we will never fully understand. Yet it was because of that and his commitment to the cartoon cleverness of their music -- closer to the Bay City... > Read more

Waiting for That Railroad

Bobby Womack: The Bravest Man in the Universe (XL)

12 Jun 2012  |  2 min read

In addition to the trouble he inflicted on himself -- notably drugs, shot at by his wife when she discovered his affair with a step-daughter -- it seems life continues to deal hard blows to the great Bobby Womack. He grew up in poverty and now in his late 60s, as this -- his first album of new material in 13 years -- is released, he has been treated for a growth on his colon and pneumonia.... > Read more

Please Forgive My Heart

Giant Giant Sand: Tucson (Fire/Southbound)

11 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

Sounding like a dust-driven Leonard Cohen and/or Elvis and/or Neil Young who has walked out of the desert, the prolific and always interesting Howe Gelb here appears under yet another moniker. His longtime Giant Sand ensemble is expanded for this "country rock opera" to become, appropriately, Giant Giant Sand.  What that means is Tijuana trumpets alongside Johnny Cash... > Read more

Hard Morning in a Soft Blur

Brian Jonestown Massacre: Aufheben (A Recordings/Southbound)

11 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

From the Middle East-influenced opener Panic in Babylon and the melodic-meets-drone of Viholliseni Maalla here, Anton Newcombe and the BJM announce they have moved well away from the battered garageband sound of previous outings and are aiming for something much more tripped out and warmly engaging. For New Zealand listeners there may be a sense of Clean-meets-Chills in places as rolling... > Read more

Panic in Babylon

Rumer: Boys Don't Cry (Atlantic)

11 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

The covers album usually appears after about four others and the double live, usually as a stop-gap in a career going too fast. But after the acclaim which attended her debut Seasons of My Soul, Rumer has hit that fast lane quicker than most. (See interview here.) This step back from "the difficult second album" is a collection of interesting and unexpected covers, mostly by male... > Read more

Be Nice to Me

The Shifting Sands: The Shifting Sands (Fishrider)

11 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

While no one in their right mind would have ever argued the idea of a "Flying Nun/Dunedin sound" other than a few lazy writers back in the day, you'd have to say after even just one quick listen to this album by singer-guitarist Michael McLeod that it has a sort of . .  hmmm . . . Flying Nun sound about it. So let's flip all the cards and tell you McLeod has worked in Dunedin... > Read more

Whatever We Can

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Americana (Reprise)

5 Jun 2012  |  1 min read  |  2

The thing about unpredictable Neil Young is just how predictable he has become, shuffling the deck of acoustic, country, self-referencing and noisy rock. Here he again links up with Crazy Horse for the first time on record in almost a decade and they, predicably, deliver most things here with their loose, open rehearsal feel. Behind the provocative title -- a swipe at the whole... > Read more

Get a Job

The Beach Boys: That's Why God Made The Radio (Capitol)

5 Jun 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

For those who stepped off the planet for quite a few decades, you should know that the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson did too. For him the world stopped around 1968 and since then -- when not sidelined by emotional damage -- he has been reliving and recycling his greatest work created between '65 and '67. In recent decades he has toured SMiLE and Pet Sounds, and even released two versions... > Read more

Summers Gone

Best Coast: The Only Place (Pop Frenzy)

5 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

Their debut Crazy for You might have been a bit too cute and calculatingly aimed at teenarama, but this Californian band -- formerly a three-piece, now down to singer-guitarist Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, plus multiple threat session player Jon Brion -- here hit a point between the bright pop of the Sundays and the sadder end of Sixties girl groups. And they kick... > Read more

How They Want Me To Be

Sigur Ros: Valtari (EI)

4 Jun 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

It has been some little while -- about four years -- since Sigur Ros last delivered a new album of their glacially epic sound, which for many had become beautifully executed and hypnotic but rather interchangeable. So you wonder what they might come back with. Last year they seemed to have put a punctation point on the first phase of their career with the live album/DVD Inni. ... > Read more

Varuo