Music at Elsewhere

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Urge Overkill: Rock&Roll Submarine (Redeye)

27 Jun 2011

Possibly the most coolly knowing, confidently aloof band since Steely Dan, Urge Overkill out of Chicago were touring mates with Nirvana and Pearl Jam but their stylish and increasingly power pop sound (and cover of Neil Diamond's Girl You'll be a Woman Soon which was used in Pulp Fiction) took them to a mainstream, but small, audience. This, their first album in over 15 years, and has... > Read more

Poison Flower

Highway: Highway (Ode)

26 Jun 2011

A decade or so ago there was a major excavation undertaken of New Zealand pop and rock of the Sixties, thanks to enthusiasts like John Baker and Andrew Schmidt, and Chris Caddick at EMI who actioned a series of terrific compilations. Some of the work of these people spilled over into the early Seventies. Thierry Pannetier at EMI was responsible for the three decade-bridging double discs of... > Read more

New Day

Tamar McLeod Sinclair: The Heart Notes (TaMartin)

22 Jun 2011

No one would accuse this Auckland-born graduate of Wellington's Massey University Conservatorium of Music of lacking ambition. This, her debut, is the result of her internationalism (she has worked in various parts of Europe for over five years) and the songs were written everywhere from Sydney and parts of Italy to Scotland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic (where it was recorded, as well as... > Read more

Thankful

Apanui: Matariki (Frequency)

21 Jun 2011

Ngahiwi Apanui, formerly of the seminal reggae band Aotearoa, was in the vanguard of the use of taonga puoro (traditional instruments) with his autobiographical solo album Te hono ke te Kainga/The Link with the Homeland in '89 which also brought in reggae and folk. A staunch advocate of te reo and cultural pride, he opens this album with an electro-thump call for everyone to support... > Read more

Apanui: Ko Ko/Call Call

Spa: Spells for Travelling Forth By Day (Sarang Bang)

20 Jun 2011

On a cursory listen, this album by the Auckland three-piece Spa (Steven Tait, Hayden Sinclair, Brian Donnelly) plus guests seems a little slight and unfocused. An acoustic instrumental opens proceedings, later there is indie.pop, alt.rock, a touch of Plastic Bertrand/Ramones-like punk-pop (Lionel Lopez, about a former sports star?), a little shoo-wop pop . . .. But -- and might we mention... > Read more

Please Let Me Down

The Wronglers with Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Heirloom Music (Neanderthal)

20 Jun 2011

Jimmie Dale Gilmore possesses one of the most distinctive voices and when deployed on lachrymose ballads he can tear your heart out. But this is an odd and old time project, Gilmore out front of a band of mixed abilities (interesting, but not interesting enough) and performing mostly songs from the Thirties and Forties, some of which come from bluegrass, others from blues and country. And... > Read more

If I Should Wander Back

Greg Brown: Freak Flag (YepRoc)

20 Jun 2011

When you get to your 24th album you probably aren't expecting a major breakthrough in terms of having a whole new audience find you. And nothing on this fine album sounds like either a departure, or capable of taking this poet/singer beyond those who already know of him. Formerly the musical director on the famous A Prairie Home Companion radio show, married to Iris De Ment and with a... > Read more

Rain and Snow

Known Associates: Penny Love (Warcat)

15 Jun 2011    1

Auckland singer/writer/guitarist Warren Cate of Known Associates has made some fine and deliberately unpolished rock albums under his own name in the past but here, with a team of equals who hunkered down for weekly sessions last year to toughen themselves up and work out material, he excels himself. Cate always possessed a slightly dangerous edge in his vocals but here he sounds angry and... > Read more

Made of Blue

Various Artists: Forbidden Planets Vol 2 (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

13 Jun 2011

Subtitled "More Music from the Pioneers of Electronic Sound", this double disc with a booklet will not be for everyone. But if the original theme to Dr Who, the Bebe and Louis Barron soundtrack on the film Forbidden Planet and even the more demanding music in 2001: A Space Odyssey (nope, not the Strauss) held any appeal then you should sign up for this collection. Much electronic... > Read more

Serenata (1924)

Seasick Steve: You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks (Liberator)

13 Jun 2011    1

Steve – who makes or adapts his own guitars, counted Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain as friends and had Grinderman, Ruby Turner and KT Tunstall on his raw 08 album Started Out With Nothing And I Still Got Most of It Left – has been a hobo, busker and record producer in his time, and his blues-infused albums reflect stories of a hard life. He got his break on an '06 Jools... > Read more

Treasures

The Webb Sisters: Savages (Proper)

6 Jun 2011

Best known in the wider world as part of Leonard Cohen's touring band – the backing vocalists, multi-instrumentalists and cartwheelers – Charley and Hattie from Kent have at the studio desk here uber-producer, heavy-hitter and fan Peter Asher (James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, longtime senior vice-president at Sony). And you can guess they aren't short of studio talent either:... > Read more

Calling This a Life

Boris: Attention Please (Sargent House)

6 Jun 2011

Witnessing the full firepower of this Japanese psychedelic drone-rock band at Sydney's Vivid Festival last year – earplugs supplied – was a revelation. When they were loud they were very, very loud but when guitarist Wata stepped up to bring her ethereal voice into play they were dreamily psychedelic and rather special in a cinematic prog-rock way. This, their 17th studio,... > Read more

Party Boy

The Feelies: Here Before (Pop Frenzy)

30 May 2011

When a band which made one your favourite albums three decades ago -- Crazy Rhythms, an Essential Elsewhere album (here) -- gets together for their first album in 19 years you enter with trepidiation. You know things can't and shouldn't be the same, and you remind yourself that after some dodgy stuff Wire of the same era delivered a more than merely creditable album last year. The... > Read more

On And On

Holly Throbsy: Team (Spunk)

30 May 2011

There has been an audible trend in blockbuster movies to employ actors who speak in a constant whisper which is then amplified for the big screen. The normal speaking voice of these actors we do not know. It happens in music too and a couple of tracks here are little more than amplified whispers (prime offender It's Only Need), and much of this album is in the barely-there category in its... > Read more

To See You Out

Gurrumul: Rrakala (Skinnyfish)

29 May 2011

With his full name on his debut album Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu reduced to more manageable Gurrumul, this blind Aboriginal singer-songwriter (a former member of Yothu Yindi and the Saltwater Band) here continues his way into global domination in the world music/folk genre. Unlike many Aboriginal performers who use traditional instruments or deliver bog-standard reggae, the... > Read more

Gurrumul: Warwu

F in Math: Couch (Flying Nun)

24 May 2011    1

The witty nom de disque here belongs to Michael Logie, former bassist with New Zealand's Mint Chicks who makes some steps as a solo artist working with computers, electrobeat and processed vocals. You can guess the words "squelchy" and "edgy" will be applied to this -- as they invariably are when lo-fi computer sounds are being generated -- but in places Logie has... > Read more

F in Math: Elephant Heart

Bruce Cockburn: Small Source of Comfort (True North)

23 May 2011

Bruce Cockburn – whose sole skirmish with chart success was Wondering Where The Lions Are in 1980 – is the Richard Thompson of Canada. And if you don't get the reference that's the point. Both are respected and influential folk-rock songwriters/guitarists, but their gifts go largely unacknowledged beyond admiring musicians, the critical community and a loyal fan base.... > Read more

Bruce Cockburn: Driving Away

The Waifs: Temptation (Jarrah)

22 May 2011

This award-winning Australian folk-rock-blues outfit is much tougher than their fragile name suggests and over five albums, an EP and considerable touring at home and in the States (where they have recorded in Nashville, this one in Minneapolis) they have made a name for their dry, spare and harmony-embellished songs where emotions are worn upfront. They aren't averse to a little... > Read more

The Waifs: Beautiful Night

Giant Sand: Center of the Universe (Fire)

16 May 2011

In an in-depth interview with Elsewhere, Howe Gelb of Giant Sand was asked which album he would single out for anyone coming to the massive reissue programme of a couple of dozen Giant Sand albums and a dozen release under his own name. His answer was immediate. He picked Center of the Universe from '92. "It was the only time I was allowed to live how I always wanted to live, which... > Read more

Giant Sand: Milkshake Girl

Joe Bonamassa: Dust Bowl (J&R/Southbound)

16 May 2011

There are some extraordinary guitar talents -- Roy Buchanan comes to mind immediately -- whose gift just seems to go right past an audience you know would appreciate it, if they just shifted their attention in that direction. Bonamassa -- who also has lungs like leather and can write terrific blues rock songs also -- is another. He's been playing for more than 20 years (he's only 34,... > Read more

Joe Bonamassa: Black Lung Heartache