Music at Elsewhere

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Okkervill River: I Am Very Far (Jajaguwar)

25 Jul 2011

The last appearance of Texas' Okkervil River was them providing emotional support and the musical context for damaged cult figure Roky Erickson on his exceptional, moving True Love Cast Out All Evil. Their singer/songwriter Will Sheff is one of the smartest around (he writes the most extraordinary and emotionally insightful ballads) and has a keen sense of pop history which he draws on... > Read more

Rider

Richard Thompson: The Folk City Broadcast (Left Field Media)

25 Jul 2011    2

There seem no half-measures with the legendary English singer-guitarist Richard Thompson. People either “get” him or – despite acclaim as one of Britain's greatest guitarists, the OBE and honorary PhD he received this year, and being credited as founding British folk-rock with Fairport Convention in the early 70s – they remain indifferent to, or ignorant of, his... > Read more

Walking on a Wire

Gomez: Whatever's On Your Mind (Shock)

25 Jul 2011

Split between the UK and USA, seven studio albums into their career and with songwriters Ian Ball and Ben Ottewell having released solo albums (rusty voiced Ottewell's being the excellent alt.folk Shapes and Shadows) hardly seems to have damaged Gomez, who started on a career high when they won the '98 Mercury Prize for their Bring It On debut, an accolade crippling to a lesser band.... > Read more

I Will Take You There

Vetiver: The Errant Charm (SubPop)

25 Jul 2011

Although on the receiving end of polite but unimpressed reviews in some circles, there's no denying the quiet charm of this album which suggests last light in California and the sun glinting off the top of small waves which roll onto a warm beach as lovers are silhouetted at the water's edge. Although they haven't entirely abandoned their former folk influences in favour of Brian Wilson... > Read more

Fog Emotion

Brian Eno: Drums Between the Bells ((Warp)

19 Jul 2011

Brian Eno first encountered the work of poet/spoken word artist Rick Holland more than a decade ago and despite some small attempts to collaborate things didn't come to much. Until now. Here Eno creates the textural soundbeds for these readings of Holland's work by various people (himself included) and sometimes they have a drilling, intense electrostatic quality (Glitch, Sounds Alien,... > Read more

Pour It Out

The Antlers: Burst Apart (French Kiss)

18 Jul 2011

The previous album by New York's Antlers -- Hospice, reviewed here -- was so impressive musically and in its conceptual ambition I'm at a loss to know why I didn't include in the Best of Elsewhere 2010 list. More fool me. It wouldn't have been to everyone's taste as I noted, but my final line about singer/guitarist/writer Peter Silberman ("a major talent emerging") is confirmed by... > Read more

Hounds

Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven (YepRoc)

18 Jul 2011

The former Blaster (a band he shared with his brother Phil) has been delivering his earthy, rootsy blues out there on the road for decades now. He was briefly in X and the Gun Club, but mostly he's been taking his dusty, country-edged dark baritone to narratives about what he sees out there: railroads and desert highways, the losers and lost, the street angels and Texas bars. This... > Read more

Johnny Ace is Dead

Rosy Tin Teacaddy: All Mountains Are Men (Earl Grey Records)

18 Jul 2011

The Department of Conservation seems an unlikely sponsor of local music, but under its Wild Creations artist-in-resident programme the indie.folk duo Rosy Tin Teacaddy (Andy Hummel and Holly Jane Ewens to their parents) spent six weeks at Lake Tarawera and wrote what became this gently delivered concept-album collection released a fortnight ago on the 125th anniversary of the Tarawera... > Read more

Beauty, My Dear

Various Artists: Paul McCartney's Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

18 Jul 2011

With the current reassessment of Paul McCartney's career immediately post-Beatles -- driven by the reissue of Band on the Run and the McCartney and McCartney II albums -- Mojo magazine offered a 15 track cover CD of "The Roots of Paul McCartney" which was a collection of songs which had influenced him. This 29 song collection however is far more extensive and interesting. Both... > Read more

Hippy Hippy Shake

Samantha Fish, Cassie Taylor, Dani Wilde: Girls with Guitars (Ruf)

18 Jul 2011

Nothing like naming your album with a product description, right? This lead/bass/rhythm trio (with drummer Jamie Little) bridge sultry blues, a soul-kiss and rock'n'roll blues (bassist Cassie the daughter of the great Otis). Wilde's Stax/Aretha/sexy vocals impress and she's a double threat, pulling out mercurial and razor sharp lead solos. They deliver fine originals, and a feisty... > Read more

Leaving Chicago

New Telepathics: Clapping with Rockets (OUR Records)

12 Jul 2011

New Telepathics' multi-instrumentalist mainman Darryn Harkness has certainly covered the waterfront in his 20-year career. He's been in straight ahead rock bands, the From Scratch percussion ensemble, written music to accompany the silent film Nosferatu, pulled together bands feeding off the spirit of Sun Ra and Fela Anikulapo Kuti, written self-published poetry, played and lived in the UK and... > Read more

River Calls Me Now

The Cave Singers: No Witch (Jajaguwar)

11 Jul 2011

Over two previous albums this Seattle-based outfit weren't easy to pigeon-hole (alt.country, boho-folk, indie.something?) but were always interesting because of that, and not the least for singer Peter Quirk's distinctive vocals which were “quirky” for want of a better word. Here however they really throw in some visceral and edgy material (the abrasive and tense Black... > Read more

Faze Wave

The Vietnam War: The Vietnam War (Round Trip Mars)

7 Jul 2011

Despite the explosive connotations of their name, Auckland's Vietnam War are far from an incendiary rock outfit. Rather, they are in that country rock lineage which reaches back to the Byrds (there's a little pre-Sweethearts Byrdsean jangle in the mid-ground of the opener High Window) and runs through the Band, and to the early Renderers and the Warratahs/Wayne Mason in New Zealand. They... > Read more

Same Thought

Joe Ely: Satisfied at Last (Rack 'Em Records/Southbound)

5 Jul 2011

The very good news is that the great Joe Ely -- who has delivered a few patchy albums in the past decade -- doesn't sound at all "satisfied" as the album's title would suggest. In fact from the opener The Highway is My Home to Butch Hancock's Circumstance 40 minutes later this tight'n'tidy 10 song collection has much of the old Tex-Mex and narrative fire-power of some of his best... > Read more

Leo and Leona

The 3D's: Early Recordings 1989-90 (Flying Nun)

5 Jul 2011

Inspired by everything from the Pixies and Neil Young's El Dorado EP, sonic noise and folk music, the 3D's were a Flying Nun band which inspired passionate loyalty for the visceral power of their sound and often weaving, beguling melodies (from singer Denise Roughan as well as the guitars). The re-release last year of their early albums (Hellzapoppin', The Venus Trail and Strange News from... > Read more

Evil Kid

Neil Young and the International Harvesters: A Treasure (Reprise)

4 Jul 2011    2

While many of us would wish Neil Young release the next long-awaited installement of his Archives series (ho ho ho, like that'll happen any time soon), in his wilful and non-chronological release schedule it was almost expected a follow-up to the terrific and raw Le Noise would be . . . a country music album. But even so, A Treasure is a little unexpected as it comes from his on-going... > Read more

Flying on the Ground is Wrong

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis: Smoking in Heaven (Sunday Best)

4 Jul 2011

While some have be quite taken by KD&Lewis' retro look and sound -- which is undeniably entertaining on the surface and live -- I have remained immune and indifferent to their charms. And nothing on this album of all originals can persuade me to be otherwise. These songs sound lame when they aren't just plain dull, or working out some tropes which so many others have not only done... > Read more

I'm Going Back

Various Artists: Watch the Closing Doors (Year Zero/Southbound)

4 Jul 2011

This ambitious double disc compilation of New York's musical melting pot (1945-59) by writer Kris Needs – who delivered the free-wheeling collection Dirty Water; The Birth of Punk Attitude – scoops up jazz (Ellington, Armstrong, Mingus), pop (Frankie Lymon), folk (Dave Van Ronk), blues (Sonny Terry, Big Maybelle) and Latin (Machito). Disc one ends with John Cage reading... > Read more

Autumn in New York

Various Artists: LateNightTales; Trentemoller (LateNightTales)

4 Jul 2011

Another installment in the on-going LNT series, this compiled by Danish electronica artist Trentemoller who opts for a dark, almost suffocating and disturbing evening at home by many less familiar but very interesting artists (The Black Angels, Chimes and Bells, Darkness Falls, Thee Oh See's) alongside a few moody notables (This Mortal Coil, Low, Mazzy Star, Velvet Underground, M.Ward,... > Read more

Science Killer

Mickey Newbury: An American Trilogy (Saint Cecilia Knows/Southbound)

28 Jun 2011    1

Not many people know about Texan Mickey Newbury, who died almost a decade ago, age 62. Maybe it's enough Elvis (who made Newbury's medley An American Trilogy a cornerstone of his latter performances) did. And that Mickey's songs were covered by Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Joan Baez and dozens of others. Often spoken of in the same sentence as Kris Kristofferson... > Read more

33rd of August/When the Baby in My Lady Gets the Blues