Music at Elsewhere

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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



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


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 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What (Hear Music)

19 Dec 2011    1

One of the things Paul Simon is seldom given credit for is his sense of humor. He too often comes off the kind of earnest New York Jewish singer-songwriter you imagine reads Dostoevsky at night but listens to doo-wop and old soul because he thinks it might be good for him. Yet this is the man who did that clip for You Can Call Me Al with Chevy Chase, and his lyrics are often punctuated with... > Read more

Paul Simon: Dazzling Blue

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 Elbow: Build a Rocket Boys! (Universal)

19 Dec 2011    1

It's interesting to read the comments at Elsewhere after the previous Elbow album The Seldom Seen Kid in 2008 (which won them the Mercury Award that year): essentially the thread was, how come these guys aren't bigger? Good question, and maybe this one -- more reflective but still as gorgeously delivered as their previous outings -- will rectify the oversight. Guy Garvey here looks... > Read more

Elbow: Ticker Tape (non album track)

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 Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs: Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs (Full Time Hobby)

19 Dec 2011

Recorded over a two year period and soaked in strings, this folksy rumination on the state of his nation takes its inspiration from Walt Whitman's poem Pioneers! O Pioneers!, a kind of literal and metaphorical reverse-mirror Times They Are A' Changin' of its day when the young America was flexing its muscles across the continent. Hinson uses this starting point to consider, in places, how... > Read more

Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs: Seven Horses Seen

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Iron and Wine: Kiss Each Other Clean (4AD)

19 Dec 2011    1

The previous album The Shepherd's Dog by Texas' Iron and Wine (Sam Beam) was fully three years ago and was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2007 albums. So anticipation is high for this -- although might have been higher a year ago, but I guess he works at his own pace. And we forgive him because he delivered the excellent Around the Well collection of unreleased song and rarities in mid '09.... > Read more

Iron and Wine: Half Moon

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Adele: 21 (XL)

19 Dec 2011

Adele's debut album of two years ago -- 19, when she was 19 -- announced the arrival of a great British soul voice even if some of her original material wasn't quite as strong as it could have been. Still, she was only 19 -- but she hardly deserved to be lumped in with the new breed of British women singers coming through (notably Amy Winehouse, Duffy et al). Not that she needed to worry,... > Read more

Adele: Someone Like You

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Juju: In Trance (Real World)

19 Dec 2011

That between late 60s psychedelic blues-rock, frantic village folk, and fiery world music is a strange place. It's where LedZepp, speedmetal-folk, Afro-blues, the Mississippi Delta and a fiddle-playing Jimi Hendrix (who isn't Nigel Kennedy) come together and live in . . . if not harmony, then at least the same bar where they drink moonshine and palm wine. This album is... > Read more


BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Kimbra: Vows (Warners)

19 Dec 2011

For most people flicking the music channels and being confronted the relentless and facile bump'n'grind r'n'b or ever-so-serious young men with guitars, the clips by Kimbra -- formerly of Hamilton, now based in Melbourne -- come as delightful surprises. They look fresh and eye-catching, intelligent in the face of the sexed-up drivel (her musings on married life in Settle Down) and just... > Read more

Good Intent

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

19 Dec 2011

In the late Seventies Wire delivered a trifecta of classic post-punk, minimalist and arty albums -- Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154 – then called it a day. In subsequent decades they reformed dropping drummer Robert Gotobed to appear as an alt.electro-rock outfit (not much cop), in the past decade their sound became more aggressive and impressive, Gotobed returned -- and now Bruce... > Read more

Wire: Adapt

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 The Bats: Free All the Monsters (Flying Nun)

19 Dec 2011

The rolling, aural signature of the Bats' guitars and locked-in rhythm section has always sounded at its best when it drops the tempo and engages with a romantically woozy sound which -- when married to lyrics of optimism and gentleness -- just brings a smile. This lovely album - which doesn't stray far from their template -- will have you smiling with recognition and warmth as it unveils... > Read more

When the Day Comes

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 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

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


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


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