Music at Elsewhere

Keep up to date with RSS Feed iconRss or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

Bruce Cockburn: Small Source of Comfort (True North)

Bruce Cockburn: Small Source of Comfort (True North)

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

23 May 2011

The Waifs: Temptation (Jarrah)

The Waifs: Temptation (Jarrah)

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

22 May 2011

Giant Sand: Center of the Universe (Fire)

Giant Sand: Center of the Universe (Fire)

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

16 May 2011

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

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

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

16 May 2011

Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (New West)

Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (New West)

Perhaps because there is already so much Steve Earle in the world -- this is his 14th studio album by my account -- there is very little frisson of delight or surprise coming from this album. Little Emperor would seem to be addressed to George W Bush ("no pomp and circumstance, no more shock and awe, you're just a little emperor that's all") but seems belated -- although no one... > Read more

Steve Earle: Lonely Are the Free

16 May 2011    1

Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador)

Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador)

The captivatingly named rock troubadour Vile from Philadelphia offers a kind of alt.folk-cum-indie rock skew which refers to Cohen as much as Cobain. But he also has an ear for a mainstream rock melody (Puppet the the Man here with AOR guitars behind his echoed alt.rock vocals) and recently said his current listening includes the Stones' Love You Live and Neil Young's On the Beach from... > Read more

Kurt Vile: Runner Ups

13 May 2011

The Felice Brothers: Celebration, Florida (Spunk)

The Felice Brothers: Celebration, Florida (Spunk)

While it's interesting to read in a promo slip that this new album by the so-far fascinating Felice Brothers "casts scenes of dreamy characters and stories interwoven like a block of primetime TV", this is promo-hype. It presumes you will actually be engaged enough to listen with unswerving intensity through the sonic haze of distant voices, lo-fi folk-tropes and ramshackle... > Read more

Felice Brothers: Oliver Stone

12 May 2011    1

Ben Waters: Boogie 4 Stu (Eagle/Shock)

Ben Waters: Boogie 4 Stu (Eagle/Shock)

If nothing else -- and there is more "else" -- this album should attract attention for the version here of the Bob Dylan-penned track Watching the River Flow which features, for the first time since '92, the Rolling Stones line-up with former bassist Bill Wyman. Okay, Jagger did his vocals and harmonica parts in France, Keith his guitar in New York and Wyman added his bass later,... > Read more

Ben Waters and the Rolling Stones (with Bill Wyman): Watching the River Flow

11 May 2011    1

L/O/N/G: American Primitive (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

L/O/N/G: American Primitive (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Those with passion for edgy alt.country and Neil Young in vinegary acoustic-rock mode need only know Chris Eckman (the Walkabouts, the innovative Sahara blues-influenced band Dirt Music) is one of those behind this occasionally churning, electro-rock outing with musicians from Slovenia where he now lives. The other prime mover is Rupert Huber (of the European downbeat electronica outfit... > Read more

L/O/N/G: Shame This Darkness

11 May 2011

Standard Funk Ensemble: Happenstance (jazzpiano.co.nz)

Standard Funk Ensemble: Happenstance (jazzpiano.co.nz)

Vocalist Georgia Woods here -- who may have been the prime mover behind this project -- has been an actress and stage performer for a number of years (Gilbert and Sullivan in Australia, member of the Auckland Theatre Company) and performed the highly successful Highlights -- Blondes and Their Songs. She is something of a trouper too and sings in restaurants, bars and in cabaret. But for... > Read more

Standard Funk Ensemble: Evenin'

10 May 2011

Miss Black and the Light: Black Light (Ode)

Miss Black and the Light: Black Light (Ode)

It seems a shame the reggae-driven grooves are pushed right to the front end of this otherwise interesting album because that sound has become, as previously noted at Elsewhere, such a default position for so many New Zealand artists. Miss Black (Ngapata Black, daughter of the great Whirimako Black) finds a real point of diference when she gets into a more soulful style (the steamy... > Read more

Miss Black and the Light: Don't Stop

10 May 2011

Various Artists: Heartland (Sony)

Various Artists: Heartland (Sony)

From time to time I am approached to write liner notes for albums, and I only ever accept those which I think are interesting -- like the collections of New Zealand psychedelic music under the banner A Day in My Mind's Mind -- or those which make me think a bit. And a collection of "heartland" radio hits made me think about how far some critics, like myself, are removed from what... > Read more

Front Lawn: Andy

10 May 2011    1

Golden Kanine: Oh Woe! (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Golden Kanine: Oh Woe! (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

There seems to be an interesting musical culture in Sweden which every now and again appears on the scanners of the rest of the world. In the pop world we can see a lineage between the Wannadies and Peter Bjorn and John, but there is something else also. It sounds like there is a small and individual scene which, for want of a better word, might be considered a Scandinavian take on... > Read more

Golden Kanine: The Devil

9 May 2011

Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams (Reprise)

Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams (Reprise)

For her first album in a decade the fairie queen and producer Dave Stewart have opened their fat Rolladecks and made some calls. Here are Fleetwood Macs' Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, Mike Campbell from Petty's Heartbreakers, guitarists Waddy Watchel and Glen Ballard (among other six stringers), Greg Leisz on mandolin, percusson player Lennie Castro . . .  And Nicks' daughters... > Read more

Stevie Nicks: Soldier's Angel

9 May 2011

Duran Duran: All You Need is Now (Shock)

Duran Duran: All You Need is Now (Shock)

Although seemingly past their use-by date, Duran Duran are enjoying that perfect storm where nostalgia by their Eighties fans collides with a generation of younger musicians who are plundering that decade for ideas and sounds. And suitably decked out in aggressive black clobber for their first video they launch this album with an admirable panache -- and sound like a slightly tougher... > Read more

Duran Duran: Other People's Lives

9 May 2011    1

Asa: Beautiful Imperfection (Dramatico/Border)

Asa: Beautiful Imperfection (Dramatico/Border)

Three years ago the self-titled major label debut of this Parisian/Nigerian drew intelligent links between the socially conscious music of Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman and Bob Marley, and contemporary soulful R&B. That album was a real gem, but regrettably went past far too many who might have embraced it, and Asa (pronounced Asha) as a smart soul diva who seemed to display none of... > Read more

Asa: Preacherman

9 May 2011

Various Artists: The Royal Wedding; The Official Album (Decca)

Various Artists: The Royal Wedding; The Official Album (Decca)

Well, if it was good enough for John and Yoko, and Leon and Mary Russell, why not a wedding album? In truth, I also have the Charles and Di wedding album (nice gatefold sleeve) and the one for Fergie and Andrew (they scrimped, no gatefold) as well as an album Through Childhood to the Throne about the Queen's "eventful years" preceding the coronation ("A panorama in... > Read more

The Choir of Westminster Abbey: Ubi Caritas

9 May 2011

Various Artists: SIN-ATRA (Armoury/Shock)

Various Artists: SIN-ATRA (Armoury/Shock)

After Hellsongs who take metal songs and render them in a lounge or country-folk manner, this might be subtitled "Metal's Revenge!!!" Here bellicose and bellowing heavy metal frontmen from Anthrax, Deep Purple, Twisted Sister, Judas Priest, Cheap Trick, Warrant and others take on the catalogue of Frank Sinatra (New York New York, I've Got You Under My Skin, Summerwind, Witchcraft,... > Read more

Joey Belladonna of Anthrax: Strangers in the Night

8 May 2011

Hellsongs: Minor Misdemeanors (Lovely/Yellow Eye)

Hellsongs: Minor Misdemeanors (Lovely/Yellow Eye)

This outing follows a similar path to the previous Hellsongs album Hymns in the Key of 666 where metal songs were delivered in a quiet, almost pastoral manner or inna lounge style. A rather familiar route as I pointed out then. This is not dissimilar: with a fine new vocalist (Siri Bergnehr), Sweden's Hellsong take material by Slayer, Meat Loaf, Guns'N Roses, Pantera, Wasp, Alice Cooper and... > Read more

Hellsongs: Welcome to the Jungle

8 May 2011    1

Drive-By Truckers: Go-Go Boots (ATO)

Drive-By Truckers: Go-Go Boots (ATO)

Despite doing well on the charts, the last album by the Truckers -- The Big To-Do -- was a disappointment: perhaps the knocked-off-quickly feel worked against it, you wouldn't attribute it directly to the loss of one of their songwriters Jason Isbell to a solo career (although many felt that). Its occasional rowdiness had undoubted appeal, but as an album it was far too uneven, so any... > Read more

Drive-By Truckers: The Weakest Man

2 May 2011    3