Music at Elsewhere

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The Nudge: Big Nudge Pie (Keen)

15 Aug 2011    2

The primal, almost otherwordly moan most often over a relentless thudding rhythm – the sound of rural blues – or a gutteral growl which harks back to something more primitive have seldom been heard from New Zealand bands. Blues artists here generally aim for the raw edge of Chicago blues or the tough twang of Texas rock-blues. But this trio out of Wellington -- which... > Read more

It All Becomes Clear

Punches: Etheria (Punches/Arch Hill)

15 Aug 2011

Singer/bassist Kelly Sherrod and guitarist/singer James Duncan – both formerly in Dimmer among other previous band experiences, she now based in Nashville – follow the dreamy folk-psychedelia of their self-titled 2006 EP with this beguiling, hypnotic album recorded long distance and lowkey in distant home studios, which makes remarkable . . . although also a product of our... > Read more

Tools of the Trade

Various Artists: Waiata; Maori Showbands, Balladeers and Pop Stars (EMI)

15 Aug 2011

After the interest in -- and award-winning success -- of Chris Bourke's marvellous every-home-should-have-one book Blue Smoke, this double disc collection seems almost mandatory. It scoops up a swag of showbands (the Maori Troubadours, the Quin Tikis, Dalvanius and the Fascinations, the Maori Volcanics) and many mainstream performers (Jay Epae, John Rowles as Ja-Ar and also with with his... > Read more

Poi Poi Twist

Various Artists: The Great New Zealand Songbook; Souvenir Edition (Sony)

14 Aug 2011

Well this four CD collection certainly takes the sweat out of present-buying for those Rugby World Cup visitors who will wash up on our shores, and also will fill a gap in the Christmas stockings of family and friends abroad. Here the two previous editions of the Songbook (reviewed Vol 1 here and Vol 2 here) are kicked off by the All Blacks' rendition of the Ka Mate haka and then it is two... > Read more

Not Many

Seth Haapu: Seth Haapu (Sony)

11 Aug 2011

Although this suffers a little, but only a very little, from the showcasing which often attends any debut -- and has one of those now customary intro tracks which seem de rigueur on hip-hop albums, here the tasty but too brief Hurly Burly -- this is one enormously impressive collection from a young man who would seem to have important people at his side (Sony, family, arranger Godfrey de Grut... > Read more


The Sami Sisters: Happy Heartbreak! (Rhythmethod)

9 Aug 2011

Although a number of struggling and serious musicians have already, in my hearing, bemoaned the amount of publicity and profile this album is generating on, largely, the back of sister Madeleine's acting career, it would be a pretty hard heart that didn't melt just a little in face of these sassy pop songs. What makes it so smart is not just the clever production (Ed Cake with the sisters... > Read more

Oh Boy

AMMP: From the Back of the Sun (

8 Aug 2011

You have to admire -- and be something in awe of -- this four-piece from Wellington. They set their controls at "epic: stadium width" and manage to write and deliver material which matches that enormous ambition. Living rooms feel far too small for their industrial strength, well-crafted U2-like sound so it's no surprise their new single Day One has picked up widespread rock radio... > Read more


Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents: Keeping Time (Fuse/Border)

8 Aug 2011    1

Retro seems to be the way of the future if your current CD collection is made up of albums by Pete Molinari, Kittie Daisy and Lewis, Sonny and the Sunsets, the Young Veins etc. Most of these artists are fun but you suspect there's not much longevity in being quite so referential (Molinari is getting by on the skin of his teeth) and while I don't expect to hear another album from Nick Curran... > Read more

Love in Ruins

Katie Thompson: Impossible (Thompson)

8 Aug 2011

New Zealand singer-songwriter Katie Thompson clearly has a following. This album was funded to the tune of US$50,000 through Sellaband (where supporters chip in for the artist to record an album) and she has just been announced as the opening for an Elton John concert in Dunedin later in the year. That's pretty good for a girl from Hokitika on the West Coast. This mature outing -- just... > Read more

Fading Fast

17 Hippies: Phantom Songs (Hipster)

7 Aug 2011

Not the most promising band name in these tougher times, but this multi-lingual German neo-folk outfit (which played the Taranaki Womad this year) don't go the 20-minute guitar solo route, but rather their name reflects their origins in a Berlin squat and their collective mentality. With horns, banjo, ukulele, violin etc. they can move from oddball gypsy folk (Biese Bouwe/Bad Boys), to... > Read more

Blumen im Glas

Ray Manzarek/Roy Rogers: Translucent Blues (Blind Pig)

7 Aug 2011

Given his organ playing was such an integral part of the Doors' sound, it's surprising Ray Manzarek's subsequent four decade career has garnered so little attention, although to be fair it has thrown up few decent albums. I recall trading in his Carmina Burana within a week of getting it in the early Eighties and just last month I paid $5 for a vinyl copy of his '73 Golden Scarab and on... > Read more

River of Madness

The Close Readers: Group Hug (Austin)

3 Aug 2011

From the literary suggestion of the band name and the chief songwriter here – Damien Wilkins – you could guess some serious lyrical chops. Wilkins is founding editor of the literary magazine Sport, and teaches creative writing at Victoria University in Wellington. He also has some small music credentials though. In the early Seventies he was in the Jonahs who once opened... > Read more

The Arch

Panda Bear: Tomboy (Inertia)

2 Aug 2011

At an indie.rock festival in Auckland earlier this year which saw nervous student radio kids blinking into the light, a friend turned to me and noted the number of young bands these days which name themselves after small furry animals. Sort of safe, sort of adolescent, just letting go of the teddy bear perhaps? True. Panda Bear -- aka Noah Lennox of Animal Collective -- isn't quite in... > Read more

Slow Motion

Hollie Smith and Mara TK: Band of Brothers Vol 1 (EMI)

1 Aug 2011    1

Although this collaboration with Mara TK of the electronica outfit Electric Wire Hustle will doubtless be read in some circles as a departure for Smith, most often known for her sky-scaling soul style -- as she notes in this interview with Elsewhere -- this is just growth. And because Smith's work and difficulties have been lived out in the public domain after that high profile experience... > Read more


Brett Dennen: Lover Boy (Dualtone/Border)

1 Aug 2011

This fine singer-songwriter who is clearly in the pop camp on this outing, has appeared a couple of times previously at Elsewhere but never seems to get much attention elsewhere -- except when some songs appeared on US television shows. On this upbeat collection he manages to turn a funeral into a reason to celebrate life and in the liner notes he says, "This is an ode to the wonderful... > Read more

Can't Stop Thinking About You

STKS: Rhythm and Brown (M4U Records)

1 Aug 2011

In November 2010, when most media people were looking the other way unfortunately, a new Auckland-based record label M4U launched itself with a showcase of its talent in a hip bar on Ponsonby Rd. The two most impressive acts bookended the night: the terrifyingly talented young singer Ria who stopped the chatter from her first soulful notes, and at the end the rather more mature... > Read more


Harry Manx and Kevin Breit: Strictly Whatever (Canada Factor/Southbound)

1 Aug 2011

These two "mature" singer-guitarists from Canada have appeared at Elsewhere previously with their fine In Good We Trust album, and Manx on his ownsome with a reissue of a 2001 album (here). It would be fair to observe that their expansive oeuvre (blues,, folk, nods to recent Dylan etc) on a variety of instruments (lap slide, National steel, electric sitar, mandolin,... > Read more

Carry My Tears Away

Black Wings: Meltwater (Powertool)

29 Jul 2011

When a band names itself Black Wings and opens an album with tracks entitled Grave and Straight Jacket you know it should come with that warning sign they have at theme parks: "This is a dark ride". And these dark rides have their musical references in early Chills and Cure with a smattering of the dreamscape the Church brought to Priest = Aura. The thrum and rolling hum which... > Read more

The Pahiatua Track

Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers: Starlight Hotel (Signature/Border)

28 Jul 2011    1

Les alt. than country, Zoe Muth from Seattle invites favourable comparisons with Eilen Jewell and early Emmylou Harris, and a whole host of Nashville writers who are smart enough to still have their hearts in the honky-tonks. These are pedal steel and mandolin stories which cut out the fat and get right down to the sad and lonely bones of heartache or true friendship, or kick along with that... > Read more

New Mexico

Pitch Black: Rarities and Remixes (Remote)

25 Jul 2011

New Zealand's premier electronica act Pitch Black -- Paddy Free and Mike Hodgson -- have also been its most exportable as they have taken their innovative shows (lights, cameras, live action) to a global audience via installations, exclusive parties, fashion shows and the like. Their albums have always been stand alone items however which work just as well in the absence of the light show... > Read more

Kaikoura Dub (from Whale Rider)