Music at Elsewhere

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The Shifting Sands: The Shifting Sands (Fishrider)

11 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

While no one in their right mind would have ever argued the idea of a "Flying Nun/Dunedin sound" other than a few lazy writers back in the day, you'd have to say after even just one quick listen to this album by singer-guitarist Michael McLeod that it has a sort of . .  hmmm . . . Flying Nun sound about it. So let's flip all the cards and tell you McLeod has worked in Dunedin... > Read more

Whatever We Can

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Americana (Reprise)

5 Jun 2012  |  1 min read  |  2

The thing about unpredictable Neil Young is just how predictable he has become, shuffling the deck of acoustic, country, self-referencing and noisy rock. Here he again links up with Crazy Horse for the first time on record in almost a decade and they, predicably, deliver most things here with their loose, open rehearsal feel. Behind the provocative title -- a swipe at the whole... > Read more

Get a Job

The Beach Boys: That's Why God Made The Radio (Capitol)

5 Jun 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

For those who stepped off the planet for quite a few decades, you should know that the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson did too. For him the world stopped around 1968 and since then -- when not sidelined by emotional damage -- he has been reliving and recycling his greatest work created between '65 and '67. In recent decades he has toured SMiLE and Pet Sounds, and even released two versions... > Read more

Summers Gone

Best Coast: The Only Place (Pop Frenzy)

5 Jun 2012  |  1 min read

Their debut Crazy for You might have been a bit too cute and calculatingly aimed at teenarama, but this Californian band -- formerly a three-piece, now down to singer-guitarist Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, plus multiple threat session player Jon Brion -- here hit a point between the bright pop of the Sundays and the sadder end of Sixties girl groups. And they kick... > Read more

How They Want Me To Be

Sigur Ros: Valtari (EI)

4 Jun 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

It has been some little while -- about four years -- since Sigur Ros last delivered a new album of their glacially epic sound, which for many had become beautifully executed and hypnotic but rather interchangeable. So you wonder what they might come back with. Last year they seemed to have put a punctation point on the first phase of their career with the live album/DVD Inni. ... > Read more

Varuo

The Green Pajamas: Summer of Lust (Green Monkey)

4 Jun 2012  |  2 min read

Green Pajamas out of Seattle are one of the great, if largely ignored, pysch-pop band (think Rubber Soul/Revolver) and at last they have got around to releasing . . . their debut album? Re-releasing in fact (Summer of Lust appeared on cassette in '84 and on vinyl in '89), but here for most people are their debut recordings, first committed to reel-to-reel tape in bassist/singer Joe Ross'... > Read more

Anna Maria

Dave Lisik: Rail 16 (Rattle)

30 May 2012  |  <1 min read

The prolific Lisik (see here) offers this new and complex single suite which exists somewhere between improvised music, art music and a long tone poem (more like a tone short story) which has an over-arching, if sometimes aurally elusive concept, the kidnapping of American aviation hero Charles Lindberg's son in 1932. With an ensemble of classical and jazz musicians including... > Read more

Rail 16 (extract only)

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Live; Everybody's Talkin' (Sony)

28 May 2012  |  <1 min read  |  3

Anyone who saw singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi and her husband/guitarist Derek Trucks in concert at Auckland's Powerstation last year -- or who has heard albums under his or her name -- will need no firther invitation to this double disc live outing where all their exceptional and diverse talent is on display. From her a gutsy, blues-soaked but highly melodic ballad voice and pointed... > Read more

Wade in the Water

Bonjour Swing: The Flame (fragilecolours.com)

28 May 2012  |  <1 min read  |  2

Those with a long memory may recall multi-instrumentalist Robbie Laven who impressed discerning ears back in the Seventies with the short-lived band Red Hot Peppers. Their Toujours Yours album (see here) is much sought after. This band -- which includes Laven, his wife Marion Arts, also a Pepper back in the day, their son Oscar on saxes and trumpet, with bassist Milan Wilshier -- explore an... > Read more

The Flame Once High

The Golden Awesome: Autumn (M'Lady's)

21 May 2012  |  1 min read

Having been very impressed by the Amazing (although rather underwhelmed by Gold Medal Famous) I am a sucker for a band that doesn't under-sell itself on the naming front. Toad the Wet Sprocket were never destined for the big time in my world. So Golden Awesome originally out of Dunedin who recorded this debut in Wellington? Turn it up and this certainly has a shimmering golden feel... > Read more

The Waves

Great Lake Swimmers: New Wild Everywhere (Nettwerk)

21 May 2012  |  <1 min read

In the manner of fellow Canadians Cowboy Junkies' breakthrough album The Trinity Sessions which was recorded in a church, this award-winning Toronto-based band – the vehicle for songwriter/singer Tony Dekker – built a reputation for albums laid down in places like an abandoned grain silo, old halls and remote locations. Here however only one song, the Neil Young-like The... > Read more

On the Water

Various Artists: Memphis Boys; The Story of American Studios (Ace)

14 May 2012  |  1 min read

American Studios in Memphis -- founded by producer/musician Chips Moman -- might not be written as large in the popular imagination as the Sun and Stax studios in the same city, but a wealth of music came out of it. As this 24 song collection testifies . . . and sometimes really testifies at calls down the Southern soul spirit. The studio was (sometimes briefly) home to great names like... > Read more

I'm Movin' On

The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow (Sony)

4 May 2012  |  <1 min read  |  4

Even the most cursory listen to this alt.folk duo (who err to the traditional side also) and you can hear why they picked up two Grammies (best folk and best country duo/group performance). They hit the genre right down the middle, even to the point of mentioning "praying for redemption" in the opener. So, old time religion, crystalline vocals from her (Joy Williams originally... > Read more

Billie Jean

Loudon Wainwright III: Older Than My Old Man Now (Proper)

2 May 2012  |  1 min read

On the second song here the venerable Wainwright names his "favourite protagonist. Me" and that song follows the autobiographical The Here and Now in which he counts down marriages, failures, kids and his career. And then there is the title track which is about his father, but equally about himself. If anyone can write this convincingly and often about himself/family/etc --... > Read more

The Here and Now

Sherpa: Lesser Flamingo (Little White)

30 Apr 2012  |  1 min read  |  2

While I have yet to hear the album, I found it very easy to walk away from Opposom at this year's Laneway Festival asking myself, "If it wasn't who we know it is up there, would we really care?" I found them dull and the songs incomplete . . . and anyway I wanted to see Auckland band Sherpa who drew a much smaller but more appreciative crowd -- and not just because singer-frontman... > Read more

Lunar Bats

George Harrison: Early Takes Vol 1 (Universal)

30 Apr 2012  |  <1 min read

George Harrison was perfectionist in the studio – 99 takes of Not Guilty and it still didn't make the Beatles' “White Album” – so there's something endearing, sincere and un-sculpted about these 10 demos, mostly of some of his early solo material (which was a disc included in the expanded Living in the Material World DVD/CD box set of last year). Folky,... > Read more

Behind That Locked Door

Elvis Costello and the Imposters: The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook (Universal)

27 Apr 2012  |  1 min read

Some albums you really just have to see, and this is one of those. Some background: Elvis Costello and the Imposters took to the road in the US last year with a few dozen of his song on a spinning wheel and with a quick turn and a dart . . . You get the picture. It's obviously a lot of fun on the night and no one is cruising. Costello and band play like their lives depend on it for... > Read more

Watching the Detectives

Skank Attack: Here On Out (Skank)

26 Apr 2012  |  1 min read  |  3

In theory something from this bold, wide and loud album could have appeared in our daily From the Vaults column, because these tracks date back to 1988 when this three-piece were -- by all accounts -- cutting a swathe through Wellington. That I cannot vouch for, but I can say if the band's name might suggest an alignment with the current reggae/dub scene in New Zealand's capital,... > Read more

Limbs Akimbo

Dictaphone Blues: Beneath the Crystal Palace (EMI)

23 Apr 2012  |  <1 min read

Like Marty McFly at the high school dance in Back to the Future, Ed Castelow of Dictaphone Blues has beamed himself back to crucial touchstones in pop-rock (classic Fifties chords, Beatles era choruses, Seventies power pop, American stadium rock from the Eighties) and distilled them into this shamelessly enjoyable collection which is smart enough to play spot-the-reference (Cheap Trick,... > Read more

Cliche

Willis Earl Beal: Acousmatic Sorcery (XL)

23 Apr 2012  |  1 min read

Beal's story is as interesting as this often engrossing debut album. In 2007 at age 23 after being discharged from the US army, he went and lived in the New Mexico desert while suffering from depression, then returned to Chicago, lived with his grandma and stole from the supermarket. He put up posters saying if you called his number he'd sing you a song. (Over 300 did). If you... > Read more

Take Me Away