Music at Elsewhere

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Mark Knopfler: Privateering (Mercury)

10 Sep 2012  |  <1 min read

Be interesting to know how many of the 30 million who bought Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms could name singer-guitarist Mark Knopfler's previous album (Get Lucky and not bad, since you ask). Given his naturally glum and sanguine demeanor – in interviews anyway, he might be a prankster at home – his disposition always seemed more inclined to the melancholic than Twisting by... > Read more

Haul Away

Andre Williams and the Sadies (Yep Roc)

10 Sep 2012  |  <1 min read

The rum-gargling mid-70s soulman Williams speak-sings from the pit of anger, despair and his gravel-pit throat about America (“the mens are dogs, the women are hogs, but that's not a bad thing, it's better than livin' in . . . Africa”) and offers a streetlife philosophy of tough times, crime, addiction and poverty. This tough ol' bird wrote Shake a Tail Feather back in the... > Read more


Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson: Wreck and Ruin (Liberation)

10 Sep 2012  |  2 min read  |  1

One of the more extraordinary achievements of Australian husband-wife team Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson hasn't been top selling albums and awards (together or solo), it has been how they have won over those outside of the mainstream country audience. Certainly they bring some cachet and Nicholson's songs on his solo albums have been more along that trajectory, but for the... > Read more

Your Sweet Love

Ray Woolf: The Sixties Collection (Frenzy)

7 Sep 2012  |  1 min read

The problem with any Ray Woolf compilation -- a man who has been in the New Zealand entertainment game for 50 years -- is even if it narrows the focus to just his first decade as this does, is: What agenda does it serve? Even in that decade -- in fact more so, given the tectonic shifts of taste and styles in the Sixties -- Woolf was moving constantly in his musical career: from working with... > Read more

Bengal Tiger

Various Artists: With Love, A Pot of Flowers (Big Beat/Border)

5 Sep 2012  |  2 min read

By curious coincidence (nope, not ironic just chance) this collection of slightly garageband but lightlydelic US pop arrived the same day I learned Scott McKenzie -- of San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) fame -- had died. He was 73, which struck me as ridiculously old, but then again that makes sense when you do the maths: 1967 when that was a big soundtrack to the hippie... > Read more

Slave of Desire

Cat Power: Sun (Matador)

4 Sep 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

On the haunting Human Being here, a slinky electronica-driven piece which slides under the skin and into the subconscious, Cat Power -- out from under the cloak of bankruptcy and a broken relationship -- speaks of the rights you have: you've got your own voice so sing, you've got two hands so go make anything, we've got rules to break and mistakes to make . . . She also notes you can see... > Read more


Sean Rowe: The Salesman and the Shark (Anti)

3 Sep 2012  |  <1 min read

New York singer-songwriter Rowe's indie release Magic of 2009 (re-released by his new label Anti 18 months ago) inevitably drew comparisons with Tom Waits for its sobering and poetic reflections on life, religion and an America gone to seed. His road-worn baritone, musical references to battered blues and empty-bottle ballads equally recalled label-mate Waits. While those aural and... > Read more

The Lonely Maze

Los Straitjackets: Jet Set (Yep Roc)

3 Sep 2012  |  <1 min read

With guitarist Peter Posa's White Rabbit retrospective topping the charts for the fourth week, this collection of echo-heavy cocktail hour and retro-rock guitar tracks by this long-running American cult outfit (in Mexican wrestling masks) might just have the serendipity of timing. From the dramatic blackjack crack and pistol shot of the opener Crime Scene and the increasingly furious... > Read more


Greg Fleming and the Trains: Edge of the City (LucaDiscs)

27 Aug 2012  |  3 min read  |  1

Some albums come with lyrics sheets which you think must be embarrassing for the "songwriter". Not so Aucklander Greg Fleming whose lyrics are so economic that as you listen you can picture the scenarios and characters. Yet look at the printed words and you realise how refined and crisp they are, and have left huge gaps where you've filled in the faces, places and details. In... > Read more

More Time

Ry Cooder: Election Special (Warners)

27 Aug 2012  |  1 min read

With the Republicans calling up arch-conservative Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's monied-up running mate and the gob-smacking misspeak by Missouri congressman Todd Akin about "legitimate rape" (not to mention the oddball physiology he cited), Ry Cooder must be kicking himself that he went so early with this collection of overtly political songs. Still, maybe the old fish-barrel adage... > Read more


Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Mature Themes (4AD)

27 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read

Pink's unfocused, shapeless and sometimes lazy turn at the Aotea Square Laneway Festival was disappointing for all but deaf loyalists. And surprising too, because he'd seemed an oddball perfectionist plundering pop's past and obscure byways for ideas. Mercifully this album's title is a joke: the surreal and often rude lyrics (the nympho song), stylistic pastiches (disco to Beach Boys?... > Read more

Kinski Assassin

Artisan Guns: Coral (Warners)

27 Aug 2012  |  1 min read

Unlike so many young bands who leap quickly onto record, this Auckland band (once described as "young" but now "mature" might better) have progressed slowly and steadily towards this debut album after two fine EPs. Elsewhere caught up with them way back (see here) after being impressed by a live performance in a record company boardroom, and has followed them with... > Read more

It Aches

Poor Moon: Poor Moon (Sub Pop)

20 Aug 2012  |  1 min read

When Phantom Light, the second track on this debut album for Poor Moon, opens you'd be forgiven for saying aloud, "Oh, Fleet Foxes". And indeed Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott -- half of Poor Moon, add to them brothers Ian and Peter Murray -- are both members of that band. There are plenty of the FF's Anglofolk and close harmonies at work throughout, although the... > Read more


The Darkness: Hot Cakes (Liberator)

20 Aug 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

You'd have to have had your sense of humor gland removed not to have enjoyed England's Darkness ("Give me a D", "Give me an Arkness") when they emerged out of Lowestoft, the end of the train line, a decade ago with their glam rock-opera ambitions and a keen sense of the absurd. They referred to much more famous groups they opened for as their "warm down bands"... > Read more

She's Just a Girl, Eddie

Chris Robinson Brotherhood: Big Moon Ritual (Warners)

20 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read

Robinson is frontman for the Black Crowes, the band which married the Allman Brothers' soulful Southern rock with a stoner take on the shambling Faces but more recently slid into post-Band country-rock with their excellent Before the Frost recorded live in the late Levon Helm's studio. Robinson's solo albums have been of no fixed focus but drew on Americana, rock and country and... > Read more

100 Days of Rain

Sun Kil Moon: Among the Leaves (Caldo Verde)

20 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read  |  1

With only a few exceptions – John Lennon's emotionally excoriating Plastic Ono Band springs to mind – the album-as-catharsis is more interesting for the artist than the audience. As are songs about touring. Here Sun Kil Moon – aka Mark Kozelek formerly of Red House Painters – bridges both with 17 wordy, acoustic songs drawn from his diary of incidents,... > Read more

The Winery

Happy Mondays: Double Double Good; The Best of the Happy Mondays (Rhino)

20 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read  |  2

One of the funniest and best gigs I ever saw was Black Grape in New York where a barely vertical Shaun Ryder read lyric from massive cue cards on stage, rapper Kermit bewildered everyone with his inaudible but energetic rhymes and there was a table on the balcony reserved for Blur who weren't even in the city at the time. It was utter madness and the American record company people I was with... > Read more

Stayin' Alive

Thieves: Thieves (thievesss.bandcamp)

20 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read

While I'm sure the three members of Auckland band Thieves wouldn't claim to be reinventing the rock genre (or would hope they wouldn't), on this six-song EP -- their second I believe -- they do manage to make an interesting impact in throbbing and moody widescreen rock, notably on Sudafed which delivers a real cineramic wallop. Soma Holiday runs it is a close second in that it is an... > Read more

Soma Holiday

Deep Sea Arcade: Outlands (Ivy League)

13 Aug 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

Hard to know what constitutes "indie" these days, but given the single Girls from the debut album by this Sydney band has been getting play on BBC Radio 1 in the UK and sounds impeccably poppy, they would seem to me to be fairly mainstrream . . . or at least could readily find their place there. That they've opened for Kaiser Chiefs and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds would... > Read more

Lonely in your Arms

Go Kart Mozart: On the Hot Dog Streets (West Midlands/Southbound)

13 Aug 2012  |  <1 min read  |  1

Like Madness-gone-electronic in their often astute and/or witty observations about British culture, Go Kart Mozart is the brainchild of Lawrence (Felt, Denim) who here announces on the first track that "Lawrence is taking over". Maybe. Maybe not. While this can be irrepressibly catchy in its pop manoeuvres (plenty of familiar hooks and singalong choruses), and you wouldn't... > Read more

White Stilettos in the Sand