Music at Elsewhere

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Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (Nonesuch/Warners)

12 Sep 2011    1

Ry Cooder's last three outings were the occasionally rewarding but often hard haul through his concept album trilogy Chavez Ravine (Mexican LA in the Forties), My Name is Buddy (Depression era America) and I Flathead (sci-fi Fifties with cool cars). Great songs scattered throughout, but . . .   For this one however Cooder re-enters the present and it is the better for it.... > Read more

No Hard Feelings

Nick Lowe: The Old Magic (Proper)

12 Sep 2011    1

Perhaps after the series of excellence on his albums The Impossible Bird (1994), Dig My Mood ('98, Elsewhere's pick), The Convincer (2001) and At My Age (2007), it was maybe too much to expect the standard from Nick Lowe could remain as high again. But The Old Magic -- while including some beautifully delivered bitter-sweet songs couched in country-influenced Fifties-like standards --... > Read more

Stoplight Roses

Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

12 Sep 2011

From the deliberate domesticity of the band name/album title, this album which began as a knockabout home sessions between Neil Finn and his wife Sharon comes with some coy downplaying. I guess Neil would be aware of the subtext of the words "Linda McCartney". But here with Neil on drums and guitar, Sharon on bass and SJD on electronica -- and former Smiths guitarist... > Read more

Golden Child

Pretty Wicked Head and the Desperate Men; New Age Savage (Independent distribution)

12 Sep 2011    1

My southern informant tells me this album by the Invercargill band with one of the best-ever names was originally released in 1990 and picked up two years later for national distribution in New Zealand by BMG. Mostly recorded in Vancouver when the band were touring there for three months in '89, it has here been remastered and repackaged with a live DVD of a Canadian show and some... > Read more

It's Okay It's Clean

Drive-By Truckers: Ugly Buildings, Whores and Politicians; Greatest Hits 1998-2009 (New West)

12 Sep 2011

Those who have missed the career of Drive-By Truckers out of Athens, Georgia are advised to just dive in at their Southern Rock Opera of a decade ago (which gets four of the 16 tracks on this chronological collection), The Dirty South (three tracks here) and/or Brighter Than Creation's Dark (two). Grounded in Southern rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd) and soul (courtesy of Muscle Shoals connections and... > Read more

Carl Perkins' Cadillac

Dave Lisik: Donated by Cantor Fitzgerald; A Threnody (Rattle)

11 Sep 2011

If you are reading this in New Zealand on September 11, 2011 -- the 10th anniversary of 9/11 -- Canadian-born, Wellington-based composer Dave Lisik will have performed this evocative, hour-long work in Virginia yesterday for re-broadcast on a New York radio station on the 11th as part of the day-long commemorations there. Recorded in Wellington with pianist Amy Rempel, tenor... > Read more

Donated by Cantor Fitzgerald (extract)

Cut Off Your Hands: Hollow (Speak N Spell)

5 Sep 2011

Frankly, when I first encountered Cut Off Your Hands two things struck me: First, how do you do that? (You get one off and then . . .), and more importantly how their bouncy pop-rock would travel. When I heard they were going to the UK I thought, "coals . . . Newcastle". I understand things didn't entirely work out over there and that was a shame. Their debut You and I was... > Read more

By Your Side

Panther and the Zoo: More Fun (download)

5 Sep 2011

The 2009 EP by this delightfully melodic, Auckland pop-rock outfit Think About It Not Exploding was a mere four songs . . . but was one of those enticing little tasters which left you wanting more. Much more, in fact. So at last here is the nine song album (short, and smart again, you are left wanting more) and you cannot help admire songwriter Graham Panther's lightly gentle but assured... > Read more

Maybe You Get What You Want

The Jayhawks: Mockingbird Time (Universal)

5 Sep 2011    1

Something to speculate on. What if John Lennon had quit the Beatles around the time of Help!/Rubber Soul when it was clear he and Paul McCartney were going in different writing and personal directions. Say he'd gone off into more personal and introspective writing and Macca had steered the band along a more pop route? No Revolver for a kick-off. In a sense something similar happened... > Read more

Pouring Rain at Dawn

Various Artists: After Hours, The Collection; Northern Soul Masters (Rhino)

4 Sep 2011

Northern Soul was a British phenomenon in the late 60s/early 70s when clubs in the north played beat-driven American soul for pilled-up patrons of venues like the famous Wigan Casino, the titular subject of a terrific doco by Tony Palmer. The music was rarely from mainstream labels like Motown and much of it came on long lost or deleted singles. A decade ago the archive label Rhino... > Read more

Something's Burnin'

The Smithereens: 2011 (eone)

4 Sep 2011

It was probably helpful for the long-running power-pop/rock Smithereens out of New Jersey to remind themselves what year they are in with this album's title. Their most recent outings have been covers of the Beatles' first US album Meet the Beatles! (Meet the Smithereens!), one of Beatle b-sides then a truncated run through the Who's Tommy. Fun for them, but you did wonder why.... > Read more

Rings on Her Fingers

Aly Cook: Brand New Day (Ode)

3 Sep 2011

As with Katie Thompson, this mature and intelligent New Zealand singer-songwriter raised money to fund her debut album through the Sellaband scheme. And she's already on her way to raising money for her follow-up. You have to hand it to her, in her late Forties she isn't going to wait around for fortune to come a-knockin', she is out there being proactive. And you can hear why people might... > Read more

Country Storm

FleaBITE: In Your Ear (Jayrem)

3 Sep 2011

Everyone is allowed to have fun, right? Which is why Elsewhere sometimes includes bizarre or just plain stupid stuff when it pulls From the Vaults. And also why we posted the Fatcat and Fishface album for kids (C'mon, tell me that isn't Yoko Ono on the posted track). And that is also why we are posting this by FleaBITE -- from the Fatcat and Fishface family -- who are smart enough to... > Read more

You're a Drip

Tim Finn: The View is Worth The Climb (Universal)

2 Sep 2011

Some argue that the best songs emerge from anxiety, emotional dislocation and melancholy -- but more mature songwriters know that not to be true. As Lucinda Williams noted in this interview, it is possible for an artist to conjure up states of mind from experiences. People like Williams -- and Tim Finn -- have a wealth of life experiences to draw on. Finn's albums often sound best when... > Read more

Opposite Signs

Bierut: The Rip Tide (Pompeii)

1 Sep 2011

Within the very bland cover - despite the gold impressed lettering -- lies the typically colourful, romantic sound which we have to come associate with Zach Condon and his associates who bring accordion, horns, a touch of "South of the Border" as well as ukulele and pump organ. Although scrupulously crafted -- you don't write horn lines like these without considerable skills --... > Read more

Goshen

Randy Crawford: The Best of Randy Crawford (Rhino)

31 Aug 2011

Gosh and oh gee. Another Randy Crawford compilation. Is there no end to these things? They seem to come around about every five years or so -- and of course the track listing is always much the same. So rather than "review" this one here is an interview with Randy from '99 in advance of a New Zealand tour which you might take some amusement from . . . On the line from her... > Read more

Rainy Night in Georgia

Meredith Monk: Songs of Ascension (ECM New Series)

30 Aug 2011    1

Meredith Monk's ethereal vocal music often seems to exist between the chapel and the arthouse, at home being bookended by a choral group and Laurie Anderson. Over the decades her work has extended from its minimalist origins into instrumental works, theatrical productions, opera (Atlas) and film (Book of Days), and yet its spare, skeletal structure is commanding by virtue of its... > Read more

Respite

My Pet Dragon: Mountains and Cities (Gimme That Sound)

30 Aug 2011

About 16 months ago Elsewhere gave a Heads Up on an impending album by this group out of New York (here). As far as I can tell the impending album never arrived . . . but this seems to be it. A long time in the pot, obviously. Now a fully formed band around singer-songwriter Todd Michaelsen, this album has a chest-swelling urgency in places which belies its long gestation period. The... > Read more

Moonshine

Various Artists: Rucks, Tries and Choruses; The History of NZ Rugby . . . in Song (EMI)

29 Aug 2011

Could any other country on the planet compile a disc of rugby songs? Maybe Wales? South Africa? But how many could get two discs worth of songs (comedy, serious, some sung by former players) which are this much nostalgic fun. We might take rugby seriously in New Zealand, but are clearly not that po-faced when you go through this exceptional 33 track compilation pulled together by the... > Read more

Rugby Rock (1960)

Jolie Holland and the Grand Chandeliers: Pint of Blood (Anti)

29 Aug 2011

This being Holland's first album since 2008's excellent The Living and the Dead, it naturally arrives much anticipated. But while some have suggested it harkens back to her style on the very popular Escondida of '04, to these ears it sounds the natural extension of its predecessor. She again has the same producer Shahzad Ismaily, her songs have a slightly battered and emotional quality,... > Read more

Little Birds