Music at Elsewhere

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

16 May 2011    1

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

Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador)

13 May 2011

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

The Felice Brothers: Celebration, Florida (Spunk)

12 May 2011    1

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

Ben Waters: Boogie 4 Stu (Eagle/Shock)

11 May 2011    1

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

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

11 May 2011

Those with passion for edgy 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

Standard Funk Ensemble: Happenstance (

10 May 2011

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'

Miss Black and the Light: Black Light (Ode)

10 May 2011

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

Various Artists: Heartland (Sony)

10 May 2011    1

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

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

9 May 2011

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

Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams (Reprise)

9 May 2011

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

Asa: Beautiful Imperfection (Dramatico/Border)

9 May 2011

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

Duran Duran: All You Need is Now (Shock)

9 May 2011    1

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

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

9 May 2011

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

Various Artists: SIN-ATRA (Armoury/Shock)

8 May 2011

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

Hellsongs: Minor Misdemeanors (Lovely/Yellow Eye)

8 May 2011    1

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

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

2 May 2011    3

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

The Middle East: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Unspk)

2 May 2011

When a five song EP by this group out of Townsville appeared in '09 Elsewhere erroneously reported they had broken up and mourned their passing. Fortunately we were quickly corrected -- misinformation is easy to find on the internet, huh? -- and so therefore this album has been welcomed. Recorded in Australia and in Midlake's studio in Texas, this album confirms that this collective around... > Read more

The Middle East: As I Go To See Janey

Sonny and the Sunsets: Hit After Hit (Unspk)

2 May 2011

Here's a guess. This enjoyable but rather superficial pop outfit from San Francisco have in their collections albums of one-off Sixties pop by the likes of the Hombres (Let It All Hang Out), Sam the Sham, Tommy James and the Shondelles, the Shangri-Las, Brill Building songwriters, the McCoys (Hang on Sloopy) and plenty of early Kinks, Beatles, Beach Boys and so on. Just a guess of ourse,... > Read more

Sonny and the Sunset: Teen Age Thugs

Michelle Nadia: Firefly (Ode)

1 May 2011

This fine New Zealand singer-songwriter isn't one to hang around obviously. She's already played in the UK and the States, and of course in Australia where she attended the Australian Institute of Music for her vocal studies. As a songwriter she has a light touch (song titles like Firefly, Ache For Beauty and Lost in You might tell you as much) but she's also got a smart way with a clean,... > Read more

Michelle Nadia: Falling off the Radar

Bob Dylan: The Very Best of Bob Dylan's 80s (Sony Legacy)

1 May 2011    3

As it was happening, Bob Dylan's Eighties seemed somewhat of a wasteland only sparsely populated by songs which had any great resonance. And many which did -- Brownsville Girl co-written with playwright Sam Shepard for example, on the largely awful Knocked Out Loaded in '86 -- weren't sympathetically produced. Certainly songs like Jokerman stood out (although it was hard to fathom what he... > Read more

Bob Dylan: The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar