Music at Elsewhere

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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

David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights: Left By Soft (Arch Hill)

29 Apr 2011

For his defining guitar playing in the Clean and beyond, David Kilgour has inspired two generations of acolytes: the first being the generation of Flying Nun followers in the Eighties and Nineties, and more recently young bands and Arch Hill labelmates like Surf City and Ghost Wave. Kilgour -- who has answered the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire here -- offers up the eighth album under his... > Read more

David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights: Way Down Here

Foo Fighters: Wasting Light (Sony)

28 Apr 2011

There were those who said grunge died when it was adopted by fashion designers, but that presumes those who were into the music actually cared what happened on the catwalks of New York, Milan and Paris. Certainly the death of Kurt Cobain in '94 dealt the noisy, often angst-filled music a serious blow but none of the bands swept along in the wake of Nirvana's success suddenly went away.... > Read more

Foo Fighters: These Days

The De Sotos: Your Highway For Tonight (Ode)

27 Apr 2011

If the very fine previous album Cross Your Heart by this Auckland-based four-piece country-rock band went past you and the name is unfamiliar, then you may have heard their widescreen sound which was the theme music for Macrus Lush's overrated smallcreen programme North. (Too much telling us how interesting the people were and how beautiful the landscapes and too little letting us find that for... > Read more

The De Sotos: Dysfunction

Bob Dylan: In Concert, Brandeis University 1963 (Sony)

26 Apr 2011

As has been noted here, there is a lot more of Bob Dylan's past out there in the world than there ever was -- and of course he has quite some past. This from the very distant days in May '63 was recorded at the peak of his politicised folk period (the anthems Blowing in the Wind and Masters of War, the former not here, would be on his album released a fortnight later). So while... > Read more

Bob Dylan: Masters of War

Princess Chelsea: Lil' Golden Book (Lil' Chief)

26 Apr 2011

Cleverly packaged to replicate a Little Golden Book (but with appropriately dark illustrations), this album by Chelsea Nikkel (with Jonathan Bree formerly of the Brunettes co-producing) walks a narrow line between twee sounding childlike pop and those more menacing undertones found in children's stories like the Grimms' fairytales. So here you have Ice Reign which warns that people can... > Read more

Princess Chelsea: Cigarette Duet

Emmylou Harris: Hard Bargain (Nonesuch)

26 Apr 2011

Emmylou Harris is now 64 but her voice sounds as beautiful as it always was, although it seems a little lower these days, but no less affecting. On this album the woman known for her interpretations of songs by others writes three and co-pens eight others with Will Jennings, which brings a more autobiographical quality to some. The opener The Road for example refers to her former... > Read more

Emmylou Harris: Darlin' Kate

Fergus and Geronimo: Unlearn (Hardly Art)

26 Apr 2011

Andrew Savage (Fergus) and Jason Kelly (Geronimo) from Texas have consciously adopted that deliberately quirky approach which allows them to be labeled as "experimental", although if you suggest they might be slightly ADHD in their approach you'd probably be accused of not "getting it". It is actually easy to get. They quite like early Zappa/Mothers of Invention in... > Read more

Fergus and Geronimo: Powerful Lovin'

Occult Detective Club: Crimes (Alive/Southbound)

26 Apr 2011

This can perhaps be very brief. If you haven't heard a decent punky rock album since the Jam's In the City and All Mod Cons then this Dallas four-piece has an album for you. In fact you might say they pretty much have In the City and All Mod Cons rejigged and redelivered for you.  (Up from the Underground, the sample track posted, is a Jam join-the-dots, right?) Good band, just... > Read more

Occult Detective Club: Up From the Underground

Andrew Keoghan: Arctic Tales Divide (Brave Beluga/Border)

25 Apr 2011

With Dudley Benson's recent Forest existing between a cappella choral singing and waiata, and classical composer John Psathas using loops, sequencing and having pieces played by jazz musicians, interesting niches are being prized open in local music. Classically trained violinist and singer-songwriter Keoghan's debut finds another, somewhere between brightly memorable pop and cleverly... > Read more

Andrew Keoghan: Wheels Keep Turning

The Blind Boys of Alabama: Take the High Road (Stem/Southbound)

24 Apr 2011

The on-going career of the Blind Boys -- now well past the half century mark -- takes an interesting turn away from the bluesy and soulful sounds they embraced in the past decade. Here they team up producer Jamey Johnson for an album which pulls in country artists to sing and testify on material which has the overt religious commentary but also digs deep into very human problems. So here... > Read more

The Blind Boys of Alabama: Jesus Hold My Hand

Various Artists: She Sings And Plays (Jayrem)

21 Apr 2011

This 20-track collection of women artists on the Jayrem label -- a loosely chronological run from Naked Spots Dance in '83 to Donna Muir of last year -- is released as one of package of seven albums to coincide with the 35th anniversary of this interesting and diverse New Zealand indie label. It is not just a useful retrospective but also allows us to hear the synth-heavy post-punk Eighties... > Read more

Turiiya: Thread of Gold

The Mountain Goats: The Eternal's Deck (Merge)

20 Apr 2011

The dramatic, almost declamatory, voice of John Darnielle (aka The Mountain Goats) is as distinctive as it is well enunciated. You get every word he sings, which means you are dragged from one poetic line to another where images tumble over one another (think Dylan '65-'66) and if there is a story it comes from an accumulation of ideas and impressions rather than from any narrative. A... > Read more

The Mountain Goats: For Charles Bronson