Music at Elsewhere

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Various artists: Womad, The World's Festival 2012 (Cartell)

20 Feb 2012  |  <1 min read

With the annual Womad festival about to descend on New Plymouth's beautiful Bowl of Brooklands site once again -- over the weekend of March 16-18 -- this 16 song collection wil serve as a primer and a memento for many. Of course there is no subtitute for seeing some of these acts (some are very visual) or enjoying deep immersion in whole albums, but here are single-track tasters of Staff... > Read more


Ringo Starr: Ringo 2012 (Hip-O/Universal)

20 Feb 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

It's a shame the most interesting Beatles at the time of their 1970 break-up – Lennon and Harrison – are no longer with us, because the post-Beatles legacy is carried into the second decade of the 21st century by McCartney and Starr's simultaneously released albums . . . which confirm their irrelevance in contemporary music, McCartney's Kisses on the Bottom especially. But... > Read more


First Aid Kit: The Lion's Roar (Liberator)

15 Feb 2012  |  1 min read

For this, their international debut, the Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg who are up front of First Aid Kit, have had considerable assistance and acclaim. Recorded by Mike Mogis in Omaha (who has done similar work for Bright Eyes, and BE himself, Conor Oberst, guests on the final track King of the World), The Lion's Roar would seem to confirm them being tipped as a new big thing... > Read more

In the Hearts of Men

Spartacus R: The View (Loop)

13 Feb 2012  |  2 min read

Halfway through this weirdly psychedelic and constantly surprising album -- inconveniently released at the end of last year when people were buying greatest hits for Christmas and rock writers were compiling their "best of the year" lists -- is the oddball piece Golden Sands. Musically it opens with astral-flight synth and then establishes a subtle, repeated groove -- first... > Read more


Mark Lanegan Band: Blues Funeral (4AD)

13 Feb 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

As with Nick Cave, Mark Langean knows the idiom that suits his mood and voice best . . . and it is a similarly dark place, as the title of this deeply impressive album suggets. But Lanegan -- who has appeared in these pages on albums by the Queens of the Stone Age, Gutter Twins, Soulsavers and others (see here) -- knows how to mix up the misery and gothic imagery in music which has a... > Read more

Haborview Hospital

Vintage Trouble: The Bomb Shelter Sessions (Shock)

13 Feb 2012  |  <1 min read

Although they were somewhat obvious -- hot young black soul-blues singer with James Brown moves fronting a white blues-rock band -- this four piece from San Francisco certainly impressed in a Jools Holland showing (see clip) last year. This is the belated local release of their 2010 debut which garnered them considerable attention for its tough minded economy and rock edge. Ty Taylor... > Read more


Various Artists: Chimes of Freedom; The Songs of Bob Dylan (Fontana)

13 Feb 2012  |  4 min read  |  1

The Word magazine out of Britain recently had a very funny article about this four CD set of previously unreleased songs by artists covering Bob Dylan, profits from which go to Amnesty International. What the Word did, working on the premise that the set might be a clever way of also getting the bard to a young audience, was to ask kids who hadn't heard of Bob Dylan what they thought of the... > Read more

With God on Our Side

Steven Graves: Matter of Time (

12 Feb 2012  |  1 min read

American journeyman musician Steven Graves gets some good comments in the US for his socially aware music, and its rootsy Americana parameters which are broad enough to encompass Neil Young and Bob Dylan as well as Bob Marley and the Grateful Dead. His heart is in the right place -- 100 per cent of the proceeds from the digital download of the single White Buffalo off this, his third album,... > Read more

Love is Real

Arcades: Who's Most Lost? (Rattle)

9 Feb 2012  |  1 min read

Now this album on Rattle has a very interesting pedigree. Mainman behind it is Dugal McKinnon (who wrote the lyrics, and did some of the music and programming with vocalist David Prior,  and played some guitar) is the director of the Lilburn Electroacoustic Music Studio in Wellington . . . and is Dr McKinnon to boot. So what we have is an art-pop electronic outing (not... > Read more

Deep Space

Leonard Cohen: Old Ideas (Sony)

8 Feb 2012  |  2 min read

Because he is now 77 and has weighed words heavily all his life, we should look at the amusing ambiguities in this album's title. Songs about aging and darkness, failed love, apologising to women in his past, angels scratching at the door to come in, non-specific religious imagery . . . For anyone who has followed Cohen's career, especially the albums of the past 25 years (and how few... > Read more


Paul McCartney: Kisses on the Bottom (MPL/Universal)

8 Feb 2012  |  2 min read

The distance of time allows us an even more objective view of the Beatles' remarkable and singular career, and the diversity of their songwriting. It is hard to imagine a pop band (She Loves You) would go on to write some of the most self-contained psychedelic pop (Strawberry Fields Forever), let alone a band which would write serious music (Eleanor Rigby) would also do children's songs... > Read more

My Valentine

Lana Del Rey: Born to Die (Interscope)

8 Feb 2012  |  2 min read  |  1

Anyone who takes popular culture seriously enough to know you can't take it too seriously is doubtless amused by the controversy over this 25-year old American singer. Some internet blatherers have turned up the fact she was born Elizabeth Grant and under that name recorded an album, seems to have some "work" done and -- perhaps worst of all -- she comes from a wealthy family.... > Read more

Summertime Sadness

Moana and the Tribe: The Best of Moana and the Tribe (Black Pearl/Ode)

7 Feb 2012  |  4 min read

For many years I had thought the best and most powerful music of Moana Maniapoto -- stretched over four albums -- was deserving of a compilation which would remind people what a singular contribution she has made to New Zealand music, even if it went largely overlooked and most unplayed by New Zealand radio. In late 2011 Moana told me that not only was it happening, but that she would like... > Read more


Doris Troy: I'll Do Anything, The Doris Troy Anthology 1960-1996 (Kent/Border)

31 Jan 2012  |  2 min read  |  1

When Doris Troy died in Las Vegas in 2004 at age 67, her obituaries seemed like a who's who namecheck of her era. No obit for this New York daughter of a preacher was complete without mentioning Solomon Burke and Chuck Jackson, the Hollies, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, James Brown, George Harrison, Billy Preston, Stephen Stills, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Chaka Khan . . . The list goes... > Read more

He Don't Belong to Me

Various Artists: Kinshasa One Two (Warp)

30 Jan 2012  |  1 min read

Just as Muhammad Ali used to say that boxing was the way of introducing himself to the world, you start to wonder if Blur wasn't just the initial vehicle to allow Damon Albarn to get on and do other things . . . hence his Mali Music album, The Good The Bad and The Queen, Gorillaz, soundtracks and so on. And now this project in which Albarn and various producer friends (among them Dan the... > Read more


Little Willies: For the Good Times (Milking Bull/EMI)

27 Jan 2012  |  <1 min read  |  1

You'd be entitled to wonder if Norah Jones wasn't in Little Willies, would mainstream reviewers who seldom touch country music at any other time be quite so interested in this group from New York? The point is moot of course, because Jones -- who brings a real love for the idiom she grew up on in Texas as a child -- is here on these 12 (mostly) covers of such country classics as Kris... > Read more

Permanently Lonely

Opposite Sex: Opposite Sex (Fishrider)

24 Jan 2012  |  1 min read

Opposite Sex out of Dunedin have a lot to live up to with their product description: "Haunting waltzes and hyperactive melodic no wave, darkness and light, good and evil, innocence and guilt. The sound of this young trio is, they say, some kind of of absurdist-logico mix of Euro-pop, Beat poetry and subterranean lo-fi adventuring". Quite a mouthful -- and yet, oddly enough, they... > Read more

Vague Notion

Bannerman: Dearly Departed (Bannerman/Rhythmethod)

23 Jan 2012  |  1 min read

Recorded in the same furious sessions as his previous release The Dusty Dream Home (considered "an outstanding album" at Elsewhere in 2010, see here), this companion volume as it were confirms the power and darkness of singer-songwriter Richard Setford who is also a member of Batucada Sound Machine. Away from the Machine however, Setford explores very different sonic and emotional... > Read more

The Year That Has Gone

Batucada Sound Machine: Don't Keep Silent (BSM/Border)

23 Jan 2012  |  1 min read

Driven by assertive (and in places aggressive) drumming, boiling bass and propelled by a fist-tight horn section, Batucada Sound Machine here take a major step up from their Rhythm and Rhyme album of three years ago for this sonic implosion where a rock group, a big band and world music rhythms collide at the intersection of funk and jazz. With horn parts which reference Afro-Cuban,... > Read more

Un Poquito

Vorn: Down For It (Powertools)

23 Jan 2012  |  1 min read

In an alternative universe Frank Zappa would be the head of the music school, radio would refuse to play anything by someone who did a photoshoot before writing a song, and Vorn's bent pop would be as big and as popular as Crowded House's. A member of Gold Medal Famous (the point of whose recent album went right past me), Vorn Colgan -- who has an amusingly obscure bio on his website -- now... > Read more

Mental Health Issues in Newtown Part II