Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Red Hot Chilli Pipers: Music for the Kilted Generation (Rel Records)

Red Hot Chilli Pipers: Music for the Kilted Generation (Rel Records)

This can be brief, and perhaps something of a consumer warning for those who only scan things. Look very, very carefully at the band name here. Yes, this is Scotland's revenge, a group of rock'n'roll bagpipers (Bagrock by any other name), and if you don't like the sound of the pipes then you should pass by rather quickly. It's a weird and rather clever one though, because with so much... more >>

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers: Baba O'Riley

31 Jan 2011    1

Andrew McKenzie: The Edge of the World (Arch Hill)

Andrew McKenzie: The Edge of the World (Arch Hill)

Andrew McKenzie is the singer-guitarist in the New Zealand band Grand Prix which has long delivered a very pointed kind of slightly snarling alt.country with a rock'n'roll heartbeat and a dark, unsettling edge. For this album under his own name McKenzie (who plays almost everything from drums and bass to harmonica and sitar) mines some of that same rich vein, but also steps off into other... more >>

Andrew McKenzie: The End of Summer

30 Jan 2011    1

Blonde Redhead: Penny Sparkle (4AD)

Blonde Redhead: Penny Sparkle (4AD)

This album by the US-based trio (Italian-born Montreal-raised twins and a Japanese singer, here with a keyboardist and a Moog player) arrived late last year but is timely to now address given they will appear at the forthcoming Laneway Festivals in New Zealand -- and what an enticing, dreamy and dim-the-lights collection this is to persuade you along to see them. Doubtless these songs will... more >>

Blonde Redhead: There Will Be Stars

24 Jan 2011

Moondoggies: Tidelands (Hardly Art)

Moondoggies: Tidelands (Hardly Art)

Their name might not inspire much confidence -- the sort of band name 12-year olds think up -- but this rootsy, alt.country and indie-rock outfit from Seattle on a SubPop imprint label have a mainline connection to the same core of music (Neil Young, the Band) as informs the Felice Brothers, early Wilco and Richmond Fontaine. They certainly know their way around a melody (the... more >>

Moondoggies: A Lot of People on My Mind

24 Jan 2011

The Doobie Brothers: World Gone Crazy (Shock)

The Doobie Brothers: World Gone Crazy (Shock)

The Doobies' great Listen to the Music, Long Train Running and China Grove in the late 60s/early 70s were driven by urgent guitars and hammering keyboards delivering a forward momentum (which denied the stoner reference of their chosen name). But surely no old fans could fall for the limp, lame and geriatric opener here A Brighter Day (with steel drums and, of all things, a narrative)... more >>

The Doobie Brothers: Law Dogs

24 Jan 2011    1

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Orange + Experimental Remixes (Shout Factory/Southbound)

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Orange + Experimental Remixes (Shout Factory/Southbound)

The JSB Explosion's early catalogue has undergone the remastering/expansion process but here's the essential starting point on any investigation: Orange from '94 was their career highpoint, an album which dragged their alt.rock/Elvis-on-speed, rock'n'roll blues into mainstream attention for its concise, harmonica-wheezing, Cramps-like energy and challengingly brittle sound. By this time they... more >>

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Brenda

17 Jan 2011    1

Joe Cocker: Hard Knocks (Sony)

Joe Cocker: Hard Knocks (Sony)

Cocker at 66 is candid enough to say that the idea behind this album was to get him on radio because -- good though his last one Hymn For My Soul was -- it didn't sell as expected. That meant bringing in another producer (Matt Serletic who had done good work for Collective Soul and Matchbox 20), getting the word out for radio-friendly singles from songwriters and tweaking things with... more >>

Joe Cocker: I Hope

17 Jan 2011

Chris Thompson: Chris Thompson (Sunbeam)

Chris Thompson: Chris Thompson (Sunbeam)

Although it is common enough to acclaim great New Zealand bands from the late Sixties/early Seventies -- especially those with an acid-rock tinge -- as never quite getting their due internationally (Human Instinct, Ticket, the Fourmyula etc), the story of folk singer Chris Thompson has rarely been told. I have just the one album by him -- the hugely impressive Minstrelsy from '77 -- but (as... more >>

Chris Thompson: Where is My Wild Rose?

17 Jan 2011

Dale Hawkins: Oh! Suzy-Q; The Definitive and Remastered Edition (Hoodoo)

Dale Hawkins: Oh! Suzy-Q; The Definitive and Remastered Edition (Hoodoo)

If he'd done nothing else other than his tough-edged swamp-rockabilly hit Suzy-Q, Dale Hawkins out of Louisiana would still have made the rock'n'roll history books: Suzy-Q was co-written with guitarist James Burton who plays the stinging and memorable solo, and it took Hawkins to the Apollo in Harlem where he was the first white rock'n'roll/rockabilly singer to play that prestigious place.... more >>

Dale Hawkins: Suzy-Q

17 Jan 2011

Ticket: Awake (Aztec/Southbound)

Ticket: Awake (Aztec/Southbound)

When Kiwi acid-rockers Ticket from the early Seventies re-formed towards the end of 2010 for a couple of gigs it was hoped that this reissue of their trippy classic, Hendrix-inspired album would be available at the door. But that didn't happen because . . . Lots of reasons I suppose. But here it is now, remastered and in a gatefold sleeve with typically excellent liner notes by Nick... more >>

Ticket: Broken Wings

17 Jan 2011

The Volcano Diary: The Volcano Diary (NoVo Arts)

The Volcano Diary: The Volcano Diary (NoVo Arts)

There is a considerable amount I don't know about this outfit from Seattle which is fronted by Alicia Dara. In fact I think I've just told you all I do know. But there is more to be said: this beguiling nine-song album arrived from the same source as the excellent My Pet Dragon (but is completely different), and Dara's enticingly soft but assured vocals just drag you into these... more >>

The Volcano Diary: Pacifica

17 Jan 2011    1

Kid Rock: Born Free (Atlantic)

Kid Rock: Born Free (Atlantic)

Having always been a fan of Bob Seger in that classic period in the mid Seventies (especially the Stranger in Town album) it was a real pleasure to shove this disc in the car player and crank it up . . . because by halfway through the first track I was thinking this was the great and largely forgotten Bob accidentally put in a Kid Rock cover. Only to find . . . Yep, from the raw vocals... more >>

Kid Rock: Times Like These

16 Jan 2011

Lloyd Cole: Broken Record (Tapete/Yellow Eye)

Lloyd Cole: Broken Record (Tapete/Yellow Eye)

Lloyd Cole may not command that massive audience he once did, but his modest tours always pull the loyalists -- and his songwriting skills haven't deserted him, even though his great chart-worrying album Rattlesnakes with the Commotions was closer to 30 years ago than 20. This new album, recorded in New York and spare in its arrangements for acoustic guitar and little more, puts those... more >>

Lloyd Cole: Oh Genevieve

16 Jan 2011

Daniel Hewson: This Moment (Scrynoose)

Daniel Hewson: This Moment (Scrynoose)

Guitarist Daniel Hewson lives in easy-going Kerikeri at the top of New Zealand's North island -- which perhaps accounts for a couple of impressions after hearing this: it's because of his location that he isn't better known (he's off the radar and keeps to himself as it were), and for the cool vibe that this collection gives off. It's like summertime with the occasional bossa beat. But... more >>

Daniel Hewson: Because of This

16 Jan 2011

Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra: Rockinghorse (Rhino)

Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra: Rockinghorse (Rhino)

The celebrity-guest collections and R'N'B Orchestra discs from Jools Holland have often been tasty but a few not entirely successful. This sometimes breathless rush of boogie-woogie piano, big brass and handclap gospel-blues comes off a winner from the opener, a thumping and exciting duet with New Orleans piano legend Allen Toussaint and Holland playing organ. Then Ruby Turner –... more >>

Jools Holland with Allen Toussaint: Whirlawayi

10 Jan 2011

7 Walkers: 7 Walkers (Response/Southbound)

7 Walkers: 7 Walkers (Response/Southbound)

Singer-guitarist Papa Mali here has a story: the late bluesman John Campbell spotted his talent when Mali (born Malcolm Welbourne in Louisiana) was in his teens; he was given his nickname by reggae figurehead Burning Spear while playing in Jamaica; he brought reggae and Southern funk together with rock'n'roll . . . But he's only one name here: the rest include Willie Nelson (on the... more >>

7 Walkers: King Cotton Blues (with Willie Nelson)

10 Jan 2011

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010: READERS' CHOICES

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010: READERS' CHOICES

And the people have spoken. In addition to my own Best of Elsewhere 2010 list below, this year readers got to have their say -- and pleasingly many picked albums which I simply didn't get. Sorry, the National still don't do it for me  . . . but came through with a lot of fans. No matter: it's all down to taste, the mood of the moment and such. So here follows the main albums... more >>

12 Dec 2010    2

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Sven Olsen's Brutal Canadian Love Saga: Songs from the Bottom of a Hilltop (SOBCLS)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Sven Olsen's Brutal Canadian Love Saga: Songs from the Bottom of a Hilltop (SOBCLS)

Recently I heard this collection -- 400 copies only, two CDs, a thick booklet of artfully rendered lyrics, posters and more delivered in medium-sized pizza box -- being described as a cult item, bound to lose money, an ambitious conceit . . . but also pretty terrific. Right on all counts. Naming your ensemble after an obscure Norwegian politician (deceased) and having a group of around... more >>

Sven Olsen's Brutal Canadian Love Saga: Pizza Hall

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Justin Currie: The Great War (Ryko/Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Justin Currie: The Great War (Ryko/Southbound)

Some of these songs heard at a distance -- just the sharp pop and guitar jangle coming through -- and you'd pin Justin Currie as a smart power pop singer-songwriter who might give the charts some real damage. But my guess is most people don't want emotional pessimism, venomous songs about partners and a seething rage bordering on self-loathing -- not to say a wide misanthropic streak -- as... more >>

Justin Currie: As Long As You Don't Come Back

12 Dec 2010    2

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest (4AD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest (4AD)

After their last album Microcastle (one of Elsewhere's best of '08) this beguiling outfit seemed to go off the map, perhaps in part because of mainman Bradford Cox's side project as the equally fascinating (but different) Atlas Sound. If that last Deerhunter sounded like an astute distillation of diverse influences this slightly more low-key and surreptitious album owes very little obvious... more >>

Deerhunter: Basement Scene

12 Dec 2010