Music at Elsewhere

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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

Gruff Rhys: Hotel Shampoo (Ovni)

20 Apr 2011    1

The singer for Wales' Super Furry Animals here delivers his third album and the reference points are pure Sixties melodic pop (the Vogues, Buckinghams, early Lennon-McCartney, the Beach Boys) and the LA singer-songwriters of the early Seventies (all those various Taylors, Dan Fogelberg etc). And a little mariachi trumpet. This makes for a light and breezy pop confection guaranteed to bring... > Read more

Gruff Rhys: Honey All Over

Various Artists: Power of Soul; A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix (Sony)

18 Apr 2011

This chock-full 17-track tribute to Jimi Hendrix arrives on no significant Hendrix anniversary: his short career in the headlines was bookended by his arrival in London in late '66 and he died there in September '70. And although this isn't the first (nor will it be the last) tribute to his particular genius, there is always a place to remind a new generation of just how towering his... > Read more

Bootsy Collins, George Clinton and P-Funk: Power of Soul

Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (Drag City)

18 Apr 2011

After his last exceptional album Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (a Best of Elsewhere 2009 album) it was hard to imagine how this Americana singer-songwriter -- who previously recorded as Smog -- could remain on the margins of mainstream acceptance. That the album demanded, but also commanded, attention might just have put him once more into the too hard category for most. This time... > Read more

Bill Callahan: Baby's Breath

Ghost Wave: Ghost Wave (Arch Hill)

18 Apr 2011

With some of the momentum of their labelmates the Clean, urgent droning vocals and pure psychedelic guitar jangle, this debut EP by the Auckland-based three-piece touches a lot of familiar places – you could add JPSE and some of the Manchester guitar bands to those reference points – but they do it with such economy and style it comes off as joyous . . . and the sound of a band... > Read more

Ghost Wave: On a Breeze

Obits: "Moody, Standard and Poor" (Sub Pop)

18 Apr 2011

Following their derivative but enjoyable I Blame You debut, former Drive Like Jehu's Rick Froberg and pals again deliver post-punk garageband trash-rock (Ramones, Dead Moon, Stooges, the Animals and other Sixties r'n'b-based pop-rockers) on 12 short, sharp and urgent grit-guitar songs which only loses points when it gets too poppy (Shift Operator) or errs towards a pop-metal sound (Killer,... > Read more

Obits: I Want Results

Hoquets: Belgotronics (Crammed Discs)

18 Apr 2011

This quirky trio from Belgium who sing in English, French and Flemish take their name from the form of interlocking musical patterns or “hockets” (From Scratch had an album Global Hockets in the late 90s) which in French rhymes with “okay”. The album title refers to the Congotronics albums out of Kinshasa (also on Crammed Discs) where musicians use... > Read more

Hoquets: Stoemp

Joan Baez: Play Me Backwards (Proper)

18 Apr 2011

Joan Baez has never had her rediscovery by a new generation, but this reissue of her excellent folk-rock album of ' 92 – with an extra disc of demos including Dylan's early Seven Curses which only appeared on his recent Witmark Demos 1962-64 – is a smart starting place as it found her back in Nashville after a 20 year absence and at the top of her game. With cracking session... > Read more

Joan Baez: Steal Across the Border

Aaron Neville: I Know I've Been Changed (Tell It)

14 Apr 2011

Aaron Neville saying he's been changed is hardly news, and nor is his soulful, vibrating falsetto which is given a florid showcase in the long intro to the gospel-cum-r'n'b opener here Stand By Me. This sounds like an American Idol exaggeration of his quivering sound, but when the band kicks in (Greg Leisz on dobro, Allen Toussaint on piano, a gospel chorus) he reins himself in and... > Read more

Aaron Neville: Don't Let Him Ride

Manos Achalinotopoulos: Flight on Light (Rattle)

14 Apr 2011

In the rather fruity liner notes here -- admittedly in translation -- the Greek clarinet player Achalinotopoulos speaks of the ocean of his childhood and how he imagined horizons from above, of here flying into uncharted territories of the unconscious, and of "one clarinet narrating seven stories, each in a continuous stream". And of not being limited by "the barriers of pattern,... > Read more

Manos Achalinotopoulos and Tim Prebble: Dragonlake

Meat Puppets: Lollipop (Megaforce)

12 Apr 2011

The very great Meat Puppets out of Arizona delivered exciting, desert-baked psychedelic rock with an edge of country and hard rock in the Eighties. If the collected lyrics of Curt Kirkwood would stump even the most dedicated thesis writer with an interest in surrealism, it hardly mattered. The guitars would sear off into the wide open spaces driven by a tight rhythm section of brother Cris... > Read more

Meat Puppets: Damn Thing

The Tin Syndrome: Artefacts Which Reason Ate 1980-83 (Jayrem)

12 Apr 2011

The Tin Syndrome were very much a Wellington band in a number of ways. Their reputation didn't translate much into the rest of New Zealand in the early Eighties, but more than that they also had what we might call "Wellington" concerns to the fore. If you live in the capital city of any Western country you are bound to see a lot of men in grey suits (politicians, bureaucrats,... > Read more

The Tin Syndrome: Plastic Bag (1980)

Shane Nicholson: Bad Machines (Liberation)

11 Apr 2011

Nicholson is one of the finest of Australia's singers-songwriters with his feet in alt.country and Americana, but he's as comfortable with Dylanesque wordplay in a strange narrative (Blueberry Pie with its "monkey with the golden tooth") as he is delivering emotionally weighted acoustic ballads (Trick Knee Blues). And as always he gets strong support from a tight band (which... > Read more

Shane Nicholson: Famous Last Words

Maggie Bjorklund: Coming Home (Bloodshot/Southbound)

11 Apr 2011

Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico have become something of a mark of quality when it comes to spacious sounding albums. They certainly showcased Marianne Dissard in that way and here -- even though they don't produce -- they appear with acclaimed pedal steel player Bjorklund from Denmark on an album which has all the spaciousness of Tucson skies, albeit a little more chilly... > Read more

Maggie Bjorklund: Insekt

Raul Malo: Sinners and Saints (Concord)

11 Apr 2011

The former frontman for the seemingly defunct Mavericks continues his credible solo career here on an album which unself-consciously bridges dramatic Spanish-influenced Tex-Mex, alt.country and stinging guitar rock, and which pulls his powerful vocals to the fore. You can't turn away from a voice this nail-hard and when it is arc-welded to his equally forceful guitar playing -- as on the... > Read more

Raul Malo: San Antonio Baby

Dropkick Murphys: Going Out in Style (Born and Bred)

11 Apr 2011

At one level this is another installment of raucous, shot-slamming, singalong rowdiness from Boston's Celtic-punk outfit . . . and in that it is not only effective and enjoyable. It certainly makes you want the bartender to splash another shot of whisky into your jar before you throw an arm around the shoulder of mate and bellow "burn me to a rotten crisp and toast me for a while, I could... > Read more

Dropkick Murphys: Memorial Day