Music at Elsewhere

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King Crimson: Lizard remixed, 40th Anniversary Edition, 2011 (KCSP3/Southbound)

7 Oct 2011    1

Of all the albums in the early King Crimson catalogue -- those between their '69 debut In The Court of the Crimson King and Red in '74 -- Lizard is the one which has most divided critics and fans. Even KC founder and sole constant Robert Fripp has considered it largely unloved, and he doesn't strike anyone as being modest about his music. According to Steven Wilson (of contemporary... > Read more

Indoor Games

Dave Lisik and Richard Nunns: Ancient Astronaut Theory (Rattle)

3 Oct 2011

Recently it was my great privilege to be asked to write some liner notes for this album on the estimable Rattle label. It is a very special album as you may hear. So rather than relitigate those ideas why don't I simply reproduce the notes here and you can make what you will of it? This is what I wrote . . . We live in a world post-everything. Many paintings are post-Modern;... > Read more


Haunted Love: Spirit Revival (Round Trip Mars)

3 Oct 2011

Some CD cover photos -- like Feelstyle's Break it to Pieces and the most recent Whirimako Black album -- just cry out for vinyl-size reproduction. Yvonne Todd's striking photo on the cover of this debut album by New Zealand's Haunted Love (Rainy McMaster and Geva Downey) is another such cover.  Just take the time to look, and even in this tiny reproduction you can see the striking... > Read more


Steven Wilson: Grace for Drowning (Kscope/Southbound)

3 Oct 2011

The highly productive multi-instrumentalist, producer, guest performer and mixing engineer (most notably on the early King Crimson catalogue) Steve Wilson is perhaps best known as the mainman behind Porcupine Tree, the British prog-rock group which has gone its own ambitious way despite the indifference of fashionable media and more hip audiences. Yet PTree have served up 10 albums since... > Read more


Wooden Shjips: West (Fuse)

3 Oct 2011    1

Wooden Shjips (sic) out of San Francisco once again serve up their particular brand of astral plane psychedelic drone-rock which sounds filtered through steel wool. Their appealing tripped-out grunge sits somewhere along the faultline of their city's Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane and a full volume, garageband metal overhaul of early Velvet Underground . . . with a bit of... > Read more


Various Artists: How Many Roads, Black America Sings Bob Dylan (Ace)

1 Oct 2011    1

Further to the previously posted collection of black artists singing the music of Lennon and McCartney (here) and posting Gary US Bonds singing Dylan's From a Buick 6 at From the Vaults, we should throw the spotlight on this 20-song album which came out a year ago. Dylan's early material -- Blowin' in the Wind especially -- found early favour with many black artists (Stevie Wonder... > Read more

Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You

Whirimako Black: The Late Night Plays (Ode)

30 Sep 2011    1

Five years ago Whirimako Black received the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to Maori music. Yet for some reason – because her albums have been in Maori perhaps? – she has rarely captured mainstream attention. Her decade-long recording career began with immediate acclaim (her debut Hine Pukohurangi won best Maori language album at the 2001 music awards) and... > Read more

Dance Me To The End of Love

Freaky Meat: Delicatessen (Bright Yellow Beetle Records)

27 Sep 2011

On what has already been described as "one of the unlikeliest liaisons -- in a musical sense -- that you're ever likely to find" (John Brinkman, Groove Guide), Freaky Meat pull together ragged-edge performance poet (Shane Hollands) and a funk-rock rhythm section. It's a debut album which will be something of a revelation for those who haven't heard similar predecessors in this... > Read more

Urbis Street Crossing

Nirvana: Nevermind, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

26 Sep 2011

Recently, for an impending publication, I was relistening to hundreds of albums, many of them considered classics. Some had aged very badly, others sounded more interesting (and influential) after the passages of years . . . and rare ones sounded as thrilling now as they did at the time. Shorn of the detritus of hype, grunge fashion, fandom and all the others things Nevermind accrued at... > Read more

Immodium aka Breed (Smart Studio Sessions)

Various Artists: Come Together, Black America sings Lennon and McCartney (Ace)

26 Sep 2011    1

Although their peers like the Rolling Stones, the Downliner Sect and Pretty Things were more profoundly influenced by black American music, the Beatles certainly drew on that deep well. In their Hamburg days they played songs by Chuck Berry, Arthur Alexander and Little Richard, on their first two UK albums they covered the Isley Brothers' Twist and Shout (Lennon's definitive version),... > Read more

Come Together

Jess Chambers: Desire (Chambers)

23 Sep 2011

Right at the end of this hushed album, Wellington singer-songwriter Chambers adapts the old gospel-country hand-clap This Little Light of Mine into something very different. She takes it right down to an intimate whisper over piano (Peter Hill) and guitar. It sounds like it has been recorded in the empty front parlour of an abandoned home where there are dust-covered family photos on the wall.... > Read more

Full of Fire

Mel Parsons: Red Grey Blue (Border)

20 Sep 2011

In a country which sometimes seems too profligate with singer-songwriters, a few stand out -- and it was no surprise Mel Parsons should have been nominated for a music award on the strength of her previous album Over My Shoulder, although being in the folk album of the year category would seem to marginalise her in some ways. For many "folk" would be a strange tag for someone like... > Read more

Things Will Get Good

Little Feat: 40 Feat, The Hot Tomato Anthology 1971-2011 (Proper/Southbound)

20 Sep 2011    3

As with Amazing Rhythm Aces, Little Feat seem a band loyally followed by many . . . but largely overlooked by contemporary critics or those who never fell for their particularly imaginative gumbo of sleazy rock, New Orleans funk'n'voodoo, psychedelic country, dirty blues and whatever else made you feel good right at that moment. The drug death of Feat's expressive singer, slide guitarist... > Read more

Apolitical Blues

Superheavy: Superheavy (Universal)

19 Sep 2011    1

There are few bona fide bands worthy of the appellation “supergroup” (these people, or these?) but it's fair to say anything with Mick Jagger, former Eurythmic Dave Stewart, Bollywood megastar A.H. Rahman, hip-hop reggae-rocker Damian Marley and soul singer Joss Stone would unquestionably qualify. Yet given the melange of cultures there it's hardly surprising this... > Read more


Thrashing Marlin: Donkey Deep (Braille)

19 Sep 2011

Four albums in a 15 year career seems a leisurely pace but David Donaldson and Steve Roche – the core of Wellington's Thrashing Marlin – are busy on other projects, as Donaldson indicates in his interesting answers to the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire. Still, this album is worth the wait as they throw their considerable multi-instrumental skills at a collection of 14 songs... > Read more


They Might Be Giants: Join Us (Rounder)

19 Sep 2011

Like Jonathan Richman and Weezer, New York's They Might Be Giants had nerdy charm when they emerged some 15 albums ago and it was fun to hear them on the theme to Malcolm in the Middle and record some songs for a Disney kids' show. Two years ago they did a science-themed children's album (Here Comes the Science). They seemed to be successfully amusing themselves, and the Giants'... > Read more


Tom Russell: Mesabi (Proper)

19 Sep 2011

Although American singer-songwriter Tom Russell's name isn't as widely known as that of Joe Ely, Townes Van Zandt and others, his songs have been covered by Johnny Cash, Peter Case, Iris DeMent and many more, and his story-telling tied to a backbeat has consistently drawn praise from critics and peers. Jerry Jeff Walker, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Eliza Gilkyson... > Read more

Sterling Hayden

Jerry Jeff Walker: Jerry Jeff Walker, Expanded Edition (Raven)

13 Sep 2011

First released in 1972 and only now available on CD (here expanded with  five extra songs including a 2002 version of his classic Mr Bojangles), this album was one which introduced Texan Walker as part of the left-field non-Nashville country acts of the day alongside Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark and Waylon Jennings. In the liner notes Walker -- who has actually recorded... > Read more

Hairy Ass Hillbillies

Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (Nonesuch/Warners)

12 Sep 2011    1

Ry Cooder's last three outings were the occasionally rewarding but often hard haul through his concept album trilogy Chavez Ravine (Mexican LA in the Forties), My Name is Buddy (Depression era America) and I Flathead (sci-fi Fifties with cool cars). Great songs scattered throughout, but . . .   For this one however Cooder re-enters the present and it is the better for it.... > Read more

No Hard Feelings

Nick Lowe: The Old Magic (Proper)

12 Sep 2011    1

Perhaps after the series of excellence on his albums The Impossible Bird (1994), Dig My Mood ('98, Elsewhere's pick), The Convincer (2001) and At My Age (2007), it was maybe too much to expect the standard from Nick Lowe could remain as high again. But The Old Magic -- while including some beautifully delivered bitter-sweet songs couched in country-influenced Fifties-like standards --... > Read more

Stoplight Roses