Music at Elsewhere

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Standard Funk Ensemble: Happenstance (

10 May 2011

Vocalist Georgia Woods here -- who may have been the prime mover behind this project -- has been an actress and stage performer for a number of years (Gilbert and Sullivan in Australia, member of the Auckland Theatre Company) and performed the highly successful Highlights -- Blondes and Their Songs. She is something of a trouper too and sings in restaurants, bars and in cabaret. But for... > Read more

Standard Funk Ensemble: Evenin'

Miss Black and the Light: Black Light (Ode)

10 May 2011

It seems a shame the reggae-driven grooves are pushed right to the front end of this otherwise interesting album because that sound has become, as previously noted at Elsewhere, such a default position for so many New Zealand artists. Miss Black (Ngapata Black, daughter of the great Whirimako Black) finds a real point of diference when she gets into a more soulful style (the steamy... > Read more

Miss Black and the Light: Don't Stop

Various Artists: Heartland (Sony)

10 May 2011    1

From time to time I am approached to write liner notes for albums, and I only ever accept those which I think are interesting -- like the collections of New Zealand psychedelic music under the banner A Day in My Mind's Mind -- or those which make me think a bit. And a collection of "heartland" radio hits made me think about how far some critics, like myself, are removed from what... > Read more

Front Lawn: Andy

Golden Kanine: Oh Woe! (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

9 May 2011

There seems to be an interesting musical culture in Sweden which every now and again appears on the scanners of the rest of the world. In the pop world we can see a lineage between the Wannadies and Peter Bjorn and John, but there is something else also. It sounds like there is a small and individual scene which, for want of a better word, might be considered a Scandinavian take on... > Read more

Golden Kanine: The Devil

Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams (Reprise)

9 May 2011

For her first album in a decade the fairie queen and producer Dave Stewart have opened their fat Rolladecks and made some calls. Here are Fleetwood Macs' Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, Mike Campbell from Petty's Heartbreakers, guitarists Waddy Watchel and Glen Ballard (among other six stringers), Greg Leisz on mandolin, percusson player Lennie Castro . . .  And Nicks' daughters... > Read more

Stevie Nicks: Soldier's Angel

Duran Duran: All You Need is Now (Shock)

9 May 2011    1

Although seemingly past their use-by date, Duran Duran are enjoying that perfect storm where nostalgia by their Eighties fans collides with a generation of younger musicians who are plundering that decade for ideas and sounds. And suitably decked out in aggressive black clobber for their first video they launch this album with an admirable panache -- and sound like a slightly tougher... > Read more

Duran Duran: Other People's Lives

Asa: Beautiful Imperfection (Dramatico/Border)

9 May 2011

Three years ago the self-titled major label debut of this Parisian/Nigerian drew intelligent links between the socially conscious music of Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman and Bob Marley, and contemporary soulful R&B. That album was a real gem, but regrettably went past far too many who might have embraced it, and Asa (pronounced Asha) as a smart soul diva who seemed to display none of... > Read more

Asa: Preacherman

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