Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

The Blind Boys of Alabama: Retrospective (Stem/Southbound)

27 Mar 2011    1

With this long-running gospel-cum-doo wop group due in New Zealand for a concert in April with Aaron Neville and Mavis Staples, this triple disc originally released in 2007 gets a timely re-release. The Blind Boys have been around in name since 1939 and recording since the late Forties -- a couple of their founders only died in the past decade -- and they extended their repertoire from... > Read more

The Blind Boys of Alabama: He's Got What I Want

The Thomas Oliver Band: Baby, I'll Play (Rhythmethod)

23 Mar 2011

As with his fellow Wellingtonian Darren Watson, Thomas Oliver is a finalist in the blues category of the International Song Writing Competition to be judged in April 2011. The song is Goin' Home - which kicks off this rootsy, bluesy and album -- and the video of it released a year ago was named among the top 30 internationally at the Rushes Soho Shorts in London, and it... > Read more

The Thomas Oliver Band: Bad Talkin' Man

The Low Anthem: Smart Flesh (Nonesuch)

21 Mar 2011    2

Sin and death and guilt; archaisms like "apothecary", "Gatling gun" and "player piano"; harmonica, pump organ, violin, saw and cello; whiskey and gin; recorded in a freezing cold room in winter . . . all the right elements would seem to be in place for more rustic music grounded in an older America from educated urbanites. Smart Flesh is another mood piece of... > Read more

The Low Anthem: Golden Cattle

Asian Dub Foundation: A History of Now (Cooking Vinyl)

21 Mar 2011    1

Nobody would thank you for being so politically incorrect as to observe that much of this is just a politicised Asian-British version of nu-metal: lots of raging against the machine; rock guitars colliding with white-knuckle rap (with tabla); plenty of socio-political sloganeering (the title track which yells "you can't download me" and "living the history of now", which... > Read more

Asian Dub Foundation: In Another Life

The Strokes: Angles (Sony)

21 Mar 2011    1

When the Stokes out of New York invaded the airwaves and pop glossies a decade ago they came with an advance guard of salivating journalists and those who heard them as leading a ragged garageband revival by conjuring up the late Sixties/Seventies spirit of the Big Apple by referencing the Velvet Underground and dirty arse art-rock. The Strokes were, put another way, necessary for American... > Read more

The Strokes: Machu Picchu

Matt Langley: Featherbones (Hometown)

18 Mar 2011

Langley's rootsy EP Lost Companions of 2007 – recorded in Wellington – announced a mature lyricist and a singer with a delivery like the best Americana artists (James McMurtry particularly) with a little Dylanesque drawl. It went past most, and this debut album is doing the same with few mainstream media reviews, despite it including 7.13 for which he won... > Read more

Matt Langley: Love and Money

Papercuts: Fading Parade (Sub Pop)

18 Mar 2011

Although San Francisco's Jason Robert Quever – who is for most purposes Papercuts – opens this fourth album with the drilling indie.pop of Do You Really Wanna Know and the dreamy Do What You Will, which puts them in the lineage running from the power pop of Shoes in the late Seventies through the shoegaze dreamscapes of Neil Halstead's Slowdive and to his more... > Read more

Papercuts: The Messenger

Imelda May: Mayhem (Universal)

16 Mar 2011

Irish singer Imelda May Higham started her profesional life singing folk, rock'n'roll and rockabilly but has made her way towards saucy, raunchy old-time jazz while losing none of her original passions. Which is why on the recent Jeff Beck tribute to Les Paul she could weigh in with everything from rockabilly to haunting torch singing, so much so that you could have been mistaken for... > Read more

Imelda May: Sneaky Freak

Marianne Dissard: L'abandon (Dissard/Rhythmethod)

14 Mar 2011

Although her impressive debut album L'entredeux took her to small audience (she sings in French) this Tucson-based singer and film-maker is rather more edgy on this outing which might win her an even bigger following. Dissard -- interviewed here and more recently answering our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire here -- lets some of the Americana influences of the previous album take... > Read more

Marianne Dissard: Un gros chat/A Big Cat

R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now (Warners)

14 Mar 2011    1

Thirty years into a career and with this, their 15th studio album, it seems a bit rich for REM bassist Mike Mills to say this one is somehow different with really beautiful slow songs, some nice mid-tempo ones and three or four rockers. That pretty much describes every REM album in the past two decades, and for this one -- despite them talking it up, and Michael Stipe's lyrics even more... > Read more

R.E.M.: Oh My Heart

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Midlake (LateNightTales/Southbound)

11 Mar 2011

The Late Night Tales mix-tape series continues with this especially interesting and quite lovely collection put together by Midlake who had a Best of Elsewhere 2010 album with The Courage of Others (and were instrumental in John Grant's Queen of Denmark, also a winner that year). The chief feature here -- aside from the coherence of the acoustic and post-folk theme -- is how it will... > Read more

Bob Carpenter: Silent Passage

Teddy Thompson: Bella (Verve)

11 Mar 2011    1

This 35-year old son of famed British folk-rockers Richard and Linda follows his own path. He took his powerful, sensitive voice to excellent originals on his second album Separate Ways in 05, followed it up with an album of country covers Upfront and Down Low (which boasted the stunning sole original in Down Low) then unveiled the exceptional album of mature pop and A Piece... > Read more

Teddy Thompson: Delilah

Beady Eye: Different Gear Still Speeding (Liberator)

10 Mar 2011

In one of life's great ironies it was, of all people, Ringo Starr who enjoyed the greatest chart success with a string of chart singles in the wake of the Beatles break-up. And who would have reckoned on Dave Grohl's subsequent career after Nirvana. So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Liam Gallagher is the first Oasis brother out of the gates since the band split, or that this should... > Read more

Beady Eye: For Anyone

Left Lane Cruiser: Junkyard Speed Ball (Alive/Southbound)

9 Mar 2011

Judge a band by its cover? Sure, why not? Here the raucous blues-rock duo of guitarist Freddy J IV and drummer Brenn "Sauasage Paw" Beck out of Indiana are almost horizontal in a bathroom sharing a bottle of Jameson whisky on the inner sleeve of the cover, and the album features tracks with the titles Lost My Mind, 24HR, Weed Vodka, Cracker Barrel, Pig Farm, Road Again and At The... > Read more

Left Lane Cruiser: 24HR

The Baseball Project: High and Inside Vol. 2 (YepRoc/Southbound)

8 Mar 2011

A power pop supergroup of sorts -- Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate, Gutterball), Scott McCaughey (Fresh Young Fellows, REM), Peter Buck (REM) and Linda Pitmon (Golden Smog) -- here continue their passion for baseball after their similarly conceived debut project Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails. You probably don't need to know too much about the sport to appreciate sentiments like Fair Weather Fans... > Read more

The Baseball Project: Look Out Mom

Buffalo Tom: Skins (Scrawny/Southbound)

7 Mar 2011

When Boston band Buffalo Tom disappeared for almost a decade in the mid 2000s it would be hard to argue they were in the "much missed" category for most people. But their loyal core had their albums Birdbrain, Let Me Come Over (which included the wonderful Taillights Fade) and Sleepy Eyed as cornerstones in their collection. Their return in 2007 with Three Easy Pieces confirmed... > Read more

Buffalo Tom: The Kids Just Sleep

The Tenderizers: Love Me Tender (Lefthand Gun)

6 Mar 2011

With a vocal style which brings to mind Bill Lake's engagingly fragile delivery and narratives, singer-writer here John Newton can boast some considerable credentials: he has a PhD from Melbourne and works at the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies in Wellington. He's hardly po-faced though: on his Facebook page for Religious Views he has written "aw c'mon" and his Political... > Read more

The Tenderizers: Poison

Johnny Cash: From Memphis to Hollywood Bootleg Vol II (CBS)

6 Mar 2011

Following Cash's Personal File: Bootleg Vol I -- and of course the Dylan bootleg series, Kris Kristofferson's Austin Sessions and demoes, George Jones' Great Lost Hits and various Willie Nelson issues of early demos and sessions -- there is no shortage of material for scholars researching these artists. This Johnny Cash double disc from his own archives places him in the context of the mid... > Read more

Johnny Cash: The Folk Singer (1968)

Jeff Beck: Rock'n'Roll Party (ATCO)

6 Mar 2011

Even those who have been his most ardent champions concede that guitarist Jeff Beck has always taken his own wayward path, often following a great album with an indifferent one. He may lack career focus -- he takes time out frequently -- but his recent years have seen him acclaimed for the consistency of his live performances, and the petty terrific album recorded live at Ronnie Scott's.... > Read more

Jeff Beck and Imelda May: I'm a Fool to Care

An Emerald City: The Fourth (Banished from the Universe)

4 Mar 2011

After their impressive self-titled EP in '08 then the expansive, cinematic debut album Circa Scaria the following year, this Auckland-based band which brought together psychedelic space-flight guitar rock with touches of world music (Middle Eastern and North African from violinist Felix Lun, plus sitar, oud, lute and odd percussion from Rob Croft and Ede Giesen) relocated to Berlin.... > Read more

An Emerald City: Circa Scaria