Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Llyria (ECM/Ode)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Llyria (ECM/Ode)

Because music on the ECM label often invites a litany of familiar adjectives -- austere, cool, detached -- it's a pleasure to throw this disc into the player and find yourself thinking more along the lines of . . . muscular, vigorous, assertive.   Even the cover here suggests fireworks --- and while the music isn't exactly incendiary this young Swiss group lead by pianist Bartsch... more >>

Nik Bartsch's Ronin: Modul 55

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Jim Jones Revue: Burning Your House Down (Liberator)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Jim Jones Revue: Burning Your House Down (Liberator)

You really gotta love the JJ Revue who deliver hotrod rock'n'roll which draws from the Fifties (Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis) as filtered through the most wild and dissolute of Rod Stewart/Faces (or the Quireboys with more rocking honky-tonk blues in their soul) with the kind of trash energy of Grinderman. Produced by Jim Sclavunos (who has done similar for Cave/Bad Seeds), this one... more >>

The Jim Jones Revue: Big Len

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Giant Sand: Blurry Blue Mountain (Fire/Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Giant Sand: Blurry Blue Mountain (Fire/Southbound)

The next few months sees the re-presentation of the Giant Sand back-catalogue, the Tucson-based band helmed by singer-songwriter Howe Gelb for these past 25 years which has had among its ranks the core of Calexico (John Convertino and Joey Burns) and a guest list which has included M. Ward, the late Vic Chestnutt and Rainer Placek, Steve Wynn of Dream Syndicate, Neko Case and many other... more >>

Giant Sand: Better Man Than Me

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Great North: Newfoundland (GNMR)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Great North: Newfoundland (GNMR)

This Auckland band impressed mightily with their Soldiers EP of last year and this debut album really steps up to the plate. Coming from an alt.country end but with discreet influences from the likes of Springsteen, Dylan, Neil Young and the Waterboys as much as muscular poetry and indie.rock (the landslide of guitars which bury All Eyes right at the end), this album has a broad reach.... more >>

Great North: Hands

12 Dec 2010    2

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Dear Time's Waste: Spells (DTW/Isaac)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Dear Time's Waste: Spells (DTW/Isaac)

The previous EP in '08, Room for Rent, by this Auckland singer/writer Claire Duncan was notable for its droning and hypnotic qualities (guitar washes) alongside delicately realised folk, and you detected a talent which could stretch in many directions, from a constrained Bjork-meets-JAMChain to slightly disconcerting meditations on love . . . and throughout pastel shadings which were quite... more >>

Dear Time's Waste: Son of a Fright

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Eva Prowse: I Can't Keep Secrets (Eva Prowse/Rhythmethod)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Eva Prowse: I Can't Keep Secrets (Eva Prowse/Rhythmethod)

Prowse -- here with her debut album -- has probably crossed more people's paths than they might think: she has toured with Fly My Pretties, opened for Wanda Jackson and appeared on the excellent album Trouble on the Waterfront by her father Chris Prowse. That is emblematic of her musical dexterity, and the fact she has the Phoenix Foundation's Samuel Flynn Scott producing and playing here,... more >>

Eva Prowse: Complacency

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Black Keys: Brothers (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Black Keys: Brothers (Shock)

Albums are usually far too long these days, and this is no exception -- but just when you think you might lose interest here the Keys pull out another angle: around the midpoint there are some superbly dark and soulful blues (Ten Cent Pistol, Sinister Kid) which sound steeped in Howlin' Wolf/Muddy Waters, then a new classic on The Go Getter (a moody barroom creeper which Etta James should... more >>

The Black Keys: The Go Getter

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 John Grant: Queen of Denmark (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 John Grant: Queen of Denmark (Shock)

Although he recorded three albums with the band the Czars, we should perhaps treat this quite exceptional, moving, funny, droll and heart-breaking singer-songwriter as a new artist. And on those terms he immediately places himself in the company of early Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and a more humorous Rufus Wainwright for songs like Sigourney Weaver in which he laments his life in terms of... more >>

John Grant: Queen of Denmark

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate: Ali and Toumani (World Circuit)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate: Ali and Toumani (World Circuit)

When the great guitarist Ali Farka Toure from Mali died in late 2005 he left an exceptional legacy of wonderful albums, not the least being the exceptional In the Heart of the Moon with kora player Toumani Diabate. That album was why sites like Elsewhere exist (J.Lo hardly needs our help. right?) Their mesmerising music was like a portal into another world, and a very benign and relaxing... more >>

Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate: Ruby

12 Dec 2010    1

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Willie Nelson: Country Music (Rounder)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Willie Nelson: Country Music (Rounder)

Willie Nelson makes so many albums these days – from Western Swing with Asleep at the Wheel and Tex-Mex to jazz stylings with Wynton Marsalis – that it's helpful this title is a product description. So here's Willie – now 77 – going back to songs by Ernest Tubb, Doc Watson, Hank Williams and others, as well the traditional I Am a Pilgrim, Nobody's Fault But... more >>

Wille Nelson: My Baby's Gone

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses: Junky Star (Lost Highway)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses: Junky Star (Lost Highway)

The name "Ryan Bingham" has been getting a lot of eartime recently -- it was the name of George Clooney's character in the movie Up in the Air. But more importantly in the real world it belongs to one of the most interesting Americana singer-songwriters of the past deacde -- the man who picked up an Oscar for his song The Weary Kind in the film Crazy Heart (in which he also played... more >>

Ryan Bingham: Junky Star

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More (Universal)

This four-piece from London may have a banjo on hand and a similar way with an archaic lyric and alt.folk melody as Fleet Foxes, but here on their debut album with widescreen producer Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire's Neon Bible) they bring some dramatic urgency which kicks them clearly into the alt.rock territory. With songs which have a sharp sense of dynamics – a rush of blood and... more >>

Mumford and Sons: Thistle and Weeds

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (Merge)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (Merge)

The first film by many aspiring directors is often a low budget affair about hookers, junkies or/and zombies. Being young they believe there is drama (or at least cool dress-ups) in these worlds -- but as many later realise there is more true human emotion and drama in that most mundane of subjects: life in the suburbs. Behind the curtains and the seeming mundane daily lives in ordinary... more >>

Arcade Fire: Wasted Hours

12 Dec 2010    1

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Marilyn Crispell and David Rothenberg: One Dark Night I Left My Silent House (ECM/Ode)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Marilyn Crispell and David Rothenberg: One Dark Night I Left My Silent House (ECM/Ode)

American pianist Marilyn Crispell is one of those rarities: classically trained, she jumped in at the very deep and demanding end of the jazz pool – free jazz, Cecil Taylor, the ferociously intellectual Anthony Braxton Quartet – and used her instincts and training to keep afloat. Then she struck out confidently. Crispell – now in her early 60s – has never... more >>

Crispell and Rothenberg: Stay, Stray

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Robert Scott: Ends Run Together (Flying Nun)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Robert Scott: Ends Run Together (Flying Nun)

The last time Robert Scott (of the Clean, the Bats and Magick Heads) appeared at Elsewhere it was for the cupboard cleanout of tapes which made up the lo-fi Tascam Hits. This collection of much more polished, expansive and augmented songs from the sagging shelves of his tapes enjoys assistance from Clean guitarist David Kilgour and Lesley Paris on drums in places, and production by... more >>

Robert Scott: The Moon Upstairs

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Naked and the Famous: Passive Me Aggressive You (Somewhat Damaged)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Naked and the Famous: Passive Me Aggressive You (Somewhat Damaged)

From She Loves You and She's a Mod, pop music has always rung to the affirmation of "yeah yeah yeah" -- and to hear this Auckland band work it so well on their newly minted classic single Young Blood (which recently won the Silver Scroll for songwriting) was thrilling. This debut album has been so well canvassed and reviewed that little remains to be said about it: it feels like a... more >>

The Naked and the Famous: Spank

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Devils Elbow: Sand on Chrome (Hit Your Head)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Devils Elbow: Sand on Chrome (Hit Your Head)

This raw, sometimes wilfully ragged and largely terrific duo of Alec Withers (vocals, guitars) and drummer-singer Andrew Gladstone formerly in Garageland (and a couple of friends in places) deliver up hook-filled alt.country rock which owes a nod to Joe Strummer as much as Steve Earle, and they also possesses that free-wheeling spirit which made the Replacements so special. As with the... more >>

Devils Elbow: These Days

12 Dec 2010    1

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Black Crowes: Croweology (Silver Arrow)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Black Crowes: Croweology (Silver Arrow)

Two decades ago when the Black Crowes launched their career with the swaggering Shake Your Money Maker they came off as a version of Rod Stewart and the Faces with a little of the Allman Brothers thrown in: theirs was party-style rhythm'n'booze played out in front of a marijuana leaf banner. But more recently – with vocalist Chris Robinson back after some solo years – they... more >>

The Black Crowes: Soul Singin'

12 Dec 2010    1

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Richard Thompson: Dream Attic (Proper)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Richard Thompson: Dream Attic (Proper)

Quite what has enraged the exceptional and much admired English guitarist/songwriter Richard Thompson we can only guess, but let's hope he stays angry because this blistering live album -- of all new material, recorded at various venues in the States -- finds him in top form. With a small band -- guitarist Pete Zorn also pulling out saxes, mandolin and flute; Joel Zifkin on violin --... more >>

Richard Thompson: Sidney Wells

12 Dec 2010

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Eels: End Times (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Eels: End Times (Shock)

The last album by Eels/Mark Oliver Everett was the split personality of Hombre Lobo where gritty and sexually aggressive  songs were alternated with lovely ballads as if he was exploring two sides of the human condition. It is a terrific album (you may only like half the tracks depending on your current frame of mind) and was Everett adopting a persona. This time out he has written... more >>

Eels: In My Younger Days

12 Dec 2010