Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Various Artists: Do You Dream? (Angel Air/Southbound)

27 Jun 2010

A few years ago I was invited to write the liner essays in a series of collections of New Zealand psychedelic Music (A Day in My Mind's Mind). What became clear was that from our end of the world where the relevant drugs arrived a bit later, musicians and producers invented their own idea of what psychedelic music was. Mostly it was bent, often heavily phased, pop-rock with a little... > Read more

Outer Limits: Any Day Now

Kris Kristofferson: Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends (Light in the Attic/Rhythmethod)

27 Jun 2010

Elsewhere agrees with itself that Willie Nelson makes too many albums these days (although the last one Country Music was excellent). But the collection to return to repeatedly is Classic and Unreleased, a '95 Rhino box set of Willie's early years. In it you can hear the gifted songwriter that everyone recognised, and the utterly personal style and delivery he brought to originals and songs... > Read more

Kris Kristofferson: Little Girl Lost

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Mojo (Reprise)

21 Jun 2010

My take on Tom Petty -- most of whose albums in the first decade or more I cherished with a passion, but had misfortunes with the man -- is that when he hooked up with the Traveling Wilburys he became prematurely geriatric and he lost his rock edge. This is a theory which doesn't bear much serious scrutiny perhaps (I was "wrong" about the Wilburys as I have conceded), but after... > Read more

Tom Petty: Takin' My Time

The National: High Violet (4AD)

21 Jun 2010    2

Frankly, I want to like the National more, but their almost willfully/arty obscurantism is often off-putting. The DVD which came with their extended EP A Skin/A Night, The Virginia EP seemed like an attempt at creating depth in something which was inherently ordinary. And I feel a little the same about this album: the all-in production attempts to carry the weaker material and the... > Read more

The National: Runaway

Little Axe: Bought for a Dollar, Sold for a Dime (Real World/Southbound)

21 Jun 2010

The previous album by guitarist Skip McDonald as Little Axe, Stone Cold Ohio, was a Best of Elsewhere 2006 album so interest was high for this one which also sees the whole Tackhead crew (bassist Doug Wimbush, drummer Keith Le Blanc) together again after 17 years, and with producer Adrian Sherwood. Guests include vocalists Bernard Fowler and Ken Boothe, and a brass section. There are once... > Read more

Little Axe: Can't Sleep

Devo: Something for Everybody (Warners)

21 Jun 2010

Although I don't get the point of Blondie or the Pretenders in the 21st century, there seems to me a place for Devo: after all, they were always looking to that devolved future when things got worse and worse (like having Blondie and Chrissie still out on the traps?) And of course here they clear the ground for themselves with the two opening tracks: the chipper Fresh jokes about finding... > Read more

Devo: Step Up

Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders: Red Light Fever (Sony)

20 Jun 2010

Here's my thinking: in his dreams Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters is playing with the perfect band; it is Cheap Trick playing Queen songs . . . and the stadium is rocking. Especially when they throw in some glam-rock by Sweet. I like what he said about the making of this, his second solo outing away from the Foo Fighters: "About halfway through I just said, fuck it, I don't care if... > Read more

Taylor Hawkins: Way Down

The Album Leaf: A Chorus of Storytellers (SubPop)

14 Jun 2010

This quiet, mostly instrumental and discreetly seductive album by a band with a very confusing name has been slipping back into the player quite a lot recently -- and I suspect it came out a few months ago, but I've only belatedly discovered it. The Album Leaf has been the on-going project of the San Diego-based songwriter Jimmy LaValle whose music conjures up dream states, ambient... > Read more

The Album Leaf: Falling From the Sun

The Chemical Brothers: Further (Parlophone)

14 Jun 2010

And in this further installment, our heroes effect a blend of Barrett-era Floyd (given a techno twist) and Baba O'Reilly-meets-Pseudo Echo (on the soundstage of Bladerunner) then set their control to the heart of dancefloor synthedelic music. Add some pure pop vocals out of the Brian Wilson school with a few nods to Kraftwerk's Motorik beats as well as a couple of swooning melodies, and you... > Read more

Chemical Brothers: Another World

The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt: I Love You I Love You (Luaka Bop)

14 Jun 2010

This folk-punk'n'kitchen sink outfit from New York play fast'n'furious with raging acoustic guitars, hammering drums and splatters of sax which is undeniably party-friendly but by golly do they like to repeat a phrase repeat a phrase repeat a phrase repeat a phrase repeat a phrase repeat a phrase . . . Then they'll change it a little but then repeat a... > Read more

Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt: Fast Forward Regrets

Robert Wyatt: His Greatest Misses (Ryko/EMI)

14 Jun 2010    1

The story of this lifelong Marxist, musician, essayist and British intellectual is perhaps too complex too go into here, but here is the short-hand. Drummer in the innovative jazz-rock outfit Soft Machine in the late Sixties; formed the short-lived Matching Mole in the early Seventies; fell from a window in '73 and has been in a wheelcahir since; musical allies include Pink Floyd, Brian Eno,... > Read more

Robert Wyatt: Sea Songs

Various Artists: Got No Chains; The Songs of the Walkabouts (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

14 Jun 2010

The Walkabouts have -- for 25 years -- been the vehicle for songwriter Chris Eckman (see here) and Carla Torgerson who have been mainstays in a band with a revloving door membership. Some might push the Walkabouts into the broader indie-rock or alt.country category, but as this tribute illustrates, their songs are so malleable that they can be remade by very diverse artists. This... > Read more

Hugo Race: Cold Eye

Crowded House: Intriguer (Universal)

14 Jun 2010

Many years ago, when I interviewed Neil Finn about his solo career (here) post-Crowded House I reminded him that he'd once told me he felt bands had a natural lifespabn. He said at that time he felt CH didn't have quite as long as he wanted . . . which may explain their second coming. This time out, with the same band as for Time on Earth three years ago, CH seem a little more taut and... > Read more

Crowded House: Either Side of the World

Various Artists: Roll Your Moneymaker, I Smell a Rat (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

14 Jun 2010

Subtitled “Early Black Rock'n'Roll” these two parallel volumes (Roll is 1948-58, Rat is 1949-59) pick up some classic, dirty, thrilling rock'n'roll from the time before and through the Elvis Presley years, but often sound much more scandalising and sexualised than even The King. So across these two discs – and you need both – are the great Ike Turner (You've Got... > Read more

Ruth Brown: Please Don't Freeze

Stornoway: Beachcomber's Windowsill (4AD)

8 Jun 2010

Named for a small town in the Outer Hebrides and affecting a kind of folksy pop, Stornoway from Oxford pull light and slightly satirical styles (We Are The Battery Humans with its references to people born to be free-range but preferring to watch television) together with Anglofolk of the Amazing Blondel-to-Fleet Foxes continuum and literary lyrics sung with a direct earnestness which calls to... > Read more

Stornoway: Here Comes the Blackout

Turin Brakes: Outbursts (Cooking Vinyl)

8 Jun 2010

The British duo of Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian -- aka Turin Brakes -- don't seem given to "outburst" as this album title suggests: they were originally an acoustic-driven outfit whose sound got bigger by musical embellishment, but always seemed considered, thoughtful and prone to restraint. They were, for a while anyway, the more interesting Coldplay or Starsailor without... > Read more

Turin Brakes: The Invitation

Eli Paperboy Reed: Come and Get It (Capitol)

7 Jun 2010

The previous album by this white boy singin' soul music -- Roll With You -- was considered a Best of Elsewhere 2008 release but didn't quite make it into mainstream media or thinking. This time around, for a slightly lesser album, he's been picking up big press . . . and again he certainly deserves it. He may have come from Boston but he sounds steeped in the spirits of Memphis, Motown... > Read more

Eli Paperboy Reed: Name Calling

The Cinematic Orchestra: Late Night Tales (LNT/Southbound)

7 Jun 2010

Strictly speaking this should be credited to "Various Artists" because this 19-track collection is yet another in the Late Night Tales mix-tape series where an artist or group is invited to compile a disc of material which suits those lower-light moods. The Cinematic Orchestra here bring together such diverse spirits as Nick Drake and Steve Reich, Burt Bacharach and Shuggie Otis,... > Read more

Nick Drake: Three Hours

The Cure: Disintegration, DeLuxe Edition (Universal)

7 Jun 2010

Many of us preferred The Cure when they were gloomy and gothic, carving out odd little masterpieces on albums like Seventeen Seconds (1980) and Pornography ('82). Basically when frontman Robert Smith was more than a little glum. Disintegration (telling title, Bob) comes from '89 when something snapped in his psyche and plummeted him to another depth . . . only to emerge with dramatically... > Read more

The Cure: Pictures of You

Superturtle: About the Sun (Ode)

7 Jun 2010

Mainman behind Superturtle Darren McShane certainly has prior form, among other things he formed Chainsaw Masochist (on Flying Nun, for those old enough to remember) and more recently he was in Figure 60 as well as having been a sound engineer -- which is how he met some of the fellow travelers here (bassist Ben Furniss from the Broken Heartbreakers and White Swan Black Swan, and vocalist Jude... > Read more

Superturtle: Valley Town