Music at Elsewhere

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Bonnie Prince Billy and The Cairo Gang: The Wonder Show of the World (Palace)

26 Apr 2010

My guess is that because Bonnie Prince Billy aka Will Oldham aka Palace aka Palace Brothers etc has done so many albums that, like Woody Allen movies and local buses, you can afford to miss one because another will be along soon. This low-key, mostly acoustic outing framed by Neil Young-styled folk and Billy's default position of analytical introspection with a leavening of love songs is... > Read more

Bonnie Prince Billy: The Sounds Are Always Begging

Richard Walters: The Animal (Kartel)

26 Apr 2010    1

Many singer-songwriters are prepared to essay their fragility in life and love, but few offer the sense they have some deep emotional strength to leaven the mix and lift their songs out of self-pity. This Paris-based Englishman is a rare one. He can push easily into a falsetto but, as with Jeff Buckley (whose style he otherwise doesn't resemble) you know he's going to come back to... > Read more

Richard Walters: True Love Will Find You in the End

The Soft Pack: The Soft Pack (Pod/Inertia)

26 Apr 2010

And we thought Shihad had a controversial name post-9/11? This alt.pop four-piece based in Los Angeles – which has toured with the Breeders, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party -- used to be called The Muslims. The flipside of their first single was Walking With Jesus. So let's give them points in their efforts to get a headline. This, their debut album, however steers a... > Read more

The Soft Pack: Pull Out

The Lil' Band o' Gold: The Promised Land (Dust Devil Music)

25 Apr 2010    3

"Supergroup" isn't a word you hear bandied about in the self-effacing world of Cajun music/swamp rock/zydeco circles but this outfit fits that description and on this, their second album, they mine that soulful Southern sound which Little Feat, Beausoleil and others have found so profitable and enjoyable. So here are accordion (Steve Riley), pedal steel (Richard Comeaux), saxes... > Read more

Lil' Band o' Gold: I Don't Wanna Know

Ute Lemper: The Best of Ute Lemper (Decca)

25 Apr 2010

With this great entertainer returning to New Zealand after her thrilling cabaret-noir/showtunes performance in 2003 it seems not only timely to reprint the lengthy, career encompassing interview with her, but to point to this 21-track easy-intro overview from the late Nineties. Here, divided into easy to assimilate sections, are songs from musicals (Chicago, Cabaret), films (Appetite,... > Read more

Ute Lemper: Surabaya-Johnny

Various Artists: Good God! Born Again Funk (Numero/Southbound)

25 Apr 2010

The recent DVD Soundtrack for a Revolution showed how music uplifted the spirits and bonded those in the struggle for civil rights in the US in Sixties. This terrific, funky and soulful collection of contemporary gospel has much the same impact. You don't doubt Ada Richards is filled with spirit of the Lord when she roars "I'm drunk and real high". This is music of faith... > Read more

The Inspirational Gospel Singers: The Same Thing It Took

The Apples in Stereo: Travellers in Space and Time (YepRoc/Southbound)

25 Apr 2010

This will be brief: I never much cared for ELO back in the day and I still don't like them in this guise of Apples in Stereo on this over-long (16 tracks), Vocoder-splattered, ironically Seventies referencing, vaguely conceptual album about human and robots and space travel. Seventies pop for those who either haven't heard it before, or who think this is kitsch-cool. I have and I... > Read more

The Apples in Stereo: Hey Elevator

Farmer Pimp: Sweet Hot Pepper Pop (Family Farm)

22 Apr 2010    1

In a recent interview New Zealand singer/songwriter Claire Holmes from Farmer Pimp noted, "Other people worry more about what our genre might be than we do. That's actually why we called the album Sweet Hot Pepper Pop. We decided to make up our own genre". Very smart -- and certainly the odd band name gives no real clue to what they do. So let's just say that this album is a... > Read more

Farmer Pimp: Honey Bee

Forbidden Joe: In Mourning for the Pride of Petravore (Forbidden Joe)

19 Apr 2010

The previous EP by this Auckland folk trio (and friends) was impressive but tantalizingly too brief to get a full picture of what they were and might be capable of. But the one song by Francis Dickinson prompted me to point to it as something rather special and hold out hope for more from her astute pen when the album rolled around. Regrettably -- aside from one co-write with Arthur... > Read more

Forbidden Joe: Death!

George and Queen: Teenagers and Grownups (Universal)

19 Apr 2010

For their third album, this duo (now a band) out of Dunedin (now Auckland) here deliver a particularly interesting amalgam of radio-friendly pop (the single Hut 234, the delightfully driving power-pop of Fly Man) and alt.rock (most of the other 9 songs) onto which they throw strange and strangely appealing guitar shapes and rhythmic twists. Immi Paterson has a voice which could be at home in... > Read more

George and Queen: Dying Man

Nick Curran and the Lowlifes: Reform School Girl (Eclecto Grooves/Southbound)

19 Apr 2010

I'm sure the heavily tattooed Curran from Austin, Texas wouldn't make any claims of great originality (although he does pen more than half this album, his song titles include Reel Rock Party, Psycho, Lusty L'il Lucy, Filthy and so on). But he simply slices off large and rowdily enjoyable slabs of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Duane Eddy, Phil Spector girl groups, Twinkle,... > Read more

Nick Curran: Kill My Baby

Tuung: And Then We Saw Land (Full Time Hobby)

19 Apr 2010

Somewhat improbably this English acoustic folk-rock outfit recently appeared on stage with the desert blues-rock band Tinariwen -- which really shouldn't have worked at all, yet reports were highly favourable. Tuung's debut album Comments of the Inner Chorus and the follow-up Good Arrows certainly offered a beguiling musical blend which had Elsewhere reaching to the Incredible String Band,... > Read more

Tuung: Don't Look Down or Back

Various Artists: We Are Only Riders (Shock)

19 Apr 2010    1

The recent reissue of Gun Club albums (Miami, Fire of Love and Death Party), Jack White's championing of their frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce (who died in 1996), and the presence of kindred dark soul Nick Cave here should further draw attention to the profile of Pierce, a man possessed of an angry, urgent yet poetic and often melancholy streak. Pierce's writing is much admired by all the right... > Read more

Nick Cave/Deborah Harry: Free to Walk

MGMT: Congratulations (Sony)

18 Apr 2010

Anyone who tuned in for the pop-silly, enthusiastic debut Oracular Spectacular by these guys knew they were smart cookies and going to be around for a while: they seemed the perfect post-modern pop package which drew from all kinds of sources with knowing winks and nods -- and are so knowing and winking this time out that on the cover they say about their track entitled Brian Eno, "A smile... > Read more

MGMT: Brian Eno

Harper Simon: Harper Simon (Liberator)

18 Apr 2010

Even on a blindfold test you'd probably only need the first few bars of the second song here -- after the traditional All to God -- to spot this is either Paul Simon, or someone very close to him. Harper is the 37-year old son of Paul (and you'd have to say by association also of Garfunkel given his light, melodic voice) and he would also have grown up around singer-songwriter Eddie... > Read more

Harper Simon: Wishes and Stars

Natalie Merchant: Leave Your Sleep (Nonesuch)

18 Apr 2010    1

This fascinating, self-funded double CD (available in a single disc "Selections" version) has preoccupied the former 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman for the past five years -- but if literate and literary music is your thing you'll conclude it was worth her efforts. After the birth of her daughter, Merchant -- as musical parents are wont to do -- decided to record an album of lullabies.... > Read more

Natalie Merchant: The Walloping Window Blind

The Leisure Society: The Sleeper (Inertia)

12 Apr 2010    1

There is a lot of neo-folk around and you suspect the success of Fleet Foxes has prompted interest in people like Mumford and Son, the Unthanks and Joanna Newsom. This oddly named British outfit – which suggests an ambient-lounge act – should appeal to an even wider audience. With hints of McCartney at his most pastoral, a little Crosby Stills and Nash harmony vocals, a... > Read more

The Leisure Society: Cars

Holly Miranda: The Magician's Private Library (XL)

12 Apr 2010

This is effectively the solo debut for New York-based Miranda (there was an album only available at gigs about six years ago) and it doesn't want for aural ambition. Co-produced by David Sitek of TV on the Radio, it rides on strings, electric guitars, mellotrone, horns, organ and much else, and others from TV on the Radio and Antibalas also guest. This is a big and layered sound for the... > Read more

Holly Miranda: Joints

Jakob Dylan: Women and Country (Sony)

12 Apr 2010

The previous solo album by Dylan, Seeing Things, confirmed that he had stepped well out of the shadow his famous father (and the Wallflowers band) and had found his own voice -- or at least Jackson Browne's by way of alt.country. And although he sounded wise beyond his years he was on the cusp of 40 so . . . This time out with producer T Bone Burnett providing the rather too warm and... > Read more

Jakob Dylan: We Don't Live Here Anymore

The Bird and the Bee: Interpreting the Masters Vol 1 (Blue Note)

12 Apr 2010

This will be brief because you could essay at length the trend of artists covering the work of their predecesssors: Scarlett Johansson doing Tom Waits, Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet's Under the Covers series, knob-twiddlers on Kraftwerk, the Judee Sill and Townes tributes only the most recent. You could look at how there is a sometimes slightly kitsch quality to some of these projects... > Read more

The Bird and the Bee: Kiss on my List