Music at Elsewhere

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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

Karen Elson: The Ghost Who Walks (XL)

7 Jun 2010

As you may already know, Karen Elson from England comes with a number of black marks against her on this debut album: she was a model (and no one takes them seriously, huh?) and her husband is Jack White (Stripes). Still, Carla Bruni made better albums than most would like to give her credit for -- and we shouldn't hold her marriage against her. In fact in this case White's cedibility is so... > Read more

Karen Elson: Lunasa

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

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 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

Bettye LaVette: Interpretations; The British Rock Songbook (Anti)

1 Jun 2010

Soul singer and Muscle Shoals veteran LaVette has enjoyed a revival recently: her 05 album I've Got My Own Hell to Raise put her back to the foreground; the excellent 07 Scene of the Crime teamed her with US rockers Drive-By Truckers; and last year she was at Barack Obama's inauguration and with the remaining Beatles at New York's Radio City Music Hall for a fundraiser. A... > Read more

Bettye LaVette: Salt of the Earth

Joe South: A Look Inside/So The Seeds Are Growing (Raven/EMI)

31 May 2010

Joe South wrote some classic songs which others took to great heights: Hush (Deep Purple); I Never Promised You A Rose Garden (Lynn Anderson); Down in the Boon Docks (Billy Joe Royal) and others. Of his own career he is best known for the terrific Games People Play which was also much covered (in New Zealand by Allison Durban) and the weary Don't It Make You Wanna Go Home Lord. He had a... > Read more

Joe South: Oprah Cried (2009)

Solomon Burke: Nothing's Impossible (Shock)

31 May 2010

The extraordinary Solomon Burke has enjoyed that rarity in popular music, not just a second coming but a sustained one. Music history is full of acts who come back after their first seminal period but few of them -- Dylan a notable exception, the Searchers' story the more common -- have a sustained run of artistic as well as commercial success. Commercial success is a relative term in... > Read more

Solomon Burke: I'm Leaving

Nightchoir: 24 Hours of Night (1157 Records)

31 May 2010    1

Every May, being New Zealand Music Month, many dozens of albums arrive almost simultaneously -- over 40 in four weeks last year, which is kinda ridiculous -- so Elsewhere sifts judiciously (as best it can with that volume) and points to those which might fly beneath the radar. Let's hope this one doesn't. Nightchoir play what could loosely be described as indie rock, but this debut... > Read more

Nightchoir: Glass Tiger

Villagers: Becoming a Jackal (Domino)

24 May 2010

Engrossing though the clear, strong voice of Conor J O'Brien out of Dublin is -- the chief feature of this quietly gripping album -- it is the insistent, poetic first-person, image-carving narratives which become irritating at times. O'Brien frequently writes songs from that perspective of what I call The Knowledgeable One and he will "show you the backroom where I saw the dead"... > Read more

Villagers: Home

Plan B: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Atlantic)

24 May 2010

East London 'ard-man rapper Ben Drew -- aka Plan B -- can deliver some bruising rap about utterly nasty characters (and in an uncompromising manner which suggests you shouldn't mess with him). But he also showcases another side on this, his second studio album. That of an aching falsetto-Smokey Robinson/Motown-styled soul singer. He goes from grime and the ghetto to Hitsville and Stax-Volt,... > Read more

Plan B: Hard Times

Jack Rose: Two Originals of Red Horse, White Music and Opium Musick (VHF)

23 May 2010

Quite why this 2004 instrumental album -- actually guitarist Rose's two even earlier albums on a single disc, appparently -- has turned up now is a bit of a mystery, but those with a taste for Anglo-folk blues, Davey Graham, John Fahey, Leo Kottke, Bert Jansch, Doug Cox and others will find a lot to enjoy in this six and 12-string finger-picking. As with Graham and then Jimmy Page, Rose --... > Read more

Jack Rose: Linden Avenue Stomp

Grayson Gilmour: No Constellation (Flying Nun)

19 May 2010

We shouldn't feel too sorry for the profoundly talented Grayson Gilmour -- but I do sympathise with him at the moment: being the first act signed to the resurrected Flying Nun label means that has become the story and not this quite superb album. I have heard and seen Gilmour interviewed repeatedly and most of the time has been taken up with asking him what he thinks about being on such a... > Read more

Grayson Gilmour: Our Heads Colide

Ocean Colour Scene: Saturday (Keep on Keeping On)

17 May 2010

Despite being one of the most exciting and interesting bands of the Britpop Nineties -– singer Simon Fowler had a rough and soulful voice, guitarist Steve Cradock a member of Paul Weller's touring band –- this outfit from Birmingham never really took hold in New Zealand. On their home turf they had Weller as a vocal supporter, opened for Oasis and scored five top 10 albums,... > Read more

Ocean Colour Scene: Rockfield

Band of Horses: Infinite Arms (Sony)

16 May 2010

Where the last and quite terrific Band of Horses album Cease to Begin opened with the strained alt.rock of Is There a Ghost, this new one -- again after some line-up changes around sole founder member Ben Bridwell -- stretches to life with a string-coloured melancholy ballad Factory. It -- like Is There a Ghost -- is an immediate winner, but of a very different kind. And it... > Read more

Band of Horses: On My Way Back Home

Managers: The Grove St Tapes (Hoi)

16 May 2010

While it's hardly a tabloid heading -- "Ska band in reggae shock!" -- it is something of a surprise to hear Auckland's long-running and popular live act shift from upbeat ska to downbeat reggae grooves on this four track EP of originals cut from the same cloth as roots reggae of four decades ago. Singer Paul Frewin has a smooth style which suits these chipping, consciousness songs... > Read more

Managers: Jealousy

Lewis McCallum: Syntheology (Finch Studios)

10 May 2010

To be honest, because of how his previous album Wake went, I was going to review this in the jazz column I have in Real Groove -- but this doesn't conform to even my very, very broad church definition of "jazz". Which, I hasten to add, doesn't demean or diminish it any way -- it is a very sassy, smart and funky album of synths'n'sax, old school references (yep, Seventies Afro-hair... > Read more

Lewis McCallum: Tales of Mingus

Ian King: Panic Grass and Fever Few (Wing and a Prayer)

10 May 2010

King is in the vanguard of a diferent kind of British folk -- witness that this debut album is co-produced with Adrian Sherwood and Skip (Little Axe) McDonald. So this is folk with a world view and a dub feel -- and sounds all the better for it. King is straight out of that earnest, well-enunciated and slightly stern school of vocal delivery, and his material draws from old recordings (some... > Read more

Ian King: Death and the Lady

Polar Bear: Peepers (Leaf/Southbound)

10 May 2010

This fiery UK jazz quintet helmed by acclaimed young drummer/composer Seb Rochford (interviewed here) has really caught the attention of the British jazz (and elsewhere) imagination: they were nominated for a Mercury Prize a few years ago; Rochford picks up awards; the various members work in other outside (and very interesting) projects; and they bring a 21st century/post-modern ethic to their... > Read more

Polar Bear: Drunken Pharaoh