Music at Elsewhere

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Jonsi: Go (EMI)

Jonsi: Go (EMI)

At the time, some critics and people were more taken with the last Sigur Ros album than I was (the one with the absurdly long, impossible to type title). My problem was that in making economic (if still spectral and widescreen) pop in most places they had lost the very thing that made them different, interesting and quite special. I've noticed in discussions with people about this group... > Read more

Jonsi: Boy Lilikoi

9 Apr 2010    1

The Weakerthans: Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre (Anti)

The Weakerthans: Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre (Anti)

Anyone who has travelled around Canada with the car stereo flipping across the dial will discover that whole new world of rock, folk, pop and alt.music which exists north of the place which so often dominates our airwaves. The Weakerthans from Winnipeg have an understandably loyal following in their home territory for their literate, often melancholy version of... > Read more

The Weakerthans: One Great City

6 Apr 2010    1

Anika Moa: Love in Motion (EMI)

Anika Moa: Love in Motion (EMI)

Curiously enough, the initial whisper on this fourth album by the New Zealand singer-songwriter was that she had, after albums of an acoustic persuasion, "made a rock album". That might in part have been that she was working with musicians from more mainstream rock bands, and perhaps a few people heard the first single Running Through the Fire -- which to these ears is the least... > Read more

Anika Moa: Secrets & Lies

6 Apr 2010

Various artists: Nowhere Boy soundtrack (Sony)

Various artists: Nowhere Boy soundtrack (Sony)

This is the music from the film which traces the life of John Lennon from a child to . . . Well, to where the film Backbeat picks up actually. And as with the soundtrack to Backbeat which featured The Backbeat Band (Greg Dulli, Dave Grohl, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and others playing rock'n'roll of the era) so too this album has material by the Nowhere Boys (the film's cast of... > Read more

The Nowhere Boys: In Spite of All the Danger

5 Apr 2010

Pop Mechanix: Now-Then; One Hit Windows (Failsafe)

Pop Mechanix: Now-Then; One Hit Windows (Failsafe)

It would be fair to observe that when the countback of Kiwi bands of the Eighties is done the name "Pop Mechanix" comes up much less frequently than it should. Yet here was a hard-working and thoroughly entertaining live band from Christchurch which cracked urgent singles like Radio Song ("my music, I want to hear it on the radio") at a time when radio programmers were... > Read more

Pop Mechanix: Jumping Out a Window

5 Apr 2010

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat the Devil's Tatoo (Abstract Dragon)

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat the Devil's Tatoo (Abstract Dragon)

When I saw the BRMC in their early days at the Troubadour in LA I came away convinced they were, if not the future of rock'n'roll, then they would have at least a lot of interesting noises to make until the future arrived. They roared and rocked, swapped instruments, played psychedelicised rock'n'roll with references to a few other marginal styles and . . . I fell for them. Ours has... > Read more

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Mama Taught Me Better

5 Apr 2010

The Imagined Village: Empire and Love (ECC/Southbound)

The Imagined Village: Empire and Love (ECC/Southbound)

Every now and again the English music press gets infatuated by traditional folk (to make amends for hailing Gay Day and other such rubbish Britrock?) and embarks on a brief essaying of various musicians and artists who would otherwise languish in finger-in-ear folk clubs. The Imagined Village -- a changing line-up of folk and elsewhere musicians -- is the most recent to receive such... > Read more

The Imagined Village: Cum On Feel the Noize

5 Apr 2010

Son of Dave: Shake a Bone (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

Son of Dave: Shake a Bone (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

You can't say you weren't warned. A couple of years back when he released his '02' album Elsewhere said you'd be hearing more of this human beat-box, one-man foot-stompin' blues band which is Ben Darvill. Here recorded by Steve Albini in Chicago he once more abuses that harmonica, makes his own percussion and becomes a wall-shakin' blues-rock outfit -- or, better, takes the mood down to... > Read more

Son of Dave: She Just Danced All Night

5 Apr 2010

Helen Van Der Linden: Helen Van Der Linden EP (HVDL)

Helen Van Der Linden: Helen Van Der Linden EP (HVDL)

This EP arrived from the winnner of last year's Gold Guitar award at the annual Gore country music festival and she has already taken herself to Tamworth in Australia to further her career. And you'd expect she will go far. Here with a small and seasoned band -- and covering Tami Neilson's Cigarette -- she moves easily between slightly swinging country (Planet of Love) and a slightly more... > Read more

Helen Van Der Linden: Bread and Water

5 Apr 2010

Joan Armatrading: This Charming Life (Hypertension/Southbound)

Joan Armatrading: This Charming Life (Hypertension/Southbound)

After the success (critical and saleswise) of her last album Into the Blues, you'd expect attention would be drawn to this new album from one of rock's long distance runners who has long since fallen from media and wider public attention. That said, this outing is much more patchy than the tightly coherent predecessor which roped together various styles of blues. Here Armatrading aims... > Read more

Joan Armatrading: Best Dress On

5 Apr 2010

Josh Rouse: El Turista (Bedroom Classics)

Josh Rouse: El Turista (Bedroom Classics)

The musically itinerant Josh Rouse has long been an Elsewhere favourite for his musical curiosity (Seventies singer-songwriters, Nashville, indie-rock and so on) and he doesn't disappoint here as he gets his passport stamped and takes off for the tropical pleasures of Brazilian moods and music (in Portuguese mostly) which come subtlely orchestrated or deliciously understated. And yes, by... > Read more

Josh Rouse: Duerme

5 Apr 2010

Carol Bean: Crossing the Dirty River (carolbean.com)

Carol Bean: Crossing the Dirty River (carolbean.com)

This album by peripatetic British-born, LA-raised country-blues rocker singer-guitarist Bean -- now resident in NZ -- has been around the stereo for perhaps so long I forgot to post it. With a tight, revolving door band which includes slippery and earthy guitar by Mike Petrie, Robbie Duncan, Mark Laurent and Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Bean delivers some serious messages (although the Pacific... > Read more

Carol Bean: Evidence

4 Apr 2010

Jeff Beck: Emotion and Commotion (Atco)

Jeff Beck: Emotion and Commotion (Atco)

Jeff Beck's career has certainly seem some troughs -- usually by virtue of his absence from playing when the mood didn't take him -- but latterly he has enjoyed some great highs. His recent touring reminded again of what a colourful palette he commands -- from fusion rock to great delicacy, often within the same piece -- and that he does this with such self-effacement. His most recent... > Read more

Jeff Beck: I Put a Spell on You (featuring Joss Stone)

2 Apr 2010

Her Make Believe Band: AM Radio (Old Oak)

Her Make Believe Band: AM Radio (Old Oak)

This delightful album by two expat Kiwis Cy Winstanley and Vanessa McGowan has been quite rightly picking up favourable notices in the UK where they are now based as part of the group Her Make Believe Band. Certainly the references to Paul Simon (for lightness of touch and literacy in places) make sense but there is as much pop here as folk which tips it right into that category which hooks... > Read more

Her Make Believe Band: Thats Why I Like You Best

1 Apr 2010

Drive-By Truckers: The Big To-Do (Pias)

Drive-By Truckers: The Big To-Do (Pias)

The Truckers inspire great loyalty, but fans may be tested by this outing which was knocked off quickly and suffers for it. Certainly it rocks like Pearl Jam with Neil Young or Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers on a three-day drunk, but songs like the otherwise excellent stripper’s story of Birthday Boy stumble to a halt and others just sound undercooked, if bruisingly effective.... > Read more

Drive-By Truckers: Drag the Lake Charlie

29 Mar 2010

The Unthanks: Here's the Tender Coming (Shock)

The Unthanks: Here's the Tender Coming (Shock)

Mercury Prize nominated or not, the previous album The Bairns by these Geordies -- then under the name Rachel Unthank and the Winterset -- did not do it for me, and hence didn't get posted at Elsewhere. It sounded far too finger-in-the ear gloom-folk and of marginal interest to anyone outside the English folk circle (and Mercury panels) which embraces such things. Even Rachel now considers... > Read more

The Unthanks: Sad February

29 Mar 2010

The Coosters: Worn Out Libertines (Coosters)

The Coosters: Worn Out Libertines (Coosters)

First some background to this one. As you might guess Elsewhere gets music and requests for reviews from many and various places -- but this was a first from Toledo, Ohio. When guitarist/singer Steven J Athanas sent an e-mail asking if I would be interested in their album he seemed smart and witty - and when I replied along the lines of "sure, why not?"I also added that all I knew... > Read more

The Coosters: Anyone Guess

28 Mar 2010    1

Graham Parker: Imaginary Television (Bloodshot)

Graham Parker: Imaginary Television (Bloodshot)

In Britain’s post-punk era Parker and the Rumour emerged with an urgent, often angry sound that owed as much to pub-rock and venomous Bob Dylan as it did to American soul, r’n’b and rocked-up country. They were real contenders and their early albums still sound full of bile’n’fire. Parker’s solo career became more measured when he relocate to the US and... > Read more

Graham Parker: Weather Report

22 Mar 2010

The Eastern: Arrows (Social End Product/Rhythmethod)

The Eastern: Arrows (Social End Product/Rhythmethod)

The Eastern out of Christchurch are new to me although for the past few months their name has been mentioned a lot, always along the lines of, "Oh, you gotta hear the Eastern." Now I have and I too am saying, "Oh, you gotta hear the Eastern". Part arse-kickin' Steve Earle (for whom they have opened), part reflective old time country, part Old Crow Medicine Show (for... > Read more

The Eastern: The Steeple

22 Mar 2010

John Hiatt: The Open Road (New West)

John Hiatt: The Open Road (New West)

For my money John Hiatt never sounds better than when he gets a rocking band behind and sounds a little venomous or angry. The back-porch Hiatt never much appealed to me -- so this, his 19th album, suits me just fine. With his tight little touring band and at age 57, he (mostly) writes about hitting the highway and some of the songs seem perfectly crafted for top-down driving with a strip... > Read more

John Hiatt: Haulin'

22 Mar 2010