Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Annemarie Duff: Music for Sleep and Creativity (Mmdelai)

12 Sep 2010    1

Because I confess a love for Brian Eno's ambient music -- and that what I call "massage music" isn't unfamiliar in my home (my wife does massage) -- I have heard my share of music which can be either vacuous or beguiling . . . and there's a fine line betweeen them. New Age spawned a lot of music which was also neither, it just was. But wasn't really. Duff out of Christchurch... > Read more

Annemarie Duff: Bark Sketches

Various Artists: Head Over High Heels; Strong and Female 1927-59 (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

12 Sep 2010

Much as some might like to think strong females arrived with Madonna (or maybe in the late Sixties with feminism), there were always those independent, tough-minded and free-spirited women out there -- especially in the world of jazz and blues. This collection which opens with Pearl Bailey and You Can be Replaced (from her album Pearl Bailey Sings for Adults Only, 1959) and closes with... > Read more

Mae West: A Guy What Takes His Time

Endless Boogie: Full House Head (Shock)

6 Sep 2010

In his rock'n'roll essays and fiction collection The Boy Who Cried Freebird, the American writer Mitch Myers traces the notion of “boogie” from its name (having sex, basically) through the blues (John Lee Hooker's Boogie Chillun in 48) and boogie-woogie piano a building block of early rock'n'roll and then into those endless jams which longhaired guitarists get down'n'boogie on... > Read more

Endless Boogie: Tarmac City

John Prine: In Person and On Stage (Oh Boy)

6 Sep 2010

The great John Prine falls somewhere between folk and country, but also has a rare downbeat sense of humour and his wry observations have always elevated his albums. Here on a collection of live tracks -- essentially a greatest hits by a man who has rarely had a hit -- he has some grin-inducing anecdotes at times which are kinda downhome'n'aw-shucks country. But don't be fooled -- when he... > Read more

John Prine: Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore

The Magic Numbers: The Runaway (Shock)

6 Sep 2010

By abandoning the pure pop-economy of their terrific, 05 self-titled debut for the more embellished and ambitious sound Those the Brokes in 06, this English outfit of two sets of siblings lost followers, and momentum. But where that debut was a radio/car album, Brokes was a headphones experience. The openers here – a string-enhanced five minutes of The Pulse and the gently... > Read more

The Magic Numbers: A Start with No Ending

TrinityRoots: Music is Choice (Rhythmethod CD/DVD)

6 Sep 2010

There was good news for Flight of the Conchords fans this week: Jemaine Clement confirmed, yet again, there wouldn't be another series. Strange as that sounds, some things are so perfectly formed they are best left alone: Fawlty Towers and the English version of The Office . . . or the never-ending Lost and drearily drawn out V? Great bands deserve an enclosed lifespan. Those... > Read more

TrinityRoots: Home, Land and Sea (live, from Music is Choice)

Eru Dangerspiel: Great News for Modern Man (Loop)

6 Sep 2010

The Eru Dangerspiel rock'n'rolling caravan of soul, funk, reggae and more is helmed by Riki Gooch, formerly of TrinityRoots and here, recorded live at the Auckland Town Hall in August '09, the whole huge ensemble invited you to "leave your shit at the door" and get down with their good time grooves. With an extraordinary line-up of talent -- Jonathan Crayord on keyboards, jazz... > Read more

Eru Dangerspiel: You Would Know

Simon Comber: Endearance (CNZ)

5 Sep 2010

Halfway through this slowly engrossing New Zealand singer-songwriter's album is the gently penetrating song Please Elvis, which opens with the singer asking the King not to make his mother cry as she again plays one of his dusty old 45s, but then the song unfurls into a darker and more deep story of family life: "she's twirling a brandy balloon . . . a family will drive you wild, she's... > Read more

Simon Comber: The Crossroads

Ben Vaughn: Designs in Music (Vampisoul/Southbound)

30 Aug 2010

It's not like Ben Vaughn needs a calling card into the world of television soundtracks, his music has apparently been used in That 70s Show and Third Rock From the Sun. But this delightfully referential album -- recorded with the cream of LA session players who are in on the game -- includes nods to everyone from Ennio Morricone to whoever wrote the theme to The Jetsons, Henry Mancini and... > Read more

Ben Vaughn: While We're Here

Jon Langford and Skull Orchard: Old Devils (Bloodshot/Southbound)

30 Aug 2010

Langford was in the UK punk-era Mekons way back but has in more recent times embraced a kind of folk-punk Americana and played with the likes of Ryan Adams and Alejandro Escovedo. Chicago-based, he's also a well-known artist (lots of covers for the Chicago label Bloodshot). With Skull Orchard he parlays a rough-edged country-rock with a punk/Clash urgency -- but although he has a way with... > Read more

Jon Langford and Skull Orchard: Book of Your Life

Timothy Blackman: I've Never Lived (Home Alone)

30 Aug 2010

Singer-songtwriter Blackman appeared at Elsewhere previously with his very interesting EP Modern Sprawl, and this is his short (half an hour) nine-song debut album recorded in  Berlin in December last year -- which must have been cold. With sole assistance from a drummer in a few places, these are Blackman's naked ruminations (some philosophical, some imagistic) and while there is a... > Read more

Timothy Blackman: Where the Caterpillars Live

Dylan LeBlanc: Paupers Field (Rough Trade)

29 Aug 2010

From the understated openers with their gentle backbeat, soft organ and steel guitar, LeBlanc -- barely 21, out of Louisiana -- announces himself as part of a long lineage which stretches back to the country-soul out of Muscle Shoals studio (where his dad  was a session musician) and the country-rock of the early Band, but which also reaches to more contemporary names such as Jim James (of... > Read more

Dylan LeBlanc: Changing of the Seasons

Leonard Cohen: The Essential Leonard Cohen (Sony)

29 Aug 2010

The British rock writer Nigel Williamson, considering the career of Leonard Cohen, recently observed, “We often describe singer-songwriters as being 'Dylanesque', a band with great harmonies you might describe as 'Beatlesque'. We even talk about someone being 'Waitsean', after Tom Waits. “But have you ever heard the word 'Cohenesque'? It doesn't exist, and that says it... > Read more

Leonard Cohen: Alexandra Leaving

Various Artists: The Great New Zealand Songbook Vol 2 (Thom/Universal)

23 Aug 2010

The previous volume in this series (see here) sold eight times platinum which proved two things: that well packaged and intelligently compiled collections of New Zealand are popular and in short supply, and that a lot of Kiwis living abroad probably got one for a birthday/Christmas. If that set -- 42 tracks over two discs -- came up a little short in the wave of Pacific artists of the past... > Read more

The Veils: Lavinia

Juliagrace: Beautiful Survivor (Parachute)

23 Aug 2010    3

One problem with being identified as a "Christian artist" -- as so many have discovered -- is that there is a resistance to them outside that market, and because of that many simply give up and stay with the audience which has and will support them. The other problem is that it means many outside of Christian circles are denied hearing some exceptional singers and songwriters --... > Read more

Juliagrace: Diamond

Tom Jones: Praise and Blame (Island)

23 Aug 2010

The late-career revival isn't uncommon these days (Bob Dylan, Bettye LaVette, Solomon Burke, Johnny Cash et al) but it still comes as a surprise, especially in the case of 70-year old Tom Jones who could have coasted into retirement with albums of interesting standards (in the manner of Rod Stewart) or even just pick up a few contemporary songs which suited his soul-belter style. But, as the... > Read more

Tom Jones: Lord Help

Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

23 Aug 2010

This, the second album by QOTSA and their first on a major label, was their breakthrough exactly a deacde ago and had critics digging in their superlatives bag. Oddly enough though, it wasn't because it was ground-breaking and innovative but rather it was (mostly) simply no nonsense, no flaffing about hard rock which was grounded in the great tradition of Zepp/Sabbath but with a dollop Meat... > Read more

Feel Good Hit of the Summer

Melissa Etheridge: Fearless Love (Island)

23 Aug 2010    1

From the opening title track here – a windblown open-road rocker and statement of ferocious independence – Etheridge confirms her credentials as someone who performs open-heart surgery on the emotions while backing it up with powerful songs. As with Springsteen, she also drops into characters (the unfulfilled housewife in The Wanting of You, the lonely inner life of a... > Read more

Melissa Etheridge:Miss California

Various Artists: The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle (EMI)

22 Aug 2010

Although very different, Brian Eno and Malcolm McLaren had one trait in common: after the event both would attribute philosophical and/or political meaning to something they had done. In the case of the late McLaren, the prime mover behind the Sex Pistols -- Johnny Rotten/John Lydon denies he was ever their "manager" -- would have had us believe that the Pistols/punk/anarchy of... > Read more

Johnny Rotten: Stepping Stone

Hawklords: 25 Years On (Esoteric/Southbound)

22 Aug 2010

This will be reasonably brief because there is perhaps a limited audience for this double CD reissue of the '78 album and EP by an off-shoot of the sci-fi prog-rock band Hawkwind. Inspired by the science fiction of Michael Moorcock, Hawkwind's Dave Brock and Robert Calvert created Hawklords after Hawkwind briefly fell apart (they are still a going concern in some form or other). And --... > Read more

Hawklords: Flying Doctor