Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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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... 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... more >>

The Imagined Village: Cum On Feel the Noize

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... 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... 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... 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.... 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... 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... more >>

The Coosters: Anyone Guess

28 Mar 2010    1

Various Artists: Introducing Townes Van Zandt via the Great Unknown (For the Sake of the Song)

Various Artists: Introducing Townes Van Zandt via the Great Unknown (For the Sake of the Song)

The late Van Zandt is hardly the little-known cult artist he once was: there are many tribute albums (Steve Earle most recently) and his estate must coin it in from all the covers alt.country artists do. Most of Van Zandt’s originals were spare, lowkey and acoustic -- so the surprise here is what an embellishing or reconfiguring approach some of these largely unknown artists or cult... more >>

Loophole and Ciaran Kirby: Lungs

22 Mar 2010

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... 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... 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... more >>

John Hiatt: Haulin'

22 Mar 2010

Eden Mulholland: Music for Dance (Isaac)

Eden Mulholland: Music for Dance (Isaac)

Probably this shouldn't work. Music for dance pieces have to be special to exist without the moving images -- and yet in theory they should be able to do exactly that. These do. Eden Mulholland has written for numerous New Zealand dance productions and is the singer-songwriter in the rock band Motorcade, but here he collects 23 discreet, mostly electronic pieces which utilise backward... more >>

Eden Mulholland: False Waltz, 2nd Movement

21 Mar 2010

Fionn Regan: The Shadow of an Empire (Inertia/Border)

Fionn Regan: The Shadow of an Empire (Inertia/Border)

On the cover he may look like one of the more camp American Idol finalists, but Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan occupies that appealing musical territory between Dylan in '66, Pete Molinari and lo-fi Chris Knox with his urgent, lyrically twisting songs which are punctuated by ear and heart-gripping lines. Catacombs here suggests a story in just a few lines: "I've been noticing... more >>

Fionn Regan: Protection Racket

21 Mar 2010

Hayseed Dixie: Killer Grass (Cooking Vinyl)

Hayseed Dixie: Killer Grass (Cooking Vinyl)

You might have thought the Hayseed Dixie joke -- a band from the fanciful Deer Lick Holler playing bluegrass treatments of (mostly) rock songs, interviewed here -- would have run its course by now. But eight albums in they are still going. And of course it is still kinda fun: here they knock off Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody), Black Sabbath, Mozart, The Prodigy and others (as well as seven... more >>

Hayseed Dixie: Won't Get Fooled Again (the Who)

21 Mar 2010

The Watson Twins: Talking to You, Talking to Me (EMI)

The Watson Twins: Talking to You, Talking to Me (EMI)

This album might be surprisingly short -- a mere 33 minutes -- but it represents a significant and reasonably impressive shift in direction for Chandra and Leigh Watson who here call on friends from My Morning Jacket and Everest for an album that is by turns moody bluesy and soulful, all delivered with a pop economy. The folk and rootsy blues which was their hallmark on Southern Manners... more >>

The Watson Twins: Midnight

21 Mar 2010

Hollie Smith: Humour and the Misfortune of Others (EMI)

Hollie Smith: Humour and the Misfortune of Others (EMI)

This can be extremely brief given that Smith's story, travails and so on have been much canvassed. But what hasn't been said too often or too loudly is that while her previous album Long Player sold exceptionally well it came encumbered with two shortcomings which probably didn't go unnoticed by those at Manhattan/Blue Note with whom she parted company. It lacked coherent songs (aside from... more >>

Hollie Smith: Before This Day is Gone

19 Mar 2010

Gorillaz: Plastic Beach (EMI CD/DVD)

Gorillaz: Plastic Beach (EMI CD/DVD)

Gorillaz aren't the first to make "world music" of no fixed cultural abode (Elsewhere has noted 1 Giant Leap and the Laya Project among others) -- but there is something so diverse yet coherent, musically ambitious yet delivered with a pop sensibility, and just so damn clever and enjoyable about Gorillaz that they stand apart from all other contenders. Mainman and driving force... more >>

Gorillaz: Broken

15 Mar 2010

The Durutti Column: A Paean to Wilson (Kooky)

The Durutti Column: A Paean to Wilson (Kooky)

In the brief liner notes here Durutti Column's Vini Reilly notes how close he had been to the late Tony Wilson who had almost single-handedly founded and shaped the scene which came out Manchester. Reilly notes that Wilson was his close friend (he was at the hospital when Wilson died in '07) and that Durruti Column was the first act signed to play at Wilson's Factory club and the first on... more >>

The Durutti Column: Brother

15 Mar 2010

Goldfrapp: Head First (Mute)

Goldfrapp: Head First (Mute)

If Rip Van Winkle had nodded off a few decades ago and was woken by the sound of this album he'd be forgiven for thinking nothing much had changed: on this, the fifth album by Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, you've got a checklist of electro-pop and Euro-disco which includes Abba, Laura Branigan, Giorgio Moroder, bits of ELO, Eighties soundtracks . . . It's interesting in a kind of... more >>

Goldfrapp: Dreaming

14 Mar 2010