Music at Elsewhere

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The Broken Heartbreakers: Wintersun (BHB)

12 Jul 2010

The self-titled debut album by this Auckland-based folk-pop band was among the Best of Elsewhere 2007 list -- and they have just been getting better. No surprise really given that alongside the core duo of John Guy Howell and Rachel Bailey are Sam Prebble (who, as Bond Street Bridge, appeared in the following year's Best of Elsewhere with his album The Mapmaker's Art) and Verlaines' bassist... > Read more

The Broken Heartbreakers: Wintersun

Peter Wolf: Midnight Souvenirs (Verve)

12 Jul 2010    1

The J Geils Band popped up recently at Elsewhere with a cheap set of their early albums as a Bargain Buy -- and here is the world-worn r'n'b blues voice of their singer Wolf in a collection of memorable (and often vaguely) familiar songs which sound peeled off from the Stones '68 to '76 or the more ballad end of Chris Bailey of the Saints (who also appeared here and here). With Larry... > Read more

Peter Wolf: I Don't Wanna Know

Alejandro Escovedo: Street Songs of Love (Concord)

12 Jul 2010

From the breathless pace he sets on this hard rocking album you'd never know that Escovedo out of Texas (formerly of Rank and File, a fellow traveller with John Dee Graham, co-writer with Chuck Prophet and now managed by Springsteen's Jon Landau) nearly died a few years ago. Such is the high regard he is held in by his peers that for a fund-raising tribute album Son Volt, Ian Hunter of Mott... > Read more

Alejandro Escovedo: Down in the Bowery

Boozoo Bajou: Coming Home (Stereo Deluxe)

11 Jul 2010

In the mid 2000s I gave up on chill-out music, I'd heard a lot of it and my life was becoming far too laidback for my own good. A Buddha Bar compliation too far I think. Germany's Stereo Deluxe label has a logo of two lounge chairs back-to-back and I thought that rather summed things up -- although I especially like things on that label, notably the tasteful, genuinely interesting stuff... > Read more

Boozoo Bajou: Fursattel

Ed Harcourt: Lustre (Piano Wolf/Southbound)

11 Jul 2010

Sometimes these days it seems that more music is coming out of the Pacific Northwest than ever did at the height of grunge: the difference being it is quieter, more folksy and singer-songwriterly, and is often astutely produced with a few strings. Briton Ed Harcourt relocated to somewhere just north of Seattle (not as far as Canada, to Bear Studio) for this, his first album in about four... > Read more

Ed Harcourt: Haywired

Vanessa Daou: Joe Sent Me (Daou)

11 Jul 2010

My dad always used the phrase "Joe sent me", it was the old password to get into illegal bars and speakeasies and the implication was that you were gaining access to the illicit, and therefore rather seductive, world on the other side of the door. Vanessa Daou's breathy, sexually-fuelled electronica offers an entry to that kind of world. Her music oozes sensuality, suggests... > Read more

Vanessa Daou: Love Lives in the Dark

Tift Merritt: See You on The Moon (Concord)

11 Jul 2010

To be honest, despite very much liking most of Merritt's '02 album Bramble Rose -- and concluding the review, "a name to remember, Tift" -- I lost touch with her augmented alt.country which came with a little sensuality and suggestions of Petty-like country-rock. That said, of course I remembered the name so this came qucikly to the top of the pile -- but I have to say fell away... > Read more

Tift Merritt: Feel of the World

Willie Nelson: Rarities Vol 1 (Great American Music/Southbound)

11 Jul 2010

Another week, another Willie album? (Previously here the joke was another month, another Willie but . . .) So it has seemed lately -- but this isn't new material: here are songs by Willie from betweeen 1959 and '65,  11 of them just solo with guitar, the rest with a small band. The solo pieces -- only one breaking the two minute mark -- are lovely demos for others to discover and... > Read more

Willie Nelson: I've Seen All This World I Care to See

Phosphorescent: Here's to Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)

6 Jul 2010

The last album by this band -- the vehicle for Matthew Houck -- was their tribute to Willie Nelson, but this time out it is all original material and the energy levels are kicked up, notably on the Band/Black Crowes/E Street opener It's Hard to be Humble (When You're From Alabama). Rolling steel guitars and a country-rock mood propel Nothing Was Stolen and the mood here is that you might... > Read more

Phosphorescent: The Mermaid Parade

Damien Jurado: Saint Bartlett (Secretly Canadian/Rhythmethod)

6 Jul 2010

With a lovely, sympathetic production by Richard Swift -- sort of budget-priced Phil Spector -- and melodies which swell with Fifties and Sixties pop-romanticism, this is one of those album (like Swift's) which will be taken to heart with a passion by those who discover it. Previously Jurado out of Seattle came at you from the indie/alt.folk singer-songwriter territory, and none of... > Read more

Damien Jurado: Cloudy Shoes

The Gaslight Anthem: American Slang (Shock)

5 Jul 2010

Normallly an amalgam of early Springsteen/E Street Band energy, Bob Seger committment, the Replacements' punky thrash and Tom Petty's way with a lyric and melody would have been right up my street -- but while  Brian Fallon writes good, appropriately "mythic" songs and sings them with throat-aching passion there is something just little calculated about this outing which --- I... > Read more

The Gaslight Anthem: Bring It On

Tim Guy: Big World (Monkey)

28 Jun 2010

Back in the late Sixties and early Seventies there were a number of great but ignored bands and artists (Left Banke, Dwight Twilley Band, Merry-Go-Round and their singer-songwriter Emitt Rhodes who had a solo career, Sagittarius, the Millennium) who shaved off the best of the mid-period Beatles melodies, added it to some Beach Boys warmth and Association harmonies and created a sublime pop.... > Read more

Tim Guy: Beatle

Greg Fleming: Taken (LucaDiscs/Rhythmethod)

28 Jun 2010

The excellent liner notes by New Zealand's Greg Fleming (with lyrics and reflections on the genesis of these songs) tell their own story about why Taken never appeared in '95 after the excellent Ghosts Are White album (remastered and added here as a bonus disc). But we should be very glad it has come out because after the alt.rock blast of California Fishing the moods slip and slide through... > Read more

Greg Fleming: Taken

Various Artists: Do You Dream? (Angel Air/Southbound)

27 Jun 2010

A few years ago I was invited to write the liner essays in a series of collections of New Zealand psychedelic Music (A Day in My Mind's Mind). What became clear was that from our end of the world where the relevant drugs arrived a bit later, musicians and producers invented their own idea of what psychedelic music was. Mostly it was bent, often heavily phased, pop-rock with a little... > Read more

Outer Limits: Any Day Now

Kris Kristofferson: Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends (Light in the Attic/Rhythmethod)

27 Jun 2010

Elsewhere agrees with itself that Willie Nelson makes too many albums these days (although the last one Country Music was excellent). But the collection to return to repeatedly is Classic and Unreleased, a '95 Rhino box set of Willie's early years. In it you can hear the gifted songwriter that everyone recognised, and the utterly personal style and delivery he brought to originals and songs... > Read more

Kris Kristofferson: Little Girl Lost

Mountain Man: Made the Harbor (Spunk)

27 Jun 2010

Here's an unusual and interesting one: Mountain Man are actually three young women Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath from various parts of the great USA who met at Bennington College in Vermont. Inspired by a mutual love of a kind of alt.folk and old time country -- and a cappella singing -- they formed this trio and, accompanied only by gentle acoustic... > Read more

Mountain Man: Dog Song

Little Axe: Bought for a Dollar, Sold for a Dime (Real World/Southbound)

21 Jun 2010

The previous album by guitarist Skip McDonald as Little Axe, Stone Cold Ohio, was a Best of Elsewhere 2006 album so interest was high for this one which also sees the whole Tackhead crew (bassist Doug Wimbush, drummer Keith Le Blanc) together again after 17 years, and with producer Adrian Sherwood. Guests include vocalists Bernard Fowler and Ken Boothe, and a brass section. There are once... > Read more

Little Axe: Can't Sleep

Devo: Something for Everybody (Warners)

21 Jun 2010

Although I don't get the point of Blondie or the Pretenders in the 21st century, there seems to me a place for Devo: after all, they were always looking to that devolved future when things got worse and worse (like having Blondie and Chrissie still out on the traps?) And of course here they clear the ground for themselves with the two opening tracks: the chipper Fresh jokes about finding... > Read more

Devo: Step Up

The National: High Violet (4AD)

21 Jun 2010    2

Frankly, I want to like the National more, but their almost willfully/arty obscurantism is often off-putting. The DVD which came with their extended EP A Skin/A Night, The Virginia EP seemed like an attempt at creating depth in something which was inherently ordinary. And I feel a little the same about this album: the all-in production attempts to carry the weaker material and the... > Read more

The National: Runaway

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Mojo (Reprise)

21 Jun 2010

My take on Tom Petty -- most of whose albums in the first decade or more I cherished with a passion, but had misfortunes with the man -- is that when he hooked up with the Traveling Wilburys he became prematurely geriatric and he lost his rock edge. This is a theory which doesn't bear much serious scrutiny perhaps (I was "wrong" about the Wilburys as I have conceded), but after... > Read more

Tom Petty: Takin' My Time