Music at Elsewhere

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Harmonia and Eno '76: Tracks and Traces Reissue (Gronland/Rhythmethod)

Harmonia and Eno '76: Tracks and Traces Reissue (Gronland/Rhythmethod)

Even during his days in Roxy Music, Brian Eno professed an admiration for not just the music coming out of the German electronic movement (Can and so on) but for their collective spirit. They often lived communally and kept outside the mainstream, and (the commune thing excepted) so did he. That they had so many musical interests in common meant it was inevitable at some point they would... more >>

Harmonia and Eno: Vamos Companeros

9 Nov 2009

BLK JKS: After Robots (Secretly Canadian)

BLK JKS: After Robots (Secretly Canadian)

It would be hard to imagine a more musically diverse, genre-defying and largely bewildering album than this by a South African rock band which has been swept off to Electric Ladyland Studios in New York where Brandon Curtis (of Secret Machines) has produced this meltdown of mad psychedelics, MOR ballads, reggae and African mbaqanga. Nine tracks like nine different radio stations. At... more >>

BLK JKS: Molalatladi

9 Nov 2009

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Intentions: Through the Devil Softly (Shock)

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Intentions: Through the Devil Softly (Shock)

Sandoval was the emotionally cool, quietly mesmerising singer in Mazzy Star who has been off the radar for some while as a front person. (She has collaborated widely however, a new Mazzy album soon.) Here she fronts the band of her partner Colm O Ciosoig (of My Bloody Valentine) and various others on their first outing in about eight years. Little has changed in her emotionally close but... more >>

Hope Sandoval: Blue Bird

9 Nov 2009

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1 (Ode)

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1 (Ode)

It's a curious thing that in New Zealand where country and alt.country of various persuasions has become increasingly popular that an album like this slips past most people. It slipped past me until very recently, although I'm pleased to note her previous one Red Dirt Angel, didn't go around the judges at the 2009 music awards who picked it as the country album of last year. Without having... more >>

Tami Neilson: Girl on the Moon

9 Nov 2009    1

Bill Chambers: Drifting South (Whitewater)

Bill Chambers: Drifting South (Whitewater)

Bill Chambers -- quite apart from being the father of singer-songwriter Kasey and producer Nash -- is one of Australia's great singer-songwriters whose work just seems to be getting deeper and more resonant. He is suitably road-grizzled these days and his work (just a reference point) sits somewhere between Paul Kelly, Kris Kristofferson and Greg Brown. Here he sings of "deisel and... more >>

Bill Chambers: Tail Lights

9 Nov 2009

Bear Cat: Presents Xiong Mao (Bear Cat)

Bear Cat: Presents Xiong Mao (Bear Cat)

Blenheim-raised Jocee Tuck -- one half of this duo with Dan Trevarthen -- recently won Auckland University’s inaugural School of Music singer-songwriter award. Against tough competition -- a soul-pop belter, earnest young men with guitars -- Tuck delivered her original songs with lowkey charm and her ace was a complex arrangement for vibes, marimba and vocals which took her close the... more >>

Bear Cat: Set, Set, Set My Eyes On Fire

8 Nov 2009

Sarah Blasko: As Day Follows Night (Universal)

Sarah Blasko: As Day Follows Night (Universal)

In what looked like a joke, a recent issue of the Australian Rolling Stone described Sarah Blasko as "music's most reluctant star" in the blurb above a story which ran for pages, included a lot of intimate and arty photos, and had the singer-songwriter extensively quoted. As "reluctant" goes it was hardly in the league of Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes or Scott Walker.... more >>

Sarah Blasko: Lost and Defeated

6 Nov 2009

Delgirl: Porchlight (Yellow Eye)

Delgirl: Porchlight (Yellow Eye)

This trio from Dunedin impressed on their debut album two, maybe three, days ride which saw them nominated for a Tui award and, as I noted at that time, it was a real step up from their first EP. This even better album -- 15 tracks -- confirms what I have always believed, the more you work (ie play, perform and record) the chances are the better you will get. There is a musical maturity... more >>

Delgirl: Stars

4 Nov 2009

The Brunettes: Paper Dolls (Lil' Chief)

The Brunettes: Paper Dolls (Lil' Chief)

The cute and coy pop of the Brunettes has always been much enjoyed here at Elsewhere for its humour and slightly twee quality, and their previous album Structure and Cosmetics remains a Firm Favourite, as they say. But frankly on this one some of the charm is wearing off: they work the same lyrical quirkiness about domestic matters and observations as always; the "relationship"... more >>

The Brunettes: Magic (No Bunny)

3 Nov 2009

Wolfmother: Cosmic Egg (Universal)

Wolfmother: Cosmic Egg (Universal)

To be honest I rarely watch music television, but the other night I caught about 30 seconds of these Australian rockers and was hooked: they seemed to be nothing especially new but were genuinely exciting. I heard a bit of early Black Sabbath, some terrific guitar sounds of the kind that used to be common in the late Sixties, a swag of Seventies pre-stadium rock (Black Oak Arkansas) and whole... more >>

Wolfmother: New Moon Rising

3 Nov 2009

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Advance Base Battery Life (Tomlab)

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Advance Base Battery Life (Tomlab)

When the superbly named CFTPA (Owen Ashworth from Chicago) played before a couple of dozen in Auckland a few years back he was utterly beguiling: a small selection of lo-fi keyboards; a voice soaked in melancholy; and pointed songs which had a bed-sit consciousness without moping or self-pitying. His 06 album Etiquette was chock full of poetic miniatures, but this collection of singles,... more >>

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Sunday St

2 Nov 2009

Doug Cox: Without Words (Black Hen)

Doug Cox: Without Words (Black Hen)

Dobro player Doug Cox from Canada appeared here previously with his lovely album Slide to Freedom where he worked with Indian slide guitarist Salil Bhatt. That album alone would recommend this compilation of instrumentals from his obviously extensive back-catalogue. Cox has a light touch, plays without unnecessary embellishment and brings a beautifully warm tone out of his instruments... more >>

Doug Cox: Easy Place to Be

2 Nov 2009

Noah and the Whale: The First Days of Spring (Shock)

Noah and the Whale: The First Days of Spring (Shock)

Beauty is not a quality that popular music (ie pop, rock, r'n'b, indie-rock or whatever) places much store in: yet from the Velvet Underground through Mazzy Star and the early Cowboy Junkies to the Fleet Foxes, or from Eno to the landscape of guitars in Explosions in the Sky, there has been beauty aplenty. Beauty need not be sentimental or cringe-inducing. So when a record company... more >>

Noah and the Whale: Stranger

2 Nov 2009

Dead Man's Bones: Dead Man's Bones (Anti/Shock)

Dead Man's Bones: Dead Man's Bones (Anti/Shock)

This will be an acquired taste but its release around Halloween is I suppose apt, especially if for you Halloween is a Serious Event and doesn't have a lot to do with buying a witches' hat or trick'n'treat. A project for the actor Ryan Gosling and his mate Zach Shields, this is like a faux-spooky meltdown of a kitsch carnival House of Horrors, a small part of Tom Waits, a BBC sound effects... more >>

Dead Man's Bones: Buried in Water

2 Nov 2009

Wall of Voodoo: Dark Continent/Call of the West (Raven)

Wall of Voodoo: Dark Continent/Call of the West (Raven)

Stan Ridgway, frontman for Wall of Voodoo, was one of the smartest, story-telling songwriters -- and nervously energetic singers -- to emerge in the wake of American new wave in the early Eighties. Sadly most people might only know them for their terrific single Mexican Radio and relegate them to that one-hit-wonder category reserved for bands which turned Japanese (the Vapors) or sang of... more >>

Wall of Voodoo: Call of the West

2 Nov 2009

Jan Hellriegel: All Grown Up (Blind Date)

Jan Hellriegel: All Grown Up (Blind Date)

The title tells its own story, it has been well over a decade since Jan Hellriegel made an album and that might explain the huge interest in this one: lotsa interviews, articles and media attention, my guess from people who remember Hellriegel fondly for her swagger and sensitivity in bands and on her solo albums. The swagger is still here on this widescreen and often dramatic... more >>

Jan Hellriegel: Orange Liqueur

27 Oct 2009

Grant-Lee Phillips: Little Moon (Yep Roc)

Grant-Lee Phillips: Little Moon (Yep Roc)

Phillips -- formerly frontman for the LA alt-rock/indie-pop outfit Grant Lee Buffalo in the 90s -- may never release a solo album quite as exceptional as his Mobilize of 2001. But after the country-folk of Virginia Creeper of 04, the 06 covers album Nineteeneighties (you always ask, “Why?” of such projects) and Strangelet of two years ago which was excellent but disappeared... more >>

Grant-Lee Phillips: Little Moon

26 Oct 2009

Rosanne Cash: The List (EMI)

Rosanne Cash: The List (EMI)

Of all the songs Johnny Cash recorded in his final years the most moving was September When It Comes on his daughter Rosanne‘s album Rules of Travel: “I cannot move a mountain now,” he croaked. It  brought tears to the eye. Rosanne Cash has had an erratic career: her first albums were excellent then things went wobbly; she stopped touring when she married Rodney... more >>

Rosanne Cash: I'm Movin' On

26 Oct 2009

Mayer Hawthorne: A Strange Arrangement (Rhythmethod)

Mayer Hawthorne: A Strange Arrangement (Rhythmethod)

There's a lot of soul -- and faux-soul -- around these days what with Duffy, Amy Winehouse (is she still around?), James Hunter, Beth Rowley who gives it a blues and rock twist, Alice Russell with a funk spin and, on the local front, Opensouls. Of them all, on paper at least, Hawthorne might have the hardest task persuading an audience of his credibility: a buttoned-down and... more >>

Mayer Hawthorne: Maybe So, Maybe No

26 Oct 2009

Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

In retrospect, one of the funniest incidents in the Flight of the Conchords' second television series was when the nice but naive New Zealand prime minister Brian turned up and seemed out of his depth, and desperate to be liked. Who knew that the actual PM John Key would later turn up on Letterman looking alarmingly like Brian? But the Conchords -- in the series and especially their... more >>

Flight of the Conchords: Hurt Feelings

26 Oct 2009