Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Monsters of Folk: Monsters of Folk (Spunk)

Monsters of Folk: Monsters of Folk (Spunk)

Given who these people are -- Conor Oberst aka Bright Eyes, M Ward, and Jim James of My Morning Jacket (aka Yim Yames) -- you might be forgiven for thinking this is some kind of neo-folk meeting on the mountain top, or possibly a younger, more serious and sprightly version of the Traveling Wilburys. But in the hands of producer -- and fourth Monster -- Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Jenny Lewis)... more >>

Monsters of Folk: Baby Boomer

11 Oct 2009

International Observer: Felt (Dubmission)

International Observer: Felt (Dubmission)

The first thing to note about this new album by producer/dubmeister Tom Bailey is that there are 12 tracks. No noodling around or nodding off going on here, Bailey doesn't let any groove outstay its welcome. And throughout Bailey also adds in interesting elements to keep your attention: Is that a tongue-in-cheek suggestion of Eighties synth-pop on Popcorn Slavery? What's that strange... more >>

International Observer: Binman Dub

11 Oct 2009

David Bremner: Gung-Ho (Atoll)

David Bremner: Gung-Ho (Atoll)

Subtitled "Virtuoso works for Trombone" this debut album by Bremner of the NZSO is a finalist in the Best Classical Album category at the 2009 New Zealand music awards*, and even if trombone isn't your thing (jazz by Tommy Dorsey perhaps, classical maybe not?) you'd have to concede this is extremely impressive. It does feel a little like a show reel as he engages in duets with... more >>

David Bremner: Allerseelen

5 Oct 2009

Jimmy Webb and the Webb Brothers: Cottonwood Farm (Proper/Southbound)

Jimmy Webb and the Webb Brothers: Cottonwood Farm (Proper/Southbound)

Anyone who has followed the career of the great songwriter Jimmy Webb (interviewed at Elsewhere here) will attest to two things: he crafts memorable material (all those hits for Glen Campbell, the gorgeous minimalism of The Moon's A Harsh Mistress made famous by Joe Cocker, the baroque McArthur Park) and he ain't much of a singer. Like Burt Bacharach, you usually need to hear Webb's... more >>

Jimmy Webb and the Webb Brothers: Where the Universes Are

5 Oct 2009

Paloma Faith: Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? (Sony)

Paloma Faith: Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? (Sony)

For the past few months it seems to have been impossible to miss Pixie Lott: posters and interviews (none of which I've read I must admit), her poppet-features poking out of every corner of popular culture. It came as a surprise to me then to learn just last week that the ubiquitous Pixie -- clearly a talent whose genius requires our on-going interest -- has only just released her debut... more >>

Paloma Faith: My Legs Are Weak

5 Oct 2009

Ray Columbus and the Invaders: The Definitive Collection (Zodiac/Ode)

Ray Columbus and the Invaders: The Definitive Collection (Zodiac/Ode)

The point to note about Ray Columbus and the Invaders being inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame at the 2009 Music Awards is that it is Ray Columbus AND The Invaders. Columbus might have been the charismatic and energetic frontman, but as this 45-song double disc reminds, he had a band that were as good as it got in this country during the early Sixties -- and no surprise that... more >>

Ray Columbus and the Invaders: Cat's Eyes

4 Oct 2009    1

Mark Knopfler: Get Lucky (Vertigo)

Mark Knopfler: Get Lucky (Vertigo)

For man who made his reputation with mercurial guitar work and not his rather undistinguished voice, former Dire Straits frontman Knopfler (profiled here) takes a real chance on this solo outing: there’s barely a guitar lick in the first two songs and the album opens in a distinctly Celtic mood with fiddles and flutes, then steps in with some soulful balladry. With some songs which are... more >>

Mark Knopfler: Hard Shoulder

4 Oct 2009    2

Great North: Soldiers (Great North)

Great North: Soldiers (Great North)

New bands often make great claims for themselves -- that is forgivable -- but I especially like the humour of what this Auckland five-piece say of their music: "It is the sound of Bruce Springsteen having a tumultuous affair with Gillian Welch" and "the songs were delivered by angels. Drunk angels. The kind you don't invite round for fear they will break your teapot or burn their... more >>

Great North: Jericho

4 Oct 2009

Chris Smither: Time Stands Still (Shock)

Chris Smither: Time Stands Still (Shock)

As on his earlier Leave The Light On, this grizzled singer-songwriter now in his mid 60s, covers a Bob Dylan song, this time It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry. He also adds in Mark Knopfler's Madame Geneva's and that's a more useful reference, because Knopfler explores roots music -- but Smither lives it. His low grumble isn't too far removed from Knopfler's although comes on... more >>

Chris Smither: I Don't Know

4 Oct 2009

The Raiders: Indian Reservation/Collage (Raven/EMI)

The Raiders: Indian Reservation/Collage (Raven/EMI)

When this band emerged as Paul Revere and the Raiders in the Sixties they were a rocking, sometimes salacious and rather terrific garageband (albeit one which dressed kinda funny) and so, quite rightly, a compilation of their Greatest Hits appears at Essential Elsewhere. By 1970 the world had turned through hippies, horn-augmented bands like Blood Sweat and Tears, jamming outfits and so on.... more >>

The Raiders: The Boys in the Band (from Collage, 1970)

4 Oct 2009

Jordan Reyne: How the Dead Live (www.jordanreyne.com)

Jordan Reyne: How the Dead Live (www.jordanreyne.com)

I guess when Creative New Zealand were looking for someone to write music to raise awareness of the country's historical and cultural heritage they wouldn't have had a long list. Right at the top would have been Reyne anyway. One of this country's most gifted, probing and intelligent writers, she delivered (if nothing else) the stunning Passenger album a few years ago based on her train... more >>

Jordan Reyne: The Brave

1 Oct 2009    1

Tim Finn: Anthology; North South East West (EMI)

Tim Finn: Anthology; North South East West (EMI)

Anyone who considers the Tim Finn timeline would quickly conclude that here was a man who always did it his way: the theatrics and manic energy of Split Enz combined with alarmingly engaging and durable music; solo albums which were sometimes uncomfortable for their self-analysis; others which were snappy and poppy; soundtracks and side-projects . . .  So a double disc overview of his... more >>

Tim Finn: Straw to Gold (from the album The Conversation)

28 Sep 2009

Pearl Jam: Back Spacer (Universal)

Pearl Jam: Back Spacer (Universal)

Just as some would have you believe there were "Beatles fans" Vs "Stones fans" back in the day (usually by old people styling themselves Stones fans to appear cooler than they actually were at school), so too there was that weird schism set up between Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Nirvana were, of course, "authentic" and Pearl Jam were somehow just pretend-grunge in... more >>

Pearl Jam: The Fixer

28 Sep 2009

Grand Archives: Keep In Mind Frankenstein (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Grand Archives: Keep In Mind Frankenstein (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

It would be fair to note that after saying very favourable things about this band's impressive debut The Grand Archives, I fully expected to never hear another note by them. Not that they would break up, but that their particular charms would go past so many people that whatever they did next might not get released in New Zealand. It is my great pleasure to announce therefore . . .... more >>

Grand Archives: Oslo Novelist

28 Sep 2009

Various: Albums from the Smithsonian Folkways series (Folkways/Southbound)

Various: Albums from the Smithsonian Folkways series (Folkways/Southbound)

The Smithsonian is one of those great American institutions which, if it says "we're here to help" actually is. In their Smithsonian Folkways collection they have short audio examples of 40,000 tracks and through their Global Sound website they are all available for download. And they have the original liner notes for the relevant albums which you can view for free.Which might make... more >>

Big Chief Ellis: Dices Blues

28 Sep 2009    1

The Wailin' Jennys: Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House (Shock)

The Wailin' Jennys: Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House (Shock)

On the release of their Firecracker album a couple of years back I noted that you'd be forgiven for getting burn-out on this whole old-time country music sung authentically by people who are probably middle-class and well educated. Still, people like Gillian Welch do it so well, and you don't want to open up that whole "can white people sing the blues?" discussion. So if you... more >>

The Wailin' Jennys: One More Dollar

27 Sep 2009    1

John Fogerty and the Blue Ridge Rangers: Rides Again (Verve)

John Fogerty and the Blue Ridge Rangers: Rides Again (Verve)

The odd thing about hearing the great Creedence Clearwater Revival on the recently released Woodstock set was that they sounded exactly like themselves: that's what happens when you keep your music simple and sharp, and you have a voice as distinctive as John Fogerty's up front. Fogerty is still out there playing Creedence songs and new material (and sounding damn good at it) but here... more >>

John Fogerty: I'll Be There

21 Sep 2009

Taken by Trees: East of Eden (Rough Trade)

Taken by Trees: East of Eden (Rough Trade)

This ethereal and exotically charming album by Swedish singer-composer Victoria Bergsman (aka Taken by Trees) is something of a rarity: she travelled to Lahore where she encountered not just the local musicians but a certain, shall we say, unusual attitude towards unmarrried women in Pakistan. None of that tension is here in the music however where her languid vocals float over tabla, flute... more >>

Taken by Trees: To Lose Someone

15 Sep 2009

The Duke and the King: Nothing Good Can Stay (Shock)

The Duke and the King: Nothing Good Can Stay (Shock)

The singer-songwriter behind this gorgeously tuneful, lyrically probing debut is Simone Felice of the terrific Felice Brothers, two times Best of Elsewhere artists (2007, 2008) for their amalgam of ragged-but-right country which owed huge debts to the early Band and country-styled Bob Dylan, but who put their own stamp on proceedings. The songwriter/drummer has left the band and teamed up... more >>

The Duke and the King: One More American Song

14 Sep 2009    3

Yim Yames: Tribute to (Rough Trade)

Yim Yames: Tribute to (Rough Trade)

Yim Yames is actually Jim James from My Morning Jacket (no, don't ask me why) and these six songs were actually recorded in 2001, a few days after George Harrison's death as a tribute to a man whose life he said was "a prime example of the healing powers of music". There have been bigger and more self-conscious tributes to Harrison, but none more heartfelt or so emotionally direct... more >>

Yim Yames: Ballad of Sir Frank Crisp (Let it Roll)

13 Sep 2009