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Elsewhere by Graham Reid

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Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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The Cave Singers: Welcome Joy (Matador)

The Cave Singers: Welcome Joy (Matador)

The debut album by this trio out of Seattle, Invitation Songs, took up residence at Elsewhere for its slightly odd, alt.folk and Old Time America quality which was propelled over the finger-picking and rocking beats by Peter Quirk's somewhat . . . err . . . quirky voice. This follows a similar path: acoustic folk-rock; a sense of mystery and darkness; understatement rather than... more >>

The Cave Singers: Shrine

Matt Joe Gow and the Dead Leaves: The Messenger (Essence)

Matt Joe Gow and the Dead Leaves: The Messenger (Essence)

I especially like this line in Matt Joe Gow's bio: "Like most New Zealanders with any imagination, Matt soon found himself compelled to stray beyond the boundaries of his wonderful counmtry . . ."Kind of a back-handed compliment there from an Australian, I guess. Still, no artist should ever be held to their bio and this one was clearly written for international consumption because... more >>

Matt Joe Gow and the Dead Leaves: At the Bar

Rebel Peasant: The Walls of the Well (Rebel Peasant)

Rebel Peasant: The Walls of the Well (Rebel Peasant)

These mostly gentle instrumentals by a founder member of the Phoenix Foundation (a drummer, but here steering various bandmates and others through his own self-produced material in his home studio) confirms what a rich source of talent that band contains . . . and what Rebel Peasant (aka Richie Singleton) is. Like a moody, layered, slightly dubby soundtrack to movies where the tension is... more >>

Rebel Peasant: Affair at Fabyan

Drive By Truckers: Live from Austin, Tx (New West CD/DVD)

Drive By Truckers: Live from Austin, Tx (New West CD/DVD)

You would have thought live albums might have died out shortly after the arrival of MTV when people could finally see the bands whose albums they were hearing. But no, live albums still come -- although the smart bands now combine a CD with a DVD, as do Drive By Truckers, a longtime Elsewhere favourite whose previous albums (and the recent solo outing by Patterson Hood, and that by Bettye... more >>

Drive By Truckers: Perfect Timing

Dr Colossus: Dr Colossus (Independent EP)

Dr Colossus: Dr Colossus (Independent EP)

As with the Benka Boradovsky Bordello Band which also borrows from gypsy music, klezmer, flat-tack Russian folk and so on, this 4-track EP (actually just three, the 35 second thing at the start is just scene-setting) is mostly high on energy and enjoyment, but seems to be all over the place. In a good way if you are knocking back vodka slammers, I guess. The addition of Sixties surf guitar... more >>

Dr Colossus: Arrrpegiator

William Fitzsimmons: The Sparrow and the Crow (Inertia)

William Fitzsimmons: The Sparrow and the Crow (Inertia)

If this hushed folk album was written after a divorce as has been suggested then that explains a lot: it is introspective; the lovely vocals barely rise above a whisper; and the lean, pointed lyrics address all manner of separation emotions (We Feel Alone, If You Would Come Back Home, Please Forgive Me, You Still Hurt Me, They'll Never Take The Good Years are among the song titles). While... more >>

William Fitzsimmons: If You Would Come Back Home

The Eels: Hombre Lobo (Vagrant)

The Eels: Hombre Lobo (Vagrant)

Some weeks ago I reviewed this album by the wayward and often quite wonderful Eels for the New Zealand Listener. In case you missed it, that column is here. more >>

Chris Eckman: The Last Side of the Mountain (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Chris Eckman: The Last Side of the Mountain (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Eckman has been one of the cornerstones of the long-running and very credible alt.country outfit the Walkabouts, has released solo albums, and been a member of the ever-evolving Willard Grant Conspiracy. All of which should recommend him if you follow this particular path of string-augmented, soul-baring songwriting. But the material for the bulk of this album comes from an unusual source:... more >>

Chris Eckman (with Anita Lipnicka): Who Will Light Your Path?

Joe Henry: Blood From Stars (Anti)

Joe Henry: Blood From Stars (Anti)

There is something pointless and not a little depressing writing about another fine Joe Henry album: the 18 people who love his work probably already know of the album, and as for the rest . . . ? I guess Henry is always destined to remain something of a private passion, but it is one that Elsewhere would (again) like to share. His last album Civilians was a Best of Elswehere 2007 pick, and... more >>

Joe Henry: This is my Favourite Cage

Cybiont: A Trilogy of Random Thoughts and Considerations (Cybiont)

Cybiont: A Trilogy of Random Thoughts and Considerations (Cybiont)

First let it be noted that this album by a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Northland is not an easy proposition, and nor does it give up its manic diversity that easily. The title is some kind of clue and you may well think, as I do, that someone outside the project might have been brought in for a little editing as Cybiont doesn't seem capable of it himself. That said... more >>

Cybiont: Whakaarahia!

Opensouls: Standing in the Rain (Dirty)

Opensouls: Standing in the Rain (Dirty)

To be honest, I wasn't expecting to like this quite as much as I do. Certainly some songs lack a soulful punch and you'd wish for more power in the vocals of Tyra at times. But these people write a good tune -- albeit it grounded in Motown classic riffs and shifts -- and the edgy guitars elevate it a little more than I had anticipated. It is soul with a subtle injection of rock, and that's... more >>

Opensouls: Dollars

Judith Owen: Mopping Up Karma (Courgette)

Judith Owen: Mopping Up Karma (Courgette)

This album came out many months ago and for some reason slipped my attention: it might have continued to sit in the pile while more pressing albums came along were it nor for the alarming inner sleeve which I just discovered in which Owen looks like a slightly younger but equally buttoned-up-in-leather version of Frau Blucher in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. Not that such an image should... more >>

Judith Owen: Message From Heaven

Black Sabbath: Greatest Hits (Universal)

Black Sabbath: Greatest Hits (Universal)

There's no particular reason for mentioning this 14 track collection (which includes Paranoid, Iron Man, War Pigs etc) given that it isn't the first or probably the last such collection: but Elsewhere has always had a special affection for early Sabbath and so we refer you to Paranoid at Essential Elsewhere for further reading and relevant noises. more >>

Black Sabbath: Never Say Die

Willie Nelson: Lost Highway (Lost Highway)

Willie Nelson: Lost Highway (Lost Highway)

Another month, another Willie album, huh? This 17 track collection of songs from his period on the Lost Highway label (and some unreleased material) comes hard on the heels of his American Classic album (a sequel of sorts to his excellent Stardust of many years ago, Willie on standards) and prior to that there was the natural pairing with Asleep at the Wheel, the less-than-natural teaming... more >>

Willie Nelson: Cowboys are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other

Malcolm Middleton: Waxing Gibbous (Pod)

Malcolm Middleton: Waxing Gibbous (Pod)

This somewhat eccentric Scottish singer-songwriter Middleton is not "an acquired taste" (which has a pejorative meaning) rather a taste that few in this country have acquired: despite being in Arab Strap and widely hailed by UK critics for his solo albums (this is his fifth) he has barely made a ripple outside of Britain -- although could have changed if his hilariously bleak but... more >>

Malcolm Middleton: My Delirium

Patterson Hood: Murdering Oscar and other love songs (Shock)

Patterson Hood: Murdering Oscar and other love songs (Shock)

One of the mainmen in Elsewhere favourites Drive-By Truckers, Patterson Hood here weighs in with the second solo outing under his own name which stalks similar musical territory as the Truckers (alt.country, Stones-riffery, dark ballads) but takes an even more dense emotional turn in some places. Many of the songs here -- as he explains in the interesting liner notes to each -- come from his... more >>

Patterson Hood: Walking Around Sense

Greg Brown and Dream City: Essential Recordings Vol 2 1997-2006 (Red House)

Greg Brown and Dream City: Essential Recordings Vol 2 1997-2006 (Red House)

This extraordinary singer-songwriter-poet appeared at Elsewhere previously with his much recommended Evening Call album although at the time I noted an excellent starting point if he was new to you was the compilation If I Had Known (which covered 1980-96) because it came with a DVD film of his life and work. This double-disc collection picks up where that previous collection left off (16... more >>

Greg Brown: Blue Car

Dimmer: Degrees of Existence (Warners)

Dimmer: Degrees of Existence (Warners)

Already some are saying this fourth album by Dimmer is a return to form by singer/songwriter/guitarist Shayne Carter . . . which I take to mean that is because in places it sounds closer to Dimmer's debut album and -- yes, this is what some will want to hear -- even has some of the more dark and aggressive elements of his former band Straitjacket Fits (the seething surge of Cold Water being the... more >>

Dimmer: Wrong Bus

Kronos Quartet: Floodplain (Nonesuch/Warners)

Kronos Quartet: Floodplain (Nonesuch/Warners)

For more than 30 years the Kronos Quartet have been innovators, rarely looking back or playing pieces more than a few times, always on the lookout for contemporary material and daring projects. They have recorded with John Zorn and Allen Ginsberg, played material by Jimi Hendrix, Terry Riley, the remarkable Inuit singer Tagaq, Harry Partch, Sigur Ros, Astor Piazzolla and Philip... more >>

The Kronos Quartet: Oh Mother, The Handsome Man Tortures Me

Son Volt: American Central Dust (Rounder)

Son Volt: American Central Dust (Rounder)

For a while in the late Eighties/early Nineties alt.country was an exciting but difficult music to follow: no sooner had you tuned in to Uncle Tupelo than they split (Jay Farrar to found Son Volt, Jeff Tweedy and the rest to form Wilco); then Jay Bennett was out of Wilco and into a solo career (his death a few months ago was a bitter coda to that sad but ultimately redemptive story); and... more >>

Son Volt: When the Wheels Don't Move