Music at Elsewhere

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Various Artists: Teach Me to Monkey (Vampisoul/Southbound)

2 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

Chris Kenner wasn't kidding when he wrote Land of 1000 Dances in '62 – which became a minor hit for Cannibal and the Headhunters, then the wicked Wilson Pickett and dozens of others. In the early 60s it seemed like America was kicking up a new dance craze – the Monkey, the Pony, the Jerk, the Mashed Potato, the Watusi – every other week and teen magazines had pages... > Read more

Carol Ford: Your Well Ran Dry (1964)

Lotus Mason: Lotus Mason (Glowb)

2 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Blair Jollands (interviewed in 2004 here) is one of New Zealand's best-kept expat secrets. With his band El Hula he crafted some of the finest post-Bowie dramatic ballads (with a touch of alt.country) and his strong, elegant voice has drawn favourable comparisons with Scott Walker and Bowie at his peak in the late Seventies. He... > Read more

Lotus Mason: Dream of You

Wai: Ora (Wai/Jayrem)

2 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

When the debut album, 100%, by Maaka McGregor and Mina Ripia (aka Wai) was released in 2000 (see here) it was hailed as a ground-breaking event for its deft blend of te reo (Maori language) and electronica. Yet in many ways the musical landscape had been laid by the likes of Dalvanius with Patea Maori, and then Moana who had also sung in te reo and used the sound of amplified poi (and, in... > Read more

Wai: Hone Taiapa

Upper Hutt Posse: Tohe (Kia Kaha)

2 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

For quite a while it seemed that the seminal Aotearoa/New Zealand hip-hop outfit Upper Hutt Posse might have been reduced down to Dean Hapeta, who was actually appearing under the name Te Kupu (aka The Word). But here, on an album which kicks along on the back of staccato, minimalist dubstep beats and huge reggae style bass, the Posse are again at it . . . this time Hapeta and his brother... > Read more

Upper Hutt Posse: Mana Motuhake

Donna Dean: What Am I Gonna Do? (Ode)

2 Aug 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

When it comes to country music (alt. or country-rock) Donna Dean has the credentials: the gal has done it all -- marriage, kids, divorce, rehab, bars and clubs, opening for the likes of Willie Nelson, Jimmy Webb and the Penn-Oldham team . . . She spent time in London and Europe, recorded her debut album Money with The Amazing Rhythm Aces in Nashville, and for this follow-up recorded in... > Read more

Donna Dean: Empty Big Blue Sky

Emilie Simon: Presents The Big Machine (Cartell)

1 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read  |  1

Frankly I was stunned when I read a recent review of this astonishingly annoying, very ordinary album which awarded it five stars. That kind of rating I think should be reserved for albums you will be still listening to in a year . . . and a decade. I found it hard to get through this one twice. French singer Simon (known more for classy videos than her musical talent) brings to the table... > Read more

Emile Simon: Ballad of the Big Machine

Tono and the Finance Company: Fragile Thing EP (Border)

1 Aug 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

One of the nicest things about small indie artists is the care they lavish on the presentation of their low-key albums. Witness the delightful Tokey Tones albums or even the more rough-hewn albums on Flying Nun where the art was a signifier of the contents. And so it is with this terrific, confident, witty and repeat-play six-song EP which comes in an "exquisite corpse" cover (the... > Read more

Tono and the Finance Company: Barry Smith of Hamilton

Renee Geyer: The Definitive Collection 1973 - 1998 (Mushroom)

1 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

This great Australian soul, funk and blues singer appeared at Elsewhere recently -- more of that in a minute -- but here by coincidence is 18 track collection of some of her finest moments from her four decade career, including her gutsy take on James Brown's classic It's A Man's Man's Man's World on which she really shines. Also here is her version of If Lovin' You is Wrong, the live... > Read more

Renee Geyer: Shakey Ground

Flip Grater: While I'm Awake I'm At War (Maiden)

1 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

New Zealand singer-songwriter Flip Grater has a rare distinction at Elsewhere: she's the only artist so far who has previously had music posted (here) as well as recipe (here) which she picked up on the road for her cookbook. This beautifully arranged album, produced by Tim Guy, delivers through understatement as Grater's vocals are soft, almost hinting at the style of introspective French... > Read more

Flip Grater: Low Light

Bob Dylan: Folksinger's Choice (Left Field/Triton)

31 Jul 2010  |  2 min read

One of the revelations of the first of Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series was the maturity of his voice for one so young. Songs like Moonshiner showed a wisdom and understanding well beyond his years. And this remarkable, and previously rare, album confirms that point -- and many more about the young Dylan and how he saw himself. Not as a folksinger, he says in one of the interesting snippets of... > Read more

Bob Dylan: Smokestack Lightnin'

Blitzen Trapper: Destroyer of the Void (Sub Pop/Rhythmethod)

26 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

More so than their previous releases, this band from the Pacific Northwest seem to ladle in dollops of trippy glam-adelica in the opening overs of this thoroughly enjoyable outing. It's as if a thinking person's band from the late Sixties or mid Seventies has beamed down into the post-grunge pop world (or vice-versa) of Portland and whatever the images and angst in the lyrics are wrapped in... > Read more

Blitzen Trapper: Laughing Lover

Katie Melua: The House (Dramatico)

26 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

Those who have followed Melua's career might be a little surprised by this outing -- and if you haven't then this might be the album to tune in for: dramatic, dark, hypnotic, cabaret-noir, lovely ballads, enough pop-smarts everywhere . . . and a strange sense of sonic discloaction from producer Wiliam Orbit. They all make this quite a grower. Although she previously worked with Mike Batt... > Read more

Katie Melua: The One I Love is Gone

Pete Molinari: A Train Bound for Glory (Clarksville)

26 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

English music magpie Molinari's previous two albums alerted you to a folk-driven singer-songwriter who was unashamed of wearing influences but bringing a neat twist to them: his Walking off the Map in '06 cheerfully plundered Hank Williams and pre-66 Bob Dylan (and delivered a beautiful new standard in Indescribably Blue); his follow-up A Virtual Landscape added Sam Cooke soul, Lonnie... > Read more

Pete Molinari: To Be Close to Your Heart's Desire

Laurie Anderson: Homeland (Nonesuch)

19 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

From the accompanying DVD, you sense this should have been a double CD for us to fully appreciate the long arc and nuances of this, Anderson's first album in a decade. Anderson's work is allusive rather than literal or descriptive, but in these often disturbing, melancholy and dislocated meditations on the state of her country, some thread is missing between her feeling... > Read more

Laurie Anderson: Strange Perfumes

George Jones: The Great Lost Hits (Time Life/Southbound)

18 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

Lawd almighty, but ain't there been some archival albums appearing lately? In the past few weeks Elsewhere has noted albums of Bob Dylan barely out of his teens (here); Kris Kristofferson before the fame (here), Willie Nelson's earliest material (here) . . . and now the great George Jones. The honky-tonk balladeer, country weeper (Things have Gone to Pieces -- see clip below -- is one... > Read more

George Jones: Take Me

Jamie Liddell: Compass (Warp/Border)

18 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

There is certainly no shortage of white soul singers these days (Hall and Oates seem to be making a comeback too), but Liddell from the UK brings a neat post-Prince funky skew and a techno-twist to his songs which, stripped of some of the considerable sonic effects and colours here, still stand as fine, inner-city soul vehicles for his high but malleable voice. This is at its weakest when... > Read more

Jamie Liddell: Big Drift

Peter Wolf: Midnight Souvenirs (Verve)

12 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read  |  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

The Broken Heartbreakers: Wintersun (BHB)

12 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

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

Alejandro Escovedo: Street Songs of Love (Concord)

12 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

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

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

11 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

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