Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Caitlin Harnett: All in the Golden Afternoon EP (CHCD)

6 Dec 2010  |  <1 min read

Working in that vein of "sensitive singer-songwriter", Sydney-based Harnett keeps things clear and simple here in a series of six songs which -- like Flip Grater's When I'm Awake I'm At War -- deliver everything in the first person to/about the unspecified "you". Make what you will of that, I find it broadcasts on a narrow emotional frequency. That said (as with... > Read more

Caitlin Harnett: Favourite Dress

Magic Arm: Make Lists Do Something (Switchflicker/Yellow Eye)

5 Dec 2010  |  1 min read

This techno-pop, Pro Tools-folktronic album by Manchester's one-man band Marc Rigelsford finally gets belated local release (it appeared in the UK a year ago). But it's timely with the Band on the Run reissue because Rigelsford's reference points are the younger McCartney and classic Beach Boys as much early Beck and pre-fame Bright Eyes (the folktronic stuff) and the woozy folkadelic pop... > Read more

Magic Arm: Move Out

Duffy: Endlessly (Universal)

5 Dec 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

Poor Duffy. The preview tracks for her debut album Rockferry had everyone hailing her as one of the great new voices (even though she referred to classic pop and soul traditions) but when the album did arrive -- with some admittedly weaker tracks -- a section of the British press turned on her. They got in with the backlash even before the album was in stores. But not so poor Duffy --... > Read more

Duffy: Girl

Edwyn Collins: Losing Sleep (Shock)

5 Dec 2010  |  1 min read

Scotland's Orange Juice fronted by singer-songwriter Edwyn Collins only had one persuasive album (You Can't Hide Your Love Forever in '82) and one UK hit (Rip It Up from the album of the same name, also in '82) but their arch, often ironic and non-threatening pop has recently occasioned a 6CD/DVD collection, a reflection of the high regard in which they were held. Since they split in... > Read more

Edwyn Collins: Searching for the Truth

Renee-Louise Carafice: I Will Raise a Bird Army (Bird Army)

29 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

There is no doubt life has been difficult for Renee-Louise Carafice, her previous album (here) was born out of clinical depression and time in an institution . . .  and this one addresses the break-up of a relationship (which she concedes was always flawed) in chilly Chicago. Art wrought out of such personal crises can often be therapetic of itself but may not necessarily engage an... > Read more

Renee-Louise Carafice: Radars Dead

Various Artists: Kris Needs Presents Dirty Water; The Birth of Punk Attitude (Future Police/Southbound)

29 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

This excellent, wayward and musically diverse double disc is like a mix tape/vanity project from a friend who just wants to get down his/her favourite raw rock'n'roll/mad attitude songs in the one place for you, the stuff that has been inspirational and still stands up. Here UK rock journalist (Zigzag) and sometimes band frontman Needs takes a broad view of the word "punk" to... > Read more

The Flamin' Groovies: Teenage Head

Barry Saunders: Far As The Eye Can See (Ode)

28 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

More than just a compilation of tracks from his various albums and radio sessions (including some from his excellent Zodiac album), this collection of songs by country-inflected singer-songwriter Saunders was a prompt for various painters and visual artists. Wellington curator Ron Epskamp of Exhibitions Gallery (here) invited 14 artists to interpret Saunders' lyrics -- and their works are... > Read more

Barry Saunders: Black Eyed Girl

Cassandra's Ears: The Cassandra's Ears Story (Blind Date)

28 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

Early in 2010 the women who had been in the late-Eighties Kiwi band Cassandra's Ears got together for a gig and to their delight discovered that James Moss of Jayrem (which had released their two EPs Private Wasteland and Your Estimation) still had the master tapes. Jan Hellriegel -- Ears' singer -- had pursued a creditable solo career after the band broke up in 1990 and had her own label,... > Read more

Cassandra's Ears: Crystal

Israel Cannan: Walk (Poets Corner)

28 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

Cannan from the east coast of Australia has ben itinerant for some while -- hence the title of this album -- and has spent his time looking, writing and finally recording this quietly impressive album. There's a folk-rock quality at work mostly  (although he veers alarmingly close to early REM on To The Left) but he is also something of a road philosopher-poet on material like On My Way... > Read more

Israel Cannan: Let It Rain

Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlight (Spunk)

28 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

This fourth album by Antony confirms what many already suspect, that a little of this divine, sublime voice can go a long way. All that high drama and quivering vocals, the allusive lyrics, the symphonic strings . . . It's all high-wire emotion and, as with Rufus Wainwright's All Days Are Nights, over the long haul it becomes demanding and undifferentiated. To his credit however Antony... > Read more

Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlights

Fistful of Mercy: As I Call You Down (Hot)

28 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

Further proof – if required – that something less than a supergroup can deliver something considerably less than super. And this group – Ben Harper, the far-too-prolific singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and Dhani (son of George) Harrison – come up so far short on every front that their folksy I Don't Want to Waste Your Time (“but I will, yes I will”)... > Read more

Fistful of Mercy: I Don't Want to Waste Your Time

Various Artists: Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah; 70s New York Disco (Backbeats/Triton)

28 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

Some music -- even from the first few bars -- is time-specific. The merest whiff of a particular drum sound and guitar can conjure up rockabilly of the Fifties, and some beats plus swooping strings or a horn part can just scream "disco" at you. In that case, this 11 track compilation is unnecessarily subtitled because you get its straight away: New York + Seventies. It's disco,... > Read more

The Ripple: The Beat Goes On And On

Kelley Stoltz: To Dreamers (SubPop)

26 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

Let's say this for San Francisco's Kelley Stoltz, he's done his homework: his thoroughly enjoyable album Circular Sounds (here) came off like a potted history of pop for them what missed the classes on UK 1965-68 and the Beginners Guide to Songwriting (with special reference to Boyce and Hart, Harry Nilsson and Paul McCartney). This time out with a full cast of players he adds a bit of glam... > Read more

Kelley Stoltz: Pinecone

John White: The Inkadies (Monkey)

21 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

This album could slip past as easily unnoticed as White's recent New Zealand tour, it whispers rather than shouts, is mostly dreamy rather than grounded. Formerly out front of Dunedin's Mestar, White recorded these airy but sometimes fuzzy, acoustic-framed songs in Wisconsin three years ago and apparently this one follows two previous albums. Over the 11 short Anglofolk-styled songs... > Read more

John White: The Fields

K.T. Tunstall: Tiger Suit (Virgin)

21 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

Word is that a campervan trip around New Zealand in 09 and appearing at Neil Finn's 7 Worlds Collide reinvigorated Scottish singer Tunstall who leaped to fame overnight when a Jools Holland show six years ago. Her folksy 06 debut Eye to the Telescope captured hearts and attention, but Drastic Fantastic two years ago seemed anxiously over-produced. Those wanting a return to folksy... > Read more

K.K. Tunstall: Glamour Puss

Ardijah: The Best; PolyFonk (PolyFonk)

21 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

In the decade before hip-hop became the distinctive voice of South Auckland, the Polynesian soul-funk of Ardijah was the most prominent and carried to a wider audience by the singles Give Me Your Number, Watching U and Time Makes a Wine from their platinum-selling 88 album Take a Chance. Helmed by multi-instrumentalist/writer/producer Ryan Monga and singer Betty-Anne, the band went to... > Read more

Ardijah: Oh Baby

Various Artists: The Insatiable Moon (Ode)

21 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

Soundtrack albums of songs -- as opposed to a commissioned score -- should be perhaps reviewed in the absence of having seen the movie. That way you find if they hang together as a stand alone item. Not having seen this much acclaimed film about marginalised people in an urban society (the mad, unfortunate, deluded and different) means these 11 songs are to be taken at face value as an... > Read more

AJ Bell: Drinking in the Park

Darkstar: North (Hyperdub/Southbound)

21 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

By happy coincidence I mistook this band's name for that of a prog outfit I was once curious about -- maybe if I had heard the words "dubstep electronia" (which is how they are sometimes described) I might not have so enthusiastically pulled it out of the pile. Not that prog is my thing, but the Darkstar I was thinking about had a curiously ambient take on it. And by... > Read more

Darkstar: In the Wings

Surf Friends: Confusion (SF)

21 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

Auckland two-piece Surf Friends -- guitarist/singer/drum machine handler etc and bassist/keyboards/singer Pete Westmoreland -- are starting out in almost exactly the same place as the early Clean and Chills whose sound they effectively hijack completely for some tracks on this interesting . . . and eventually quite convincing album. Produced by Mark Howden -- who keeps things effectively... > Read more

Surf Friends: No Oil

The Trons: The Trons (Pieplate CD/DVD)

15 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

A few decades ago Devo advanced the idea of "devolution", that Mankind wasn't going forward but actually regressing and you could see that in the behaviour of the mob. Regrettably it seems they might have been right if idiot postings on Facebook and You Tube are anything to go by, not to mention the guy who will hold up store at gunpoint for a packet of cigarettes and small change.... > Read more

The Trons: Attack of the Mute Ants