Music at Elsewhere

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Pylon: Chomp More (DFA)

29 Nov 2009    1

Anyone taken by the jerky and anxious sound of the Essential Elsewhere album by the Feelies, Crazy Rhythms, might find this one a similarly enticing proposition. Released in '83 by a four-piece out of Athens, Georgia fronted by Vanessa Briscoe's yelp'n'edgy vocals, this was the second album for Pylon who were much admired by the young REM. But it is the tense, sometimes surf-guitar... > Read more

Pylon: Gyrate

Bert Jansch: The Essential Bert Jansch (Union Square)

29 Nov 2009

In the liner notes to this 26-track double CD collection Jansch says, "I only know how to play a guitar and write songs. I don't know anything else when it comes down to it." The likes of Jimmy Page who was influenced by Jansch's acoustic folk style and fans such as Devendra Banhardt, Johnny Marr, Graham Coxon and dozens of others in the new folk movement (Fleet Foxes etc) would... > Read more

Bert Jansch: In This Game (1972)

The Renderers: Monsters and Miasma (Last Visible Dog)

29 Nov 2009

Once known as “the only country band on Flying Nun" (Trail of Tears in 90, their sole album for the label), this on-going project of Brian and Maryrose Crook has progressively taken a darker and deeper path the past decade. These 10 songs owes debts to old murder ballads, the Velvet Underground and the Doors, acoustic Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Townes Van Zandt and Marianne... > Read more

The Renderers: A Little to the Left

Graham Coxon: The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

29 Nov 2009

Damon Albarn has had the more visible profile outside of Blur -- Gorillaz, his Mali Music album, The Good, The Bad and The Queen -- but for the band’s former guitarist Coxon (who left after Think Tank of 03) The Spinning Top is his seventh solo outing and extends his interest in Anglofolk of the Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson kind. To Blur, Coxon brought US indie-rock... > Read more

Graham Coxon: In the Morning

Karen Hunter: Words and Groove (Rawfishsalad)

29 Nov 2009

Those who have followed Auckland singer-songwriter Hunter's long career will confirm that she has progressively moved from a kind of alt.indie outsider status with albums such as The Private Life of Clowns ('98) and Inside Outside ('03) which bristled with ideas from rock, spoken word, jazz-blues and alt.folk to something closer to mainstream jazz cabaret and boho-Beat poetics on her '07 album... > Read more

Karen Hunter: Purify

Port O'Brien: Threadbare (Dew Process/Isaac)

29 Nov 2009

I have been to pretty, but pretty dull Cambria in California where the core of this group hail from and I can understand why they might want to take to the road. They did and seem to have spent a lot of time in Alaska where one of them is a fisherman and the other works as a baker in Larson Bay. Then they started touring and touring after their debut album in 2008. They are a small... > Read more

Port O'Brien: In the Meantime

Old Crow Medicine Show: Live at the Orange Peel and Tennessee Theatre (Shock DVD)

27 Nov 2009

The rocked-up country-cum-bluegrass outfit haven't ever fully convinced on CD, although the best of their previous outing Tennessee Pusher certainly explained why they are such a potent live act. This DVD of shows filmed in Asheville, North Carolina and Knoxville, Tennessee capture them touring that album but generously throwing in some real oldies (a country cover of Down Home Girl which... > Read more

Jim Ford: The Unissued Capitol Album. Big Mouth USA; The Unissued Paramount Album (both Bear Family)

23 Nov 2009

As Nick Lowe recently observed, he's supposed to be an expert on American music but there are still any number of artists and albums being unearthed and brought into the light again. Ford might not exactly be in that category -- he was a major influence on Lowe and his stuff has been floating around among cognoscenti for a couple of years -- but these two albums might give him his time in... > Read more

Jim Ford: Mixed Green

Atlas Sound: Logos (4AD)

23 Nov 2009

The previous outing by Atlas Sound, Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel, was a real find: ambient and cinematic but with hints of hazy pop, and at the time I noted I hoped Brandford Cox -- who is Atlas Sound and also of the equally interesting band Deerhunter -- would make more such solo albums. He almost didn't. The backstory here is that his computer was... > Read more

Atlas Sound: Washington School

Caroline Herring: Golden Apples of the Sun (Ode)

23 Nov 2009

The previous album by this Atlanta-based singer-songwriter, Lantana of last year, was a revelation: her crystalline vocals conjured up the purity of Joan Baez but her sometimes dark subject matter took her into that emotionally unsettling area where the likes of Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and Eilen Jewell sometimes set up shop. The contrast between Herring’s delicate clarity and a... > Read more

Caroline Herring: The Great Unknown

Living Colour: Chair in the Doorway (Megaforce)

23 Nov 2009

With their 89 breakthrough debut Vivid, Living Colour were hailed as the first black rock band, the politics of race/the media around them was talked up by the Black Rock Coalition, and guitarist Vernon Reid repeatedly noted now they were through the door the media (MTV, Rolling Stone etc) would close it. One black rock band was enough, thank you. He was mostly right. Living Colour... > Read more

Living Colour: Young Man

The Gladeyes: Psychosis of Love (Lil' Chief)

23 Nov 2009    6

In a recent article for an art magazine I wrote about some of the work I had seen by young painters in Sydney: I noted there was a frequent and conspicuous retreat into whimsy which seemed an early admission of defeat, as if these young talents were abdicating from the demands of making any serious statement. It was as if cute of itself was enough and that it would be elevated into importance... > Read more

The Gladeyes: Monika

Volcano Choir: Unmap (Jagjaguwar)

23 Nov 2009    1

This album was on repeat play while I was at my desk and after a few times through I thought it one of those projects where people just make a interesting noise but haven't actually got a tune that is memorable. It seemed like a very pleasant art school project by some probably very nice people who had listened to a bit of new folk from the likes of Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver, enjoyed creating... > Read more

Volcano Choir: Island, Is

Rickie Lee Jones: Balm in Gilead (Universal)

23 Nov 2009    2

Ms Jones has slipped so far down the totem pole of public attention in the past decade that her last album -- the ambitious Sermon on Exposition Boulevard of 2007 in which she meditated on Jesus and other things -- went straight past most. Jones works her own territory: one part jazz, a nod to pop, sometimes soulful or almost spoken word, and that distinctive voice which you either love or... > Read more

Rickie Lee Jones: His Jeweled Floor

Tom Russell: Blood and Candle Smoke (Proper/Southbound)

16 Nov 2009

Tom Russell is a cinematic singer-songwriter whose storytelling is compelling, and whose whisky’n’grit vocals can take you to the heart of Tex-Mex territory. The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti said he was “Johnny Cash, [poet and novelist] Jim Harrison and [barfly writer] Charles Bukowski rolled into one“. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Russell spent time in Nigeria... > Read more

Tom Russell: Crosses of San Carlos

Norah Jones: The Fall (Blue Note/EMI)

16 Nov 2009

The smaller sales on Jones’ two albums  -- Feels Like Home (04) and Not Too Late (07) -- after the extraordinary figures for her 02 debut Come Away With Me (20 million and rising) were no reflection of any diminishing talent. Those follow-ups were subtle and layered outings, but on a casual listen sounded like more aural wallpaper for cafes and dinner parties where Come Away With... > Read more

Norah Jones: December

Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 (Sony CD/DVD)

16 Nov 2009    3

“We have a fire on stage. If there’s any firemen in the area . . . “ This isn’t an announcement you hear too often at rock festivals -- but nothing was beyond possibility at the volatile Isle of Wight event in 70 when non-ticketholders stormed the site, the enraged promoter abused them for being ungrateful pigs and 600,000 concert goers watched artists as diverse as... > Read more

Leonard Cohen: So Long, Marianne

The Pines: Tremolo (Red House/Ode)

15 Nov 2009    1

Quite why the Pines -- who are Branson, the son of the legendary singer-songwriter Bo Ramsey, and David Huckfelt -- didn't get more alt.country/indie.rock traction with their excellent Sparrows in the Bell album was a mystery to me. Maybe the father association put people off in that Lennon-kids way?  To me they sounded like a bridge between cryptic Seventies Dylan and... > Read more

The Pines: Heart and Bones

The Topp Twins: Honky Tonk Angel (Topp)

15 Nov 2009

To be perfectly honest I went off the Topp Twins very quickly: around the time of the Women's Web Collective album Out of the Corners of '82 and in a few subsequent years I thought they were terrific and iconoclastic, and their stage shows howlingly funny. But then their humour seemed to become more tame, mainstream and -- at a time when sophisticated comedy was all over television -- I... > Read more

The Topp Twins: Palamino Moon

Jim Capaldi: Oh How We Danced/Whale Meat Again (Raven)

15 Nov 2009

Drummer, singer and songwriter Capaldi recorded these two solo albums in '72 and '74 when he was still a member of Traffic alongside Stevie Winwood, Dave Mason and Chris Wood -- all of whom appear here as part of a stellar cast which also includes the Muscle Shoals Horns, guitarist Paul Kossoff of Free, Rick Grech, drummer Gaspar Lawal, Jim Gordon and others. Pretty much a who's who of the... > Read more

Jim Capaldi: How Much Can a Man Really Take?