Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Jon Langford and Skull Orchard: Old Devils (Bloodshot/Southbound)

30 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

Langford was in the UK punk-era Mekons way back but has in more recent times embraced a kind of folk-punk Americana and played with the likes of Ryan Adams and Alejandro Escovedo. Chicago-based, he's also a well-known artist (lots of covers for the Chicago label Bloodshot). With Skull Orchard he parlays a rough-edged country-rock with a punk/Clash urgency -- but although he has a way with... > Read more

Jon Langford and Skull Orchard: Book of Your Life

Ben Vaughn: Designs in Music (Vampisoul/Southbound)

30 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

It's not like Ben Vaughn needs a calling card into the world of television soundtracks, his music has apparently been used in That 70s Show and Third Rock From the Sun. But this delightfully referential album -- recorded with the cream of LA session players who are in on the game -- includes nods to everyone from Ennio Morricone to whoever wrote the theme to The Jetsons, Henry Mancini and... > Read more

Ben Vaughn: While We're Here

Timothy Blackman: I've Never Lived (Home Alone)

30 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

Singer-songtwriter Blackman appeared at Elsewhere previously with his very interesting EP Modern Sprawl, and this is his short (half an hour) nine-song debut album recorded in  Berlin in December last year -- which must have been cold. With sole assistance from a drummer in a few places, these are Blackman's naked ruminations (some philosophical, some imagistic) and while there is a... > Read more

Timothy Blackman: Where the Caterpillars Live

Dylan LeBlanc: Paupers Field (Rough Trade)

29 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

From the understated openers with their gentle backbeat, soft organ and steel guitar, LeBlanc -- barely 21, out of Louisiana -- announces himself as part of a long lineage which stretches back to the country-soul out of Muscle Shoals studio (where his dad  was a session musician) and the country-rock of the early Band, but which also reaches to more contemporary names such as Jim James (of... > Read more

Dylan LeBlanc: Changing of the Seasons

Leonard Cohen: The Essential Leonard Cohen (Sony)

29 Aug 2010  |  2 min read

The British rock writer Nigel Williamson, considering the career of Leonard Cohen, recently observed, “We often describe singer-songwriters as being 'Dylanesque', a band with great harmonies you might describe as 'Beatlesque'. We even talk about someone being 'Waitsean', after Tom Waits. “But have you ever heard the word 'Cohenesque'? It doesn't exist, and that says it... > Read more

Leonard Cohen: Alexandra Leaving

Juliagrace: Beautiful Survivor (Parachute)

23 Aug 2010  |  1 min read  |  3

One problem with being identified as a "Christian artist" -- as so many have discovered -- is that there is a resistance to them outside that market, and because of that many simply give up and stay with the audience which has and will support them. The other problem is that it means many outside of Christian circles are denied hearing some exceptional singers and songwriters --... > Read more

Juliagrace: Diamond

Melissa Etheridge: Fearless Love (Island)

23 Aug 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

From the opening title track here – a windblown open-road rocker and statement of ferocious independence – Etheridge confirms her credentials as someone who performs open-heart surgery on the emotions while backing it up with powerful songs. As with Springsteen, she also drops into characters (the unfulfilled housewife in The Wanting of You, the lonely inner life of a... > Read more

Melissa Etheridge:Miss California

Various Artists: The Great New Zealand Songbook Vol 2 (Thom/Universal)

23 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

The previous volume in this series (see here) sold eight times platinum which proved two things: that well packaged and intelligently compiled collections of New Zealand are popular and in short supply, and that a lot of Kiwis living abroad probably got one for a birthday/Christmas. If that set -- 42 tracks over two discs -- came up a little short in the wave of Pacific artists of the past... > Read more

The Veils: Lavinia

Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

23 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

This, the second album by QOTSA and their first on a major label, was their breakthrough exactly a deacde ago and had critics digging in their superlatives bag. Oddly enough though, it wasn't because it was ground-breaking and innovative but rather it was (mostly) simply no nonsense, no flaffing about hard rock which was grounded in the great tradition of Zepp/Sabbath but with a dollop Meat... > Read more

Feel Good Hit of the Summer

Tom Jones: Praise and Blame (Island)

23 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

The late-career revival isn't uncommon these days (Bob Dylan, Bettye LaVette, Solomon Burke, Johnny Cash et al) but it still comes as a surprise, especially in the case of 70-year old Tom Jones who could have coasted into retirement with albums of interesting standards (in the manner of Rod Stewart) or even just pick up a few contemporary songs which suited his soul-belter style. But, as the... > Read more

Tom Jones: Lord Help

Simon Lynge: The Future (Lo-Max)

22 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

Singer-songwriter Lynge's story may be more interesting than his lowkey acoustic folk-pop: born in Denmark, childhood in Greenland (where his father is the local Bob Dylan apparently), back to Denmark, then to Los Angeles and Nashville, debut album Beautiful Way to Drown recorded in LA in Copenhagen in 2005 . . . Hard to top that in life experience for a 24-year old Inuit-Scandinavian... > Read more

Simon Lynge: Infinitely You

Hawklords: 25 Years On (Esoteric/Southbound)

22 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

This will be reasonably brief because there is perhaps a limited audience for this double CD reissue of the '78 album and EP by an off-shoot of the sci-fi prog-rock band Hawkwind. Inspired by the science fiction of Michael Moorcock, Hawkwind's Dave Brock and Robert Calvert created Hawklords after Hawkwind briefly fell apart (they are still a going concern in some form or other). And --... > Read more

Hawklords: Flying Doctor

Various Artists: The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle (EMI)

22 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

Although very different, Brian Eno and Malcolm McLaren had one trait in common: after the event both would attribute philosophical and/or political meaning to something they had done. In the case of the late McLaren, the prime mover behind the Sex Pistols -- Johnny Rotten/John Lydon denies he was ever their "manager" -- would have had us believe that the Pistols/punk/anarchy of... > Read more

Johnny Rotten: Stepping Stone

The Erica Miller Experience: Reconsidered (Universal)

17 Aug 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

Obviously there is a curiosity factor at work here: 63-year old Erica Miller is the woman Shayne Carter (Straitjacket Fits/Dimmer) calls "Mum" and so the album comes with acquired cachet in some circles. That it is also an album of covers of songs first recorded by Elvis and arrives on the anniversary of Presley's death adds another dimension of interest. The question is... > Read more

Erica Miller Experience: Don't

Bill Kirchen: Word to the Wise (Proper/Southbound)

16 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

It really doesn't matter if you don't already know of guitarist/singer Kirchen, judge him by the friends he keeps. Here are his longtime friend Nick Lowe (on the wonderfully overhauled Merle Haggard number Shelly's Winter Love, with Paul Carrack); Elvis Costello on Kirchen's outstanding Man in The Bottom of the Well; Commander Cody playing piano on the funny I Don't Work That Cheap (Bill... > Read more

Bil Kirchen: Time Will Tell the Story

Brendan Perry: Ark (Cooking Vinyl)

16 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

As half of Dead Can Dance (alongside Lisa Gerrard), Perry was responsible for impressive sonic landscapes which owed a little to a kind of geographically amorphous "world music" and also to cinema soundtracks. Here, more than a decade after his previous solo outing, he embarks on gloomy sounding, authoratively-delivered meditations and thoughts over his swathe of synths which have... > Read more

Brendan Perry: Utopia

Dan Sultan: Get Out While You Can (Arts Victoria/Southbound)

15 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

Sultan from Melbourne -- father Irish, mother Aboriginal -- is a hard one to put in any box: tracks here are reflective but mainstream country rock, others more, then he delivers some rural balladry and a broken-down acoustic folk ballad. Then things rock out. This also opens with a terrific slice of Sixties soulful pop balladry on Goddess Love and Dingo rides a Johnny Cash... > Read more

Dan Sultan: Crazy

Department of Eagles: Archive 2003 - 2006 (Bella Union)

15 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

Department of Eagles became the vehicle for Daniel Rossen and Fred Nicolaus to get their staccato sonic'n'sample experiments and increasingly dreamy pop into the wider world from their university dorm in New York. Initially they were called Whitey on the Moon, then Dept of Eagles . . . and later Rossen became the mainman in the already extant Grizzly Bear. The Eagles still... > Read more

Department of Eagles: Golden Apples

Peter Wolf Crier: Inter-Be (Jagjaguwar)

15 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

Peter Wolf Crier are an electro-acoustic duo out of Minneapolis (not to be confused with this guy) and this is their modest debut album. I say modest because while they utilise all the lo-tech vehicles at their command (loops, filters) they aren't intent on breaking free as a duo like the White Stripes or Black Keys. Their hearts are closer to the melodic school of M. Ward/early Beck and... > Read more

Peter Wolf Crier: Lion

Butcher Holler: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn (Signature)

14 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

As well-intentioned as this is -- a tribute to the country legend Loretta Lynn from a group lead by the excellent Eilen Jewel -- Lynn herself brought self-confident earthiness to her delivery of assertive songs like Fist City, Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' With Lovin' on Your Mind and You Ain't Woman Enough to Take My Man which somewhat eludes Jewel's pleasant and smoother delivery here.... > Read more

Butcher Holler: Whispering Sea