Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Advance Base Battery Life (Tomlab)

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Advance Base Battery Life (Tomlab)

When the superbly named CFTPA (Owen Ashworth from Chicago) played before a couple of dozen in Auckland a few years back he was utterly beguiling: a small selection of lo-fi keyboards; a voice soaked in melancholy; and pointed songs which had a bed-sit consciousness without moping or self-pitying. His 06 album Etiquette was chock full of poetic miniatures, but this collection of singles,... more >>

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Sunday St

2 Nov 2009

Doug Cox: Without Words (Black Hen)

Doug Cox: Without Words (Black Hen)

Dobro player Doug Cox from Canada appeared here previously with his lovely album Slide to Freedom where he worked with Indian slide guitarist Salil Bhatt. That album alone would recommend this compilation of instrumentals from his obviously extensive back-catalogue. Cox has a light touch, plays without unnecessary embellishment and brings a beautifully warm tone out of his instruments... more >>

Doug Cox: Easy Place to Be

2 Nov 2009

Noah and the Whale: The First Days of Spring (Shock)

Noah and the Whale: The First Days of Spring (Shock)

Beauty is not a quality that popular music (ie pop, rock, r'n'b, indie-rock or whatever) places much store in: yet from the Velvet Underground through Mazzy Star and the early Cowboy Junkies to the Fleet Foxes, or from Eno to the landscape of guitars in Explosions in the Sky, there has been beauty aplenty. Beauty need not be sentimental or cringe-inducing. So when a record company... more >>

Noah and the Whale: Stranger

2 Nov 2009

Wall of Voodoo: Dark Continent/Call of the West (Raven)

Wall of Voodoo: Dark Continent/Call of the West (Raven)

Stan Ridgway, frontman for Wall of Voodoo, was one of the smartest, story-telling songwriters -- and nervously energetic singers -- to emerge in the wake of American new wave in the early Eighties. Sadly most people might only know them for their terrific single Mexican Radio and relegate them to that one-hit-wonder category reserved for bands which turned Japanese (the Vapors) or sang of... more >>

Wall of Voodoo: Call of the West

2 Nov 2009

Jan Hellriegel: All Grown Up (Blind Date)

Jan Hellriegel: All Grown Up (Blind Date)

The title tells its own story, it has been well over a decade since Jan Hellriegel made an album and that might explain the huge interest in this one: lotsa interviews, articles and media attention, my guess from people who remember Hellriegel fondly for her swagger and sensitivity in bands and on her solo albums. The swagger is still here on this widescreen and often dramatic... more >>

Jan Hellriegel: Orange Liqueur

27 Oct 2009

Grant-Lee Phillips: Little Moon (Yep Roc)

Grant-Lee Phillips: Little Moon (Yep Roc)

Phillips -- formerly frontman for the LA alt-rock/indie-pop outfit Grant Lee Buffalo in the 90s -- may never release a solo album quite as exceptional as his Mobilize of 2001. But after the country-folk of Virginia Creeper of 04, the 06 covers album Nineteeneighties (you always ask, “Why?” of such projects) and Strangelet of two years ago which was excellent but disappeared... more >>

Grant-Lee Phillips: Little Moon

26 Oct 2009

Mayer Hawthorne: A Strange Arrangement (Rhythmethod)

Mayer Hawthorne: A Strange Arrangement (Rhythmethod)

There's a lot of soul -- and faux-soul -- around these days what with Duffy, Amy Winehouse (is she still around?), James Hunter, Beth Rowley who gives it a blues and rock twist, Alice Russell with a funk spin and, on the local front, Opensouls. Of them all, on paper at least, Hawthorne might have the hardest task persuading an audience of his credibility: a buttoned-down and... more >>

Mayer Hawthorne: Maybe So, Maybe No

26 Oct 2009

Rosanne Cash: The List (EMI)

Rosanne Cash: The List (EMI)

Of all the songs Johnny Cash recorded in his final years the most moving was September When It Comes on his daughter Rosanne‘s album Rules of Travel: “I cannot move a mountain now,” he croaked. It  brought tears to the eye. Rosanne Cash has had an erratic career: her first albums were excellent then things went wobbly; she stopped touring when she married Rodney... more >>

Rosanne Cash: I'm Movin' On

26 Oct 2009

Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

In retrospect, one of the funniest incidents in the Flight of the Conchords' second television series was when the nice but naive New Zealand prime minister Brian turned up and seemed out of his depth, and desperate to be liked. Who knew that the actual PM John Key would later turn up on Letterman looking alarmingly like Brian? But the Conchords -- in the series and especially their... more >>

Flight of the Conchords: Hurt Feelings

26 Oct 2009

Ned Collette and Wirewalker: Over the Stones, Under the Stars (Fabric/Rhythmethod)

Ned Collette and Wirewalker: Over the Stones, Under the Stars (Fabric/Rhythmethod)

When Australian Ned Collette's previous album Future Suture appeared at Elsewhere the closing line was "check this guy out". I suspect few did, even though he visited New Zealand a couple of times. But here's another chance, although this sounds a little different to its predecessor: often downbeat, lean and less augmented, more clearly defined as he teams up with his longtime... more >>

Ned Collette and Wirewalker: All the Signs

26 Oct 2009

Maisey Rika: Tohu (Moonlight Sounds)

Maisey Rika: Tohu (Moonlight Sounds)

This debut album introduces an impressive singer-songwriter who manages to be expressive without resorting to the cliches of the faux-soul yodel which has infected many in the post-Whitney/Idol generation. Rika keeps the melodies close and constrained and the result is her nakedly emotional lyrics have even more impact. That Room is far too close a rewrite of Bill Withers' Ain't No... more >>

Maisey Rika: Apollo

26 Oct 2009    1

Danny McCrum Band: Say What You Mean (Paper Plane)

Danny McCrum Band: Say What You Mean (Paper Plane)

This bristling, tight, and emotionally taut album by McCrum and his Auckland band is a real step up from their already impressive debut Awake and Restless which found much favour at Elsewhere. This time out everything from the energy levels to the songwriting has been taken up a notch or two, there is a sense of real urgency in these rocking songs (some of which have a terrific and... more >>

Danny McCrum Band: Cold Outside

25 Oct 2009

Various: Luaka Bop; Twenty First Year (Luaka Bop/Southbound)

Various: Luaka Bop; Twenty First Year (Luaka Bop/Southbound)

Luaka Bop was the label started by David Byrne in the late Eighties in his first years out of Talking Heads. The idea was for him to record (or re-release) artists who took his fancy and by this time Byrne had embraced Afrobeat and was a pre-Buena Vista supporter of Cuban music, South American sounds and alt.Americana. Luaka Bop was by inclination a "world music" label although... more >>

Shuggie Otis: Aht Uh Mi Hed

18 Oct 2009

2am Orchestra: Impermanence (DJK)

2am Orchestra: Impermanence (DJK)

You'd be wise to put aside any preconceptions of what this music might sound like if you simply guessed from the band's name (dark, slow, ambient?), because David Kelley who is the mainman here aims (with a lot of help from his friends) to be nothing less than Arcade Fire with hints of mid-period Radiohead. This is dramatic music full of intense moods -- and mood shifts -- which pulls... more >>

2am Orchestra: Delilah

18 Oct 2009

Chris Prowse: Trouble on the Waterfront (Proco)

Chris Prowse: Trouble on the Waterfront (Proco)

The 1951 waterfront strike in Auckland (which lasted for five months but had repercussions for years, even decades, after) was one of the most significant flashpoints and dividing lines in New Zealand history, certainly as much as the Springbok tour three decades later. The strike, lock-out, state of emergency, troops and farmers coming to town to sort out the wharfies, allegations of... more >>

Chris Prowse: Proclamation/Sid's Song

18 Oct 2009

Tzenka Dianova: DeConstruction (Atoll)

Tzenka Dianova: DeConstruction (Atoll)

The words "contemporary classical music" probably strike as much fear into the hearts of innocent civilians as "free jazz". For some reason these terms equate to cacophony for many (sometimes, to be fair, that is the case) . . . but on this album where Dianova plays piano, prepared piano and celesta we might have to reconsider what "contemporary classical"... more >>

Tzenka Dianova: Le piege de Meduse (Satie)

18 Oct 2009

Malajube: Labyrinthes (Shock)

Malajube: Labyrinthes (Shock)

Elsewhere is certainly not immune to charms of Canada: we have acknowledged Arcade Fire, the collective Broken Social Scene, Patrick Watson, the challenge of vocal contortionist Tagaq and others (as well as watching the Anvil doco with tightening sphincter, hailing the droll TV comedy Corner Gas, and delighting in the landscape and people). But not a lot of Canadian music gets to the far end... more >>

Malajube: Casablanca

18 Oct 2009

The Dodos: Time to Die (Shock)

The Dodos: Time to Die (Shock)

As a number of overseas critics have noted, it isn’t entirely encouraging to hear singer Meric Long of this San Francisco duo announce repeatedly on Fables here, “I don’t wanna go in the fire, I just wanna stay in my home” on this, only the band’s third album. Not a man to be storming barricades at a guess despite the occasional anthemic effort here. What... more >>

The Dodos: Time to Die

18 Oct 2009

Damien Binder: While the Wind's At Your Back (Binder)

Damien Binder: While the Wind's At Your Back (Binder)

In a recent interview Greg Johnson told me that after almost seven years in Los Angeles slugging it out writing, playing and hustling he'd made the conscious decision to leave the live work behind and concentrate on being a songwriter. And working with sympathetic others of a similar mindset. Lord knows, we need more good songs. Damien Binder is another former Aucklander like... more >>

Damien Binder: Damage

18 Oct 2009

Warren Cate: The Reparation Tapes (Warcat)

Warren Cate: The Reparation Tapes (Warcat)

Cate is what we might call an "occasional" rock'n'roll singer-songwriter: this is only his fourth album in about 14 years. He has a day job. I recognise on his website some highly favourable comments (uncredited) from me down the years, and his music has always found a place on my Sunday afternoon Kiwi FM show. This album will too. Cate has real feel for a power-pop into... more >>

Warren Cate: Say What You Will

18 Oct 2009