Music at Elsewhere

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Josh Rouse: El Turista (Bedroom Classics)

5 Apr 2010

The musically itinerant Josh Rouse has long been an Elsewhere favourite for his musical curiosity (Seventies singer-songwriters, Nashville, indie-rock and so on) and he doesn't disappoint here as he gets his passport stamped and takes off for the tropical pleasures of Brazilian moods and music (in Portuguese mostly) which come subtlely orchestrated or deliciously understated. And yes, by... > Read more

Josh Rouse: Duerme

Joan Armatrading: This Charming Life (Hypertension/Southbound)

5 Apr 2010

After the success (critical and saleswise) of her last album Into the Blues, you'd expect attention would be drawn to this new album from one of rock's long distance runners who has long since fallen from media and wider public attention. That said, this outing is much more patchy than the tightly coherent predecessor which roped together various styles of blues. Here Armatrading aims... > Read more

Joan Armatrading: Best Dress On

Son of Dave: Shake a Bone (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

5 Apr 2010

You can't say you weren't warned. A couple of years back when he released his '02' album Elsewhere said you'd be hearing more of this human beat-box, one-man foot-stompin' blues band which is Ben Darvill. Here recorded by Steve Albini in Chicago he once more abuses that harmonica, makes his own percussion and becomes a wall-shakin' blues-rock outfit -- or, better, takes the mood down to... > Read more

Son of Dave: She Just Danced All Night

Helen Van Der Linden: Helen Van Der Linden EP (HVDL)

5 Apr 2010

This EP arrived from the winnner of last year's Gold Guitar award at the annual Gore country music festival and she has already taken herself to Tamworth in Australia to further her career. And you'd expect she will go far. Here with a small and seasoned band -- and covering Tami Neilson's Cigarette -- she moves easily between slightly swinging country (Planet of Love) and a slightly more... > Read more

Helen Van Der Linden: Bread and Water

Carol Bean: Crossing the Dirty River (

4 Apr 2010

This album by peripatetic British-born, LA-raised country-blues rocker singer-guitarist Bean -- now resident in NZ -- has been around the stereo for perhaps so long I forgot to post it. With a tight, revolving door band which includes slippery and earthy guitar by Mike Petrie, Robbie Duncan, Mark Laurent and Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Bean delivers some serious messages (although the Pacific... > Read more

Carol Bean: Evidence

Jeff Beck: Emotion and Commotion (Atco)

2 Apr 2010

Jeff Beck's career has certainly seem some troughs -- usually by virtue of his absence from playing when the mood didn't take him -- but latterly he has enjoyed some great highs. His recent touring reminded again of what a colourful palette he commands -- from fusion rock to great delicacy, often within the same piece -- and that he does this with such self-effacement. His most recent... > Read more

Jeff Beck: I Put a Spell on You (featuring Joss Stone)

Her Make Believe Band: AM Radio (Old Oak)

1 Apr 2010

This delightful album by two expat Kiwis Cy Winstanley and Vanessa McGowan has been quite rightly picking up favourable notices in the UK where they are now based as part of the group Her Make Believe Band. Certainly the references to Paul Simon (for lightness of touch and literacy in places) make sense but there is as much pop here as folk which tips it right into that category which hooks... > Read more

Her Make Believe Band: Thats Why I Like You Best

Drive-By Truckers: The Big To-Do (Pias)

29 Mar 2010

The Truckers inspire great loyalty, but fans may be tested by this outing which was knocked off quickly and suffers for it. Certainly it rocks like Pearl Jam with Neil Young or Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers on a three-day drunk, but songs like the otherwise excellent stripper’s story of Birthday Boy stumble to a halt and others just sound undercooked, if bruisingly effective.... > Read more

Drive-By Truckers: Drag the Lake Charlie

The Unthanks: Here's the Tender Coming (Shock)

29 Mar 2010

Mercury Prize nominated or not, the previous album The Bairns by these Geordies -- then under the name Rachel Unthank and the Winterset -- did not do it for me, and hence didn't get posted at Elsewhere. It sounded far too finger-in-the ear gloom-folk and of marginal interest to anyone outside the English folk circle (and Mercury panels) which embraces such things. Even Rachel now considers... > Read more

The Unthanks: Sad February

The Coosters: Worn Out Libertines (Coosters)

28 Mar 2010    1

First some background to this one. As you might guess Elsewhere gets music and requests for reviews from many and various places -- but this was a first from Toledo, Ohio. When guitarist/singer Steven J Athanas sent an e-mail asking if I would be interested in their album he seemed smart and witty - and when I replied along the lines of "sure, why not?"I also added that all I knew... > Read more

The Coosters: Anyone Guess

Graham Parker: Imaginary Television (Bloodshot)

22 Mar 2010

In Britain’s post-punk era Parker and the Rumour emerged with an urgent, often angry sound that owed as much to pub-rock and venomous Bob Dylan as it did to American soul, r’n’b and rocked-up country. They were real contenders and their early albums still sound full of bile’n’fire. Parker’s solo career became more measured when he relocate to the US and... > Read more

Graham Parker: Weather Report

Various Artists: Introducing Townes Van Zandt via the Great Unknown (For the Sake of the Song)

22 Mar 2010

The late Van Zandt is hardly the little-known cult artist he once was: there are many tribute albums (Steve Earle most recently) and his estate must coin it in from all the covers artists do. Most of Van Zandt’s originals were spare, lowkey and acoustic -- so the surprise here is what an embellishing or reconfiguring approach some of these largely unknown artists or cult... > Read more

Loophole and Ciaran Kirby: Lungs

John Hiatt: The Open Road (New West)

22 Mar 2010

For my money John Hiatt never sounds better than when he gets a rocking band behind and sounds a little venomous or angry. The back-porch Hiatt never much appealed to me -- so this, his 19th album, suits me just fine. With his tight little touring band and at age 57, he (mostly) writes about hitting the highway and some of the songs seem perfectly crafted for top-down driving with a strip... > Read more

John Hiatt: Haulin'

The Eastern: Arrows (Social End Product/Rhythmethod)

22 Mar 2010

The Eastern out of Christchurch are new to me although for the past few months their name has been mentioned a lot, always along the lines of, "Oh, you gotta hear the Eastern." Now I have and I too am saying, "Oh, you gotta hear the Eastern". Part arse-kickin' Steve Earle (for whom they have opened), part reflective old time country, part Old Crow Medicine Show (for... > Read more

The Eastern: The Steeple

Fionn Regan: The Shadow of an Empire (Inertia/Border)

21 Mar 2010

On the cover he may look like one of the more camp American Idol finalists, but Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan occupies that appealing musical territory between Dylan in '66, Pete Molinari and lo-fi Chris Knox with his urgent, lyrically twisting songs which are punctuated by ear and heart-gripping lines. Catacombs here suggests a story in just a few lines: "I've been noticing... > Read more

Fionn Regan: Protection Racket

Eden Mulholland: Music for Dance (Isaac)

21 Mar 2010

Probably this shouldn't work. Music for dance pieces have to be special to exist without the moving images -- and yet in theory they should be able to do exactly that. These do. Eden Mulholland has written for numerous New Zealand dance productions and is the singer-songwriter in the rock band Motorcade, but here he collects 23 discreet, mostly electronic pieces which utilise backward... > Read more

Eden Mulholland: False Waltz, 2nd Movement

Hayseed Dixie: Killer Grass (Cooking Vinyl)

21 Mar 2010

You might have thought the Hayseed Dixie joke -- a band from the fanciful Deer Lick Holler playing bluegrass treatments of (mostly) rock songs, interviewed here -- would have run its course by now. But eight albums in they are still going. And of course it is still kinda fun: here they knock off Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody), Black Sabbath, Mozart, The Prodigy and others (as well as seven... > Read more

Hayseed Dixie: Won't Get Fooled Again (the Who)

The Watson Twins: Talking to You, Talking to Me (EMI)

21 Mar 2010

This album might be surprisingly short -- a mere 33 minutes -- but it represents a significant and reasonably impressive shift in direction for Chandra and Leigh Watson who here call on friends from My Morning Jacket and Everest for an album that is by turns moody bluesy and soulful, all delivered with a pop economy. The folk and rootsy blues which was their hallmark on Southern Manners... > Read more

The Watson Twins: Midnight

Hollie Smith: Humour and the Misfortune of Others (EMI)

19 Mar 2010

This can be extremely brief given that Smith's story, travails and so on have been much canvassed. But what hasn't been said too often or too loudly is that while her previous album Long Player sold exceptionally well it came encumbered with two shortcomings which probably didn't go unnoticed by those at Manhattan/Blue Note with whom she parted company. It lacked coherent songs (aside from... > Read more

Hollie Smith: Before This Day is Gone

The Durutti Column: A Paean to Wilson (Kooky)

15 Mar 2010

In the brief liner notes here Durutti Column's Vini Reilly notes how close he had been to the late Tony Wilson who had almost single-handedly founded and shaped the scene which came out Manchester. Reilly notes that Wilson was his close friend (he was at the hospital when Wilson died in '07) and that Durruti Column was the first act signed to play at Wilson's Factory club and the first on... > Read more

The Durutti Column: Brother