Music at Elsewhere

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BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 The Flaming Lips: Embryonic (Warners)

17 Dec 2009

Anyone coming to this sprawling and musically diverse (not to say sometimes bewildering) 80 minute album because they were seduced by the Lips' earlier album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (with that sublime hit Do You Realise) might want to take a big breath. This is different in many, many ways. This is the Lips' fascinating and eccentrically intellectual Wayne Coyne... > Read more

The Flaming Lips: Powerless

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 The Black Crowes: Before the Frost . . . Until the Freeze (Silver Arrow)

17 Dec 2009

After calling it quits in 2002, frontman Chris Robinson going solo, then their resurrection with Warpaint last year (which brought in guitarist Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi All Stars), the Black Crowes rarely sounded so on top of their game. And they followed Warpaint with a double punch Warpaint Live (the album played live and an extra disc of hits and covers). In front of... > Read more

The Black Crowes: The Last Place That Love Lives

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 The Beatles Remasters (EMI)

17 Dec 2009

Much as it is possible to love every crackle and piece of surface noise on the original vinyl albums which some still have or have inherited, the remastering brought out an energy and vitality in the Beatles catalogue which was undeniable. The music (and the Beatles Rock Band game) was much essayed at Elsewhere on release (I heard the recordings in Abbey Road back in June) but the truth is... > Read more

The Beatles: Happiness is a Warm Gun (from "The White Album", mono version)

Tom Waits: Glitter and Doom Live (Anti/Shock)

14 Dec 2009    1

Barney Hoskyn's recent useful but flawed Waits biography Lowside of the Road ended with the writer going to see Tom Waits in concert on this brief tour which was widely acclaimed as the best of 2008. Waits hadn't been out live in some while (11 years since he'd last appeared in the UK) and as a result his cachet had grown and expectation was high. And Waits -- ever the entertainer -- didn't... > Read more

Tom Waits: The Part You Throw Away

Various Artists: Ten Guitars, the New Zealand Heartland Soundtrack (Universal)

14 Dec 2009    1

Walking in to a CD/DVD store recently I heard the most unexpected song playing, it was Amigo by Black Slate, a British reggae band which had a brief fliration with the charts at the dawn of the Eighties with this pop-reggae crossover single. They came to Auckland and played a Town Hall gig with Herbs and my recollection, seared in my memory actually, was of going to the gig and being one... > Read more

Patea Maori: Poi E

Gordon Gano and the Ryans: Under the Sun (YepRoc)

14 Dec 2009

While the solo career of multi-instrumentalist Brian Ritchie has been the most rewarding of the Violent Femmes because of his interest in world music and the jazz of Sun Ra, as the Femmes vocalist Gano was always going to have a more distinctive profile. With the Femmes effectively disbanded -- Ritchie lives in Tasmania -- Gano steps out under his own name with the Ryans (guitarist Billy and... > Read more

Gordon Gano and the Ryans: Home

Various Artists: s3d (ear and eye) Atoll CD/DVD

13 Dec 2009

In 1996 Ellipsis Arts in the US released a CD and book package entitled Gravikords, Whirlies and Pyrophones: Experimental Musical Instruments. It was compiled by Bart Hopkin who had edited the journal Experimental Musical Instruments for over a decade at that point. The foreward was written by Tom Waits who had begun his career-changing journey into using odd instruments and machinery, some... > Read more

Yek Koo on cardboard record players

Linda Ronstadt: Hand Sown . .. Home Grown/Silk Purse (Raven/EMI)

13 Dec 2009

Long before she was a country-rock cover star and dating California governor Jerry Brown in the late Seventies, Linda Ronstadt was a singer struggling to find her forte. Her albums with the Stone Poneys showed her folk-rock chops and their cover of Mike Nesmith's Different Drum gave them a hit but also signalled a solo career beckoning for Ronstadt. Her first two solo albums from '69... > Read more

Linda Ronstadt: Lovesick Blues (from Silk Purse)

Lisa Germano: Magic Neighbor (Young God Records)

13 Dec 2009

Given that the cover art here is by Auckland's West Coast artist Dean Buchanan, we might guess that singer/violinist/composer Germano encountered his work when she was in New Zealand in April 2001 for Neil Finn's 7 Worlds Collide project. Certainly Buchanan's dark and mysterious work is appropriate here because Germano's music is much the same: there is a surface loveliness hinted at but... > Read more

Lisa Germano: Snow

The Phoenix Foundation: Merry Kriskmass EP (Phoenix Foundation)

13 Dec 2009

If you believe the anti-hype, this isn't exactly the Phoenix Foundation's cash-in on Christmas but has been inspired by The Krisk who is -- and I am just quoting here -- "a small stuffed white man who rides a reindeer". It is he who appears on the cover, has inspired this six-song EP (plus uncredited but uninteresting soundscapes buried away at the end) and is the subject of the... > Read more

The Phoenix Foundation: Everybody's Money

Baskery: Fall Among Thieves (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

13 Dec 2009

Recently I flipped on yet another faux-country alt.folk album and listened to university educated people pretending they were Appalachian mountain dwellers imbued with a rural spirit and old time religion. I thought, "Spare me much more of this!" And then comes this album to reinvigorate my interest in a mighty crowded genre -- and of course they are the furtherest thing from... > Read more

Baskery: Haunt You

New and Noted

13 Dec 2009

At this time of year -- Christmas but 10 days away -- there is a slew of releases and while no sane reviewer would want to deal with every Yuletide-themed album (Dylan's worthy outing doesn't get a mention at Elsewhere, you can figure that one out for yourself) there are still a number of albums clamouring for attention which at least deserve to be acknowledged. Here then are potted reviews... > Read more

Carla Bley/Stev Swallow: O Holy Night (from Carla's Christmas Carols, see below))

Them Crooked Vultures: Them Crooked Vultures (Sony)

13 Dec 2009

This will be brief for a couple of reasons: this genuine supergroup of Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) has already been given wide-exposure, and that in this instance Elsewhere has been running a bit late. (Got waylaid by a Guy Clark album or somesuch) So the short of it is that this is usefully mature and loud hard... > Read more

Them Crooked Vultures: Spinning in Daffodils

Various Artists: The Lennon and McCartney Songbook (EMI)

12 Dec 2009

While there have been quite a number of such compilations in the past interest alights on this one in particular because it has been pulled together by EMI New Zealands in-house memoryman Bruce Ward who does a fine job on such collections -- and here writes the intelligent liner essay. The Lennon and McCartney team were giving away hits in their early career until about late '65 and a few of... > Read more

Bernard Cribbins: When I'm Sixty Four

Bap Kennedy: Howl On (Lonely Street Discs)

7 Dec 2009

After time in the Irish band Energy Orchard, Kennedy spent many years in the America he was obsessed with as a child. For this moving tribute to the America of his dreams -- and specifically the days of the Apollo Mission to the moon and Woodstock -- he gives concept albums a good name. Now back in Belfast after his Nashville period, he reflects on his recent passion for the moon landings... > Read more

Bap Kennedy: The Right Stuff

Guy Clark: Somedays the Song Writes You (Dualtone)

7 Dec 2009

Now in his late 60s -- he turned 68 in November -- this great Texas singer-songwriter is sounding very weak'n'weary in these 10 co-writes and his cover of Townes Van Zandt's If I Needed You. And that is its very strength. Clark brings a melancholy reflectiveness or quiet gravitas to these lyrics and whether it be considering the mysteries of the songwriting process ("you can search... > Read more

Guy Clark: Eamon

Rupa and the April Fishes: Este Mundo (Cumbancha)

6 Dec 2009

The implosion of Latin American party music, gypsy-swing, klezmer jazz and loping reggae is familiar enough in this country: from Kantuta, the Nairobi Trio and the Jews Brothers Band to the Mamaku Project and the somewhat questionable Benka Boradovsky Bordello Band we in New Zealand have been seduced, educated, charmed and dragged onto dance floors. We seem to like it, although the... > Read more

Rupa and the April Fishes: La Estrella Caida

Brilleaux: Decade (Brilleaux)

6 Dec 2009    2

You -- well, I -- admire a rock'n'roll r'n'b band that names itself after the late lead singer of the British pub rock band Dr Feelgood whose Stupidity album from '76 is mandatory in any Essential Elsewhere collection. And this four-piece who make their energetic pub-rock sound at jazz and blues festivals (and I am guessing excellent parties), don't stray too far from the Feelgood... > Read more

Brilleaux: It Wasn't Me

Fatcat and Fishface: Birdbrain (Jayrem)

6 Dec 2009    3

This irreverent outfit who sing songs ostensibly for children but with major adult appeal, have appeared at Elsewhere previously with their very silly The Bestest and Most Horriblest Songs for Children. They are more Spike Milligan and Monty Python than Teletubbies and Play School. This one is aimed rather further up the kiddie demographic than Bestest (8 to 14 would be my guess) because it... > Read more

Fatcat and Fishface: Kea

Strike: Sketches (Strike)

6 Dec 2009

Don't know about you, but just out of curiosity I'd listen to a piece of music which featured "water nipple gong". That particular instrument -- and I'm not going to ask further -- is but one in the battery of percussion played by the New Zealand ensemble Strike: water vibes, spoons, PVC pipes, various bowls and flower pots (in the manner of Stephan Micus), plastic tubs and brake... > Read more

Strike: Hydrophonics