Music at Elsewhere

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The Roulettes: Unread Books (Roulettes)

4 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

The openers here by this Auckland trio don't initially seem stray too far from the template of fizzing and slightly fuzzy power pop-rock, but when the spirit of Marc Bolan and early Bowie walk through The Green Lantern things really start to perk up -- and have the effect of making you listen again to those openers (the title track with massive bass line and slightly snearing vocals, Call with... > Read more

The Roulettes: The Green Lantern

Jerry Lee Lewis: Mean Old Man (Verve Forecast)

4 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

In a You Tube comment someone said Jerry Lee looked a little rough for someone only 74 years old. In his defense -- he's actually 75 now -- they were pretty full years, especially in the late Fifties, and he wasn't called the Killer for nothing, the man gave it all on the night. And of course there were the tragic (and slightly mysterious, in one case) deaths of two wives. He's had six,... > Read more

Jerry Lee Lewis: Man Old Man (with Ronnie Wood)

Phil Selway: Familial (Shock)

4 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

Despite the careers of Phil Collins and Dave Grohl – and Ringo's country music record after the Beatles' break-up – no one expects much of solo albums by drummers: Peter Criss' was the worst seller of the Kiss solo releases in 78. Pussycat whiskers didn't help. But Radiohead's Selway – one of Neil Finn's 7 Worlds Collide project – confounds expectation, as his... > Read more

Phil Selway: Don't Look Down

The Black Dahlias: Ladies and Gentlemen (Cruel)

3 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

With a pure blast of angry guitars, a disciplined rhythm section, throat shredding vocals and a terrific sense of pop smarts driving their metal-edged rock'n'roll this New Zealand industrial strength five-piece grab attention immediately on this six-track EP, which feels far too short. Taking large dollops of classic metal but delivering with that post-punk energy which has been the hallmark... > Read more

The Black Dahlias: Ready to Roll

Patty Larkin: 25 (Signature)

3 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

Celebrating 25 years in music usually means a greatest hits, box set or some kind of attention-grabbing project. It is typical and a measure of Larkin's generous nature that rather than go that whole route she collected 25 of her favourite self-penned love songs and invites in 25 of her favourite singers and people she had admired to accompany her. And in the credits to each song she puts... > Read more

Patty Larkin with Erin McKeown: Beautiful

Turtle Island String Quartet: Have You Ever Been . . . (Telarc/Ode)

3 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

Classical artists playing the music of Jimi Hendrix is hardly a new idea: the Kronos Quartet had a crowd-pleasing built-in encore of Purple Haze when they first started out, and of course Nigel Kennedy finally made good on his threat/promise to do an album of Hendrix. Before them however in the mid Seventies Gil Evans arranged some Hendrix material for his orchestra and a subsequent album.... > Read more

Turtle Island String Quartet: House Burning Down

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; At the Movies (101/Southbound)

3 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

On paper the idea of a collection of movie themes segueing seamlessly into each other is undeniably appealing: you can imagine what a film noir compilation might sound like, same with westerns, horror, thriller and so on. But this catch-all -- a whopping 39 snippets, which averages about two minutes a slice -- moves from the sublime to the cor-blimey! It's an odd collection that shifts... > Read more

Deodata: Also Sprach Zarathustra

Pine: Books and Magazines (Arch Hill)

1 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

In that great Kiwi tradition, Pine recorded this low-key charmer in a sitting room in Christchurch (the house since severely damaged by the quake apparently) and the trio here once again deliver intimate, spare but not skeletal-sounding pop. Actually, there is little needs to be said here because the Arch Hill label has an interesting initiative-cum-incentive: you can download the album free... > Read more

Pine: Brand New Heart

Surf City: Kudos (Arch Hill)

28 Sep 2010  |  <1 min read  |  1

Possibly because this young Auckland four-piece have all that rolling energy of early Flying Nun acts (the Chills and the Clean especially) but turn it up to 11 and make it fat, it has hijacked my stereos (home and car, I take it for drives). They deliver such a thrilling racket it's hardly surprising they've been picked up by college radio in the States, and played shows at the... > Read more

Surf City: Icy Lakes

Eric Clapton: Clapton (Reprise)

27 Sep 2010  |  2 min read  |  1

It's fair to say Eric Clapton at 20, while playing with John Mayall's Blues Breakers, never gave much thought to a “career”. Yet with this new album he can reflect on more than 40 years in the game, of highs and lows, successes and mis-steps (most of the 80s). Inevitably Clapton at 65 doesn't have the fire which propelled the late 60s power-trio Cream or gave his desperate... > Read more

Eric Clapton: River Runs Deep

Luke Jackson: . . . And Then Some (Popsicle)

27 Sep 2010  |  1 min read

After a mention of the late Robert Kirby's string arrangements in a review of the Magic Numbers' The Runaway, this Canadian singer-songwriter with a well-stamped passport got in touch: he too had benefited from Kirby's smart touch. And he sent on a copy of this album which opens with a classic blast of power-pop (Come Tomorrow, the title even sounds like Badfinger/Raspberries/Big Star) . . .... > Read more

Luke Jackson: Come Tomorrow

John Mellencamp: No Better Than This (Rounder)

27 Sep 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

The man they call "the poet laureate of the Interstate" (although he always sounds a backroads man to me) ha been on such a roll lately with Freedom's Road and Life Death Love Freedom) that the idea of him recording in mono with T Bone Burnett in Sun Studio, the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio (where Robert Johnson was committed to tape) and the First African Baptist Church in Savannah... > Read more

John Mellencamp: Easter Eve

Justin Townes Earle: Harlem River Blues (Bloodshot/Southbound)

27 Sep 2010  |  1 min read

Over three previous albums this son of Steve (and named for Townes Van Zandt) has cut an increasingly confident path with originals which are nominally country-Americana but refer to alt.rock, bluegrass, honky-tonk, ragtime and Hank Williams-styled truck-stop rock. His shows here have been popular and on this album he slips in the aching Christchurch Woman (with guitarist Jason... > Read more

Justin Townes Earle: Rogers Park

Jah Wobble: Welcome to My World (30 Hertz/Southbound)

27 Sep 2010  |  1 min read

Jah Wobble has been one of the most interesting and innovative musical explorers of the past few decades but, as I discovered in '96 at the time of this interview – he does it mostly without leaving home. Travel is for the middle-classes he said and a working-class geezer like himself, well . . . Anyway he'd done the touring thing, so . . . Fascinating man whose music... > Read more

Jah Wobble: London

Various artists: The Cramps' Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

26 Sep 2010  |  1 min read

The Cramps' passion for old rock'n'roll is well known: they are archivists for music styles, bands and old singles which might have otherwise been forgotten or lost. This double disc (with a useful backgrounder booklet) pulls together 30 obscure songs on one disc and on the other Lux Interior and Poison Ivy speak about their passions through a collection of interviews recorded from 1990.... > Read more

The Flamingoes: I Only Have Eyes For You (1959)

Yes: Keys to Ascension (CD/DVD, Proper/Southbound)

26 Sep 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

San Luis Obispo isn't a name you readily associate with rock music. The picturesque coastal town in northern California -- near Hearst's castle -- still isn't on the radar despite it being the place where Yes -- the original line-up -- relaunched their career in '95. Well, "relaunched" might be overstating it, but they certainly re-formed in their San Luis Obispo studio (world... > Read more

Yes: Roundabout (live)

Nina Simone: At Town Hall/The Amazing Nina Simone (Jackpot/Southbound)

26 Sep 2010  |  1 min read

Troublesome woman though she may have been -- angry, politically volatile, courageously self-obssessed -- there was never any denying her phenomenal, rare talent. Classically trained but with her heart also in gospel, r'n'b, jazz and blues, Nina Simone (1933 - 2003) crossed stylistic boundaries on piano as if they didn't exist, and her expression-filled vocals would occupy a lyric in a way... > Read more

Nina Simone: You Can Have Him

Mark Eitzel, Klamath (101/Southbound)

26 Sep 2010  |  <1 min read

Eitzel was the former frontman for the very wonderful but poorly named American Music Club (probably still is, I think they have reformed) but this solo album dates from a retreat to a cabin (around Klamath Falls in central Oregon I guess) a year or so ago. As befits it origins this is very intimate music -- although far from the introspective Nick Drake-folk tag some have laid on it.... > Read more

Mark Eitzel: Remember

Bannerman: The Dusty Dream Hole (Rhythmethod)

20 Sep 2010  |  1 min read

Bannerman is New Zealand singer-songwriter Richard Setford whose purpose in life seems to be to confound those who would easily pigeonhole him. He appeared at Elsewhere previously with his quietly intense EP (here) which stood at some distance from his work with the roiling Batucada Sound Machine and the soulful One Million Dollars. For this debut album under his own nom de disque he... > Read more

Bannerman: She was a Mountainside

Robert Plant: Band of Joy (Decca)

19 Sep 2010  |  1 min read

In 2003 this former frontman for Led Zeppelin released Sixty Six to Timbuktu, a double disc retrospective of material from his solo years which was impressive in its scope: old blues and r'n'b to Zepp-framed stadium rock and his journey into music from North Africa. As a musical explorer Plant hasn't stopped: two years later came the exceptional album with his band Strange Sensation,... > Read more

Robert Plant: Monkey