Music at Elsewhere

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Ken Nordine: Word Jazz; The Complete 1950s Recordings (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

18 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

Ken Nordine's voice -- assured, resonant, clear -- was his passport into radio where he worked as an announcer and narrator. But he was also of the Jazz Generation and in the Fifties he anticipated the Beats by blending poetry and music and then creating his Word Jazz recordings in which he would recite poems, unusual prose-poems and stories full of whimsy and often slightly disturbing... > Read more

Ken Nordine: Looks Like It' Going to Rain

David Bowie: Station to Station, Expanded Edition (EMI)

18 Oct 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

Rock critics and civilians are generally divided over David Bowie: people on the street seem to prefer the stabbing pop-rock of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane (with party favourite The Jean Genie) and singles like Rebel Rebel and Let's Dance. Critics – because they famously don't dance – gravitate towards the sonic landscapes of “the Berlin trilogy” (Low,... > Read more

David Bowie: Word on a Wing

Isbells: Isbells (Zealrecords)

17 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

In which former rocker Gaeten Vandewoude of Belgium discovers his inner Jose Gonzalez and with a few friends and some multi-tracking also realises he had Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel lurking in there too. This is not an unfamiliar path (Gonzalez did the rock thing first, so did Findlay Brown, and Fink used to deal in hip-hop) but it leads to low-key acoustic songs, sensitive lyrics... > Read more

Isbells: BB Chevelle

Wreckless Eric: Hits, Misses, Rags and Tatters; The Complete Stiff Masters (Stiff/Triton)

17 Oct 2010  |  2 min read  |  4

Long overdue for a revival, reconsideration and wider recognition, Eric Goulden aka Wreckless Eric has been usually dismissed as a one-hit wonder (but was it Whole Wide World, Semaphore Signals, Veronica, I Wish It Would Rain or A Pop Song?). Or written off as a kind of punk comedy act (just because he had a sense of humour?) Of course in the late Seventies he was up against some major... > Read more

Wreckless Eric: I Wish It Would Rain

Soundgarden: Telephantism (Universal)

11 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

Once they hit their stride around the time of Badmotorfinger in '91, Soundgarden out of Seattle had shaken out the ragged semi-punk and yelping metal for a much more dense and intense attack. Material like Jesus Christ Pose (here in a searing, seven minute live version of deconstructed noise) was a quantum leap from the noise they were making on the SST label, and even Badmotorfinger's... > Read more


The Divine Comedy: Bang Goes the Knighthood (DCDR/Southbound)

11 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

The amusing Divine Comedy – Neil Hannon the sole constant the past two decades – effect a kind of elegantly literary and often droll, social commentary, style which often comes with orchestration, or sounds like it has stepped out of a cabaret or music hall. They require, and reward, careful attention because the details are in Hannon's frequently satirical lyrics. Here on... > Read more

The Divine Comedy: When a Man Cries

Aberfeldy: Somewhere to Jump From (Tenement)

11 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

This Scottish band -- about whom the words delightful, charming, witty and sensitive come to hand -- deliver a lightly embellished and perfectly enunciated form of folk-pop which at times recalls a less self-centred Morrissey as sung by a young Paul Simon, or a less anxious Belle and Sebastian as sung by Graham Nash (of Crosby Stills and Nash). In fact Nash gets an amusing name-check on the... > Read more

Aberfeldy: Malcolm

Coolies: Master (Chapter)

11 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

Coolies -- originally out of South Auckland -- hit a wall about five years ago and despite building a small, very small, local reputation and playing SxSW, their trash/distortion/pop sound which was almost alarming retro (think 1980 alt.indie post-punk) it seemed like it might be all over. But from the ashes . . . With two of the original three-piece (Tina and Sjionel, now joined by... > Read more

Coolies: Searching

Ash and the Matadors: The Mansion Tapes (Ash)

11 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

This six-track EP by a Dunedin four-piece fronted by singer-songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player Ash Officer came out in June but has only just landed in Elsewhere -- which means some of the reviews have been done of it down south. Although none that I recall in northern climes. Ash/Matadors have a keen supporter in Southland Times writer Chris Chilton who also had an astute... > Read more

Ash and the Matadors: The Ballad of Cobh

Marc Cohn: Listening Booth; 1970 (Sony)

10 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

The way singer-songwriter Cohn remembers it, 1970 was when the Beatles, and Simon and Garfunkel, broke up. It was classic singles, the dawn of the singer-songwriter era (James Taylor, Neil Young and others), great albums by various solo Beatles, Van Morrison, Cat Stevens, Creedence . . . So he goes back to that year for this collection of covers of those influences, but turns some of... > Read more

Marc Cohn: No Matter What (with Aimee Mann)

Frazey Ford: Obadiah (Nettwerk/Shock)

4 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

Ford was one of the key voices in the Be Good Tanyas, but since they have disbanded she is now out on her own with this debut solo album -- and quite some quiet piece of work it is. Things really start to grip a few tracks in when you identify the idiom: despite the banjo on the lead-off track Firecracker, this is no recreation of backwoods "authenticity" and the warm trumpet on... > Read more

Frazey Ford: If You Gonna Go

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

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

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

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