Music at Elsewhere

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Peter Wolf Crier: Inter-Be (Jagjaguwar)

15 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

Peter Wolf Crier are an electro-acoustic duo out of Minneapolis (not to be confused with this guy) and this is their modest debut album. I say modest because while they utilise all the lo-tech vehicles at their command (loops, filters) they aren't intent on breaking free as a duo like the White Stripes or Black Keys. Their hearts are closer to the melodic school of M. Ward/early Beck and... > Read more

Peter Wolf Crier: Lion

Dan Sultan: Get Out While You Can (Arts Victoria/Southbound)

15 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

Sultan from Melbourne -- father Irish, mother Aboriginal -- is a hard one to put in any box: tracks here are reflective but mainstream country rock, others more, then he delivers some rural balladry and a broken-down acoustic folk ballad. Then things rock out. This also opens with a terrific slice of Sixties soulful pop balladry on Goddess Love and Dingo rides a Johnny Cash... > Read more

Dan Sultan: Crazy

Butcher Holler: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn (Signature)

14 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

As well-intentioned as this is -- a tribute to the country legend Loretta Lynn from a group lead by the excellent Eilen Jewel -- Lynn herself brought self-confident earthiness to her delivery of assertive songs like Fist City, Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' With Lovin' on Your Mind and You Ain't Woman Enough to Take My Man which somewhat eludes Jewel's pleasant and smoother delivery here.... > Read more

Butcher Holler: Whispering Sea

Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust (Shock)

9 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

Los Lobos have always had a propensity to revert back to being a bar band (albeit a well produced one with terrific guitar playing) and that is their default position too often here for this to be truly satisfying -- and some dreary lyrics . . . "Down Main Street/down easy street, it's when I feel at home"; "Little darling I can't buy you gold rings and things"; "If... > Read more

Los Lobos: Yo Canto

Various Artists: All We Wanna do is Rock (Bear Family/Yellow Eye)

9 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

The great thing about Fifties rock'n'roll songs is they give you more bang for your buck -- this single disc from the German reissue label Bear Family (sort of Ryko-and-Rhino out of Hambergen) delivers 36 -- yep, count 'em, 36 -- tracks "carefully selected for moondogs and hepcats". There are many familiar names here for sure and a number deliver their classic songs: Smiley Lewis... > Read more

Screamin' Jay Hawkins: Little Demon

Cyndi Lauper: Memphis Blues (Inertia)

9 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

Even those of us who would still mount the argument that Cyndi Lauper was -- and remains -- a far greater talent than her peer, Madonna, might approach this album with some trepidation: just as Dusty and Elvis went to Memphis to record some of their finest songs, so now has Cyndi -- but a rather different, more bluesy Memphis than that which drew the sophisticated Ms Springfield. But with a... > Read more

Cyndi Lauper: Shattered Dreams (with Allen Toussaint)

Tom Kerstens' G Plus Ensemble: Utopia (Real World/Southbound)

9 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

Although nominally a contemporary classical album -- English acoustic guitarist Kerstens and a string quartet -- this delightful, deep, meditative and probing album should find wide favour beyond the recital hall. Kerstens has commissioned from outside the classical world for this debut of his G Plus ensemble (which includes The Tippett Quartet) and among the composers are New Zealander... > Read more

Tom Kerstens: The Number 88

Sarah McLachlan: Laws of Illusion (Sony)

9 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

This prime mover behind the Lilith Fair all-women-artists tours of over a decade ago (and resurrected this year) hasn't released a new album in seven years, so in some quarters expectation must be very high. A gifted, emotionally-driven singer-songwriter, McLachlan here comes out with all guns blasting on the rocking opener Awakenings which starts restrained then opens out when the electric... > Read more

Sarah McLachlan: Out of Tune

Mark Olson: Many Colored Kite (Ryko)

8 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

As a founder member of the Jayhawks - and for the album '09 Ready for the Flood with former-Hawk Gary Louris -- Olson would always command a fair hearing, but this 11 track outing with roots of fingerpicking Anglofolk as much as Americana becomes a very difficult haul. Although Olson seems to have put some of his demons behind him his vocals here are narrow in emotional range and often... > Read more

Mark Olson: Bluebell Song

Koop: Best of Koop 1997-2007 (K7)

8 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

When it comes to cool, sophisticated, swinging and intelligent clubland-cum-lounge pop, Koop out of Sweden take some beating. The electronica duo of Oscar Simonsson and Magnus Zungmark sensibly bring in acoustic players (clarinet, vibes, sax, flute, bass and so on) to ground their music in the world of jazz, and also pick up classy female vocalists who bring a breathy, sensual quality to... > Read more

Koop: Let's Elope

Lotus Mason: Lotus Mason (Glowb)

2 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Blair Jollands (interviewed in 2004 here) is one of New Zealand's best-kept expat secrets. With his band El Hula he crafted some of the finest post-Bowie dramatic ballads (with a touch of and his strong, elegant voice has drawn favourable comparisons with Scott Walker and Bowie at his peak in the late Seventies. He... > Read more

Lotus Mason: Dream of You

Wai: Ora (Wai/Jayrem)

2 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

When the debut album, 100%, by Maaka McGregor and Mina Ripia (aka Wai) was released in 2000 (see here) it was hailed as a ground-breaking event for its deft blend of te reo (Maori language) and electronica. Yet in many ways the musical landscape had been laid by the likes of Dalvanius with Patea Maori, and then Moana who had also sung in te reo and used the sound of amplified poi (and, in... > Read more

Wai: Hone Taiapa

Various Artists: Eccentric Soul; Smart's Palace (Numero/Southbound)

2 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

An earlier volume of not dissimilar desperate, crazy, urgent, cheaply-recorded and often exciting soul from the Sixties and Seventies drew great praise at Elsewhere (see here) -- and, once again -- although you might never have heard a single name previously -- you can't help but be hooked by the sheer energy these artists bring. Smart's Palace was a somewhat seedy club in -- improbably --... > Read more

Theron and Darrell: It's Your Love (1970)

Donna Dean: What Am I Gonna Do? (Ode)

2 Aug 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

When it comes to country music (alt. or country-rock) Donna Dean has the credentials: the gal has done it all -- marriage, kids, divorce, rehab, bars and clubs, opening for the likes of Willie Nelson, Jimmy Webb and the Penn-Oldham team . . . She spent time in London and Europe, recorded her debut album Money with The Amazing Rhythm Aces in Nashville, and for this follow-up recorded in... > Read more

Donna Dean: Empty Big Blue Sky

Various Artists: Teach Me to Monkey (Vampisoul/Southbound)

2 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

Chris Kenner wasn't kidding when he wrote Land of 1000 Dances in '62 – which became a minor hit for Cannibal and the Headhunters, then the wicked Wilson Pickett and dozens of others. In the early 60s it seemed like America was kicking up a new dance craze – the Monkey, the Pony, the Jerk, the Mashed Potato, the Watusi – every other week and teen magazines had pages... > Read more

Carol Ford: Your Well Ran Dry (1964)

Upper Hutt Posse: Tohe (Kia Kaha)

2 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

For quite a while it seemed that the seminal Aotearoa/New Zealand hip-hop outfit Upper Hutt Posse might have been reduced down to Dean Hapeta, who was actually appearing under the name Te Kupu (aka The Word). But here, on an album which kicks along on the back of staccato, minimalist dubstep beats and huge reggae style bass, the Posse are again at it . . . this time Hapeta and his brother... > Read more

Upper Hutt Posse: Mana Motuhake

Tono and the Finance Company: Fragile Thing EP (Border)

1 Aug 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

One of the nicest things about small indie artists is the care they lavish on the presentation of their low-key albums. Witness the delightful Tokey Tones albums or even the more rough-hewn albums on Flying Nun where the art was a signifier of the contents. And so it is with this terrific, confident, witty and repeat-play six-song EP which comes in an "exquisite corpse" cover (the... > Read more

Tono and the Finance Company: Barry Smith of Hamilton

Emilie Simon: Presents The Big Machine (Cartell)

1 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read  |  1

Frankly I was stunned when I read a recent review of this astonishingly annoying, very ordinary album which awarded it five stars. That kind of rating I think should be reserved for albums you will be still listening to in a year . . . and a decade. I found it hard to get through this one twice. French singer Simon (known more for classy videos than her musical talent) brings to the table... > Read more

Emile Simon: Ballad of the Big Machine

Flip Grater: While I'm Awake I'm At War (Maiden)

1 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

New Zealand singer-songwriter Flip Grater has a rare distinction at Elsewhere: she's the only artist so far who has previously had music posted (here) as well as recipe (here) which she picked up on the road for her cookbook. This beautifully arranged album, produced by Tim Guy, delivers through understatement as Grater's vocals are soft, almost hinting at the style of introspective French... > Read more

Flip Grater: Low Light

Renee Geyer: The Definitive Collection 1973 - 1998 (Mushroom)

1 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

This great Australian soul, funk and blues singer appeared at Elsewhere recently -- more of that in a minute -- but here by coincidence is 18 track collection of some of her finest moments from her four decade career, including her gutsy take on James Brown's classic It's A Man's Man's Man's World on which she really shines. Also here is her version of If Lovin' You is Wrong, the live... > Read more

Renee Geyer: Shakey Ground