Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Malajube: Labyrinthes (Shock)

Malajube: Labyrinthes (Shock)

Elsewhere is certainly not immune to charms of Canada: we have acknowledged Arcade Fire, the collective Broken Social Scene, Patrick Watson, the challenge of vocal contortionist Tagaq and others (as well as watching the Anvil doco with tightening sphincter, hailing the droll TV comedy Corner Gas, and delighting in the landscape and people). But not a lot of Canadian music gets to the far end... more >>

Malajube: Casablanca

18 Oct 2009

Warren Cate: The Reparation Tapes (Warcat)

Warren Cate: The Reparation Tapes (Warcat)

Cate is what we might call an "occasional" rock'n'roll singer-songwriter: this is only his fourth album in about 14 years. He has a day job. I recognise on his website some highly favourable comments (uncredited) from me down the years, and his music has always found a place on my Sunday afternoon Kiwi FM show. This album will too. Cate has real feel for a power-pop into... more >>

Warren Cate: Say What You Will

18 Oct 2009

Joe Pernice: It Feels So Good When I Stop (RedEye/Southbound)

Joe Pernice: It Feels So Good When I Stop (RedEye/Southbound)

Most of us will be at a disadvantage when it comes to this album by Joe of the very fine Pernice Brothers: these are songs to accompany his debut novel of the same name -- and my guess is it will go largely unread other than by his Serious Fans. No matter perhaps, this should work as a stand-alone item (different idiom) and it largely does as a lowkey, highly melodic collection of unexpected... more >>

Joe Pernice: I Go To Pieces

12 Oct 2009

Brendan Benson: My Old, Familiar Friend (Shock)

Brendan Benson: My Old, Familiar Friend (Shock)

Singer-songwriter Benson had already pumped out three albums under his own name before he came to greater attention as a member of the Raconteurs alongside Jack White. That profile will gain attention for this often hugely poppy outing in which he seems to channel the spirit (and sometimes the chord changes) of those old, familiar songs and bands he fell in love with while listening to radio... more >>

12 Oct 2009

Blitzen Trapper: Black River Killer (Sub Pop)

Blitzen Trapper: Black River Killer (Sub Pop)

This sextet from the Pacific North West hasn’t made much of an impact here, despite three albums which have drawn critical comparisons with Neil Young (in his acoustic and rock personae), Fleet Foxes and Wilco (both of whom they have opened for), folky Dylan and even Rubber Soul-era Beatles (albeit with a country-rock skew). They are fascinating, unpredictable and confident -- and... more >>

12 Oct 2009    1

Monsters of Folk: Monsters of Folk (Spunk)

Monsters of Folk: Monsters of Folk (Spunk)

Given who these people are -- Conor Oberst aka Bright Eyes, M Ward, and Jim James of My Morning Jacket (aka Yim Yames) -- you might be forgiven for thinking this is some kind of neo-folk meeting on the mountain top, or possibly a younger, more serious and sprightly version of the Traveling Wilburys. But in the hands of producer -- and fourth Monster -- Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Jenny Lewis)... more >>

Monsters of Folk: Baby Boomer

11 Oct 2009

International Observer: Felt (Dubmission)

International Observer: Felt (Dubmission)

The first thing to note about this new album by producer/dubmeister Tom Bailey is that there are 12 tracks. No noodling around or nodding off going on here, Bailey doesn't let any groove outstay its welcome. And throughout Bailey also adds in interesting elements to keep your attention: Is that a tongue-in-cheek suggestion of Eighties synth-pop on Popcorn Slavery? What's that strange... more >>

International Observer: Binman Dub

11 Oct 2009

Paloma Faith: Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? (Sony)

Paloma Faith: Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? (Sony)

For the past few months it seems to have been impossible to miss Pixie Lott: posters and interviews (none of which I've read I must admit), her poppet-features poking out of every corner of popular culture. It came as a surprise to me then to learn just last week that the ubiquitous Pixie -- clearly a talent whose genius requires our on-going interest -- has only just released her debut... more >>

Paloma Faith: My Legs Are Weak

5 Oct 2009

David Bremner: Gung-Ho (Atoll)

David Bremner: Gung-Ho (Atoll)

Subtitled "Virtuoso works for Trombone" this debut album by Bremner of the NZSO is a finalist in the Best Classical Album category at the 2009 New Zealand music awards*, and even if trombone isn't your thing (jazz by Tommy Dorsey perhaps, classical maybe not?) you'd have to concede this is extremely impressive. It does feel a little like a show reel as he engages in duets with... more >>

David Bremner: Allerseelen

5 Oct 2009

Jimmy Webb and the Webb Brothers: Cottonwood Farm (Proper/Southbound)

Jimmy Webb and the Webb Brothers: Cottonwood Farm (Proper/Southbound)

Anyone who has followed the career of the great songwriter Jimmy Webb (interviewed at Elsewhere here) will attest to two things: he crafts memorable material (all those hits for Glen Campbell, the gorgeous minimalism of The Moon's A Harsh Mistress made famous by Joe Cocker, the baroque McArthur Park) and he ain't much of a singer. Like Burt Bacharach, you usually need to hear Webb's... more >>

Jimmy Webb and the Webb Brothers: Where the Universes Are

5 Oct 2009

Mark Knopfler: Get Lucky (Vertigo)

Mark Knopfler: Get Lucky (Vertigo)

For man who made his reputation with mercurial guitar work and not his rather undistinguished voice, former Dire Straits frontman Knopfler (profiled here) takes a real chance on this solo outing: there’s barely a guitar lick in the first two songs and the album opens in a distinctly Celtic mood with fiddles and flutes, then steps in with some soulful balladry. With some songs which are... more >>

Mark Knopfler: Hard Shoulder

4 Oct 2009    2

The Raiders: Indian Reservation/Collage (Raven/EMI)

The Raiders: Indian Reservation/Collage (Raven/EMI)

When this band emerged as Paul Revere and the Raiders in the Sixties they were a rocking, sometimes salacious and rather terrific garageband (albeit one which dressed kinda funny) and so, quite rightly, a compilation of their Greatest Hits appears at Essential Elsewhere. By 1970 the world had turned through hippies, horn-augmented bands like Blood Sweat and Tears, jamming outfits and so on.... more >>

The Raiders: The Boys in the Band (from Collage, 1970)

4 Oct 2009

Great North: Soldiers (Great North)

Great North: Soldiers (Great North)

New bands often make great claims for themselves -- that is forgivable -- but I especially like the humour of what this Auckland five-piece say of their music: "It is the sound of Bruce Springsteen having a tumultuous affair with Gillian Welch" and "the songs were delivered by angels. Drunk angels. The kind you don't invite round for fear they will break your teapot or burn their... more >>

Great North: Jericho

4 Oct 2009

Ray Columbus and the Invaders: The Definitive Collection (Zodiac/Ode)

Ray Columbus and the Invaders: The Definitive Collection (Zodiac/Ode)

The point to note about Ray Columbus and the Invaders being inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame at the 2009 Music Awards is that it is Ray Columbus AND The Invaders. Columbus might have been the charismatic and energetic frontman, but as this 45-song double disc reminds, he had a band that were as good as it got in this country during the early Sixties -- and no surprise that... more >>

Ray Columbus and the Invaders: Cat's Eyes

4 Oct 2009    1

Chris Smither: Time Stands Still (Shock)

Chris Smither: Time Stands Still (Shock)

As on his earlier Leave The Light On, this grizzled singer-songwriter now in his mid 60s, covers a Bob Dylan song, this time It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry. He also adds in Mark Knopfler's Madame Geneva's and that's a more useful reference, because Knopfler explores roots music -- but Smither lives it. His low grumble isn't too far removed from Knopfler's although comes on... more >>

Chris Smither: I Don't Know

4 Oct 2009

Jordan Reyne: How the Dead Live (www.jordanreyne.com)

Jordan Reyne: How the Dead Live (www.jordanreyne.com)

I guess when Creative New Zealand were looking for someone to write music to raise awareness of the country's historical and cultural heritage they wouldn't have had a long list. Right at the top would have been Reyne anyway. One of this country's most gifted, probing and intelligent writers, she delivered (if nothing else) the stunning Passenger album a few years ago based on her train... more >>

Jordan Reyne: The Brave

1 Oct 2009    1

Tim Finn: Anthology; North South East West (EMI)

Tim Finn: Anthology; North South East West (EMI)

Anyone who considers the Tim Finn timeline would quickly conclude that here was a man who always did it his way: the theatrics and manic energy of Split Enz combined with alarmingly engaging and durable music; solo albums which were sometimes uncomfortable for their self-analysis; others which were snappy and poppy; soundtracks and side-projects . . .  So a double disc overview of his... more >>

Tim Finn: Straw to Gold (from the album The Conversation)

28 Sep 2009

Various: Albums from the Smithsonian Folkways series (Folkways/Southbound)

Various: Albums from the Smithsonian Folkways series (Folkways/Southbound)

The Smithsonian is one of those great American institutions which, if it says "we're here to help" actually is. In their Smithsonian Folkways collection they have short audio examples of 40,000 tracks and through their Global Sound website they are all available for download. And they have the original liner notes for the relevant albums which you can view for free.Which might make... more >>

Big Chief Ellis: Dices Blues

28 Sep 2009    1

Grand Archives: Keep In Mind Frankenstein (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Grand Archives: Keep In Mind Frankenstein (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

It would be fair to note that after saying very favourable things about this band's impressive debut The Grand Archives, I fully expected to never hear another note by them. Not that they would break up, but that their particular charms would go past so many people that whatever they did next might not get released in New Zealand. It is my great pleasure to announce therefore . . .... more >>

Grand Archives: Oslo Novelist

28 Sep 2009

Pearl Jam: Back Spacer (Universal)

Pearl Jam: Back Spacer (Universal)

Just as some would have you believe there were "Beatles fans" Vs "Stones fans" back in the day (usually by old people styling themselves Stones fans to appear cooler than they actually were at school), so too there was that weird schism set up between Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Nirvana were, of course, "authentic" and Pearl Jam were somehow just pretend-grunge in... more >>

Pearl Jam: The Fixer

28 Sep 2009