Music at Elsewhere

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BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Willie Nelson: Country Music (Rounder)

12 Dec 2010  |  <1 min read

Willie Nelson makes so many albums these days – from Western Swing with Asleep at the Wheel and Tex-Mex to jazz stylings with Wynton Marsalis – that it's helpful this title is a product description. So here's Willie – now 77 – going back to songs by Ernest Tubb, Doc Watson, Hank Williams and others, as well the traditional I Am a Pilgrim, Nobody's Fault But... > Read more

Wille Nelson: My Baby's Gone

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Midlake: The Courage of Others (Inertia)

12 Dec 2010  |  1 min read  |  3

This quintet from Texas -- now on their third album -- has only appeared once previously at Elsewhere, a wonderful track on the collection Secret Love 4. That piece (the sample track posted with that album) was so impressive their name imprinted itself on my memory -- and then this album turns up. In the absence of hearing much else by them this one seduces on a first hearing and it has... > Read more

Midlake: Fortune

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Eels: End Times (Shock)

12 Dec 2010  |  2 min read

The last album by Eels/Mark Oliver Everett was the split personality of Hombre Lobo where gritty and sexually aggressive  songs were alternated with lovely ballads as if he was exploring two sides of the human condition. It is a terrific album (you may only like half the tracks depending on your current frame of mind) and was Everett adopting a persona. This time out he has written... > Read more

Eels: In My Younger Days

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Richard Thompson: Dream Attic (Proper)

12 Dec 2010  |  1 min read

Quite what has enraged the exceptional and much admired English guitarist/songwriter Richard Thompson we can only guess, but let's hope he stays angry because this blistering live album -- of all new material, recorded at various venues in the States -- finds him in top form. With a small band -- guitarist Pete Zorn also pulling out saxes, mandolin and flute; Joel Zifkin on violin --... > Read more

Richard Thompson: Sidney Wells

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Marilyn Crispell and David Rothenberg: One Dark Night I Left My Silent House (ECM/Ode)

12 Dec 2010  |  1 min read

American pianist Marilyn Crispell is one of those rarities: classically trained, she jumped in at the very deep and demanding end of the jazz pool – free jazz, Cecil Taylor, the ferociously intellectual Anthony Braxton Quartet – and used her instincts and training to keep afloat. Then she struck out confidently. Crispell – now in her early 60s – has never... > Read more

Crispell and Rothenberg: Stay, Stray

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Black Keys: Brothers (Shock)

12 Dec 2010  |  1 min read

Albums are usually far too long these days, and this is no exception -- but just when you think you might lose interest here the Keys pull out another angle: around the midpoint there are some superbly dark and soulful blues (Ten Cent Pistol, Sinister Kid) which sound steeped in Howlin' Wolf/Muddy Waters, then a new classic on The Go Getter (a moody barroom creeper which Etta James should... > Read more

The Black Keys: The Go Getter

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses: Junky Star (Lost Highway)

12 Dec 2010  |  1 min read

The name "Ryan Bingham" has been getting a lot of eartime recently -- it was the name of George Clooney's character in the movie Up in the Air. But more importantly in the real world it belongs to one of the most interesting Americana singer-songwriters of the past deacde -- the man who picked up an Oscar for his song The Weary Kind in the film Crazy Heart (in which he also played... > Read more

Ryan Bingham: Junky Star

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More (Universal)

12 Dec 2010  |  <1 min read

This four-piece from London may have a banjo on hand and a similar way with an archaic lyric and alt.folk melody as Fleet Foxes, but here on their debut album with widescreen producer Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire's Neon Bible) they bring some dramatic urgency which kicks them clearly into the alt.rock territory. With songs which have a sharp sense of dynamics – a rush of blood and... > Read more

Mumford and Sons: Thistle and Weeds

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate: Ali and Toumani (World Circuit)

12 Dec 2010  |  <1 min read  |  1

When the great guitarist Ali Farka Toure from Mali died in late 2005 he left an exceptional legacy of wonderful albums, not the least being the exceptional In the Heart of the Moon with kora player Toumani Diabate. That album was why sites like Elsewhere exist (J.Lo hardly needs our help. right?) Their mesmerising music was like a portal into another world, and a very benign and relaxing... > Read more

Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate: Ruby

Jimi Hendrix: West Coast Seattle Boy; The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (Sony)

6 Dec 2010  |  3 min read  |  2

In 1964 the Isley Brothers – a doo-wop/r'n'b outfit from Cincinnati who had scored a hit with Twist and Shout – were playing a show in a baseball stadium in Bermuda. They had their own in-built support act, they simply sent their band out to warm up the crowd. But on this night there was whooping from the audience and a guy came into their dressing room and asked, “Who... > Read more

The Isley Brothers with Jimi Hendrix: Move Over and Let Me Dance (1965)

Caitlin Harnett: All in the Golden Afternoon EP (CHCD)

6 Dec 2010  |  <1 min read

Working in that vein of "sensitive singer-songwriter", Sydney-based Harnett keeps things clear and simple here in a series of six songs which -- like Flip Grater's When I'm Awake I'm At War -- deliver everything in the first person to/about the unspecified "you". Make what you will of that, I find it broadcasts on a narrow emotional frequency. That said (as with... > Read more

Caitlin Harnett: Favourite Dress

Duffy: Endlessly (Universal)

5 Dec 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

Poor Duffy. The preview tracks for her debut album Rockferry had everyone hailing her as one of the great new voices (even though she referred to classic pop and soul traditions) but when the album did arrive -- with some admittedly weaker tracks -- a section of the British press turned on her. They got in with the backlash even before the album was in stores. But not so poor Duffy --... > Read more

Duffy: Girl

Magic Arm: Make Lists Do Something (Switchflicker/Yellow Eye)

5 Dec 2010  |  1 min read

This techno-pop, Pro Tools-folktronic album by Manchester's one-man band Marc Rigelsford finally gets belated local release (it appeared in the UK a year ago). But it's timely with the Band on the Run reissue because Rigelsford's reference points are the younger McCartney and classic Beach Boys as much early Beck and pre-fame Bright Eyes (the folktronic stuff) and the woozy folkadelic pop... > Read more

Magic Arm: Move Out

Edwyn Collins: Losing Sleep (Shock)

5 Dec 2010  |  1 min read

Scotland's Orange Juice fronted by singer-songwriter Edwyn Collins only had one persuasive album (You Can't Hide Your Love Forever in '82) and one UK hit (Rip It Up from the album of the same name, also in '82) but their arch, often ironic and non-threatening pop has recently occasioned a 6CD/DVD collection, a reflection of the high regard in which they were held. Since they split in... > Read more

Edwyn Collins: Searching for the Truth

Renee-Louise Carafice: I Will Raise a Bird Army (Bird Army)

29 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

There is no doubt life has been difficult for Renee-Louise Carafice, her previous album (here) was born out of clinical depression and time in an institution . . .  and this one addresses the break-up of a relationship (which she concedes was always flawed) in chilly Chicago. Art wrought out of such personal crises can often be therapetic of itself but may not necessarily engage an... > Read more

Renee-Louise Carafice: Radars Dead

Various Artists: Kris Needs Presents Dirty Water; The Birth of Punk Attitude (Future Police/Southbound)

29 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

This excellent, wayward and musically diverse double disc is like a mix tape/vanity project from a friend who just wants to get down his/her favourite raw rock'n'roll/mad attitude songs in the one place for you, the stuff that has been inspirational and still stands up. Here UK rock journalist (Zigzag) and sometimes band frontman Needs takes a broad view of the word "punk" to... > Read more

The Flamin' Groovies: Teenage Head

Barry Saunders: Far As The Eye Can See (Ode)

28 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

More than just a compilation of tracks from his various albums and radio sessions (including some from his excellent Zodiac album), this collection of songs by country-inflected singer-songwriter Saunders was a prompt for various painters and visual artists. Wellington curator Ron Epskamp of Exhibitions Gallery (here) invited 14 artists to interpret Saunders' lyrics -- and their works are... > Read more

Barry Saunders: Black Eyed Girl

Israel Cannan: Walk (Poets Corner)

28 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

Cannan from the east coast of Australia has ben itinerant for some while -- hence the title of this album -- and has spent his time looking, writing and finally recording this quietly impressive album. There's a folk-rock quality at work mostly  (although he veers alarmingly close to early REM on To The Left) but he is also something of a road philosopher-poet on material like On My Way... > Read more

Israel Cannan: Let It Rain

Cassandra's Ears: The Cassandra's Ears Story (Blind Date)

28 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

Early in 2010 the women who had been in the late-Eighties Kiwi band Cassandra's Ears got together for a gig and to their delight discovered that James Moss of Jayrem (which had released their two EPs Private Wasteland and Your Estimation) still had the master tapes. Jan Hellriegel -- Ears' singer -- had pursued a creditable solo career after the band broke up in 1990 and had her own label,... > Read more

Cassandra's Ears: Crystal

Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlight (Spunk)

28 Nov 2010  |  1 min read

This fourth album by Antony confirms what many already suspect, that a little of this divine, sublime voice can go a long way. All that high drama and quivering vocals, the allusive lyrics, the symphonic strings . . . It's all high-wire emotion and, as with Rufus Wainwright's All Days Are Nights, over the long haul it becomes demanding and undifferentiated. To his credit however Antony... > Read more

Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlights