Music at Elsewhere

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Old Crow Medicine Show: Live at the Orange Peel and Tennessee Theatre (Shock DVD)

27 Nov 2009

The rocked-up country-cum-bluegrass outfit haven't ever fully convinced on CD, although the best of their previous outing Tennessee Pusher certainly explained why they are such a potent live act. This DVD of shows filmed in Asheville, North Carolina and Knoxville, Tennessee capture them touring that album but generously throwing in some real oldies (a country cover of Down Home Girl which... > Read more

Living Colour: Chair in the Doorway (Megaforce)

23 Nov 2009

With their 89 breakthrough debut Vivid, Living Colour were hailed as the first black rock band, the politics of race/the media around them was talked up by the Black Rock Coalition, and guitarist Vernon Reid repeatedly noted now they were through the door the media (MTV, Rolling Stone etc) would close it. One black rock band was enough, thank you. He was mostly right. Living Colour... > Read more

Living Colour: Young Man

Caroline Herring: Golden Apples of the Sun (Ode)

23 Nov 2009

The previous album by this Atlanta-based singer-songwriter, Lantana of last year, was a revelation: her crystalline vocals conjured up the purity of Joan Baez but her sometimes dark subject matter took her into that emotionally unsettling area where the likes of Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and Eilen Jewell sometimes set up shop. The contrast between Herring’s delicate clarity and a... > Read more

Caroline Herring: The Great Unknown

Atlas Sound: Logos (4AD)

23 Nov 2009

The previous outing by Atlas Sound, Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel, was a real find: ambient and cinematic but with hints of hazy pop, and at the time I noted I hoped Brandford Cox -- who is Atlas Sound and also of the equally interesting band Deerhunter -- would make more such solo albums. He almost didn't. The backstory here is that his computer was... > Read more

Atlas Sound: Washington School

Jim Ford: The Unissued Capitol Album. Big Mouth USA; The Unissued Paramount Album (both Bear Family)

23 Nov 2009

As Nick Lowe recently observed, he's supposed to be an expert on American music but there are still any number of artists and albums being unearthed and brought into the light again. Ford might not exactly be in that category -- he was a major influence on Lowe and his stuff has been floating around among cognoscenti for a couple of years -- but these two albums might give him his time in... > Read more

Jim Ford: Mixed Green

Rickie Lee Jones: Balm in Gilead (Universal)

23 Nov 2009    2

Ms Jones has slipped so far down the totem pole of public attention in the past decade that her last album -- the ambitious Sermon on Exposition Boulevard of 2007 in which she meditated on Jesus and other things -- went straight past most. Jones works her own territory: one part jazz, a nod to pop, sometimes soulful or almost spoken word, and that distinctive voice which you either love or... > Read more

Rickie Lee Jones: His Jeweled Floor

The Gladeyes: Psychosis of Love (Lil' Chief)

23 Nov 2009    6

In a recent article for an art magazine I wrote about some of the work I had seen by young painters in Sydney: I noted there was a frequent and conspicuous retreat into whimsy which seemed an early admission of defeat, as if these young talents were abdicating from the demands of making any serious statement. It was as if cute of itself was enough and that it would be elevated into importance... > Read more

The Gladeyes: Monika

Volcano Choir: Unmap (Jagjaguwar)

23 Nov 2009    1

This album was on repeat play while I was at my desk and after a few times through I thought it one of those projects where people just make a interesting noise but haven't actually got a tune that is memorable. It seemed like a very pleasant art school project by some probably very nice people who had listened to a bit of new folk from the likes of Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver, enjoyed creating... > Read more

Volcano Choir: Island, Is

Norah Jones: The Fall (Blue Note/EMI)

16 Nov 2009

The smaller sales on Jones’ two albums  -- Feels Like Home (04) and Not Too Late (07) -- after the extraordinary figures for her 02 debut Come Away With Me (20 million and rising) were no reflection of any diminishing talent. Those follow-ups were subtle and layered outings, but on a casual listen sounded like more aural wallpaper for cafes and dinner parties where Come Away With... > Read more

Norah Jones: December

Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 (Sony CD/DVD)

16 Nov 2009    3

“We have a fire on stage. If there’s any firemen in the area . . . “ This isn’t an announcement you hear too often at rock festivals -- but nothing was beyond possibility at the volatile Isle of Wight event in 70 when non-ticketholders stormed the site, the enraged promoter abused them for being ungrateful pigs and 600,000 concert goers watched artists as diverse as... > Read more

Leonard Cohen: So Long, Marianne

Tom Russell: Blood and Candle Smoke (Proper/Southbound)

16 Nov 2009

Tom Russell is a cinematic singer-songwriter whose storytelling is compelling, and whose whisky’n’grit vocals can take you to the heart of Tex-Mex territory. The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti said he was “Johnny Cash, [poet and novelist] Jim Harrison and [barfly writer] Charles Bukowski rolled into one“. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Russell spent time in Nigeria... > Read more

Tom Russell: Crosses of San Carlos

Various: Michael Jackson; the Remix Suite (Universal)

15 Nov 2009    2

Motown may have missed their golden opportunity with the shoddily compiled 50th anniversary albums, but they aren't so stupid as to let yet another marketing opportunity go by -- and so here comes wee Michael with (mostly) the life remixed out of him. There will be a great Jackson remix album (it won't be official of course, it'll be out there in webworld) but Motown had inferior dance... > Read more

Michael Jackson: ABC (Salaam Remi remix)

White Denim: Fits (Inertia)

15 Nov 2009

This three-piece from Austin were everywhere in the UK media when they were touring while I was in England and Scotland in the middle of the year -- and I kept missing them. And the more I read the more interested I became: no one seemed to have a clear bead on them and while some cited Hendrix (it's the wah-wah pedal, folks) others mentioned a meltdown of the White Stripes and the Allman... > Read more

White Denim: Everybody Somebody

Jim Capaldi: Oh How We Danced/Whale Meat Again (Raven)

15 Nov 2009

Drummer, singer and songwriter Capaldi recorded these two solo albums in '72 and '74 when he was still a member of Traffic alongside Stevie Winwood, Dave Mason and Chris Wood -- all of whom appear here as part of a stellar cast which also includes the Muscle Shoals Horns, guitarist Paul Kossoff of Free, Rick Grech, drummer Gaspar Lawal, Jim Gordon and others. Pretty much a who's who of the... > Read more

Jim Capaldi: How Much Can a Man Really Take?

The Pines: Tremolo (Red House/Ode)

15 Nov 2009    1

Quite why the Pines -- who are Branson, the son of the legendary singer-songwriter Bo Ramsey, and David Huckfelt -- didn't get more traction with their excellent Sparrows in the Bell album was a mystery to me. Maybe the father association put people off in that Lennon-kids way?  To me they sounded like a bridge between cryptic Seventies Dylan and... > Read more

The Pines: Heart and Bones

Julian Temple Band: Quiet Earth (Oscillosonic/Yellow Eye)

15 Nov 2009

Noticed how in action movies so few actors speak these days? They tend use an amplified whisper which has the effect of raising tension -- even when very little is happening. San Francisco-born, Dunedin-based singer-songwriter Temple is like that: his husky whisper is everywhere on this acoustic-driven, sometimes folk/sometimes funk, occasionally bluesy album. It raises tension where... > Read more

Julian Temple Band: American Dream

The Topp Twins: Honky Tonk Angel (Topp)

15 Nov 2009

To be perfectly honest I went off the Topp Twins very quickly: around the time of the Women's Web Collective album Out of the Corners of '82 and in a few subsequent years I thought they were terrific and iconoclastic, and their stage shows howlingly funny. But then their humour seemed to become more tame, mainstream and -- at a time when sophisticated comedy was all over television -- I... > Read more

The Topp Twins: Palamino Moon

Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band: Between My Head and the Sky (Chimera/Rhythmethod)

10 Nov 2009

When Yoko Ono released her artistically packaged Onobox in 1992 -- a six CD retrospective of a solo career which had ceased in the mid Eighties -- that would seemed to have been it from the most famous widow in the world. She was almost 60; had stopped recording because as she wryly noted "there seemed no great call" from the public for any more albums by her; and her attention was... > Read more

Yoko Ono: Higa Noboru

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Intentions: Through the Devil Softly (Shock)

9 Nov 2009

Sandoval was the emotionally cool, quietly mesmerising singer in Mazzy Star who has been off the radar for some while as a front person. (She has collaborated widely however, a new Mazzy album soon.) Here she fronts the band of her partner Colm O Ciosoig (of My Bloody Valentine) and various others on their first outing in about eight years. Little has changed in her emotionally close but... > Read more

Hope Sandoval: Blue Bird

BLK JKS: After Robots (Secretly Canadian)

9 Nov 2009

It would be hard to imagine a more musically diverse, genre-defying and largely bewildering album than this by a South African rock band which has been swept off to Electric Ladyland Studios in New York where Brandon Curtis (of Secret Machines) has produced this meltdown of mad psychedelics, MOR ballads, reggae and African mbaqanga. Nine tracks like nine different radio stations. At... > Read more

BLK JKS: Molalatladi