Music at Elsewhere

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King Creosote: Flick the Vs (Domino)

2 May 2009

Scottish singer-songwriter Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote, gets away more albums and EPs than I see local buses: I think he's closing in on Bob Dylan's tally somewhere in the mid-40s -- and he seems to average about three a year on his own Fence label. So if you've missed him, or don't have the time for this one, don't worry about it: within a few weeks he'll be back with something else.... > Read more

King Creosote: Camels Swapped for Wives

Brian Blade: Mama Rosa (Verve Forecast/Universal)

2 May 2009    1

This multiple-threat recently appeared in New Zealand as a member of the John McLaughlin-Chick Corea Five Peace Band and even in that illustrious company made an immediate impression as a drummer of exceptional character and energy (see bottom of this page for a Five Peace Band concert review.) Jazz drumming doesn't come much more intelligent, musical or as enjoyable to watch than Blade when... > Read more

Brian Blade: Get There

Various: The Great New Zealand Songbook (Thom/Sony)

2 May 2009    1

This nattily packaged double disc with Dick Frizzell's clever twist on an iconic and familiar Kiwi image as the cover arrives in time for New Zealand Music Month -- but already has the feel of the perfect Christmas gift for those living abroad. Especially when it includes Frizzell postcards to send off-shore. There are two versions: the ordinary double disc set, and the A4-sized book which... > Read more

Liam Finn: Better to Be

David Kilgour and Sam Hunt: Falling Debris (Arch Hill)

2 May 2009    2

As we all know, song lyrics are rarely poetry -- and conversely poems, especially contemporary poems which don't bother with rhyme schemes, can't often be readily adapted into the service of a song. Singer-guitarist David Kilgour of the Clean here takes some of Sam Hunt's poems (despite the attribution, Hunt's distinctive sing-song voice isn't heard here) and works them into a breezy... > Read more

David Kilgour and Sam Hunt: Every Time It Rains Like This

Justin Townes Earle: Midnight at the Movies (Bloodshot/Southbound)

2 May 2009

Being the son of Steve Earle and named for Townes Van Zant might seem a burden to many (just how many step-mothers do you have? wasn't Townes a troubled man?) but it seems to rest easy enough with this young singer-songwriter who even allows band member Cory Younts a breezy whistle on the gentle pedal steel'n'light ragtime of What I Mean To You. And you just know he could play some of these... > Read more

Justin Townes Earle: Midnight at the Movies

Red Red Meat: Bunny Gets Paid (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

2 May 2009    1

The now familiar "Deluxe Edition" is usually reserved for albums which have achieved some special position in people's lives: classic albums (Sabbath's Paranoid), cornerstone releases, Essential Elsewhere items and the like. And now this by a long disbanded band from Chicago that only a few heard about? Not even going to pretend here but will just give you the backstory as I... > Read more

Red Red Meat: Variations on Nadia's Theme

Eleni Karaindrou: Dust of Time (ECM New Series/Ode)

2 May 2009

The Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou released an extraordinary double album in 2005, Elegy of the Uprooting which employed a full orchestra, choir, herself on piano, singer Maria Farantouri and many more. In evocative passages of aching music and the most delicate of melodies she delivered an evocation of people suffering from exile or abandonment, or going through the emotions of homecoming... > Read more

Eleni Karaindrou: Waltz By The River

Various: Troubadours Vol 1 (Exile)

2 May 2009    2

My guess is that you'd have to look long and hard (possibly through secondhand bins) to find albums by Glen Moffatt, Al Hunter and Red McKelvie who, from the late Eighties to the mid-Nineties carried the flag for contemporary New Zealand country music. They didn't owe a lot to Nashville other than the sense of a song but were too straight to be alt.country (which at the time was still an... > Read more

Al Hunter: Sleep Won't Come

Jon Hopkins: Insides (Domino)

1 May 2009

This quietly wonderful electronica album certainly didn't announce itself (my advance copy came with no cover, no promo information) but it has been a constant repeat play item on the stereo since I got it about three months back. It has been music while I worked, music while I drank wine, music while I did nothing in the heat. That I have been so delighted by it in the absence of knowing... > Read more

Jon Hopkins: The Low Places

Various: Motown Love (Motown/Universal)

1 May 2009

This triple-disc set suffers from the same problem as the previously released and quite dreadful Motown 50 collection: an unacceptable and unnatural inclusion of Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 and Diana Ross -- and in this instance of course you get a dollop of soppy Lionel Richie as well. Alarmingly Smokey Robinson, who wrote some of the label most beautiful (and adult love) songs gets only... > Read more

Rita Wright: Where is the Love

Chris Isaak: Mr Lucky (Universal)

29 Apr 2009

I've got a soft spot for Chris Isaak for a couple of reasons: I interviewed him and he was a genuinely likable and funny man, and his television series was an astute and self-deprecating show about the life of a musician in which he didn't spare himself from ridicule for his self-delusion, pomposity and arrested adolescence.. In one episode Isaak --- who played "himself", the... > Read more

Chris Isaak:Cheater's Town

Grand Prix: The Speed of Sound (Arch Hill)

28 Apr 2009

While Neil Young berates his way down the highway on Fork in the Road, this well-established Wellington four-piece just get on with the business of making music which conjures up the driving energy and magic of an accelerator and open road, and in some places the wide terrain of Texas (or maybe Southland). With throbbing guitars which recall the offspring of a Velvet Underground/Tom Petty... > Read more

Grand Prix: El Baile de la Calaca

Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes Special Edition (SubPop)

26 Apr 2009

This wonderful self-titled debut album by Seattle's Fleet Foxes has already appeared at Elsewhere and was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2008 albums -- but it makes a return because this belatedly released Special Edition packages it up with the band's equally sublime Sun Giant EP which they recorded shortly before the album. The critical acclaim for their album caught them by surprise (see... > Read more

Fleet Foxes: Mykonos (from the Sun Giant EP)

Richard Adams and Nigel Gavin: Recent Works (Ode)

26 Apr 2009    1

Rather than me write about this terrific album, why don't I just reproduce the liner notes that I was very happy to write for it? Here they are, they should tell you all you need to know, other than it is also handsomely packaged with Adams' artwork . . . "My belief is that great music comes about by some kind of alchemy: it is the result of painstaking study, a rare mix of... > Read more

Richard Adams and Nigel Gavin: Roundhead

Stevie Nicks: The Soundstage Sessions (Universal)

26 Apr 2009

There is a word that reviewers deploy sparingly but hopefully with devestating effect: "Why?" It's certainly the word that applies here because these 10 songs taken from Stevie Nicks' filmed-for-DVD concert in 2007 come off as variously dated (the dreadful Eighties synth-sound of Stand Back), or utterly lifeless (the glorious Sara which surged with emotion in its Fleetwood Mac... > Read more

Stevie Nicks: Landslide

Neil Young: Fork in the Road (CD/DVD Reprise)

26 Apr 2009

The sometimes tetchy Neil Young has long lead his followers and record company on a merry dance: he has delivered some of the most exceptional albums in rock (Tonight's The Night, On the Beach which is an Essential Elswhere album, Arc-Weld, and Live Rust among them) -- but equally he has offered self-indulgent nonsense (the over-rated and belated anti-Bush rant Living with War, the faintly... > Read more

Neil Young: Light a Candle

Bowerbirds: Hymns for a Dark Horse (Rhythmethod)

26 Apr 2009    1

This delightful alt.folk debut for this small ensemble lead by Phil Moore from North Carolina has already won massive praise from the likes of the Mountain Goats' John Darnelle ("only once every 10 years or so does one hear a new band this good, bursting with ideas and audibly in love with music") and media such as Pitchfork ("hypnotically pretty and a little weird").... > Read more

Bowerbirds: My Oldest Memory

Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel: Willie and the Wheel (Bismeaux/Southbound)

26 Apr 2009

For a man who describes himself lazy Willie Nelson has been, we might observe charitably, been putting it about a bit lately. The Willie with Wynton Marsalis album didn't make as much sense as they might like to have thought, but this one is right on the money. In many ways it is the perfect and long overdue pairing: Willie's slightly jazzy country vocals with the Wheel who are not so much... > Read more

Willie and the Wheel: Bring It On Down To My House

The Bird and the Bee: Ray Guns Are Just Not the Future (Blue Note)

25 Apr 2009

Not quite what you'd expect on the jazz label Blue Note -- nor was Norah Jones -- but this airy pop with lightly exotic Latin references from the LA-duo of Inara George and Greg Kurstin (and guests) is just fine from wherever it comes. With slightly cheesy samba licks, a nod to David Lee Roth on Diamond Dave, and some kitsch and cute pop references this may be a bit too twee for its own good... > Read more

The Bird and the Bee: Baby

Wagons: The Rise and Fall of Goodtown (UK Spin)

20 Apr 2009    2

It's not that encouraging to hear a country-rock outfit have the sound of Skyhooks cited as an aural reference by some writers, but they are Australian after all. This six-piece certainly wear their influences in their songs: splashes of straight Nashville, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allmans, early Wilco, alt.country singer-songwriters, and maybe even a bit of Skyhooks pop. They cover Hoyt Axton's... > Read more

Wagons: Moonhorn Lake