Snow-bound lodge at Crater Lake in Oregon
Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Various: Born to the Breed, A Tribute to Judy Collins (Wildflower)

Various: Born to the Breed, A Tribute to Judy Collins (Wildflower)

These past few years there has been something of a rediscovery of old folkies, what with Springsteen paying tribute to Pete Seeger, the various Woody Guthrie compilations, Bob Dylan's radio show (he's something of an old folkie himself), new albums by Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Larry Jon Wilson, collections like If You Ain't Got the Do-Re-Mi and Sowing the Seeds . . . Not to mention young... more >>

James Mudriczki: Che

Jim Noir: Jim Noir (My Dad)

Jim Noir: Jim Noir (My Dad)

Some six months ago the English magazine Q hailed this quirky, poppy and delightfully cheerful album as "the surprise soundtrack of summer 2008" -- which means that for us in the other hemisphere it is now we should be tuning in. Jim Noir (known to his family as Alan Roberts) from near Manchester is far from noir and in fact there is a Beach Boys breeziness at work here, married... more >>

Jim Noir: Happy Day Today

Ginger Brown: Who Scared Who (Ginger Brown)

Ginger Brown: Who Scared Who (Ginger Brown)

Because I've been listening to some old Sixties vinyl -- Sam the Sham, Paul Revere, La De Das, the McCoys etc -- this album by a Wellington outfit which is driven by the organ playing of Lawrence Taula has captured my attention. There's real Sixties pop quality about the songwriting, Taula also sings like less addled Jim Morrison in places, the guitars of Matthew Armitage perhaps... more >>

Ginger Brown: Blinded by the Light

Jeff Beck: Performing this Week . . . Live at Ronnie Scott's (Shock)

Jeff Beck: Performing this Week . . . Live at Ronnie Scott's (Shock)

In a recent interview in advance of his Auckland concert next February, I put a quote to this guitar legend whose career started back in the mid-Sixties when he took over from Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds: that of all the guitar heroes his career had been the most slippery to follow. He laughed and agreed -- then I told him that quote came from 1976, over 30 years ago. He laughed even... more >>

Jeff Beck: A Day in the Life

David Byrne and Brian Eno: Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Inertia)

David Byrne and Brian Eno: Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Inertia)

It has been almost 30 years since David Byrne and Brian Eno teamed up for the groundbreaking My Life in the Bush of Ghosts which brought sampling, found sounds, world music, trip-hop beats, studio manipulations and much more together in way that really hadn't been heard before. But anyone expecting this collaboration to be in a similar vein hasn't been listening to the work of either in... more >>

David Byrne and Brian Eno: My Big Nurse

The Aliens: Luna (Pet Rock)

The Aliens: Luna (Pet Rock)

Back in the late Ninenties the Beta Band from Britain were, for some of us at least, the most exciting and promising thing around. They released three charming folkadelic EPs -- packaged on CD as, you guessed it, The Three EPs -- and they were heard at the best barbecues. They were pastoral, trippy, sort of hip-hop if you only had acoustic instruments (although they had a turntablist), and... more >>

The Aliens: Dove Returning

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: James Hunter: The Hard Way (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: James Hunter: The Hard Way (Universal)

This Englishman with an unexpectedly soulful voice was one of the first artists posted at Elsewhere back in mid 2006 and that astonishing album People Gonna Talk was easily among the best of that year. But in this country with very little publicity (I saw none) it rose without a trace. Still, those who heard it got a wonderful slice of Sam Cooke/soul-reggae -- and it went on to be in... more >>

James Hunter: Til the End

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson: Rattlin' Bones (Liberation)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson: Rattlin' Bones (Liberation)

Chambers -- daughter of the very great singer-songwriter Bill -- is one of Australia's finest alt.country/roots artists and here she teams up with her husband Nicholson for their first album together. Oddly enough although they play together in their casual side-project The Lost Dogs covers band they hadn't previously written together -- yet the evidence on this album is that they are rare,... more >>

Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson: Sweetest Waste of Time

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Mountain Goats, Heretic Pride (4AD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Mountain Goats, Heretic Pride (4AD)

Co-produced by John Vanderslice, the typically opaque lyrics by John Darnielle are given space and clarity so as to bewilder and bemuse you by turns. Not many people write songs with titles like Sax Rohmer #1, How to Embrace a Swamp Creature, Marduk T-Shirt Men's Room Incident and Michael Myers Resplendent. But here augmented by some discreetly dramatic strings and the small band, and with... more >>

The Mountain Goats: Heretic Pride

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Samuel Flynn Scott and Bunnies on Ponies: Straight Answer Machine (Loop)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Samuel Flynn Scott and Bunnies on Ponies: Straight Answer Machine (Loop)

Sam Scott is the singer and main songwriter of the Phoenix Foundation (alongside Luke Buda) and wrote the music for the feature Eagle Vs Shark but this, his second solo album, sounds like a man thoroughly enjoying himself (in a somewhat serious way) out of the confines of both of those. As with the PF this is pop which has a light'n'loose feel (soft drugs I suspect) and a sense of... more >>

SF Scott and BOP: Sodium Ions

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Emmylou Harris: All I Intended To Be (Warners)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Emmylou Harris: All I Intended To Be (Warners)

The crystalline quality of Emmylou Harris' voice is often so admired that people can look past that she is also a great interpreter of a lyric and has effortlessly brought traditional or familiar songs together with her originals.This time out she calls on kindred spirits (the McGarrigle sisters, Mike Auldridge, Buddy Miller) with her band which includes keyboard player Glenn D Hardin, drummer... more >>

Emmylou Harris: Not Enough

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008:  Hayes Carll: Trouble in Mind (Lost Highway)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Hayes Carll: Trouble in Mind (Lost Highway)

You'd think with strip malls, fast food franchises, saturation low-cost reality television and the widespread levelling out of mainstream culture that guys like Carll would have been ironed out of American life But he's one of those crinkles in the texture, an alt.country-cum-trad.country guy who is a little early Steve Earle and Joe Ely, and a bit of Basement Tapes Bob Dylan, but also very... more >>

Hayes Carll: Girl Downtown

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Paul Weller: 22 Dreams (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Paul Weller: 22 Dreams (Shock)

A couple of months ago I was invited to give a lecture to Auckland Uni music students about a contemporary songwriter of my choosing whose catalogue of work was interesting and worth studying.I picked Paul Weller on strength of this quote from him about his forthcoming album: "It takes in soul, rock'n'roll, there are some folky moments, some psych bits, a classical piece, some avant free... more >>

Paul Weller: Echoes Around the Sun

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

With its references to late 60s folk-rock, baroque pop flourishes, close harmonies, art-rock progressions and the jigsaw-puzzle of arrangements for voices and a small array of instruments (all deployed with precision, skill and understatement), this extraordinary album seems an unlikely one to have been embraced by hip rock magazines.It is is complex and yet poppy, sometimes oddly... more >>

Fleet Foxes: Ragged Wood

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Deerhunter: Microcastle (4AD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Deerhunter: Microcastle (4AD)

To be honest, this album by Bradford Cox and his Athens, Georgia band -- he's also the man behind his solo project Atlas Sounds, an album reviewed very favourably here some weeks ago -- sounds like a lot of other people, but what a lot of great other people: the Velvet Underground, the Church, the Pixies, the Cure, Mojave 3, Jesus and Mary Chain, early 90s shoe-gazer/paisley underground pop... more >>

Deerhunter: Nothing Ever Happened

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Mavis Staples: Live. Hope at the Hideout (Anti)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Mavis Staples: Live. Hope at the Hideout (Anti)

The last album by the great Mavis Staples, We'll Never Turn Back was picked as one of the best albums of 2007 at Elsewhere, and that was no sympathy vote for one of life's survivors who had grown up with the civil rights movement and has now lived long enough to see Obama heading for the White House. So when she sings "keep your eyes on the prize, hold on", Freedom Highway and... more >>

Mavis Staples: This Little Light

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Bond Street Bridge: The Mapmaker's Art (Monkey Records)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Bond Street Bridge: The Mapmaker's Art (Monkey Records)

Opening with an arresting, one minute challenge of scraped and stabbing violin you could be forgiven for thinking the one-man band of Sam Prebble who is Bond Street Bridge is being beamed at you from the Contemporary Classical department. It’ll certainly grip you, as will dark alt.folk drone Black Market Soul Transplant which follows (“the devil got me drunk . . .  woke up... more >>

Bond Street Bridge: Rain

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Felice Brothers: The Felice Brothers (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Felice Brothers: The Felice Brothers (Shock)

These three actual brothers (and a friend) weighed in with the Tonight at the Arizona which made the Best of Elsewhere 2007 list and turned up as many a critic's favourite Americana album.This long-awaited sequel follows an interim album sold at gigs, and a few of those songs are now available on this self-titled album (and some other tracks were, confusingly, recorded before their debut... more >>

Felice Brothers: Murder by Mistletoe

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Coldplay: Viva la Vida or Death And All Her Friends (EMI)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Coldplay: Viva la Vida or Death And All Her Friends (EMI)

One advantage of not listening to commercial radio is that you don't start going off songs or bands through over-familiarity. Which might explain why I quite like this new album by a band which seems to annoy most right-thinking people and serious music writers.But I hear so little of them -- I rarely play the albums I have -- that this one sounds intelligent and like a band prepared to take a... more >>

Coldplay: Yes

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Radiohead: In Rainbows (XL)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Radiohead: In Rainbows (XL)

Over the Christmas 07-08 period I heard a radio interview with a young musician denouncing the gross villany of major record companies -- about which I expect he had no personal experience -- and pointing to Radiohead's on-line/download release in October 2007 of In Rainbows (with buyers paying what they liked for it) as evidence the music industry was tottering like a mortally wounded... more >>

Radiohead:Nude