Music at Elsewhere

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Ian King: Panic Grass and Fever Few (Wing and a Prayer)

10 May 2010  |  1 min read

King is in the vanguard of a diferent kind of British folk -- witness that this debut album is co-produced with Adrian Sherwood and Skip (Little Axe) McDonald. So this is folk with a world view and a dub feel -- and sounds all the better for it. King is straight out of that earnest, well-enunciated and slightly stern school of vocal delivery, and his material draws from old recordings (some... > Read more

Ian King: Death and the Lady

Polar Bear: Peepers (Leaf/Southbound)

10 May 2010  |  1 min read

This fiery UK jazz quintet helmed by acclaimed young drummer/composer Seb Rochford (interviewed here) has really caught the attention of the British jazz (and elsewhere) imagination: they were nominated for a Mercury Prize a few years ago; Rochford picks up awards; the various members work in other outside (and very interesting) projects; and they bring a 21st century/post-modern ethic to their... > Read more

Polar Bear: Drunken Pharaoh

Catherine Russell: Inside This Heart of Mine (World Village/Ode)

9 May 2010  |  <1 min read

With an excellent ensemble of understated but very classy players, jazz-cum-r'n'b singer Russell takes a sophisticated journey down the byways of ol' New Orleans, finger-snapping Swing Era sounds, cool blues and other related styles on a warmly produced album which includes materiaal by Fats Waller, Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington, early r'n'b star Wynonie Harris, Willie Dixon (Spoonful), Louis... > Read more

Catherine Russell: Troubled Waters

Deadstring Brothers: Sao Paulo (Bloodshot)

9 May 2010  |  1 min read

With the impending 40th anniversary re-issue of the Stones' Exile on Main Street, the time might be right to rediscover rootsy, toxic, blues-driven rock'n'roll which slews sideways out of the speakers fueled by whisky and weed. If that's the case, then this album is neatly timed to anticipate the Stones. On their fourth album this outfit from Detroit offer that strained yelp... > Read more

Deadstring Brothers: Can't Make It Through the Night

Various Artists: 135 Grand Street New York 1979 (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

9 May 2010  |  <1 min read

New York's short-lived No Wave movement was sort of punk with pretention: the untutored would collide with instruments, throw up "art statements" or aggressive political and/or social views, and appealed to an alarmingly small audience of like-minded people. Lydia Lunch is credited with the first using the term to describe bands like Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and Brian Eno... > Read more

Jill Kroesen: Fay Schism Blues

How to Kill: Like Angels (Failsafe)

9 May 2010  |  <1 min read

If the band name, the album cover, titles like And Death Shall Have Dominion and the black on black postcards within don't give you the clue, then I shall flip all the cards and tell you: this four-piece from Christchurch delve into the dark stuff . . . but not in some kind of death-metal/horror-kitschy way at all. These guys are a wall of sonics instrumental band who have a widescreen... > Read more

How to Kill: Bad Day at Black Rock

Jeremy Mason: Distorted Vision (self released)

9 May 2010  |  <1 min read

Expat Mason was bassist in the Kiwi punk band Kill the Fake Patient (2005-07) but clearly the Northern Hemisphere has blown a new wind through him: he's now an acoustic/alt.folk singer living in a one bedroom flat in Glasgow and this self-produced EP of songs written in Wellington and London (available here) is the first flickering of a new direction. An album follows apparently. As a... > Read more

Jeremy Mason: The Labyrinth

Rufus Wainwright: All Days Are Nights; Songs for Lulu (Decca)

9 May 2010  |  <1 min read

It's perhaps enough to note that this is Art Music in which Wainwright sings largely chorus-free, sweeping lyrics over the top of grandiose and often grandiloquent solo piano and addresses the death of his mother Kate (his greatest supporter and critics, he says) and dedicates it to his sister Martha, "the bright lady". This is also a song cycle (Lulu is that which lurks within us... > Read more

Rufus Wainwright: Zebulon

The Twitch: Time for Change (Rangi)

8 May 2010  |  <1 min read

The album title is slightly misleading: if it is a time for change then acccording to Auckland's Twitch it is back to the future -- back to stabbing post-punk power-pop with a sharp New Wave delivery. Rock'n'roll Mirror could have come from any time in the past three decades: a touch of metal in the guitar chords, a boastful Joan Jett-style lyric, Cheap Trick-cum-punk energy, short and... > Read more

The Twitch: Rock'n'Roll Mirror

The Doves: The Places Between; The Best of the Doves (EMI CD/DVD)

3 May 2010  |  1 min read

This alt.rock English outfit -- here wrapping up their first decade with a double CD and DVD set -- are one of those bands which people feel passionately about (one of my sons) or just let go right on by. They were nominated for the Mercury Award for both of their first two albums (Lost Souls in 2000, the even better The Last Broadcast two years later) and since then they have continued to... > Read more

Blue Water

The Phoenix Foundation: Buffalo (EMI)

3 May 2010  |  1 min read

After their excellent, Best of Elsewhere 2007 album Happy Ending -- and in the interim solo projects and the amusing, enticing and experimental pre-Christmas EP Merry Kriskmass -- expectation is high for this album by one of New Zealand's most interesting and enjoyable acts. More so even than the mostly laidback, slightly-delic Happy Ending, there is a dreamy languor here and... > Read more

The Phoenix Foundation: Bailey's Beach

The Fall: Your Future Our Clutter (Domino)

2 May 2010  |  <1 min read

Mark E Smith of Britain's marathon-running post-punk agit-prop outfit The Fall, is nothing if not consistent: He's still annoyed at the world and putting his anger and observations into a brittle, confrontation garage-noise, electro-distorted musical context. His vocals on Bury Parts 1 and 3 here come from the bottom of some sulphur pit in a factory then haul themselves into the... > Read more

The Fall: Bury Pts 1 + 3

Javelin: No Mas (Luaka Bop)

2 May 2010  |  1 min read

After internet chatter last year about how cool, kitschy and carefree this now Brooklyn-based duo of George Langford and Tom Van Buskirk (and friends) were for their loose borrowings from all parts of pop history (cheap Farfisa pop, reductive disco, New Wave bubblegum) on their widely circulated demos (Jamz n Jemz), you hoped they would step up on their debut album and deliver something... > Read more

Javelin: We Ah Wi

Greg Trooper: The Williamsburg Affair (52 Shakes)

2 May 2010  |  <1 min read  |  1

According to his website, country-rocker Trooper recorded these songs with his touring band 15 years ago in a Brooklyn studio in just four days, then he moved back to Nashville and the tapes were left to languish. Now mixed and mastered these 11 songs (10 originals and a strong treatment of Neil Young's Wrecking Ball) appear for the first time and don't sound dated a bit. Well, not in his... > Read more

Greg Trooper: Paradise

A HEADS UP: My Pet Dragon

2 May 2010  |  <1 min read

Brooklyn-based My Pet Dragon -- a five-piece around singer/guitarist Todd Michaelsen and singer/dancer/percussion player Reena Shah -- haven't appeared previously at Elsewhere although Michaelsen's vocals so impresssed producer Karsh Kale that he and Anoushka Shankar invited him onto their Breathing Under Water album (here). My Pet Dragon's debut album First Born won critical plaudits and... > Read more

My Pet Dragon: Between Us

Maggie Bell: The Best of Maggie Bell (Angel Air/Southbound CD/DVD)

2 May 2010  |  <1 min read

Bell was one of those paint-peeling, bluesy post-Joplin singers of the late Sixties and Seventies whose path crossed that of Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin, Eric Burdon and others with whom she guested. The raw-throated singer also fronted Stone the Crows for four albums, embarked on a solo career, consistently won acclaim in Readers' Polls in NME and Melody Maker, supported... > Read more

Maggie Bell: Danger Money

Various Artists: The Hal David and Burt Bacharach Songbook (EMI)

2 May 2010  |  <1 min read

Just a quick notice of this locally compiled double disc set which follows in the Lennon-McCartney and Goffin-King collections in this series. Some great acts here on David's lyrics wrapped in Bacharach's arrangements: the Shirelles with the Beatles' favourite Baby It's You; Cilla Black peeling the paint on Anyone Who Had a Heart; the songwriters' most importnt mouthpiece Dionne Warwick... > Read more

The Shirelles: Baby It's You

The Soft Pack: The Soft Pack (Pod/Inertia)

26 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

And we thought Shihad had a controversial name post-9/11? This alt.pop four-piece based in Los Angeles – which has toured with the Breeders, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party -- used to be called The Muslims. The flipside of their first single was Walking With Jesus. So let's give them points in their efforts to get a headline. This, their debut album, however steers a... > Read more

The Soft Pack: Pull Out

Bonnie Prince Billy and The Cairo Gang: The Wonder Show of the World (Palace)

26 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

My guess is that because Bonnie Prince Billy aka Will Oldham aka Palace aka Palace Brothers etc has done so many albums that, like Woody Allen movies and local buses, you can afford to miss one because another will be along soon. This low-key, mostly acoustic outing framed by Neil Young-styled folk and Billy's default position of analytical introspection with a leavening of love songs is... > Read more

Bonnie Prince Billy: The Sounds Are Always Begging

Richard Walters: The Animal (Kartel)

26 Apr 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

Many singer-songwriters are prepared to essay their fragility in life and love, but few offer the sense they have some deep emotional strength to leaven the mix and lift their songs out of self-pity. This Paris-based Englishman is a rare one. He can push easily into a falsetto but, as with Jeff Buckley (whose style he otherwise doesn't resemble) you know he's going to come back to... > Read more

Richard Walters: True Love Will Find You in the End