Music at Elsewhere

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Fionn Regan: The Shadow of an Empire (Inertia/Border)

21 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

On the cover he may look like one of the more camp American Idol finalists, but Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan occupies that appealing musical territory between Dylan in '66, Pete Molinari and lo-fi Chris Knox with his urgent, lyrically twisting songs which are punctuated by ear and heart-gripping lines. Catacombs here suggests a story in just a few lines: "I've been noticing... > Read more

Fionn Regan: Protection Racket

Hollie Smith: Humour and the Misfortune of Others (EMI)

19 Mar 2010  |  <1 min read

This can be extremely brief given that Smith's story, travails and so on have been much canvassed. But what hasn't been said too often or too loudly is that while her previous album Long Player sold exceptionally well it came encumbered with two shortcomings which probably didn't go unnoticed by those at Manhattan/Blue Note with whom she parted company. It lacked coherent songs (aside from... > Read more

Hollie Smith: Before This Day is Gone

Gorillaz: Plastic Beach (EMI CD/DVD)

15 Mar 2010  |  2 min read

Gorillaz aren't the first to make "world music" of no fixed cultural abode (Elsewhere has noted 1 Giant Leap and the Laya Project among others) -- but there is something so diverse yet coherent, musically ambitious yet delivered with a pop sensibility, and just so damn clever and enjoyable about Gorillaz that they stand apart from all other contenders. Mainman and driving force... > Read more

Gorillaz: Broken

The Durutti Column: A Paean to Wilson (Kooky)

15 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

In the brief liner notes here Durutti Column's Vini Reilly notes how close he had been to the late Tony Wilson who had almost single-handedly founded and shaped the scene which came out Manchester. Reilly notes that Wilson was his close friend (he was at the hospital when Wilson died in '07) and that Durruti Column was the first act signed to play at Wilson's Factory club and the first on... > Read more

The Durutti Column: Brother

Moriarty: Gee Whiz but this is a Lonesome Town (Carte!l/Border)

14 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

In an odd reversal of the journey Marianne Dissard took -- from France to Arizona to create Fanco-alt.country -- this group fronted by Rosemary Moriarty out of Ohio (they are Ramones-like all called Moriarty) have an established following in France where they reside for their alt.country, old time folk. With harmonica, double bass, acoustic guitars, a suitcase played as a drum, Jew's harp,... > Read more

Moriarty: Fireday

Salon Kingsadore: Mountain Rescue (Sarang Bang)

14 Mar 2010  |  <1 min read

Salon Kingsadore is another vehicle for Auckland guitarist Gianmarco Liguori whose earlier albums under his own name (with stellar guests) have appeared at Elsewhere, and who seems a hard man to pigeonhole. Here for example he leads the instrumental group of keyboard player Billy Squire, bassist Hayden Sinclair and drummer Steven Tait (with guests saxophonist Brian Smith and trumpeter Edwina... > Read more

Salon Kingsadore: The Warm War

The Raincoats: The Raincoats (We Three/Southbound)

14 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

I'm pretty sure I shared an elevator with some of the Raincoats at a hotel in New York in the mid Nineties, but I may be wrong. And that's the end of my anecdote. This is a reissue (The second? Third?) of their important '79 debut album when this London group of Ana da Silva, Gina Birch, Palmolive and Vicky Aspinall were hailed as the first all female post-punk band. Owing a little to... > Read more

The Raincoats: In Love

Edwin Derricutt: Three Hours South (Freefall/Pure)

14 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

The debut by this New Zealand singer-songwriter, Symmetry, found immediate favour at Elsewhere a couple of years ago, but this album is big step up in maturity of songwriting and musicality. There's a depth and muscularity to these songs (the urgent tone of Life Boat, the sharp folk-pop of 30 Seconds, the holy stillness of Soldier) which is immediately affecting and if on the previous... > Read more

Edwin Derricutt: Life Boat

Goldfrapp: Head First (Mute)

14 Mar 2010  |  <1 min read

If Rip Van Winkle had nodded off a few decades ago and was woken by the sound of this album he'd be forgiven for thinking nothing much had changed: on this, the fifth album by Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, you've got a checklist of electro-pop and Euro-disco which includes Abba, Laura Branigan, Giorgio Moroder, bits of ELO, Eighties soundtracks . . . It's interesting in a kind of... > Read more

Goldfrapp: Dreaming

Various Artists: The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook (EMI)

13 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

While Carole King went on to greater fame, it is worth remembering that of the songs she wrote with her writing partner-then-husband Gerry Goffin in the early Sixties it was he who penned those memorable and often extremely adult lyrics: think of the pre-sex doubt in "will you still love me tomorrow", the post-sex pleasures of "you make me feel like a natural woman" and then... > Read more

The Byrds: Wasn't Born to Follow

The Fourmyula: The Complete Fourmyula (EMI)

13 Mar 2010  |  3 min read

In his recent book 100 Essential New Zealand Albums, the writer/broadcaster Nick Bollinger lists three albums by the Fourmyula (1967-71) out of Upper Hutt. Not bad for a band that only released three -- and one of those Bollinger cites was the unreleased Turn Your Back on the Wind. Confused? Bollinger doesn't list their self-titled debut but includes Turn Your Back because it has... > Read more

The Fourmyula: Please Take Me (1969)

The Avett Brothers: I and Love and You (American)

8 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

This trio (and guests) is fronted by North Carolina brothers Scott and Seth Avett who recorded five albums before this major label debut on Rick Rubin’s American label. Rubin -- producer of the Beastie Boys, recent Johnny Cash albums and now the Avetts -- was taken by this band’s honest emotions whose music is framed by acoustic guitars, fiddles, banjo, upright piano and the... > Read more

The Avett Brothers: January Wedding

Memory Tapes: Seek Magic (Inertia)

8 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

This hazy and sometimes hypnotic album is the project of Dayve Hawk out of New Jersey who also works under a number of other names. Memory Tapes is his sweeping, electronica-pop personae and this MT debut hits an unusual ground between the less outre Mika, MGMT and Empire of the Sun at the poppy end, and the more interesting experimental types like Atlas Sound (Branford Cox of Deerhunter) at... > Read more

Memory Tapes: Bicycle (Horrors remix)

13th Floor Elevators: 7th Heaven; Music of the Spheres (Charly/Southbound)

8 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

As with Syd Barrett, the music of 13th Floor Elevators has been overshadowed by the story of the madness, in the case of the Elevators the increasingly bizarre behaviour of their frontman Roky Erickson. Out of Austin, Texas in the mid Sixties, the Elevators were a raw and elemental garageband along the lines of England's Downliners Sect and Pretty Things, or Paul Revere and the... > Read more

The Thirteen Floor Elevators: It's All Over Now Baby Blue

Jimi Hendrix: Valleys of Neptune (Sony)

8 Mar 2010  |  5 min read  |  2

The old joke -- usually applied to the death of Elvis -- is “good career move”. Death sells, just ask -- if you could -- Elvis, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Otis Redding, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain who saw their record sales soar after their deaths. Or would have, if they could have. As a magazine cover said of Jim Morrison: “He’s hot. He’s sexy -- and... > Read more

Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin'

Galactic: Ya-ka-may (Anti)

1 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

New Orleans may have been the birthplace of jazz and home to funky pianists (Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, Dr John), but in the 90s a new form of hip-hop (called bounce) came from the streets and incorporated punchy rhythms and second-line bass parts which drew from NO funeral marches. The bruising bounce movement -- the soundtrack to the dangerous wards outside the tourist enclaves... > Read more

Galactic: Do It Again (ft Cheeky Blakk)

Jaga Jazzist: One Armed Bandit (Ninja Tune/Border)

1 Mar 2010  |  <1 min read

In which our Norwegian big band of jazz-and-elsewhere players borrow heftily from all comers (epic soundtracks and European art films, minimalists, Afrobeat, jazz-rock) and deliver something of a quilt of jazzy colours. They say it is "Zappa-esque, more humorous prog-rock" but in its scale and changing moods, much of it sounds written with an eye on getting soundtrack... > Read more

Jaga Jazzist: Toccata

Johnny Cash: Cash, American VI; Ain't No Grave (American)

1 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

In recent years I have been lecturing in contemporary music (rock'n'roll to hip-hop) and it has been an insight for me. After showing clips of a young and wild Elvis for example some students will come to me afterwards and express surprise: they only knew him from parodies as that boring fat guy. History is reductive: it's necessary to remind people that Elvis was only a porker for the last... > Read more

Johnny Cash: Satisfied Mind

Kath Bloom: Thin Thin Line (Caldo Verde)

1 Mar 2010  |  <1 min read

Although this wobbly-voiced American folkie has been around since the late Seventies I confess I have never heard/heard of her. On a first hearing I can't say I think I missed much: vocally she comes off like a shaky-voiced version of Daniel Johnston and Yoko Ono (when Ono gets in "ballad" mode). Notes are there but sometimes a little out of reach and that quivering top end of the... > Read more

Kath Bloom: Long Ago

The Ruby Suns: Fight Softly (Li'l Chief)

1 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

The dreamy pop landscape that Ryan McPhun, mainman behind the Ruby Suns, conjures up usually wouldn't sound too far removed from that of bands on the PopFrenzy label which Elsewhere has always favoured. The last Ruby Suns album Sea Lion had an identifiable pop-folkadelic quality coming from the Pacific Rim (he's a Californian transplanted to New Zealand) but this time out there is a... > Read more

The Ruby Suns: Dusty Fruit