Music at Elsewhere

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The Brunettes: Paper Dolls (Lil' Chief)

3 Nov 2009

The cute and coy pop of the Brunettes has always been much enjoyed here at Elsewhere for its humour and slightly twee quality, and their previous album Structure and Cosmetics remains a Firm Favourite, as they say. But frankly on this one some of the charm is wearing off: they work the same lyrical quirkiness about domestic matters and observations as always; the "relationship"... > Read more

The Brunettes: Magic (No Bunny)

Wolfmother: Cosmic Egg (Universal)

3 Nov 2009

To be honest I rarely watch music television, but the other night I caught about 30 seconds of these Australian rockers and was hooked: they seemed to be nothing especially new but were genuinely exciting. I heard a bit of early Black Sabbath, some terrific guitar sounds of the kind that used to be common in the late Sixties, a swag of Seventies pre-stadium rock (Black Oak Arkansas) and whole... > Read more

Wolfmother: New Moon Rising

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Advance Base Battery Life (Tomlab)

2 Nov 2009

When the superbly named CFTPA (Owen Ashworth from Chicago) played before a couple of dozen in Auckland a few years back he was utterly beguiling: a small selection of lo-fi keyboards; a voice soaked in melancholy; and pointed songs which had a bed-sit consciousness without moping or self-pitying. His 06 album Etiquette was chock full of poetic miniatures, but this collection of singles,... > Read more

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Sunday St

Noah and the Whale: The First Days of Spring (Shock)

2 Nov 2009

Beauty is not a quality that popular music (ie pop, rock, r'n'b, indie-rock or whatever) places much store in: yet from the Velvet Underground through Mazzy Star and the early Cowboy Junkies to the Fleet Foxes, or from Eno to the landscape of guitars in Explosions in the Sky, there has been beauty aplenty. Beauty need not be sentimental or cringe-inducing. So when a record company... > Read more

Noah and the Whale: Stranger

Doug Cox: Without Words (Black Hen)

2 Nov 2009

Dobro player Doug Cox from Canada appeared here previously with his lovely album Slide to Freedom where he worked with Indian slide guitarist Salil Bhatt. That album alone would recommend this compilation of instrumentals from his obviously extensive back-catalogue. Cox has a light touch, plays without unnecessary embellishment and brings a beautifully warm tone out of his instruments... > Read more

Doug Cox: Easy Place to Be

Wall of Voodoo: Dark Continent/Call of the West (Raven)

2 Nov 2009

Stan Ridgway, frontman for Wall of Voodoo, was one of the smartest, story-telling songwriters -- and nervously energetic singers -- to emerge in the wake of American new wave in the early Eighties. Sadly most people might only know them for their terrific single Mexican Radio and relegate them to that one-hit-wonder category reserved for bands which turned Japanese (the Vapors) or sang of... > Read more

Wall of Voodoo: Call of the West

Dead Man's Bones: Dead Man's Bones (Anti/Shock)

2 Nov 2009

This will be an acquired taste but its release around Halloween is I suppose apt, especially if for you Halloween is a Serious Event and doesn't have a lot to do with buying a witches' hat or trick'n'treat. A project for the actor Ryan Gosling and his mate Zach Shields, this is like a faux-spooky meltdown of a kitsch carnival House of Horrors, a small part of Tom Waits, a BBC sound effects... > Read more

Dead Man's Bones: Buried in Water

Jan Hellriegel: All Grown Up (Blind Date)

27 Oct 2009

The title tells its own story, it has been well over a decade since Jan Hellriegel made an album and that might explain the huge interest in this one: lotsa interviews, articles and media attention, my guess from people who remember Hellriegel fondly for her swagger and sensitivity in bands and on her solo albums. The swagger is still here on this widescreen and often dramatic... > Read more

Jan Hellriegel: Orange Liqueur

Rosanne Cash: The List (EMI)

26 Oct 2009

Of all the songs Johnny Cash recorded in his final years the most moving was September When It Comes on his daughter Rosanne‘s album Rules of Travel: “I cannot move a mountain now,” he croaked. It  brought tears to the eye. Rosanne Cash has had an erratic career: her first albums were excellent then things went wobbly; she stopped touring when she married Rodney... > Read more

Rosanne Cash: I'm Movin' On

Grant-Lee Phillips: Little Moon (Yep Roc)

26 Oct 2009

Phillips -- formerly frontman for the LA alt-rock/indie-pop outfit Grant Lee Buffalo in the 90s -- may never release a solo album quite as exceptional as his Mobilize of 2001. But after the country-folk of Virginia Creeper of 04, the 06 covers album Nineteeneighties (you always ask, “Why?” of such projects) and Strangelet of two years ago which was excellent but disappeared... > Read more

Grant-Lee Phillips: Little Moon

Mayer Hawthorne: A Strange Arrangement (Rhythmethod)

26 Oct 2009

There's a lot of soul -- and faux-soul -- around these days what with Duffy, Amy Winehouse (is she still around?), James Hunter, Beth Rowley who gives it a blues and rock twist, Alice Russell with a funk spin and, on the local front, Opensouls. Of them all, on paper at least, Hawthorne might have the hardest task persuading an audience of his credibility: a buttoned-down and... > Read more

Mayer Hawthorne: Maybe So, Maybe No

Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

26 Oct 2009

In retrospect, one of the funniest incidents in the Flight of the Conchords' second television series was when the nice but naive New Zealand prime minister Brian turned up and seemed out of his depth, and desperate to be liked. Who knew that the actual PM John Key would later turn up on Letterman looking alarmingly like Brian? But the Conchords -- in the series and especially their... > Read more

Flight of the Conchords: Hurt Feelings

Ned Collette and Wirewalker: Over the Stones, Under the Stars (Fabric/Rhythmethod)

26 Oct 2009

When Australian Ned Collette's previous album Future Suture appeared at Elsewhere the closing line was "check this guy out". I suspect few did, even though he visited New Zealand a couple of times. But here's another chance, although this sounds a little different to its predecessor: often downbeat, lean and less augmented, more clearly defined as he teams up with his longtime... > Read more

Ned Collette and Wirewalker: All the Signs

Maisey Rika: Tohu (Moonlight Sounds)

26 Oct 2009    1

This debut album introduces an impressive singer-songwriter who manages to be expressive without resorting to the cliches of the faux-soul yodel which has infected many in the post-Whitney/Idol generation. Rika keeps the melodies close and constrained and the result is her nakedly emotional lyrics have even more impact. That Room is far too close a rewrite of Bill Withers' Ain't No... > Read more

Maisey Rika: Apollo

Danny McCrum Band: Say What You Mean (Paper Plane)

25 Oct 2009

This bristling, tight, and emotionally taut album by McCrum and his Auckland band is a real step up from their already impressive debut Awake and Restless which found much favour at Elsewhere. This time out everything from the energy levels to the songwriting has been taken up a notch or two, there is a sense of real urgency in these rocking songs (some of which have a terrific and... > Read more

Danny McCrum Band: Cold Outside

2am Orchestra: Impermanence (DJK)

18 Oct 2009

You'd be wise to put aside any preconceptions of what this music might sound like if you simply guessed from the band's name (dark, slow, ambient?), because David Kelley who is the mainman here aims (with a lot of help from his friends) to be nothing less than Arcade Fire with hints of mid-period Radiohead. This is dramatic music full of intense moods -- and mood shifts -- which pulls... > Read more

2am Orchestra: Delilah

Chris Prowse: Trouble on the Waterfront (Proco)

18 Oct 2009

The 1951 waterfront strike in Auckland (which lasted for five months but had repercussions for years, even decades, after) was one of the most significant flashpoints and dividing lines in New Zealand history, certainly as much as the Springbok tour three decades later. The strike, lock-out, state of emergency, troops and farmers coming to town to sort out the wharfies, allegations of... > Read more

Chris Prowse: Proclamation/Sid's Song

The Dodos: Time to Die (Shock)

18 Oct 2009

As a number of overseas critics have noted, it isn’t entirely encouraging to hear singer Meric Long of this San Francisco duo announce repeatedly on Fables here, “I don’t wanna go in the fire, I just wanna stay in my home” on this, only the band’s third album. Not a man to be storming barricades at a guess despite the occasional anthemic effort here. What... > Read more

The Dodos: Time to Die

Warren Cate: The Reparation Tapes (Warcat)

18 Oct 2009

Cate is what we might call an "occasional" rock'n'roll singer-songwriter: this is only his fourth album in about 14 years. He has a day job. I recognise on his website some highly favourable comments (uncredited) from me down the years, and his music has always found a place on my Sunday afternoon Kiwi FM show. This album will too. Cate has real feel for a power-pop into... > Read more

Warren Cate: Say What You Will

Various: Luaka Bop; Twenty First Year (Luaka Bop/Southbound)

18 Oct 2009

Luaka Bop was the label started by David Byrne in the late Eighties in his first years out of Talking Heads. The idea was for him to record (or re-release) artists who took his fancy and by this time Byrne had embraced Afrobeat and was a pre-Buena Vista supporter of Cuban music, South American sounds and alt.Americana. Luaka Bop was by inclination a "world music" label although... > Read more

Shuggie Otis: Aht Uh Mi Hed