Music at Elsewhere

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Damien Jurado: Saint Bartlett (Secretly Canadian/Rhythmethod)

6 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

With a lovely, sympathetic production by Richard Swift -- sort of budget-priced Phil Spector -- and melodies which swell with Fifties and Sixties pop-romanticism, this is one of those album (like Swift's) which will be taken to heart with a passion by those who discover it. Previously Jurado out of Seattle came at you from the indie/alt.folk singer-songwriter territory, and none of... > Read more

Damien Jurado: Cloudy Shoes

Phosphorescent: Here's to Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)

6 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

The last album by this band -- the vehicle for Matthew Houck -- was their tribute to Willie Nelson, but this time out it is all original material and the energy levels are kicked up, notably on the Band/Black Crowes/E Street opener It's Hard to be Humble (When You're From Alabama). Rolling steel guitars and a country-rock mood propel Nothing Was Stolen and the mood here is that you might... > Read more

Phosphorescent: The Mermaid Parade

The Gaslight Anthem: American Slang (Shock)

5 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

Normallly an amalgam of early Springsteen/E Street Band energy, Bob Seger committment, the Replacements' punky thrash and Tom Petty's way with a lyric and melody would have been right up my street -- but while  Brian Fallon writes good, appropriately "mythic" songs and sings them with throat-aching passion there is something just little calculated about this outing which --- I... > Read more

The Gaslight Anthem: Bring It On

Tim Guy: Big World (Monkey)

28 Jun 2010  |  1 min read

Back in the late Sixties and early Seventies there were a number of great but ignored bands and artists (Left Banke, Dwight Twilley Band, Merry-Go-Round and their singer-songwriter Emitt Rhodes who had a solo career, Sagittarius, the Millennium) who shaved off the best of the mid-period Beatles melodies, added it to some Beach Boys warmth and Association harmonies and created a sublime pop.... > Read more

Tim Guy: Beatle

Greg Fleming: Taken (LucaDiscs/Rhythmethod)

28 Jun 2010  |  2 min read

The excellent liner notes by New Zealand's Greg Fleming (with lyrics and reflections on the genesis of these songs) tell their own story about why Taken never appeared in '95 after the excellent Ghosts Are White album (remastered and added here as a bonus disc). But we should be very glad it has come out because after the alt.rock blast of California Fishing the moods slip and slide through... > Read more

Greg Fleming: Taken

Various Artists: Do You Dream? (Angel Air/Southbound)

27 Jun 2010  |  1 min read

A few years ago I was invited to write the liner essays in a series of collections of New Zealand psychedelic Music (A Day in My Mind's Mind). What became clear was that from our end of the world where the relevant drugs arrived a bit later, musicians and producers invented their own idea of what psychedelic music was. Mostly it was bent, often heavily phased, pop-rock with a little... > Read more

Outer Limits: Any Day Now

Kris Kristofferson: Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends (Light in the Attic/Rhythmethod)

27 Jun 2010  |  1 min read

Elsewhere agrees with itself that Willie Nelson makes too many albums these days (although the last one Country Music was excellent). But the collection to return to repeatedly is Classic and Unreleased, a '95 Rhino box set of Willie's early years. In it you can hear the gifted songwriter that everyone recognised, and the utterly personal style and delivery he brought to originals and songs... > Read more

Kris Kristofferson: Little Girl Lost

Mountain Man: Made the Harbor (Spunk)

27 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

Here's an unusual and interesting one: Mountain Man are actually three young women Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath from various parts of the great USA who met at Bennington College in Vermont. Inspired by a mutual love of a kind of alt.folk and old time country -- and a cappella singing -- they formed this trio and, accompanied only by gentle acoustic... > Read more

Mountain Man: Dog Song

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Mojo (Reprise)

21 Jun 2010  |  2 min read

My take on Tom Petty -- most of whose albums in the first decade or more I cherished with a passion, but had misfortunes with the man -- is that when he hooked up with the Traveling Wilburys he became prematurely geriatric and he lost his rock edge. This is a theory which doesn't bear much serious scrutiny perhaps (I was "wrong" about the Wilburys as I have conceded), but after... > Read more

Tom Petty: Takin' My Time

Little Axe: Bought for a Dollar, Sold for a Dime (Real World/Southbound)

21 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

The previous album by guitarist Skip McDonald as Little Axe, Stone Cold Ohio, was a Best of Elsewhere 2006 album so interest was high for this one which also sees the whole Tackhead crew (bassist Doug Wimbush, drummer Keith Le Blanc) together again after 17 years, and with producer Adrian Sherwood. Guests include vocalists Bernard Fowler and Ken Boothe, and a brass section. There are once... > Read more

Little Axe: Can't Sleep

The National: High Violet (4AD)

21 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read  |  2

Frankly, I want to like the National more, but their almost willfully/arty obscurantism is often off-putting. The DVD which came with their extended EP A Skin/A Night, The Virginia EP seemed like an attempt at creating depth in something which was inherently ordinary. And I feel a little the same about this album: the all-in production attempts to carry the weaker material and the... > Read more

The National: Runaway

Devo: Something for Everybody (Warners)

21 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

Although I don't get the point of Blondie or the Pretenders in the 21st century, there seems to me a place for Devo: after all, they were always looking to that devolved future when things got worse and worse (like having Blondie and Chrissie still out on the traps?) And of course here they clear the ground for themselves with the two opening tracks: the chipper Fresh jokes about finding... > Read more

Devo: Step Up

Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders: Red Light Fever (Sony)

20 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

Here's my thinking: in his dreams Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters is playing with the perfect band; it is Cheap Trick playing Queen songs . . . and the stadium is rocking. Especially when they throw in some glam-rock by Sweet. I like what he said about the making of this, his second solo outing away from the Foo Fighters: "About halfway through I just said, fuck it, I don't care if... > Read more

Taylor Hawkins: Way Down

The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt: I Love You I Love You (Luaka Bop)

14 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

This folk-punk'n'kitchen sink outfit from New York play fast'n'furious with raging acoustic guitars, hammering drums and splatters of sax which is undeniably party-friendly but by golly do they like to repeat a phrase repeat a phrase repeat a phrase repeat a phrase repeat a phrase repeat a phrase . . . Then they'll change it a little but then repeat a... > Read more

Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt: Fast Forward Regrets

The Album Leaf: A Chorus of Storytellers (SubPop)

14 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

This quiet, mostly instrumental and discreetly seductive album by a band with a very confusing name has been slipping back into the player quite a lot recently -- and I suspect it came out a few months ago, but I've only belatedly discovered it. The Album Leaf has been the on-going project of the San Diego-based songwriter Jimmy LaValle whose music conjures up dream states, ambient... > Read more

The Album Leaf: Falling From the Sun

Robert Wyatt: His Greatest Misses (Ryko/EMI)

14 Jun 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

The story of this lifelong Marxist, musician, essayist and British intellectual is perhaps too complex too go into here, but here is the short-hand. Drummer in the innovative jazz-rock outfit Soft Machine in the late Sixties; formed the short-lived Matching Mole in the early Seventies; fell from a window in '73 and has been in a wheelcahir since; musical allies include Pink Floyd, Brian Eno,... > Read more

Robert Wyatt: Sea Songs

Various Artists: Roll Your Moneymaker, I Smell a Rat (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

14 Jun 2010  |  1 min read

Subtitled “Early Black Rock'n'Roll” these two parallel volumes (Roll is 1948-58, Rat is 1949-59) pick up some classic, dirty, thrilling rock'n'roll from the time before and through the Elvis Presley years, but often sound much more scandalising and sexualised than even The King. So across these two discs – and you need both – are the great Ike Turner (You've Got... > Read more

Ruth Brown: Please Don't Freeze

The Chemical Brothers: Further (Parlophone)

14 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

And in this further installment, our heroes effect a blend of Barrett-era Floyd (given a techno twist) and Baba O'Reilly-meets-Pseudo Echo (on the soundstage of Bladerunner) then set their control to the heart of dancefloor synthedelic music. Add some pure pop vocals out of the Brian Wilson school with a few nods to Kraftwerk's Motorik beats as well as a couple of swooning melodies, and you... > Read more

Chemical Brothers: Another World

Crowded House: Intriguer (Universal)

14 Jun 2010  |  1 min read

Many years ago, when I interviewed Neil Finn about his solo career (here) post-Crowded House I reminded him that he'd once told me he felt bands had a natural lifespabn. He said at that time he felt CH didn't have quite as long as he wanted . . . which may explain their second coming. This time out, with the same band as for Time on Earth three years ago, CH seem a little more taut and... > Read more

Crowded House: Either Side of the World

Various Artists: Got No Chains; The Songs of the Walkabouts (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

14 Jun 2010  |  1 min read

The Walkabouts have -- for 25 years -- been the vehicle for songwriter Chris Eckman (see here) and Carla Torgerson who have been mainstays in a band with a revloving door membership. Some might push the Walkabouts into the broader indie-rock or category, but as this tribute illustrates, their songs are so malleable that they can be remade by very diverse artists. This... > Read more

Hugo Race: Cold Eye