Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Holly Miranda: The Magician's Private Library (XL)

12 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

This is effectively the solo debut for New York-based Miranda (there was an album only available at gigs about six years ago) and it doesn't want for aural ambition. Co-produced by David Sitek of TV on the Radio, it rides on strings, electric guitars, mellotrone, horns, organ and much else, and others from TV on the Radio and Antibalas also guest. This is a big and layered sound for the... > Read more

Holly Miranda: Joints

Jakob Dylan: Women and Country (Sony)

12 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

The previous solo album by Dylan, Seeing Things, confirmed that he had stepped well out of the shadow his famous father (and the Wallflowers band) and had found his own voice -- or at least Jackson Browne's by way of And although he sounded wise beyond his years he was on the cusp of 40 so . . . This time out with producer T Bone Burnett providing the rather too warm and... > Read more

Jakob Dylan: We Don't Live Here Anymore

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (Shock)

11 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read  |  1

It's instructive but perhaps unfair to put this album from the former member of Drive By Truckers alongside their most recent album, The Big To-Do: after a flawed solo debut Sirens of the Ditch in 07 Isbell here sounds in command again, whereas the Truckers album is pretty ropey in places. Here Isbell and his band (on an album that came out a year ago Stateside but gets belated release... > Read more

Jason Isbell: Sunstroke

The Triffids and Guests: It's Raining Pleasure (Madman DVD)

11 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

Elsewhere recently noted the tribute CD to David McComb of the Australian band the Triffids who died in February 1999. That all-star concert released as Deep in a Dream was to help raise funds to complete a doco on McCombs' short and sometimes troubled life. Now comes this film taken from four nights of shows (which pre-dated the Deep in a Dream show by a few months) which included the... > Read more

Jonsi: Go (EMI)

9 Apr 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

At the time, some critics and people were more taken with the last Sigur Ros album than I was (the one with the absurdly long, impossible to type title). My problem was that in making economic (if still spectral and widescreen) pop in most places they had lost the very thing that made them different, interesting and quite special. I've noticed in discussions with people about this group... > Read more

Jonsi: Boy Lilikoi

Anika Moa: Love in Motion (EMI)

6 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

Curiously enough, the initial whisper on this fourth album by the New Zealand singer-songwriter was that she had, after albums of an acoustic persuasion, "made a rock album". That might in part have been that she was working with musicians from more mainstream rock bands, and perhaps a few people heard the first single Running Through the Fire -- which to these ears is the least... > Read more

Anika Moa: Secrets & Lies

The Weakerthans: Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre (Anti)

6 Apr 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

Anyone who has travelled around Canada with the car stereo flipping across the dial will discover that whole new world of rock, folk, pop and which exists north of the place which so often dominates our airwaves. The Weakerthans from Winnipeg have an understandably loyal following in their home territory for their literate, often melancholy version of... > Read more

The Weakerthans: One Great City

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat the Devil's Tatoo (Abstract Dragon)

5 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

When I saw the BRMC in their early days at the Troubadour in LA I came away convinced they were, if not the future of rock'n'roll, then they would have at least a lot of interesting noises to make until the future arrived. They roared and rocked, swapped instruments, played psychedelicised rock'n'roll with references to a few other marginal styles and . . . I fell for them. Ours has... > Read more

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Mama Taught Me Better

Pop Mechanix: Now-Then; One Hit Windows (Failsafe)

5 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

It would be fair to observe that when the countback of Kiwi bands of the Eighties is done the name "Pop Mechanix" comes up much less frequently than it should. Yet here was a hard-working and thoroughly entertaining live band from Christchurch which cracked urgent singles like Radio Song ("my music, I want to hear it on the radio") at a time when radio programmers were... > Read more

Pop Mechanix: Jumping Out a Window

Various artists: Nowhere Boy soundtrack (Sony)

5 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

This is the music from the film which traces the life of John Lennon from a child to . . . Well, to where the film Backbeat picks up actually. And as with the soundtrack to Backbeat which featured The Backbeat Band (Greg Dulli, Dave Grohl, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and others playing rock'n'roll of the era) so too this album has material by the Nowhere Boys (the film's cast of... > Read more

The Nowhere Boys: In Spite of All the Danger

The Imagined Village: Empire and Love (ECC/Southbound)

5 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

Every now and again the English music press gets infatuated by traditional folk (to make amends for hailing Gay Day and other such rubbish Britrock?) and embarks on a brief essaying of various musicians and artists who would otherwise languish in finger-in-ear folk clubs. The Imagined Village -- a changing line-up of folk and elsewhere musicians -- is the most recent to receive such... > Read more

The Imagined Village: Cum On Feel the Noize

Josh Rouse: El Turista (Bedroom Classics)

5 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

The musically itinerant Josh Rouse has long been an Elsewhere favourite for his musical curiosity (Seventies singer-songwriters, Nashville, indie-rock and so on) and he doesn't disappoint here as he gets his passport stamped and takes off for the tropical pleasures of Brazilian moods and music (in Portuguese mostly) which come subtlely orchestrated or deliciously understated. And yes, by... > Read more

Josh Rouse: Duerme

Helen Van Der Linden: Helen Van Der Linden EP (HVDL)

5 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

This EP arrived from the winnner of last year's Gold Guitar award at the annual Gore country music festival and she has already taken herself to Tamworth in Australia to further her career. And you'd expect she will go far. Here with a small and seasoned band -- and covering Tami Neilson's Cigarette -- she moves easily between slightly swinging country (Planet of Love) and a slightly more... > Read more

Helen Van Der Linden: Bread and Water

Son of Dave: Shake a Bone (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

5 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

You can't say you weren't warned. A couple of years back when he released his '02' album Elsewhere said you'd be hearing more of this human beat-box, one-man foot-stompin' blues band which is Ben Darvill. Here recorded by Steve Albini in Chicago he once more abuses that harmonica, makes his own percussion and becomes a wall-shakin' blues-rock outfit -- or, better, takes the mood down to... > Read more

Son of Dave: She Just Danced All Night

Joan Armatrading: This Charming Life (Hypertension/Southbound)

5 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

After the success (critical and saleswise) of her last album Into the Blues, you'd expect attention would be drawn to this new album from one of rock's long distance runners who has long since fallen from media and wider public attention. That said, this outing is much more patchy than the tightly coherent predecessor which roped together various styles of blues. Here Armatrading aims... > Read more

Joan Armatrading: Best Dress On

Carol Bean: Crossing the Dirty River (

4 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

This album by peripatetic British-born, LA-raised country-blues rocker singer-guitarist Bean -- now resident in NZ -- has been around the stereo for perhaps so long I forgot to post it. With a tight, revolving door band which includes slippery and earthy guitar by Mike Petrie, Robbie Duncan, Mark Laurent and Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Bean delivers some serious messages (although the Pacific... > Read more

Carol Bean: Evidence

Jeff Beck: Emotion and Commotion (Atco)

2 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

Jeff Beck's career has certainly seem some troughs -- usually by virtue of his absence from playing when the mood didn't take him -- but latterly he has enjoyed some great highs. His recent touring reminded again of what a colourful palette he commands -- from fusion rock to great delicacy, often within the same piece -- and that he does this with such self-effacement. His most recent... > Read more

Jeff Beck: I Put a Spell on You (featuring Joss Stone)

Her Make Believe Band: AM Radio (Old Oak)

1 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

This delightful album by two expat Kiwis Cy Winstanley and Vanessa McGowan has been quite rightly picking up favourable notices in the UK where they are now based as part of the group Her Make Believe Band. Certainly the references to Paul Simon (for lightness of touch and literacy in places) make sense but there is as much pop here as folk which tips it right into that category which hooks... > Read more

Her Make Believe Band: Thats Why I Like You Best

Drive-By Truckers: The Big To-Do (Pias)

29 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

The Truckers inspire great loyalty, but fans may be tested by this outing which was knocked off quickly and suffers for it. Certainly it rocks like Pearl Jam with Neil Young or Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers on a three-day drunk, but songs like the otherwise excellent stripper’s story of Birthday Boy stumble to a halt and others just sound undercooked, if bruisingly effective.... > Read more

Drive-By Truckers: Drag the Lake Charlie

The Unthanks: Here's the Tender Coming (Shock)

29 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

Mercury Prize nominated or not, the previous album The Bairns by these Geordies -- then under the name Rachel Unthank and the Winterset -- did not do it for me, and hence didn't get posted at Elsewhere. It sounded far too finger-in-the ear gloom-folk and of marginal interest to anyone outside the English folk circle (and Mercury panels) which embraces such things. Even Rachel now considers... > Read more

The Unthanks: Sad February