Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

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 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

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

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

Stornoway: Beachcomber's Windowsill (4AD)

8 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

Named for a small town in the Outer Hebrides and affecting a kind of folksy pop, Stornoway from Oxford pull light and slightly satirical styles (We Are The Battery Humans with its references to people born to be free-range but preferring to watch television) together with Anglofolk of the Amazing Blondel-to-Fleet Foxes continuum and literary lyrics sung with a direct earnestness which calls to... > Read more

Stornoway: Here Comes the Blackout

Turin Brakes: Outbursts (Cooking Vinyl)

8 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

The British duo of Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian -- aka Turin Brakes -- don't seem given to "outburst" as this album title suggests: they were originally an acoustic-driven outfit whose sound got bigger by musical embellishment, but always seemed considered, thoughtful and prone to restraint. They were, for a while anyway, the more interesting Coldplay or Starsailor without... > Read more

Turin Brakes: The Invitation

Eli Paperboy Reed: Come and Get It (Capitol)

7 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

The previous album by this white boy singin' soul music -- Roll With You -- was considered a Best of Elsewhere 2008 release but didn't quite make it into mainstream media or thinking. This time around, for a slightly lesser album, he's been picking up big press . . . and again he certainly deserves it. He may have come from Boston but he sounds steeped in the spirits of Memphis, Motown... > Read more

Eli Paperboy Reed: Name Calling

Various Artists: Late Night Tales, The Cinematic Orchestra (latenighttales/Southbound)

7 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

Strictly speaking this should be credited to "Various Artists" because this 19-track collection is yet another in the Late Night Tales mix-tape series where an artist or group is invited to compile a disc of material which suits those lower-light moods. The Cinematic Orchestra here bring together such diverse spirits as Nick Drake and Steve Reich, Burt Bacharach and Shuggie Otis,... > Read more

Nick Drake: Three Hours

Karen Elson: The Ghost Who Walks (XL)

7 Jun 2010  |  1 min read

As you may already know, Karen Elson from England comes with a number of black marks against her on this debut album: she was a model (and no one takes them seriously, huh?) and her husband is Jack White (Stripes). Still, Carla Bruni made better albums than most would like to give her credit for -- and we shouldn't hold her marriage against her. In fact in this case White's cedibility is so... > Read more

Karen Elson: Lunasa

Superturtle: About the Sun (Ode)

7 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

Mainman behind Superturtle Darren McShane certainly has prior form, among other things he formed Chainsaw Masochist (on Flying Nun, for those old enough to remember) and more recently he was in Figure 60 as well as having been a sound engineer -- which is how he met some of the fellow travelers here (bassist Ben Furniss from the Broken Heartbreakers and White Swan Black Swan, and vocalist Jude... > Read more

Superturtle: Valley Town

The Cure: Disintegration, DeLuxe Edition (Universal)

7 Jun 2010  |  1 min read

Many of us preferred The Cure when they were gloomy and gothic, carving out odd little masterpieces on albums like Seventeen Seconds (1980) and Pornography ('82). Basically when frontman Robert Smith was more than a little glum. Disintegration (telling title, Bob) comes from '89 when something snapped in his psyche and plummeted him to another depth . . . only to emerge with dramatically... > Read more

The Cure: Pictures of You

Bettye LaVette: Interpretations; The British Rock Songbook (Anti)

1 Jun 2010  |  <1 min read

Soul singer and Muscle Shoals veteran LaVette has enjoyed a revival recently: her 05 album I've Got My Own Hell to Raise put her back to the foreground; the excellent 07 Scene of the Crime teamed her with US rockers Drive-By Truckers; and last year she was at Barack Obama's inauguration and with the remaining Beatles at New York's Radio City Music Hall for a fundraiser. A... > Read more

Bettye LaVette: Salt of the Earth

Joe South: A Look Inside/So The Seeds Are Growing (Raven/EMI)

31 May 2010  |  1 min read

Joe South wrote some classic songs which others took to great heights: Hush (Deep Purple); I Never Promised You A Rose Garden (Lynn Anderson); Down in the Boon Docks (Billy Joe Royal) and others. Of his own career he is best known for the terrific Games People Play which was also much covered (in New Zealand by Allison Durban) and the weary Don't It Make You Wanna Go Home Lord. He had a... > Read more

Joe South: Oprah Cried (2009)

Nightchoir: 24 Hours of Night (1157 Records)

31 May 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

Every May, being New Zealand Music Month, many dozens of albums arrive almost simultaneously -- over 40 in four weeks last year, which is kinda ridiculous -- so Elsewhere sifts judiciously (as best it can with that volume) and points to those which might fly beneath the radar. Let's hope this one doesn't. Nightchoir play what could loosely be described as indie rock, but this debut... > Read more

Nightchoir: Glass Tiger

Solomon Burke: Nothing's Impossible (Shock)

31 May 2010  |  1 min read

The extraordinary Solomon Burke has enjoyed that rarity in popular music, not just a second coming but a sustained one. Music history is full of acts who come back after their first seminal period but few of them -- Dylan a notable exception, the Searchers' story the more common -- have a sustained run of artistic as well as commercial success. Commercial success is a relative term in... > Read more

Solomon Burke: I'm Leaving

Plan B: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Atlantic)

24 May 2010  |  1 min read

East London 'ard-man rapper Ben Drew -- aka Plan B -- can deliver some bruising rap about utterly nasty characters (and in an uncompromising manner which suggests you shouldn't mess with him). But he also showcases another side on this, his second studio album. That of an aching falsetto-Smokey Robinson/Motown-styled soul singer. He goes from grime and the ghetto to Hitsville and Stax-Volt,... > Read more

Plan B: Hard Times

Villagers: Becoming a Jackal (Domino)

24 May 2010  |  1 min read

Engrossing though the clear, strong voice of Conor J O'Brien out of Dublin is -- the chief feature of this quietly gripping album -- it is the insistent, poetic first-person, image-carving narratives which become irritating at times. O'Brien frequently writes songs from that perspective of what I call The Knowledgeable One and he will "show you the backroom where I saw the dead"... > Read more

Villagers: Home

Jack Rose: Two Originals of Red Horse, White Music and Opium Musick (VHF)

23 May 2010  |  <1 min read

Quite why this 2004 instrumental album -- actually guitarist Rose's two even earlier albums on a single disc, appparently -- has turned up now is a bit of a mystery, but those with a taste for Anglo-folk blues, Davey Graham, John Fahey, Leo Kottke, Bert Jansch, Doug Cox and others will find a lot to enjoy in this six and 12-string finger-picking. As with Graham and then Jimmy Page, Rose --... > Read more

Jack Rose: Linden Avenue Stomp

Grayson Gilmour: No Constellation (Flying Nun)

19 May 2010  |  1 min read

We shouldn't feel too sorry for the profoundly talented Grayson Gilmour -- but I do sympathise with him at the moment: being the first act signed to the resurrected Flying Nun label means that has become the story and not this quite superb album. I have heard and seen Gilmour interviewed repeatedly and most of the time has been taken up with asking him what he thinks about being on such a... > Read more

Grayson Gilmour: Our Heads Colide