Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

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)

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'

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)

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

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

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

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)

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

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

The Clientele: Bonfires on the Heath (PopFrenzy)

1 Mar 2010  |  1 min read

The charming, wispy and intimate pop of this London outfit has long been an Elsewhere favourite: their album God Save the Clientele was among The Best of Elsewhere 2007 and they share the same PopFrenzy label as equally delightful pop bands such as Camera Obscura, Lightning Dust, Radio Dept and Institut Polaire. The Clientele embark here on an even more pastoral, breezy and light direction... > Read more

The Clientele: I Know I Will See Your Face

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

Pavement: Quarantine the Past; The Best of Pavement (Matador)

28 Feb 2010  |  <1 min read

We'll make this a quick product description to coincide with this great alt.American band playing in New Zealand -- here is a remastered 23-track collection which draws on their singles, tracks from their classic albums (Slanted and Enchanted, Crooked Rain Crooked Rain, Brighten the Corners) and adds three early songs from before their Matador signing plus a track from an obscure... > Read more

Pavement: Stereo (1996)

20th Century Steel Band: Warm Heart, Cold Steel (Mr Bongo)

28 Feb 2010  |  1 min read

The fate of this reissue by a mid Seventies steel band from the UK (in disco-funk outfits) is probably going to be on one of those summertime radio programmes where wild'n'crazy hosts play odd versions of big hits. And this group can certainly oblige because here are steel band treatments of the theme to Shaft, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, a dramatically brooding spoken-word version of Standing in... > Read more

20th Century Steel Band: Heaven and Hell

Arbouretum: Song of the Pearl (Thrill Jockey)

27 Feb 2010  |  <1 min read

Although this album was released almost a year ago Stateside it has only just appeared here -- but its collision of electric Neil Young, heavy strum Anglofolk and indie.rock should see it find a ready audience in the post-grunge era. No unique ground is staked out by this four-piece and so the appeal is in the extension of the familiar rather than the shock of the new, but when the guitars... > Read more

Arbouretum: Thin Dominion

Various artists: Crazy Heart soundtrack (New West)

23 Feb 2010  |  1 min read

This soundtrack album is from the excellent movie which has been picking up Jeff Bridges acclaim and awards, as it should. He does a terrific job as an aging country singer whose career has been derailed by booze and drugs and itinerancy. And who looks for all the world like Kris Kristofferson might have if he hadn't pulled himself up a notch or two. As Bridges (who plays singer/songwriter... > Read more

Jeff Bridges: Fallin' and Flyin'

k.d. lang: Recollection (Nonesuch)

22 Feb 2010  |  1 min read

Seeing kd lang -- "just a big boned gal from Canada" as she described herself to me an eon ago -- at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver singing a beautiful if slightly overlong Hallelujah reminded what an extraordinary talent she is. She effortlessly opened up her career from country music into big but soft-voiced ballads, performed with Roy Orbison and Tony Bennett... > Read more

kd lang: I Dream of Spring

Shearwater: The Golden Archipelago (Matador)

22 Feb 2010  |  1 min read

The problem as I see it with this sonically fascinating and musically dramatic album is that it lacks a lyric sheet and the poetic words are frequently difficult to distinguish because singer Jonathan Meiburg's vocals are often buried behind those odd instrumentations, or sung in soft high Anglofolk voice which is hard to decipher. Because of that, I defy anyone coming to this cold to... > Read more

Shearwater: God Made Me

Jackie Bristow: Freedom (Ode)

22 Feb 2010  |  1 min read  |  3

Singer-songwriter Bristow moved from New Zealand to Austin in 2008 (where this, her third album, was recorded) and it would be easy and convenient to drop her into the alt.country/country category. Certainly on the recent tour with Tami Neilson and Lauren Thomson she fitted into that zone. Those three gals delivered a terrific show which would have been acclaimed in any country music bar in... > Read more

Jackie Bristow: River

The Haints of Dean Hall: Sleeper (Arch Hill)

22 Feb 2010  |  <1 min read

The mystery continues as this poetic, dark alt.country outfit once more -- as on their impressive self-titled debut album -- explore understated, musically and emotionally stark songs which sometimes evoke empty rooms in spider-webbed old houses and an emotional ennui. But although they suggest a more ancient time and place these are very contemporary lyrics ("doing donuts in the... > Read more

The Haints of Dean Hall: My Pomeranian