Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Marianne Faithfull: Easy Come Easy Go (Naive)

Marianne Faithfull: Easy Come Easy Go (Naive)

The cracked and distinctive vocals of Faithfull have, as with Leonard Cohen, a devoted following -- and this double album which sounds typically whisky'n'smoke-cured is perhaps for longtime loyalists. Helmed by producer and musical conceptualist Hal Willner (who did, among other fascinating albums, the Charles Mingus tribute Weird Nightmare), this all-star collision includes among its vast... more >>

Marianne Faithfull: Black Coffee

1 Mar 2009

Various: Beyond Bollywood (SDJ)

Various: Beyond Bollywood (SDJ)

The title here might suggest a compilation album that is taking you past the standard Bollywood soundtrack music, but it is actually misleading: it simply sweeps up another very common style, that of "the contemporary sound of India-electronica and lounge". Exotic chill out in other words. So far so familiar.  But what sets this apart a little from many other such... more >>

Shreya Ghoshal: O Saathi Re

22 Feb 2009

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet: Alligator Purse (YepRoc)

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet: Alligator Purse (YepRoc)

Cajun music from Louisiana is perhaps an acquired taste: it's more about feel than finish, dancing and drinking than deliberating and thinking, and of course it has fiddles and accordions. The latter two might be the most off-putting aspect for some. But this album by these long-running Cajun revivalists has so much going for it that it could hurdle the barriers: guests include Natalie... more >>

BeauSoleil: Rouler et Tourner (Rollin' and Tumblin')

22 Feb 2009

Belle and Sebastian: The BBC Sessions (Shock)

Belle and Sebastian: The BBC Sessions (Shock)

People like me -- about four decades past flatting, social anxiety, worries about sexual orientation, and so on -- are probably not the target audience for this light, fey but beguiling Scottish pop band who have previously appeared at Elsewhere with their delightful album The Life Pursuit. But these people deliver such a charming line in post-Bacharach, McCartney-like, Ray... more >>

Belle and Sebastian: The Stars of Track and Field

22 Feb 2009

Ruthie Foster: The Truth According to Ruthie Foster (Shock)

Ruthie Foster: The Truth According to Ruthie Foster (Shock)

This impressive soul-blues singer makes a guest appearance on the new Eric Bibb album Get On Board -- and Bibb contributes two tracks to this diverse collection of material which roams confidently from the Seventies-styled Stevie Wonder-ish opener (Stone Love) through more gritty guitar-driven material and some slippery soul-reggae not too far removed from the wonderful but largely overlooked... more >>

Ruthie Foster: Tears of Pain

22 Feb 2009

Various: Princes Amongst Men (Asphalt Tango/Southbound)

Various: Princes Amongst Men (Asphalt Tango/Southbound)

Subtitled "the soundtrack to the book" this album should be essential for Elsewhere readers who know of Garth Cartwright's exceptional music-cum-travel book of the same name which has been reviewed here at Writing in Elsewhere. In the liner notes here Cartwright says this is how his journey among the Roma people sounded -- and it sounds vibrant, vigorous, breathless, bluesy,... more >>

Fanfare Ciocarlia and Dan Armeanca: Kan Marau La

15 Feb 2009

Starsailor:All the Plans (Virgin)

Starsailor:All the Plans (Virgin)

When this English four-piece emerged in 2000 the world was very different: it was the post-Oasis/post-Verve period (they had conspicuously failed to fulfill the promise) and the British rock press was scanning for new heroes. It found the likes of Travis, Coldplay and, albeit briefly, Starsailor. There was also the informal New Acoustic Movement of the Doves, Turin Brakes and Ed Harcourt... more >>

Starsailor: Boy in Waiting

15 Feb 2009

The Derek Trucks Band: Already Free (Sony)

The Derek Trucks Band: Already Free (Sony)

Considered by Rolling Stone to be one the top 100 guitarists, this child prodigy on slide guitar started sitting in with the Allman Brothers when he was nine, became a full member a decade later and between times had formed his own band (most of which he still carries) and sat in with Dylan. Since then he's toured with Clapton at his invitation and been a regular with the Allmans, but as the... more >>

The Derek Trucks Band: I Know

15 Feb 2009

Trygve Seim and Frode Haltli: Yeraz (ECM/Ode)

Trygve Seim and Frode Haltli: Yeraz (ECM/Ode)

One for those with refined tastes, I suspect: tenor and soprano saxophonist Seim in a duo outing with accordion player Haltli which traverses a lot of territory (the title track is an Armenian folk song, they cover Bob Marley's Redemption Song and music by Gurdjieff, they acknowledge Tom Waits in Waits for Waltz) but much of which seems overly familiar from the now vast ECM... more >>

Seim, Haltli: Duduki

15 Feb 2009    1

Paddy Burgin and the Wooden Box Band: My Sweet Town (PB)

Paddy Burgin and the Wooden Box Band: My Sweet Town (PB)

Internationally successful guitar maker by day and guitarist by night, Wellington's Paddy Burgin last year got this very classy package which comes with a beautifully presented booklet of lyrics and a tie-in DVD by film-maker Costa Botes, the man behind the excellent film of the Windy City Strugglers, the up-close and personal footage of Nigel Gavin in his A Job with the Circus... more >>

Paddy Burgin and Wooden Box Band: The Big Parade

15 Feb 2009    1

Patti Smith, Dream of Life DVD (Arthouse/Madman)

Patti Smith, Dream of Life DVD (Arthouse/Madman)

Few, if any, musicians have been as self-mythologising as Patti Smith, she has written her story with capitals: New Jersey, Piss Factory, New York, Mapplethorpe, William Burroughs, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Rimbaud, The Chelsea Hotel, CBGBs, Horses, Fred “Sonic” Smith, Detroit . . . Yet Smith’s recorded reputation rests on very little. Certainly her astonishing debut... more >>

Patti Smith: Going Under (from the album Dream of Life 1988

15 Feb 2009

Clap Clap Riot: TV Knows Better (CCRiot)

Clap Clap Riot: TV Knows Better (CCRiot)

In a recent blog at www.publicaddress.net I wrote about my day at the Big Day Out and in passing mentioned this local band: I said they didn't do it for me at all. In retrospect that seems surprising given I banged on about how much I really liked the pop acts on the day -- and CCRiot are certainly a pop band: they have the verse-chorus thing down pat, hooks that grip like a gaff and short... more >>

Clap Clap Riot: Hospital Show

14 Feb 2009

Van Morrison: Astral Weeks, Live at the Hollywood Bowl (EMI)

Van Morrison: Astral Weeks, Live at the Hollywood Bowl (EMI)

After years -- nay, decades -- of his indifferent albums it was real pleasure to post Van Morrison's excellent, understated Keep It Simple last year and then later pick it as one of the Best of Elsewhere 2008. When added to the non-chronological and slightly erratic re-issue programme, Van the Man seemed to be making something of a comeback to the frontline, albeit on the back of his earlier... more >>

Van Morrison: Cypress Avenue/You Came Walking Down

9 Feb 2009    3

The Lafayette Afro-Rock Band: Darkest Light, The Best of (Strut)

The Lafayette Afro-Rock Band: Darkest Light, The Best of (Strut)

As I understand it (and I've never heard of these guys before) this band was a loose affiliation of ex-pat US musicians who got together in France in the Seventies and delivered such primo funky soul-rock that they have been heavily sampled by the likes of Public Enemy, De La Soul and Jay-Z. They wrote their own stuff but also covered period classics such as Manu Dibango's Soul Makossa . . .... more >>

The LaFayette Afro-Rock Band: Hihache

9 Feb 2009

Various: Dark was the Night (4AD)

Various: Dark was the Night (4AD)

This excellent, diverse but coherent double-disc in the Red Hot series commemorates 20 years since the first Red Hot album and is another in the on-going project to raise funds for HIV and Aids awareness. Overseen by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, this collection naturally has a kind of alt.rock/alt.folk slant to it as they first hauled in friends and then those in their wider... more >>

Grizzly Bear: Deep Blue Sea

9 Feb 2009    2

Hacienda: Loud is the Night (Alive)

Hacienda: Loud is the Night (Alive)

About two decades ago when magazines like Rolling Stone or rock weeklies such as Melody Maker were compiling their "best albums of all time" lists the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's and the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds would invariably be juggling for the top spot. As time went on the baroque-pop of Sgt Pepper's of '67 was replaced by the pre-psychedelic Revolver of '66 (still a critical... more >>

Hacienda: Hear Me Crying

9 Feb 2009

John Martyn (1948-2009)

John Martyn (1948-2009)

The death of this remarkably gifted British singer-songwriter in late January has gone largely unreported, but here we pay tribute to his exceptional talent. Martyn was originally associated with the British folk scene in the mid-Sixties but his ambition and interests could not be contained there. Within a few years he had plugged in and was exploring innovative sonic effects, bringing an... more >>

John Martyn: Baby Please Come Home (from Grace and Danger, 1980)

9 Feb 2009    4

Andrew Bird: Noble Beast (Fat Possum)

Andrew Bird: Noble Beast (Fat Possum)

Multi-instrumentalist and musical chameleon Bird has been an impossible character to pin down: in a good way. As mentioned at the time his Armchair Apocrypha -- which was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2007 albums -- he navigated his way from a bent, back-alley jazz with hints of Tom Waits and searing violin, to a kind of alt.rock/country-noir territory and these days has more in common with... more >>

Andrew Bird: Not a Robot, but a Ghost

8 Feb 2009    1

The Fireman: Electric Arguments (Shock)

The Fireman: Electric Arguments (Shock)

Paul McCartney -- who is half of The Fireman with producer/remixer Youth -- has always adopted a curious but probably sensible dichotomy when it comes to music outside of his pop-rock releases. The full title of his classical album of 1993 was Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio, and his small classical composition (played by pianist Anya Alexeyev) released two years later was Paul... more >>

The Fireman: Universal Here, Everlasting Now

8 Feb 2009    1

Bruce Springsteen: Working on a Dream (Sony)

Bruce Springsteen: Working on a Dream (Sony)

As a longtime listener to Bruce Springsteen and somewhat of a fan, it is still possible to be clear-eyed about his ever-expanding catalogue. His great period was certainly 1973-84 (from The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle to Born in the USA) but it has been judicious pickings since then. The Ghost of Tom Joad ('95) was a remarkble return to the dark form of his Essential Elsewhere... more >>

Bruce Springsteen: The Last Carnival

2 Feb 2009    1