Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Various Artists: We Are Only Riders (Shock)

19 Apr 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

The recent reissue of Gun Club albums (Miami, Fire of Love and Death Party), Jack White's championing of their frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce (who died in 1996), and the presence of kindred dark soul Nick Cave here should further draw attention to the profile of Pierce, a man possessed of an angry, urgent yet poetic and often melancholy streak. Pierce's writing is much admired by all the right... > Read more

Nick Cave/Deborah Harry: Free to Walk

Forbidden Joe: In Mourning for the Pride of Petravore (Forbidden Joe)

19 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

The previous EP by this Auckland folk trio (and friends) was impressive but tantalizingly too brief to get a full picture of what they were and might be capable of. But the one song by Francis Dickinson prompted me to point to it as something rather special and hold out hope for more from her astute pen when the album rolled around. Regrettably -- aside from one co-write with Arthur... > Read more

Forbidden Joe: Death!

George and Queen: Teenagers and Grownups (Universal)

19 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

For their third album, this duo (now a band) out of Dunedin (now Auckland) here deliver a particularly interesting amalgam of radio-friendly pop (the single Hut 234, the delightfully driving power-pop of Fly Man) and alt.rock (most of the other 9 songs) onto which they throw strange and strangely appealing guitar shapes and rhythmic twists. Immi Paterson has a voice which could be at home in... > Read more

George and Queen: Dying Man

Nick Curran and the Lowlifes: Reform School Girl (Eclecto Grooves/Southbound)

19 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

I'm sure the heavily tattooed Curran from Austin, Texas wouldn't make any claims of great originality (although he does pen more than half this album, his song titles include Reel Rock Party, Psycho, Lusty L'il Lucy, Filthy and so on). But he simply slices off large and rowdily enjoyable slabs of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Duane Eddy, Phil Spector girl groups, Twinkle,... > Read more

Nick Curran: Kill My Baby

Tuung: And Then We Saw Land (Full Time Hobby)

19 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

Somewhat improbably this English acoustic folk-rock outfit recently appeared on stage with the desert blues-rock band Tinariwen -- which really shouldn't have worked at all, yet reports were highly favourable. Tuung's debut album Comments of the Inner Chorus and the follow-up Good Arrows certainly offered a beguiling musical blend which had Elsewhere reaching to the Incredible String Band,... > Read more

Tuung: Don't Look Down or Back

MGMT: Congratulations (Sony)

18 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

Anyone who tuned in for the pop-silly, enthusiastic debut Oracular Spectacular by these guys knew they were smart cookies and going to be around for a while: they seemed the perfect post-modern pop package which drew from all kinds of sources with knowing winks and nods -- and are so knowing and winking this time out that on the cover they say about their track entitled Brian Eno, "A smile... > Read more

MGMT: Brian Eno

Natalie Merchant: Leave Your Sleep (Nonesuch)

18 Apr 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

This fascinating, self-funded double CD (available in a single disc "Selections" version) has preoccupied the former 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman for the past five years -- but if literate and literary music is your thing you'll conclude it was worth her efforts. After the birth of her daughter, Merchant -- as musical parents are wont to do -- decided to record an album of lullabies.... > Read more

Natalie Merchant: The Walloping Window Blind

Harper Simon: Harper Simon (Liberator)

18 Apr 2010  |  1 min read

Even on a blindfold test you'd probably only need the first few bars of the second song here -- after the traditional All to God -- to spot this is either Paul Simon, or someone very close to him. Harper is the 37-year old son of Paul (and you'd have to say by association also of Garfunkel given his light, melodic voice) and he would also have grown up around singer-songwriter Eddie... > Read more

Harper Simon: Wishes and Stars

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

The Bird and the Bee: Interpreting the Masters Vol 1 (Blue Note)

12 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read

This will be brief because you could essay at length the trend of artists covering the work of their predecesssors: Scarlett Johansson doing Tom Waits, Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet's Under the Covers series, knob-twiddlers on Kraftwerk, the Judee Sill and Townes tributes only the most recent. You could look at how there is a sometimes slightly kitsch quality to some of these projects... > Read more

The Bird and the Bee: Kiss on my List

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

The Leisure Society: The Sleeper (Inertia)

12 Apr 2010  |  <1 min read  |  1

There is a lot of neo-folk around and you suspect the success of Fleet Foxes has prompted interest in people like Mumford and Son, the Unthanks and Joanna Newsom. This oddly named British outfit – which suggests an ambient-lounge act – should appeal to an even wider audience. With hints of McCartney at his most pastoral, a little Crosby Stills and Nash harmony vocals, a... > Read more

The Leisure Society: Cars

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

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

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

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

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

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