Where the tarseal ends and the dust (or sludge) begins. Far North Queensland, Australia
Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Jim Noir: Jim Noir (My Dad)

Jim Noir: Jim Noir (My Dad)

Some six months ago the English magazine Q hailed this quirky, poppy and delightfully cheerful album as "the surprise soundtrack of summer 2008" -- which means that for us in the other hemisphere it is now we should be tuning in. Jim Noir (known to his family as Alan Roberts) from near Manchester is far from noir and in fact there is a Beach Boys breeziness at work here, married... more >>

Jim Noir: Happy Day Today

Ginger Brown: Who Scared Who (Ginger Brown)

Ginger Brown: Who Scared Who (Ginger Brown)

Because I've been listening to some old Sixties vinyl -- Sam the Sham, Paul Revere, La De Das, the McCoys etc -- this album by a Wellington outfit which is driven by the organ playing of Lawrence Taula has captured my attention. There's real Sixties pop quality about the songwriting, Taula also sings like less addled Jim Morrison in places, the guitars of Matthew Armitage perhaps... more >>

Ginger Brown: Blinded by the Light

David Byrne and Brian Eno: Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Inertia)

David Byrne and Brian Eno: Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Inertia)

It has been almost 30 years since David Byrne and Brian Eno teamed up for the groundbreaking My Life in the Bush of Ghosts which brought sampling, found sounds, world music, trip-hop beats, studio manipulations and much more together in way that really hadn't been heard before. But anyone expecting this collaboration to be in a similar vein hasn't been listening to the work of either in... more >>

David Byrne and Brian Eno: My Big Nurse

Jeff Beck: Performing this Week . . . Live at Ronnie Scott's (Shock)

Jeff Beck: Performing this Week . . . Live at Ronnie Scott's (Shock)

In a recent interview in advance of his Auckland concert next February, I put a quote to this guitar legend whose career started back in the mid-Sixties when he took over from Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds: that of all the guitar heroes his career had been the most slippery to follow. He laughed and agreed -- then I told him that quote came from 1976, over 30 years ago. He laughed even... more >>

Jeff Beck: A Day in the Life

The Aliens: Luna (Pet Rock)

The Aliens: Luna (Pet Rock)

Back in the late Ninenties the Beta Band from Britain were, for some of us at least, the most exciting and promising thing around. They released three charming folkadelic EPs -- packaged on CD as, you guessed it, The Three EPs -- and they were heard at the best barbecues. They were pastoral, trippy, sort of hip-hop if you only had acoustic instruments (although they had a turntablist), and... more >>

The Aliens: Dove Returning

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Paul Weller: 22 Dreams (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Paul Weller: 22 Dreams (Shock)

A couple of months ago I was invited to give a lecture to Auckland Uni music students about a contemporary songwriter of my choosing whose catalogue of work was interesting and worth studying.I picked Paul Weller on strength of this quote from him about his forthcoming album: "It takes in soul, rock'n'roll, there are some folky moments, some psych bits, a classical piece, some avant free... more >>

Paul Weller: Echoes Around the Sun

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Felice Brothers: The Felice Brothers (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Felice Brothers: The Felice Brothers (Shock)

These three actual brothers (and a friend) weighed in with the Tonight at the Arizona which made the Best of Elsewhere 2007 list and turned up as many a critic's favourite Americana album.This long-awaited sequel follows an interim album sold at gigs, and a few of those songs are now available on this self-titled album (and some other tracks were, confusingly, recorded before their debut... more >>

Felice Brothers: Murder by Mistletoe

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

With its references to late 60s folk-rock, baroque pop flourishes, close harmonies, art-rock progressions and the jigsaw-puzzle of arrangements for voices and a small array of instruments (all deployed with precision, skill and understatement), this extraordinary album seems an unlikely one to have been embraced by hip rock magazines.It is is complex and yet poppy, sometimes oddly... more >>

Fleet Foxes: Ragged Wood

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Mountain Goats, Heretic Pride (4AD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Mountain Goats, Heretic Pride (4AD)

Co-produced by John Vanderslice, the typically opaque lyrics by John Darnielle are given space and clarity so as to bewilder and bemuse you by turns. Not many people write songs with titles like Sax Rohmer #1, How to Embrace a Swamp Creature, Marduk T-Shirt Men's Room Incident and Michael Myers Resplendent. But here augmented by some discreetly dramatic strings and the small band, and with... more >>

The Mountain Goats: Heretic Pride

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Emmylou Harris: All I Intended To Be (Warners)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Emmylou Harris: All I Intended To Be (Warners)

The crystalline quality of Emmylou Harris' voice is often so admired that people can look past that she is also a great interpreter of a lyric and has effortlessly brought traditional or familiar songs together with her originals.This time out she calls on kindred spirits (the McGarrigle sisters, Mike Auldridge, Buddy Miller) with her band which includes keyboard player Glenn D Hardin, drummer... more >>

Emmylou Harris: Not Enough

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Radiohead: In Rainbows (XL)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Radiohead: In Rainbows (XL)

Over the Christmas 07-08 period I heard a radio interview with a young musician denouncing the gross villany of major record companies -- about which I expect he had no personal experience -- and pointing to Radiohead's on-line/download release in October 2007 of In Rainbows (with buyers paying what they liked for it) as evidence the music industry was tottering like a mortally wounded... more >>

Radiohead:Nude

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Beck: Modern Guilt (DGC)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Beck: Modern Guilt (DGC)

For my money there are only two indispensible Beck albums: Odelay of '96 and Mutations of two years later. That said, there are another couple I'd prefer not to live without -- and this one produced by Danger Mouse shapes up to be one of those, and is still climbing in stature on repeat plays.As always this gifted, musical changeling and sonic shapeshifter filterfeeds his way through... more >>

Beck: Replica

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Bond Street Bridge: The Mapmaker's Art (Monkey Records)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Bond Street Bridge: The Mapmaker's Art (Monkey Records)

Opening with an arresting, one minute challenge of scraped and stabbing violin you could be forgiven for thinking the one-man band of Sam Prebble who is Bond Street Bridge is being beamed at you from the Contemporary Classical department. It’ll certainly grip you, as will dark alt.folk drone Black Market Soul Transplant which follows (“the devil got me drunk . . .  woke up... more >>

Bond Street Bridge: Rain

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Willard Grant Conspiracy: Pilgrim Road (Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Willard Grant Conspiracy: Pilgrim Road (Southbound)

For some people the radar-avoiding WGC are like an alt.country version of the late and lamented Australian band the Go-Betweens. Not for any similarity in sound, but in that if you discovered the songwriting skills early you tended to follow the central members' every move (solo or with the band).WGC has largely been the vehicle of Robert Fisher with now-departed Paul Austin and the 2004... more >>

Willard Grant Conspiracy: Malpensa

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Deerhunter: Microcastle (4AD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Deerhunter: Microcastle (4AD)

To be honest, this album by Bradford Cox and his Athens, Georgia band -- he's also the man behind his solo project Atlas Sounds, an album reviewed very favourably here some weeks ago -- sounds like a lot of other people, but what a lot of great other people: the Velvet Underground, the Church, the Pixies, the Cure, Mojave 3, Jesus and Mary Chain, early 90s shoe-gazer/paisley underground pop... more >>

Deerhunter: Nothing Ever Happened

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Mavis Staples: Live. Hope at the Hideout (Anti)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Mavis Staples: Live. Hope at the Hideout (Anti)

The last album by the great Mavis Staples, We'll Never Turn Back was picked as one of the best albums of 2007 at Elsewhere, and that was no sympathy vote for one of life's survivors who had grown up with the civil rights movement and has now lived long enough to see Obama heading for the White House. So when she sings "keep your eyes on the prize, hold on", Freedom Highway and... more >>

Mavis Staples: This Little Light

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Emiliana Torrini: Me and Armini (Rough Trade)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Emiliana Torrini: Me and Armini (Rough Trade)

Only the most diligent Elsewhere reader with perfect recall might remember this Icelandic singer who appeared on the Next Brel compilation/tribute to the singer-songwriter Jacques Brel which appeared here some time last year. Torrini was one of the standout performers on that album and she has certainly drawn enormous praise for her previous albums released in he UK. Of her last one the... more >>

Emelia Torrini: Birds

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Lucinda Williams: Little Honey (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Lucinda Williams: Little Honey (Universal)

After her last, quite exceptional but largely melancholy album West (in part influenced by death in the family) it is almost as if Williams is here staking her claim again to some sassy rock'n'roll threads. The opener Real Love blazes off the disc and the closer is a cover of AC/DC's It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll) which, it must be said, she delivers in her... more >>

Lucinda Williams: Little Rock Star

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008:  Loudon Wainwright: Strange Weirdos (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Loudon Wainwright: Strange Weirdos (Universal)

Longtime cynic, straight-shooter and occasionally misanthropic singer-songwriter Wainwright shows no sign of losing his touch even though he is now in his 60s. His subjects will always provide plenty of material: they are life in general, himself, his family, and sometimes astute socio-political observation. He is a sensitive singer-songwriter -- if that also means being sensitive to... more >>

Loudon Wainwright III: Grey in LA

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 TV on the Radio: Dear Science (4AD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 TV on the Radio: Dear Science (4AD)

There are very few bands in rock culture that you could describe as genuinely avant-garde, but this ambitious New York outfit certainly fits the job prescription: they are musically ambitous, possess a sense of history but also a 21st century grandeur in their sonic approach, and write on a big scale. It's enough to observe that there are elements of Prince and Bowie-funk in here as much as... more >>

TV on the Radio: Golden Age