Music at Elsewhere

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U2: No Line on the Horizon (Universal)

18 Mar 2009    1

Just a thought: would U2 be better without Bono? That isn't a comment on his ego and political activities -- which I have no issue with, everyone has an ego and I think he's done some decent political work. Nope, it is more on the bombastic delivery he too often brings to U2 when they can be at their most musically interesting. As here, an album full of clever sonics, orchestrations,... > Read more

U2: Moment of Surrender

The Whitest Boy Alive: Rules (Rhythmethod)

16 Mar 2009

This former-electronica outfit made an appearance at Elsewhere about three years ago with their impressive debut album Dreams which found them putting aside the bleep-machines and picking up real instruments. This time out -- belying their name -- they shift towards to some cruisy Seventies soul-funk with Rhodes keyboard from new member Daniel Nentwig and that, along with tickling guitars... > Read more

The Whitest Boy Alive: Courage

Al Kooper: I Stand Alone/You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (Raven)

13 Mar 2009

Another in the excellent and on-going reissue series from Australia's Raven Records (see Southside Johnny, Velvet Underground, Gene Clark at Elsewhere), this is a musically sprawling double disc collection of two albums with bonus tracks by keyboard player Kooper who brought his particular genius to Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone single, Dylan's Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde and New Morning... > Read more

Al Kooper: One (from the album I Stand Alone, 1968)

Mark Olson and Gary Louris: Ready for the Flood (Hacktone/Elite)

11 Mar 2009    1

Given that albums aren't recorded in the order we hear them it's surprising how many peter out after the halfway mark: I guess that's what you call "playing your aces first". This album by luminaries Olson and Louris who last played together in the Jayhawks over a decade ago does the opposite however: after the halfway mark (in truth well before it), the... > Read more

Olson and Louris: My Gospel Song for You

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis: Live From New York City (DVD/Shock)

6 Mar 2009

While this beautifully shot concert film might not persuade you that this meeting of minds was as thrilling as the relentlessly theorising Wynton Marsalis makes it out to be, there are considerable pleasures to be had hearing Willie Nelson's deliberately languid vocals with the small and classy jazz group on hand. And harmonica master Mickey Raphael who effortless sits between them. Director... > Read more

Bon Iver: Blood Bank (Jagjaguwar)

5 Mar 2009    2

To be honest, the Bon Iver album For Emma, Forever Ago which appeared in many of last year's "best of" lists didn't arrrive at Elsewhere and, busy with so many others, I let it slide right past me. So I have only heard the odd track off compilations or at friends' houses. This four song EP by Justin Vernon and friends is exactly the kind of subtle and understated follow-up you... > Read more

Bon Iver: Woods

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: Fever! The Anthology 1976-1991 (Raven)

2 Mar 2009    1

The excellent reissue label out of Australia, Raven, has appeared at Elsewhere previously with its essential Velvet Underground collection What Goes On, the Gene Clark compilation American Dreamer and others. What Raven achieves which many other similar companies don't is multi-label compilations which means you get a more true picture of the artist concerned. And they have intelligent liner... > Read more

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: This Time baby's Gone For Good

Buddy Holly and the Crickets: The Very Best of (Universal)

2 Mar 2009    2

There's not a lot needs be said about this 50 song, double disc compilation that hasn't been said elsewhere at Elsewhere about Buddy Holly's particular songwriting gifts: he crafted stories and characters, was an interesting and inventive arranger, adopted different voices . . . The first disc here is where most of the classic material lies but because the lesser known songs are stacked on... > Read more

Buddy Holly: Learning the Game

Marianne Faithfull: Easy Come Easy Go (Naive)

1 Mar 2009

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... > Read more

Marianne Faithfull: Black Coffee

Various: Beyond Bollywood (SDJ)

22 Feb 2009

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... > Read more

Shreya Ghoshal: O Saathi Re

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet: Alligator Purse (YepRoc)

22 Feb 2009

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... > Read more

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

Belle and Sebastian: The BBC Sessions (Shock)

22 Feb 2009

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... > Read more

Belle and Sebastian: The Stars of Track and Field

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

22 Feb 2009

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... > Read more

Ruthie Foster: Tears of Pain

Starsailor:All the Plans (Virgin)

15 Feb 2009

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... > Read more

Starsailor: Boy in Waiting

Various: Princes Amongst Men (Asphalt Tango/Southbound)

15 Feb 2009

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,... > Read more

Fanfare Ciocarlia and Dan Armeanca: Kan Marau La

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

15 Feb 2009    1

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... > Read more

Seim, Haltli: Duduki

The Derek Trucks Band: Already Free (Sony)

15 Feb 2009

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... > Read more

The Derek Trucks Band: I Know

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

15 Feb 2009    1

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... > Read more

Paddy Burgin and Wooden Box Band: The Big Parade

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

15 Feb 2009

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... > Read more

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

Clap Clap Riot: TV Knows Better (CCRiot)

14 Feb 2009

In a recent blog at 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... > Read more

Clap Clap Riot: Hospital Show