Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Rodrigo y Gabriela: Live in Japan (Shock)

Rodrigo y Gabriela: Live in Japan (Shock)

The incendiary Dublin-based acoustic guitar duo out of Mexico that is Rodrigo y Gabriela have redefined what we might mean by "acoustic".  As post-punk hard rockers -- and Gabriela capable of hilarious, Ozzy-amounts of profanity in interviews -- they bring that kind of energy and intensity to their playing which is also driven along by using the guitar bodies as percussion... more >>

Rodrigo y Gabriela: Juan Loco

14 Nov 2008

The Mother Truckers: Let's All Go to Bed (Shock)

The Mother Truckers: Let's All Go to Bed (Shock)

This tough Texas country-rock outfit with twangin' guitars, a stupid name and a photo of Led Zepp behind their amps is here because there is a huge pub audience for this kind of Southern barroom rock'n'roll which shaves off a bit of Lynyrd/Black Crowes/The Faces etc and arc welds it to a post-punk version of Stevie Ray Vaughan/Tail Gators etc. Drinkin' music I think we might call it -- but... more >>

The Mother Truckers: Streets of Atlanta

14 Nov 2008

Lucky Dragons: Dream Island Laughing Language (Mistletone)

Lucky Dragons: Dream Island Laughing Language (Mistletone)

Hmmm, interesting and definitely not for everyone as this LA group (with a very flexible line-up) strip things right back to primitive music-making (handclaps, simple percussion, shakers, flutes, wordless vocal chants) and then edit the results into spare "pieces" which have a neatly minimalist quality. They aren't averse to electronica but it is very subtle. Much of what is here... more >>

Lucky Dragons: Givers

9 Nov 2008

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: Cardinology (Lost Highway)

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: Cardinology (Lost Highway)

The prolific Adams returns with his longtime band with a collection of songs which are often downbeat and reflective, but have a quietly inspirational quality behind the pains of love and pondering The Big Questions. On Let Us Down Easy, a gentle plea to God to be sympathetic to our weakness, he gets a little gospel feel going -- but at the other end of the spectrum Magick (the weakest cut... more >>

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: Let Us Down Easy

9 Nov 2008    2

Lindsey Buckingham: Gift of Screws (Warners)

Lindsey Buckingham: Gift of Screws (Warners)

Although he came to attention as a (very) soft-rocker with his partner Stevie Nicks in the days before they joined Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham was the one in the group whose music was the most interesting . . . and often challenging. Around the time of Tusk in 79 while Stevie was still crafting those glorious ballads (Sara), Buckingham had heeded what the punks and New Wave were saying and... more >>

Lindsey Buckingham: Treason

7 Nov 2008

Grace Jones: Hurricane (Wall of Sound)

Grace Jones: Hurricane (Wall of Sound)

It has been about 20 years since the formidable Grace Jones menaced us, but she's back and her opening salvo on this typically groove-oriented album is her declaiming "this is my voice, my weapon of choice". And that track This Is marries a Sly'n'Robbie Caribbean sensibility (and sensimilla) with the Serengeti. It is larger than life, much like Jones herself. It's quite... more >>

Grace Jones: This is

3 Nov 2008    4

Body Corporate: Howlaround (KVA004)

Body Corporate: Howlaround (KVA004)

Because I love the guitar landscapes of Explosions in the Sky, the brittle and dramatic widescreen noise of the early Cure/Joy Division, rowdy locals like HDU and Bailterspace, the sonic textures of Brian Eno, and latterly local instrumental outfits like Jakob and An Emerald City, this debut by an Auckland band big on all of those elements grabbed the stereo straight away. Actually, it... more >>

Body Corporate: Everything Happens for a Reason

3 Nov 2008

Various artists: Ost Klub, Kapitel 2 (Chat Chapeau)

Various artists: Ost Klub, Kapitel 2 (Chat Chapeau)

The electro-ska Balkan/Russian sound seems to be taking off, what with internationally successful bands like Russkaja, Shukar Collective and Balkan Beat Box, and on the homefront too with the popularity of the Benka Boradovsky Bordello Band, and even The Mamaku Project who have assimilated just a smidgen of gypsy-rock into their sound. It seems the movement is driven out of Vienna and... more >>

Balkan Beat Box: Hermetico

3 Nov 2008

Michael Nesmith: Rio, The Best of Michael Nesmith (Music Club)

Michael Nesmith: Rio, The Best of Michael Nesmith (Music Club)

Mike Nesmith was the first to kick against the constraints of being a Monkee: after all he was an established songwriter and proficient guitarist before he scored a role in that Hard Day's Night-styled knockabout tele-comedy -- and his original songs were covered by a number of artists, not the least Different Drum which Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys picked up, and which launched her... more >>

1 Nov 2008

Nick Granville Group: Wishful Thinking (Ode)

Nick Granville Group: Wishful Thinking (Ode)

There has been quite a wave of New Zealand jazz in the past few months: reissues of albums by Parallel 37 and Space Case, the new album by Strange Fruit, the schoolboy band Grammaphone . . . And now this very timely outing from a band helmed by guitarist Granville which arrives just after that extraordinary show by saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist John Scofield. As with Sco'n'Joe,... more >>

The Nick Granville Group: Mr Brown

1 Nov 2008    1

Ry Cooder:The Ry Cooder Anthology, The UFO Has Landed (Warners)

Ry Cooder:The Ry Cooder Anthology, The UFO Has Landed (Warners)

Given the length - not to mention the breadth - of his career, this crammed double disc could almost still seem paltry. Cooder has recorded about 30 albums, reached from classic film soundtracks (Paris Texas and The Long Riders) to the Buena Vista Social Club, recorded concept albums (the recent LA trilogy) and pared-back acoustic material. It's quite some length and breadth, but this 34... more >>

Ry Cooder: Dark End of the Street

30 Oct 2008    1

Russkaja: Kasatchok Superstar (Chat Chapeau)

Russkaja: Kasatchok Superstar (Chat Chapeau)

Not sure whether the ska/guitar rock/folk-dance of this Russian/Balkan/German seven-piece from Vienna (sometimes, they tour for about two-thirds of the year) will catch on -- but my guess is once they have been sampled live they will, as they say, tick all the right bpoxes. Those boxes being: energetic (yep); danceable (yepyep); enjoyable (natch) and slightly exotic (well, they are pretty... more >>

Russkaja: Bojko-Bojko

27 Oct 2008

Toni Childs: Keep the Faith (MGM)

Toni Childs: Keep the Faith (MGM)

I didn't know this until recently, but apparently Toni Childs - who appeared with her impressive debut album Union 20 years ago - was really only big in Australia and New Zealand (she had half a dozen hits on the singles charts here), despite being Grammy-nominated for Union. I certainly remember a sell-out Supertop show and that hit which had the back-of-the-throat line "don't walk... more >>

Toni Childs:Because You're Beautiful

27 Oct 2008    1

Alison Moorer: Mockingbird (New Line)

Alison Moorer: Mockingbird (New Line)

Moorer has quite some story: she is the younger sister of Shelby Lynne, was 14 at time of the murder-suicide of her parents, her ballad A Soft Place to Fall appeared in The Horse Whisperer and earned her a Grammy nomination, and she is the seventh Mrs Steve Earle (although to be fair to Steve he married Lou-Anne Gill twice) with whom she currently tours. As with Earle - who only appears here... more >>

Alison Moorer: Revelator

27 Oct 2008

Ray LaMontagne: Gossip in the Grain (SonyBMG)

Ray LaMontagne: Gossip in the Grain (SonyBMG)

Frankly, after his last album - the excellent Till the Sun Turns Black which was acclaimed at Elsewhere and probably elsewhere - this is a little disappointing, but not in the way you might think. Where Sun was a muted and often melancholy affair which in places sounded close to Nick Drake and an early but glum Van Morrison, this one goes the whole soul-blues route and it might be fair to... more >>

Ray LaMontagne: I Still Care For You

24 Oct 2008

Jackson Browne: Time the Conqueror (Inside)

Jackson Browne: Time the Conqueror (Inside)

This album title partially reflects the thoughtful Browne's frame of mind in many tracks here: he's 60 and a greybeard so it isn't surprising he might be in reflective mode - as he is on the title track, where he looks back to when “there was change in the air, it was love everywhere” and sings of an innocent love of his youth on the quite beguiling Giving That Heaven Away. But... more >>

Jackson Browne: Off of Wonderland

21 Oct 2008

Rodriguez: Cold Fact (Rhythmethod)

Rodriguez: Cold Fact (Rhythmethod)

A couple of years ago at Elsewhere, mostly for my own amusement, I started posting tracks by this Mexican-American Seventies cult figure who only did a couple of albums (although also managed a 1993 At His Best compilation long after he had faded from view) I had been introduced to his stoner charms by an Australian. Which makes sense because Rodriguez was never big in the US and after this... more >>

Crucify Your Mind

21 Oct 2008    3

Dengue Fever: Venus on Earth (Southbound)

Dengue Fever: Venus on Earth (Southbound)

The back-story of this band may be be known to many Elsewhere readers but here's a brief synposis: the Holtzman brothers Ethan and Zac from LA decided to form a band to play Cambodian pop-rock after Ethan returned from a trip to that country and had been inspired by the sounds on old cassettes he'd picked up. They hooked up with expat Cambodian Chhom Nimol who was singing in LA clubs (in Khmer)... more >>

Dengue Fever: Laugh Track

21 Oct 2008    1

Space Case: Retrospective (Ode)

Space Case: Retrospective (Ode)

Just a quick acknowledgement here of this excellent double-disc collection of the three albums by Auckland's early-to-mid 80s jazz-rock outfit Space Case which formed around drummer Frank Gibson, saxophonist Brian Smith and keyboard player Murray McNabb. To that core were added some fine players: bassist Bruce Lynch on their 81 debut album Executive Decision which came in a cover designed to... more >>

Space case: Recurring Dream

20 Oct 2008    1

Bonnie Prince Billy: Is it the Sea? (BBC)

Bonnie Prince Billy: Is it the Sea? (BBC)

Recorded live in Edinburgh before the release of his last album Lie Down in the Light (which as noted here was a slightly more upbeat if not uptempo outing for this prince of dark places) this is an exceptional release in the ever-expanding Billy (aka Will Oldham) canon. With a small band of folk-locals Harem Scarem and guest voclaist Alex Neilson, Oldham reaches right back to some material... more >>

Bonnie Prince Billy: Wolf Among Wolves

15 Oct 2008