Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

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

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

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

Clap Clap Riot: TV Knows Better (CCRiot)

14 Feb 2009

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... > Read more

Clap Clap Riot: Hospital Show

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

9 Feb 2009    3

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... > Read more

Van Morrison: Cypress Avenue/You Came Walking Down

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

9 Feb 2009

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 . . .... > Read more

The LaFayette Afro-Rock Band: Hihache

Various: Dark was the Night (4AD)

9 Feb 2009    2

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... > Read more

Grizzly Bear: Deep Blue Sea

John Martyn (1948-2009)

9 Feb 2009    4

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... > Read more

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

Hacienda: Loud is the Night (Alive)

9 Feb 2009

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... > Read more

Hacienda: Hear Me Crying

Andrew Bird: Noble Beast (Fat Possum)

8 Feb 2009    1

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... > Read more

Andrew Bird: Not a Robot, but a Ghost

The Fireman: Electric Arguments (Shock)

8 Feb 2009    1

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... > Read more

The Fireman: Universal Here, Everlasting Now

Bruce Springsteen: Working on a Dream (Sony)

2 Feb 2009    1

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... > Read more

Bruce Springsteen: The Last Carnival

Seun Kuti and Fela's Egypt 80: Seun Kuti and Fela's Egypt 80 (Southbound)

1 Feb 2009

About a decade ago Julian Lennon, doubtless sick of invidious comparisons with his famous father, recorded a quite nice Beatlesque piece of pop and made this very funny Beatles-cum-Rutles video to accompany it. As mentioned in relation to Sean Lennon (who has also resorted to humour to survive The Legacy), Ziggy Marley and Anoushka Shankar, it can be something of a cross to bear if... > Read more

Seun Kuti: African Problems

Oumou Sangare: Seya (World Circuit/Elite)

1 Feb 2009

Somewhat surprisingly no previous album by this compelling singer from Mali has been posted at Elsewhere. Believe me she's a favourite around the house and this album now gives me the chance to rectify that oversight. The title means "joy" and that tells you where she is (mostly) coming from. A singer since she was in her teens, she toured Europe in a band which included the great... > Read more

Oumou Sangare: Donso

Rhian Sheehan: Standing in Silence (Loop)

1 Feb 2009

I have no idea of Sheehan's standing in the local electronica community, I am sure some may pass this album off as a bit light -- but I've always had a soft spot for his interesting sonic landscapes which seem to me to owe an intellectual (not necessarily a musical) debt to Brian Eno's albums such as Music for Films, Music for Airports and his intelligent ambient output in the Seventies.... > Read more

Rhian Sheehan: Standing in Silence Part 2

Various: Palermo Shooting soundtrack (Shock)

31 Jan 2009

Few soundtracks can be considered essential (although Ennio Morricone's music for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly certainly is) and this one is no exception. That said, there is a lot that is appealing here, not the least unreleased tracks by Elsewhere favourites Grinderman, Bonnie Prince Billy, German electronic genius Irmin Schmidt from Can and a couple of others I've never heard of (Get... > Read more

Grinderman: Dream

Stephen Oliver and Matt Ottley: King Hit (IP)

31 Jan 2009    1

Elsewhere has always had a soft spot for poetry/spoken word and interesting writing, and in the past has posted from the likes of Selina Tusitala Marsh who is a compelling Pasifika voice, and from the AUP book/double disc Contemporary New Zealand Poets in Performance, as well as posting interviews with, or articles about, writers such as Beat legend Lawrence Ferlinghetti, black-British reggae... > Read more

Stephen Oliver/Matt Ottley: Stalin's Cotton Socks

Empire of the Sun: Walking on a Dream (Capitol)

30 Jan 2009    1

Not to be confused with the Spielberg movie of the same name (or an album title perilously close to Springsteen's current Working on a Dream), this is a project of (former Kiwi/now Australian) Luke Steele of Elsewhere favourites The Sleepy Jackson and Nick Littlemore of the electro-band Pnau (and who previously in Teenager with Ladyhawke). One wag has said that when he saw photos of the duo... > Read more

Empire of the Sun: Half Mast

The Moody Blues: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (Shock)

29 Jan 2009

For someone who was never a big fan, I seem to have an unnatural amount of Moody Blues on my shelves: their first six albums from '65 to '70, and the '94 four-disc box set Time Traveller (which actually has a 5th disc I discovered about four minutes!). To be honest I doubt I had played any of them for a decade, but when I first heard that exceptional Fleet Foxes album last year I thought I... > Read more

The Moody Blues: Have You Heard (Parts 1 and 2)

Shane Nicholson: Familiar Ghosts (Liberation)

26 Jan 2009

Anyone who heard the exceptional alt.country Rattlin' Bones album by Australians Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson of last year (one of the Best of Elsewhere 2008 albums) -- or better still caught them in concert -- will need no second invitation to this, Nicholson's third solo album. A number of these often brooding and always literate songs will be familiar from the concert, but here is... > Read more

Shane Nicholson: You and Your Enemy