best of elsewhere 2011
best of elsewhere 2011 Content tagged as best of elsewhere 2011.
In the late Seventies Wire delivered a
trifecta of classic post-punk, minimalist and arty albums -- Pink
Flag, Chairs Missing and 154 – then called it a day. In
subsequent decades they reformed dropping drummer Robert Gotobed to
appear as an alt.electro-rock outfit (not much cop), in the past
decade their sound became more aggressive...
The previous album The Shepherd's Dog by Texas' Iron and Wine (Sam Beam) was fully three years ago and was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2007 albums. So anticipation is high for this -- although might have been higher a year ago, but I guess he works at his own pace.
And we forgive him because he delivered the excellent Around the Well...
Adele's debut album of two years ago -- 19, when she was 19 -- announced the arrival of a great British soul voice even if some of her original material wasn't quite as strong as it could have been.
Still, she was only 19 -- but she hardly deserved to be lumped in with the new breed of British women singers coming through (notably Amy...
There are a lot of wonderful new soul singers around these days -- Mayer Hawthorne, Adele, etc -- and any number of artists who have you reaching for a historical reference in the same territory (Dusty Springfield and Sandie Shaw in the Sixties for the first Duffy album).
It is almost to easy to do the same for this British...
Although Lucinda Williams admits things are going well in her life (see interview here), she also adds that no one is ever permanently happy and she lives in this world with all its sadness and misery.
And she has had a few encounters with those things herself, notably the estrangement of her brother after the death of their mother, and the...
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs: Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs (Full Time Hobby)
Recorded over a two year period and soaked in strings, this folksy rumination on the state of his nation takes its inspiration from Walt Whitman's poem Pioneers! O Pioneers!, a kind of literal and metaphorical reverse-mirror Times They Are A' Changin' of its day when the young America was flexing its muscles across the continent.
It's interesting to read the comments at Elsewhere after the previous Elbow album The Seldom Seen Kid in 2008 (which won them the Mercury Award that year): essentially the thread was, how come these guys aren't bigger?
Good question, and maybe this one -- more reflective but still as gorgeously delivered as their previous outings --...
One of the things Paul Simon is seldom given credit for is his sense of humor. He too often comes off the kind of earnest New York Jewish singer-songwriter you imagine reads Dostoevsky at night but listens to doo-wop and old soul because he thinks it might be good for him.
Yet this is the man who did that clip for You Can Call Me Al with...
A propos of not much, Fleet Foxes' chief songwriter Robin Pecknold recently recorded New Zealand singer-songwriter Chris Thompson's Where is My Wild Rose? for an EP and it appears on You Tube (just with stills) here.
But . . . to the matter in hand.
If it's fair to say FFoxes' debut album was unexpected, then we might also observe...
The enormously prolific Howe Gelb (interviewed here in depth) is
behind the Tucson band Giant Sand (from which Calexico became a more
commercially successful split-off) and has also recorded a dozen
albums under his own name.
And as a reissue programme of about 30
Sand/Gelb albums starts to filter through he also releases this, a...
Tiny Ruins is the nom de disque of Bristol-born, Auckland-raised (from the age of 10) singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook who recorded these songs in "a diminutive [sic] hall, once the local school of South Gippsland's Morraya, Australia" (which doesn't appear on any map of that region south east of Melbourne that I can see, unless they...
The solo projects and collaborations of Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth) have certainly covered a lot of musical landscapes from visceral guitar noise to . . .
Well, to this which is mostly gentle, dreamy singer-songwriter work with acoustic guitar, harp, violin and producer Beck on synths, vocals and bass.
To a great extent -- because of...
The title here is certainly true: 63-year old Florida-born Bradley -- an exceptional soul singer who sounds like a distillation of James Brown, aching Otis Redding, the troubled Marvin Gaye, searching Al Green and the much overlooked Sonny Charles of the Checkmates -- has barely had a chance to dream in a hard-working life.
Bradley seems to...
For his first album of originals in
five years – the follow-up to his gripping Ghost Repeater –
this beardy and rustic Americana singer/songwriter ups the stakes as
his strong, dark brown and assured voice takes on life, loss and love
in iron-hard images which bring to mind Leonard Cohen (“strange
birds on the fence line,...
Pianist Wasilewski who leads this trio has appeared a number of times previously at Elsewhere, with this group, as a member of Tomasz Stanko's ensemble and with trumpetr Enrico Rava. He -- and his trio -- has impressed every time.
But this album finds them really pushing themselves: Night Train to You is a 10 minute piece which swings and is...
That alt.world between late 60s
psychedelic blues-rock, frantic village folk, and fiery world music
is a strange place.
It's where LedZepp, speedmetal-folk, Afro-blues,
the Mississippi Delta and a fiddle-playing Jimi Hendrix (who isn't
Nigel Kennedy) come together and live in . . . if not harmony, then
at least the same bar where they...
For most people flicking the music channels and being confronted the relentless and facile bump'n'grind r'n'b or ever-so-serious young men with guitars, the clips by Kimbra -- formerly of Hamilton, now based in Melbourne -- come as delightful surprises.
They look fresh and eye-catching, intelligent in the face of the sexed-up drivel (her...
Artists who make lurching changes of direction often revert to prior form after a while: Certainly after U2's darker trilogy -- Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop -- they went back to their familiar stadium-shaped mainstream ballads, and Radiohead's most recent output has been more accessible than the unsettling Ok Computer and Kid A.
Since coming to New Zealand more than 30 years ago, the pianist-composer Jonathan Besser has enjoyed a highly successful and diverse career, first with violinist Chris Prosser in the Besser and Prosser duo, with electronic artist Ross Harris in Free Radicals, then his own ensemble and latterly with the small group Bravura.
His works have...
Nominally lullabies from around the Middle East, this breathy and exceptional album by the Iranian-born Canadian-resident Ali -- singer in the band Niyaz -- becomes something much more hypnotic as here keening voice explores those delightful microtones common in the music of the region.
Very much the global citizen -- she lived in India as a...
Alongside his Alzheimer's diagnosis and
a farewell tour comes this self-announced “final studio album” by
the 75-year old legend whose career spans from LA session guitar work
in the late 50s as one of the famous Wrecking Crew on Phil Spector
productions, to being a touring Beach Boy, solo hits with Jimmy Webb
songs and movies...
Still sounding like they were
breast-fed equal parts Grateful Dead, early Neil Young, White
Album-era Beatles and Elton John's country-flavoured Tumbleweed
Connection-gone-grunge, Blitzen Trapper -- an always interesting outfit from
Portland -- constantly defy expectation but shift easily from songs
about drinkin' whisky in a car to...
Those with a passing interest in Ryan Adams' highly productive career -- which most recently stretched to published books of poetry -- will be understandably bewildered that there is a new album, given he announced his retirement in '09 . . . and subsequently kept releasing albums from his not inconsiderable song vaults.
This solo album...
The rolling, aural signature of the Bats' guitars and locked-in rhythm section has always sounded at its best when it drops the tempo and engages with a romantically woozy sound which -- when married to lyrics of optimism and gentleness -- just brings a smile.
This lovely album - which doesn't stray far from their template -- will have you...
At the end of the local edition of this exceptional album -- Tom Waits' first studio album in seven years -- there is a disconcerting litany of images entitled with seeming certainty After You Die, but which in fact asks the more pointed question, "what is it like after we die?"
Waits yowls through it like a man broken on a rack,...
Yet another artist out of Mali who confirms that country -- alongside only Jamaica perhaps -- seems to have more gifted and distinctive performers per head of population than any other country on the planet.
This debut from the ear-pleasing, hypnotically melodic and folk-framed Diawara is given subtle, warm and clean studio production by...
Auckland's Checks could easily have sat on their Sixties rhythm and blues-based style (think young Stones, Yardbirds, Who etc) and won themselves a wide audience, but they were always destined for something bigger than the familiar.
Now 10 years on from their first but enormously impressive gigs as teenagers (I think I first saw them in a...
Although the remarkable Gin Wigmore mostly co-wrote here, you'd have to say it is her voice -- not just her musical voice -- which comes through with utter clarity. And yes, this extraordinary album is full of her stylistic vocal signature . . . but there is something much more interesting and exciting going on here.
These days many young...
In one of the most colourful ECM covers in memory comes this equally vibrant solo piano set by Keith Jarrett, recorded live in Rio in April 2011.
This richly textured double disc -- six unnamed pieces on the first, nine on the second -- finds the pianist in total command of his gift for rhythmically complex and melodically unpredictable...
Although Black Keys' previous album Brothers was on the Best of Elsewhere 2010 list and this one will certainly be in this year's final countback, the two albums are very different.
Where Brothers was grounded in classic soul and old school r'n'b and blues, this one kicks up the primal rock'n'pop from the get-go. As a touchstone consider...
Hard to believe
from this distance of some 25 years, but Paul Simon's award-winning
and much loved Graceland album of 1986 – which went on to sell
around 15 million copies – was once a flashpoint for protest and
Strange, when you
listen to magical songs like the buoyant title track which shimmers
over mercury smooth...
Tags related to best of elsewhere 2011
al green alt.country amy winehouse aretha franklin beck best of elsewhere 2008 beth rowley bill callahan blitzen trapper bob dylan bonnie prince billy brian eno bright eyes burt bacharach calexico can charles bradley chuck e weiss cultural elsewhere dave lisik daydream nation dead c desert blues devendra banhart duffy dusty springfield ecm records electronica eliza gilkyson elvis costello enrico rava felice brothers fleet foxes flying nun from the vaults gamelan giant sand gillian welch glen campbell gotye hank williams harry nilsson howard devoto howe gelb iron and wine j mascis jack body james brown james yorkston jan garbarek jayhawks jeffrey foucault jimmy webb john psathas john vanderslice johnny cash jolie holland josh rouse juju keith jarrett kimbra kris kristofferson kronos quartet lawrence ferlinghetti le trio joubran levon helm lou reed lucinda williams m ward magazine malcolm middleton mali marcin wasilewski marilyn crispell micah p hinson minimalism miriam clancy motown mumford and sons natasha atlas neil diamond neil halstead neil young neu! nigel gavin nina simone otis redding oumou sangare paul motian paul simon pere ubu randy newman rattle rattle jazz renee louise carafice richard harris richard hawley richard nunns richard swift richard thompson richmond fontaine rickie lee jones robert scott rumer ryan adams sam cooke scott walker silver jews smokey robinson solomon burke sonic youth stefano bollani steve earle stornoway the band the bargain buy the bats the beatles the beta band the black crowes the clean the incredible string band this heat thurston moore tiny ruins tom waits tomasz stanko transglobal underground troubadours tyler ramsey watermelon slim wilco windy city strugglers wire world music world music in elsewhere yasmin levy