bonnie prince billy

Content tagged as bonnie prince billy.

Richard Swift: Dressed Up For the Letdown (Secretly Canadian) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Richard Swift: Dressed Up For the Letdown (Secretly Canadian) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The previous album by this Californian singer-songwriter -- actually a double disc collection of his previously released singles and EPs -- made an appearance on Elsewhere many months ago and I hailed it to the skies. And I've played it with alarming frequency ever since a first hearing. This is his fully-fledged debut album proper, and...

Soulsavers: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land (V2) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Soulsavers: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land (V2) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Suffused in religion, redemption, Christian imagery and dark melancholy (aside from the uplifting opener Revival which deliberately recalls Knocking On Heaven's Door), this is an exceptional album -- and one which seems a very long way from what we might loosely call "rock culture". With guest vocalist Mark Lanegan's solemn baritone...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007 Iron and Wine: The Shepherd's Dog (SunPop/Rhythmethod)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007 Iron and Wine: The Shepherd's Dog (SunPop/Rhythmethod)

Sam Beam -- who is Iron and Wine -- really sounds like he has hits his stride with this exceptional, engaging and folkadelic outing, and he's achieved that by just continuing on the same, mildly eccentric and determined path as he has taken on his previous albums and EPs. This time however the songs sound more full and fully formed, the array...

The Felice Brothers; Tonight at the Arizona (Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The Felice Brothers; Tonight at the Arizona (Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Although perhaps too referencing of Dylan and the Band holed up in the basement of the Big Pink, that doesn't mean this shakily delivered collection of Americana from these three brothers and a bassist isn't without considerable charm and lowkey impact. And nope, there is no problem with your stereo during Hey Hey Revolver, that drop-out is...

Arthur and Yu: In Camera (Stomp)

Arthur and Yu: In Camera (Stomp)

On a first hearing I thought this would have been the album that Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood might have made if Nancy had been more like Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched and Lee more like Karl Wallinger from World Party. Sort of pop but not, as it were. There is a dreamy and disconcerting quality to much of this pairing of Seattle's...

Robert Scott: Tascam Hits (Powertool Records)

Robert Scott: Tascam Hits (Powertool Records)

These low-fi home recordings by Scott -- a member of the Bats and the Clean -- were recorded in the late 90s and those who demand their music polished and honed won't find much of interest here. But these delightful working drawing of songs, eerie instrumentals and sonic ideas -- all put down on a Tascam cassette recorder -- have much to...

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...

kd lang: Watershed (Nonesuch)

kd lang: Watershed (Nonesuch)

I read a curious review of this recently in which the writer said if you came to this expecting kd to return to her country roots you'd be very disapppointed. Why anyone would expect that of lang is beyond me: she has barely touched country music (the odd guest spot excepted) since the late 80s and has been consistently the practitioner of a...

Silver Jews: Lookout Mountain Look out Sea (UNSpin/EMI)

Silver Jews: Lookout Mountain Look out Sea (UNSpin/EMI)

This US indie-rock band with loose links to early Pavement might not be to everyone's taste -- but singer-songwriter David Berman's easy blend of the occasional Johnny Cash gravitas in his delivery, his shaggy-dog stories, unexpected metaphors and rhymes, skewed stories and memorable alt.country pop has had this one on steady Elsewhere play at...

Bonnie Prince Billy: Lie Down in the Light (UKSpin)

Bonnie Prince Billy: Lie Down in the Light (UKSpin)

After establishing himself as the downbeat and somewhat gloomy singer-songwriter living in a half-lit corner of oldtime Americana, Will Oldham (aka Bonnie Prince Billy, Palace, Palace Brothers etc etc) sounds like he has changed his listening habits and maybe gone into a sun-soaked cornfield.Some will find this disappointing and it does need to...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Micah P Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra (Inertia)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Micah P Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra (Inertia)

This slight American singer-songwriter impressed hugely on a brief New Zealand tour a few years ago when he delivered his reflective acoustic songs and wry between-songs banter to very small but appreciative audiences.Cult figure then -- and much the same today I am guessing.Here with a small string section (and his own impressive catalogue of...

MICAH P HINSON INTERVIEWED (2008): We won't have to be lonesome

MICAH P HINSON INTERVIEWED (2008): We won't have to be lonesome

Micah P Hinson is one those artists who is just starting to appear on the radar for many people, this despite much touring, two excellent albums before his current Micah P Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra album, and a back-story that has been of interest to music writers. The slight Hinson -- who grew up in a fundamentalist Christian...

Larry Jon Wilson; Larry Jon Wilson (1965 Records)

Larry Jon Wilson; Larry Jon Wilson (1965 Records)

Strange though it may seem that in the same week Elsewhere gives a heads-up to the forthcoming album by the formidable Grace Jones, we also acknowledge this positively ancient country-folk singer. But Elsewhere has always found a place for the likes of Wilson, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and others in their 60s and beyond. Wilson won't be a...

Jolie Holland: the living and the dead (Anti)

Jolie Holland: the living and the dead (Anti)

There are no liner notes on the advance copy of this album I received some weeks back, but it would be interesting to speculate which of these songs from this San Francisco-based singer-songwriter were penned while on a writing retreat in New Zealand: the  throwaway Enjoy Yourself ("it's later than you think") at the end perhaps...

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...

Various: Palermo Shooting soundtrack (Shock)

Various: Palermo Shooting soundtrack (Shock)

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...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Bonnie Prince Billy: Beware (Spin)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Bonnie Prince Billy: Beware (Spin)

The previous album by Bonnie Prince Billy -- aka Will Oldham -- was the uneven but enjoyable Lie Down in the Light which found our former melancholy fellah in a somewhat more upbeat mood. It was bound to divide longtime listeners, most of whom probably preferred his "I see a darkness" side, or his wonderful The Letting Go which...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Bill Callahan: Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (UK Spin)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Bill Callahan: Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (UK Spin)

At a time when yet another Neil Young album and a truly dire Stevie Nicks live outing command major media attention, it could be slightly depressing that this one by the great Bill Callahan will probably go straight past most reviewers, and his potential audience. Often appearing under the name Smog, Callahan has always appealed to people...

Iron and Wine: Around the Well (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Iron and Wine: Around the Well (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

As a nom de disque/stage name Iron and Wine seems as inappropriate and unhelpful as a product description as Mojave 3. Don't know about you but Iron and Wine sounds a bit on the metal side of mayhem to me. Of course Sam Beam who is Iron and Wine is anything but noisy, he's one of those quiet and considered and sometime eccentric...

Richmond Fontaine: The Fitzgerald (Southbound)

Richmond Fontaine: The Fitzgerald (Southbound)

Richmond Fontaine come with big advance notices: the indie Americana band from Portland broke big with their rowdy Post to Wire album two years ago, which drew favourable comparisons with the Replacements, but for their follow-up, The Fitzgerald, they have turned the volume way down. Written by guitarist Willy Vlautin while living at...

William Fitzsimmons: The Sparrow and the Crow (Inertia)

William Fitzsimmons: The Sparrow and the Crow (Inertia)

If this hushed folk album was written after a divorce as has been suggested then that explains a lot: it is introspective; the lovely vocals barely rise above a whisper; and the lean, pointed lyrics address all manner of separation emotions (We Feel Alone, If You Would Come Back Home, Please Forgive Me, You Still Hurt Me, They'll Never Take The...

Noah and the Whale: The First Days of Spring (Shock)

Noah and the Whale: The First Days of Spring (Shock)

Beauty is not a quality that popular music (ie pop, rock, r'n'b, indie-rock or whatever) places much store in: yet from the Velvet Underground through Mazzy Star and the early Cowboy Junkies to the Fleet Foxes, or from Eno to the landscape of guitars in Explosions in the Sky, there has been beauty aplenty. Beauty need not be sentimental...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Eels: End Times (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Eels: End Times (Shock)

The last album by Eels/Mark Oliver Everett was the split personality of Hombre Lobo where gritty and sexually aggressive  songs were alternated with lovely ballads as if he was exploring two sides of the human condition. It is a terrific album (you may only like half the tracks depending on your current frame of mind) and was Everett...

The Haints of Dean Hall: Sleeper (Arch Hill)

The Haints of Dean Hall: Sleeper (Arch Hill)

The mystery continues as this poetic, dark alt.country outfit once more -- as on their impressive self-titled debut album -- explore understated, musically and emotionally stark songs which sometimes evoke empty rooms in spider-webbed old houses and an emotional ennui. But although they suggest a more ancient time and place these are very...

Kath Bloom: Thin Thin Line (Caldo Verde)

Kath Bloom: Thin Thin Line (Caldo Verde)

Although this wobbly-voiced American folkie has been around since the late Seventies I confess I have never heard/heard of her. On a first hearing I can't say I think I missed much: vocally she comes off like a shaky-voiced version of Daniel Johnston and Yoko Ono (when Ono gets in "ballad" mode). Notes are there but sometimes a...

Bonnie Prince Billy and The Cairo Gang: The Wonder Show of the World (Palace)

Bonnie Prince Billy and The Cairo Gang: The Wonder Show of the World (Palace)

My guess is that because Bonnie Prince Billy aka Will Oldham aka Palace aka Palace Brothers etc has done so many albums that, like Woody Allen movies and local buses, you can afford to miss one because another will be along soon. This low-key, mostly acoustic outing framed by Neil Young-styled folk and Billy's default position of analytical...

The Album Leaf: A Chorus of Storytellers (SubPop)

The Album Leaf: A Chorus of Storytellers (SubPop)

This quiet, mostly instrumental and discreetly seductive album by a band with a very confusing name has been slipping back into the player quite a lot recently -- and I suspect it came out a few months ago, but I've only belatedly discovered it. The Album Leaf has been the on-going project of the San Diego-based songwriter Jimmy LaValle whose...

Peter Case: Peter Case (1986)

Peter Case: Peter Case (1986)

For six months after its release, at least three times a week, I would play this album. Night after night. I had been given a cassette tape which I had in the kitchen and while making dinner for my kids, only stopping to hear Alistair Cooke's Letter From America on the radio, Peter Case would be on permanant repeat. One night one of my...

Eels: Tomorrow Morning (Shock)

Eels: Tomorrow Morning (Shock)

The story of Eels - aka E, or Mark Oliver Everett -- has been one of the most interesting, and often autobiographical, journeys to follow in recent years. There were many, rather too many, dark days in Everett's earlier life and he scrupulously recorded them in a way which made them universal. His candour and lyrical directness was not only...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Robert Scott: Ends Run Together (Flying Nun)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Robert Scott: Ends Run Together (Flying Nun)

The last time Robert Scott (of the Clean, the Bats and Magick Heads) appeared at Elsewhere it was for the cupboard cleanout of tapes which made up the lo-fi Tascam Hits. This collection of much more polished, expansive and augmented songs from the sagging shelves of his tapes enjoys assistance from Clean guitarist David Kilgour and...

Mark Eitzel, Klamath (101/Southbound)

Mark Eitzel, Klamath (101/Southbound)

Eitzel was the former frontman for the very wonderful but poorly named American Music Club (probably still is, I think they have reformed) but this solo album dates from a retreat to a cabin (around Klamath Falls in central Oregon I guess) a year or so ago. As befits it origins this is very intimate music -- although far from the...

Elliott Smith: An Introduction to Elliott Smith (Kill Rock Stars/Southbound)

Elliott Smith: An Introduction to Elliott Smith (Kill Rock Stars/Southbound)

It seems curious that the intelligent, melodic and very dead Elliott Smith hasn't engendered a cult following: his albums were consistently good and the circumstances of his death (if it was suicide it was a strange one in which questions needed to be asked) should have guaranteed him t-shirt status at least. Smith had half a dozen songs in...

Renee-Louise Carafice: I Will Raise a Bird Army (Bird Army)

Renee-Louise Carafice: I Will Raise a Bird Army (Bird Army)

There is no doubt life has been difficult for Renee-Louise Carafice, her previous album (here) was born out of clinical depression and time in an institution . . .  and this one addresses the break-up of a relationship (which she concedes was always flawed) in chilly Chicago. Art wrought out of such personal crises can often be...

Moondoggies: Tidelands (Hardly Art)

Moondoggies: Tidelands (Hardly Art)

Their name might not inspire much confidence -- the sort of band name 12-year olds think up -- but this rootsy, alt.country and indie-rock outfit from Seattle on a SubPop imprint label have a mainline connection to the same core of music (Neil Young, the Band) as informs the Felice Brothers, early Wilco and Richmond Fontaine. They certainly...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Iron and Wine: Kiss Each Other Clean (4AD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Iron and Wine: Kiss Each Other Clean (4AD)

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...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs: Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs (Full Time Hobby)

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. Hinson uses...

The Low Anthem: Smart Flesh (Nonesuch)

The Low Anthem: Smart Flesh (Nonesuch)

Sin and death and guilt; archaisms like "apothecary", "Gatling gun" and "player piano"; harmonica, pump organ, violin, saw and cello; whiskey and gin; recorded in a freezing cold room in winter . . . all the right elements would seem to be in place for more rustic music grounded in an older America from educated...

Maggie Bjorklund: Coming Home (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Maggie Bjorklund: Coming Home (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico have become something of a mark of quality when it comes to spacious sounding albums. They certainly showcased Marianne Dissard in that way and here -- even though they don't produce -- they appear with acclaimed pedal steel player Bjorklund from Denmark on an album which has all the...

Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (Drag City)

Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (Drag City)

After his last exceptional album Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (a Best of Elsewhere 2009 album) it was hard to imagine how this Americana singer-songwriter -- who previously recorded as Smog -- could remain on the margins of mainstream acceptance. That the album demanded, but also commanded, attention might just have put him once more...

The Mountain Goats: The Eternal's Deck (Merge)

The Mountain Goats: The Eternal's Deck (Merge)

The dramatic, almost declamatory, voice of John Darnielle (aka The Mountain Goats) is as distinctive as it is well enunciated. You get every word he sings, which means you are dragged from one poetic line to another where images tumble over one another (think Dylan '65-'66) and if there is a story it comes from an accumulation of ideas and...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sam Prebble (aka Bond Street Bridge)

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sam Prebble (aka Bond Street Bridge)

Auckland singer-songwriter Sam Prebble -- who performs under moniker Bond Street Bridge (the actual bridge just around the corner from me, so he's one of my "homies") -- is a longtime Elsewhere favourite. His intelligent lyrics, understated delivery and sense of the melodic was all over his wonderful debut album The Mapmaker's Art,...

The Cave Singers: No Witch (Jajaguwar)

The Cave Singers: No Witch (Jajaguwar)

Over two previous albums this Seattle-based outfit weren't easy to pigeon-hole (alt.country, boho-folk, indie.something?) but were always interesting because of that, and not the least for singer Peter Quirk's distinctive vocals which were “quirky” for want of a better word. Here however they really throw in some visceral and...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Ryan Adams, Gold and Demolition (Universal)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Ryan Adams, Gold and Demolition (Universal)

With a new album by Ryan Adams due in a month (Ashes and Fire) some might wonder why this guy holds such a powerful place in many people's affections. After all he -- Prince-like -- became so prolific for a while he was impossible to keep up with a pain for record company. Many lost track of him. But the five star Gold from exactly a decade...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Ryan Adams: Ashes and Fire (Sony)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Ryan Adams: Ashes and Fire (Sony)

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...

Greg Graffin: Cold As The Clay (Anti/Shock)

Greg Graffin: Cold As The Clay (Anti/Shock)

Okay, I'll admit it, I've never heard a note by Bad Religion, the band Graffin usually fronts (and which is regularly described as "punk" and had an album entitled Recipe For Hate). But this stripped back album -- and the fact I've learned that Graffin holds a degree in geology, a PhD in zoology, and taught evolutionary history at...

The Haints of Dean Hall: The Haints of Dean Hall (Arch Hill)

The Haints of Dean Hall: The Haints of Dean Hall (Arch Hill)

This off-kilter and eerily dreamy slice of Americana from a conjured up "South" comes from an unexpected source: the Haints of Dean Hall are in fact Stephen Reay and singer/photographer Kathryn McCool, the former from the rowdy Flying Nun band the Subliminals and the latter who now lives near Melbourne. A haint is an imagined ghost...

The Handsome Family; Last Days of Wonder (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

The Handsome Family; Last Days of Wonder (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

At first I didn't fully get this one from a duo I've long admired for their slightly wonky take on traditional country which sounds like it was made by post-graduates who got lost in the Appalachians after a seminar on contemporary poetics. But repeat plays and scouring the lyrics reveals what the title (taken from a line in a song) states...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006 Bonnie Prince Billy: The Letting Go

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006 Bonnie Prince Billy: The Letting Go

Will Oldham has appeared under so many noms-de-disque it can hardly be his audience's fault if it hasn't been able to keep up: he's been Palace, Palace Brothers, Palace Music, Bonny "Prince" Billy, Bonnie Billy, been a member of various bands, and sometimes even appeared under his own name. It would take a work of great insight and...

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