brian wilson

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The Softlightes: Say No! to Being Cool, Say Yes! to Being Happy (Modular)

The Softlightes: Say No! to Being Cool, Say Yes! to Being Happy (Modular)

There is always a place for translucent gentle pop, and it doesn't come much more summer-kissed or amusing than this debut from a Californian band which obviously also possesses a sense of humour: titles here include The Robots in My Bedroom Were Playing Arena Rock; The Microwave Song; If The World Had Cookies; and Black Skinheads in White...

The Clientele; God Save the Clientele (Popfrenzy) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The Clientele; God Save the Clientele (Popfrenzy) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Whispery pop of the old style (verse, chorus, verse, chorus etc) always gets a good hearing at Elsewhere. There is something magical and dreamy about the best of it -- and this is one of the best. And both magical and dreamy. This London-based band have now added violin and string arrrangements to their breathy songs, and recorded this...

The Broken Heartbreakers: The Broken Heartbreakers (Rhythmethod) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The Broken Heartbreakers: The Broken Heartbreakers (Rhythmethod) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

With a sound which draws equally on the Left Banke, the Everly Brothers, Brian Wilson, Beatles, alt.country harmonies and the Anglofolk tradition, this Auckland group can hardly fail. In songwriter John Guy Howell they also have someone with a genuine gift, and the arrangements here -- minimal guitars, a lovely drone quality in Angels,...

The Ruby Suns: Sea Lion (Lil'Chief/Rhythmethod)

The Ruby Suns: Sea Lion (Lil'Chief/Rhythmethod)

My theory goes like this: there is a unique sound emerging from Auckland -- and specifically from a house just around the corner from me, actually. The sound is quirky pop which isn't ashamed to acknowledge craftsmen such as Paul McCartney, has its ears turned to the more odd arrangements on Brian Wilson's Beach Boys albums in the late 60s,...

Kelley Stoltz: Circular Sounds (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Kelley Stoltz: Circular Sounds (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

These one-man-band singer-songwriters such as Richard Swift, Jude, Hobotalk and others who have appeared in Elsewhere are just so irritatingly good they send you into a spin. As with those others mentioned Stoltz from San Francisco (who multi--tracks just about every instrument here) sounds like something more than the sum of his considerable...

Jimmy Buffett: Live in Anguilla (Mailboat/Rhythmethod)

Jimmy Buffett: Live in Anguilla (Mailboat/Rhythmethod)

I have had dinner and drinks at Jimmy's place a couple of times -- in truth at his franchise restaurants Margaritaville which offer a fish platter so huge I have had to take a photograph of it. Buffett is a businessman/pilot/sailor and singer whose lifestyle is enviable: in his world it is permanently sunny, boatshoes constitute dressing up,...

Grand Archives:  The Grand Archive (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Grand Archives: The Grand Archive (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

There are albums which, if you never hear, you probably can ignore and live happily without. For those who hear them however they become a private passion. I can't imagine my life without a regular blast of the Dwight Twilley Band or Neil Halstead's Sleeping on Roads. This debut album is like that: it breaks no particular boundaries and...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: MGMT: Oracular Spectacular (Sony/BMG)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: MGMT: Oracular Spectacular (Sony/BMG)

As regular visitors to Elsewhere are aware, not everything posted here is a work of unalloyed genius which will be treasured down many lifetimes. (Although there are however more than a few like that I would hope.) But sometimes albums just come along that you are very glad to have heard and simply enjoy for what they mean to you on some odd...

British Sea Power: Do You Like Rock Music? (Rough Trade)

British Sea Power: Do You Like Rock Music? (Rough Trade)

The title of this glisteningly melodic album is doubtless rhetorical -- but these guys also seem to like Brian Wilson's ambitious pop symphonies, ambient music in the manner of Brian Eno, Paul McCartney's better pop ballads, Anglofolk, having mates hauled in to act as a choir, strings . . . So yes, they like rock music -- but aren't...

Dennis Wilson: Pacific Ocean Blue (1977)

Dennis Wilson: Pacific Ocean Blue (1977)

It was a tragic irony that Dennis Wilson, the only genuine surf-rat in the Beach Boys, should have drowned. But by 1983 when he died in the waters of Marina Del Rey, he was a spent force who had succumbed to alcohol, depression and cocaine -- and he'd only recorded one solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue in 1977. That was also a tragedy because...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Teddy Thompson: A Piece of What You Need (Verve)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Teddy Thompson: A Piece of What You Need (Verve)

This son of Richard and Linda keeps good company: among his friends and fellow travellers are the Wainwrights (Rufus, Martha, and their father Loudon), guitarist Marc Ribot, the Band's Garth Hudson and other hip congnoscenti.His last album Upfront and Down Low was mostly a country covers outing. And despite possessing the same kind of effete...

Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun (Capitol)

Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun (Capitol)

In what sounds like another step in his on-going recovery programme, this album from the former Beach Boy doesn't much change that well-established formula of layered vocal harmonies, uplifting or reflective melodies, and classy orchestrations.What makes this of interest though isn't that it is a kind of song-cyle about his beloved California...

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...

MUSIC IS MY MADNESS: Ego, drugs and minor chords, musicians who lost the plot

MUSIC IS MY MADNESS: Ego, drugs and minor chords, musicians who lost the plot

The world of music is populated by creative people -- and those around them who offer musicians absurd amounts of money, pampering for their inflating egos and medication for their every ailment, real or imagined. The surprising thing is that more musicians don’t follow Elvis, Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty...

THE BEACH BOYS' MIKE LOVE INTERVIEWED (2007, and concert review): Hang on to Your Ego

THE BEACH BOYS' MIKE LOVE INTERVIEWED (2007, and concert review): Hang on to Your Ego

It is a rare individual who can claim that the Beatles sang “happy birthday” to him. But then Mike Love -- the Beach Boy who keeps their early surf songs alive today -- is a rare man indeed. Now 66, Love can reflect on a life in popular music that began with 60s pop capturing the breezy vibe of southern California, but which...

THE BEACH BOYS IN DECLINE: Sucking in the Seventies?

THE BEACH BOYS IN DECLINE: Sucking in the Seventies?

Without wishing to appear nasty, it has to be said some people outlive their artistic viability. They exist in the present, but actually live in the past. If chief Beach Boy Brian Wilson had died in 1970 we would still hail him as a genius on the basis of Pet Sounds . . . and would speculate on what other greatness he might have achieved....

Sam Phillips: The Disappearing Act 1987-1998 (Raven)

Sam Phillips: The Disappearing Act 1987-1998 (Raven)

When this fine singer-songwriter appeared as Sam Phillips in the late Eighties/early Nineties (she'd been a Christian folk-rocker Leslie Phillips for three albums before her un-conversion) I was smitten straight away. So much so that when her Cruel Inventions rolled around in '91 I interviewed her at great length and put the huge article of the...

LARRY HENLEY INTERVIEWED (1993): The world beneath his wings

LARRY HENLEY INTERVIEWED (1993): The world beneath his wings

On this slightly hung-over weekday morning Larry Henley doesn’t look the kind of man whose words have touched a generation. He speaks with a quiet, modest and slow-drag Texas accent and seems too self-effacing for someone whose song lyrics have been recited at funerals and marriages, during intimate moments by way of love or apology,...

Daniel Johnston: Is and Always Was (Feraltone)

Daniel Johnston: Is and Always Was (Feraltone)

I'm probably not alone in thinking of Daniel Johnston, not just as some untutored genius and outsider artist, but as someone whose life has often been pitiable and sad. That he is disturbed is beyond question. That said, Johnston's no-fi cassette recordings (some of which have turned up on CD over the years), can be transfixing for their...

The Ruby Suns: Fight Softly (Li'l Chief)

The Ruby Suns: Fight Softly (Li'l Chief)

The dreamy pop landscape that Ryan McPhun, mainman behind the Ruby Suns, conjures up usually wouldn't sound too far removed from that of bands on the PopFrenzy label which Elsewhere has always favoured. The last Ruby Suns album Sea Lion had an identifiable pop-folkadelic quality coming from the Pacific Rim (he's a Californian transplanted to...

The Fourmyula: The Complete Fourmyula (EMI)

The Fourmyula: The Complete Fourmyula (EMI)

In his recent book 100 Essential New Zealand Albums, the writer/broadcaster Nick Bollinger lists three albums by the Fourmyula (1967-71) out of Upper Hutt. Not bad for a band that only released three -- and one of those Bollinger cites was the unreleased Turn Your Back on the Wind. Confused? Bollinger doesn't list their self-titled...

MGMT: Congratulations (Sony)

MGMT: Congratulations (Sony)

Anyone who tuned in for the pop-silly, enthusiastic debut Oracular Spectacular by these guys knew they were smart cookies and going to be around for a while: they seemed the perfect post-modern pop package which drew from all kinds of sources with knowing winks and nods -- and are so knowing and winking this time out that on the cover they say...

Sagittarius: My World Fell Down (1966)

Sagittarius: My World Fell Down (1966)

Elsewhere doesn't go much for conspiracy theories -- although I've been to the Texas Book Depository in Dallas and, hmmm. But here's one that might be of interest. LA musician/producer Gary Usher was working on the single My World Fell Down with a bunch of session musicians at the same time as Brian Wilson was meticulously crafting Good...

The Magic Numbers: The Runaway (Shock)

The Magic Numbers: The Runaway (Shock)

By abandoning the pure pop-economy of their terrific, 05 self-titled debut for the more embellished and ambitious sound Those the Brokes in 06, this English outfit of two sets of siblings lost followers, and momentum. But where that debut was a radio/car album, Brokes was a headphones experience. The openers here – a...

Kelley Stoltz: To Dreamers (SubPop)

Kelley Stoltz: To Dreamers (SubPop)

Let's say this for San Francisco's Kelley Stoltz, he's done his homework: his thoroughly enjoyable album Circular Sounds (here) came off like a potted history of pop for them what missed the classes on UK 1965-68 and the Beginners Guide to Songwriting (with special reference to Boyce and Hart, Harry Nilsson and Paul McCartney). This time out...

The Beach Boys: In the Back of My Mind (1965)

The Beach Boys: In the Back of My Mind (1965)

In the very interesting DVD doco Brian Wilson; Songwriter 1962 - 1969,  Bruce Johnston -- who replaced Brian in the touring line-up of the Beach Boys in the mid Sixties -- identifies this song as anticipating the classic BB album Pet Sounds. It appeared on the album The Beach Boys Today!, a record which largely went past many people who...

BRIAN WILSON; SONGWRITER 1962 - 1969 (Chrome Dreams/Triton DVD)

BRIAN WILSON; SONGWRITER 1962 - 1969 (Chrome Dreams/Triton DVD)

Although this three hour, double DVD set comes with the disclaimer "not authorised by Brian Wilson, his record company or management" it features contributions from significant players in the Brian Wilson/Beach Boys story during this crucial decade. Here Bruce Johnston -- who replaced Brian in the touring band in '65 -- and BB...

THE BEACH BOYS: GOOD VIBRATIONS IN A BOX

THE BEACH BOYS: GOOD VIBRATIONS IN A BOX

As with any great and long-running band, the Beach Boys were capable of the sublime, the superfluous and the downright stupid. Were. The use of the past tense is quite deliberate. Nobody – except perhaps organisers of those weird American commemoration days where the remnants of the band made their tedious appearances for...

JIMMY WEBB INTERVIEWED (2005). The songwriter's songwriter

JIMMY WEBB INTERVIEWED (2005). The songwriter's songwriter

When Jimmy Webb, one of the most sophisticated and successful songwriters of his generation, speaks of making music it is like eavesdropping on genius. And that is what he is considered to be by his peers and those who have followed his long career. Before he was 21 Webb had already written some of pop’s most enduring songs, including...

THE BEACH BOYS' BRIAN WILSON INTERVIEWED (2004): Heroes and Villains

THE BEACH BOYS' BRIAN WILSON INTERVIEWED (2004): Heroes and Villains

The city is melting by mid-morning. One of the newspapers - under the thumping headline "Blast Furnace" - says the Met Office is predicting the hottest day of the month: a withering 42C.  Summer is scorching its way to town, so Sydney responds with shirts off and shorts on. And by coincidence the soundtrack beneath the hiss of...

GUY GARVEY OF ELBOW INTERVIEWED (2011): A homecoming to the top

GUY GARVEY OF ELBOW INTERVIEWED (2011): A homecoming to the top

The very personable Guy Garvey – songwriter and singer for the award-grabbing British band Elbow – laughs when he describes himself as “a rock star”, in part because at 37 he's getting a bit old for that game, but mostly because he knows he looks more like the plump Ricky Gervais than the buffed Ricky Martin....

Sonny and the Sunsets: Hit After Hit (Unspk)

Sonny and the Sunsets: Hit After Hit (Unspk)

Here's a guess. This enjoyable but rather superficial pop outfit from San Francisco have in their collections albums of one-off Sixties pop by the likes of the Hombres (Let It All Hang Out), Sam the Sham, Tommy James and the Shondelles, the Shangri-Las, Brill Building songwriters, the McCoys (Hang on Sloopy) and plenty of early Kinks, Beatles,...

PHIL SPECTOR'S RISE AND FALL . . . AND FALL AGAIN (2003): The high and low life

PHIL SPECTOR'S RISE AND FALL . . . AND FALL AGAIN (2003): The high and low life

So Phil Spector has been charged with murder, huh? Well, no surprises there then - because Spector has been one of the more disturbed individuals in rock, right up there with the eccentric and once reclusive Beach Boy Brian Wilson, the Pink Floyd founder Floyd Syd Barrett, and the just plain weird Michael Jackson. When it came to crazy...

The Goldebriars: Sing Out Terry O'Day (1964)

The Goldebriars: Sing Out Terry O'Day (1964)

One of the pleasures of digging around through old vinyl for Elsewhere's pages From the Vaults is in discovering the occasional overlooked classic, the rare or the just plain peculiar. Rummaging through discount bins takes time but there are often cheap rewards, in this case very cheap. What attracted me to this $3 album wasn't just the fact...

PAUL McCARTNEY AND WINGS: The solo career that faltered, flew then faltered

PAUL McCARTNEY AND WINGS: The solo career that faltered, flew then faltered

"Wings, only the band the Beatles could have been," said Alan Partridge -- who, we should quickly add, is an alter ego of British comedian Steve Coogan.Rock writers were understandably unforgiving toward McCartney's post-Beatle band but the public just wouldn't listen to those damn critics. People liked Wings. They, or more...

Larry Henley: A very rich man indeed.

Larry Henley: A very rich man indeed.

Ray Columbus seldom rang me at the Herald unless he had something to say. I liked him for that, he wasn't a time waster. But once he called and said he had an American friend in town that I might like to meet, the guy who was the lead singer for the one-hit wonder 60s band the Newbeats. Before we go any further let me tell what I know about...

Neil Young: Out to lunch

Neil Young: Out to lunch

Nothing showy here, but I've spoken to Neil Young three times. And the man was boring and awkward every time. But that's just my opinion. I've never understood why musicians -- especially those with as many track miles as Neil Young -- bother with interviews if they don't want to talk. Why do they subject themselves, let alone anyone else...

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