explosions in the sky

The contents of this page relate to explosions in the sky.

Clinic: Visitations (Domino/EMI)

Clinic: Visitations (Domino/EMI)

Rock albums come and go around my place -- but this one, like the new Arcade Fire and the Kings of Leon album -- has just clung on: it is dense, the singer sounds like he is seething with barely repressed anger, the guitar are gravelly, there is something of The Fall and Pere Ubu about them, and the multi-layered songs are often underpinned with...

Explosions in the Sky; All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Explosions in the Sky; All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Billy Bob Thornton has made some pretty bad movies, but among his best is Friday Night Lights in which he played a football coach at a small town in Texas. It is a wonderful movie full of small telling detail about dreams, promise denied and the expectation a small town places on its college football team. Thornton is a man under pressure as...

DateMonthYear: 7 Ghosts (DMY Records)

DateMonthYear: 7 Ghosts (DMY Records)

Many are sent and few are chosen, and despite this album coming out in 2005 it has been chosen here because . . .? Well, there is something relentless, driving, ambitiously epic and genuinely atmospheric about this eight-track album by this flexible line-up from Hamilton, New Zealand. It doesn't surprise me that they performed three of...

Maps: We Can Create (EMI)

Maps: We Can Create (EMI)

Some may find the constantly applied stage-whisper vocals here a little samey over the long haul, but for me it fits perfectly with the ambient, atmospheric-rock of Maps which swells to panoramic dimensions in places, or rides the most simple but effective of piano chords down to levels of utter intimacy. Maps is in fact James Chapman from...

Band of Horses: Cease to Begin (SubPop) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Band of Horses: Cease to Begin (SubPop) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Increasingly I am liking contemporary rock albums that annoy me because I can't quickly figure them out -- and this is one of them. Not having heard their "critically acclaimed" debut Everything All The Time I can't say how much this Seattle-based band have changed since they lost their co-founder. But what I hear on this album...

The Low Spark: Out in the Ozone (LowSpark)

The Low Spark: Out in the Ozone (LowSpark)

Dunno about you but I'd always rather hear the young, enthusiastic, overstated, lightly misguided, energetic debut from a band than being bored witless by their fourth album. Fact is though that in New Zealand few bands make it to number 4. So we take what we get, right? As I was going into my driveway the other day I saw a battered van...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Radiohead: In Rainbows (XL)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Radiohead: In Rainbows (XL)

Over the Christmas 07-08 period I heard a radio interview with a young musician denouncing the gross villany of major record companies -- about which I expect he had no personal experience -- and pointing to Radiohead's on-line/download release in October 2007 of In Rainbows (with buyers paying what they liked for it) as evidence the music...

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters: Hope Radio (Elite)

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters: Hope Radio (Elite)

Okay, all instrumental, guitar-driven blues isn't for everyone I agree -- but if anyone can persuade you to the cause it is Earl and his white-hot band which have their feet firmly in two camps, tough Texas blues where Earl is at home and freewheeling jazz-blues courtesy of pianist and Hammond player Dave Limina. So this is sort of...

Black Mountain: In the Future (Rhythmethod)

Black Mountain: In the Future (Rhythmethod)

The other night I was watching Richard Linklater's '93 movie Dazed and Confused, that terrific look at a bunch of Middle America slacker and stoner teenagers on their last day of school in '76 -- and the soundtrack of Alice Cooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kiss, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and so on. My guess is that Black Mountain from Vancouver watch...

Stephen Malkmus and Jicks: Real Emotional Trash (UNSpin)

Stephen Malkmus and Jicks: Real Emotional Trash (UNSpin)

With guitar playing that slips from Blue Cheer's fuzzy density to Television's ethereal astral flights, lyrics that typically defy interpretation, and some of Neil Young's intensity this is quite some statement by the former Pavement frontman who here takes his tight band through everything from driving and economic prog-rock to almost...

An Emerald City, An Emerald City (Monkey Records)

An Emerald City, An Emerald City (Monkey Records)

This extraordinary four-track EP by an Auckland band which is long on instrumental elegance and very short on pretention is a diamond, and like a precious gem you can turn it many ways and appreciate different refractions. These swooning, grand and widescreen instrumentals have something in common with the great US band Explosions in the Sky...

The Clean: Mashed (Arch Hill)

The Clean: Mashed (Arch Hill)

What can you say? The Clean recorded live during their '07 national tour.Really, enough said: David Kilgour's guitar just gets more mercurial and expressive over time (if sometimes pulling back from the edginess of previous decades) and Hamish and Robert create and ride these often oceanic surges of sound. But nuance is everywhere also.Magic at...

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...

AN EMERALD CITY INTERVIEWED (2009): The sky-high vision

AN EMERALD CITY INTERVIEWED (2009): The sky-high vision

To hear guitarist/keyboard player Sam Handley tell it, there was a magical moment when they knew: “That first hit on the drum, it just sounded 10 times bigger than normal”. In this suburban villa in Kingsland, Auckland there are nods of recognition from the assembled members of An Emerald City. They are talking about setting...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 An Emerald City:  Circa Scaria (Banished/Border)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 An Emerald City: Circa Scaria (Banished/Border)

Because the previous EP by this Auckland-based group was widely hailed at Elsewhere, and that there is now a profile of the band posted under Absolute Elsewhere, this will be brief. For my money this band is the most interesting, musically ambitious and creative I have seen in this country in many years. They possess that rarity in New...

Black Sabbath: Greatest Hits (Universal)

Black Sabbath: Greatest Hits (Universal)

There's no particular reason for mentioning this 14 track collection (which includes Paranoid, Iron Man, War Pigs etc) given that it isn't the first or probably the last such collection: but Elsewhere has always had a special affection for early Sabbath and so we refer you to Paranoid at Essential Elsewhere for further reading and relevant noises.

Tortoise: Beacons of Ancestorship (UNSPK)

Tortoise: Beacons of Ancestorship (UNSPK)

As the band most likely to be cited when the discussion turned to "post-rock", this five-piece from Chicago have been critically acclaimed for their magpie tendencies (they lift from prog-rock, free jazz, punk, post-punk, electronica, Can and other equally unconstrained Krautrock bands) but largely haven't connected with an audience...

Grand Archives: Keep In Mind Frankenstein (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Grand Archives: Keep In Mind Frankenstein (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

It would be fair to note that after saying very favourable things about this band's impressive debut The Grand Archives, I fully expected to never hear another note by them. Not that they would break up, but that their particular charms would go past so many people that whatever they did next might not get released in New Zealand. It is...

Malajube: Labyrinthes (Shock)

Malajube: Labyrinthes (Shock)

Elsewhere is certainly not immune to charms of Canada: we have acknowledged Arcade Fire, the collective Broken Social Scene, Patrick Watson, the challenge of vocal contortionist Tagaq and others (as well as watching the Anvil doco with tightening sphincter, hailing the droll TV comedy Corner Gas, and delighting in the landscape and people)....

The Antlers: Hospice (FrenchKiss/Border)

The Antlers: Hospice (FrenchKiss/Border)

This may not sound like everyone's idea of an album to listen to -- it is a 10-track concept piece about caring for someone in a hospice who has been emotionally abusive. But whaddya gonna do? They are dying so you can hardly pay out on them. Here New York's Peter Silberman crafts a song cycle of great depth and sometimes alarmingly beauty,...

The Doves: The Places Between; The Best of the Doves (EMI CD/DVD)

The Doves: The Places Between; The Best of the Doves (EMI CD/DVD)

This alt.rock English outfit -- here wrapping up their first decade with a double CD and DVD set -- are one of those bands which people feel passionately about (one of my sons) or just let go right on by. They were nominated for the Mercury Award for both of their first two albums (Lost Souls in 2000, the even better The Last Broadcast two...

BAND OF HORSES, TYLER RAMSEY AUDIO INTERVIEW (2010)

BAND OF HORSES, TYLER RAMSEY AUDIO INTERVIEW (2010)

Originally out of Seattle, Band of Horses have had one of those constantly evolving line-ups that makes for a confusing family tree. Three-quarters of those on the first album quit before the second album leaving founder Brad Bridwell to not only rebuild the band but relocate to South Carolina where he came from. Others made guest...

Band of Horses: Infinite Arms (Sony)

Band of Horses: Infinite Arms (Sony)

Where the last and quite terrific Band of Horses album Cease to Begin opened with the strained alt.rock of Is There a Ghost, this new one -- again after some line-up changes around sole founder member Ben Bridwell -- stretches to life with a string-coloured melancholy alt.country ballad Factory. It -- like Is There a Ghost -- is an immediate...

Villagers: Becoming a Jackal (Domino)

Villagers: Becoming a Jackal (Domino)

Engrossing though the clear, strong voice of Conor J O'Brien out of Dublin is -- the chief feature of this quietly gripping album -- it is the insistent, poetic first-person, image-carving narratives which become irritating at times. O'Brien frequently writes songs from that perspective of what I call The Knowledgeable One and he will...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Black Sabbath; Paranoid

THE BARGAIN BUY: Black Sabbath; Paranoid

Always good to see an Essential Elsewhere album turn up as a Bargain Buy, and this being a classic hard rock album it should be in any sensible collection -- even just for its ear cleansing abiity. There is an extensive review of it here so we needn't go over that ground, just to point out that it is currently available for $12.99 at JB Hi-Fi...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (Merge)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (Merge)

The first film by many aspiring directors is often a low budget affair about hookers, junkies or/and zombies. Being young they believe there is drama (or at least cool dress-ups) in these worlds -- but as many later realise there is more true human emotion and drama in that most mundane of subjects: life in the suburbs. Behind the curtains...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Radiohead; OK Computer (EMI)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Radiohead; OK Computer (EMI)

Just as Achtung Baby and Zooropa represented a watershed period for U2, so The Bends of '95 and especially OK Computer of two years later marked a turning point in Radiohead's still-young career. On reflection it is hard to believe that on just their second album (The Bends) that a band could make such a daring, sideways career move -- and...

U2: Mysterious Ways (The Perfecto Remix, 1991)

U2: Mysterious Ways (The Perfecto Remix, 1991)

U2 may have reverted to musical type with stadium anthems and those long chiming chords which roll towards singalong or bellicose choruses, but around the time of Achtung Baby and Zooropa they were a genuinely innovative band. And much of the music of that period lent itself to remixing and mashing.  Their fan magazine Propaganda issued...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Reuben Bonner of An Emerald City

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Reuben Bonner of An Emerald City

The Berlin-based New Zealand rock band An Emerald City have been refreshingly unlike any other local band. Their self-titled debut EP of 2008 showed them occupyng the territory between ambient Krautrock, psychedelia and world music at a time when the previaling styles were anxious guitar bands, earnest singer-songwriters and a twee...

An Emerald City: The Fourth (Banished from the Universe)

An Emerald City: The Fourth (Banished from the Universe)

After their impressive self-titled EP in '08 then the expansive, cinematic debut album Circa Scaria the following year, this Auckland-based band which brought together psychedelic space-flight guitar rock with touches of world music (Middle Eastern and North African from violinist Felix Lun, plus sitar, oud, lute and odd percussion from Rob...

The Antlers: Burst Apart (French Kiss)

The Antlers: Burst Apart (French Kiss)

The previous album by New York's Antlers -- Hospice, reviewed here -- was so impressive musically and in its conceptual ambition I'm at a loss to know why I didn't include in the Best of Elsewhere 2010 list. More fool me. It wouldn't have been to everyone's taste as I noted, but my final line about singer/guitarist/writer Peter Silberman...

AMMP: From the Back of the Sun (ampp.co.nz)

AMMP: From the Back of the Sun (ampp.co.nz)

You have to admire -- and be something in awe of -- this four-piece from Wellington. They set their controls at "epic: stadium width" and manage to write and deliver material which matches that enormous ambition. Living rooms feel far too small for their industrial strength, well-crafted U2-like sound so it's no surprise their new...

Kerretta: Saansilo (Golden Antenna)

Kerretta: Saansilo (Golden Antenna)

This powerful second album by Auckland's instrumental prog-metal outfit (for want of a better term) has an undeniable internationalism and its reference points are post-rock bands (Mogwai), Explosions in the Sky, Opeth and of course just enough Bailter Space and Black Sabbath in terms of dark firepower. But this is not...

U2, ACHTUNG BABY TURNS 20 (2011): The handbrake turn

U2, ACHTUNG BABY TURNS 20 (2011): The handbrake turn

In Dublin, at the end of the final U2 concert on the Lovetown tour in 1989 -- broadcast to 200 million in a live radio link up -- Bono said they would now “go away and dream it all up again”. From a scrappy post-punk band at the start of the decade they had delivered half a dozen albums which connected them with a global...

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