josh rouse

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Wilco; Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Wilco; Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The career trajectory of Wilco, helmed by Jeff Tweedy, has been fascinating to follow, if not always easy for many. From alt.country through to ambitious and complex pop in the late 90s, they then made the "Radiohead leap" with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in 2002 where the experimentation, noise factor and angularity of ther material was...

Josh Rouse: Country Mouse, City House (Bedroom Classics)

Josh Rouse: Country Mouse, City House (Bedroom Classics)

Rouse has an interesting record collection: we know this because for a few albums -- notably 1972 which nodded to Seventies singer-songwriters, and Nashville which raided 80s pop, rock and indie music -- have sounded like a man rummaging through his musical closet for new clothes to wear. It's fair to say his best album was Under Cold Blue...

Peter Case: Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John (YepRoc Records)

Peter Case: Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John (YepRoc Records)

Case used to be the mainman in the Plimsouls, a terrific and slightly ragged power pop band but he has enjoyed a long and diverse alt.country/alt.rock solo career -- as befits a man who was once married to Victoria Williams. On his superb self-titled debut in '86 he had John Hiatt and Roger McGuinn helping out, and down the decades he has...

Josh Ritter: The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Josh Ritter: The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Elsewhere has been around long enough to do a bit of bragging about bringing certain people to your attention long before anyone else: one of them being this American singer-songwriter whose previous album The Animal Years (see tag) was such a gem. I just kept bringing it back and named it as one of the Best of Elsewhere 2006. Then he was...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008:  Loudon Wainwright: Strange Weirdos (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Loudon Wainwright: Strange Weirdos (Universal)

Longtime cynic, straight-shooter and occasionally misanthropic singer-songwriter Wainwright shows no sign of losing his touch even though he is now in his 60s. His subjects will always provide plenty of material: they are life in general, himself, his family, and sometimes astute socio-political observation. He is a sensitive...

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...

REM, Accelerate (Warners)

REM, Accelerate (Warners)

Yes, REM are a Very Big Band Indeed and so you will doubtless be reading reviews of this in many other places -- but the reason it also gets a showing at Elsewhere where they keep company with rather more obscure artists is because I have faithfully bought every REM album in the past decade and have been mostly disappointed. But Accelerate...

Steve Abel and the Chrysalids: Flax Happy (Monkey/Rhythmethod)

Steve Abel and the Chrysalids: Flax Happy (Monkey/Rhythmethod)

Among the many unaddressed issues about the effectiveness of New Zealand Music Month is that of so many albums being released: they cancel each other out and some just won't get the attention they deserve. I sincerly hope that out of the mountain released -- around 50 albums in, or in time for, NZMM, which is just self-defeating -- that this...

The Tindersticks: The Hungry Saw (Beggars Banquet)

The Tindersticks: The Hungry Saw (Beggars Banquet)

Tindersticks frontman Stuart A Staples -- whose solo album Lucky Dog Recordings 03-04 is excellent -- has a rich and soulful baritone which someone said recently reminded them of a more louche and brandy-sodden Roland Gift (if you remember Fine Young Cannibals). Maybe.Bryan Ferry without the over-emoting quaver is a fair call too.Certainly there...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Beck: Modern Guilt (DGC)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Beck: Modern Guilt (DGC)

For my money there are only two indispensible Beck albums: Odelay of '96 and Mutations of two years later. That said, there are another couple I'd prefer not to live without -- and this one produced by Danger Mouse shapes up to be one of those, and is still climbing in stature on repeat plays.As always this gifted, musical changeling and sonic...

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...

Renee-Louise Carafice: Tells You To Fight! (Monkey)

Renee-Louise Carafice: Tells You To Fight! (Monkey)

Frankly I'm always suspicious about the whole music-as-therapy thing: most often the music is godawful, and the lyrics so tortured and self-referential that they rarely reach any further than the bedroom or hospital ward that spawned them.Which is why I come to Carafice -- institutionalised in Auckland with severe depression in 2005 -- with...

Josh Rouse: Best of the Ryko Years, 1995-2005 (Ryko/Elite)

Josh Rouse: Best of the Ryko Years, 1995-2005 (Ryko/Elite)

Some artists may always be the private passion of a few, and you sense this American singer-songwriter is hailed by some and utterly unfamiliar to most, many of whom would like him if they only knew. Rouse has been a regular at Elsewhere and his albums like Under Cold Blue Stars (02), the slightly troublking 1972 (of 03 when some said he'd...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 M Ward: Hold Time (4AD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 M Ward: Hold Time (4AD)

The previous album by M Ward, Post-War, was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2006 albums for its dark hues, free-range musical approach (blues, alt.rock, indie-folk, Americana etc) and the fact it had something to say. At that time I noted his musical magpie tendencies (a good thing) and because of its layers said it would stand the test of time....

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...

Josh Rouse: El Turista (Bedroom Classics)

Josh Rouse: El Turista (Bedroom Classics)

The musically itinerant Josh Rouse has long been an Elsewhere favourite for his musical curiosity (Seventies singer-songwriters, Nashville, indie-rock and so on) and he doesn't disappoint here as he gets his passport stamped and takes off for the tropical pleasures of Brazilian moods and music (in Portuguese mostly) which come subtlely...

Simon Lynge: The Future (Lo-Max)

Simon Lynge: The Future (Lo-Max)

Singer-songwriter Lynge's story may be more interesting than his lowkey acoustic folk-pop: born in Denmark, childhood in Greenland (where his father is the local Bob Dylan apparently), back to Denmark, then to Los Angeles and Nashville, debut album Beautiful Way to Drown recorded in LA in Copenhagen in 2005 . . . Hard to top that in...

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...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tim Guy

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tim Guy

Singer-songwriter Tim Guy returned to New Zealand from Australia a few years ago and in that time has released three fine albums, the most recent being Big World. He has toured New Zealand regularly – sometimes with the likes of Anika Moa, Bic Runga, Anna Coddington and Paul McLaney – but his current tour is slightly...

Bright Eyes: The People's Key (Polydor)

Bright Eyes: The People's Key (Polydor)

Weird, but in a strangely compelling way  . . . like the best sci-fi. Last time out Bright Eyes/Connor Oberst located his album in a Florida town Cassadaga which is apparently famous for the implosion of spiritualists there – and this one opens with a long and odd spoken word it about the spheres, Sumerian tablets and reptiles...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What (Hear Music)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What (Hear Music)

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...

Greg Laswell: Through Toledo (Vanguard/Shock)

Greg Laswell: Through Toledo (Vanguard/Shock)

The world is so cluttered with singer-songwriters that excellent albums like Josh Rouse's recent Subtitulo can go right past people. (That's a hint) I expect this pop-rock outing by San Diego-based Laswell -- who plays just about every instrument here -- could suffer a similarly undeserved fate. But there's a lot to like on these...

Jason Collett; Idols of Exile (Rhythmethod) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Jason Collett; Idols of Exile (Rhythmethod) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

This Canadian singer-songwriter makes a big impression on this very likeable and diverse debut album: at times he sounds like a less irritating David Grey, elsewhere he reveals some beautiful pop sensibilities, sometimes there is a touch of blues from the guest guitarist, and damn if the guy doesn't sound like he's been a Verlaines fan at one...

Josh Ritter; The Animal Years (V2/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Josh Ritter; The Animal Years (V2/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

From Moscow -- the one in Idaho -- Ritter has been championed by New York mainstream and American indie press for his literate and passionate singer-songwriter style, and here that is combined with gripping and memorable songs with lyrical and melodic hooks which grab like a gaff. Latterly he's been wooing them in Ireland. The album is...

M Ward; Post-War (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

M Ward; Post-War (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Matt Ward could easily be a musicologist's research assignment: this album -- his fifth -- roams effortless from hushed balladry to guitar work which sounds like the Shadows on a surf-rock kick, and from alt.rock to something Paul Simon would be proud of. And in many places he sounds like someone a few decades older -- and blacker -- than he...

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