nick drake

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Co-Pilgrim: Pucker Up Buttercup (Rhythmethod)

Co-Pilgrim: Pucker Up Buttercup (Rhythmethod)

A few years ago there was a hopeful movement started in the UK: it came with the slogan "Quiet is the New Loud". Movements which get a slogan before a following are usually shortlived, and so it was with that one -- although to be fair a lot of pretty and quiet albums arrived subsequently, but most from bands we never heard of...

Findlay Brown; Separated by the Sea (PeaceFrog) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Findlay Brown; Separated by the Sea (PeaceFrog) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Earnest young men of the Anglo-folk persuasion aren't exactly thin on the ground these days, but Brown is worth your attention. His voice is gentle but has some depth and restrained power, and if his lyrics stray sometimes into that self-obsession/broken love/"darkness of the soul and mind" axis then that pretty much comes with this...

Nick Drake: Family Tree (Island/Universal)

Nick Drake: Family Tree (Island/Universal)

There is a very good case to be made that Nick Drake (1948-74) was like a Robert Johnson of British folk, leaving behind a small but compelling body of songs, and few clues to the nature of his inner life. Described by many as a man of few words, and unknowable by others, Drake was only mildly ambitious (in a careerist sense) and his music...

Judith Owen: Happy This Way (Courgette)

Judith Owen: Happy This Way (Courgette)

For Jamie Cullum to call Owen "the female Randy Newman" only tells you wee Jamie needs to be more familiar with Randy. But singer-pianist Owen (married to Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls aka Harry Shearer) does pen a good tune and weaves her literate lyrics through it in way which only the best can -- and the best like Cassandra...

The Rosie Taylor Project: This City Draws Maps (Bad Sneakers/Ode)

The Rosie Taylor Project: This City Draws Maps (Bad Sneakers/Ode)

This six-piece from Leeds have a charming alt.folk/indie.pop thing going which also has one ear on Americana. Okay, you've heard all that before, right? But there is something quite beguiling and emotionally disarming about their understatement, the wee splashes of colour from trumpet and French horn, the haiku-like lyrics ("cut from...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Bond Street Bridge: The Mapmaker's Art (Monkey Records)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Bond Street Bridge: The Mapmaker's Art (Monkey Records)

Opening with an arresting, one minute challenge of scraped and stabbing violin you could be forgiven for thinking the one-man band of Sam Prebble who is Bond Street Bridge is being beamed at you from the Contemporary Classical department. It’ll certainly grip you, as will dark alt.folk drone Black Market Soul Transplant which follows...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Emiliana Torrini: Me and Armini (Rough Trade)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Emiliana Torrini: Me and Armini (Rough Trade)

Only the most diligent Elsewhere reader with perfect recall might remember this Icelandic singer who appeared on the Next Brel compilation/tribute to the singer-songwriter Jacques Brel which appeared here some time last year. Torrini was one of the standout performers on that album and she has certainly drawn enormous praise for her previous...

Judith Owen: Mopping Up Karma (Courgette)

Judith Owen: Mopping Up Karma (Courgette)

This album came out many months ago and for some reason slipped my attention: it might have continued to sit in the pile while more pressing albums came along were it nor for the alarming inner sleeve which I just discovered in which Owen looks like a slightly younger but equally buttoned-up-in-leather version of Frau Blucher in Mel Brooks'...

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...

Ned Collette and Wirewalker: Over the Stones, Under the Stars (Fabric/Rhythmethod)

Ned Collette and Wirewalker: Over the Stones, Under the Stars (Fabric/Rhythmethod)

When Australian Ned Collette's previous album Future Suture appeared at Elsewhere the closing line was "check this guy out". I suspect few did, even though he visited New Zealand a couple of times. But here's another chance, although this sounds a little different to its predecessor: often downbeat, lean and less augmented, more...

THE DECEMBERISTS’ JOHN MOEN INTERVIEWED (2009): Marching to his own drum

THE DECEMBERISTS’ JOHN MOEN INTERVIEWED (2009): Marching to his own drum

With all due respect to their craft, drummers aren’t usually the people you want to interview in a band. As saxophonist Branford Marsalis -- who played in Sting’s band -- recently noted, the audience’s attention is on the singer and the guitarist, “the rest of us are just background.” And the drummer -- who...

Graham Coxon: The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

Graham Coxon: The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

Damon Albarn has had the more visible profile outside of Blur -- Gorillaz, his Mali Music album, The Good, The Bad and The Queen -- but for the band’s former guitarist Coxon (who left after Think Tank of 03) The Spinning Top is his seventh solo outing and extends his interest in Anglofolk of the Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson...

Bert Jansch: The Essential Bert Jansch (Union Square)

Bert Jansch: The Essential Bert Jansch (Union Square)

In the liner notes to this 26-track double CD collection Jansch says, "I only know how to play a guitar and write songs. I don't know anything else when it comes down to it." The likes of Jimmy Page who was influenced by Jansch's acoustic folk style and fans such as Devendra Banhardt, Johnny Marr, Graham Coxon and dozens of others...

Steeleye Span: Cam Ye Oer Frae France (1973)

Steeleye Span: Cam Ye Oer Frae France (1973)

As with Fairport Convention (which included Richard Thompson), Steeleye Span were in the vanguard of the British folk-rock movement of the late Sixties. Unlike Fairport however, Steeleye Span didn't move as often and as far from the roots of folk and frequently drew on Francis Child's text The English and Scottish Ballads for inspiration and...

Jeremy Mason: Distorted Vision (self released)

Jeremy Mason: Distorted Vision (self released)

Expat Mason was bassist in the Kiwi punk band Kill the Fake Patient (2005-07) but clearly the Northern Hemisphere has blown a new wind through him: he's now an acoustic/alt.folk singer living in a one bedroom flat in Glasgow and this self-produced EP of songs written in Wellington and London (available here) is the first flickering of a new...

Various Artists: Late Night Tales, The Cinematic Orchestra (latenighttales/Southbound)

Various Artists: Late Night Tales, The Cinematic Orchestra (latenighttales/Southbound)

Strictly speaking this should be credited to "Various Artists" because this 19-track collection is yet another in the Late Night Tales mix-tape series where an artist or group is invited to compile a disc of material which suits those lower-light moods. The Cinematic Orchestra here bring together such diverse spirits as Nick Drake...

The Broken Heartbreakers: Wintersun (BHB)

The Broken Heartbreakers: Wintersun (BHB)

The self-titled debut album by this Auckland-based folk-pop band was among the Best of Elsewhere 2007 list -- and they have just been getting better. No surprise really given that alongside the core duo of John Guy Howell and Rachel Bailey are Sam Prebble (who, as Bond Street Bridge, appeared in the following year's Best of Elsewhere with his...

John White: The Inkadies (Monkey)

John White: The Inkadies (Monkey)

This album could slip past as easily unnoticed as White's recent New Zealand tour, it whispers rather than shouts, is mostly dreamy rather than grounded. Formerly out front of Dunedin's Mestar, White recorded these airy but sometimes fuzzy, acoustic-framed songs in Wisconsin three years ago and apparently this one follows two previous...

Richard Thompson: Rumor and Sigh (1991)

Richard Thompson: Rumor and Sigh (1991)

Like Elvis Costello, Christy Moore, the late John Martyn and a few others in a very select company, English singer/songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson made timeless albums. Pick up any of his from the early Eighties or even the late Seventies and they make as much sense today as they did then. Yet after more than 45 years in the...

Chris Thompson: Chris Thompson (Sunbeam)

Chris Thompson: Chris Thompson (Sunbeam)

Although it is common enough to acclaim great New Zealand bands from the late Sixties/early Seventies -- especially those with an acid-rock tinge -- as never quite getting their due internationally (Human Instinct, Ticket, the Fourmyula etc), the story of folk singer Chris Thompson has rarely been told. I have just the one album by him --...

Chris Thompson: Hamilton (1990)

Chris Thompson: Hamilton (1990)

The reissue of some early Seventies recordings by New Zealand folk-blues singer-songwriter Thompson allowed us to hear again one of the great lost musicians of that era. Thompson's broad spectrum folk style in that period incorporated Indian music influences and black rural blues -- but later on he also delivered a fairly droll line in...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Chris Thompson

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson was one of the disappearing figures in the New Zealand folk scene who toured with Julie Felix, counted among his peers the likes of Bert Jansch and Davy Graham while he was in the UK, and recorded some fine albums which have disappeared into the ether. His has recently released a self-titled double CD of a lost album from the...

Timothy Armstrong: Portraits (TA)

Timothy Armstrong: Portraits (TA)

Based in Wellington, New Zealand this singer-songwriter is also in the band The Novelist but has run a parallel but separate career as a solo artist. This, the second outing under his own name, appeared in the last quarter of 2010 but has been making its way slowly into the world since, picking up favourable comment from longtime followers...

Chris Hurn: Too Busy Dreamin' (Monkey)

Chris Hurn: Too Busy Dreamin' (Monkey)

While owing a clear debt to Paul Simon, the young Dylan, early Donovan and others in the acoustic singer-songwriter category, this young guy from Lower Hutt just north of Wellington, New Zealand brings a pop sensibility to his writing (the openers here Watch Got and Only One I Need hook you immediately) and often a deliberately light touch...

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,...

Richard Thompson: The Folk City Broadcast (Left Field Media)

Richard Thompson: The Folk City Broadcast (Left Field Media)

There seem no half-measures with the legendary English singer-guitarist Richard Thompson. People either “get” him or – despite acclaim as one of Britain's greatest guitarists, the OBE and honorary PhD he received this year, and being credited as founding British folk-rock with Fairport Convention in the early 70s –...

Fink: Biscuits for Breakfast (Ninjatune/Flavour)

Fink: Biscuits for Breakfast (Ninjatune/Flavour)

Pitched somewhere between the sound of Greg Johnson on downers and the acoustic charm of Jose Gonzalez (the guy who does the bouncing balls/Sony Bravia ad on television), the ill-named Fink delivers up quietly engrossing stories of love and loss, lousy jobs and emotional failure. That may sound bleak but over the course of this sensitive and...

Tunng: Comments of the Inner Chorus (EMI)

Tunng: Comments of the Inner Chorus (EMI)

What to make of this large and flexible UK group which sometimes sounds like the charming Penguin Cafe Orchestra, sometimes suggests the wonderfully groove-orientated Beta Band (sadly no more), sometimes comes off like introspective Anglo-folk from the late 60s, and at other times drops in loops and samples? Stylistically it's called...

Thomas Dybdahl: "that great October sound" (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Thomas Dybdahl: "that great October sound" (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Some voices -- like those of Jeff Buckley, Antony (of the Johnsons) and Aretha Franklin -- just draw you to them. In the alt.folk scene the late Elliott Smith had such a gift. You felt he was speaking to only you as he revealed intimate secrets. This Norwegian singer-songwriter is like that -- and international critics have been quick to...

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