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Pere Ubu: Why I Hate Women (Glitterhouse)

Pere Ubu: Why I Hate Women (Glitterhouse)

This will definitely not be to everyone's taste -- but I have been a longtime follower of Pere Ubu and the solo career of its portly front man David Thomas whose vocals can be as appealing to some people as Yoko Ono's screaming. From the confrontational album title through tracks called Babylonian Warehouses, Flames Over Nebraska and Stolen...

Chris Knox and the Nothing (Major Label/Rhythmethod)

Chris Knox and the Nothing (Major Label/Rhythmethod)

Knox may seem over-exposed after a lifetime of music in this country, but at the Big Day Out in Auckland he proved to have as much, if not more, energy and passion than some of those Big Name Bands on the main stage. And a great deal more humour. Over the course of his set he pulled a growing crowd, which he raced off into at the end, still...

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...

John Cale; Chinese Envoy (1982)

John Cale; Chinese Envoy (1982)

As with anyone who was there, I have a vivid memory of John Cale's show at the Gluepot back in September '83, and in fact I still have the poster ("Tickets sold! Limited door sales. Be early!") Cale's Sabotage/Live from '79 can't be topped for the sheer intensity he brings to material like the thrilling seven minute version of...

Various: The Empire Strikes Back! (Glitterhouse)

Various: The Empire Strikes Back! (Glitterhouse)

Compilations and samplers don't often get a look in at Elsewhere (except for this week I note!) and this double disc stood even less of chance: it arrived about two months ago but after I listened to it and enjoyed it I lost the damn thing down the side of the bookcase. Which is where i found it last week.Ah well, better than . . .This is an...

WIRE, ON THE RECORD (1977-80): The short, sharp pop of art-punk

WIRE, ON THE RECORD (1977-80): The short, sharp pop of art-punk

The best thing about the punk years wasn’t punk of course. That stuff exhausted itself pretty fast. No, punk’s importance was the doors that it opened to let in the likes of the Gang of Four, This Heat, Pere Ubu and musical architects such as Wire -- whose early claim to fame was getting 21 tracks onto two sides of vinyl. Field...

Cybiont: A Trilogy of Random Thoughts and Considerations (Cybiont)

Cybiont: A Trilogy of Random Thoughts and Considerations (Cybiont)

First let it be noted that this album by a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Northland is not an easy proposition, and nor does it give up its manic diversity that easily. The title is some kind of clue and you may well think, as I do, that someone outside the project might have been brought in for a little editing as Cybiont...

The Feelies: Crazy Rhythms (1980)

The Feelies: Crazy Rhythms (1980)

Pub quiz time and your starter for 10 points: Who was the drummer in Talking Heads? “Okay there was David Byrne and . . . Tina Weymouth on bass and . . . Any of you guys know?” “Jerry . . . Harrison? Yeah, Jerry Harrison was the guitarist and the drummer was . . . . . .” Okay, let’s flip all the cards...

Wall of Voodoo: Dark Continent/Call of the West (Raven)

Wall of Voodoo: Dark Continent/Call of the West (Raven)

Stan Ridgway, frontman for Wall of Voodoo, was one of the smartest, story-telling songwriters -- and nervously energetic singers -- to emerge in the wake of American new wave in the early Eighties. Sadly most people might only know them for their terrific single Mexican Radio and relegate them to that one-hit-wonder category reserved for...

This Heat: This Heat (1979)

This Heat: This Heat (1979)

Understandably, many hail the Sixties as the greatest ever decade for popular music: the undeniable brilliance of the Beatles and what they spawned on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention globally; the whole shift from pop to rock, and from singles to albums, which freed minds and arses that followed; the innovations of Hendrix, Cream and...

Pylon: Chomp More (DFA)

Pylon: Chomp More (DFA)

Anyone taken by the jerky and anxious sound of the Essential Elsewhere album by the Feelies, Crazy Rhythms, might find this one a similarly enticing proposition. Released in '83 by a four-piece out of Athens, Georgia fronted by Vanessa Briscoe's yelp'n'edgy vocals, this was the second album for Pylon who were much admired by the young REM....

Tom Verlaine: Souvenir from a Dream (1978)

Tom Verlaine: Souvenir from a Dream (1978)

After the exceptional Television fell apart in '78 following their classic debut Marquee Moon and the lesser Adventure, guitarist/singer and writer Tom Verlaine dropped from sight for a year. During that time he quietly went about recording his self-titled debut album in two and three day sessions. With a core of Television bassist Fred...

The Raincoats: The Raincoats (We Three/Southbound)

The Raincoats: The Raincoats (We Three/Southbound)

I'm pretty sure I shared an elevator with some of the Raincoats at a hotel in New York in the mid Nineties, but I may be wrong. And that's the end of my anecdote. This is a reissue (The second? Third?) of their important '79 debut album when this London group of Ana da Silva, Gina Birch, Palmolive and Vicky Aspinall were hailed as the first...

Pere Ubu: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1975)

Pere Ubu: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1975)

Truly terrifying music is rare: there aren't that many pieces which make the hair on the back of your neck prickle, fill you with a sense of impending doom, make you feel uneasy somewhere deep within a part of your brain where rational thought no longer works for you. Pere Ubu -- whose debut album The Modern Dance appears at Essential...

Devo: Something for Everybody (Warners)

Devo: Something for Everybody (Warners)

Although I don't get the point of Blondie or the Pretenders in the 21st century, there seems to me a place for Devo: after all, they were always looking to that devolved future when things got worse and worse (like having Blondie and Chrissie still out on the traps?) And of course here they clear the ground for themselves with the two...

THE OUTER LIMITS OF THE HUMAN VOICE: That sound, it haunts me still!

THE OUTER LIMITS OF THE HUMAN VOICE: That sound, it haunts me still!

Blame punk’s redrawing of the map - or Yoko Ono, or the much more irritating Celine Dion if you will -- but the limits of our tolerance to the human voice have certainly shifted over the past few decades. We can now listen with impunity to Natacha Atlas’ careening Arabic trip-hop as much as be in awe of Whitney...

Romeo Void: Never Say Never (1982)

Romeo Void: Never Say Never (1982)

The British label Stiff Records (which gave the world Jona Lewie, Lena Lovich and Wreckless Eric alongside Elvis Costello and Ian Dury, among others) said everybody had one good single in them. Romeo Void out of San Francsisco had Never Say Never, a smart sliver of New Wave pop which rode a relentless beat and was elevated not just by the...

PERE UBU'S DAVID THOMAS INTERVIEWED (1999). Fools rush out

PERE UBU'S DAVID THOMAS INTERVIEWED (1999). Fools rush out

The bare facts in any encyclopaedia of rock can't even approach what Pere Ubu out of Cleveland in the late 70s have been about. They once described themselves as the sound of things falling apart. That was close.To hear frontman David Thomas tell it however they are the mainstream and everyone else has deviated."Rock music from the 50s to...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

In the late Seventies Wire delivered a trifecta of classic post-punk, minimalist and arty albums -- Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154 – then called it a day. In subsequent decades they reformed dropping drummer Robert Gotobed to appear as an alt.electro-rock outfit (not much cop), in the past decade their sound became more aggressive...

TAGAQ INTERVIEWED (2011): From out of the frozen north comes a sound . . .

TAGAQ INTERVIEWED (2011): From out of the frozen north comes a sound . . .

Inuit throat-singer and painter Tanya Tagaq Gillis – who often performs simply as Tagaq – grew up in remote Cambridge Bay (pop. 1500) in Canada's remote north. She went to high school in Yellowknife where she still lives, but these day is in demand on the concert circuit for her innovative throat-singing which is grounded in a...

FRANK ZAPPA. AGAIN: Just one more time . . .

FRANK ZAPPA. AGAIN: Just one more time . . .

The irritation, pleasure and difficulty with Frank Zappa was that he was always part of rock culture - but not exactly a rock musician. Well, not when it suits him. “Being a rock star is nothing to aspire to," he once said. “Rock stars have to be cute and I`m a realistic guy. I shave this face every day. I know the...

Various Artists: Forbidden Planets Vol 2 (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Various Artists: Forbidden Planets Vol 2 (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Subtitled "More Music from the Pioneers of Electronic Sound", this double disc with a booklet will not be for everyone. But if the original theme to Dr Who, the Bebe and Louis Barron soundtrack on the film Forbidden Planet and even the more demanding music in 2001: A Space Odyssey (nope, not the Strauss) held any appeal then you should...

The Nudge: Big Nudge Pie (Keen)

The Nudge: Big Nudge Pie (Keen)

The primal, almost otherwordly moan most often over a relentless thudding rhythm – the sound of rural blues – or a gutteral growl which harks back to something more primitive have seldom been heard from New Zealand bands. Blues artists here generally aim for the raw edge of Chicago blues or the tough twang of Texas...

CAN'S CLASSIC TAGO MAGO; 40 YEARS ON (2011): Pre-post-rock with a sonic sweep

CAN'S CLASSIC TAGO MAGO; 40 YEARS ON (2011): Pre-post-rock with a sonic sweep

If you applied cold logic, on paper most band line-ups wouldn't make much sense. With hindsight you can see the internal faultlines which would pull apart so many of them. None of that matters of course, as long as at some point they make great music. And Can out of Germany certainly did that, although on paper the line-up for their...

YOKO ONO: Back with the blueprint (2001) and re-disc-covered (2007)

YOKO ONO: Back with the blueprint (2001) and re-disc-covered (2007)

Some years ago at another posthumous John Lennon album launch, a journalist asked Yoko Ono why she hadn't released an album of her own in quite some while. "There seemed no great call for it," she laughed. True enough. Whether it be her extraordinary primal screaming and emotional venting, her un-nuanced feminist polemics or naive...

Pere Ubu, The Modern Dance (1978)

Pere Ubu, The Modern Dance (1978)

It has become fashionable lately to speak of “post-rock” and cite bands such as Tortoise, Sigur Ros and Explosions in the Sky as being groups which use the tools of rock, but create music that isn’t identifiably within the rock genre. Of course nothing comes from nothing and there may just be precedents for post-rock --...

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