richard swift

Content tagged as richard swift.

Richard Swift: The Novelist/Walking Without Effort

Richard Swift: The Novelist/Walking Without Effort

This utterly engrossing double disc brings together Californian Swift's two previously released (but rare) albums from a couple of years ago which were made up of singles he drip-fed over the years. This reissue announces to the wider world (and me, I'd never heard of him) his particular, quiet genius. At times his easy-on-the-ear...

Sean Lennon: Friendly Fire (Capitol)

Sean Lennon: Friendly Fire (Capitol)

You have to sympathise with the Lennon kids: Julian was skewered for sounding too much like his Dad (and people like Karl Wallinger of World Party weren't taken to task on the same charge?), and Sean for not carrying the flag in quite the way some thought he should. That first Sean album had hints of bossa nova and was peppered with...

Richard Swift: Dressed Up For the Letdown (Secretly Canadian) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Richard Swift: Dressed Up For the Letdown (Secretly Canadian) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The previous album by this Californian singer-songwriter -- actually a double disc collection of his previously released singles and EPs -- made an appearance on Elsewhere many months ago and I hailed it to the skies. And I've played it with alarming frequency ever since a first hearing. This is his fully-fledged debut album proper, and...

Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha (Spunk) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha (Spunk) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Years ago this Chicago singer-songwriter-violinist helmed his band Bowl of Fire through strange back-alleys of music which referred to blues and jazz of the 20s, circuses and travelling shows, low-rent bars and brothel music of old time New Orleans, and a bit of Tom Waits. After a while I gave up telling people how good he was. It's that...

Elvis Perkins: Ash Wednesday (XL/Rhythmethod)

Elvis Perkins: Ash Wednesday (XL/Rhythmethod)

A publisher once told me that if I wanted to write a successful book I should put the word "Elvis" in the title. I said my next book would be called "Elvis in the Title". It's an odd fact though that the very word commands attention, whether it be the singer Elvis Phuong in Vietnam (who does MOR Beatles covers...

Richard Buckner: Meadow (Merge/Rhythmethod)

Richard Buckner: Meadow (Merge/Rhythmethod)

In a fortnight during which I have heard exciting music of all persuasions -- from the London wideboy hip-hop of Jamie T to the orchestrations of Philip Glass (see below) -- this one is the real standout. From swirling but moody pop-rock which recalls elevating 60s jangle and Joy Division simultaneously (the exciting opener Town) through...

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...

Paul Kelly: Stolen Apples (EMI)

Paul Kelly: Stolen Apples (EMI)

Albums by Paul Kelly are like local buses: if you miss one it probably doesn't matter, another will be along soon. My guess is he has made at least a couple of dozen albums, which means that this album might just pass people by as yet another Kelly album. That would be a shame because he is still at the top of his game and is such a...

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...

Martin Craft: Silver and Fire (Longtime Listener/Rhythmethod)

Martin Craft: Silver and Fire (Longtime Listener/Rhythmethod)

Okay, let's just hear what the British press had to say about this, the debut album from an Australian singer-songwriter now living in London. "Simply captivating" --- The Sun "A refreshing breeze to ruffle all preconceptions" -- Time Out "Divine!" -- The Observer "Pop never had it so good" --...

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...

Billy Bragg, Mr Love and Justice (Cooking Vinyl)

Billy Bragg, Mr Love and Justice (Cooking Vinyl)

This is the album that famously wasn't released in time for Bragg to promote at this year's Big Day Out appearances. Not that he seemed to mind (much), he noted that he was flown to the other side of the world, there was an all-day backstage bar, he got to hang out with great musicians, and he only had to play for about 30 minutes. "We...

J Tillman: Year in the Kingdom (Shock)

J Tillman: Year in the Kingdom (Shock)

Possessing the same kind of intimate, engrossing voice of Nick Drake and with an equal interest in hushed, dreamlike ballads where death, and the transitory nature of life and love are themes, Josh Tillman offers his sixth album where the songs are barely fleshed out but the sinew and strength are immediately apparent. With discreet...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Midlake: The Courage of Others (Inertia)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Midlake: The Courage of Others (Inertia)

This quintet from Texas -- now on their third album -- has only appeared once previously at Elsewhere, a wonderful track on the collection Secret Love 4. That piece (the sample track posted with that album) was so impressive their name imprinted itself on my memory -- and then this album turns up. In the absence of hearing much else by them...

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...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More (Universal)

This four-piece from London may have a banjo on hand and a similar way with an archaic lyric and alt.folk melody as Fleet Foxes, but here on their debut album with widescreen producer Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire's Neon Bible) they bring some dramatic urgency which kicks them clearly into the alt.rock territory. With songs which have a...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 John Grant: Queen of Denmark (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 John Grant: Queen of Denmark (Shock)

Although he recorded three albums with the band the Czars, we should perhaps treat this quite exceptional, moving, funny, droll and heart-breaking singer-songwriter as a new artist. And on those terms he immediately places himself in the company of early Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and a more humorous Rufus Wainwright for songs like Sigourney...

Stornoway: Beachcomber's Windowsill (4AD)

Stornoway: Beachcomber's Windowsill (4AD)

Named for a small town in the Outer Hebrides and affecting a kind of folksy pop, Stornoway from Oxford pull light and slightly satirical styles (We Are The Battery Humans with its references to people born to be free-range but preferring to watch television) together with Anglofolk of the Amazing Blondel-to-Fleet Foxes continuum and literary...

Mountain Man: Made the Harbor (Spunk)

Mountain Man: Made the Harbor (Spunk)

Here's an unusual and interesting one: Mountain Man are actually three young women Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath from various parts of the great USA who met at Bennington College in Vermont. Inspired by a mutual love of a kind of alt.folk and old time country -- and a cappella singing -- they formed this...

Damien Jurado: Saint Bartlett (Secretly Canadian/Rhythmethod)

Damien Jurado: Saint Bartlett (Secretly Canadian/Rhythmethod)

With a lovely, sympathetic production by Richard Swift -- sort of budget-priced Phil Spector -- and melodies which swell with Fifties and Sixties pop-romanticism, this is one of those album (like Swift's) which will be taken to heart with a passion by those who discover it. Previously Jurado out of Seattle came at you from the...

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...

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Midlake (LateNightTales/Southbound)

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Midlake (LateNightTales/Southbound)

The Late Night Tales mix-tape series continues with this especially interesting and quite lovely collection put together by Midlake who had a Best of Elsewhere 2010 album with The Courage of Others (and were instrumental in John Grant's Queen of Denmark, also a winner that year). The chief feature here -- aside from the coherence of the...

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 Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)

A propos of not much, Fleet Foxes' chief songwriter Robin Pecknold recently recorded New Zealand singer-songwriter Chris Thompson's Where is My Wild Rose? for an EP and it appears on You Tube (just with stills) here. But . . . to the matter in hand. If it's fair to say FFoxes' debut album was unexpected, then we might also observe...

The Middle East: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Unspk)

The Middle East: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Unspk)

When a five song EP by this group out of Townsville appeared in '09 Elsewhere erroneously reported they had broken up and mourned their passing. Fortunately we were quickly corrected -- misinformation is easy to find on the internet, huh? -- and so therefore this album has been welcomed. Recorded in Australia and in Midlake's studio in...

Ray LaMontagne: Till The Sun Turns Black (Sony)

Ray LaMontagne: Till The Sun Turns Black (Sony)

Singer/songwriter LaMontagne is a reclusive type whose previous album Trouble of two years ago was a critical favourite and even managed to sell around a quarter of a million copies. Not bad for an unknown whose music has a deeply personal and cathartic quality, and hardly sounds chipper or media friendly in his tight-lipped interviews....

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