rufus wainwright

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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...

Duke Special: Songs From The Deep Forest (Shock)

Duke Special: Songs From The Deep Forest (Shock)

Elsewhere works in mysterious ways, it's wonders to perform. About 10 days ago I got an e-mail from guy in Belfast, Jonny McEwen. He'd seen Elsewhere and suggested I check out an Irish musician called Duke Special, and he provided me with a web-link and a review someone had written. I was curious but figured that while Duke Special...

Richard Thompson: Sweet Warrior (Southbound)

Richard Thompson: Sweet Warrior (Southbound)

At the time of Richard Thompson's excellent Rumour and Sigh album in '97 I decided I'd had enough of hearing how he was a cult figure whose albums never sold: so I did an interview with him (he had a reputation for being earnest but he was chatty on the phone and when I met him in London a few years later he was very chipper) and I ran the story...

Rufus Wainwright; Release the Stars (Geffen) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Rufus Wainwright; Release the Stars (Geffen) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

As with Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, alt.country acts and Bjork, Rufus Wainwright is one of those artists who are only tangentially part of what we might call "rock culture". As with the above, his albums get reviewed in rock magazines and newspaper columns -- but he also exists outside of the parameters: he famously recreated Judy...

Teddy Thompson: Up Front and Down Low ((Verve)

Teddy Thompson: Up Front and Down Low ((Verve)

The son of Richard is now on his third album but for this quietly exceptional album he takes a left-turn from his originals and goes back to the music he grew up with: American country which he grew up listening to at his dad's house. This sensitive collection of classics and little-known covers (and one striking original, Down Low) proves...

Linda Thompson; Versatile Heart (Decca) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Linda Thompson; Versatile Heart (Decca) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Few would make the mistake of coming to Anglo-folk legend Thompson for their jollies -- but even the well-prepared might gulp at the melacholy mood in which this is suffused. While the country twangin' foot-tapper Do Your Best For Rock'n Roll includes the promising line "take me to a bar" it ends with "and leave me there to...

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...

Patrick Watson: Close to Paradise (Secret City/Elite)

Patrick Watson: Close to Paradise (Secret City/Elite)

This one has risen without a trace which is disappointing -- and also somewhat of a surprise given it picked up Canada's Polaris Music Award late last year (beating Arcade Fire's Neon Bible and the Feist album The Reminder -- both Elsewhere-listed) and Patrick Watson (the name of the singer-songwriter but also this Montreal-based band) were...

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...

Joan As Police Woman: To Survive (Liberator)

Joan As Police Woman: To Survive (Liberator)

Joan As Police Woman certainly has an arresting name (sorry!) but it is her remarkable voice that will capture you (and sorry again!).Joan Wasser's debut album Real Life of two years ago was a remarkable album and was hailed at Elsewhere and elsewhere. The Guardian said of her voice  that it was "so wondrous and moving that it makes...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Teddy Thompson: A Piece of What You Need (Verve)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Teddy Thompson: A Piece of What You Need (Verve)

This son of Richard and Linda keeps good company: among his friends and fellow travellers are the Wainwrights (Rufus, Martha, and their father Loudon), guitarist Marc Ribot, the Band's Garth Hudson and other hip congnoscenti.His last album Upfront and Down Low was mostly a country covers outing. And despite possessing the same kind of effete...

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'...

The Unthanks: Here's the Tender Coming (Shock)

The Unthanks: Here's the Tender Coming (Shock)

Mercury Prize nominated or not, the previous album The Bairns by these Geordies -- then under the name Rachel Unthank and the Winterset -- did not do it for me, and hence didn't get posted at Elsewhere. It sounded far too finger-in-the ear gloom-folk and of marginal interest to anyone outside the English folk circle (and Mercury panels) which...

JAKOB DYLAN INTERVIEWED (2002): Out of his father's long shadow

JAKOB DYLAN INTERVIEWED (2002): Out of his father's long shadow

You gotta feel sorry for the guy. He's 32 years of age, is now on his fourth album with his band the Wallflowers, and still people want to talk about what he politely calls "the peripheral stuff". You can guess what that might be when the guy's name is Jakob Dylan and he was the youngest of five children growing up with their...

ELVIS COSTELLO: SPECTACLE, SEASON ONE (Ovation/Southbound DVD set)

ELVIS COSTELLO: SPECTACLE, SEASON ONE (Ovation/Southbound DVD set)

Because television talk shows depend largely on the quality of the guests, Rove (the programme, not the man) will always be more interesting than any local production. When it comes to visiting artists and celebrities, Australia gets more passing trade. Imagine then the greater talent available in New York if you set up a music/talk...

Rufus Wainwright: All Days Are Nights; Songs for Lulu (Decca)

Rufus Wainwright: All Days Are Nights; Songs for Lulu (Decca)

It's perhaps enough to note that this is Art Music in which Wainwright sings largely chorus-free, sweeping lyrics over the top of grandiose and often grandiloquent solo piano and addresses the death of his mother Kate (his greatest supporter and critics, he says) and dedicates it to his sister Martha, "the bright lady". This is...

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...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Justin Currie: The Great War (Ryko/Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Justin Currie: The Great War (Ryko/Southbound)

Some of these songs heard at a distance -- just the sharp pop and guitar jangle coming through -- and you'd pin Justin Currie as a smart power pop singer-songwriter who might give the charts some real damage. But my guess is most people don't want emotional pessimism, venomous songs about partners and a seething rage bordering on...

Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlight (Spunk)

Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlight (Spunk)

This fourth album by Antony confirms what many already suspect, that a little of this divine, sublime voice can go a long way. All that high drama and quivering vocals, the allusive lyrics, the symphonic strings . . . It's all high-wire emotion and, as with Rufus Wainwright's All Days Are Nights, over the long haul it becomes demanding and...

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...

Joan As Police Woman: The Deep Field (Liberator)

Joan As Police Woman: The Deep Field (Liberator)

After two excellent albums, notably her previous and admittedly dark To Survive in 2008, Joan Wasser has more fully immersed herself in slow and slightly funky soul music with reference points in classic Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder's more introspective 70s songs. And she's pulled it together here with references to that art music of...

Teddy Thompson: Bella (Verve)

Teddy Thompson: Bella (Verve)

This 35-year old son of famed British folk-rockers Richard and Linda follows his own path. He took his powerful, sensitive voice to excellent originals on his second album Separate Ways in 05, followed it up with an album of country covers Upfront and Down Low (which boasted the stunning sole original in Down Low) then unveiled the...

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 –...

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III INTERVIEWED (2008): The family that sings together . . .

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III INTERVIEWED (2008): The family that sings together . . .

These days American singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III -- touted as a “new Dylan” at the dawn of the 70s and whose critically acclaimed 20 or so albums since have skirted the edges of public acceptance -- is pretty well known, but perhaps not for his own sake: he is father to famous Rufus and fairly-famous Martha. But Loudon...

Magnetic Fields: 69 Love Songs (2000)

Magnetic Fields: 69 Love Songs (2000)

Many years ago, because it was silly, I started picking up the odd tribute album. And tribute albums are odd indeed. Without much difficulty -- because tribute albums almost invariably end up in discount bins -- I quickly possessed a tribute to a band that never existed (hats off to the Rutles) and to a band that seemed to have always...

Various: Rogue's Gallery (Anti/Shock)

Various: Rogue's Gallery (Anti/Shock)

Believe it or not, when I was a kid my dad -- who had spent time at sea and was never happier than when on a ship -- not only played my Beatles and his Louis Armstrong albums with equal enjoyment, but would often bang on a Burl Ives album of sea shanties. My younger sister and I grew up to the sound of him singing, "My father was the...

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