tom waits

tom waits on Elsewhere by Graham Reid - browse 52 items of content tagged as 'tom waits'.

Tom Waits: Orphans (Shock)

Tom Waits: Orphans (Shock)

The American journalist Robert Wilonsky once observed of Tom Waits' music, either you like the sound of a barking dog, or you buy yourself a cat. Those of us who love and admire Waits' work live with the sound of the barking dog. Waits may have often made a beautiful noise, but it was a noise nonetheless. From a bohemian barfly poet...

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...

Rickie Lee Jones: Sermon on Exposition Boulevard (NewWest/Elite)

Rickie Lee Jones: Sermon on Exposition Boulevard (NewWest/Elite)

Not gonna lie to you: this is not the easiest album RLJ has made. It takes the form of some strange, sometimes Beat-styled ruminations on the life and words of Christ and how they have been appropriated by Christianity. In places it sounds like it has risen from the steam of the streets like a scene from Taxi Driver. The openers work over...

Karen Hunter: Rubble (Monkey)

Karen Hunter: Rubble (Monkey)

The guy who wrote the liner notes for this long overdue album by Auckland singer-songwriter Hunter -- it was me actually -- says he can well remember the first time he saw her perform: it was over 15 years ago and she stood so far outside the self-proscribed parameters that most musicians put on themselves you couldn't help but be stunned....

Soulsavers: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land (V2) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Soulsavers: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land (V2) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Suffused in religion, redemption, Christian imagery and dark melancholy (aside from the uplifting opener Revival which deliberately recalls Knocking On Heaven's Door), this is an exceptional album -- and one which seems a very long way from what we might loosely call "rock culture". With guest vocalist Mark Lanegan's solemn baritone...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Watermelon Slim and the Workers; The Wheel Man (Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Watermelon Slim and the Workers; The Wheel Man (Southbound)

To be honest I didn't quite "get" the last, self-titled, album by this rough'n'ready bluesman, but I was clearly in the minority: the album won the Mojo magazine and the Independent Music Awards for blues album of the year, got six nominations at the Blues Music Awards and so on. And this album -- which I have to say I...

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...

Various: Healing the Divide (Anti/Shock)

Various: Healing the Divide (Anti/Shock)

Now that Earth Aid or whatever it was called has retreated safely into the distance we might well ask: What the hell was that all about? "So, you, like, didn't get the point of Al's film thing because there was talking and charts and that -- but Madonna's set, like, just soooo turned you around on this global warming stuff?"...

Over The Rhine: The Trumpet Child (RedEye/Southbound)

Over The Rhine: The Trumpet Child (RedEye/Southbound)

When this Cincinnati-based duo came to New Zealand 18 months ago I did an interview with them and noted they were receiving media interest more befitting Really Big Stars: lining up for a chat were the Herald; Kim Hill; the Listener and student radio; and there was an intimate gig before well-placed radio and retail people. Not that they...

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...

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss; Raising Sand (Rounder) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss; Raising Sand (Rounder) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

From what seems a most unlikely pairing -- the former Led Zepp frontman and the "new bluegrass" singer/fiddle player -- comes one of the best albums of the year: an often eerie folk-framed collection in which the duo engage the heart of songs by Townes Van Zandt (the other-world sound of Nothing), Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan...

Jeffrey Foucault: Ghost Repeater (Signature)

Jeffrey Foucault: Ghost Repeater (Signature)

Not sure where this album has been -- it was recorded in 2005 and released in the rest of the world the following year - but it has just turned up in my letterbox. Produced by Bo Ramsey (a hallmark of quality) these are troubadour country songs grounded in a dark America of lonesome travellers, the search for a place, ghosts of the past and...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008:  Hayes Carll: Trouble in Mind (Lost Highway)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Hayes Carll: Trouble in Mind (Lost Highway)

You'd think with strip malls, fast food franchises, saturation low-cost reality television and the widespread levelling out of mainstream culture that guys like Carll would have been ironed out of American life But he's one of those crinkles in the texture, an alt.country-cum-trad.country guy who is a little early Steve Earle and Joe Ely,...

Elvis Costello and the Imposters: Momofuku (Lost Highway)

Elvis Costello and the Imposters: Momofuku (Lost Highway)

Elvis Costello has been at it so long now -- his debut was more than three decades ago (see Absolute Elsewhere) -- he's reached that McCartney/Clapton platform where he could do his best work in years, and few would be listening. Costello's most recent albums have been loosely in the classical and jazz genres, and an album of New...

T Bone Burnett: Tooth of Crime (Nonesuch)

T Bone Burnett: Tooth of Crime (Nonesuch)

Burnett might not be a household name but you can bet his name is in the small print in many households: among other albums he has produced are Los Lobos' How Will the Wolf Survive?, a couple for Elvis Costello in the mid-late 80s, two for Gillian Welch (Revival, Hell Among the Yearlings), various soundtracks and incidental music (Oh Brother,...

Malcolm Holcombe: Gamblin' House (Borders)

Malcolm Holcombe: Gamblin' House (Borders)

Your first response to this gruff-voiced, whisky-stained singer-songwriter may be, "how come I haven't heard of him sooner?"Well, diligent Elsewhere listeners may well have: he appeared on the massive and ambitious Songs of America triple set which appeared here some months back. He sang The Old Woman Taught Wisdom, a song which dates...

INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM; TOM WAITS THE COLLECTED INTERVIEWS (2006) edited by Mac Montandon

INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM; TOM WAITS THE COLLECTED INTERVIEWS (2006) edited by Mac Montandon

The musical journey of Tom Waits -- from bohemian barfly poet with an affection for the Beat Generation and Raymond Chandler to the clank’n’grind noir-noise of his more recent albums -- has been one of the most rewarding in rock culture. Although immediately that needs qualification: Waits has been of rock culture but never part...

WATERMELON SLIM INTERVIEWED (2007): He's had interesting lives

WATERMELON SLIM INTERVIEWED (2007): He's had interesting lives

“You tell them this,” says 58-year old bluesman Watermelon Slim in a voice which sounds like he has been gargling whisky-soaked nails. “God has blessed me with an extremely full and interesting life. It’s not all been fun or positive and I’m not proud of everything I’ve done. But I’ve been blessed to get...

TOM WAITS IN THE 21st CENTURY: Alice, Blood Money, Real Gone and Orphans

TOM WAITS IN THE 21st CENTURY: Alice, Blood Money, Real Gone and Orphans

Think about it for a moment: "Stirring my brandy with a nail". Delivered in Tom Waits' oaken croak, it has everything: the mean spirit of drinking, the bitter taste of melancholy, the sheer aloneness of it all. It is a great Waits line. But it was also a typical Waits image. If there was a surprise about Waits' Mule...

ORNETTE COLEMAN AND THE NAKED LUNCH SOUNDTRACK (1991): Something else, again

ORNETTE COLEMAN AND THE NAKED LUNCH SOUNDTRACK (1991): Something else, again

Movie director David Cronenberg was a gutsy guy, asking Ornette Coleman to play on the soundtrack for his inspired but ultimately flawed realisation of crusty old Bill Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. Ornette Coleman was the perfect choice, of course – eccentric and of Burroughs’ period, he'd spent time in those hills above Tangiers...

Chuck E Weiss: Old Souls and Wolf Tickets (Ryko)

Chuck E Weiss: Old Souls and Wolf Tickets (Ryko)

Some people are more rewarded for what they don't achieve rather than what they do. There are politicians whose gift is to keep their heads down, make no mistakes but do nothing of consequence, and wait for a position on a board.  That's in the nature of self-serving politics, perhaps. However it's more unusual for musicians who are...

Booker T: Potato Hole (Anti)

Booker T: Potato Hole (Anti)

This was either going to be brilliant, or . . .  First the background: here is the great soul-funk Hammond B3 organ player Booker T (he of Green Onions fame with the MGs, and that band behind dozens of Stax artists) teamed up with Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers who know this sound and style inside out. Oh, and Neil Young (who toured...

Diana Krall: The Girl in the Other Room (Universal)

Diana Krall: The Girl in the Other Room (Universal)

Krall has been among the more anodyne of "jazz" artists and while her lightweight stylishness has undoubted appeal for less demanding listeners there has often seemed an emotional vacuum at the centre of her breathy vocals and constrained piano playing. While she may be her own woman you can't help note that marriage to Elvis...

Tom Waits: Bone Machine (Island)

Tom Waits: Bone Machine (Island)

In the early Nineties Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead observed that Bob Dylan still wrote the most beautiful tunes . . . didn't always sing 'em of course, but the melody was in there somewhere. With Bone Machine -- Waits' best album Rain Dogs in '85 and clear contender for album of the year in '92 -- Waits penned a a bracket of melancholy,...

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...

Jim White: No Such Place (Luaka Bop)

Jim White: No Such Place (Luaka Bop)

Tom Waits' influence crops up in unexpected places. After his superbly titled Wrong-Eyed Jesus, the man who goes by the unmemorable nom de disque Jim White comes back for a second album of dark narratives, juke-joint folk-blues a la Tom, and disconcerting atmospheric productions on stories which begin, "Long about an hour before sunrise...

Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Deluxe Edition (Universal CD/DVD)

Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Deluxe Edition (Universal CD/DVD)

Elton is like a kindly old uncle these days, giving big ups to Ryan Adams, throwing post-Oscar parties, behaving himself, turning up on Disney soundtracks, or rewriting one of his prettiest tunes for the funeral of a slightly wacky royal. And he got married (again, to a man this time though).  It's hard to remember that he was,...

Rickie Lee Jones: Balm in Gilead (Universal)

Rickie Lee Jones: Balm in Gilead (Universal)

Ms Jones has slipped so far down the totem pole of public attention in the past decade that her last album -- the ambitious Sermon on Exposition Boulevard of 2007 in which she meditated on Jesus and other things -- went straight past most. Jones works her own territory: one part jazz, a nod to pop, sometimes soulful or almost spoken word, and...

LOWSIDE OF THE ROAD: A LIFE OF TOM WAITS by BARNEY HOSKYNS

LOWSIDE OF THE ROAD: A LIFE OF TOM WAITS by BARNEY HOSKYNS

One of Tom Waits’ most eerie yet surprisingly popular songs is the speculative What’s He Building? from his 1999 album Mule Variations. In it neighbours wonder about the odd nocturnal activities of their neighbour: "He has no friends and his lawn dying ... enough formaldehyde to choke a horse, what's he building in...

Karen Hunter: Inside Outside (Rawfishsalad)

Karen Hunter: Inside Outside (Rawfishsalad)

As a performer, Auckland singer-songwriter Hunter is one of the most assured we've got. She shifts effortlessly from acoustic cafe to the festival circuit in Canada, bars in Australia and thinks nothing of strapping on the Telecaster for nuggety rock gigs. You can take the girl out of the metal but ... After her excellent Private...

Karen Hunter: Words and Groove (Rawfishsalad)

Karen Hunter: Words and Groove (Rawfishsalad)

Those who have followed Auckland singer-songwriter Hunter's long career will confirm that she has progressively moved from a kind of alt.indie outsider status with albums such as The Private Life of Clowns ('98) and Inside Outside ('03) which bristled with ideas from rock, spoken word, jazz-blues and alt.folk to something closer to mainstream...

Tom Waits: Glitter and Doom Live (Anti/Shock)

Tom Waits: Glitter and Doom Live (Anti/Shock)

Barney Hoskyn's recent useful but flawed Waits biography Lowside of the Road ended with the writer going to see Tom Waits in concert on this brief tour which was widely acclaimed as the best of 2008. Waits hadn't been out live in some while (11 years since he'd last appeared in the UK) and as a result his cachet had grown and expectation was...

Frank Sinatra: In the Wee Small Hours (1955)

Frank Sinatra: In the Wee Small Hours (1955)

Some may remember it, that strange time when we were told that Tony Bennett was hip with the grunge crowd. It seemed unlikely (I doubted it) but it at least gave me the opportunity to interview him and he was, of course, positively charming as you might have expected. Quite why anyone would prefer Tony Bennett over Frank Sinatra was always...

The Coosters: Worn Out Libertines (Coosters)

The Coosters: Worn Out Libertines (Coosters)

First some background to this one. As you might guess Elsewhere gets music and requests for reviews from many and various places -- but this was a first from Toledo, Ohio. When guitarist/singer Steven J Athanas sent an e-mail asking if I would be interested in their album he seemed smart and witty - and when I replied along the lines of...

Forbidden Joe: In Mourning for the Pride of Petravore (Forbidden Joe)

Forbidden Joe: In Mourning for the Pride of Petravore (Forbidden Joe)

The previous EP by this Auckland folk trio (and friends) was impressive but tantalizingly too brief to get a full picture of what they were and might be capable of. But the one song by Francis Dickinson prompted me to point to it as something rather special and hold out hope for more from her astute pen when the album rolled around....

ABSOLUTE WILSON, a documentary by KATHARINA OTTO-BERNSTEIN (Southbound DVD)

ABSOLUTE WILSON, a documentary by KATHARINA OTTO-BERNSTEIN (Southbound DVD)

Choreographer Robert Wilson is one of those rare individuals who can dress a stage to look like a private dream inspired by the stillness of a Rene Magritte paiting or a mad cabaret populated by frogs and floating chairs. Either way, at a glance you can spot a Wilson design. They are idiosyncratic, unique, often visionary, sometimes...

Tom Waits: Mr Henry (1980)

Tom Waits: Mr Henry (1980)

Here's a beautiful old rare one -- with surface noise included -- taken from that period when Waits was writing barfly short stories in song. This outtake from the Heartattack and Vine album of 1980 only ever appeared on an Asylum compilation Bounced Checks ('81) and that record hasn't been released on CD. So here is Waits from three...

Various Artists: Weird Nightmare; Meditations on Mingus (Sony)

Various Artists: Weird Nightmare; Meditations on Mingus (Sony)

Arranger Hal Willner has put together some exciting, fascinating, irritating collaborations in the past on his tributes to Walt Disney music, Thelonious Monk, Kurt Weill and Fellini soundtrack man Nino Rota. But this one for jazz composer/bassist Charles Mingus is a bit different. Previously Willner would put together people such as...

Tom Waits: What Keeps Mankind Alive? (1985)

Tom Waits: What Keeps Mankind Alive? (1985)

How do you describe Hal Willner? Is he an arranger (yes), producer (definitely) or a facilitator (most definitely)? Over the years he has brought many diverse artists together on projects to celebrate and reinterpret the work of composer Nino Rota, Thelonious Monk, and most recently the Rogue's Gallery collection of pirate ballads, sea songs...

WATERMELON SLIM AND THE WORKERS; LIVE AT THE GROUND ZERO BLUES CLUB (NorthernBlues/Southbound DVD)

WATERMELON SLIM AND THE WORKERS; LIVE AT THE GROUND ZERO BLUES CLUB (NorthernBlues/Southbound DVD)

Watermelon Slim has lived quite some dangerous and interesting life (see interview here) and he owns a face which, we might charitably described as "lived in". In this DVD of him and his band live at Clarksdale's famous Ground Zero blues club, he tells of once waking up in the local hospital with a dislocated jaw and then driving...

Sean Rowe: Magic (Anti)

Sean Rowe: Magic (Anti)

Because of the nature of his burred baritone -- and these profound and emotionally deep songs -- it would be wrong to say this debut by New York singer-songwriter Rowe is "exciting". That might give the impression of pulse-racing music  . . . and this isn't like that at all. Quite the opposite, it can be heart-stopping. But...

Over the Rhine: The Long Surrender (GDS)

Over the Rhine: The Long Surrender (GDS)

After a series of fine albums, Ohio's Over the Rhine here -- with sympathetic producer Joe Henry – deliver their most sophisticated album to date, one with an ear on their European-cabaret sounding alt.country (with exceptional players such as steel guitarist Greg Leisz) in songs of uncertainty and reassurance, and torch ballads of...

Harry Partch: And on the Seventh Day, Petals Fell in Petaluma (excerpt, date unknown, possibly Sixties)

Harry Partch: And on the Seventh Day, Petals Fell in Petaluma (excerpt, date unknown, possibly Sixties)

When Tom Waits swerved left from his barroom piano ballads and into using new or found sounds on his clank'n'grind albums in the mid Eighties, he was hailed as an innovator . . . but conspiciously few followed him down that path. These days albums where musicians use unusual instruments are increasingly common and any number will name-check...

Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven (YepRoc)

Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven (YepRoc)

The former Blaster (a band he shared with his brother Phil) has been delivering his earthy, rootsy blues out there on the road for decades now. He was briefly in X and the Gun Club, but mostly he's been taking his dusty, country-edged dark baritone to narratives about what he sees out there: railroads and desert highways, the losers and lost,...

Punches: Etheria (Punches/Arch Hill)

Punches: Etheria (Punches/Arch Hill)

Singer/bassist Kelly Sherrod and guitarist/singer James Duncan – both formerly in Dimmer among other previous band experiences, she now based in Nashville – follow the dreamy folk-psychedelia of their self-titled 2006 EP with this beguiling, hypnotic album recorded long distance and lowkey in distant home studios, which makes...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Kelly Sherrod and James Duncan of Punches

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Kelly Sherrod and James Duncan of Punches

Punches is the nom de disque of James Duncan and Kelly Sherrod who have conducted a long distance recording session for their extraordinary album Etheria (reviewed here). Over the course of recording she was in Nashville and he was in Auckland . . . and their joint reply to the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire comes from James in Berlin where he...

Thrashing Marlin: Donkey Deep (Braille)

Thrashing Marlin: Donkey Deep (Braille)

Four albums in a 15 year career seems a leisurely pace but David Donaldson and Steve Roche – the core of Wellington's Thrashing Marlin – are busy on other projects, as Donaldson indicates in his interesting answers to the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire. Still, this album is worth the wait as they throw their considerable...

Tom Waits and the Kronos Quartet: Diamond in Your Mind (2007)

Tom Waits and the Kronos Quartet: Diamond in Your Mind (2007)

With a new Tom Waits album Bad As Me due in late October (his first studio album in seven years), it is timely to prime the pump with a little known item From the Vaults. In 2007 at a concert in New York's Avery Fisher Hal in the Lincoln Centre, Waits and the Kronos Quartet joined a line-up which included Anoushka Shankar, the Gyoto Tantric...

TOM WAITS INTERVIEWED (2011): Cutting through tough scrub

TOM WAITS INTERVIEWED (2011): Cutting through tough scrub

As many who've tried will attest, you don't so much interview Tom Waits as ask a question . . . then hope for the best. His reply might be an oddball witticism which is funny but evasive, a yawning and uncomfortable silence, a strange but insightful analogy which makes better sense later or a mumbled “I dunno, you know”. Of...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Tom Waits: The Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Tom Waits: The Original Album Series (Rhino)

Although Tom Waits' dramatic change of musical direction after 1980, curated by his wife Kathleen Brennan who help him forge connections with the avant-garde, has lead to his music being much admired and respected, there were many who might still agree with critic Ian Penman who was bold enough to admit, "Personally I prefer mid-period...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Tom Waits: Bad As Me (Anti)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Tom Waits: Bad As Me (Anti)

At the end of the local edition of this exceptional album -- Tom Waits' first studio album in seven years -- there is a disconcerting litany of images entitled with seeming certainty After You Die, but which in fact asks the more pointed question, "what is it like after we die?" Waits yowls through it like a man broken on a rack,...

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST DVD REVIEWED (2007)

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST DVD REVIEWED (2007)

If you want to capture the essence of the 70s in a word it's "hair". At the start of the decade there were Afros and cascades of curls halfway down backs (that's the men) and the long straight stuff with fringes (the women -- and Noddy Holder from Slade). By mid-decade there were dreadlocks, moustaches and big sideburns...

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