Absolute Elsewhere

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OMC'S HOW BIZARRE, ON VINYL (2021): Wanna know the rest, buy the album

12 Apr 2021  |  4 min read

In his excellent 2015 memoir-cum-biography-cum social history How Bizarre: Pauly Fuemana and the Song That Stormed the World, Fuemana-champion Simon Grigg, with clear eyes, wrote candidly of the problems with Pauly Fuemana who had died in January 2010. Pauly was difficult and volatile, but when it came to music things were even more problematic: he could neither read nor write music and... > Read more

DIANNE SWANN, INTERVIEWED (2021): The journey is also the destination

10 Apr 2021  |  22 min read

Above our heads the speakers are playing some uninterrupted selection of classic rock: Zeppelin, Elton, Eagles and all the usual suspects. This is familiar music calculated not to offend the patrons of the excellent Beer Spot in Morningside. But on this Wednesday lunchtime there is only Dianne Swann and me. We're here to have a beer or two and talk about her new album The War on... > Read more

Reel You In

TEEKS, IN HIS TIME (2021): Soul searching sounds

3 Apr 2021  |  2 min read

From the Yandall Sisters, Māori showbands and Mark Williams through to Aaradhna repurposing Motown and the R'n'B of Vince Harder, Black America's music has long been a reference point for local artists, notably soulful Māori and Pasifika singers. The sound of spiritual yearning but secular concerns – that short distance between pleading to the Lord or to a lover – is the... > Read more

TEEKS, A VIDEO ESSAY (2021): Soul star rising

22 Mar 2021  |  <1 min read

If there is one long-awaited debut album from a New Zealand artist it is that by Teeks – Te Karehana Gardiner-Toi (Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui) – whose 2017 debut EP The Grapefruit Skies announced a major talent. His writing and vocal style brought together gospel language (Wash Over Me) and classic 60s soul (If Only, Never Be Apart) . You believed every... > Read more

ESTÈRE THEN AND NOW, AN OVERVIEW (2021): For the Jung at heart

19 Mar 2021  |  4 min read

Although the 2018 album My Design, On Others' Lives by Wellington's Estère didn't make much of a dent in public consciousness or the chart for albums by local artists – just two weeks on, in at 10 dropping to 15 – anyone who heard it recognised an extraordinary production by one of our most acute, enjoyable and ambitiously unconstrained artists. ... > Read more

Mad About Your Sea

ROBERT SCOTT ON THE CLEAN'S MISTER POP (2021): It's pop, mister. But different

17 Mar 2021  |  2 min read

As we noted when the Clean's David Kilgour walked us through track-by-track of the band's Unknown Country of 1996, the US label Merge now has the rights to Clean's complete catalogue they have decided to issue two of the band's albums – Unknown Country and Mister Pop (2009) -- on vinyl for the first time. Elsewhere recently wrote a lengthy reconsideration of Unknown Country and... > Read more

DAVID KILGOUR ON THE CLEAN'S UNKNOWN COUNTRY (2021): Track by track down the sidetrack

15 Mar 2021  |  2 min read

With the US label Merge now having the rights to Clean's complete catalogue they have decided to issue two of the band's albums – Unknown Country (1996) and Mister Pop (2009) on vinyl for the first time. Elsewhere recently wrote a lengthy reconsideration of Unknown Country, an album which didn't find much favour with critics and some fans, but now band member David Kilgour walks... > Read more

THE CLEAN, UNKNOWN COUNTRY, REVISITED (2021): The roads less taken

10 Mar 2021  |  4 min read

When the Clean's 1996 album Unknown Country arrived it clearly wasn't the album Clean critics, schooled on their early Eighties output and the more recent Vehicle, wanted. Many thought it a hodge-podge of diverse ideas from musicians with short-concentration spans – 18 songs in 45 minutes may have been a pointer – and that was true. Sort of. About five years before... > Read more


MADISON BEER, AN EARLY OVERVIEW (2021): Another young pretender?

6 Mar 2021  |  3 min read

While it's true 21-year old Madison Beer from New York does not make music for Elsewhere's ears, she is of considerable interest for all kinds of reasons. And her long overdue debut album Life Support – arriving eight years after her debut single and three on from her debut EP – isn't bad at all . . . . by the current, downbeat self-centred and languidly sensual pop standards.... > Read more

BOB DYLAN IN 1970 (2021): A self-portrait at the end of the decade he defined, but why?

28 Feb 2021  |  5 min read  |  1

For the remaining few who care about Bob Dylan in reissues – refracted portraits of the artist as a younger man? – the newly released triple-CD of previously unreleased rehearsals and sessions in 1970 will be . .  Well, you'd like to say the set – under the simple title, 1970 – contains material which is seminal, reveals unexpected depths, that those sessions... > Read more

I Went to See the Gypsy (take 2)

MIRIAM CLANCY, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2021): The survivor thriving

27 Feb 2021  |  1 min read

The words – sung quietly over a hushed and haunting backdrop – speak about dead-end suburbs, tinny houses, boys getting young girls pregnant, and that place where “there’s always nothing to do”. The song is ‘Ghost Town’ on Miriam Clancy’s 2009 Magnetic album and as an encapsulation of lives on New Zealand’s margins it is... > Read more

THE WEATHER STATION, AN OVERVIEW (2021): Long distance outlook, fine

26 Feb 2021  |  3 min read

As if to telegraph a new beginning, the 2017 album by the Weather Station out of Toronto was simply titled, The Weather Station. By that point however the Weather Station – the vehicle for singer and songwriter Tamara Lindeman – had already released four albums and two EPs. However, you always had the sense Lindeman was on a journey from the folk of her early days to... > Read more

FORTENSKY, INTRODUCED (2021): Musical travels during lockdown

17 Feb 2021  |  3 min read

The name will be unfamiliar – unless you followed the marriages of Elizabeth Taylor. Larry Fortensky was her seventh and final husband: they were married at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch in October '91 after she met him – a construction worker – in rehab in '88. They were divorced five years later. She died in 2011, he died in 2016. None of which has anything... > Read more

Las Vegas

THE BEATLES AS BORROWERS (2021): Just let me hear that . . .

16 Feb 2021  |  <1 min read

As original as they were, the Beatles – especially in their early days – drank from some very deep wells of rock'n'roll, country and black American soul. As we noted in What the Beatles Knew By '62, they had an enormous repertoire of covers in their armory, so when they came to write originals they knew how songs worked and could mix'n'match styles to create something of their... > Read more


13 Feb 2021  |  2 min read

In the early 2000s, sitting in his office six floors above midtown Manhattan, Bruce Lundvall had every reason to be happy. As head of Blue Note Records – the company which defined the sound of classic jazz and the look in the 50s and 60s with artists like John Coltrane, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock – he'd rescued the label, which had faltered in the 70s, to make it the... > Read more

AN OFF-RAMP OF THOKEI TAPES (2021): Spools of sound from home and abroad

7 Feb 2021  |  3 min read

Elsewhere has previously written about Thokei Tapes out of Germany, an independent company specialising in cassette tapes of New Zealand artists not on the main motorways of music, or those on the road who have turned off for a while. That has meant compilations of obscurities and rarities by artists such as Chris Knox, Robert Scott (Bats, Clean), David Yetton (JPSE, Stereo Bus), Magick... > Read more

GRAEME DOWNES, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2021): There is a Doctor in the house

5 Feb 2021  |  1 min read

There has never been anyone like Graeme Downes in the broad landscape of New Zealand music. An internationally acclaimed academic for his research on the composer/conductor Gustav Mahler and 19thcentury symphonic music, Dr Graeme Downes is perhaps better known at home and abroad as the writer and singer of the Verlaines, the Dunedin band which arrived in the first wave of Flying... > Read more

THE BEE GEES' STORY AND LEGACY (2021): The final curtain call

23 Jan 2021  |  4 min read

When Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, who knows a thing or two about siblings singing together, inducted the Bee Gees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 97 he called them “Britain's first family of harmony”.  But that Bee Gees aural signature was only part of their story. As songwriters with work performed by artists as diverse as Nina Simone, the Animals, Barbra... > Read more

TREES: FROM ARCHIVES INTO A BOX (2021): Seventies Brit-prog-folk onna psyche-American trip

26 Dec 2020  |  4 min read

To be honest, the British folk-rock band Trees never meant anything to me during their brief heyday of just a few years -- and one further album -- after their 1970 debut The Garden of Jane Delawney. In fact, the only time they passed my sight (and not even hearing at the time) was with the cover of that second album On the Shore on which a young girl is freeze-framed spinning a stripe of... > Read more



21 Dec 2020  |  11 min read  |  1

Well, we did ask . . . and are delighted that people have responded. Last week it was The Editor's Choices (40 of the best albums that we wrote about in 2020) and now it was your turn. Delighted of course that many of you said that Reb Fountain, Bob Dylan, Fiona Apple and others we chose would also have been in your hit list . . . but by inviting you to pick ones... > Read more