Absolute Elsewhere

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DAVID BOWIE, LODGER AT 40 (2019): The fantastic voyage into the familiarly unfamiliar

16 May 2019  |  4 min read

Although accepted as the final installment of David Bowie's “Berlin Trilogy” which started with Low and "Heroes", the Lodger album – released 40 years ago in May 1979 – never felt, or even looked, part of the set. Where the covers of its predecessors offered a more muted experience – on Low we see Bowie in profile, kind of low profile as it were... > Read more

Look Back in Anger (1979)

VANILLA FUDGE, THE BEAT GOES ON (2019): The most pointless album of the rock era?

13 May 2019  |  4 min read

When Vanilla Fudge released their Shadow Morton-produced album The Beat Goes On in 1968 the times and drugs were different. Rock musicians were reaching, and often over-reaching, the idea of a “concept” album had become embedded after Sgt Pepper, singles were being sneered at and albums – often with pretensions to classical influences – were where you could make Your... > Read more

THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL (2019): Celebrating 50 years of itself in a big box set

10 May 2019  |  3 min read

Things are strange when this year Fleetwood Mac headlined one night at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, standing in for the Stones because Mick Jagger was having heart surgery. Yes, the Macband used to play the blues, but that was many decades ago and you wouldn't have thought they'd have much, if anything, to do with the “jazz” and “heritage”... > Read more

Big Chief, Professor Longhair

DUANE AND GREGG ALLMAN, THEIR SHUFFLED-UP DEBUT RECONSIDERED (2019): Southern rock'n'soul brothers

6 May 2019  |  3 min read  |  2

Although the Allman name was carried by brother Gregg for decades after the death of Duane, it was that classic Allman Brothers Band which many today default to. After Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident in '71 – leaving behind just three ABB studio albums with him (their self-titled debut in '69, Idlewild South the following year and the posthumous East a Peach in '72) and... > Read more

BANDSTAND, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2019): Kiwi musicians on Australian screens

30 Apr 2019  |  1 min read

Video may have killed the radio star for the MTV generation, but during the 1960s in Australia, radio stars became household faces when they appeared on the small screen. In New Zealand the 1960s pop programmes In the Groove, Let’s Go, C’mon and Happen Inn(then Free Ride in the early 70s) by producer Kevan Moore – appointment viewing for a young audience wanting to see... > Read more

DENNY LAINE RECONSIDERED (2019): It wasn't much of a holly day

22 Apr 2019  |  4 min read

When he parted company with Paul McCartney at the dawn of the Eighties, Denny Laine had been the former Beatles loyal lieutenant for a difficult decade as McCartney falteringly launched a solo career then steadily soared upwards on the success of Wings. Denny Laine – born Brian Hines, he took Laine in tribute to singers Cleo Laine and Frankie Laine – was there for the first... > Read more

JAN HELLRIEGEL: SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR (book+CD/Seahorse Swim)

21 Apr 2019  |  2 min read  |  3

There is an interesting dichotomy in this book-album project by Auckland singer-songwriter Jan Hellriegel: In her prose she has an easy, anecdotal and conversational tone but the published words of the new songs on the tie-in CD are refined, poetic and precise. It is the difference between the artist and the art; and the vicissitudes and joys of the life that informs these penetrating... > Read more

Ice IV

MOANA MANIAPOTO PROFILED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2019): Taking tikanga and politics to the world

13 Apr 2019  |  1 min read

One of the most powerful and politically pointed performances at the 2014 Womad festival in New Plymouth came from Moana and the Tribe who – to thumping beats and a thrilling meltdown of dub, rock, reggae, funk and waiata – delivered a set which surpassed that of the internationals on that same main stage. Among the new songs she delivered – they would appear on... > Read more

SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES, REVISITED (2019): The sources, the song and the trickle-down

5 Apr 2019  |  5 min read  |  1

In 1965 Bob Dylan wrote Subterranean Homesick Blues and its innovative video (actually a film, this was before video clips) was much imitated (look down the bottom of this link to just how many!) In subsequent decades some claimed it as  the first rap song (it's not, but you can see the argument) and many many times this spoken word/rant style was much copied. It appeared as... > Read more

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S NEBRASKA (2019): The idea for the song from the film of the true story

23 Mar 2019  |  2 min read

It has been more than 35 years since Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, an album that many fans – and Springsteen himself – consider pivotal in his career and an artistic breakthrough into new and rewarding territory beyond rock'n'soul. After the sometimes bombastic heroics and escapism of Born to Run, it's more muted and humane Darkness on the Edge of Town and the double album The... > Read more

THE STAIRS RECONSIDERED (2019): Through the past, smartly

11 Mar 2019  |  3 min read

And suddenly, they they were, all The Definite Article bands. After years of single-name grunge outfits (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Tad etc) the post-Britpop groups appeared with “the” in front of their names. This wasn't new, of course, but in that Brit-pride world which had musically looked back to the Sixties for reference points (the Beatles, the Kinks, the Who, the... > Read more

Flying Machine

JULIA JACKLIN INTERVIEWED (2019): It's life Julia, but not as you knew it

25 Feb 2019  |  17 min read

Yes, Leonard Cohen makes sense . . . but Doris Day and the Andrews Sisters? “Oh, I love the Andrews Sisters,” says Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin of the famous close-harmony Forties and Fifties trio. Jacklin is back in New Zealand for a day to talk about her new album Crushing and to play a brief showcase before a flight back to... > Read more

Head Alone

RICHARD FARIÑA REMEMBERED (2019): The man who wouldn't be king

21 Feb 2019  |  12 min read

See him there in that photo from the early Sixties, the young singer standing alongside the beautiful Baez sisters Joan and Mimi. There he is again, a key figure hanging out in the downtown New York folk scene around the Village, his original songs pulling an audience his way, their lyrics political, allegorical, metaphorical and sometimes as gentle as a butterfly alighting on a leaf.... > Read more

Michael, Andrew and James

WINGS, AT THE SPEED OF SOUND CONSIDERED (2019): And now, some not so silly love songs?

20 Feb 2019  |  4 min read

Paul McCartney must have been livid with his record company in 1976. Consider: He'd been in the biggest and most culture-changing, money-making band of the century and along the way had written dozens of classic songs; a field-length list which included Yesterday, Penny Lane, Eleanor Rigby, She's Leaving Home and . . . Then when that band broke up he reinvented himself over a couple... > Read more

DENNIS CASEY OF FLOGGING MOLLY INTERVIEWED (2019): Taking Irish back to the Irish

18 Feb 2019  |  7 min read

Guitarist/singer Dennis Casey may boast a resonantly Irish surname and play in one of the most widely-acclaimed punk-influenced Irish folk-rock bands Flogging Molly, but the phone call catches him at home in Rochester, New York where he lives with wife and four children. And where he was brought up. With a laugh he's prepared to admit that Irish music didn't come to him until... > Read more

JAPANESE AMBIENT MUSIC OF THE EIGHTIES CONSIDERED (2019): The sound of very little, but beautiful

12 Feb 2019  |  5 min read

Someone very famous – who doesn't turn up on a Google search – once quipped “money follows intellect”. You'd like to think it was more true than it is, but it is certainly verifiable when you see Big Money (usually in the form of advertisers) paying top dollar to use the work of creative people. (And I don't mean “creatives” in ad agencies, I mean... > Read more

BILL FAIRS' ROCK'N'ROLL PHOTOS, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2019): History in the lens . . .

12 Feb 2019  |  <1 min read

Many bands have an in-house archivist, the member (or proud parent) who keeps posters, tickets, clippings, photos and such. Such people are invaluable to researchers, historians and the curious. The early New Zealand pop and rock scene from the late 1950s to the early 70s was lucky enough to have saxophonist Bill Fairs, who kept dozens of photos. These charted his career from the school... > Read more

THE PICTONES PROFILED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2019): Hashish in the provinces, or maybe not

11 Feb 2019  |  1 min read

In an odd coincidence, around the same time as the young Beatles went into a studio in Germany in 1961 and backed the singer Tony Sheridan on a rock'n'roll version the old While that uniquely European amalgam out of Hamburg featured a vocalist, the version from the band out of Palmerston North was a Shadows-styled instrumental, and a pretty good one at that. It was on the flipside of... > Read more

PETER POSA INTERVIEWED (2012): Pulling a hit out of the hat

4 Feb 2019  |  9 min read  |  3

Half a century ago, in that monochrome world before the Beatles – before even Coronation Street screened on New Zealand television -- guitarist Peter Posa from Henderson rode a wave of local popularity with his single Wheels. As was the custom of the day, he'd adapted an already established hit – by the String-A-Longs out of Texas – and radio picked up his version.... > Read more

The Old Rugged Cross

DODSON AND FOGG. REVISITED. AGAIN (2019): Through the English countryside to dark and light . . .

22 Jan 2019  |  2 min read

Elsewhere has long championed the music of Chris Wade (aka Dodson and Fogg) and also the art of his partner Linzi Napier. But as we have said previously, D&F is such a productive project that we sometimes have trouble keeping up: Wade also writes books and comix, does radio and his own art and much more. But we do keep coming back to his music which can range from cosmic folkadelic... > Read more

Ascending (from Phantom Gesture, 2019)