Absolute Elsewhere

Music interviews, overviews, critical essays and reviews. Big names, cult acts and interviews exclusive to Elsewhere. Straight and bizarre, oddball and ordinary music and musicians.

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THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN CONSIDERED (2017): The needling and the damage done

20 Feb 2017  |  3 min read

The most unexpected thing about The Jesus and Mary Chain's debut album was that they made it at all. When they first started playing live their sets barely broke the double-figures minute mark. In part that was because they'd sometimes take the stage claiming to be the support band and get on and off before anyone twigged. But albums they did make, half a dozen between the... > Read more

Always Sad (from Damage and Joy)

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . ROSEMARY BROWN: Music from the great beyond

13 Feb 2017  |  6 min read

When the English composer and pianist Rosemary Brown died in 2001 at age 85 she took with her an intimate knowledge of the works by some of the greatest classical composers. This is not uncommon of course. Classical performers and conductors always have a deep and personal connection to the music of those whose compositions they have studied and played. But Brown's connection to... > Read more

Valse Brillante in E Minor

ELBOW, ONCE AGAIN (2017): Guy Garvey, the big Elbow bender

12 Feb 2017  |  3 min read  |  1

When Elsewhere interviewed Guy Garvey of Britain's acclaimed Elbow in 2011 he was amused by the fact he'd become something of a rock star. He was for too old for that description he felt -- he was 37 and happily in a relationship (“trying for baby”) at the time. Although I can't remember if it was me or him who noted he looked more like Ricky Gervais in The Office than a... > Read more

K2

THE CHURCHILL'S REMEMBERED (2017): It's a psikhidelish trip from Tel Aviv

6 Feb 2017  |  3 min read

Music news travels fast. Sometimes too fast. A group around the table, talking over bottles of wine and each other, was reminiscing about how scenes used to develop in glorious isolation. Tennessee in the mid Fifties, the South Side of Chicago and Liverpool in the early Sixties, a strange brew of dope smoke and religion on an off-beat in Jamaica a decade later, downtown New York... > Read more

Subsequent Finale

HERMAN'S HERMITS' BLAZE RECONSIDERED (2017): Going out to a blaze of indifference

3 Feb 2017  |  6 min read

In the mid Sixties, no self-respecting fan of the Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks and others took Herman's Hermits seriously. They were a vacuous pop band fronted by the cute Herman (Peter Noone) whose crooked front tooth seemed to get as much attention as their music. To their small credit however, they were sometimes pretty enjoyable in what they did and their early singles included... > Read more

Moonshine Man

LYDIA COLE INTERVIEWED (2017): Then we take Berlin . . .

30 Jan 2017  |  8 min read

Sitting in a Kingsland cafe just a few minutes walk from where she's been flatting for the past few years, singer-songwriter Lydia Cole is a charming and guileless combination of candour, caution and confidence. You get the impression that, even at 29, she is assured about where she is in life but also still feeling her way. And fair enough: she is putting a tour together (dates... > Read more

MONICA ZETTERLUND CONSIDERED (2017): From smalltown Sweden to the world stage

30 Jan 2017  |  3 min read

From this physical and historical distance, it is easy to consider Monica Zetterlund, who died in 2005 aged 67, as simply “world famous in Sweden”. But there was time when she infamous in her homeland. It came when she represented Sweden in the 1963 Eurovision Song Contest. Her song En Gang i Stockholm/Once Upon a Time in Stockholm (aka Winter City) scored exactly... > Read more

En gang i Stockholm

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . CARL T SPRAGUE: At home on the range in the Eighteen Seventies

27 Jan 2017  |  5 min read

Some musicians are so close to the source they are almost part of it. The young Rolling Stones -- despite their cultural, emotional and physical distance from American blues – heard that music speak to them and, in their emulation of their heroes like Jimmy Reed, Middy Waters, Howling Wolf, Willie Dixon and others, located themselves as part of the lineage. When they first... > Read more

Utah Carrol

MUSIC BEYOND GENRE (2017): The brave new post-modern world of Fatima Al Qadiri

23 Jan 2017  |  5 min read

When Aaradhna was awarded but declined to accept the best urban hip-hop award at the 2016 New Zealand Music Awards for her album Brown Girl – saying, among other things she was a singer not a rapper and that she felt marginalised by being put in what she saw as the “brown” category – it set off a small debate about how we label music and artists. Unhelpfully... > Read more

Shanghai Freeway

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . ROBERT GRAETTINGER: The ghoul of Third Stream

16 Jan 2017  |  5 min read

When big-band leader Stan Kenton took a left turn from the dancefloor into music for the concert halls in the late Forties he increasingly left much of his audience behind. By aiming more for the head than the feet he was embarking on a path that had already been laid out by George Russell and Dave Brubeck, and Gunther Schuller gave it the name Third Stream Music because it belonged... > Read more

City of Glass, Second Movement

THE FLAMING LIPS CONSIDERED (2017): White punks on dope

16 Jan 2017  |  3 min read

It was the costumes and huge balloons really, wasn't it? Flaming Lips – the vehicle of Wayne Coyne – proved that even at the height of post-grunge seriousness in the Nineties you were allowed to be silly and have fun. And he always looked like he was. But Flaming Lips had been around a long time — they started in the early Eighties — before their dreamy,... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LOLA FALANA: Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl . . .

9 Jan 2017  |  3 min read

When the singer-dancer-actress Lola Falana arrived in New York in the early Sixties with, by her account just US$26 in her pocket, she took whatever dancing jobs she could get, mostly in Harlem clubs. And it was in one such place that she was spotted by Sammy Davis Jnr. In quick succession she appeared in his Broadway musical Golden Boy, recorded her debut single My Baby, appeared in... > Read more

PJ HARVEY CONSIDERED (2016): All killer and no Polly filler

12 Dec 2016  |  2 min read

When she first emerged under her own name in the early Nineties with the album Dry we called her “PJ Harvey”, because “Polly” seemed rather too familiar for someone so tightly wound and sharply poetic. And because Dry's follow-up Rid of Me was called “the best miserable album of all time” by Q magazine. She changed over time, but even in 2001... > Read more

JON HERINGTON PROFILED (2016): Ain't 'bout that adult entertainment, surely?

9 Dec 2016  |  4 min read

Chances are you've heard – and perhaps even seen – guitarist Jon Herington but never heard his name. Born on the Jersey Shore, Herington took his high school band into opened for the biggest local name (Bruce Springsteen, if you are uncertain) but subsequently slipped sideways into jazz . . . all of which was a solid background for what he has been doing since '99.... > Read more

Caroline Yes

THE ROLLING STONES, AGAIN (2016): Goin' back home to the blues

2 Dec 2016  |  4 min read  |  6

The massive screen in the lobby of the cinema complex was screening footage from the Rolling Stones' 2016 concert in Havana, rendering the lines on Keith Richards' face like deep scars on an alien landscape. Many in the crowd shuffling towards the next blow 'em blockbuster stopped and stared, most in silence. And then on the screen a drone flew over the Stones' audience and two... > Read more

Everybody Knows About My Good Thing

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE FALL IN A HOLE ALBUM: Almost stopping the Nun taking flight

1 Dec 2016  |  5 min read

Not many records can claim to bring down a successful record company, but the Fall's live album In a Hole (released in December 1983) can claim to have almost done that. In his memoir In Love With These Times, Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd tells of how a mix of passion, fandom, ignorance of legalities and thoughtless business practice made for hard times when the record came out in... > Read more

No Xmas for John Quays (live, from the original 45, extract only)

RAY COLUMBUS REMEMBERED (2016): The modfather forever young

30 Nov 2016  |  3 min read

Although Ray Columbus – who died in November 2016 in Auckland, age 71 – will go into the history books as the first New Zealand entertainer to have a number one single overseas (She's Mod with the Invaders in 1964, which topped the Australian charts), when he received his Order of the British Empire (OBE) in '74 it was for his long and diverse career in many aspects of New... > Read more

THE VOLUME EXHIBITION IN AUCKLAND: Exit through the gift shop

21 Nov 2016  |  3 min read  |  2

Because I was involved in the exhibition Volume: Making Music in Aotearoa currently running at the museum in Auckland – 60 years of popular music from 50s rock'n'roll to Lorde – people sometimes ask what I'm most pleased about. Well, I say, the fact that Volume exists at all is very pleasing . . . But aside from Chris Knox's famous TEAC tape recorder, the huge... > Read more

Jesus I Was Evil, by Darcy Clay

THE TURTLES REVISITED (2016): Sometimes it ain't them babe

21 Nov 2016  |  6 min read

It hasn't been uncommon for musicians or bands to hide behind another name. The Beatles briefly flirted with the idea for an album before they ran out of energy for it (“We're Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band . . .”) and in the early Seventies the late Leon Russell recorded a very credible country album as Hank Wilson. And, although it was obviously Russell, Hank was... > Read more

Grim Reaper of Love

CROWDED HOUSE REISSUED (2016): The lights from a distant son

14 Nov 2016  |  12 min read

When Crowded House play their reunion concerts in Sydney next week (Nov 24 – 26) it will be 30 years since their self-titled debut album and 20 since their famous farewell on the same steps of the Sydney Opera House. It won't be exactly the same Crowded House of course with the suicide of Paul Hester in 2005, and it isn't their first reunion, there was one a decade ago when... > Read more

Don't Dream It's Over (home demo)