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. Important moments from the past . . . and things happening right now. Or about to. The Elsewhere place if you are curious about music.

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JOHN LENNON'S MIND GAMES, REISSUED (2024): Remixed and Revisionist

18 Jul 2024  |  6 min read

The recent release of Paul McCartney's l974 live-in-the-studio set One Hand Clapping – and, more particularly, the very detailed book The McCartney Legacy, Vol. 1 1969-1973 – served to remind just how chaotic and unfocused his career was in the immediate post-Beatles period. In many ways his former partner's was even more so. John Lennon had already released some... > Read more

You Are Here, Elemental Mix with guitarist Sneaky Pete Kleinlow

FAN CLUB, PROFILED (2024): New kids on the block

15 Jul 2024  |  2 min read

Back in the late Eighties/early Nineties there was a very popular synth-pop dance band called Fan Club. Because of the background of their singer Aishah and tours there, Fan Club were also successful in Malaysia. Their joyful single Sensation damaged the charts here and their subsequent dance-pop proved club-friendly as well as also making the charts. They didn't make music that much... > Read more

Beach Weather

PAUL McCARTNEY'S ONE HAND CLAPPING (2024): Back in the Abbey

15 Jul 2024  |  2 min read

No less than John Lennon, Paul McCartney's immediate post-Beatles career was messy and frequently critically derided. His 1970 McCartney album was widely dismissed and the circumstances around it – the notorious self-interview which effectively announced the end of the Beatles – tainted it even further. His follow-up – in its orchestral embellishments the direct... > Read more

SAM COOKE, GOSPEL INTO POP: The change was always gonna come

15 Jul 2024  |  4 min read  |  1

At this distance, we can’t be expected to understand what the death of Sam Cooke in the sleazy Hacienda Motel in ’64 meant to black Americans. The former gospel singer was found slumped against a wall – naked except for an overcoat and one shoe, gunned down by the motel owner after a woman he’d picked up in a bar had fled his room claiming he attempted to rape... > Read more

Somewhere There's a Girl (1961)

MID-YEAR REPORT: THE TOP 24 OF '24 (2024): The moving finger writes . . .

24 Jun 2024  |  5 min read

It's the middle of the year and progress cards are being sent out. Here Elsewhere singles out excellence from the many dozens of albums we have written about so far this year. But note, these are only chosen from what we have actually reviewed: we heard more but didn't write about them. And we also didn't hear albums which are doubtless your favourites from the past six months.... > Read more

GRAEME DOWNES, INTERVIEWED (2024): Leaving it all on the park

3 Jun 2024  |  1 min read

From his home on the Kapiti Coast, Graeme Downes sounds much as he ever did: astute, casually intellectual, peppering his digressive conversation with droll social and political observations, and noting his current reading has been Shakespearean scholar George Wilson Knight's 1948 essay Christ and Nietzsche. “I'm also fond of Shostakovich's letters to [critic] Isaac Glickman.... > Read more

Blanket Over the Sky


15 May 2024  |  2 min read

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this album released for the first time on vinyl. It has been some time coming (the album was released on bandcamp in November 2022) but now appears on vinyl with an insert gatefold of lyrics and recording information -- and is available through Christine White's website here. We reprint our... > Read more

Raven (Paddy Free remix)

AMIRIA GRENELL, SHE WHO DOES/DOESN'T FIT (2024): The reward of being beyond categories

8 Apr 2024  |  3 min read

In his interesting book How the Beatles Destroyed Rock'n'Roll (they didn't, but . . . .), the writer Elijah Wald reminds us that it wasn't until the Fifties that songs became exclusively associated with specific singers. Before that – and there were exceptions like Sinatra and Paul Whiteman's jazz recordings – songs were tied to sheet music which anyone could use. The song... > Read more

Suzy Blue

KAYLEE BELL, PROFILED (2024): A star has risen

8 Apr 2024  |  2 min read

When Kaylee Bell's new album Nights Like This debuted at the top of the New Zealand artist's chart recently and entered the main chart at number 3, few could have been surprised. It wasn't just that her time had come, but her style of music – mainstream country, strong on choruses, hooks and narrative – had also been penetrating the charts and public consciousness. American... > Read more

Life is Tough (But So Ami I), ft Navvy

THE RETURN OF THE CYRKLE (2024): Did anyone request this?

4 Apr 2024  |  4 min read

Some weeks ago, on a list of forthcoming album releases, a band named the Cyrkle appeared. I joked with a friend about it, sending him a clip of the buttoned-down American band of the Beat Era of the same name and saying it couldn't be these guys. Surely not? Cyrkle were one of those short-lived pop bands who had a couple of hits and disappeared. They were in there with Gary Lewis and the... > Read more

We Thought We Could Fly (2024)

KĀREN HUNTER, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2022): The roads less travelled

1 Apr 2024  |  1 min read

Although many musicians often speak of their life and work as a journey, in truth most don’t stray too far from home base or an established style. Others however – like Tāmaki Makaurau-based singer-songwriter Kāren Hunter – frequently set off into different terrain, go down backroads and small corridors, usually picking up very different traveling companions along... > Read more

JENNIFER LOPEZ. ONE ALBUM, TWO FILMS (2024): Oversharing overkill

18 Mar 2024  |  3 min read

When the brightest stars in the pop firmament – Taylor, Adele, Beyonce – release new albums, the announcement alone often ensures hysteria and hyperbole, expensive videos and soul-baring interviews. And so we come to Jennifer Lopez's new album This is Me . . . Now, its title updating her 2002 album This Is Me . . . Then. J-Lo – we'll default to the shorthand – is... > Read more

GREG JOHNSON, PROFILED AND REVIEWED (2024): Back for another crack

11 Mar 2024  |  2 min read

It has been more than 30 years since we first wrote about Greg Johnson, a major profile in the New Zealand Herald in about 1991 when he released his debut album The Watertable. We have followed his career ever since, caught up with him in Los Angeles where he went to live and have interviewed and reviewed him over the decades. But we are also aware that for many, because of his long... > Read more

The Cherry Pickers, From Thunder in Fall (2024)

THE STEADY RETURN OF THE VERLAINES (2024): Taking good care of it

5 Mar 2024  |  5 min read

Although Graeme Downes retired from the field of play four years ago, his legacy of music with the Verlaines – and with students who passed through his courses at the University of Otago's music department – is assured. Tall, dark and interesting, Downes always seemed more mature than his peers on Flying Nun when the Verlaines emerged alongside the Clean, the Gordons, Balloon... > Read more

THE BEVIS FROND, REVISITED (2024): Turning up the heat, refining the focus

4 Mar 2024  |  1 min read

In 2016 we wrote about Britain's Bevis Frond – the vehicle for the multi-talented Nick Saloman – but were about three decades late. By that time Saloman/Frond from Walthamstow, London had released about 25 studio albums on his own Woronzow label. And there were off-shoot projects (the Von Trap Family) and live albums. Most of these had been fairly obscure – despite... > Read more

Maybe We Got It Wrong

THE JULIAN TEMPLE BAND, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2024): The long and winding road

29 Feb 2024  |  1 min read

For almost 20 years Dunedin-based Julian Temple has led his band through a number of line-ups, across seven albums, touring and receiving positive mentions in international media. Along the way they’ve played on the West Coast of the United States – where he was raised – and he recorded a solo album on the side as part of his post-graduate studies at the University of... > Read more

UP UP AND AWAY, AGAIN (2024): Balloon D'Essai and the Instigators fly once more

26 Feb 2024  |  3 min read

The small independent Christchurch label Leather Jacket Records has had a number of favourable mentions at Elsewhere, as much for their reissues of post-punk rock (and the terrific Grim Ltd live album from '66) as for their new releases. But communication and self-promotion isn't the label's long suit. So we have had to rely on others to tell us when albums have been released. Thank you... > Read more

You Don't Matter, by the Instigators

JOHN KENNEDY, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2024): The Kiwi who created British rock'n'roll

20 Feb 2024  |  2 min read

An expatriate New Zealander in the right place at the right time helped launch British rock’n’roll. In 1956, John Kennedy was a suave opportunist in his mid-twenties who would become a clever and shameless publicist-cum-PR operative in London showbiz circles. He had, as Nik Cohn wrote, “flair, invention and a fast mouth”. In the mid 1950s a teenage culture... > Read more

UNEARTHING THE PAST FOR THE PRESENT AND FUTURE (2024): Seldom, or never, heard Kiwi rock from the Seventies

18 Feb 2024  |  3 min read

To paraphrase the philosopher George Santayana, “Those who didn't hear the past are condemned to listen to it on repeat play”. Or something like that. The fact is, the archaeologists of local rock just keep digging. Last year we had previously unreleased 1990s albums from Auckland band Crash and Boom Boom Mancini, the pre-Bads Britain-based band... > Read more

Bloodsucker, by Littlejohn

PETE HAM OF BADFINGER: Take a sad song and make it sadder

11 Feb 2024  |  7 min read  |  3

Put simply: Pete Ham was one of the singer-songwriters in Badfinger, the British pop band of the late Sixties and early Seventies which enjoyed the patronage of Paul McCartney. He gave them his Come and Get It (used in the Ringo-Peter Sellers movie The Magic Christian) on the condition they record it exactly as his demo. They did, it was a hit, and a band was born which always... > Read more

Hurry on Father (demo from the Golders Green album)