Absolute Elsewhere

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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... > 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

PAUL McCARTNEY'S LOCKDOWN PROJECT (2020): Controlled chaos and creation in the studio

18 Dec 2020  |  4 min read

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this one . . . .   Paul McCartney could always talk up a good album in advance of its release, although the music itself was often uneven. He'd do an exclusive interview in which he'd drop Beatle and George Martin anecdotes, but generally not say much other than to mention a few pointers... > Read more

2020, THE YEAR IN REARVIEW: Sounds from solitude

18 Dec 2020  |  6 min read

It was the year that mostly wasn't, the year when Zoom entered our lives and vocabulary, and people stayed in or stayed apart. It was a year when 18-year old Jawsh685 (Joshua Nanai) from Manurewa High went global with a beat and melody he wrote on his broken laptop (Laxed, Siren Beat) and the 79-year old Bob Dylan surprised with a double album Rough and Rowdy Ways which was... > Read more


12 Dec 2020  |  13 min read  |  5

Some people dislike end-of-year lists, others enjoy agreeing and/or arguing with them. Either way, they exist and most people read them. Our “best of” list always comes with some caveats: we only ever pick from albums we've reviewed (we heard many more but if we didn't have time to write about them... > Read more

MURRAY McNABB PROFILED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2020): From Monk to the moon and beyond

12 Dec 2020  |  1 min read

The life of keyboard player, composer and innovative jazz musician Murray McNabb was full of ironies. He was a jazz (and beyond) player who was initially inspired by Thelonious Monk but mostly earned his living anonymously writing advertising jingles. He co-wrote the music for one of New Zealand’s most successful feature films but his is not the name most people... > Read more

COLLABORATION AND CONNECTION IN THE 21st CENTURY (2020): Psathas, Hooker and digital file sharing

29 Nov 2020  |  3 min read

Three decades ago the American composer Philip Glass fended off a question about “crossover albums”. He preferred to talk of crossover audiences. Glass was observing that those who liked Talking Heads, for example, would also probably listen to the Kronos Quartet or his music. Frequently we see musicians with eclectic tastes pushing into new areas and often... > Read more

LENNON REMEMBERED, AND REMIXED (2020): Does he still shine on?

28 Nov 2020  |  4 min read

When the Beatles were breaking up, more over money and management than over Yoko Ono's permanent presence, Ringo Starr was despatched to see Paul McCartney to tell him that he should delay the release of his solo album McCartney. This was because it would go up against the Beatle's patched-together and patchy Let It Be, scheduled for release a few week later. McCartney was... > Read more

UNKLEFRANC, GRAPHIC DESIGNER, AT THE BIG IDEA (2020): The visual gateway into music

11 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

Auckland graphic designer Carolyn van Hoeve prefers to be interviewed by email (her answers forthcoming and considered) and the website for her company UnkleFranc is best described as skeletal: no bio, few photos of her work, some allusive images and a blank page headed “things we haven't thought of yet”. There is however a quote from this writer which notes her work as... > Read more