Absolute Elsewhere

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THE ROLLING STONES; BEGGAR'S BANQUET REISSUED AT 50 (2018): A walking clothesline of styles

3 Oct 2018  |  8 min read  |  2

Half a century ago the Rolling Stones released their Beggar's Banquet album, widely considered a return-to-form after the debacle of their shapeless attempt at psychedelia on the largely unlistenable Their Satanic Majesties Request of December 1967, released some six months after the Beatles' Sgt Peppers. In a cover which referred to Pepper's glowing hippie-era colours, Satanic Majesties... > Read more

No Expectations

MARTIN PHILLIPPS INTERVIEWED (2018): A lone guide cutting through snow

10 Sep 2018  |  12 min read  |  1

Martin Phillipps takes the guitar off his knee so he can talk about, among many other things, the Chills' new album Snow Bound. But he immediately admits that he can leave such instruments around gathering dust. He can be “lazy” and “gave up on being a technically proficient musician a long time ago,” says the man who wrote sublime songs like Heavenly Pop Hit.... > Read more

Time to Atone

BOB DYLAN: A YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO . . . (2018): The man in the irony mask

27 Aug 2018  |  5 min read

Given that his singles rarely troubled the charts, one of his few videos which gets any airtime these days is 35 years old (Jokerman) and his albums have long since ceased to appeal to a younger demographic, how might you explain Bob Dylan to anyone under 30, someone who might have only become aware of him in the 21stcentury when he was already in his 60s? Maybe you can't but you could try... > Read more

HA THE UNCLEAR; A VIDEO ESSAY (2018): Somewhere inside the outside in

1 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

With their new album Invisible Lines due out on Friday (August 3) we thought it timely to flick through the backpages of  Ha the Unclear's videos just to offer a reminder of what was and what they are now. And the conclusion is that -- then and now -- they are a quirky, melodically powerful, lyrically interesting and utterly fascinating pop-rock band with their own take on . . . well,... > Read more

PHIL SEYMOUR REMEMBERED (2018): Here then and gone yesterday . . .

18 Jun 2018  |  6 min read

If Phil Seymour – who came of age with the Beatles and the British Invasion – has been watching carefully enough he might have read the signs: the Spencer Davis Group, The Dave Clark Five, Manfred Mann . . . The clues were all there. These were Sixties bands which took their name from someone other than the singer/frontman. Spencer Davis... > Read more

Precious To Me

TAMI NEILSON, A VIDEO ESSAY (2018): Putting on the style

25 May 2018  |  1 min read

With the release of a sixth album under own name – Sassafrass! – attention once again turns to the award-winning Tami Neilson who has redefined country, brassy soul, rockabilly and rock'n'roll gospel into an amalgam which is distinct and her own. Her story has been well-canvased in the past, how the Canadian-born singer was part of their traveling family band (sharing bills with... > Read more

NEIL YOUNG CONSIDERED (2018): Every Now, and Then

14 May 2018  |  3 min read

For a long time – perhaps from even as far back as '75 – Neil Young earned the right to do exactly what he wants . . . because he just does exactly what he wants. By '75 he has moved from folk-rock to folk and rock as distinct genres as well as finding a place (sometimes very briefly) in Crosby Stills And Nash's close harmonies or going straight down to the darkest reaches with... > Read more

BOB DYLAN: THE RETURN OF THE TROUBADOUR (2018): Still on the road, heading for another joint . . .

14 May 2018  |  2 min read

Without even bothering to do a fact-check it's a safe bet that Bob Dylan's last album would have been one of the poorest-selling of his long career: It was Triplicate, a three album set of him singing standards and followed two prior single albums along the same lines, the wonderful Shadows in the Night and the somewhat lesser Fallen Angels. Even the most patient fans who accepted Shadows... > Read more

THE DURUTTI COLUMN CONSIDERED (2018): Not exactly living the life of Reilly

30 Apr 2018  |  8 min read

For most people the punk period of the late Seventies in Britain was an exciting – but short – time. As Mark E Smith of the Fall put it bluntly in his memoir-cum-rant Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E Smith in 2008: “I've never aligned myself to the whole punk thing. To me, punk is and was a quick statement. That's why most of the main players couldn't handle the... > Read more

Messidor (from LC, 1981)

PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING, A VIDEO ESSAY (2018): Of speed, in space and under the ground

18 Apr 2018  |  2 min read

Over three albums, a batch of EPs, impressive videos and exciting live shows, Britain's Public Service Broadcasting have created a niche for themselves between the worlds of dance, electronica, rock, art music and audio-visual spectacular. New Zealand audiences caught them at a Womad in 2015 but each of their albums -- and the attendant videos -- are mesmersing home-play delights.... > Read more

HAMMOND GAMBLE INTERVIEWED (2018): Of another career in the same town

16 Apr 2018  |  10 min read  |  2

Trees are down, power is out everywhere, the temperature has dropped and our house is freezing. So when a conversation with Hammond Gamble is relocated to the warmth of Galbraith's Ale House in Eden Terrace it's very welcome. The purpose of meeting Gamble – one of this country's finest blues-rock guitarists, an earthy singer and a much underrated and Silver Scroll-winning songwriter... > Read more

EILEN JEWELL INTERVIEWED (2018): Got them weird, oldtime blues again

13 Apr 2018  |  6 min read

The weather’s often like this at this time, raining and cold,”says Eilen Jewell from her hometown of Boise, Idaho. “It’s the only time of year that it rains, because of the desert here, and most of that rain happens during this month.” Not that she, her drummer/husband Jason Beek, their young daughter Mavis and bandmates Jerry Miller (guitar) and bassist... > Read more

You'll Be Mine

PERE UBU REISSUED, PART FOUR (2018): The long and grinding road

6 Apr 2018  |  4 min read

Facts first: This final installment of the vinyl reissue of the singular Pere Ubu's extensive catalogue in four-album box sets comes under the title Les Haricots Sont Pas Sales 1987-1991. And it is somewhat chronologically confusing for fan-followers, because this record collection lies between two of the earlier reissue sets: The Architecture of Language 1979-1982 and Drive, He Said... > Read more

Mirror Man (from Worlds in Collision)


4 Apr 2018  |  4 min read  |  1

In my collection at home I have a white label test pressing of the debut album by Headless Chickens, the wonderful and challenging Stunt Clown which came out in 1988, the year after they had won the Rheineck Rock Award of a whopping $60,000 which allowed them to record it. I guess I have it – and the hand written track listing in Flying Nun boss Roger Shepherd's distinctive style... > Read more

Expecting to Fly

JIMI HENDRIX, A SLIGHT RETURN (2018): Here's that train a comin'. Again

12 Mar 2018  |  4 min read

In a brief prologue to his hilarious and fictionalised war memoir Adolf Hitler, My Part in His Downfall, Spike Milligan made reference to his previous book Puckoon. He wrote, “After Puckoon I swore I'd never write another novel. This is it . . .” A few years ago on the release of the Jimi Hendrix album People, Hell and Angels, longtime Hendrix engineer and reissue man... > Read more


THE JAZZ BUTCHER REVISITED, PART II (2018): Fish there at the dawn of Creation

9 Mar 2018  |  3 min read

The Jazz Butcher, the quirky and sometimes eccentric project of singer-writer Pat Fish, delivered interesting and increasingly crafted albums in the early Eighties. But by the time they arrived on Creation Record in '88 (alongside My Bloody Valentine) Fish had refined his sometimes wayward songs into crafted (but still quirky) pop confections and had a whole new band of jangling... > Read more

Girls Say Yes, from the album Condition Blue

FELT REISSUED (2018): Sometimes bathing in a golden glow

23 Feb 2018  |  6 min read

It is embarrassing when you have an album in your collection which is a famous cult item by a famous cult band and you famously have never bothered to listen to it. Elsewhere revealed that oversight regarding the album The Splendour of Fear by Felt in a column entitled 10 Odd Unplayed Albums in My Collection. That this album from '84 by British band Felt had languished unloved and... > Read more

Evergreen Dazed

BECK CONSIDERED (2018): A man in and out of his time

20 Feb 2018  |  5 min read  |  1

It was almost 20 years that I first saw Beck in concert, an extraordinary show at the glamorous Art Deco Wiltern Theatre on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. My recollection was he hadn't toured in a little while and it was just by chance I happened to be in LA – maybe to interview some film stars but also to have a look at Richard Meiers's Getty Centre. Beck was touring... > Read more

Don't Let It Go, from Morning Phase

JONATHAN BESSER CONSIDERED (2018): Here, there and every which where . . .

12 Feb 2018  |  4 min read

While we can say with certainty there has never been such as things as a “typical Jonathan Besser album” we can still express a little surprise at the direction he has taken for his new Time Travels, recorded in New Jersey with his Besser 3 band. To recap though. Pianist/composer Jonathan Besser arrived in New Zealand in the mid Seventies, and shortly thereafter the... > Read more

No Laughing Matter

SEX, SELLING AND MELODY GARDOT (2018): Wearing your arse on your sleeve

5 Feb 2018  |  5 min read

Before we get to jazz chanteuse Melody Gardot (a previous Elsewhere favourite, starting with her major label debut a cdecade ago), just a digression here about using sex to sell a product. And some images to support that long established convention. In pop and rock, sexy images – and sometimes more pleasing and sensually suggestive art and music, as with Vanessa Daou –... > Read more

Who Will Comfort Me