Absolute Elsewhere

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THE INBETWEENS, REISSUED AND DISCOVERED (2023): Play that funky music guitar boy

13 Aug 2023  |  3 min read  |  2

When you've written about music for almost 50 years – often in very visible outlets which run your photo – you have to expect a bit of flak when out in public and minding your own business. The disgruntled friend of band member in a bar is usually easy to talk down after a disarming handshake, the genuinely menacing emails are something different. The most annoying thing is... > Read more

OUT OF THE CORNERS, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2023): "Because women weave the world"

3 Aug 2023  |  2 min read

Looking back at the women’s movement in the socially volatile 1970s and 80s, they were comparatively simpler times. Even though feminism was complex – a more militant, separatist faction would emerge – at its core was equality. Equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunity. As an insight into the culture of the period, music was a male-dominated and male-centric microcosm.... > Read more

Waiting on Information, by Jesse Hawk Oakenstar


31 Jul 2023  |  1 min read

In 2014, composer Victoria Kelly won the APRA Silver Scroll for Best Original Music for a Feature Film, for Field Punishment No.1. It was nice for her to be on that podium at last; she had 10 previous nominations at various film and television awards, and was busy backstage or looking on as the Scrolls’ music director from 2003 to 2007, the last two years with Joost... > Read more

GOLDEN HARVEST, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2013): From club to a following by the cult

29 Jul 2023  |  2 min read

For a late 70s band which delivered polished, radio-friendly pop with a hint of disco on their hit ‘I Need Your Love’, Golden Harvest had some unexpected admirers. Simon Grigg was on the sharp end of the Auckland punk scene at the time: “The first time I saw Golden Harvest was in 1978 during the punk era in Auckland’s Downtown Centre. Several of us went... > Read more

VICTORIA KELLY, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2023): A woman for all seasons

27 Jul 2023  |  1 min read

Just five weeks after the Auckland Town Hall premiere performance of her Requiem with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in March 2023, composer Victoria Kelly – whom we might describe as “arranger to the stars” – was on Facebook eliciting help. “Hello friends,” she posted, “I would like to break my listening habits and would very much... > Read more

ROCK IN THE REAR-VIEW (2023): Country-rock, from Garth, Bruce, Bon Jovi and Tom to Lucinda

24 Jul 2023  |  5 min read

Decades ago Elsewhere learned some important lessons about who and what not to review: you never review charity singes or albums and never ever never go near amateur theatre productions. For the latter if you say something slightly uncharitable you will be met with a chorus of voices yelling at you, "lighten up man. They're just amateurs doing their best,. Jeeziz!". And with... > Read more

SETH HAAPU, PROFILED (2023): Time has come, today

21 Jul 2023  |  2 min read

Since 2011, Whanganui's Seth Haapu (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Atihaunui a Pāpārangi) has released three EPs and a self-titled album, winning a following for his sophisticated singer-songwriter/spiritual soul. His 2018 piano ballad New Wave (also appearing in te reo Māori, Ngaru Hōu,) won him Kaitito Waiata Māori Autaia (Best Māori Songwriter) at the Waiata Māori Music... > Read more

SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES, REVISITED (2023): The sources, the song and the trickle-down

19 Jul 2023  |  6 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

CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE, REMEMBERED (2023): Sad truths in postcards and phone calls home

17 Jul 2023  |  2 min read  |  2

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (aka Owen Ashworth) delivered one of Elsewhere's longtime and saddest favourite albums with Etiquette in 2006, an Essential Elsewhere album. Critics speak of Leonard Cohen's insight in hushed tones and the emptying soul of Ian Curtis in Joy Division's songs. But for our money they don't come close to the raw realities of Ashworth's poignant short stories... > Read more

GRAEME JEFFERIES, CONTINUED (2023): Putting his foot down again

17 Jul 2023  |  6 min read

In a casual and free-ranging conversation recently about his two most recent albums now out on vinyl, the prolific Graeme Jefferies acknowledged again that he is barely known in his own country (“I've never once been interviewed on New Zealand television”) but that he blamed himself for that. He says he hasn't promoted himself in any meaningful way and has been content to keep... > Read more

BOOM BOOM MANCINI, RETRIEVED AND RELEASED (2023): Lost between the Dolphin and the Bads

2 Jul 2023  |  2 min read  |  1

Two years ago when we interviewed Dianne Swann about her long career and her debut album The War on Peace of Mind – her debut under her own name 35 years after her first band Everything That Flies – the conversation turned to the band Boom Boom Mancini she had in Britain with her partner Brett Adams. There are few “lost” albums in New Zealand music but Boom Boom... > Read more

JONATHAN BREE, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2023): The man in the irony mask

30 Jun 2023  |  1 min read  |  1

For someone once quite visible, Aucklander Jonathan Bree negotiated his way into high-profile international anonymity. It's been quite a journey from a leaky flat in Kingsland to his 2023 album Pre-Code Hollywoodwith funk legend Nile Rodgers on two songs. But along the way Bree – who was on album covers and in videos for his band the Brunettes in the first decade of the 2000s,... > Read more

MID-YEAR REPORT: THE TOP 33 OF '23 (2023): The opinionated one scribbles, and having scribbled moves on

26 Jun 2023  |  6 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. That's... > Read more

THE FINAL FAREWELL ALBUM (2023): Goodbyes from Paul Simon, Nick Cave, David Bowie . . .

18 Jun 2023  |  4 min read

Towards the end of Robert Hilburn's chunky, 2018 biography of Paul Simon, the singer-songwriter says his next project will be reworking and re-recording some of his lesser-known songs. His friend, the artist Chuck Close dismisses the idea: “He'll never finish that album, it won't be challenging enough.” However Paul Simon – known for stubborn doggedness, as when... > Read more

JIMMY BARNES, INTERVIEWED (2023): Writing and rockabilly rebels

11 Jun 2023  |  6 min read

With the physique of a Clydeside welder and laughter-filled lungs like industrial bellows, Jimmy Barnes enters the room, a combustable ball of electric enthusiasm. It's late March and he's in Auckland to ostensibly talk up his new album Barnestormers, recorded remotely during Covid isolation with fellow Barnestormers pianist Jools Holland (in London), Stray Cat's drummer Slim Jim Phantom in... > Read more


4 Jun 2023  |  2 min read

Although Space Waltz only released one album – way back in 1975 – it has certainly been one to keep checking in on, not the least because it keeps changing. As we've noted in this previous article the album originally appeared as Space Waltz by Alistair Riddell with just him on the cover, a image and attribution which didn't sit well with some in the band. (The cover was... > Read more

Golden Weather, from Victory

SPLIT ENZ; TRUE COLOURS AND MENTAL NOTES, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2023): The people have spoken, some critics too . . .

31 May 2023  |  1 min read

The actor Sam Neill wouldn't be among the first people you'd go to for comment on popular music. But his article in Grant Smithies' 2011 book Soundtrack: 118 Great New Zealand Albums on his favourite album -- Split Enz' True Colours -- probably captured what many feel about it. “Some records, the best ones, are time machines – portals to another place and another life. True... > Read more

PAULY FUEMANA INTERVIEWED (1996): A life turned around

30 May 2023  |  1 min read

Every now and again an article from many years ago makes itself known when old journals are being unearthed. In the wake of the Anniversary Weekend floods in 2023, Elsewhere lost all kinds of valuable or personal archives. But as we restock shelves or just open an old exercise book which somehow survived bits and pieces from a past life as a journalist at the Herald can suddenly appear.... > Read more


29 May 2023  |  4 min read

At the 2018 Volume South exhibition at the Manukau Institute of Technology's campus – a stand-alone South Auckland off-shoot of the earlier, very successful celebration of the history of local popular music Volume – Making Music in Aotearoa at the Auckland War Memorial Museum – there was a quote by the late Phil Fuemana, producer, mentor, prime mover behind urban Pacific music... > Read more


28 May 2023  |  3 min read

Vic Chestnutt was a gifted singer-songwriter who was much admired by his peers. He had been in a car crash at 18 and was effectively a quadrapilegic although had some small movement in his hands so he could still play simple chords on guitar. His first two albums were produced by Michael Stipe of REM and a fund-raising album for him had his songs covered by Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage,... > Read more