Absolute Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES, REVISITED (2019): The sources, the song and the trickle-down

5 Apr 2019  |  5 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

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S NEBRASKA (2019): The idea for the song from the film of the true story

23 Mar 2019  |  2 min read

It has been more than 35 years since Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, an album that many fans – and Springsteen himself – consider pivotal in his career and an artistic breakthrough into new and rewarding territory beyond rock'n'soul. After the sometimes bombastic heroics and escapism of Born to Run, it's more muted and humane Darkness on the Edge of Town and the double album The... > Read more

JULIA JACKLIN INTERVIEWED (2019): It's life Julia, but not as you knew it

25 Feb 2019  |  17 min read

Yes, Leonard Cohen makes sense . . . but Doris Day and the Andrews Sisters? “Oh, I love the Andrews Sisters,” says Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin of the famous close-harmony Forties and Fifties trio. Jacklin is back in New Zealand for a day to talk about her new album Crushing and to play a brief showcase before a flight back to... > Read more

Head Alone

RICHARD FARIÑA REMEMBERED (2019): The man who wouldn't be king

21 Feb 2019  |  12 min read

See him there in that photo from the early Sixties, the young singer standing alongside the beautiful Baez sisters Joan and Mimi. There he is again, a key figure hanging out in the downtown New York folk scene around the Village, his original songs pulling an audience his way, their lyrics political, allegorical, metaphorical and sometimes as gentle as a butterfly alighting on a leaf.... > Read more

Michael, Andrew and James

DENNIS CASEY OF FLOGGING MOLLY INTERVIEWED (2019): Taking Irish back to the Irish

18 Feb 2019  |  7 min read

Guitarist/singer Dennis Casey may boast a resonantly Irish surname and play in one of the most widely-acclaimed punk-influenced Irish folk-rock bands Flogging Molly, but the phone call catches him at home in Rochester, New York where he lives with wife and four children. And where he was brought up. With a laugh he's prepared to admit that Irish music didn't come to him until... > Read more

JAPANESE AMBIENT MUSIC OF THE EIGHTIES CONSIDERED (2019): The sound of very little, but beautiful

12 Feb 2019  |  5 min read

Someone very famous – who doesn't turn up on a Google search – once quipped “money follows intellect”. You'd like to think it was more true than it is, but it is certainly verifiable when you see Big Money (usually in the form of advertisers) paying top dollar to use the work of creative people. (And I don't mean “creatives” in ad agencies, I mean... > Read more

BILL FAIRS' ROCK'N'ROLL PHOTOS, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2019): History in the lens . . .

12 Feb 2019  |  <1 min read

Many bands have an in-house archivist, the member (or proud parent) who keeps posters, tickets, clippings, photos and such. Such people are invaluable to researchers, historians and the curious. The early New Zealand pop and rock scene from the late 1950s to the early 70s was lucky enough to have saxophonist Bill Fairs, who kept dozens of photos. These charted his career from the school... > Read more

THE PICTONES PROFILED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2019): Hashish in the provinces, or maybe not

11 Feb 2019  |  1 min read

In an odd coincidence, around the same time as the young Beatles went into a studio in Germany in 1961 and backed the singer Tony Sheridan on a rock'n'roll version the old While that uniquely European amalgam out of Hamburg featured a vocalist, the version from the band out of Palmerston North was a Shadows-styled instrumental, and a pretty good one at that. It was on the flipside of... > Read more

PETER POSA INTERVIEWED (2012): Pulling a hit out of the hat

4 Feb 2019  |  9 min read  |  3

Half a century ago, in that monochrome world before the Beatles – before even Coronation Street screened on New Zealand television -- guitarist Peter Posa from Henderson rode a wave of local popularity with his single Wheels. As was the custom of the day, he'd adapted an already established hit – by the String-A-Longs out of Texas – and radio picked up his version.... > Read more

The Old Rugged Cross

DODSON AND FOGG. REVISITED. AGAIN (2019): Through the English countryside to dark and light . . .

22 Jan 2019  |  2 min read

Elsewhere has long championed the music of Chris Wade (aka Dodson and Fogg) and also the art of his partner Linzi Napier. But as we have said previously, D&F is such a productive project that we sometimes have trouble keeping up: Wade also writes books and comix, does radio and his own art and much more. But we do keep coming back to his music which can range from cosmic folkadelic... > Read more

Ascending (from Phantom Gesture, 2019)

TEENAGE FANCLUB CONSIDERED (2019): Big star and middle-big stars . . .

15 Jan 2019  |  6 min read

Even at the Big Day Out in Sydney in '94 -- headlined by Soundgarden (stunning), Bjork (a revelation) and the Ramones (“great, man” but actually disappointing) -- two bands stood out . . . other than Smashing Pumpkins. They were Urge Overkill who brought style, cynicism and wit to pop-rock on a small stage; and Teenage Fanclub who were riding the crest of two fine albums,... > Read more

Winter (from Songs From Northern Britain)

EZRA FURMAN CONSIDERED (2019): The screen door slams, Ezra's dress waves . . .

14 Jan 2019  |  3 min read

Of all those following Springsteen melodramatically hitting the blacktop to escape the suffocation of smalltowns and Dad/the day job/the downturn, few are as unexpected as Ezra Furman. At 32 with five albums behind him with his bands the Harpoons and the Boyfriends, and a solo album (The Year of No Returning in 2012) Chicago-born San Francisco-based Furman unleashed his desperate,... > Read more

God Lifts Up the Lowly

ROSS MULLINS PROFILED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2018): The poet of the suburbs

29 Dec 2018  |  1 min read

When pianist-singer Ross Mullins released his seventh album The Poet and the Fisherman in 2016 it was certainly long overdue but perhaps not long-awaited. It had been 17 years since his previous album and for all of his long career which dates back to his debut in 1985, Mullins has been below most listeners’ radar. In part that’s because his first three albums came under the... > Read more

THE BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2018: THE READERS' CHOICES

17 Dec 2018  |  7 min read  |  2

Well, we did ask! Following Elsewhere posting its choices for the Best of the Year albums and The Best in Reissues (of what we heard, obviously a lot went past us) we invited Elsewhere readers to tell us what they were impressed by this year. Here is what people told us . . . and where Elsewhere had reviewed the album we have highlighted it with a link to our original review.... > Read more

THE BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2018: THE EDITOR'S PICKS

11 Dec 2018  |  11 min read

By my loose count, Elsewhere has written reviews or overviews on around 200 albums this past year (mostly new releases but also reissues, compilations and so on). Most of those reviews appeared at Music from Elsewhere, but there were also some others under World Music, Jazz, Reggae and Blues. And when it came to box set reissues or the like, they got some greater essaying and discussion... > Read more

THE BEST OF ELSEWHERE, THE YEAR IN REISSUES (2018)

8 Dec 2018  |  5 min read

Caution: Objects in the rearview mirror may be more expensive than they seem. Yes, living in the past may be an exercise in nostalgia, but there's a very good reason to go there. Everything was cheaper back then. Which is a good joke but not exactly true: vinyl records in New Zealand in 1968 – half a century ago – cost around the same as new vinyl... > Read more

TE VAKA PROFILED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2017): Pasifika to the world

8 Dec 2018  |  1 min read

The acclaim for Opetaia Foa’i of Te Vaka for his music on the soundtrack to the animated Disney film Moana – which topped the Billboard soundtrack and children’s charts, and went to No.2 on the main US charts – is a story many decades in the telling. For those who haven’t followed Te Vaka, it may seem like an overnight success, but they’ve long been a... > Read more

KATE BUSH REISSUED, REMASTERED AND RECONSIDERED, PART FOUR (2018): Once upon a time . . .

7 Dec 2018  |  5 min read

In her long career Kate Bush has only rarely performed live, which is odd when you think how she established herself as a theatrical performer who had studied dance and movement. But after a 29-date UK and European tour in 1979 she retired from live performance which she said she'd enjoyed but found tiring. And her interests were more towards recording and video making. A video document... > Read more

Nocturn (live)

KATE BUSH REISSUED, REMASTERED AND RECONSIDERED, PART THREE (2018): Silence, then the flood. Sort of.

7 Dec 2018  |  9 min read

After her Red Shoes album in 1993 – her seventh album in the 15 years since her debut The Kick Inside – Kate Bush did what she always seemed to do between albums, disappear. As with Scott Walker and others, Bush is not the recluse which she is painted but just someone who doesn't much care for public attention when there is no work to promote or discuss. “My desire... > Read more

Wild Man (from 50 Words for Snow)

FROM SOPHISTICATED YOUNG TO SPOOKY YORKE (2018): The changing sound of the cinema

3 Dec 2018  |  5 min read

Excluding musicals like South Pacific, West Side Story and so on (where the songs are the soundtrack), the sound of music in films has changed considerably over the decades. Classical composers like Victor Young who brought sophistication, whimsy and historical knowledge to his soundtracks (Dark Command, For Whom the Bell Tolls) and Alfred Newman (scores of scores including How the West Was... > Read more

Suspirium Finale (Yorke)