Absolute Elsewhere

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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

THE BEATLES AND THE BRITISH INVASION 1963-64 (2023): A beginners guide

26 May 2023  |  13 min read

"What a remarkable 50 years they have been for the world . . . think what we would have missed if we had never heard the Beatles" -- Queen Elizabeth II in a speech in November '97 at a luncheon to mark her golden wedding anniversary. "If it hadn't been for the Beatles, there wouldn't be anyone like us around" -- Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin "The... > Read more

THE BEACH BOYS, CREATING A CLASSIC (2023): Good and bad vibrations

24 May 2023  |  1 min read

The Beach Boys had begun their career in the early Sixties singing songs about surfing and cars and good times under the Californian sun. But their songwriter Brian Wilson -- copping licks from Chuck Berry and ideas from doo-wop harmony groups -- was always a keen student of arrangements and was musically ambitious. As Beach Boys' songs became more and more musically complex, Brian... > Read more

DURAND JONES, PROFILED (2023): Wait, he's coming over. And out.

22 May 2023  |  3 min read

The tiny community of Hillaryville, on a slow bend in the Mississippi, is about halfway between New Orleans and the Louisiana state capitol Baton Rouge, not far from Highway 61. There's not much there. So little tourism sites mention it only in passing and recommend other places to visit instead. However there's an interesting history here: it was founded after the... > Read more

Lord Have Mercy

A TOOT AND A SNORE IN '74 (2023): Supersession, but what a bore

26 Apr 2023  |  3 min read

Never intended as a serious session much less an album, A Toot And a Snore in '74 exists as a bootleg of merely historical, not musical, interest. That's because it was when John Lennon and Paul McCartney – mostly estranged in the previous five years – got together in a Los Angeles studio with Lennon's fellow drinkers Harry Nilsson, Jesse Ed Davis and Bobby Keys (and a more... > Read more


22 Apr 2023  |  1 min read

For many reasons, the conflict in Vietnam came with its own soundtrack. The war and the music were fed and defined by the young age of the Allied combatants; the turnover of new US, Australian and New Zealand troops arriving; those back from R’n’R leave (rest and recreation) in places like Sydney or Manila with their nightclubs and bands; the portability of records, transistor... > Read more

GRAMSCI, FINALLY ON VINYL (2023): the Permanence, Object and Like Stray Voltage LP editions

10 Apr 2023  |  5 min read

In a recent interview with Elsewhere, the Auckland-based musician Paul McLaney spoke of the long-held ambition for his music in a way that could resonate with young musicians starting out. For those concentrating on just the single before them and maybe the follow-up, McLaney offered the longer view. “I love artists who have a large body of work that once... > Read more

THE BEATLES, DISCOVERED LIVE IN 1963 (2023): It was 60 years ago today . . .

5 Apr 2023  |  4 min read

As Elsewhere has previously noted, among the many factors in the Beatles' early career were chance, coincidence and good luck What were the odds, for example, of them in their earliest days in Hamburg being befriended by German students with an interest in photography. But because of Astrid Kirchherr and Jurgen Volmer we have a few dozen quite exceptional and artistic photographs of the... > Read more

THE GROOVE/EUREKA STOCKADE, REISSUED AND DISCOVERED (2023): Stop me if you've never heard this one

3 Apr 2023  |  4 min read

Even diligent scholars of Aotearoa New Zealand's pop and rock artists would be forgiven for not having heard of this Australasian band of the late Sixties which had a strong Kiwi component. Which is why we need the work and research of enthusiast and archivist Grant Gillanders who here not only delivers the Groove's sole album and singles from '68 but their unreleased collection as Eureka... > Read more

I'll Be Home (by Eureka Stockade)