Absolute Elsewhere

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THE RETURN OF THE ROCK'N'ROLL STAR (2022): The unbearable triteness of Liam

20 Jun 2022  |  2 min read

In his candid and funny Rod, The Autobiography published a decade ago, Rod Stewart reflected on his wayward 1980s. “I never thought in this period that the 'being a rock star' aspect of being a rock star was beside the point, or even something I needed to apologise for. “If I hadn't considered the drinking/shagging/carrying-on to be at least... > Read more

CAPITAL THEATRE, INTRODUCED (2022): From ancient to the present, a rock epic

19 Jun 2022  |  7 min read

In early 2021 I was approached by the manager of an Auckland band I had never heard of. Not surprising, they hadn't played anywhere and at that point had released nothing. But they were an intriguing prospect because their debut album – which they had funded themselves – was a concept album and had been produced by the top LA producer Mike Clink, best known for work with Guns N'... > Read more

MID-YEAR REPORT, THE TOP 20 OF (2022): The taste of Elsewhere

17 Jun 2022  |  7 min read  |  2

It's the middle of the year and report cards are being sent out. As many of you know, in the first half of this year we were Elsewhere for three months (Sweden, England, Scotland and Singapore) and filed a weekly column for the Listener, which appeared the following week as Travels in the Time of Covid (and also travels in the time of Ukraine, rising prices and more!) That meant we had... > Read more

WILCO, THEN AND NOW (2022): What goes around comes around . . . to country

13 Jun 2022  |  2 min read  |  1

The idea that genres in popular music are immutable has long been eroded. Even by the mid-Nineties No Depression magazine – which took its name from an 1990 album by the band Uncle Tupelo – had as its remit to cover “alternative country, whatever that is”. No Depression would occasionally consider mainstream country artists but more often bands like Whiskeytown,... > Read more

TALL DWARFS, RESURRECTED AND REISSUED (2022): In their own write and draw

10 Jun 2022  |  2 min read

When Chris Knox suffered a debilitating stroke in 2009 it effectively ended much of the creative career for one of this country's most unique and diverse talents: Knox was an artist (with a keen eye for caricature), cartoonist (his Max Media strip ran every week in the Herald from 1987), cultural critic, music writer, television presenter and so much more. And most notably a musician whose... > Read more

Bee to Honey

THE CLASH, COMBAT ROCK + THE PEOPLE'S HALL (2022): Band on the stagger

6 Jun 2022  |  1 min read

Although there was a subsequent album – the awful Cut the Crap – Combat Rock in 1982 was the last Clash album anyone could take seriously. Which isn't to say it's any good. It arrived in a nondescript cover almost free of meaning, aside from the band members looking in different directions, and while the title resonated with their militant stance it could also have referred... > Read more

CATE LE BON, INTERVIEWED (2022): Living in time suspended

30 May 2022  |  4 min read

For the past two years, the life of the acclaimed British avant-pop singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon has been defined by disparate dots on the map, threads of friendship and 21st century technology. Just before lockdown in early 2020, the 39-year old Welsh-born Le Bon – who relocated to Los Angeles in 2013 – left her newly-purchased home in rugged Joshua Tree in southern... > Read more

THE RETURN OF UHP (2022): Look out, here comes the posse

9 May 2022  |  3 min read

That local reggae at the start of the Eighties and our first hip-hop statements at the end of that decade came from Herbs and Upper Hutt Posse respectively should not have been a surprise. In its original form as it appeared in the Seventies, reggae was rebel music, the voices of those outside mainstream culture (few were more outside Jamaican... > Read more


GOT TO HURRY RECORDS (2022): Sixties/Seventies stockist in central Stockholm

9 May 2022  |  5 min read

When Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love came to Bo Nerbe's tiny record story Got To Hurry in the old town of Gamla Stan in central Stockholm, he enthusiastically bought all three albums by the local band Stomachmouth, an Eighties garage-punk outfit. “I had released them on my Got To Hurry label and Kurt Cobain bought all three. And half a year later or so there was an American guy in the... > Read more

Got To Hurry, by the Yardbirds (guitar Eric Clapton)

JACK WHITE, RETURNS (2022): White, black and red, now blue

15 Apr 2022  |  2 min read

The free CD which comes with the current issue of Mojo, the British rock magazine, is Hello Operator: The Songs Jack White Taught Us. However many of the magazine’s readers would have been familiar with the songs by bluesmen Son House (his spooky Death Letter Blues), Blind Willie Johnson and Robert Johnson, as well as Johnny Cash’s Big River,... > Read more

THE ROLLING STONES AT 60 (2022): And then there were two

8 Apr 2022  |  1 min read

There are many ways to measure the longevity of the Rolling Stones: since their formation in 1962 they’ve rocked on through 14 US presidents, 13 British prime ministers and almost 30 James Bond movies. The only two original founding members – Sir Michael Philip Jagger, net worth about $800 million, and Keith Richards – have outlived half the Beatles, half the Who and any... > Read more

THE MOVE: ALWAYS AND FOREVER; BELATEDLY (2022): Classic pop, great rock then forgot

28 Mar 2022  |  8 min read  |  4

Anyone dumb enough to rely on an encyclopedia of rock or -- worse -- that self-described disgrace which is "Classic Hits" radio, would be forgiven for not knowing that the Move ever existed. Those DJs at "classic rock" certainly would have no clue . . . but we expect them to be clueless, I suppose. Shame on them.  It seems the Move -- despite their... > Read more

Fire Brigade

YOKO ONO, REVISITED AND RESPECTED (2022): Octogenerian great-grandmother of avant-indie kids

19 Mar 2022  |  2 min read

When Marlon Williams sang Nobody Sees Me Like You Do at his sold-out Auckland Town Hall concert in 2018, it’s a safe bet few who loudly applauded knew who had written the song: Yoko Ono. Although she remains reviled by some older Beatle-obsessed fans for her artistic and personal relationship with John Lennon – who she has outlived by more than 40 years – Ono has... > Read more

BRITISH PROG 1970-75: (2022): Yes, but is it rock?

14 Mar 2022  |  15 min read  |  3

Warning!!!!!  This was big stuff, songs went for 15 - 20 minutes, there were double albums and triple albums, records had linked narratives so you have to listen to the whole thing . . . Whew! So not pop then, huh?  ORIGINS OF PROGRESSIVE ROCK The Beatles extending the contract of pop into Yesterday and Eleanor Rigby (both with strings) and the St Peppers album as a... > Read more

THE JAZZ BUTCHER REVISITED, PART III (2022): A farewell to the Fish

7 Mar 2022  |  1 min read

Although Elsewhere profiled Britain's Jazz Butcher (the vehicle for singer-songwriter Pat Fish) in 2017 and 2018, it's likely that Fish's extraordinary output has meant almost nothing in the Antipodes. Perhaps the first some had heard of him was when he died of a heart attack in late 2021, a couple of months short of his 64thbirthday. A literature graduate inspired by the freedom and... > Read more

LOU ADLER PROFILED (2022): What a wonderful world his would be

21 Feb 2022  |  2 min read

In '69 the producer, songwriter, film producer, club owner and impresario Lou Adler - because he could -- took a bunch of soulful musicians into the studio to record a bunch of Bob Dylan's songs in a gospel style. That long forgotten item -- The Brothers and Sisters, Dylan's Gospel -- was  reissued in 2014 and so Lou Adler's name went back into the wider world as reminder of what... > Read more

Oh No, Not My Baby

THE ELECTRIC PRUNES 1966-1969, REVISITED (2022): From high times to High Mass

21 Jan 2022  |  2 min read

As with the Blues Magoos, LA's Electric Prunes were in the vanguard of psychedelic pop-rock with their singles I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night and Get Me to the World on Time, the latter reflecting them being a bridge between garageband and psychedelia. It's likely most people would be happy with just those two songs by them (both on their self-titled debut album, Dream on the original... > Read more

Get Me to the World on Time

THE DREAM SYNDICATE, REVISITED: (2022): Fifty-one shades of Grey

16 Jan 2022  |  2 min read

In mid-'86, the LA indie-rock band the Dream Syndicate released their third album Out of the Grey. The critical consensus had it as their best to date – and in retrospect still their finest studio moment – but as so often happens, it didn't sell as expected. And expectation was high because songwriter Steve Wynn (who went on to a very creditable solo career after the band broke... > Read more

Dying Embers

I'D LOVE TO TURN YOU ON (2022): The psychedelic year of 1967 in Britain

12 Jan 2022  |  9 min read  |  1

"Tune in, turn on, drop out" -- LSD advocate Dr Timothy Leary THE MUSICAL JOURNEY FROM MARIJUANA TO LSD: '66 TO THE SUMMER OF LOVE IN 1967 after years of British dominance in the middle of the decade as we noted in this article, the focus moves back to the US Psychedelic music inspired or influenced by the consciousness changing drug LSD aka acid becomes a dominant style.... > Read more

THE BEATLES AS CHANGELINGS and MID-SIXTIES POP, 1965-66. (2022): The pivotal period from pop to rock

10 Jan 2022  |  15 min read  |  2

"I've met them. Delightful lads. Absolutely no talent" -- actor/writer Noel Coward on the Beatles. "The thing with them is that almost every track on each of their albums is memorable. When they arrived at the beginning of the Sixties there was a lot of dross in the charts, and the Beatles legitimised coming from England in the face of all this brilliant American... > Read more