Absolute Elsewhere

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PERE UBU REISSUED, PART THREE (2017): Unlocking the hinge, unhinging the rock

24 May 2017  |  4 min read

When Pere Ubu emerged out of Ohio in the late Seventies one British writer described them as “the sound of things falling apart”. But while that was true, they were always more than that: Their sound was immensely and deliberately unnerving. Frontman David Thomas yelped like a dog, barked like a madman or went so quiet and low – before yowling into the endless... > Read more

Montana (from Raygun Suitcase)

JANIS JOPLIN . PEARL REVISITED (2017): Getting it while she could

15 May 2017  |  3 min read  |  1

Aside from Beth Hart – who played her in a stage production – it is hard to think of any female singer today with the vocal power and authority of Janis Joplin. Although she has been hailed as the first female superstar of the rock era, Joplin – who died in October ’70 at the age of 27 – left a very small recorded legacy. In her lifetime there were the... > Read more

Move Over (alternate version)

PAUL WELLER, IN HIS REAR VIEW MIRROR (2017): It still is a tight ride

8 May 2017  |  3 min read

It may have been “fake views”, but internet gossip said when Paul McCartney recently collaborated with Kanye West, some of Kanye's fans on-line asked who that other guy was. And to big-up their man for helping the Old Fellah's career. Teenagers – especially if their interest is in another genre – are allowed not to know what someone has done before their... > Read more

VERNON REID OF LIVING COLOUR INTERVIEWED (2017): Matters of colour and Colour

29 Apr 2017  |  10 min read  |  1

Donald Trump's makeover of the American political landscape was always going to come up in the conversation. And as an articulate voice on black issues Vernon Reid – guitarist with Living Colour – has an amusing if bewildered take on it. “You know, I'm a huge science fiction and horror fan and this is like living in that. You accept it because it's a reality . . . but... > Read more

Cult of Personality

NICK CAVE AND HIS BAD SEEDS IN REARVIEW (2017): The dark, the light and the spiritual love

27 Apr 2017  |  2 min read  |  1

For those who couldn't afford the excellent Nick Cave reissue series, the three CD set (covering 1985 - 2013) plus a 38-clip DVD of interviews and videos -- under the title Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Lovely Creatures, The Best of CD/DVD set (BMG) -- is as good as it gets. Released on May 5, Lovely Creatures is presented as a slim hardback book... > Read more

Come Into My Sleep

BLONDIE RECONSIDERED (2017): The tide coming in, again.

24 Apr 2017  |  2 min read

More than four decades after their self-titled debut album, Blondie return with a new album Pollinator with songs written by TV on the Radio's David Sitek, Sia, Johnny Marr and others, including original members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein. But let's cherry-pick their back catalogue. Plastic Letters (1978) As with their promising debut of two years previous – and... > Read more

THE FACE OF LATE FIFTIES POP (2017): Where the pretty boys were

10 Apr 2017  |  7 min read

Between the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens (the first Hispanic rock'n'roll star) and the Big Bopper in February 1959, and the emergence of the Beatles four years later, popular music was adrift. Certainly there were surf bands and Motown, Phil Spector, doo-wop singers and girl groups, as well as marginal movements like gravedigger rock, rockabilly rebels and greasers,... > Read more

Blue on Blue, by Bobby Vinton

PAUL McCARTNEY'S FLOWERS IN THE DIRT REISSUED (2017): Putting on a brave face again

3 Apr 2017  |  8 min read

The Eighties was a tough decade for many artists who'd made their name in the Seventies, and more especially those holdovers from the Sixties. Dylan was adrift, and while the Stones started the decade with hit albums they suffered diminishing artistic and commercial returns . . . then Jagger started a solo career to Keith Richard's chagrin. The Who called it a day... > Read more

So Like Candy (demo w Elvis Costello)

GOLDFRAPP CONSIDERED (2017): It used to go like that, now it goes like this . . . and this'n'that

3 Apr 2017  |  3 min read

Let's give British singer Alison Goldfrapp and synth/composer Will Gregory – who perform as Goldfrapp – their due. If nothing else, they always made their career an interesting and unpredictable ride for us these past 17 years. They might have started life working the area between ambient, electronic and cinematic sounds with their still impressive debut Felt Mountain,... > Read more

WHAT THE BEATLES KNEW BY '62 (2017): Much more than too much monkey business

31 Mar 2017  |  5 min read  |  2

The best information we have about what songs the pre-Fab Four knew in those days before fame and acclaim hit in 1963 is that they could play somewhere over 80 – and perhaps even close to 100 – songs. Everything from Elvis and the Everly Brothers (Blue Suede Shoes, Cathy's Clown) through Buddy Holly (the first song the pre-Beatles Lennon, McCartney and Harrison and others... > Read more

Too Much Monkey Business, by Chuck Berry

THE DOORS CONSIDERED, AGAIN (2017): Mr Mojo rises once more

31 Mar 2017  |  2 min read

Many consider 1967 rock's greatest year: albums became more important than singles (Sgt Pepper's leading the way) and there were groundbreaking debuts by Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Velvet Underground . . . And The Doors, who brought Jim Morrison's baritone poetics into rock with a great band. Today sees the 50th anniversary reissue of that debut album as a three CD set and again on... > Read more

THE REVOLUTIONARY SNAKE ENSEMBLE PROFILED (2017): The Nawlins beat of the Boston street

27 Mar 2017  |  3 min read

Okay, follow us back for a while, down a few by-ways and familiar names before we get to Boston’s much acclaimed funky New Orleans-influenced brass band. Let’s go way back to Boston’s post-punk outfit Moving Parts who broke up in the late Seventies . . . because out of their remnants came two more familiar names; Mission of Burma and an odd off-shoot called Birdsongs... > Read more

I'll Fly Away


20 Mar 2017  |  5 min read

The wheel of history is turning faster and faster. Once, you could understand how Greece, which gave the world the important building blocks of democracy and philosophy, was labouring under the gun of a military dictatorship in the 20th century. Or how Rome, which once commanded a massive empire, had descended into the political chaos which is modern day Italy with its revolving... > Read more

Bu Ellerden Gocup. by Asik Emrah

BILL NELSON REVISITED (2017): Back on the beam

17 Mar 2017  |  3 min read  |  1

Actually, the title on this article is a fib: this is not a revisit to the astonishingly prolific English musician Bill Nelson (whom Elsewhere has never previously visited), but merely an excuse to wax lyrical about his typically indefinable album from 1981 entitled -- hold your breath -- Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam. And that probably is a reference to . . . ? The absurdly... > Read more

Cubical Domes

BILL FRISELL PROFILED (2017): Guitarist without portfolio

15 Mar 2017  |  3 min read

No matter where you try to place American guitarist/composer Bill Frisell – one of the chief guests at this year's Wellington Jazz festival – on the musical spectrum, he always seems like the outsider on the inside. Trying to get a clear picture of him is like looking at an image through a prism: From one perspective he's a jazz musician, from another he's the distinctive... > Read more

Mandeville, Bill Frisell w Paul Motian Band, 1981

STRAND OF OAKS INTERVIEWED (2017): Coming to terms with himself

10 Mar 2017  |  13 min read  |  1

For a guy who has been battered by life and battered himself, Tim Showalter – who performs as Strand of Oaks – sounds remarkable cheerful, funny and upbeat when we catch at home in a Philadelphia suburb, albeit briefly. “I'm home for about 48 hours after playing in Europe,” he says, “and then we are starting the tour of the US. So we are pretty much going... > Read more


KLAUS VOORMANN ARTIST: CREATING AN ICONIC ALBUM COVER (2017): Because it revolves around and around

6 Mar 2017  |  2 min read

Klaus Voormann's story is entwined with that of the Beatles from the day he saw them playing in a Hamburg bar. The story has become legend, how after an argument with his girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr -- an aspiring photographer -- he wandered the streets and was drawn by the sound coming from the club It was the Beatles playing a typically rowdy and ramshakle set, and Voormann was... > Read more

THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN CONSIDERED (2017): The needling and the damage done

20 Feb 2017  |  3 min read

The most unexpected thing about The Jesus and Mary Chain's debut album was that they made it at all. When they first started playing live their sets barely broke the double-figures minute mark. In part that was because they'd sometimes take the stage claiming to be the support band and get on and off before anyone twigged. But albums they did make, half a dozen between the... > Read more

Always Sad (from Damage and Joy)

ELBOW, ONCE AGAIN (2017): Guy Garvey, the big Elbow bender

12 Feb 2017  |  3 min read  |  1

When Elsewhere interviewed Guy Garvey of Britain's acclaimed Elbow in 2011 he was amused by the fact he'd become something of a rock star. He was for too old for that description he felt -- he was 37 and happily in a relationship (“trying for baby”) at the time. Although I can't remember if it was me or him who noted he looked more like Ricky Gervais in The Office than a... > Read more


THE CHURCHILL'S REMEMBERED (2017): It's a psikhidelish trip from Tel Aviv

6 Feb 2017  |  3 min read

Music news travels fast. Sometimes too fast. A group around the table, talking over bottles of wine and each other, was reminiscing about how scenes used to develop in glorious isolation. Tennessee in the mid Fifties, the South Side of Chicago and Liverpool in the early Sixties, a strange brew of dope smoke and religion on an off-beat in Jamaica a decade later, downtown New York... > Read more

Subsequent Finale