Music at Elsewhere

These pages - with sample tracks and videos posted - introduce and review new music which may otherwise go unheard and unnoticed. Music from Elsewhere reviews new albums (and some important reissues) you'll play more than once at home or in the car, and will want to tell friends about.

If you do, pass the word: you heard it first at Elsewhere.

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Dudley Benson: Zealandia (Golden Retriever)

19 Aug 2018  |  2 min read

It has been more than a dozen years since Dudley Benson announced himself with alarmingly good but small scale solo concerts, one of which I caught at the time where he opened for the American artist Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. At the time it seemed an appropriate pairing – both used loops and sang strangle little songs full of emotional weight – but very quickly Benson,... > Read more

Cook Beleaguered

Fraser Ross and the 04s: Life is Magic, Where is my Rabbit? (Home Alone)

10 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Although singer-songwriter Fraser Ross is sometimes described as “folk” that suggests something a little less than what he does across the 10 songs on this album with a small band. Certainly his intelligent songs seem written on guitar, but a yearning and taut piece like Salisbury Lane sounds as if at any moment it could spring into the epic grandeur of U2. That it doesn't... > Read more

Life is Magic Here is My Rabbit

Giant Sand: Returns to Valley of Rain (Fire/Southbound)

10 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Even for the most ardent Giant Sand/Howe Gelb fans this “new” album comes with an odd provenance. The original Valley of Rain album was the band's impromptu debut recording in LA released back in '85, in 2010 there was a 25thanniversary reissue (of that little heard debut), in 2015 there was Beyond the Valley of Rain (which reissued the album on vinyl with another record of live... > Read more

Curse of a Thousand Chains

The Beths: The Future Hates Me (Carpark)

7 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Let's be very clear here: This local four-piece doesn't reinvent the wheel. But Elsewhere is of the unshakable opinion that bristling power-pop doesn't require any kind of overhaul, just that it be done loudly and with enthusiasm. So when the Beths -- who play the soon-come Others Way Festival in Auckland, see below -- hit a midpoint between Nirvana, the pure pop of the Courtneys and/or... > Read more

You Wouldn't Like Me

Lionsden: Songbird (usual digital outlets)

4 Aug 2018  |  <1 min read

Perhaps this is more of a public service announcement for Elsewhere readers because this album by the gifted Korean musician/composer doesn't exactly shake our tree, other than admiration for the technical and arranging skills he brings to his meltdown of guitar pyrotechnics and electronica. Rhy Dongju grew up in a classical household, was schooled in Western classical and traditional... > Read more


Ha the Unclear: Invisible Lines (Woollen/usual outlets)

3 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

It has been some years since Dunedin's Ha the Unclear (the band helmed by Michael Cathro, who was interviewed at Elsewhere) first broke into our consciousness with the terrific, quirky, funny and very astute album Bacterium, Look At Your Motor Go. There was more than just wit at work, also an acute understanding of many aspects of pop history which were distilled into tight and memorable... > Read more

Supermarket Queues (Together)

Bob Dylan: Live 1962-1966 (Sony Legacy)

28 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

When Bob Dylan plays two concerts in New Zealand in late August, it will probably be a sore test for those who remember the young folkie or the electrifying figure he was in the mid Sixties. With his road-worn voice and distinctive approach to reconfiguring his classic songs his concerts can be as exciting as they are bewildering. Or irritating. Part of the enjoyment is in the... > Read more

John Brown

Mecuzine: Cutting Strings (Aeroplane/

24 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

There's no denying the collective talent that is contained within Auckland's Mecuzine – their bio namechecks former bands which include the Cure and Hello Sailor – or that singer and guitarist Tony Johns can write effective, focused pop-rock which should easily find a home on mainstream radio. In part that is also due to the familiarity of their sound which is frequently... > Read more

Darkest Day

This Sporting Life/Alms For Children: This Sporting Life/Alms for Children (Failsafe/bandcamp)

24 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

In New Zealand, as in Britain particularly, the post-punk scene was musically more interesting than the first wave of phlegmatic punk which tended to broadcast on a narrow emotional, musical and vocal wavelength. Punk opened the door for all kinds of artists – non-musicians among them – to come charging through and as a result there was more experimentation alongside the taut... > Read more

Time, by This Sporting Life

Amy Shark: Love Monster (Sony/usual digital outlets)

23 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

One of the most engaging artists at the 2018 Laneway event in Auckland was Australian Amy Shark because – as Elsewhere said in our review of the day – she looked like she was genuinely delighted to be there, laughed and smiled, and delivered snappy pop-rock with real style. She seemed like a fun adult in a world of many moody kids. So this debut album comes as something of a... > Read more

Never Coming Back

Thundercat + OG Ron C and the Chopstars: “Drank” (Brainfeeder/Border)

29 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

For a guy who goes by the provocatively loud sounding name Thundercat and whose showing the Auckland City Limits festival ran headlong into virtuoso playing and very quickly shapeless jazz-funk noodling, singer/multi-instrumentalist Stephen Lee Bruner's Drunk album of last year was a very mainstream, almost MOR, retro jazz-lite outing with vocal guests Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins... > Read more

A Fan's Mail/Trong Song Suite II (remix)

Erin Cole-Baker: Till the Feeling's Right (usual streaming outlets)

29 Jun 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

Earlier this year this New Zealand singer-songwriter was in Kansas City – with assistance from the NZ Music Commission – alongside Anika Moa and Milly Tabak (of the Miltones) at the Folk Alliance International gathering. She played showcase gigs and collected business cards to follow up on. On the evidence of songs here such as the gentle, cleverly minimal and breathy... > Read more

Morning Dove

Various Artists: When the Day is Done; The Orchestrations of Robert Kirby (Ace/Border)

25 Jun 2018  |  2 min read

Every five years or so venerable British music magazines like Mojo, Q or Uncut will feature Nick Drake in an extensive article to try to persuade – or remind – us of his genius, the most recent being Mojo in March on what would have been Drake's 70thbirthday. Drake died in late '74 leaving just three rather beautiful folk albums recorded after mid '69, but despite the best... > Read more

Friend to Me, by Gary Shearston (1975)

Various Artists: Paris in the Spring (Ace/Border)

25 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

Half a century ago the streets of Paris were in a state of active revolution when what was initially a student protest about access to women's dorms by males turned into a protest about the university in general, the Sorbonne was occupied, police weighed in, workers sided with the students, there was a general nationwide strike and it looked like the government would be toppled. The events... > Read more

Baleines, by Francoise de Roubaix

Charlie Rich: Too Many Teardrops; The Complete Groove and RCA Recordings (Ace/Border)

24 Jun 2018  |  2 min read  |  1

In a famous interview in San Francisco in December '65, Bob Dylan was earnestly asked about his favourite poets. He was in a playful mood and mentioned his genuine favourites Rimbaud his pal Allen Ginsberg (who was in the audience), but also WC Fields, Smokey Robinson and Charlie Rich, “He's a good poet”. From that list most people only remember he cited (not for the first... > Read more

I Don't See Me in Your Eyes Anymore

Mali Mali: Azimuth (Home Alone)

22 Jun 2018  |  3 min read

The label here may be a pointer: Local artist Mali Mali (aka Ben Tolich) recorded the eight songs for this, his third album, in the basement of his parent's home and the ambience of delay and echo, lo-fi piano and intimacy is ideally suited to these reflective, highly personal and self-referential songs. The idea of “sensitive singer-songwriter” (to adopt the argot of the early... > Read more

Ruru Cry

Virginia Wing: Ecstatic Arrow (Fire/Southbound)

18 Jun 2018  |  <1 min read

The previous album by this London duo out of Manchester was an often uneasy amalgam of emotionally cool pop, hard-edged electro-beats and an art school kind of 21st century synth-pop. This time out they look back (to the early Eighties for Glorious Idea and further on the folksy core of Eight Hours Don't Make a Day), sideways (the sax-coloured pop of the immediately appealing The Second... > Read more

Pale Burnt Lake

Barrence Whitfield and the Savages: Dig Everything! (Ace/Border)

18 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

With a name which sounds straight out of the Motown stable in the early Sixties, Florida-born Whitfield (real name Barry, changed to avoid confusion with the Walrus of Love) actually grew up in New Jersey and while studying in Boston put white hot flame to r'n'b rock'n'roll in the Eighties and has barely let up since . . . although there were diversions for album with Americana singer-writer... > Read more

Stop Twisting My Arm

The Last Poets: Understand What Black Is (Studio Rockers)

16 Jun 2018  |  2 min read

University students have grown up in a post-gangsta rap world so taking them back to origins – preachers in the church, street poets, Gil Scott Heron and others – is always a challenge for them. They hear some of it as odd, simple and sometimes compelling. The Last Poets present a particular problem because of pieces like Niggers Are Scared of Revolution where you have to... > Read more

Rain of Terror

Danny Adler: Bit of Beatles (Ace/Border)

14 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

So here be 10 Lennon-McCartney covers and three originals (tributes to Lennon and Harrison) by a man whose sleeve photos would tell you he was clearly a teenager when the Beatles broke more than half a century ago. American singer-guitarist Adler – who once played with John Lee Hooker and other blues legends in California and the early Elephant's Memory (who later worked with Lennon... > Read more

I'm Only Sleeping