Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Elton John: Wonderful Crazy Night (Warners)

15 Feb 2016  |  1 min read

Recently at Elsewhere we offered a kind of "how to buy Elton" column and, given the four albums we chose, concluded the shorthand might be, if longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin is on board you are pretty safe. Well, Taupin's back for this one -- which comes in a terrible cover -- and producer T Bone Burnett has also signed on again. And so, running true to form, this is another... > Read more

Claw Hammer

Suede: Night Thoughts (Warners)

11 Feb 2016  |  1 min read

Although still identifiably Suede (yearning melodrama, emotional Bowie-esque ballads) since their return after a decade-long hiatus in 2013 with the unexpectedly sound Bloodsports, there's a more nakedly autobiographical and deliberate uncertainty to singer Brett Anderson's lyrics here (What I'm Trying to Tell You). Married with two children and closing in on 50, Anderson here offers... > Read more

Pale Snow

Shearwater: Jet Plane and Oxbow (Sub Pop)

8 Feb 2016  |  1 min read

Although somewhat difficult listening (because the lyrics needed decoding, if not footnotes), the previous Shearwater albums which passed Elsewhere's way have been quite beguiling. On both occasions though we noted the absence of a lyric sheet which might have been helpful . . . and lo! This one comes with such a thing. The irony is that it is hardly needed because Jonathan Melburg's... > Read more

Wildlife in America

Pete Astor: Spilt Milk (Southbound)

8 Feb 2016  |  <1 min read

Any number of mid-level British bands and artists go past us at this distance, often known only to music writers who either assiduously follow the small print or stumble upon an album early on and follow the barely visible career thereafter. So it is with the Weather Prophets (and the more left-field Ellis Island Sound) and their singer-songwriter Pete Astor who here – on a home... > Read more

Perfect Life

Thunderbitch: Thunderbitch (Rough Trade/The Label)

1 Feb 2016  |  1 min read

Given the band name and that this is a side project for the leather-lunged Brittany Howard, the frontwoman for Alabama Shakes, you can perhaps guess what it sounds like. Actually it doesn't, it sounds like . . . But first a digression into the word “bitch” which newspaper editors and subtitle writers for reality shows seem, to me anyway, a little oversensitive. It... > Read more

Eastside Party

Edgarville: ; Fingerprints and Handwriting (bandcamp)

1 Feb 2016  |  <1 min read

There are probably hundreds of acoustic post-punk duos out there like Edgarville from the UK, who have self-funded this debut and recently done a three month European tour. But there's something honest and serious about what these guys (whose names I don't know) do here where they address everything from emo-adolescent love on Corn (although they look a bit beardy and self-confident... > Read more

The Flow

Jackie Bristow: Shot of Gold (Montana)

1 Feb 2016  |  <1 min read

Former South Islander Bristow has lived in Austin for -- as far as I can tell -- almost a decade now and that seems her natural home. These 10 songs on her fourth album ring with the sound of a Texas wind across a flatland desert courtesy of multi-instrumentalist/producer Mark Punch's guitars and spacious production which compliment the mood of these spare and lonely meditations. Love... > Read more

Fallen Youth

Link Wray: Early Recordings (Ace/Border)

29 Jan 2016  |  1 min read  |  1

When we recently wrote about Link Wray it was to draw attention to an unexpectedly interesting double disc compilation 3-Track Shack. It brought together three of his albums from the early Seventies where he effectively worked a country-cum-blues rock area along the axis of The Band and Exile-era Rolling Stones. The revelation was not just in the music but in Wray's vocals, because if... > Read more

Jack the Ripper

Savages: Adore Life (Matador)

25 Jan 2016  |  <1 min read  |  1

At this distance it was easy to be sceptical about the British music press embracing Savages and their album-cum-manifesto Silence Yourself three years ago. The all-women quartet — who asked people not to take photos at their shows and are thrilling live by all accounts — delivered a bellicose take on Siouxsie and the Banshees/Penetrations//post-punk thrash which was... > Read more

When in Love

Max Stowers: Elements of Funk (bandcamp)

25 Jan 2016  |  1 min read

Anyone who doesn't know of New Zealand bass player Max Stowers clearly hasn't been paying attention for the past few decades. Here is a very short list (taken from a very long one) of the bands he has been in and people he's played with: Te Vaka, Moana and the Tribe, Annie Crummer, King Kapisi, Emma Paki, Strawpeople, Lisa Hunt, Nathan Haines, Mark Williams, Manu Katche, Leo Sayer,... > Read more

Various Artists: Golden State Psychedelia (Big Beat/Border)

18 Jan 2016  |  1 min read

The Golden State of the title refers to a top flight but largely obscure Bay Area studio run by the little known Leo De Gar Kulka and the various artists could rightly be described as equally obscure and little known . . . unless in the mid to late Sixties you were in that part of San Francisco and happened to see bands like the Goody Box, the Carnival, the Bristol Boxkite, the Short... > Read more

Wet Chant by the Immediate Family

Elvis Costello: Unfaithful Music & Soundtrack Album (Universal)

18 Jan 2016  |  1 min read

Elvis Costello's non-chronological, episodic and extremely large (666 pages of hefty paperback) autobiography Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink is a fascinating insight into his life in music with one proviso: You have to be something of a fan, and be prepared to follow his story down narrow alleys of family history. A chapter which begins with him the late Seventies can end up... > Read more

April 5th by Costello, Kristofferson, Rosanne Cash,

Dodson and Fogg: Roaming (wisdomtwinsbooks)

18 Jan 2016  |  1 min read

Elsewhere always tries to lend an ear to anything by the very prolific Chris Wade who records as Dodson and Fogg. But he releases such a steady stream of interesting folk-rock from his home in England that it has been rather hard to keep up. Thank goodness for the Christmas break therefore so we could catch up with this new release where is joined by -- among others -- the actor/singer... > Read more

For a While

Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts: Manhattan (Rough Trade)

11 Jan 2016  |  1 min read

With the sounds of sirens, wheezing cars and ambient noise on the speak-sing opener Scowling Crackhead Ian (about a guy who bullied him when they were younger), New York anti-folksinger-cum-sidewalk poet Lewis drops you straight onto the inner-city streets of his hometown . . . and it's quite some disconcerting journey over the next 10 songs. Apparently this is his twentieth-something... > Read more

Thunderstorm

The Murmaids: A Few of the Things We Love (Ace/Border)

11 Jan 2016  |  1 min read

Those many of us who delight in the girl group phenomenon of the early Sixties (wasn't Reparata and the Delrons one of great group names?) freely concede it wasn't all Shangri-Las, Ronnie Spector and so on. There were a lot of fellow travelers in the wake of the greats, so it's no surprise to learn to the sole hit for the teenage trio of sisters Terry and Carol Fisher with their friend... > Read more

Heartbreak Ahead

Sam Gleaves; Ain't We Brothers (samgleaves.com)

11 Jan 2016  |  1 min read

This album slipped out in the US in the last quarter of last year but saw no New Zealand release . . . but no matter, that's why we have the internet, iTunes, Spotify and so on. Gleaves is something of a rarity perhaps (although maybe not as rare as cliche might suggest) in that he is a gay singer-songwriter from southwest Virginia who explores traditional Appalachian music and writes his... > Read more

Two Virginia Boys

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2015; READERS' CHOICES

21 Dec 2015  |  8 min read  |  2

And now for the big reveal. Recently we posted the Elsewhere “best of the year” list and also a “best of reissues”, and now comes the readers' chance to have their say. Some of these albums below Elsewhere had in our list, others we reviewed during the year but didn't make our final cut. (And, as always, some people mentioned albums that had come out last... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2015; THE YEAR IN REISSUES

16 Dec 2015  |  7 min read  |  3

Popular culture has become very good at recycling. On any given week more and more music from the archives is exhumed and held up to the light once more. Often the reason is very simple, the music has reached the end of its sales life – if you don't have Fleetwood Mac's Rumours by now you'll probably never buy it – and streaming services are choking the life out of CD... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2015; THE EDITOR'S CHOICES

15 Dec 2015  |  18 min read  |  1

As always, our selection of the Best of Elsewhere begins with qualifications: We didn't hear everything released this year (Didn't even try. Would you?) and so missed some which will be on others' lists. And that these are only notionally “The Best” because as you know next month something else will become My New Favourite Album and . . . And that of course we heard a lot... > Read more

Kong Fooey: Final Destination (Bella Rose)

12 Dec 2015  |  <1 min read

In a cover which amusingly references that of Elvis' debut album (and by association the Clash's London Calling which did the same), this Auckland outfit deliver an enjoyable fusion of hip-hop, old school funk bass, searing rock guitars, a smattering of blues harmonica, dance floor shaking beats and slacker soul. If that cover is a look back with a fresh flavor, much of what's here is the... > Read more

Speak That Truth