Music at Elsewhere

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The Claypool Lennon Delirium: Monoliths of Phobos (ATO)

7 Jun 2016  |  1 min read

It's an odd thing that James McCartney and Julian Lennon encountered a damned-if they do and damned-if they-don't critical reception to their albums with regard to them sounding like the pedigree they inherited. Dhani Harrison seems to be have been given an easier ride by critics (in fact his band thenewno2 went largely unreviewed and the "supergroup" with Ben Harper and Joseph... > Read more


IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

5 Jun 2016  |  2 min read

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks up New Zealand artists. Comments will be brief. Methyl Ethel; Oh Inhuman Spectacle (4AD): Out of Perth, Western Australia – which has given us Empire of the Sun – comes more... > Read more

The Monkees: Good Times! (Warners)

30 May 2016  |  1 min read  |  1

Half a century after they first appeared as a made-for-television pop band, the surviving Monkees (Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork) have reconvened to tie up some unfinished business and record new songs written for them by the likes of Noel Gallagher with Paul Weller, River Cuomo of Weezer and Andy Partridge (XTC). Nesmith and Tork also wrote a song apiece, and Dolenz gets... > Read more

Birth of an Accidental Hipster

Kevin Morby: Singing Saw (Dead Oceans)

23 May 2016  |  1 min read

On the cover of this frequently mesmerising album where the music and arrangements can take unexpected but subtle turns, Texas singer-songwriter Morby is a tiny figure caught in a dark landscape with a spot of mysterious colour (a fire). There seems to be a city of lights beyond the ridge. His songs are like this too: they come from dark and solitary places, have a sense of... > Read more


Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor's Guide to Earth (Warners)

23 May 2016  |  2 min read  |  1

There is a very special and comfortable place in Heaven for the best country-soul singers, those with the gift of bringing a soulful voice to country music tropes, sometimes touching a little r'n'b with jazz phrasing or saxophones. In the Sixties a lot of this stuff was pouring out of the South, and Simpson from smalltown Kentucky -- who played bluegrass and moved to Nashville four... > Read more

Breakers Roar

Brian Eno: The Ship (Opal/Border)

16 May 2016  |  1 min read

In a recent interview Brian Eno noted he is a different person these days, and in fact – like all of us – has been a series of different people. Which rather suggests he is constantly leaving past selves behind . . . and he has seemed to have done that aesthetically by moving into different territories of art, installations, painting, music for specific purposes and so on.... > Read more

I'm Set Free

Kokomo: Batten Down the Hatches (

16 May 2016  |  1 min read

Those who don't "get it" or take any time with the blues tend to dismiss it as all sounding the same. Certainly there can be superficial similarities, but it is an idiom with an infinitie capacity for reinvention. Every old black bluesman has a descption of the style -- "Blues is the truth", "Blues is a feeling") and so on -- but ironically it was John Lennon... > Read more

Too Many Words

Pacific Heights: The Stillness (Warners)

16 May 2016  |  1 min read  |  1

Pacific Heights is the alias of Wellington producer and songwriter Devin Abrams who was a longtime member of electro-legends Shapeshifter. But here – the first outing under his own name in almost a decade – he pulls back the thumping Shapeshifter beats for an album (with guest vocalists) which shifts between dreamy neo-soul and electro-ambience, the latter tracks like the... > Read more

Airborne ft Deanne Krieg

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: 3 Voices; 3 Voices (

16 May 2016  |  1 min read

The early Eighties were a remarkable time for innovative, daring and genuinely avant-garde music in New Zealand. In short succession there were albums by Avant Garage and Big Sideways (on the short-lived Unsung label) as well as spin-off projects such as Don McGlashan and Ivan Zagni's Standards (on Propellor), Low Profile (Festival), Zagni with Steve Garden on A Selection of Trouble Spots... > Read more

You Were There

Tom Cunliffe:Howl & Whisper (Lyttleton/Southbound)

16 May 2016  |  1 min read

The heroically hipster-beared, London-born Tom Cunliffe -- who has lived around New Zealand for decades, currently resident in Auckland -- admits coming to singwriting fairly late. Although he'd learned piano and violin it wasn't until he was 19 -- a decade ago -- that he picked up a guitar and hooked into the lineage of Dylan, Simon, Cohen et al. He's assimilated all that well and... > Read more

There's Your Lord

Anohni: Hopelessness (Rough Trade)

9 May 2016  |  1 min read

Formerly Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons), Anohni here fully embraces not just his femininity but leaps straight into brittle and often dazzlingly appropriate electronica from Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never. And – still often deploying that gorgeously aching, soulful voice — becomes more overtly political than she has been previously. The piece Obama here... > Read more

Watch Me

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

9 May 2016  |  2 min read  |  1

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks up New Zealand artists. Comments will be brief. Grant Lee Phillips;The Narrows (YepRoc/Southbound): This former frontman/writer for Grant Lee Buffalo has released a string of excellent... > Read more

San Andreas Fault, Grant Lee Phillips

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: The Mint Chicks; Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! (Warners)

8 May 2016  |  <1 min read

Has it really been a decade since this fizzing crunch of rock, pop, electronica and metal was unleashed? With it the Mint Chicks picked up album of the year, best group, best video, best cover art and even best music video (for the title track). Now re-presented as a double vinyl (with download code), the lo-fi C?Y!D?N! still sounds like timeless adolescent enthusiasm, bottled... > Read more

Wire: Nocturnal Koreans (Pink Flag/Southbound)

2 May 2016  |  <1 min read

Few, if any, British post-punk bands have been as consistently inventive as Wire who began life as fascinatingly minimalist outfit (on three defining albums in fewer than two years after late '77) and evolved into something akin to an indie pop-rock/art project. For their recommended 2013 album Change Becomes Us, they revisited ideas from their earliest days in a challenging... > Read more

Forward Position

Guy Wishart: West by North (Southbound)

2 May 2016  |  1 min read

Even though it has been many years since we last heard from Auckland singer-songwriter Guy Wishart -- who won the Silver Scroll in 1990 -- these mostly melancholy songs suggest a man who has been through some emotional pain in recent times. Throughout these 12 new originals -- essayed by a terrific country-rock/folk-rock band -- there are image of broken dreams, departure, death, darkness,... > Read more

River Red

Tim Hecker: Love Streams (4AD)

25 Apr 2016  |  <1 min read  |  1

On this, his third album, Canadian electronica artist Hecker – again recording in Reykjavik with an Icelandic choir – reaches across six centuries, drawing inspiration equally from 15th century choral works and 21st century ambient music post-Brian Eno. The mysterious and glowing cover image captures the mystical contents where elements of electronic minimalism from the... > Read more

Music of the Air

Dodson and Fogg: Walk On (wisdomtwinsbooks)

25 Apr 2016  |  1 min read

Imagine this if you will: A world where Marc Bolan wasn't killed in 1977 when his car hit a tree. That instead he took time out, trimmed down, cleaned up and left London for some more benign pastoral environment to replenish himself. In his time away he reconnected with his folk-framed Tyrannosaurus Rex style but brought to it the same pop economy of the best of T. Rex (songs like... > Read more

No One on the Phone

Santana: Santana IV (Santana IV)

25 Apr 2016  |  1 min read

While there was understandable anticipation for this reunion of (almost) all of the original Woodstock era band, this one reminds you Santana songs were often the vehicle for his autograph guitar work, the playing of keyboard player Gregg Rolie and the crisscross Latin rhythms from the percussionists. But even accepting that, there is something cheesy if not sleazy and creepy about the... > Read more

Freedom in Your Mind w Ronald Isley

Various Artists: The Active Listener Sampler 41 (activelistener)

25 Apr 2016  |  1 min read

Elsewhere can probably do no greater favour to break your ingrained listening habits than recommend you sign up to The Active Listener, one of those niche-market labour of love projects by Wellingtonian Nathan Ford  . . . whom we interviewed here about his wonderful service in which he collates his own psychedelic view of the music world in these compilations. They are always a delight... > Read more

Turkish Psyche by Orgasmo Sonore

King Crimson; Live in Toronto (DGM/Southbound)

22 Apr 2016  |  1 min read

Of course it's a bloody double-live. And it comes with a request at the start for the audience to refrain from recording, photography etc “and we'd like to have a good time and please join in and have a party with King Crimson”. (Why would you just not edit that stage announcement out?) Recorded on November 20, 2015 (we be specific because KC obsessives know and care... > Read more

Sailor's Tale