Music at Elsewhere

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ONE WE MISSED: Grayson Gilmore; Otherness (Flying Nun)

11 Sep 2017  |  <1 min read

Although there never was anything such as generic “Flying Nun”, Grayson Gilmore has always seemed quite far from the centre of the label's usual releases. At times – and especially here – you feel he is more akin to an art music composer who is bringing electronica into his orbit. This appropriately entitled 10-song collection rides on washes of synths,... > Read more

Be a Beacon

Queens of the Stone Age: Villains (Matador)

4 Sep 2017  |  <1 min read  |  1

While it easy to point out the obvious on this album – the skull-pounding riffery which is a QOTSA signature (notably on the closing overs of the pounding Evil Has Landed) and the involvement of producer Mark Ronson to add a twist – there are other and slightly unexpected elements which emerge: the subtle Bowie-as-heroic-political-balladeer influence in Josh Homme's vocals... > Read more

The Black Seeds: Fabric (Black Seeds)

4 Sep 2017  |  1 min read

In our overseas absence the Black Seeds got the media vibe going in anticipation of this new album, which of course went past us. But did we really miss the excitement? On the evidence of the album/artifact, not really. As much as the Black Seeds have often delivered some of our favourite local albums (and been a thoroughly engaging live act), this first studio release in five... > Read more

Ride On

Sneaky Feelings: Progress Junction (Flying Nun)

4 Sep 2017  |  1 min read

One of the most musically ambitious and interesting band in the first decade of Flying Nun who sets their sights on pop-rock, Sneaky Feelings often seemed ignored in the haste at the time to acclaim the indie spirit of other bands over the craftsmanship this group applied. The irony was that the Chills, who also harboured mainstream acclaim, were frequently... > Read more

Eyes on the Horizon

Charlotte Yates: Then the Stars Start Singing (charlotteyates.com)

4 Sep 2017  |  1 min read

Many musicians must be plagued with self-doubt when putting their music into the world, but spare a sympathetic thought for Charlotte Yates because for many years she was offering songwriting advice in the pages of NZ Musician magazine (now online here). So you could imagine her trepidation at being judged on the release of this album, but Yates – who was also prime mover behind... > Read more

Where Have You Gone

Paul McLaney: Play On (Loop)

25 Aug 2017  |  2 min read

Although there have been any number of musical settings of Shakespeare's songs and sonnets (Paul Kelly recently with last year's Seven Songs and A Sonnet for example), the very prolific Paul McLaney takes another direction into the words of the Bard: 10 of his soliloquies. Those are passages spoken directly to the audience, sometimes in earshot of other actors but unheard by them.... > Read more

The Deeds of Mercy ft Ria Hall

Various Artists: Even a Tree Can Shed Tears (LITA/Southbound)

21 Aug 2017  |  1 min read

Subtitled “Japanese Folk and Rock 1969 – 1973”, this 19 song collection with very useful liner notes shines a spotlight on music you might thought would have been much explored in that lust so many have for the obscure or left-field. As Yosuke Kitazawa observes in the notes, Japanese pop has only made one lone impact on the mainstream charts outside of the country,... > Read more

Aoi Natsu/Blue Summer by Takuro Yoshida

Richard Thompson: Acoustic Classics II (Proper/Southbound)

21 Aug 2017  |  1 min read

For decades his fans have argued that Richard Thomson has been cruelly overlooked, but that only seems to apply to sales: he has been accorded just about every major songwriting and guitar accolade possible in the USA and UK and also has an OBE. But of course, none of that directly translates into a profile for a more mainstream audience. This album – the excellent sequel... > Read more

Pharaoh

Django Bates: Saluting Sgt Pepper (Edition)

21 Aug 2017  |  1 min read

Although you couldn't fault the timing of this album by British keyboard player/conductor/arranger Bates and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, the result is somewhat less engaging. The 50th anniversary of the Beatles' Sgt Pepper album invited many such opportunistic tributes but too often this, by remaining extremely faithful to the original right down to the replication of animal... > Read more

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Grawlixes: Set Free (Home Alone/Southbound)

14 Aug 2017  |  1 min read

This debut album for the Wellington indie.folk duo Grawlixes – Robin Cederman and Penelope Esplin, with violinist Alex Vaatstra in places here – appeared while Elsewhere was elsewhere so we missed their tour. Are we disappointed on the evidence here? Although the title track is an uninviting dirge as an opener – even at just two... > Read more

A Fine Rain

Ov Pain: Ov Pain (cocomuse.co.nz)

14 Aug 2017  |  1 min read

In the musical microcosm that is Dunedin/Port Chalmers these days, we might allow ourselves to consider the duo at the core of this multi-referencing Goth-cum-drone-cum-claustrophobically dark-rock-psyche release as something of a pocket-edition supergroup. Partners Renee Barrance and Tim Player are of Elan Vital and the very interesting Opposite Sex respectively. But, with all... > Read more

Cold as Ice

Mermaidens: Perfect Body (Flying Nun)

9 Aug 2017  |  <1 min read

This Wellington trio are quite rightly the hip, fashionable and classy name to drop because of their crafted, emotionally tense pop which holds up in the face of easy dismissal. To these ears so many young indie-rock groups lack any sense of bite let alone firepower. But Mermaidens walk a line between ethereal pop and brittle indie.rock which channels some of the essence of... > Read more

Satsuma

Public Service Broadcasting: Every Valley (PIAS)

7 Aug 2017  |  2 min read  |  1

The two previous albums by Britain's boffinish PSB – Inform-Educate- Entertain and The Race for Space – had an audience outreach in their sampled themes: voices from the past evoking speed, progress, science, energy and vigour propelling us into the future . . . Couple those themes with energetic music borne out of techno, rock, pop and dance, and the albums were very hard... > Read more

People Will Always Need Coal

This is the Kit: Moonshine Freeze (Rough Trade)

7 Aug 2017  |  1 min read

The previous album Bashed Out by the acclaimed UK alt.folk singer/writer and banjo player Kate Sables (aka This is the Kit) was a frustrating affair. Round my way the cry was always “turn it up” or that she should just punch in a bit harder. However this fourth album (produced by John Parish, with guests who do the punching on electric guitars, cello, saxophones and so on)... > Read more

By My Demon Eye

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Micronism; inside a quiet mind (Loop)

7 Aug 2017  |  1 min read

When Denver McCarthy released this album in the late Nineties the musical landscape in New Zealand was very different and electronica – although not a new genre – was very in the forefront of conversations. There was quite a schism between the electronica and rock factions (just as there had been previously between hip-hop and rock) and cheerleaders on each side took often... > Read more

eventide

Maria Dallas: The Best of Maria Dallas (Sony)

7 Aug 2017  |  2 min read

In 2013 – which was what we now know as “The Year of Our Lorde” – there was a huge upset at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. For the young people in the audience, their new pop-godhead Lorde had dominated their thinking and so a shockwave of “Who . . .?” went around the room when the award for the biggest selling album was announced.... > Read more

Don't Love Me Too Much

Arcade Fire: Everything Now (Sony)

31 Jul 2017  |  <1 min read

Always a band with ambition, this Canadian outfit have previously pushed the parameters and for their previous outing Reflektor went the whole double-CD. As we said at the time, like most double discs it was overlong but you did have to admire their willingness to experiment and, in that instance, throw themselves back into the Eighties. In that regard this more economic and... > Read more

Electric Blue

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Isaac Hayes, Shaft

31 Jul 2017  |  2 min read

It's not widely known, but Isaac Hayes was the first black artist to win the Best Song category at the Oscars, and he did with the memorable theme to the film Shaft which also won him a Grammy and pushed the double album soundtrack to become the fastest selling album on the Stax label to that time. If there's any irony it's that on The Theme, Hayes barely sung at all just did his sort... > Read more

Early Sunday Morning

Valedictions: Pieces (valedictions.co.nz)

3 Jul 2017  |  <1 min read

While we might bemoan the balkanisation of radio into tightly proscribed formats, at least from an artist's point of view they at least know where to pitch their music. No surprise then that this three-piece Auckland band got an early single Hey Lady on The Rock FM. (The title alone kinda recommends it, right?) They played a Big Day Out years ago, did some gigs more recently with... > Read more

Queens

Benjamin Booker: Witness (Rough Trade)

26 Jun 2017  |  1 min read

This may only be Booker's second album but he has already proven the capacity to surprise, born out o his punk background in Florida coupled with a love for r'n'b', gospel and classic soul. Throw them into the blender – you can almost hear the blades grinding on the throaty opener Right On You which comes at you out of a thumping pulse and the assertive “I'll be damned if... > Read more

Believe