Music at Elsewhere

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The All Seeing Hand: Syntax Error (usual digital outlets)

3 Sep 2018  |  1 min read

Frankly, Wellington's All Seeing Hand confuse me. They were thrilling at a Laneway two years ago when they delivered a magnificently punishing set which had all the intensity and power of pneumatic drill and a concrete cutter with metal-edge throat singing and stabbing synthesiser and furious percussion. They were the undoubted and most memorable high point of a busy day. But their album... > Read more


Passenger: Runaway (usual digital outlets/Border)

31 Aug 2018  |  3 min read

British singer-songwriter Passenger (Mike Rosenberg) has not only etched himself in his homeland – an Ivor Novello Award for Let Her Go, the most performed song of 2014 there, which gave him a number one single here – and a couple of his subsequent albums did serious damage to the charts in this country. His album Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea of two years ago got a... > Read more

Ghost Town

Steve Young: To Satisfy You (Ace/Border)

30 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

The late Steve Young – who died in 2016 – was one of those literate and interesting singer-songwriters who was nominally country but also had a burnt-blues voice when required. He was a fine songwriter whose work embraced the nascent country-rock/outlaw country genre, flicked out the fine Seven Bridges Road album and gave signature songs to Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr... > Read more

The Contender

Avantdale Bowling Club: Avantdale Bowling Club (digital outlets, Flying Out etc)

27 Aug 2018  |  2 min read

You don't need to know anything about Tom Scott's life because in the compelling seven minute opening track Years Gone By here as he emerges under another imprimatur, he sketches in his autobiography. It is of moving from the UK as child, growing up in Avondale, getting a job, his jazz-bassist dad Peter getting leaving then getting busted and doing time, a friend dying, hitting headlines... > Read more

Old Dogs

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: Future Me 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

Cowboy Junkies: All That Reckoning (Proper/Southbound)

6 Aug 2018  |  1 min read  |  2

When Canada's Cowboy Junkies arrived in the late Eighties with their quiet and contained Trinity Sessions album – recorded in hushed tones in a church -- the landscape of music was very noisy: hard metal, gangsta, stadium rock acts . . . Cowboy Junkies' subtle blend of moody folk, alt.Americana, respect for early Elvis and a whisper of Velvet Underground seemed to create a fresh... > Read more

Missing Children

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)

Blair Parkes: Always Running (usual digital outlets)

1 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Out of Christchurch, Blair Parkes is a multiple threat whose work encompasses – and impresses in – artworks, writing, photography, videos and music. He started in the Flying Nun band All Fall Down but has moved through a number of others (notably The Letter 5) and then into a solo career which embraces everything from acoustic guitar releases through to blazing and fuzzed-up pop... > Read more

Heavy Lifting

The Adults: Haja (Warners)

30 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

This new iteration of the Adults – the flexible line-up project helmed by Jon Toogood of Shihad – has rightly grabbed early attention for its meld of exotic rhythms and melodies from Islamic music, and the contributors list which includes Chelsea Jade, Raiza Biza, co-producer Devin Abrams, Aaradhna and others. With that cast, the music edges between hip-hop, pop-rock and... > Read more

Bloodlines (ft Estere and Jess B)

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

Holly Arrowsmith: A Dawn I Remember (Rhythmethod)

23 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

When this folk-framed singer-songwriter won the award for best folk album in 2016 on the back of her impressive but also tentative and sometimes overreaching debut For the Weary Traveller, you were reminded how quick we are to acclaim nascent talent and just how much pressure that can put on an artist. We often don't give people a chance to grow up away from the public glare, offer them a... > Read more

A View From Above

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