Music at Elsewhere

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The Softlightes: Say No! to Being Cool, Say Yes! to Being Happy (Modular)

14 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

There is always a place for translucent gentle pop, and it doesn't come much more summer-kissed or amusing than this debut from a Californian band which obviously also possesses a sense of humour: titles here include The Robots in My Bedroom Were Playing Arena Rock; The Microwave Song; If The World Had Cookies; and Black Skinheads in White Pants. Purists and cynics will doubtless recoil at... > Read more

The Softlightes: The Ballad of Theo & June

Philip Glass: Music from the film The Illusionist (Elite)

14 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read  |  1

A lot of soundtracks don't stand up outside of the movie, but Glass' distinctive orchestrations, melodic repetitions and tension-release style work for me (almost) every time, and they certainly do for this film by writer/director Neil Burger. Given the dramatic suspense and subject matter in the film (magic. mystery, love) this soundtrack in particular -- and Glass has done quite a number... > Read more

Philip Glass: Chance Encounter

Various: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of (Yazoo/Southbound)

14 Apr 2007  |  1 min read

Among the many delights of this exceptional double disc package -- subtitled "Super Rarities and Unissued Gems of the 1920s and '30s -- are the artwork by that obsessive record collector Robert Crumb, and the hilarious essay by compiler Richard Nevins who attempts to justify the habits of hoarders while also acknowledging this is a crazy kind of sickness. His account of the Collyers... > Read more

Tommy Johnson: Slidin' Delta

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions: Rattlesnakes, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

11 Apr 2007  |  1 min read

As with any year 1984 threw up some odd conjunctions, but to be honest Mr Orwell's year seemed odder than most: Springsteen's Born in the USA and Prince's 1999 competed for attention with Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. U2's Unforgettable Fire and REM's Reckoning arrived, so did Wham's Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Culture Club, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Sade, lots of eyeliner -- and Bob Dylan... > Read more

Lloyd Cole: Perfect Skin (demo version)

Jamie T: Panic Prevention (EMI)

8 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

Chaotic, slightly demented, aggressive and infused with a punk DIY spirit, this mind-bending collage of music, noise and sound clash from young London DJ/singer Jamie T won't be to everyone's taste -- which is a polite way of saying that some might want to approach this with caution. But the fact is Panic Prevention is a boiling, boisterous, angry and often funny mix-mash from the clubs and... > Read more

Jamie T: Ike & Tina

Kelly Flint: Drive All Night (BePop)

7 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

It probably means nothing to most of us -- it certainly doesn't to me -- to know that Kelly Flint was the singer with Dave's True Story. DTS was a New York band various described as hipster/jazzy/witty/cool/cult favorites/sophisticated and so on. Apparently they have made five albums, and not having heard a note they played makes it hard to figure out whether Flint's debut solo album owes... > Read more

Kelly Flint: Story in your Eyes

Liam Ryan: Mississippi 2 Mauao (Torch)

7 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

On the release of excellent recent albums by Wellington pianists Kevin Clark and Charmaine Ford, and Auckland saxophonist Brian Smith I have noted what a rare year it is shaping up to be in New Zealand jazz. And here is further evidence -- but something very different to those mentioned. Ryan was once the songwriter/keyboardist in the Narcs in the early 80s who were much beloved by radio... > Read more

Liam Ryan: Blue Elevator

Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha (Spunk) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

7 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

Years ago this Chicago singer-songwriter-violinist helmed his band Bowl of Fire through strange back-alleys of music which referred to blues and jazz of the 20s, circuses and travelling shows, low-rent bars and brothel music of old time New Orleans, and a bit of Tom Waits. After a while I gave up telling people how good he was. It's that time again however -- but for very different... > Read more

Andrew Bird: Dark Matters

Richard Swift: Dressed Up For the Letdown (Secretly Canadian) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

7 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read  |  1

The previous album by this Californian singer-songwriter -- actually a double disc collection of his previously released singles and EPs -- made an appearance on Elsewhere many months ago and I hailed it to the skies. And I've played it with alarming frequency ever since a first hearing. This is his fully-fledged debut album proper, and it follows much the same pattern of his singles:... > Read more

Richard Swift: Most of What I Know

Ry Cooder: My Name is Buddy (Warners)

28 Mar 2007  |  1 min read

Albums under Ry Cooder's name once only sold in the hundreds. But these days -- through high profile soundtracks such as Paris, Texas, The Long Riders and Trespass, internationally acclaimed work with the Buena Vista Social Club, and superb albums with the likes of fellow guitarist Manuel Galban (Mambo Sinuendo) and the late Ali Farka Toure from Mali (Talking Timbuktu) -- Cooder has become... > Read more

Ry Cooder: Sundown Town

The Frames, The Cost (EMI)

28 Mar 2007  |  <1 min read

As regular readers of this column will know (I've always wanted to say that!), the lead singer of this Irish band Glen Hansard appeared in Elsewhere last year with a low-key but compelling album The Swell Season (with Czech singer/pianist Marketa Irglova). But, to this one: Hansard excels in heart-aching angst and dramatic vocal swoops, and the band (which can come on like mid-period... > Read more

The Frames: The Cost

Uncle Earl: Waterloo, Tennessee (Elite)

28 Mar 2007  |  <1 min read

This all-women quartet open this diverse, rootsy and often surprising 16-track collection with a kick-arse bluegrass track which is a real attention grabber. And there are others like it scattered throughout. But there are also Cajun ballads, a barn dance instrumental (with someone's boots clickin' on the floor), some a cappella work, touches of the blues and much more including a nice... > Read more

Uncle Earl: Easy In The Early ('Til Sundown)

Eddie Reader: Peacetime (Shock)

25 Mar 2007  |  <1 min read

The former voice of Scotland's pop hitmakers Fairground Attraction has been a very credible solo act for many years now, but it's a fair bet not too many signed on for her album of songs by the great people's poet Rabbie Burns, wonderful though it was. This collection of traditional songs rearranged, some adaptations of Burns' poems, and some originals (from the likes of cult-figure Boo... > Read more

Eddie Reader: Muddy Water

Duke Special: Songs From The Deep Forest (Shock)

25 Mar 2007  |  1 min read

Elsewhere works in mysterious ways, it's wonders to perform. About 10 days ago I got an e-mail from guy in Belfast, Jonny McEwen. He'd seen Elsewhere and suggested I check out an Irish musician called Duke Special, and he provided me with a web-link and a review someone had written. I was curious but figured that while Duke Special (aka Peter Wilson) might be worth checking out the... > Read more

Duke Special: Wake Up, Scarlett

SubAudible Hum: In Time For Spring, On Came The Snow (Inertia)

18 Mar 2007  |  <1 min read

The Melbourne-based outfit open this, their second album, with a pulsating electronic track which is increasingly dense and chant-like, and sounds like U2's guitarman the Edge has also been roped in while struggling with a hangover. However it is an atypical track from a band that has previously owed more than a little to Radiohead's most out-there efforts. Thereafter they kick in with... > Read more

SubAudible Hum: All For The Caspian

Tony Joe White: Uncovered (Swamp)

18 Mar 2007  |  <1 min read

The man who single-handedly created swamp music, Tony Joe White, records and writes new material seldom these days and his last offering -- The Heroines with guests Shelby Lynne, Lucinda Williams, Michelle White, Emmylou Harris and Jesse Colter -- suggested the pace was slackening even further. A glance at this new album might confirm that: he goes back to his '73 album Homemade Ice Cream... > Read more

Tony Joe White (with Eric Clapton): Did Somebody Make a Fool Out Of You

Mika: Life In Cartoon Motion (Universal)

12 Mar 2007  |  1 min read

The question which seems to be taxing radio DJs about this Mika -- from the UK, not the Kiwi of the same name -- is whether or not he's gay. The correct answer is, "Who cares?" because this album is just such outrageously good fun -- camp, danceable, singalong, smile-inducing and so on -- that you will be far too busy enjoying it to worry about such trivial matters. Born in... > Read more

Mika: Love Today

Karen Hunter: Rubble (Monkey)

11 Mar 2007  |  <1 min read

The guy who wrote the liner notes for this long overdue album by Auckland singer-songwriter Hunter -- it was me actually -- says he can well remember the first time he saw her perform: it was over 15 years ago and she stood so far outside the self-proscribed parameters that most musicians put on themselves you couldn't help but be stunned. Hunter rocked from powerchords to soft acoustic... > Read more

Karen Hunter: Drunk & Disorderly

Flip Grater: Cage For A Song (Maiden/Elite)

11 Mar 2007  |  <1 min read

Christchurch singer-songwriter Flip Grater gives you a lot to think about on this impressive if slightly wayward debut album released late last year. Grater flips, we might say, from aggro industrial-sounding rock to fragile folk-framed songs. And has some songs which sit at exactly the mid-point of those extreme ends of a very long spectrum. She also uses a minimalist approach to her... > Read more

Flip Grater: Where's the Door

Po' Girl: Home To You (Shock)

11 Mar 2007  |  <1 min read

The previously posted Po' Girl album Vagabond Lullabies was actually a few years old and only given belated release in this country. But it was too good to ignore, and allowed me to set you up for this new one by the one-time trio (now-quartet on the cover photo, but a quintet in the credits!) of rootsy singers from Canada which includes Trish Klein, founding member of the Be Good Tanyas who... > Read more

Po' Girl: Skies of Grey