Music at Elsewhere

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Soulsavers: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land (V2) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

21 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

Suffused in religion, redemption, Christian imagery and dark melancholy (aside from the uplifting opener Revival which deliberately recalls Knocking On Heaven's Door), this is an exceptional album -- and one which seems a very long way from what we might loosely call "rock culture". With guest vocalist Mark Lanegan's solemn baritone everywhere (and Will Oldham on one track, Jimi... > Read more

Soulsavers: Revival

Ellis Island Sound: The Good Seed (Peacefrog)

21 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

At last! I received a preview copy of this wonderful instrumental album almost six months ago and have been waiting ever since to post it. And in that time I kept changing my mind about which track to post: in the end I have just stabbed my finger at the list and gone with that one. "S'all good", as the hip-hop kids say. This UK duo -- Pete Astor and Davis Sheppard -- are... > Read more

Ellis Island Sound: Count the Cars

Dave's True Story: Simple Twist of Fate (BePop Records)

21 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

A couple of weeks ago I posted the excellent Drive All Night, the debut solo album by Kelly Flint (see tag) and noted that while she was now in that vague camp she'd apparently been in a hip-jazz outfit from New York called Dave's True Story. I said I had never heard of them: now I have. They sent me three of their albums and yes, they are slippery, jazzy, finger-poppin'... > Read more

Dave's True Story: You're A Big Girl Now

Co-Pilgrim: Pucker Up Buttercup (Rhythmethod)

21 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

A few years ago there was a hopeful movement started in the UK: it came with the slogan "Quiet is the New Loud". Movements which get a slogan before a following are usually shortlived, and so it was with that one -- although to be fair a lot of pretty and quiet albums arrived subsequently, but most from bands we never heard of again. Singer-songwriter Mike Gale (who is... > Read more

Co-Pilgrim: Her Soft Voice

Sam Cooke: Portrait of a Legend 1951-64 (Abkco)

21 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

It seems a shame that this great soul singer -- who was shot in strange and sad circumstances in late '64 -- should be relegated to classic hits radio and soundtracks on the basis of a few of his hits: You Send Me, What A Wonderful World, Bring It On Home To Me, Another Saturday Night . . . Cooke's wonderful gospel-into-pop sound of 1959-65 was covered on the excellent double disc box set... > Read more

Sam Cooke: Just For You

Richard Buckner: Meadow (Merge/Rhythmethod)

15 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

In a fortnight during which I have heard exciting music of all persuasions -- from the London wideboy hip-hop of Jamie T to the orchestrations of Philip Glass (see below) -- this one is the real standout. From swirling but moody pop-rock which recalls elevating 60s jangle and Joy Division simultaneously (the exciting opener Town) through driving Americana and on to deft acoustic work over... > Read more

Richard Buckner: Window

Elvis Perkins: Ash Wednesday (XL/Rhythmethod)

15 Apr 2007  |  <1 min read

A publisher once told me that if I wanted to write a successful book I should put the word "Elvis" in the title. I said my next book would be called "Elvis in the Title". It's an odd fact though that the very word commands attention, whether it be the singer Elvis Phuong in Vietnam (who does MOR Beatles covers actually) or the various churches of Elvis. Served... > Read more

Elvis Perkins: All The Night Without Love

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga (Polydor) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

15 Apr 2007  |  1 min read

A couple of years ago -- around the time Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst to his parents) broke biggish with the two 2005 albums I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn (the former of songs, the latter electronics) -- I was in Tower Records in Seattle. I spotted a seven album Bright Eyes box set (yes, all vinyl) for some ludicrously low price. I'd heard of Bright Eyes in... > Read more

Bright Eyes: Hot Knives

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

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)

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

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