Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Gecko Turner: Guapapasea! (Rhythmethod)

10 Feb 2007  |  <1 min read

The absurdly named Gecko Turner is actually a Spanish producer and composer who has fronted bands, won awards, and effected a pleasantly lazy meltdown of global pop and dance styles into something which is distinctively Spanish despite its eclecticism. He opens here with a barely recognisable treatment of Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues (kinda cruisy, for cocktail hour!) and later... > Read more

Gecko Turner: Nina da Guadiana

Dean & Britta: Back Numbers (Zoe)

10 Feb 2007  |  <1 min read

The main players here are former Kiwi Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, one half of the New York-based band Luna whose distinctive, moody style drew from the template set down by early Velvet Undergound. In fact Luna opened for VU at one of those fraught 90s reunions. Wareham was also in the earlier indie band Galaxie 500. Together D&B provided the score to the Oscar-nominated movie... > Read more

Dean & Britta: Teen Angel

Lisa Gerrard: Lisa Gerrard (4AD)

9 Feb 2007  |  <1 min read

This evocative 15-track collection draws on Gerrard's extensive soundtrack work (material from Gladiator, Whale Rider and Ali are included here), her solo albums, and those with Dead Can Dance. Given that range, what is apparent from these tracks is how singular her musical vision has been: wordless and ethereal vocals imbued with a spiritual -- and even holy -- quality. Hints of... > Read more

Lisa Gerrard: Sanvean (by Dead Can Dance)

Richard Swift: The Novelist/Walking Without Effort

9 Feb 2007  |  <1 min read

This utterly engrossing double disc brings together Californian Swift's two previously released (but rare) albums from a couple of years ago which were made up of singles he drip-fed over the years. This reissue announces to the wider world (and me, I'd never heard of him) his particular, quiet genius. At times his easy-on-the-ear ballads have a sub-Bacharach quality, in other places... > Read more

Richard Swift: Looking Back I Should Have Been Home More

Neko Case: Live From Austin, Texas (Elite)

31 Jan 2007  |  <1 min read  |  1

Although a belated release -- it was recorded in August 2003 -- there is some serendipity of timing: Case's 2006 Fox Confessor Brings The Flood popped up in many "best of the year" lists. On release I gave Fox five stars in the New Zealand Herald and in the end of year "best of" wrap-up wrote of it, "This typically diverse Case album runs from pure guitar-twang pop... > Read more

Neko Case: Alone and Forsaken

Various: Friends of Old Time Music (Smithsonian Folkways/Elite)

26 Jan 2007  |  <1 min read

Subtitled "The Folk Arrival 1961-1965", this three CD collection with a handsome and informative booklets of essays and histories of the songs, will be of great interest to those turned on to this kind of unadorned music by the soundtrack to Oh Brother! Where Art Thou? Or who like rural blues, artists like the Stanley Brothers, or want to hear where Gillian Welch and others of the... > Read more

Fred McDowell: Going Down To The River

Jefferson Belt, Table Manners (Round Trip Mars)

26 Jan 2007  |  <1 min read

All I know about this warm, user-friendly and hypnotically amusing album is that Mr Belt (if we believe that is his name) was a member of the Auckland band Sperm Bank 5 whose name, but not noise, I remember from over a decade ago. Some of his subsequent instrumental work appeared on a Kog compilation and . . . Well, that's where my (supplied) information runs out. Ignorance... > Read more

Jefferson Belt: Micro Bonbons

Edwin Derricut: Symmetry (Pure)

25 Jan 2007  |  <1 min read

Elsewhere frequently gets albums from local artists wanting to be posted and reviewed, but to be honest very few make it through. You'll note that last year only the likes of Paul McLaney, Reb Fountain, Dudley Benson, Miriam Clancy and a few others made the final cut. You have to be good to be in the company of Bob Dylan, Soaud Massi, Tom Waits and so on. This singer-songwriter... > Read more

Edwin Derricut: Symmetry

Chris Knox and the Nothing (Major Label/Rhythmethod)

21 Jan 2007  |  <1 min read

Knox may seem over-exposed after a lifetime of music in this country, but at the Big Day Out in Auckland he proved to have as much, if not more, energy and passion than some of those Big Name Bands on the main stage. And a great deal more humour. Over the course of his set he pulled a growing crowd, which he raced off into at the end, still singing using his headset mike. Everyone bayed... > Read more

Chris Knox and the Nothing: The Darkest Star

Joanna Newsom, Ys (Drag City)

13 Jan 2007  |  <1 min read

Arriving at the tail end of last year, this album was too late for it to be considered by reviewers and so has largely gone unacknowledged. But it has appeared on numerous international "best of 2006" lists. However be warned, this baroque folk is not an easy proposition: Newsom sometimes sings like Bjork channelling Shirley Temple, and with lavish string arrangements by Van Dyke... > Read more

Joanna Newsome: Monkey & Bear

Carrie Rodriguez: Seven Angels on a Bicycle (EMI)

13 Jan 2007  |  <1 min read

This album came out late last year but went largely ignored, even by me until I discovered it in a pile recently. And I'm very glad I did. Probably only known for her singing and fiddle playing with the great songwriter Chip Taylor -- check their 2005 Red Dog Tracks album -- this is Rodriguez' solo debut, and it's a real showcase. With avant-guitarist Bill Frisell, pedal steel player... > Read more

Carrie Rodriguez: He Ain't Jesus

Pere Ubu: Why I Hate Women (Glitterhouse)

13 Jan 2007  |  <1 min read

This will definitely not be to everyone's taste -- but I have been a longtime follower of Pere Ubu and the solo career of its portly front man David Thomas whose vocals can be as appealing to some people as Yoko Ono's screaming. From the confrontational album title through tracks called Babylonian Warehouses, Flames Over Nebraska and Stolen Cadillac, this is a typically demanding but also... > Read more

Pere Ubu: Stolen Cadillac

The Who: Endless Wire (PolyGram)

6 Dec 2006  |  1 min read

Right from the opening bars here - a repeated keyboard figure like Baba O'Riley and a crashing power chord - Pete Townshend puts you on notice that the sonic power of The Who, now just him and Roger Daltrey as sole survivors of the original band, is undiminished by the years. Of course, that's the easy part and when Daltrey enters his voice lacks its former wallop. But that's an impression... > Read more

Chris Smither: Leave The Light On (Shock)

1 Dec 2006  |  <1 min read

Smith is a grizzled-sounding roots-country singer whose spare songs glisten with his guitar playing, and whose baritone sounds whiskey-cured and filled with gravitas. He's no chicken (he's 62 and recorded his first album 33 years ago), but that only adds to his authentic, throaty country-blues which owes debts to Mississippi John Hurt, but also respects more recent songwriters. (He covers... > Read more

Chris Smither: Cold Trail Blues

Pete Molinari: Walking Off The Map (Shock/EMI)

30 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read

Molinari is from Chatham in England, but he might have stepped out of an East Village folk club in 1962. Dylan is an influence (he covers Bob's old Tomorrow Is A Long Time, and there is another early Dylanesque title and antiwar song in The Ballad of Bob Montgomery). But his stripped bare style and memorable, emotional and unwavering voice sets him apart as very much his own man, even though... > Read more

Pete Molinari: Indescribably Blue

Little Axe: Stone Cold Ohio (Virgin) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

30 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read  |  2

Little Axe is guitarist/singer Skip McDonald who first came to attention as a member of the Sugar Hill Gang, the house band for Sugar Hill Records which released such classic rap tracks as Grandmaster Flash's The Message. McDonald went to England and joined Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound crew and was a member of the innovative Tackhead which threw blues, dub, reggae and hip-hop into the... > Read more

Little Axe: If I Had My Way

Smog: Rock Bottom Riser (EMI)

29 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read

Smog is the astonishingly prolific Bill Callahan who has moved from a deliberately untutored style into what might be loosely considered This four track EP (with Jim White, Joanna Newsom and others) is elegantly plain and unadorned, and sets you up for a new album early next year. If you haven't heard Smog you need to approach with caution: there are probably a couple of... > Read more

Smog: Rock Bottom Riser

Pernice Brothers: Live a Little (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

26 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read

The vehicle for Joe Pernice, this band make slightly askew alt.pop and haven't been averse to pulling in orchestration when required. Where once Pernice made with his band the Scud Mountain Boys he now nods to Brian Wilson and classic pop of the mid 60s. In many ways it is unfashionable music because it isn't as alternative as some might like, but this album glows with... > Read more

The Pernice Brothers: Grudge F*** (2006)

Gomez: Five Men in a Hut (EMI)

26 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read

No one reviewed this double disc when it came out late last year which is not surprising: although this British band picked up the coveted Mercury Award for their 1998 debut Bring It On they seem to have been a critic's favourite since. No one else seems to care which is a shame, they are terrific -- if slight uncategorisable:, alt.rock, alt.pop? Just alt. This sprawling... > Read more

Gomez: 78 Stone Wobble

Dudley Benson: The Orders, Medals and Decorations EP (GRR)

26 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read

Trained as a chorister, Benson was awarded a choral scholarship and became head soloist at the Christchurch Cathedral Choir, then when he went to university he majored in composition. Hardly the standard route for most indie-pop artists. Among the six tracks here are two orchestral pieces, a remix of his terrific single It's Akaroa's Fault, and a remix of the earlier I Don't Mind. Benson... > Read more