Music at Elsewhere

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Holly Cole: Holly Cole (Alert)

18 Aug 2007  |  <1 min read

Cole is the dark mistress of jazz-noir which probably sounds best in an ill-lit nightclub as you are waiting for Bogie and Bacall to drop in. That kind of smoke-filled and evocative music. Alley Cat Song is a typical Cole title. With a terrific band (which includes Gil Goldstein on piano, Marty Ehrlich and Lenny Pickett on saxes, and bassist Greg Cohen) Cole drags the notes lazily, oozes... > Read more

Holly Cole: The House Is Haunted By The Echo of Your Last Goodbye

Bat For Lashes: Fur and Gold (UNSpin/EMI)

11 Aug 2007  |  <1 min read  |  1

From the opening track with its repeated ripples of minimalism, the ethereal vocals, a sense of eerie strings and theremin-like synth, and the barely suppressed sense of urgency you know that something very special is in store from this oddly-named UK outfit which is the vehicle for singer/multi-instrumentalist/visual artist Natasha Khan. That sense of quiet drama, repressed emotion,... > Read more

Bat For Lashes: Horse and I

The Nextmen: This Was Supposed To Be The Future (Antidote/Elite)

10 Aug 2007  |  <1 min read

This is a real meltown and mash-up of styles, yet somehow it works as a guest list which includes soul diva Alice Russell, various Jamaican DJs and toasters join the producers/songwriting/remix duo of Dom Search and Brad Baloo (who are the Nextmen) for a sonic colour chart which lopes from chantdown dancefloor to sultry soul and beyond. On paper it shouldn't work but what is here sounds... > Read more

The Nextmen: Tuffen Up

Joe Henry; Civilians (Anti/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

10 Aug 2007  |  <1 min read

With a small band, and guests Bill Frisell (on guitar) and Van Dyke Parks (piano), the much ignored Henry continues his singular path which owes a little to a less grumbly Tom Waits but remains properly in the singer-songwriter tradition with nods to folk and the blues. Here are classically-framed ballads (You Can't Fail Me Now) and songs with social and political resonance (Civil War, the... > Read more

Joe Henry: You Can't Fail Me Now

Josh Rouse: Country Mouse, City House (Bedroom Classics)

10 Aug 2007  |  1 min read

Rouse has an interesting record collection: we know this because for a few albums -- notably 1972 which nodded to Seventies singer-songwriters, and Nashville which raided 80s pop, rock and indie music -- have sounded like a man rummaging through his musical closet for new clothes to wear. It's fair to say his best album was Under Cold Blue Stars of 2002 and while those two mentioned... > Read more

Josh Rouse: London Bridges

Various; Contemporary New Zealand Poets In Performance (AUP) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

10 Aug 2007  |  <1 min read

This second volume of an excellent series (with CDs) of New Zealand poets reading their own work came from Auckland University Press and was edited by Jack Ross and Jan Kemp. It followed the previous volume, Classic New Zealand Poets in Performance. This one includes poems by Bernadette Hall, Sam Hunt, Bill Manhire, Ian Wedde, Keri Hulme, David Eggleton, Iain Sharp and others. A worthy and... > Read more

San Hunt: Hey, Minstrel

The Brunettes: Structure and Cosmetics (Lil' Chief/Rhythmethod)

4 Aug 2007  |  1 min read

The quirky and sometimes playful pop of Auckland's Brunettes gets a real workout here: whether it be enjoying the left speaker/right speaker game on Stereo (Mono Mono); referencing Tommy James and the Shondells' 60s hit Crimson and Clover on their delicate Credit Card Mail Order; offering a title such as Obligatory Road Song; or simply bending melodies like origami paper in order to create... > Read more

The Brunettes: Her Hairagami Set

Paul Kelly: Stolen Apples (EMI)

4 Aug 2007  |  <1 min read

Albums by Paul Kelly are like local buses: if you miss one it probably doesn't matter, another will be along soon. My guess is he has made at least a couple of dozen albums, which means that this album might just pass people by as yet another Kelly album. That would be a shame because he is still at the top of his game and is such a seasoned songwriter that his work never falls below... > Read more

Paul Kelly: God Told Me To

Pitch Black: Rude Mechanicals (Remote)

4 Aug 2007  |  <1 min read

The electronica duo of Mike Hodgson and Paddy Free who are Pitch Black were in the vanguard of New Zealand sound and vision performances in the 90s, so much so that you'd love to see them release a CD/DVD, which would make a good deal of sense. But it is also testament to their sensibilities that their internationalist music has an innate visual quality to it. This album for example,... > Read more

Pitch Black: Rude Mechanicals (feat Kp)

Durutti Column: Idiot Savants (Artful)

3 Aug 2007  |  1 min read

To be honest, I thought they wuz dead! It has probably not been since the early 90s that I last heard of, let alone heard, Durutti Column. I just assumed that mainman/guitarist Vini Reilly had packed his exotic tent and headed off into even greater obscurity. So I was initally baffled -- then delighted - when this new album arrived in the post (with no proper cover and no information... > Read more

Durutti Column: That Blows My Name Away; For Rachel

Stateless: Stateless (IK7)

3 Aug 2007  |  <1 min read

Is it just me or is there a lot of Jeff Buckley around these days? And Bono, and Chris Martin from Coldplay? All those names -- singers of unique and distinctive passion -- come to mind at various times on this diverse debut album which is ultimately held together by the smart electronica which forms the substructure. This UK outfit make a poised but epic-in-intent kind of trip-hop which... > Read more

Buffalo Tom: Three Easy Pieces (New West/Elite)

3 Aug 2007  |  <1 min read

I well remember one night at dusk, somewhere in the American mid-west, driving a long and empty road as Buffalo Tom's melancholy classic Tail Lights Fade to Black came on the radio. I lifted my foot off the accelerator and enjoyed the perfect moment. And then two days later on a faster and more demanding road another of their more edgy songs -- I can't remember which -- blasted out and... > Read more

Buffalo Tom: Bottom of the Rain

Erkki-Sven Tuur: Oxymoron (ECM New Series/Ode)

28 Jul 2007  |  <1 min read

Contemporary classical music -- which often sounds like it comes from "elsewhere" -- sometimes gets a look in at these pages, especially if it is challenging. And this certainly is. These four works by Estonian composer Tuur include a short piece for a male choir and an ensemble of clarinet, bassoon, trombone, percussion, oboe and so on; Ardor for marimba and orchestra (here the... > Read more

Erkki-Sven Tuur: Ardor Part III (Concerto for marimba and orchestra, 2001)

SJD: Songs from a Dictaphone (Round Trip Mars/EMI)

28 Jul 2007  |  <1 min read

My guess is critical consensus on this album will settle on the phrase, "not as good as the last one". But that last one, the sublime Southern Lights of 2004, set such a high threshold that SJD (Sean James Donnelly) was always going to have that comment aimed at him. That said, there is something to it: I Wrote This Song For You and Just Say No To The Disco Inferno here seem... > Read more

SJD: Lucifer

Harry Manx: Wise and Otherwise (Border)

27 Jul 2007  |  <1 min read

Suddenly there's a fair bit of Manx around (see In Good We Trust) -- and that's a good thing Singer-guitarist Manx returned to his native Canada in 2000 after 25 years living in India, Japan and various parts of Europe. He plays lap steel and the Indian mohan veena, harmonica and banjo. And he has a lived-in voice. This re-issue of his 2001 album (with more elaborate and quite... > Read more

Harry Manx: Crazy Love

Nick Drake: Family Tree (Island/Universal)

17 Jul 2007  |  1 min read

There is a very good case to be made that Nick Drake (1948-74) was like a Robert Johnson of British folk, leaving behind a small but compelling body of songs, and few clues to the nature of his inner life. Described by many as a man of few words, and unknowable by others, Drake was only mildly ambitious (in a careerist sense) and his music wasn't in the pure folk tradition. Yet nor was it... > Read more

Nick Drake: Been Smoking Too Long

Various: Healing the Divide (Anti/Shock)

16 Jul 2007  |  1 min read

Now that Earth Aid or whatever it was called has retreated safely into the distance we might well ask: What the hell was that all about? "So, you, like, didn't get the point of Al's film thing because there was talking and charts and that -- but Madonna's set, like, just soooo turned you around on this global warming stuff?" Harrumph. A concert to "raise... > Read more

Tom Waits: God's Away On Business

Irving: Death in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers (Rhythmethod)

14 Jul 2007  |  <1 min read

Because my record collection has such wayward but much loved albums by bands as diverse as the Unforgiven (spaghetti western rock), the Shoes (power pop), Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (early electro), and Bob Seger (blue-collar rock), you may be well advised to take what I say about this album by a mainstream US rock band with some caution. There is nothing in what Irving do that is... > Read more

Irving: the look of flowers that are looked at

Lindon Puffin: Show Pony (Puffin Music/Elite)

14 Jul 2007  |  <1 min read

South Island singer-songwriter Puffin came to national attention with an amusing doco which followed him on an extensive, smalltown tour. The success of that film somewhat delayed this follow-up to his 2003 debut Stuff Like That (which went largely unnoticed it must be said). Puffin has a strong sense of songcraft and there are songs here (Beyond the Breakers, Even Keel, Human Enough)... > Read more

Lindon Puffin: Subtle Changes

Malcolm Middleton: A Brighter Beat (POD/Rhythmethod)

14 Jul 2007  |  <1 min read

If there was a band name attached to this rather than Middleton's you'd be talking a Scottish supergroup. The line-up of players includes members of Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian, Reindeer Section and Delgadoes -- and Middleton was in the duo Arab Strap, a band which (like most of those mentioned) never quite gained a decent foothold in New Zealand. This is Middleton's third solo album and... > Read more

Malcolm Middleton: Up Late At Night Again