Music at Elsewhere

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Karen Dalton: In My Own Time (Light in the Attic/Global Routes)

26 Nov 2006  |  1 min read

Dalton, who died in 93, was one of the leading lights in the New York folk scene in the early 60s and was much admired by Bob Dylan. The track Katie's Been Gone on Dylan and the Band's Basement Tapes is allegedly about her, and Nick Cave's When I First Came To Town was inspired by her. Cave, neo-folkie Devendra Banhart, Fred Neil and many others have been fans of her aching, world weary... > Read more

Karen Dalton: In a Station

Nigel Gavin: Visitation (Thrum/Rhythmethod)

26 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read

Guitarist Gavin is probably well known to more people than they realise: he has played with the Nairobi Trio, the Jews Brothers, created the guitar orchestra Gitbox Rebellion, and has been on albums by Wayne Gillespie, Ross Mullins and Whirimako Black. But it has always been his own albums -- limited edition and so under the radar for most people -- which have seen him at his most exploratory... > Read more

Nigel Gavin: The Land Beyond Goodbye

Dudley Benson: Steam Railways of Britain EP (Golden Retriever)

19 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read

I'll tell you more about former Christchurch (now Auckland) singer-songwriter Benson soon, but it's enough for now that he was a real discovery for me when he opened for Casiotone For The Painfully Alone some months back. It was just him and a few cheap keyboards and tape machines (so he could sing counter melody with himself) and his songs were charming, sometimes a wee bit dark, often witty... > Read more

The Radio Dept: Pet Grief (Pop Frenzy/Rhythmethod)

19 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read

From the same label as the wonderful Camera Obscura (see the archive) comes this easy-on-the-ear blend of electronica and pop located somewhere between early Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and the Pet Shop Boys. But not really. There is a more dreamy quality to the slightly distant vocals, and despite the drifting melodies (think the Church gone electronic) there is an emotional despondency... > Read more

The Beatles: Love (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

19 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read

You've probably read about this one already (maybe even by me in the Herald where I wrote an extended review) so all it needs is for you to hear these musical collages pulled together by the former Beatles' producer George Martin and his son Giles. It is impressive listening and the assimilation of one musical idea into a completely different song makes for some real ear-swerves, especially... > Read more

The Beatles: Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows

The Magic Numbers: Those The Brokes (EMI)

12 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read

Regular readers of Elsewhere music pages will know my long and abiding love for pop music, and this band is one of my favourites for two reasons: their debut album sparkled with memorable pop melodies, and when they played at the Big Day Out they came on stage smiling and waving. They looked real happy to be there, and that attitude was infectious. This follow-up to that impressive,... > Read more

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova: The Swell Season (EMI)

12 Nov 2006  |  <1 min read

As I've said previously, music arrives on this Elsewhere page by virtue of its own strength rather than as a hip new thing bannered by promotion and prior critical acclaim from overseas. This album is another of those. I had no idea who Hansard was (I've subsequently learned he's the singer with an Irish band called The Frames whom I've also never previously heard of) and all I know of Irglova... > Read more

The Louvin Brothers: My Baby's Gone 1955-64 (Raven/EMI)

29 Oct 2006  |  1 min read

About 15 years ago (at least) I saw a short-lived Auckland band The Dribbling Darts of Love which was fronted by Matthew Bannister, formerly of Sneaky Feelings. I'd always liked Matthew's music and this outfit -- with his wife Alice on cello -- were excellent. He played one song that I asked him about afterwards and he said it was by the Louvin Brothers. I didn't think I'd heard of them, but... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006: Micah P Hinson

29 Oct 2006  |  1 min read

Micah P Hinson and the Opera Circuit (Sketchbook/EMI) Hinson from Texas came to Auckland in August last year for a low-key show at the Wine Bar on K Rd, playing to a capacity audience of about . . . ahh, maybe 30 people. No matter, he was darkly engrossing and his spare songs of loss and pain wouldn't have sounded out of place if Kurt Cobain had sung them. (Not dissimilar drug problems for a... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006 Bonnie Prince Billy: The Letting Go

29 Oct 2006  |  <1 min read  |  1

Will Oldham has appeared under so many noms-de-disque it can hardly be his audience's fault if it hasn't been able to keep up: he's been Palace, Palace Brothers, Palace Music, Bonny "Prince" Billy, Bonnie Billy, been a member of various bands, and sometimes even appeared under his own name. It would take a work of great insight and length to make clear distinctions between all... > Read more

Bonnie Prince Billy: Love Comes To Me

Ray LaMontagne: Till The Sun Turns Black (Sony)

15 Oct 2006  |  <1 min read

Singer/songwriter LaMontagne is a reclusive type whose previous album Trouble of two years ago was a critical favourite and even managed to sell around a quarter of a million copies. Not bad for an unknown whose music has a deeply personal and cathartic quality, and hardly sounds chipper or media friendly in his tight-lipped interviews. He says he envies musicians who are entertainers,... > Read more

Ray Lamontage: Empty

Solomon Burke: Nashville (Shock)

8 Oct 2006  |  <1 min read

This great soul singer -- more correctly "The King of Rock and Soul" as he was most often described in the 60s -- is now 66. In the past couple of years, after decades away from the spotlight, he has sprung back to attention with two strong albums, Don't Give Up On Me, and the slightly less impressive Make Do With What You Got which copied the template of the former a bit too... > Read more

Joan As Police Woman: Real Life (Rhythmethod)

8 Oct 2006  |  <1 min read

Joan Wasser has been in such exceptional bands as those behind Rufus Wainwright and Antony (she's a "Johnson" in other words), both of whom are singers noted for their nuance and sometimes outre, or androgynous, approach to lyrics. She counts among her admirers Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Sparklehorse and others whom she has sung with, or played her distinctive violin-cum-viola for. Joan here sings... > Read more

Elton John: The Captain and the Kid (Mercury)

5 Oct 2006  |  3 min read

By an odd coincidence I recently bought a battered vinyl copy of Elton John’s autobiographical 75 album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. For some reason it had gone right past me and when I looked at the track listing it was hardly full of hit singles or even FM radio fodder. The only title I recognised was Someone Saved My Life Tonight, but for $5 I figured it was worth... > Read more

Rodney Crowell: The Houston Kid (Sugar Hill)

5 Oct 2006  |  1 min read

Rodney Crowell's star has been in steady decline since the 80s and now the former son-in-law of Johnny Cash and rockin' country singer-songwriter is on the same minor label as Dolly Parton who also seems to prefer a smaller label. On first hearing, the quasi-autobiographical The Houston Kid sounds uneven, but after a few plays its power as a series of narratives kicks in. Crowell... > Read more

Rodney Crowell: Why Don't We Talk About It

The Wailin' Jennys: Firecracker (Factor)

21 Sep 2006  |  <1 min read

You can have too much of a good thing: like the slew of Cuban albums which followed the success of the Buena Vista Social Club. After a while it all just got too much and you lived in fear that yet another tiny record company would discover it too had a bunch of old Cubans in its back-catalogue. It's much the same with "that old-time music" which came to attention after O Brother,... > Read more

M Ward; Post-War (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

21 Sep 2006  |  <1 min read

Matt Ward could easily be a musicologist's research assignment: this album -- his fifth -- roams effortless from hushed balladry to guitar work which sounds like the Shadows on a surf-rock kick, and from alt.rock to something Paul Simon would be proud of. And in many places he sounds like someone a few decades older -- and blacker -- than he is. He has a gruff, world weary bluesy voice on... > Read more

M Ward: Eyes on the Prize

Reb Fountain: Like Water (Fountain/Elite)

20 Sep 2006  |  <1 min read

Recorded in Christchurch, Vancouver, LA, Texas and Auckland (whew), this impressive debut announces yet another major New Zealand singer-songwriting talent. Yes, in a couple of the gentle ballad tracks she does sound a little like Bic Runga (is that a bad thing?) but she also gets behind some gutsy, pop-rock guitar jangle, in other places has a weary soulful and quite bluesy quality, and... > Read more

Reb Fountain: Dust and Bones

James McCann: Where Was I Then (Torn and Frayed/Border)

19 Sep 2006  |  <1 min read

McCann was once in the Australian rock band the Drones who get my vote for their great album title: Wait Long By The River & The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By. (Don't we wish?) The Drones make dark and dramatic bluesy-rock which owes debts to diverse sources from Tom Waits and Neil Young, to fellow Aussie rockers the Triffids and Van Morrison. Their new album Gala Mill (which I... > Read more

James McCann: Black Brown and Blue

The Whitest Boy Alive: Dreams (Bubbles/Border)

19 Sep 2006  |  <1 min read

This German quartet started out as a dance outfit three years ago but have slowly adopted instruments and now there is no programming at all. In places here they sound like a more rounded version of early Wire (that intense minimalism) or Talking Heads with more heart than head. They aren't afraid of a memorable chorus, and there is a gentleness at work which is very appealing. This one... > Read more

The Whitest Boy Alive: Golden Cage