Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Gram Parsons: Warm Evenings, Pale Mornings, Bottled Blues (Raven)

30 Jan 2002  |  <1 min read

As Australian compiler Glenn A. Baker notes in the essay accompanying this excellent 21-track, 75-minute collection, country-rock visionary Parsons was never embraced by country audiences back in the late Sixties/early Seventies, and rock has remained largely indifferent to him since his death at 26 in September ’73. He's a man more honoured than played. Fortunately record... > Read more

Brass Buttons

Te Kupu: Ko Te Matakahi Kupu (Kia Kaha)

29 Jun 2000  |  2 min read

Dean Hapeta, of Upper Hutt Posse, always aimed for more than bragging and a catchy hook. He styled himself D-Word and has done spoken-word performances. His new nom de disque is Te Kupu (aka the Word). I guess that all confirms it: Word values the power of the word. As the volatile founder of the Upper Hutt Posse - sometimes favouring some of Louis Farrakahn's racist Nation of Islam... > Read more

Various Artists: Panthalassa, The Remixes (Sony)

9 Feb 2000  |  1 min read

It's hardly surprising that the period of Miles Davis' career most reviled by jazz critics at the time - the late 60s to mid 70s - should be enjoying a revival. It is urban and funky, crosses the lines between jazz and rock, and has more in common with the hip-hop aesthetic of today than the straight-ahead jazz of then or now. You can hear its echoes locally in Nathan Haines and the... > Read more

Jimi Hendrix, Band of Gypsys: Live at the Fillmore East (MCA)

4 Jan 2000  |  1 min read

1969 was a bad year for Hendrix. Despite his superb Electric Ladyland double album at the tail end of the previous year, he still had an audience wanting to hear Purple Haze, was also frustrated with the Experience band and was looking for a new direction. in August 1969 he appeared at Woodstock with an expanded band line-up but that didn't work in subsequent studio sessions, so... > Read more

Power of Soul

Chuck E. Weiss: Extremely Cool (Ryko)

4 Jan 2000  |  <1 min read

The leisurely pace at which Mr Weiss releases albums makes the five-year gap between Blue Nile releases look positively hasty. This is his first since his debut 18 years ago. Made semi-legendary by Rickie Lee Jones’ early hit Chuck E's in Love and for being a Tom Waits protege boho-poet, here (under the production of Waits who co-writes and croaks along) Chuck delivers an... > Read more

Pygmy Fund

Randy Newman: Bad Love (Warners)

5 Nov 1999  |  1 min read

Never having subscribed to the theory Newman is an unalloyed genius means always having to say you are sorry. But if you, too, are of that persuasion, here's the album to tune in for. After years of writing soundtracks (with his own take on Faust along the way) Newman returns to his narrative style in songs which are typically cynical, ironic, funny and astutely observed viciousness.... > Read more

Dolly Parton: The Grass is Blue (Sugar Hill/Elite)

18 Jul 1999  |  <1 min read

Time was when double-barrelled Dolly was on a major label and hammering home the hits with Kenny Rogers. These days, and for some little while, she's been on minor labels and not many people would argue that making a bluegrass album is the way back to chart domination. But with a stellar cast of players - Jerry Douglas on dobro, Sam Bush on mandolin, Jim Mills on banjo and harmony... > Read more

The Beta Band: The Three EPs (EMI)

1 Jan 1999  |  <1 min read

This alarmingly good album released in late '98 -- made up from three impossible-to-find EPs by the Glaswegian quartet -- blurs the boundaries so much between pop and dub, art rock and folk that it goes well beyond convenient pigeonholing. Just call it extraordinary. And an immediate, if late, contender in the "albums of the year" stakes, but one which hasn't had enough time to... > Read more

The Beta Band: Dry the Rain

Joni Mitchell: Taming the Tiger (Warners)

1 Jan 1999  |  1 min read

Joni Mitchell recently said she was so tired of being pitted against any "new Joni" woman singer who came along that she seriously considered retirement and devoting time to her painting (which has become very twee, if those works included in the booklet here are anything to go by). It's not promising, then, to read that the song which got her back on track was about her cat,... > Read more

Various Artists: Pacific Nation Vol 1 (Pacific Nation/BMG)

4 Oct 1998  |  2 min read

Among the more ill-informed discussion about the music quota has been whether there's enough "quality" New Zealand music out there even to fill the oft-advocated 10 per cent. Those who ask -- middle-aged politicians, columnists and radio people with a financial investment in the status quo -- often seem the least positioned to actually know, let alone be genuinely... > Read more

Wendyhouse: Live from the Pillow (Wiggley Tapes)

4 Sep 1998  |  3 min read

Nobody knew much about Wendyhouse until a profile in the Listener this month on the occasion of this album release. Wading through their elevating credentials (cult status, obscure releases, musically and literally itinerant) and the arty buzzwords they have already attracted is one thing, but - is the album any good?Yes - although that's not unequivocal. It's an adventure to listen to,... > Read more

Tom Waits: Bone Machine (Island)

11 Jan 1992  |  1 min read

In the early Nineties Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead observed that Bob Dylan still wrote the most beautiful tunes . . . didn't always sing 'em of course, but the melody was in there somewhere. With Bone Machine -- Waits' best album Rain Dogs in '85 and clear contender for album of the year in '92 -- Waits penned a a bracket of melancholy, beautiful ballads which recalled his best... > Read more

Tom Waits: Earth Died Screaming