Music at Elsewhere

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RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Zero 7: Simple Things, Special Edition (New State/Southbound)

18 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

This debut album by the British electronica/production outfit of Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns saw the duo nominated as best newcomer at 2002's Brit Awards (Blue won) and the album nominated for a Mercury Prize in 2001 (it lost to Polly Harvey's Stories from the City/Sea). With its orchestrated cinematic sweeps – real James Bond music stuff or downtempo mood pieces – it opened... > Read more

Likufanele

Graeme James: The Long Way Home (Nettwerk/digital outlets)

16 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

Although expat Kiwi singer-songwriter Graeme James is billed as “modern folk” he in fact sometimes sounds much closer to very old traditions with mandolin, ukulele and violin alongside guitar on his sometimes chirpy melodies and story-telling songs. Way Up High here for example sounds like one of those songs from Woody/Dustbowl days with its refrain "trouble will not find... > Read more

The Difference

Cinematic Orchestra: To Believe (Ninja Tunes)

15 Mar 2019  |  1 min read  |  1

It has been more than a decade since the previous Cinematic Orchestra album Ma Fleur and the landscape for lush, soulful, romantic and sometimes quasi-ambient music has changed. Not the least by artists on the Erased Tapes label, for example, who have sometimes a brought a not dissimilar ethos to bear in music which can be, or is, used in soundtracks. For Cinematic Orchestra to still... > Read more

A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life (ft Roots Manuva)

Howe Gelb: Gathered (Fire/Southbound)

14 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

The always interesting and often great Howe Gelb – perhaps most familiar in his Giant Sand iteration – has a voice which gets darker and more melodic with every passing year: dry and careworn like a Dustbowl-raised Leonard Cohen (he here covers and embellishes Len's Thousand Kisses Deep with M Ward, Gelb playing the monochromatic growl over the Spanish setting of acoustic guitars),... > Read more

Storyteller

Tom Russell: October in the Railroad Earth (Proper/Southbound)

13 Mar 2019  |  3 min read

Among the many artists Elsewhere has championed over the decades, often to general indifference or for others to belatedly discover (Nilsson, Joe Ely, Richard Thompson, Badfinger, Pere Ubu and others for example) has been Tom Russell who has been making some of his finest work in the past decade and is well past pensionable age. At 72, Russell remains one of the greatest storytelling... > Read more

T-Bone Steak and Spanish Wine

Seafog: Animal Lovers (Zelle Records/digital outlets)

12 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

Available as a limited edition double vinyl set from Zelle Records, a record label out of Vienna which releases New Zealand artists (Bill Direen, Jay Clarkson, Marineville and Vorn among them), this is quite a swathe of music by Seafog out of Port Chalmers. Recorded in 2017 at the Anteroom in that capital of alt.whathaveyou near Dunedin, these 16 songs are propelled by a furious soundscape... > Read more

White is Not a Colour

Hedvig Mollestad Trio: Smells Funny (Rune Grammofon/Southbound)

11 Mar 2019  |  <1 min read

But first we draw your attention to previous releases on Rune Grammofon, an interesting label out of Norway which ran from mainstream but innovative jazz to odd and interesting electronic sounds. Here however is kettle of entirely different meat: a power trio of fiery guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen, bassist Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Joe Bjornstad. Somewhat akin to Rune... > Read more

Beastie Beastie

Tamburlaine: Say No More/Rebirth (Kiwi-Pacific)

11 Mar 2019  |  2 min read

This collection of both Tamburlaine soft-rock/folk-rock albums dates from the time of flares, aviator shades, lyrics like “a whiter shade of pale” (yes, they appropriate that here) and when a woman was “a lady”. Strange days? Indeed. This period – the early Seventies – saw the flourishing of post-Crosby Still and Nash acoustic bands and artists which... > Read more

Sleeper Awake (from Rebirth)

ONE WE MISSED: Devotchka: This Night Falls Forever (Concord/Southbound)

8 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

“Genre-defying” music is so familiar these days that even though it can mean anything it almost acts as genre in itself – but like “indie”, “world music” and "post-rock” it is just about as meaningless. This multi-instrumental American four-piece helmed by Nick Urata certainly cross easily between styles – ballet music,... > Read more

Empty Vessels

The Japanese House: Good at Falling (Dirty Hit/Sony)

7 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

After a string of singles, EPs and tie-in videos over the past four years, Britain's Japanese House (aka Amber Bain) finally releases this frequently attractive, poised and occasionally hollow but measured blend of electronica, folktronics and pop which steers a canny and artful path between pop hooks and sleepwalking beats. And sometimes falls at hurdles named “beats overkill”,... > Read more

Maybe You're the Reason

A.U.R.A.: Secret Intelligent Light (digital outlets)

6 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

This sophisticated, gorgeously produced album by AURA (Albert Mikolaj, with multi-instrumentalist/producer Ben Lemi of Trinity Roots and French for Rabbits) exists between dreamscape sonics on piano, synths etc (Assume Fire), lightly driving radio-friendly pop (Immensely I, the soulful GI Wonder), exotically elevating quasi-ballads (Lady in a Paris Dress) and softly psychedelic ambient music.... > Read more

Lady in a Paris Dress

Half Japanese: Invincible (Fire)

4 Mar 2019  |  <1 min read

And now something for those hardy few who live in that small space where the Venn Diagrams of sci-fi and horror intersects with post-No Wave rock and indie-pop. The longtime on-going project of Jad Fair (with a revolving door membership) Half Japanese here return with perhaps their most accessible outing yet. The outsider/art post-punk edges have increasingly been worn smoother over the... > Read more

The Walking Dead

David Yetton: Move to Trash (Thokei Tapes)

3 Mar 2019  |  <1 min read

Subtitled “Bits, Pieces, Offcuts and Stuff” this seemingly modest and quiet collection of 12 pieces comes via Thokei Tapes out of Germany which has been doing interesting things for New Zealand artists such as their releases by Tall Dwarfs, David Pine, Matthew Bannister and Chris Knox on cassette tape. David Yetton – of JPSE and Stereo Bus – has... > Read more

Head in the Clouds

Avalanche City: My Babylon (Guacamole Farm/digital outets)

2 Mar 2019  |  2 min read

In a bare few years Silver Scroll-winning Avalanche City (aka Dave Baxter) underwent highs (chart success and critical acclaim) and lows (litigation against a former manager, which he won handsomely) and seems to have come out the other side more determined than before to embrace/be embraced by a mainstream audience which respects his pop craftsmanship and ability to construct a song... > Read more

Left Behind

Mundi: The Pale Blue Dot (digital outlets)

1 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

Anyone who has endured as many press releases as Elsewhere will attest that an artist – or agent describing their client's work – often gilds the lily and makes references which often don't stack up. So hats off to Mundi who nearly nail their sound as “like Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti meeting Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson - filled with global colours, grooves and... > Read more

Still Song Goes On

Michael Chapman: True North (Paradise Of Bachelors/Southbound)

1 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

Elsewhere has frequently commented on reissues and recent albums by this fine British singer-songwriter. Michael Chapman has his soul in a kind of weird folk-Americana, counts Steve Gunn (who produces and plays guitar here), Mike Cooper, Thurston Moore and Elton John among the many he has performed with, and two years ago clocked up half a century in the game, the much acclaimed album 50... > Read more

Youth is Wasted on the Young

The Kentucky Headhunters: Live at the Ramblin' Man Fair (Alligator/Southbound)

28 Feb 2019  |  1 min read

Now this is exactly how you'd want to hear this disciplined, muscular, road-tested Southern rock band with two pivotal brothers in the quartet. It has its roots in the world staked out by the Allmans, Atlanta Rhythm Section (sorry but this link is funny), Skynyrd, Hatchett et al. The KHeadhunters are probably the unfashionable and enjoyably reductive end of Drive by Truckers. Here... > Read more

Ragtop

Polar Extremes: Strange Visions (digital outlets)

20 Feb 2019  |  1 min read

Okay, this is just odd fun . . . with a sense of smarts and cultural history behind it. Not too many locals might even recognise the horse-flesh resonance of the opening title, Racing This Time (did the great commentator Reg Clapp coin that phrase?), but the album begins with a hip-hop funk take on what sounds like lo-fi Talking Heads beat-driven pop filtered through the sensibilities of... > Read more

Captain Zodiac's Dictionary

Various Artists: Roma Soundtrack (Sony)

18 Feb 2019  |  <1 min read

It may not be a fair test, but one way of assessing a soundtrack as a standalone item outside of the images is how it works if you haven't seen the film. Many soundtracks these days are compilations rather than music created specifically for a film – a practice many date back to the success of Flashdance in '83 which toped charts everywhere and spawned the compilation/soundtrack... > Read more

Ciudad Perdida

Methyl Ethel: Triage (4AD)

15 Feb 2019  |  <1 min read

Their location (Perth in Western Australia) and the band name (which brings to mind Nick Cave/Grinderman's raucous Depth Charge Ethyl) might conjure up some pretty brittle and aggressive. But as we've noted in previous reviews of this project of Jake Webb, there's something a lot more glam-poise and danceable electro-influenced dance pop going on here (as on the Prince-like Real... > Read more

Real Tight