Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Superturtle: Student Flat Reunion (Sarang Bang)

23 Oct 2018  |  1 min read

Superturtle is the project of Darryn McShane who has had a considerable career in various bands (Chainsaw Masochist and Figure 60 the most notable), as a bFM host, sometime music writer and producer/engineer. The last time we spotted him/Superturtle was back in 2013 with the Beat Manifesto album and then – as with the previous album About the Sun – we noted how much pop history... > Read more

Hit the Floor

MC Tali: Love and Migration (Fokuz)

22 Oct 2018  |  1 min read

Those who follow the great turning wheels of popular music taste may be surprised by a drum'n'bass album at this time. In many ways it seems almost anachronistic given that, to the casual passerby, drum'n'bass was an idiom from the mid Nineties and ran at its peak for about a decade or so thereafter. The many off-shoots kept the exciting and often staccato electronica alive but as a genre... > Read more

Various Artists: Baby I've Got It! More Motown Girls (Ace/Border)

22 Oct 2018  |  1 min read

The Motown sound is as distinctive as a fingerprint, but that's what happens when you have the same musicians, the Funk Brothers, on just about every session and a quality control panel before the songs are released. And songwriters like Holland-Dozier-Holland, Marvin Gaye, Ashford-Simpson, label boss Berry Gordy and others (not represented on this particular 24-song collection) contributing... > Read more

I'm Willing to Pay the Price, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Wild Sonic Blooms: Where We Overlap (Rattle)

21 Oct 2018  |  1 min read

Where We Overlap seems a very apt album title for a collection of pieces which brought together New Zealand sonic artists Megan Rogerson-Berry, Jeremy Mayall and Kent MacPherson with drummer/composer Reuben Bradley, taonga puoro by Horomona Horo and Japanese singer, composer and sound artist Haco from Japan. The artists' name however might be a little unrepresentative because while... > Read more

Pulse Arc

ONE WE MISSED: Macy Grey: Ruby (Mack Avenue/Southbound)

15 Oct 2018  |  1 min read

Strange how a great artist can arrive with fanfare and then there is an attrition of interest even if they maintain a consistently high standard. Think Alicia Keys. The extraordinary Macy Grey – here on her 10thstudio album – doesn't seem to get the attention she continues to deserve, especially for this album which is uplifting and joyous, witheringly accurate in... > Read more

Over You

Hater: Siesta (Fire/Southbound)

15 Oct 2018  |  <1 min read

With 14 songs running close to an hour this second album by a breezy and thoughtful Swedish band doesn't so much outstay its welcome as perhaps offer to much of a good thing. The result is the delectable individual flavours – shimmering guitar pop, electro-pop, indie-pop etc – can be easily lost over the full running time. There's a kind of autumnal ennui to much of this... > Read more

All That Your Dreams Taught Me

Various Artists: Make Mine Mondo (Ace/Border)

14 Oct 2018  |  2 min read

There's not a lot of fun and frivolity in pop and rock these days. You wouldn't expect U2, Coldplay, Radiohead, Beyonce or Taylor Swift, for example, to release anything as juvenile as Yellow Submarine or as dumb as Neanderthal Man. It's true that a gimmick song can make you a bit of money but can also kill a career. It's hard to come back after one, especially if you have something more... > Read more

The Thief, by Motion

Loretta Lynn: Wouldn't It Be Great (Sony Legacy)

14 Oct 2018  |  1 min read

About 14 years ago while traveling around the US for a few months we went to Loretta Lynn's estate at Hurricane Mills in Tennessee -- Loretta Lynn's Dude Ranch, the sign said. This was where she used to live in the antebellum mansion, had replicas of the crude home she grew up and her Daddy's coal mine, and a museum of dolls, gold discs and memorabilia. Not long before she'd worked with... > Read more

Ain't No Time To Go

Connan Mockasin: Jassbusters (Mexican Summer/Southbound)

13 Oct 2018  |  <1 min read

Best to be honest. Elsewhere has tried to like albums and performances by Connan Mockasin but has mostly found them frustratingly unfocused to the point of being, as we have said, a kind of ADHD experience. This eight song, 35 minute album doesn't come with an inviting either: it relates to the “five-part melodrama film” Bostyn'n'Dobsyn which he has made . . . and many... > Read more

Last Night

Paul Kelly: Nature (Universal)

12 Oct 2018  |  2 min read

The first important things to be said about Nature – Paul Kelly's 24thstudio album – is that the first two singles, With The One I Love and A Bastard Like Me (For Charlie Perkins), are not representative of the rest of the album. Both are Kelly originals, the former an uptempo acoustic-driven number in his unmistakable style and with a lyric open to multiple interpretations, and... > Read more

Mushrooms

JOHN LENNON, IMAGINE EXPANDED (2018): Just gimme some truth . . . and more

8 Oct 2018  |  6 min read

John Lennon's exceptional and essential Plastic Ono Band album of December 1970 was a self-lacerating autobiographical statement which drilled into skeletal and viscerally spare music, was courageous and emotionally naked. It was a farewell to Beatle John and the decade his band dominated and defined. It was imbued with anger and resentment, and in its final... > Read more

I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier Mama (take 11)

Various Artists: Planet Beat; From The Shel Talmy Vaults (Big Beat/Border)

8 Oct 2018  |  2 min read

In the early Nineties there was a compilation entitled What About Us? and it collected Merseybeat bands from the Beatles era who had largely been lost to posterity or whose names – other than the Searchers and Tommy Quickly – were barely know outside of Liverpool. The title was appropriate, although it did suggest there was greatness residing within, and that proved not to be... > Read more

Everybody Knows, by Sean Buckley and the Breadcrumbs (w Jimmy Page)

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

7 Oct 2018  |  4 min read

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks up New Zealand artists and Yasmin does with EPs. Comments will be brief. . Alejandro Escovedo with Don Antonio: The Crossing (Yep Roc/Southbound) The great Hispanic songwriter and... > Read more

Loudon Wainwright III: Years in the Making (Storysound/Southbound)

6 Oct 2018  |  2 min read

Even longtime fans of this enormously prolific songwriter – who has often performed open-heart surgery on his failed relationships, family, psyche, politics and every damn thing – find it hard to explain him to outsiders. He's almost a documentarian – he appeared on MASH as a singing soldier, did weekly political songs on NPR – but also comedic (his early albatross... > Read more

Cheatin'

Harry Lyon: “To the Sea” (Norm/Southbound)

5 Oct 2018  |  2 min read

It should come as no surprise that Harry Lyon writes a great album, after all he has some prior form in Hello Sailor and Coup D'Etat. He also wrote Muscles which was on Mitch Marsden's Burning Rain album and was nominated for a Silver Scroll back in '91. Muscles appears here again, but it now sounds very different and bears the aural fingerprint of the album's producer Delaney Davidson who... > Read more

Christmas in Dublin

Rhian Sheehan: A Quiet Divide (Loop/digital outlets)

1 Oct 2018  |  1 min read

Given that Wellington-based electronica artist and soundscape creator Rhian Sheehan had a previous album Stories from Elsewhere in 2013 we were always going to be interested at Elsewhere. In fact, we had been interested long before that because his work was so enticingly subtle and rose above the ambient into cinematic shapes as it conjured up visual images. That his work has frequently... > Read more

Bad Sav: Bad Sav (Fishrider)

1 Oct 2018  |  <1 min read

They say this album by a Dunedin trio – guitarist Hope Robinson and bassist Lucinda King of Death and the Maiden, with Mike McLeod of Shifting Sands (here on drums) – was 10 years in the making, which might suggest these folks work at a pretty leisurely pace. Let's just pretend they've “been busy”. Because there's nothing laidback about this simmering crockpot of... > Read more

Hen's Teeth

Across the Great Divide: Uncommon Ground (CurioMusic)

1 Oct 2018  |  <1 min read

This mostly instrumental album which steers a path between Celtic music, its roots in Americana and more contemporary takes on those sources plays its aces in the second half, notably on pieces the delightfully airy Sleeping Tune which was originally on pipes but here translates delicately to a lute-like piece courtesy of Karen Jones's Celtic harp, and the exceptional Long She Waits written by... > Read more

The Patriot

Jimmy LaFave: Peace Town (Music Road/Southbound)

30 Sep 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

When Texas singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave died about 18 months ago many mourned the passing of not just a great writer but a wonderful interpreter of others' songs (notably Bob Dylan but also Donovan and Woody Guthrie. In the wider world he is best – and perhaps only – known for aching version of Walk Away Rene but Elsewhere has reviewed many of his albums and caught in concert... > Read more

Goodbye Amsterdam

Christine White: When the Things That Heal Us Hurt Us and the Things That Hurt Us Heal Us (digital outlets)

24 Sep 2018  |  2 min read

From the late Eighties and well into the Nineties singer-songwriter Christine White was a fixture on the Auckland music scene and she sprung a number of recordings with her band or under her own name (if I recall, I certainly recall writing about her a lot). She was also an exceptional guitarist, tough and bluesy when required. She seemed to be everywhere – if... > Read more

Falling Down