Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Steady Garden: Steady Garden (digital outlets)

1 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

The name behind – and who is – Steady Garden is expat Kiwi singer-songwriter Tim Guy who has previously delivered some fine light pop settings for his crafted songs, many of which erred to the gentle and/or whimsical, as on the damn fine but probably overlooked Big World in 2010. It was a sound he carried into his last album Dreaming of a Night Mango in 2014, about which we... > Read more

Need Somebody

Brendan and Alison Turner: Ghost of a Friend (vinyl/digital outlets)

29 Mar 2019  |  3 min read

This simply recorded debut album by a duo from rural Northland could almost have come from the early Seventies when this kind of unadorned, honestly-realised acoustic country-folk – in similar gatefold cover with lyrics – were a commonplace. And in their promo sheet they acknowledge as much: “There is something timeless about those late 60s and 70s albums . . . the sound... > Read more

Various Artists: Songs of Our Native Daughters (Smithsonian Folkways/Southbound)

25 Mar 2019  |  2 min read

Elsewhere has written about Native American artists and music (traditional, contemporary, in pop and jazz) and of course a considerable number of black American artists. Rhiannon Giddens (vocals/banjo) who appears here was recently seen in the doco Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (which also screened on Maori Television) and was one of many drew the link Native American and black... > Read more

You're Not Alone

Strand of Oaks: Eraserland (Dead Oceans/Rhythmethod)

25 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

Tim Showalter who is Strand of Oaks (that's also the band name) is very Old School when it comes to rock: he likes the dramatic chorus, the ascending guitar line, cannoning drums, the melodrama of life, the idea that this music can be personally cathartic and a shared experience . . . He's post-Seeger, post-Springsteen, post-Nirvana, post-most things. You can hear early Teardrop Explodes... > Read more

Keys

Spiral Stairs: We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized (Coolin' By Sound/digital outlets)

25 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

Spiral Stairs – co-founder of Pavement Scott Kannberg (with Stephen Malkmus) and also his band's name – play in Australia in April but so far haven't scheduled a New Zealand date. Maybe too soon after their late 2017 gig here? That's disappointing because this new album is as strong a collection of fist-tight classic rock as you are likely to hear. That's if your... > Read more

The Fool

Insert Name Here: The Line Between Ocean and Land (Stinkbuzz/digital outlets)

22 Mar 2019  |  <1 min read

The nom-de-disque for Wellington's Craig Houghton, Insert Name Here kicks off this fourth collection (accrued over five years) with short slice of Robert Fripp/Eno-esque guitar effect of Exordium before dark psyche-folk over a buzz'n'fuzz of slo-mo shoegaze guitar on Losing It and then – after a brief burst of children's laughter – we are into the lo-fi but widescreen guitar... > Read more

Where Do You Stay?

The Cactus Blossoms: Easy Way (Walkie Talkie/Southbound)

22 Mar 2019  |  <1 min read

If you don't whisper “Everly Brothers” within 10 seconds of the opening track Desperado (an original) on this album by a duo out of Minneapolis then your music history is woefully lacking. If it isn't, by the fourth track Gotta Lotta Love (another original with a ringingly familiar title) you'll be shouting those words at the stereo. Page Burkum and Jack Torrey pull out... > Read more

I am the Road

Finn Andrews: One Piece at a Time (Nettwerk)

19 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

As the mainman for his band the Veils, singer-songwriter Finn Andrews has turned in a more-than-respectable decade-plus collection of original songs and has rightly been hailed, right from when he was barely out of his teens, as an accomplished and mature songwriter. But any fold-back through his writing would discern some obvious influences, from Morrissey's yearning melancholy in the... > Read more

Love, What Can I Do?

JM Kelcher: Actual Disorganiser (Thokei Tapes)

18 Mar 2019  |  2 min read

John Kelcher was the bassist in the key iterations of Sneaky Feelings (from about '83 to their break-up in '89), left to live in Germany then returned home and currently works at the Nga Taonga sound archive, but most crucially was on the re-formed Sneaky Feelings album Progress Junction in 2017, a wonderful and unexpected return to prior form. But in '91 when back in the country he... > Read more

Sinker

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

Caroline Easther: Lucky (bandcamp, other digital outlets to come)

16 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

Given her impeccable pedigree – the young Verlaines, a classic early Chills line-up, her own Let's Planet, and others . . .  and the recently re-formed Beat Rhythm Fashion – singer-songwriter and drummer Caroline Easther has waited a while for this album under her own name. But as we learned from the excellent Spaces Between by former Look Blue Go Purple's Francisca... > Read more

Find Me

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