Music at Elsewhere

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JJ Grey and Mofro: This River (Southbound)

4 Jun 2013  |  <1 min read

Hard traveling and prolific JJ Grey and his horn-embellished band have been serving up a mix of Southern soul, New Orleans funk and swamp rock for such a long time now you'd think they might have made a global impact. When Grey gets into ballad mode -- as he does here beautifully on Somebody Else, Tame a Wild One and the title track -- he can melt hearts. And there's no doubt the upbeat or... > Read more

Tame a Wild One

Savages: Silence Yourself (Matador)

4 Jun 2013  |  1 min read

As often happens -- and we notice this with the advantage of distance -- the British music press sometimes works itself into a lather about some exciting new band. They seem to have over Savages who, undeniably, make some very exciting post-punk indie.rock all over this debut. It is disciplined, passionate, emotionally committed and . . . And frankly it is 1982 revisited, specifically Sioux... > Read more

She Will

Camera Obscura: Desire Lines (4AD)

4 Jun 2013  |  <1 min read

Scotland's Camera Obscura have consistently delivered a line in thoughtful, sunshine-baked pop which still allows room for deep emotional shadows. For this album they took their songs off to Portland where producer Tucker Martine added some extra lustre, and Neko Case and Jim James (My Morning Jacket) dropped by to add extra vocals. But central always is Tracyanne Campbell's warm,... > Read more


Black Star Riders: All Hell Breaks Loose (Nuclear Blast/Southbound)

3 Jun 2013  |  <1 min read

Following Phil Lynott's death in 86 – three years after quitting the band he founded -- Thin Lizzy reformed and since then there has been an occasional, revolving-door membership band touring under that name. BSR includes Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham (from their classic period), post-Lynott members and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso (Megadeth/Alice Cooper). Originally they were going to... > Read more

Bound for Glory

Flavor Crystals: Three (bandcamp/Crooked Little Fingers)

1 Jun 2013  |  <1 min read

These trippy, ambient and strange sonic landscapes by this Minneapolis quartet have commanded an unfeasible amount of time at Elsewhere recently, because the music fits many moods (not dancing, of course) and the pieces sweep loosely into each other. Spread across two discs -- originally three slices of shiny white vinyl -- there is also so much music it never sounds like it is repeating... > Read more

look at me and say yes

Wire: Change Becomes Us (Pink Flag/Southbound)

27 May 2013  |  <1 min read

Few bands are worth a biography but Britain's Wire certainly earned the just-published Read & Burn which traces their story from influential post-punk minimalists (the first three albums) into art projects, electronica-engagement, side projects and back into sometimes searing rock (on the excellent Red Barked Tree two years ago). This album connects quite a few of those dots: they... > Read more

Doubles and Trebles

The Impending Adorations: Intentions (bandcamp)

27 May 2013  |  1 min read  |  1

Late last year the New Zealand musician Paul McLaney wrote a piece for Other Voices Other Rooms (here) about the thinking and work process behind his album Gestalt, released under the name The Impending Adorations. It is a beautiful album full of texture and nuance, and the first of his four planned releases under the Impending Adorations name. The second in that series, Intentions,... > Read more

Life Burns Brightly

Public Service Broadcasting: Inform-Educate-Entertain (Test-Card/Southbound)

20 May 2013  |  1 min read  |  6

When a perilous space walk barely rates a mention on this week's nightly news, PSB's remarkable album reminds us of when progress, science and discovery meant the world stood on a thrilling threshold of promise. But it doesn't do it through finger-in-ear retro-folk nostalgia. This canny British duo use relentlessly exciting electro-beats, astutely chosen samples from newsreel and... > Read more

Signal 30

Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampire of the City (XL)

20 May 2013  |  1 min read

Vampire Weekend are one of the cleverest American bands of the moment, and for many that won't be a compliment. They are smart and knowing, and that meant on their last album Contra they shaved of a bit of Afrobeat and Paul Simon's Graceland as they expanded their musical palette. This time out though they seem to have gne for somethng we might call "beauty" in songs which often... > Read more

Diane Young

Rod Stewart: Time (Warners)

20 May 2013  |  1 min read

At the end of his enjoyable, candid autobiography last year Stewart said he'd started serious songwriting again (after decades). Given he was once a successful and often inspired writer, that was good news. The reflection necessary for that book seem to have prompted the co-writes here where he declares love for his wife Penny (She Makes Me Happy, Beautiful Morning), respect for the... > Read more

It's Over

Terry Allen: Bottom of the World (Allen/Southbound)

14 May 2013  |  <1 min read

On the basis of his excellent Lubbock on Everything of '79, you'd probably always give country singer Allen the benefit of the doubt. But this one of sometimes laboured rhymes, small ideas writ large (actually just medium-sized), the understatement of things which barely deserved even that and the occasional lyrical (and musical) cliche will only be embraced by the most hardcore of fans who... > Read more

Wake of the Red Witch

The Veils: Time Stays, We Go (Rough Trade)

13 May 2013  |  1 min read  |  3

For my money Finn Andrews of the Veils wrote one the finest songs of the past five years with the exceptional Us Godless Teenagers on the 2011 EP Trouble of the Brain. An insightful song of disillusionment about a generation so often dismissed, reviled or ignored, it never went for the mawkish or sentimental, it is a minor masterpiece of lyrical economy and came with an achingly heartfelt... > Read more

Summer and Smoke (demo)

Deerhunter: Monomania (4AD)

13 May 2013  |  <1 min read

Mainman Bradford Cox keeps busy: this is Deerhunter's sixth album and he has a parallel career as the more experimental Atlas Sound. Increasingly lines between have blurred and in places here (when distortion pedal and vocal effects get a serious thrashing) it might hard to discern the separate projects. Cox has described this as “punk rock” (it's not) to “getting a... > Read more

Dream Captain

Salon Kingsadore: Anti-Borneo Magic (Sarang Bang)

13 May 2013  |  <1 min read  |  1

The Auckland Observatory last year was the perfect venue for Salon Kingsadore. While planets shifted and an astral journey past the rings of Saturn played out on the Stardome above, the group improvised fluid space-jazz rock propelled by the mercurial guitar of Gianmarco Liguori and the inventive keyboards of Murray McNabb, who here again helm “instant compositions” (with... > Read more

Reciprocal Sword

The Milk Carton Kids: The Ash and Clay (Anti)

13 May 2013  |  1 min read  |  1

Two perspectives on this come to mind. If you are under 25 and entranced by this duo, then go see your grandparents and borrow those old Simon and Garfunkel albms they are so attached to that they never threw them out. And if you have early S&G albums this one is proof of what your Mum said: never throw anything away, it'll come back into fashion again. The two singers here are... > Read more

Promised Land

The Handsome Family: Wilderness (Spunk)

13 May 2013  |  1 min read

Heard from a distance this might sound like more alt.Ameriana folk with one ear on gospel hymns, and sometimes given a colouring of weepy steel guitars and old upright piano. And those ol' country harmonies. But the wry lyrics here undercut most such notions as Rennie and Brett Sparks -- on their ninth studio -- explore the wonders and oddities of the natural world, so it comes off more... > Read more


Iggy and the Stooges: Ready to Die (Warners)

6 May 2013  |  <1 min read

Iggy -- after that brilliantly intuitive period which encompassed three Stooges albums and The Idiot/Lust For Life solo albums with Bowie -- was always a smart button-pusher. So here -- with surviving Stooges and others making an excellent noise we'd have to concede -- you can almost see his finger hovering: Sex and Money (tick); "i got a job and I'm sick of it" (tick, but hardly... > Read more

The Departed

Graham Parker and the Rumour: Three Chords Good (Proper)

6 May 2013  |  <1 min read

Despite an excellent career fueled by British pub rock, post-punk energy and Parker's cutting lyrics coupled to memorable and often soulful songs, GP&R never really got the accolades (beyond critical praise, especially for their live shows) they deserved in the late 70s/early 80s. Then Parker moved to America and continued to release interesting if low-profile albums. This... > Read more

Old Soul

Meat Puppets: Rat Farm (Megaforce/Southbound)

6 May 2013  |  <1 min read

Although one of the great ignored bands of the 80s for their sun-baked but tough psychedelic-cum-country rock, Arizona's Meat Puppets only really got traction in the 90s after their appearance on Nirvana's MTV Unplugged session. But it was all over quickly, guitarist Cris Kirkwood suffered severe drug problems, his bassist brother Curt relocated to Austin and their recording career... > Read more

Leave Your Head Alone

Archers of Loaf: All the Nations Airports (Fire/Southbound)

6 May 2013  |  1 min read

British pop has certainly had the eccentric end of the market fairly well wrapped up by bands like Half Man Half Biscuit, The Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band and the Soft Boys, or people like Jona Lewie and so on. Stateside, eccentricity seems to come in smaller packages (solo acts like Jonathan Richman, damaged souls like Roky Erickson and Daniel Johnston) but it appears to be less difficult... > Read more

Worst Defense