Music at Elsewhere

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Ha the Unclear: Invisible Lines (Woollen/usual outlets)

3 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

It has been some years since Dunedin's Ha the Unclear (the band helmed by Michael Cathro, who was interviewed at Elsewhere) first broke into our consciousness with the terrific, quirky, funny and very astute album Bacterium, Look At Your Motor Go. There was more than just wit at work, also an acute understanding of many aspects of pop history which were distilled into tight and memorable... > Read more

Supermarket Queues (Together)

Blair Parkes: Always Running (usual digital outlets)

1 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Out of Christchurch, Blair Parkes is a multiple threat whose work encompasses – and impresses in – artworks, writing, photography, videos and music. He started in the Flying Nun band All Fall Down but has moved through a number of others (notably The Letter 5) and then into a solo career which embraces everything from acoustic guitar releases through to blazing and fuzzed-up pop... > Read more

Heavy Lifting

The Adults: Haja (Warners)

30 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

This new iteration of the Adults – the flexible line-up project helmed by Jon Toogood of Shihad – has rightly grabbed early attention for its meld of exotic rhythms and melodies from Islamic music, and the contributors list which includes Chelsea Jade, Raiza Biza, co-producer Devin Abrams, Aaradhna and others. With that cast, the music edges between hip-hop, pop-rock and... > Read more

Bloodlines (ft Estere and Jess B)

Bob Dylan: Live 1962-1966 (Sony Legacy)

28 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

When Bob Dylan plays two concerts in New Zealand in late August, it will probably be a sore test for those who remember the young folkie or the electrifying figure he was in the mid Sixties. With his road-worn voice and distinctive approach to reconfiguring his classic songs his concerts can be as exciting as they are bewildering. Or irritating. Part of the enjoyment is in the... > Read more

John Brown

Mecuzine: Cutting Strings (Aeroplane/mecuzine.com)

24 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

There's no denying the collective talent that is contained within Auckland's Mecuzine – their bio namechecks former bands which include the Cure and Hello Sailor – or that singer and guitarist Tony Johns can write effective, focused pop-rock which should easily find a home on mainstream radio. In part that is also due to the familiarity of their sound which is frequently... > Read more

Darkest Day

This Sporting Life/Alms For Children: This Sporting Life/Alms for Children (Failsafe/bandcamp)

24 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

In New Zealand, as in Britain particularly, the post-punk scene was musically more interesting than the first wave of phlegmatic punk which tended to broadcast on a narrow emotional, musical and vocal wavelength. Punk opened the door for all kinds of artists – non-musicians among them – to come charging through and as a result there was more experimentation alongside the taut... > Read more

Time, by This Sporting Life

Holly Arrowsmith: A Dawn I Remember (Rhythmethod)

23 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

When this folk-framed singer-songwriter won the award for best folk album in 2016 on the back of her impressive but also tentative and sometimes overreaching debut For the Weary Traveller, you were reminded how quick we are to acclaim nascent talent and just how much pressure that can put on an artist. We often don't give people a chance to grow up away from the public glare, offer them a... > Read more

A View From Above

Amy Shark: Love Monster (Sony/usual digital outlets)

23 Jul 2018  |  1 min read

One of the most engaging artists at the 2018 Laneway event in Auckland was Australian Amy Shark because – as Elsewhere said in our review of the day – she looked like she was genuinely delighted to be there, laughed and smiled, and delivered snappy pop-rock with real style. She seemed like a fun adult in a world of many moody kids. So this debut album comes as something of a... > Read more

Never Coming Back

Thundercat + OG Ron C and the Chopstars: “Drank” (Brainfeeder/Border)

29 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

For a guy who goes by the provocatively loud sounding name Thundercat and whose showing the Auckland City Limits festival ran headlong into virtuoso playing and very quickly shapeless jazz-funk noodling, singer/multi-instrumentalist Stephen Lee Bruner's Drunk album of last year was a very mainstream, almost MOR, retro jazz-lite outing with vocal guests Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins... > Read more

A Fan's Mail/Trong Song Suite II (remix)

Erin Cole-Baker: Till the Feeling's Right (usual streaming outlets)

29 Jun 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

Earlier this year this New Zealand singer-songwriter was in Kansas City – with assistance from the NZ Music Commission – alongside Anika Moa and Milly Tabak (of the Miltones) at the Folk Alliance International gathering. She played showcase gigs and collected business cards to follow up on. On the evidence of songs here such as the gentle, cleverly minimal and breathy... > Read more

Morning Dove

Various Artists: When the Day is Done; The Orchestrations of Robert Kirby (Ace/Border)

25 Jun 2018  |  2 min read

Every five years or so venerable British music magazines like Mojo, Q or Uncut will feature Nick Drake in an extensive article to try to persuade – or remind – us of his genius, the most recent being Mojo in March on what would have been Drake's 70thbirthday. Drake died in late '74 leaving just three rather beautiful folk albums recorded after mid '69, but despite the best... > Read more

Friend to Me, by Gary Shearston (1975)

Various Artists: Paris in the Spring (Ace/Border)

25 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

Half a century ago the streets of Paris were in a state of active revolution when what was initially a student protest about access to women's dorms by males turned into a protest about the university in general, the Sorbonne was occupied, police weighed in, workers sided with the students, there was a general nationwide strike and it looked like the government would be toppled. The events... > Read more

Baleines, by Francoise de Roubaix

Charlie Rich: Too Many Teardrops; The Complete Groove and RCA Recordings (Ace/Border)

24 Jun 2018  |  2 min read  |  1

In a famous interview in San Francisco in December '65, Bob Dylan was earnestly asked about his favourite poets. He was in a playful mood and mentioned his genuine favourites Rimbaud his pal Allen Ginsberg (who was in the audience), but also WC Fields, Smokey Robinson and Charlie Rich, “He's a good poet”. From that list most people only remember he cited (not for the first... > Read more

I Don't See Me in Your Eyes Anymore

Mali Mali: Azimuth (Home Alone)

22 Jun 2018  |  3 min read

The label here may be a pointer: Local artist Mali Mali (aka Ben Tolich) recorded the eight songs for this, his third album, in the basement of his parent's home and the ambience of delay and echo, lo-fi piano and intimacy is ideally suited to these reflective, highly personal and self-referential songs. The idea of “sensitive singer-songwriter” (to adopt the argot of the early... > Read more

Ruru Cry

Virginia Wing: Ecstatic Arrow (Fire/Southbound)

18 Jun 2018  |  <1 min read

The previous album by this London duo out of Manchester was an often uneasy amalgam of emotionally cool pop, hard-edged electro-beats and an art school kind of 21st century synth-pop. This time out they look back (to the early Eighties for Glorious Idea and further on the folksy core of Eight Hours Don't Make a Day), sideways (the sax-coloured pop of the immediately appealing The Second... > Read more

Pale Burnt Lake

Barrence Whitfield and the Savages: Dig Everything! (Ace/Border)

18 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

With a name which sounds straight out of the Motown stable in the early Sixties, Florida-born Whitfield (real name Barry, changed to avoid confusion with the Walrus of Love) actually grew up in New Jersey and while studying in Boston put white hot flame to r'n'b rock'n'roll in the Eighties and has barely let up since . . . although there were diversions for album with Americana singer-writer... > Read more

Stop Twisting My Arm

The Last Poets: Understand What Black Is (Studio Rockers)

16 Jun 2018  |  2 min read

University students have grown up in a post-gangsta rap world so taking them back to origins – preachers in the church, street poets, Gil Scott Heron and others – is always a challenge for them. They hear some of it as odd, simple and sometimes compelling. The Last Poets present a particular problem because of pieces like Niggers Are Scared of Revolution where you have to... > Read more

Rain of Terror

Danny Adler: Bit of Beatles (Ace/Border)

14 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

So here be 10 Lennon-McCartney covers and three originals (tributes to Lennon and Harrison) by a man whose sleeve photos would tell you he was clearly a teenager when the Beatles broke more than half a century ago. American singer-guitarist Adler – who once played with John Lee Hooker and other blues legends in California and the early Elephant's Memory (who later worked with Lennon... > Read more

I'm Only Sleeping

Jon Hassell: Listening to Pictures/Pentimento Vol 1 (Ndeya/Border)

13 Jun 2018  |  1 min read

Trumpeter Jon Hassell came to attention at the dawn of the Eighties via a couple of innovative albums, Fourth World Vol 1/Possible Musics with Brian Eno and the even more interesting Dream Theory in Malaya (an Essential Elsewhere album) in which for one piece he used the rhythmic splashing of water by a Malay tribe as the base for his odd trumpet sound. Both albums had an appealing... > Read more

Slipstream

Various Artists: Jon Savage's 1965, The Year the Sixties Ignited (Ace/Border)

11 Jun 2018  |  2 min read

Our longtime From the Vaults column usually pulls out a single oddity, an interesting track or an artist with an unusual backstory . . . but here is a whole album which could fill our Vaults column for many months. Because this is whopping 48-song double CD (on Ace through Border in New Zealand) turns the spotlight on a remarkable year in pop music when – as Beatlemania was on the... > Read more

See My Friends, by the Kinks