Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Fly My Pretties: The Studio Recordings, Part Two (Loop)

6 May 2020  |  <1 min read

The previous volume found Wellington's FMPretties and many guest vocals in the studio revisiting previously released live material. This does exactly the same with mainman Barnaby Weir's vocals central alongside guest singers such as Hollie Smith (especially good on Clarity), Eva Prowse, Ryan Prebble and A Girl Named Mo reprising their live roles. With its easy weave from soul to... > Read more

The Rockets: The Complete Recordings 1961-1964 (Frenzy/digital outlets)

5 May 2020  |  1 min read

In the early Sixties before the arrival of the Beatles, guitar instrumental bands were a commonplace. Among the best known would be the Ventures, Shadows, Surfaris, Tornados . . . Be they surf rock or aiming higher (like into the cosmos during the Space Race era), these bands of largely interchangeable members around the lead player were certainly popular. New Zealand had more than... > Read more

Reb Fountain: Reb Fountain (Flying Nun/digital outlets)

4 May 2020  |  1 min read  |  1

Anyone who has paid attention to the remarkable career of Reb Fountain would not be surprised by this album which isn't – as some seem to be reading it – a major departure for her. The opening lines on the first song Hawks and Doves (which fades in, surreptitiously sneaking into your emotional space), are “changes, I've made some changes . . . ”. Perhaps... > Read more

Don't You Know Who I Am

Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters (Epic/digital outlets)

4 May 2020  |  2 min read

This one of the best albums released so far this year, and we'll get back to that. But first, this . . . When music writers offer reference points for an album, they can fall at a couple of hurdles. First, the references will only be useful if the reader knows them. Saying something sounds like Dark Side of the Moon or Like a Virgin might be a safe bet, but with this new album... > Read more

SHORT CUTS: A round-up of recent New Zealand releases

1 May 2020  |  4 min read

Facing down an avalanche of releases, requests for coverage, the occasional demand that we be interested in their new album (sometimes with that absurd comment "but don't write about it if you don't like it") and so on, Elsewhere will every now and again do a quick sweep like this, in the same way it does IN BRIEF about international releases and Yasmin Brown does for EPs.... > Read more

Koizilla: I Don't Surf I Boogie (Trace/Untrace/bandcamp)

27 Apr 2020  |  1 min read  |  1

And here is the sum total of our knowledge of Koizilla who drew our attention this, their second album. They are a self-described “Dunedin surf-psych quartet” who here “continue to expand their sonic palette, maintain the raw garage-rock sound Koizilla are known for while adding dynamic and finesse to the overall appeal”. They also recorded this in their lounge.... > Read more

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Rhian Sheehan; Recollections Vol 1 (Loop/digital outlets)

27 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

Cheating a little here because this is not actually a reissue of a specific album but a collection of Auckland-based ambient/electronica/soundtrack artist Rhian Sheehan's better known pieces along with some remixes and previously unreleased live and studio tracks. It is certainly generous (almost two hours long, 28 pieces all up) and includes discrete pieces from his tasteful Standing... > Read more

Swallow the Rat: Leaving Room (Shifting Sounds/digital outlets)

26 Apr 2020  |  <1 min read

This Austin Tx/Auckland NZ band have opened for Gang of Four and Sebadoh and – not having witnessed that – we'd guess they were a well-judged support act given their 10 gritty, post-punk-with-songs attitude on this second album, and first through the label/online store Shifting Sounds (London, Austin, Melbourne). An aborted trip to play SXSW – cancelled on account of... > Read more

Jeremy Redmore: The Brightest Flame (Believe/digital outlets)

24 Apr 2020  |  2 min read

Not often you'll hear an 18th century Romantic poet and Auckland rock band Midnight Youth mentioned in the same review, but here goes. In his Preface to the collection Lyrical Ballads (pub 1798), William Wordsworth said poetry was “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till, by a... > Read more

Shabazz Palaces: The Don of Diamond Dreams (Sub Pop/Rhythmethod/digital outlets)

24 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

Less a hip-hop duo – as they are often described – but more like musical constructivists, Shabazz Palaces out of Seattle have offered some seductive and game-changing albums in the past decade. Their most played track on Spotify for example is the hypnotic and downbeat Shine A Light which utilises the romantic strings from Theme From a Summer Place to great effect, and they are... > Read more

These Four Walls; This is Not a Future (digital outlets)

24 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

You have to hand it to this former Auckland hard rock band who relocated to Australia's Gold Coast. It might have taken them eight years for this follow-up to Living to Write The End but the album's title plays right into the zeitgeist. And the quiet two minute intro track sets it up with “this is the sound of breaking down” before the abrasive guitar riffery arrives on... > Read more

Rock Bottom

Sneaky Feelings: The Mercury Moment (Flying Nun/digital outlets)

20 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

For decades I wondered about that quote, “there are no second acts in American lives” (F. Scott Fitzgerald). It's been taken to mean that you don't get a second chance, when quite clearly America is a society which allows for that, even in those decades before you made the public apology on Oprah and were forgiven your transgressions. It could also mean – with... > Read more

Accept-Except Me

Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different (Light in the Attic/Southbound/digital)

19 Apr 2020  |  1 min read  |  1

No, this isn't here just so we can display the striking cover of the former Mrs Miles Davis looking like some astral traveller from Ziggy Stardust's planet. In fact this is something of lost soul-funk classic from '74 from a period of skin-tight silver pants, sky-high heels on the dancefloor and shoulder-wide Afros. In her own way Davis -- formerly Betty Mabry -- was well ahead of her... > Read more

He Was A Big Freak

Mali Mali: I Was Told to Keep An Eye Out (digital outlets)

17 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

Mali Mali is New Zealand songwriter/singer Ben Tolich whose 2016 EP As A Dog Dreams and 2018 album Azimuth met with a very positive reception at Elsewhere, despite us conceding there was a deep emotional intensity to the latter and that Tolich's psyche could be raw and his lyrics perhaps wordy in places. He tells us that right now he can't obviously promote this new outing, not the... > Read more

Nina Simone: Fodder On My Wings (Verve/digital outlets)

13 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

At the midpoint of this obscure, mostly out-of-print and now reissued album – with bonus tracks – which was recorded in '82, the much-troubled Nina Simone delivers a brutal rewrite of Gilbert O'Sullivan's Alone Again, Naturally about the death of the father she hated. “I realised I despise this man that I called father” and “just when I need him the most, he... > Read more

Liberian Calypso

Roedelius: Tape Archives Essence 1973-1978 (Bureau 8/digital outlets)

12 Apr 2020  |  <1 min read

By chance in the past few weeks Elsewhere has been pulling older albums off the shelves for reconsideration (see the on-going series here). Among them were Hans-Joachim Roedelius' 1979 album Selbstportait I and a couple of albums by Cluster (Roedelius and Dieter Moebius) with Brian Eno – Cluster &Eno, After the Heat -- from the same period. Swimming slowly in their... > Read more

KATHERINE MANSFIELD meet CHARLOTTE YATES AND FRIENDS (2020): Giving words wings

2 Apr 2020  |  4 min read

Five years ago, Northampton-based academic and Katherine Mansfield scholar Gerri Kimber discovered 26 poems by Mansfield in the Newberry Library in Chicago, only nine published previously. Written when Mansfield was in her early 20s around the time of an affair, pregnancy, an unconsummated marriage and a miscarriage, the poems made up The Earth Child cycle. In the subsequently... > Read more

Grimes, Miss Anthropocene (4AD/Rhythmethod)

1 Apr 2020  |  2 min read

Some musicians transition from being an enjoyable pop figure into An Important Artist. Rare ones – say, Jimi Hendrix and Billie Eilish – arrive with a significant debut album, but most take time getting there. Even David Bowie played Zelig-like roles from Beat-era r'n'b through glam pop and faux-soul before his innovative “Berlin Trilogy” in the late 70s which... > Read more

McLaney and Malik: The Old Traditions (Escape Artists/digital outlets)

1 Apr 2020  |  2 min read

Paul McLaney is doubtless among this country's most prolific musicians. But one of his finest series of albums this past decade were under the name Impending Adorations and they were seductive electronica available digitally (through bandcamp, here). And therefore they went past most people. This album was in fact recorded back in 2016 with pianist Raashi Malik, a spare series of... > Read more

Harry Styles, Fine Line (Sony)

31 Mar 2020  |  1 min read

In early 2017 Harry Styles  – formerly of One Direction (the guy with tousled hair) and briefly a Taylor Swift boyfriend – released his self-titled debut album. It must have been galling for those dismissive of 1D that it was so good. It was a smart, chart-busting pop record and Styles proved he possessed considerable vocal and emotional range. With his new Fine... > Read more