Music at Elsewhere

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Museum: traces of (Inakustik/Yellow Eye)

17 Dec 2012  |  <1 min read

In the shorthand of the internet (where this group gave away their first two EPs) this is “for fans of Interpol, Bauhaus, Placebo . . .” which is helpful, but doesn't explain everything about this four-piece rock outfit from Germany. Although this debut album sometimes seems more alt.New York/New Wave or angsty-Anglorock than hip'n'happening Berlin, they have a pared back... > Read more

Midwinter

Mala: Mala in Cuba (Brownswood/Southbound)

15 Dec 2012  |  <1 min read

When UK DJ and Cuban music aficionado Gilles Peterson went back to Havana in May last year to record local musicians (who have appeared on his excellent on-going Havana Cultura series), he took with him South London dubstep pioneer and producer Mala (aka Mark Lawrence of Digital Mystikz) who set himself up in another room beside Peterson's studio and recorded various passing-traffic... > Read more

Revolution

Spyros Charmanis: Wound (spyros-charmanis.com)

11 Dec 2012  |  2 min read

There is precious little good news coming out of economically beleaguered Greece these days . . . but here's some if you are of the prog-rock persuasion (with emphasis on the "rock"). Multi-instrumentalist Spyros Charmanis has put in the hard yards in the worlds of classical music (oboe as a kid, member of the Youth Orchestra of Volos) then became self-taught on guitar, drums and... > Read more

Hinder

Efterklang: Piramida (4AD)

10 Dec 2012  |  <1 min read

Those familiar with television's Danish crime drama Forbrydelsen might be relieved to know not everything up there takes place against a background of shadows'n'menace. This innovative and flexible line-up around a dapper-looking trio from from Copenhagen sit somewhere between the ethereal sonic textures of Iceland's Sigur Ros and the balladry of Britain's Blue Nile, and when this... > Read more

Monument

Kishi Bashi: 151a (Pod)

10 Dec 2012  |  <1 min read  |  1

Although this album has floated around for a while, it seems to have gone past the very people who might like it. Imagine where the axis of Alt-J and Of Montreal crosses with less frantic Mika and the harmonies of the Beach Boys and you're getting close. Except factor in Kishi Bashi (Seattle-born Kaoru Ishibashi) is a singer-songwriter and violinist. It's that prominent, soaring,... > Read more

Beat the Bright Out of Me

Massive Attack: Blue Lines 2012 Mix/Master (Virgin)

3 Dec 2012  |  <1 min read

Few albums can claim to have invented and come to define a genre -- but Blue Lines did that for trip-hop . . . and more. It turned the spotlight on Bristol, introduced Tricky and Shara Nelson to the wider world, reminded people of the distinctive and smooth voice of reggae singer Horace Andy, spawned bands like Portishead, influenced Moby and a dozen others, and provided the soundtrack to a... > Read more

One Love

Scott Walker: Bish Bosch (4AD)

3 Dec 2012  |  1 min read

Some musicians are revered, reviewed and written about, but rather less listened to. Put Scott Walker at the top of that list. This is only his fourth album in the past three decades and their abstruse lyrics, electronic effects and often declamatory tone have nothing in common with his acclaimed ballad style in the Walker Brothers and on a series of orchestrated solo albums in the... > Read more

See You Don't Bump His Head

Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos (Warners)

3 Dec 2012  |  <1 min read

In the first wave of FM radio and adult-rock formats, Steely Dan stood out for their ineffable cool, poised aloofness and slippery musical craftsmanship which scooped up jazz and rock fans alike. Fagen – half of the Dan – brings many of those qualities to this solo outing, although his vocals are considerably weaker and in places this appears more personal than Dan albums... > Read more

Slinky Thing

Various Artists: Delta Swamp Rock Vol 2 (Soul Jazz)

3 Dec 2012  |  1 min read

Although picking up the scent from the first excellent volume in this series which joins the dots between rock, soul and country music, these 20 tracks -- while not without interest -- don't have quite the same weight or depth. Area Code 615 -- the band formed by Nashville studio owners/musiucians Charley McCoy and Wayne Moss, in whose studio the Steve Miller Band recorded -- kicks things... > Read more

The Box Tops

SJD: Elastic Wasteland (Round Trip Mars)

30 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

Few New Zealand songwriters work with a sense of the mysterious in their lyrics, most are grounded in relationships (far too many going the you/I route) but SJD -- Sean James Donnelly -- not only reaches in that profitable direction but has the airy voice to pull it off. So on the opener here when he sings of giving thanks to lizard kings above -- and marries that to ethereal electronics --... > Read more

Make Love Ask Questions Later

Porcupine Tree: Octane Twisted (Kscope/Southbound)

26 Nov 2012  |  2 min read

When considering the recent 35th anniversary reissue of the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, it was salutory to look at what had changed since that politically and socially volatile era in which it was released. Yes, the punk DIY ethic is still adhered to (made even easier by the internet) but Britain has a Conservative government, unemployment recently stood at 2.6 million (around 8... > Read more

The Seance

Ariana Tikao: From Dust to Light (Ode)

25 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

The much acclaimed Tikao presents a pleasant style which might be called te reo-folk as it has its roots in the Maori language and tikanga but is equally at home with the acoustic guitar folk tradition. On this, her third album, the music is light, stripped back and simple, reverts to the customary reggae lope in a couple of places and . . . And to these ears anyway, barely grips with... > Read more

Oxygenated

Aaradhna: Treble and Reverb (Frequency)

19 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

Although critics and commentators will inevitably, and rightly, point out the influence of Amy Winehouse in a couple of place on this, Aaradhna's third album, that doesn't change the fact that this is undeniably one of the best New Zealand albums of the year. Okay, it's a bit too long at 17 tracks (it is bookended by the title track) but for the most part that just means so much more of a... > Read more

Lorena Bobbitt

Vanessa McGowan: Mermaids and Whiskey (vanessamcgowan.com)

18 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

In a classy cover and under a tempting title comes this, the debut album under her own name for double bassist/singer-songwriter McGowan who was one half of the quietly acclaimed Her Make Believe Band alongside guitarist/singer Cy Winstanley, who also happens to be part of this small band (and with whom she now appears as the Tattletale Saints). Recorded live in The Bunker on Auckland's... > Read more

New Familiar Town

Tim Walker: You/Me (Native Tongue/Aeroplane)

17 Nov 2012  |  <1 min read

New Zealand singer-songwriter Tim Walker has already done the business before this, his debut album: the opener here Lullabies and Maybe Baby right at the end won him the Musicoz International Artist of the Year award earlier this year and more recently he has supported Greg Johnson on his Small Towns and Ball Gowns tour. That latter connection makes sense because i imagine if Johnson and... > Read more

It Hurts the Heart

Jackal: Only Everything

16 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

Going to flip all the cards here and say that much as I like some kinds of hard rock and metal, I originally thought Auckland's Jackal probably weren't going to be my band. Dense, nail-gun riffery and hammered-down drumming I like and they deliver that early up with Rivet Head . . . but on this, their third album, they stretch into areas beyond the familiar attack. Stealing a Glass Eye... > Read more

Rivet Head

Danny McCrum: Letters to the Future (dannymccrum.com)

15 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

Danny McCrum is one of those Kiwi pop-rock journeymen whose albums seem to go largely ignored by the mainstream print media (they have been reviewed at Elsewhere, see here) and probably even by radio. Pity on the radio end of thing, because every album seems to have at least two songs which sound ideally suited for being belted out on a building site or -- on the quieter end of things --... > Read more

Make Your Own Light

John Cale: Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood (Domino)

12 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

Although Lou Reed embodies the spiritual core of Velvet Underground, in the fortysomething years since John Cale quit he has made the more interesting music. From venomous and gristly rock (Guts, Sabotage/Live) through instrumental music and affecting spoken word (his adaptation of fellow Welshman Dylan Thomas' poems), Cale has never been predictable. On his last outing blackAcetate... > Read more

Mothra

Tori Amos: Gold Dust (Mercury)

12 Nov 2012  |  <1 min read

Having recently tried to read Tori Amos' self-indulgent 2005 book of thoughts and conversations Piece by Piece (is there no goddess or mythological figure she doesn't identify with?), it takes great effort to remain interested in her music, especially for this album where she revisits songs from her 20 year career with Holland's Metropole Orchestra. But, as with Kate Bush, Amos did... > Read more

Silent All These Years

Plum Green: Rushes (plumgreen.co.nz)

12 Nov 2012  |  1 min read  |  2

Singer-songwriter Plum Green has a good back-story. Apparently "the daughter of a jazz-singing Parisian showgirl and a saxophone-playing Jewish intellectual" and born in an East London squat her parents broke into. She also has a good back tattoo which, if like her back story is real, we hope she doesn't live to regret. Doesn't matter though, because right now though she sings... > Read more

Harpy