Music at Elsewhere

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Soak: Grim Town (Rough Trade)

6 May 2019  |  2 min read

It has seemed a lifetime (four years) for this young Irish singer-songwriter to follow up her slightly uneven but impressive debut album Before We Forgot How to Dream. If that album suffered a little from some arch poetry it was forgivable, she was 18 when the album came out so those were pieces written when she was 17 and probably still in school. Now 22 and with... > Read more

Knock Me Off My Feet

Sonic Delusion: Anything Goes (Turn Up the Pop/digital outlets)

6 May 2019  |  1 min read

In New Zealand Music Month, magazines and sites like Elsewhere expect to be inundated with requests for reviews by artists who have decided to release their music at a time when everyone else has had exactly the same idea. That seems pretty self-defeating but . . . Artists with an established career or a point-of-difference invariably get the attention. Sonic Delusion out of New... > Read more

Moments in Time

Kevin Morby: Oh My God (Dead Oceans/Rhythmethod)

5 May 2019  |  1 min read

When artists head down a spiritual path they inevitably get comparisons with Bob Dylan in his gospel phase, the more questioning moments of Van Morrison or Leonard Cohen, and maybe a bit of Bono. Most of whom have been invoked in considerations of this album by Kevin Morby whose Dead Oceans debut Singing Saw was something of a quiet if referential gem. Certainly when the... > Read more

Sing a Glad Song

Versing: 10000 (Hardly Art)

3 May 2019  |  2 min read

In July 2011, the respected UK critic David Hepworth wrote a hilarious column in The Word about indie rock. He started by demolishing the adjective “indie” as essentially meaningless but that we somehow “get it” as a shorthand. Originally it actually meant independent, but these days with streaming services and such just about everybody really is independent, even... > Read more

Ekiti Sound: Abeg No Vex (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

29 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

Anyone looking for something which threads together clever lo-fi London tenement-block beats and sounds with rap'n'chant and the percussive soul of Lagos need look no further. This is an often beguiling amalgam of primitive drum'n'bass, the attitude of Congotronics who created idiosyncratic sonic magic out of cheap instruments and the deep spirit of Afrobeat beyond the obvious Fela... > Read more


Gunter Herbig: Ex Oriente; Music by GI Gurdjieff (Bis)

29 Apr 2019  |  2 min read

The itinerant, late 19th/early 20thcentury philosopher and teacher George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (d 1949) was a seeker after fundamental truths (notably who are we and why are we here?) and became a spiritual leader with an interest in esoteric literature and thought. Among his pupils were PD Ouspensky and JG Bennett, and he influenced the likes of Zen teacher Alan Watts, English novelist and... > Read more

Reading from a Sacred Book

Chris Forsyth: All Time Present (No Quarter)

29 Apr 2019  |  1 min read

One part of American guitarist Chris Forsyth's output has been what we might call avant-guitar (atonal, distortion, experimental and so on with Peeessye) but the other part – more evident on this album under just his own name – is in the rock lineage (with the Solar Motel Band, among others). His reference points in the latter start somewhere around Richard Thompson's... > Read more

Tomorrow Might As Well Be Today

ONE WE MISSED: The Skull Eclipses: The Skull Eclipses (Western Vinyl/Flying Out)

28 Apr 2019  |  1 min read

It's widely accepted these days that when it comes to sonic innovation, studio techniques and the post-modern assimilation of ideas from the vast musical past of recorded music, that hip-hop producers have it all over those in the rock and folk genre. Those in the latter two genres who make the most impact borrow more freely from hip-hop ideas than those who faithfully reproduce the past,... > Read more

Yearn Infinite I

Durand Jones and the Indications: American Love Call (Dead Oceans)

28 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

Across orchestrated originals, this band out of Indiana evoke the spiritual ache of Gil Scott Heron (the bleak realism of Morning in America “and I can't see the dawn”), classic Motown falsetto (Don't You Know, Too Many Tears and Court of Love is Smokey/Temptations with drummer Aaron Frazer taking lead vocals on the dreamy latter two), Philly influences (Circles reminds of the... > Read more

What I Know About You

Touki Delphine and Bernadeta Astari: Kitchen Ballads (TCBYML)

24 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

Well, we are Elsewhere and you don't come here for the same-old same-old. So let's just give you something of the backstory and let you find this one on Spotify or wherever if it sounds like your thing. Touki Delphine are a classically-trained Dutch multi-media trio who play as a chamber outfit with electronica, “kitchen machines and simple cookware”. Bernadeta Astari is... > Read more

Les Sauvages

Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders: Word Gets Around (Rough Diamond/Southbound, digital outlets)

23 Apr 2019  |  1 min read

After his idiosyncratic production work on his own albums and most recently for Harry Lyon on his excellent To the Sea, Delaney Davidson must be the go-to guy for singer-songwriters wanting to get some deeper grit, evocative noir and dirty r'n'b into their sound. Barry Saunders (Warratah, solo artist) met Davidson years ago when on the Churches tour with Marlon Williams and Tami Neilson... > Read more

All Fall Down

Norah Jones: Begin Again (Blue Note)

22 Apr 2019  |  1 min read

This seven song compilation acts as a neat stop-gap and tour promotion (she's here this week, see below) and is a collection of material Jones has recorded with others. She's been down this path previously with the Featuring Norah Jones album of 2010, but as with her every release there's always something sound, thoughtful and professional about it. The opener here is the breathtakingly... > Read more

My Heart is Full

Sophie Mashlan: Perfect Disaster (digital outlets)

22 Apr 2019  |  1 min read

This young singer-songwriter is in her final year as a pop music student at the University of Auckland, but while others are getting singles together she leaps out with a fully-fledged, professional and mature album which has elements of dark country woven through the sometimes heroic pop-rock songs and the literate, reflective folk. Given she's already sprung a couple of singles (included... > Read more

Murray McNabb: e-music (Sarang Bang)

19 Apr 2019  |  2 min read

This beautifully presented double vinyl in a gatefold sleeve comes from Auckland's excellent Sarang Bang Records and -- as with their earlier The Way Out is The Way In and Every Day is a Beautiful Day -- presents innovative music from the vaults of the late composer/keyboard player Murray McNabb. A jazz player of local renown by the cognoscenti, McNabb was also musically curious and... > Read more

Billie Eilish: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (Interscope)

15 Apr 2019  |  1 min read

Talking about current pop music with some university music students last week (all a third my age) I mentioned sevenTeen-sensation Billie Eilish. And we agreed “she were crap, mate” when she played the Auckland Laneway Festival in 2018. I said that frankly she couldn't sing and couldn't dance (she danced as badly as me, 'nuff said) but one student defended her... > Read more


Drugdealer: Raw Honey (Mexican Summer/Southbound)

15 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

Whatever the reason – DJs seeking out rare groves, compilations of deep cuts, the aural clutter of Spotify – a lot of people like obscurer-than-thou artists and songs. Well, Drugdealer – aka Michael Collins of LA – is one of those underground artists who has played with those on the fringes of Ariel Pink so he qualifies as usefully obscure. But the sunny... > Read more

Lost in my Dream

Second Prize: The Heel Turn (digital outlets)

15 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

As the man said in his e-mail, it's not often that Glenfield College (on Auckland's North Shore) is a useful old school tie! True. He was a student there a couple of decades ago and said he used to get out odd library books and was always a bit confused because on the slip of previous borrowers “one of them was invariably the mysterious "Reid (Staff)". And that... > Read more

Waiting for a Spark

Anderson.Paak: Ventura (Aftermath)

14 Apr 2019  |  2 min read  |  1

To click that it's the great Smokey Robinson in the backdrop of the lovely and yearning Al Green-influenced Make It Better here might seem a little strange, especially when the vocal by Anderson.Paak is about how he and his woman used make love at the drop of a hat but now things have changed. Some might consider Smokey's presence here just a bit creepy, especially given he's 80 and A.Paak... > Read more

Reachin' 2 Much (ft Lalah Hathaway)

Maggie Teachout: Maybe I'm Still Just Peter (Green Monkey)

14 Apr 2019  |  1 min read

On the small but admirably persistent Green Monkey label out of the US Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Olympia) comes this debut by 18-year old singer-songwriter Maggie Teachout who fires off a 13-song volley of rocking indie-folk and more intimate ballads where at the upbeat end of her spectrum sounds she like a one-woman Violent Femmes (Colourblind, Lemonade Day) and at the other the... > Read more

Waltz for My Daughter

Snapped Ankles: Stunning Luxury (Leaf/Southbound)

14 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

A post-punk collective from East London which dress in what they style as pagan costumes and offer a kind of Fall-lite tribal chant and tribal beats alongside synths (which they put inside logs for the whole package). They sound more interesting than they are however because this slightly grimy punk-pop with a spoonful of white funk doesn't go anywhere much, too often relies on energy... > Read more