Music at Elsewhere

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BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Keith Jarrett: Rio (ECM)

19 Dec 2011  |  <1 min read

In one of the most colourful ECM covers in memory comes this equally vibrant solo piano set by Keith Jarrett, recorded live in Rio in April 2011. This richly textured double disc -- six unnamed pieces on the first, nine on the second -- finds the pianist in total command of his gift for rhythmically complex and melodically unpredictable improvisation. Jarrett dips (and frequently dives... > Read more

Rio Part IX

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 The Bats: Free All the Monsters (Flying Nun)

19 Dec 2011  |  1 min read

The rolling, aural signature of the Bats' guitars and locked-in rhythm section has always sounded at its best when it drops the tempo and engages with a romantically woozy sound which -- when married to lyrics of optimism and gentleness -- just brings a smile. This lovely album - which doesn't stray far from their template -- will have you smiling with recognition and warmth as it unveils... > Read more

When the Day Comes

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Tom Waits: Bad As Me (Anti)

19 Dec 2011  |  3 min read  |  4

At the end of the local edition of this exceptional album -- Tom Waits' first studio album in seven years -- there is a disconcerting litany of images entitled with seeming certainty After You Die, but which in fact asks the more pointed question, "what is it like after we die?" Waits yowls through it like a man broken on a rack, and it's a scary ending to an album which touches... > Read more


BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Fatoumata Diawara: Fatou (World Circuit)

19 Dec 2011  |  <1 min read

Yet another artist out of Mali who confirms that country -- alongside only Jamaica perhaps -- seems to have more gifted and distinctive performers per head of population than any other country on the planet. This debut from the ear-pleasing, hypnotically melodic and folk-framed Diawara is given subtle, warm and clean studio production by label boss Nick Gold in conjunction with Diawara and... > Read more


BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 The Checks: Deadly Summer Sway (Pie Club)

19 Dec 2011  |  2 min read

Auckland's Checks could easily have sat on their Sixties rhythm and blues-based style (think young Stones, Yardbirds, Who etc) and won themselves a wide audience, but they were always destined for something bigger than the familiar. Now 10 years on from their first but enormously impressive gigs as teenagers (I think I first saw them in a kitchen at a flat?) they have shifted their ground... > Read more

Winter Sun

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Ryan Adams: Ashes and Fire (Sony)

19 Dec 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

Those with a passing interest in Ryan Adams' highly productive career -- which most recently stretched to published books of poetry -- will be understandably bewildered that there is a new album, given he announced his retirement in '09 . . . and subsequently kept releasing albums from his not inconsiderable song vaults. This solo album however is a return to his career with an album... > Read more

I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Blitzen Trapper: American Goldwing (Sub Pop)

19 Dec 2011  |  <1 min read

Still sounding like they were breast-fed equal parts Grateful Dead, early Neil Young, White Album-era Beatles and Elton John's country-flavoured Tumbleweed Connection-gone-grunge, Blitzen Trapper -- an always interesting outfit from Portland -- constantly defy expectation but shift easily from songs about drinkin' whisky in a car to casually psychedelic country, and aren't ashamed to kick... > Read more

Girl in a Coat

Roy Harper: Songs of Love and Loss (Union Square)

12 Dec 2011  |  <1 min read  |  3

English folk-rocker Harper – now 70 – is much eulogised by senior (male) British rock critics and has latterly been hailed by the neo-folk movement (Fleet Foxes, Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom etc). Led Zepp acknowledged him with Hats Off To Harper (on Led Zeppelin III) and he sang on Have a Cigar on Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. Schooled equally in American... > Read more

Another Day

Paley and Francis: Reid Paley and Black Francis (Cooking Vinyl)

12 Dec 2011  |  <1 min read

After the Pixies split in the early 90s, Black Francis became Frank Black for enjoyable power-pop and post-punk solo albums with odd lyrical content of no fixed direction, and later worked with various Nashville musicians, among them songwriter/pianist Spooner Oldham. Francis/Black was unpredictable, as was that Pixies reunion. But this is an odd, sometimes likably ramshackle... > Read more

On the Corner

America: Back Pages (Shock)

9 Dec 2011  |  <1 min read

There's a slight irony here perhaps -- America covering other people's songs? But weren't they the band many thought had covered a Neil Young song with their huge hit Horse with No Name? Certainly sounded like a Young song at first hearing. This time out though Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley pick up material by Paul Simon (his America oddly enough, which is the oopening track), Joni... > Read more

Caroline No

Amy Winehouse: Lioness; Hidden Treasures (Island)

7 Dec 2011  |  <1 min read  |  1

The title of this posthumous album considerably oversells its 12 song contents, most of these are not treasures or even offer much in the way of new material she was working on at the time of her death. Rather, this is a cobbling together of some excellent material alongside stuff which wouldn't have made the cut to any album, just maybe footnotes in some future box set. Now that there... > Read more

Wake Up Alone (2002)

Gold Medal Famous: 100 Years of Rock (Powertools)

7 Dec 2011  |  1 min read

Out of Wellington, New Zealand -- where people like to put on fancy dress for parties -- comes Gold Medal Famous who recently recorded a song, John Key is a Dick (BBQ Reggae Version) which might help you get a bead on them. If they are serious they certainly disguise it well, especially on this album with songs titles like Don't Just Text Me, Call Me, I Want to Make You Come, They're... > Read more

100 Years of Rock

Marilyn Crispell, Richard Nunns, Jeff Henderson: This Appearing World (Rattle)

6 Dec 2011  |  1 min read

These days it's not uncommon to see a Japanese restaurant offering “tapas”, people to speak of pan- Pacific fusion food (Japan-meets-Polynesia-meets-California?) or for one of the best Italian restaurants in Sydney to have a chef trained in New Zealand. (True, Lucio's in Paddington). But if music be the food of love then let's talk about pan-Pacific fusion sounds where... > Read more

Missed Children

Various Artists; Where the Boys Are; The Songs of Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield (Ace/Border)

6 Dec 2011  |  2 min read

Right at the end of Captain and Tennille's huge pop hit Love Will Keep Us Together in '75-- written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield -- you can hear Toni Tennille spontaneously weave in the line "Sedaka is back". In fact Sedaka -- who had been writing pop hits with lyricist Greenfield since Connie Francis' Stupid Cupid in '58 -- had never really been away. The previous year... > Read more

Get Rid of Him

Peter Gabriel: New Blood (Real World)

5 Dec 2011  |  1 min read

In the mid Nineties when no tribute album to Van Morrison had been forthcoming and none seemed planned, Morrison took matters into his own hands and on No Prima Donna -- with Lisa Stansfield, Elvis Costello, Sinead O'Connor, Marianne Faithfull and others -- delivered a tribute album to himself which he produced. This new Peter Gabriel album has some of the same quality. In 2010 Gabriel did... > Read more


Ash and the Matadors: An Evening Echo (1.11.11)

2 Dec 2011  |  1 min read

This band from southern New Zealand came to attention at Elsewhere with their ruggedly interesting EP The Mansion Tapes in 2010 at which time they earned the comment, "An EP as calling card, better will doubtless follow". This is the debut album which follows. But frankly, some of it is disappointing and rather shapeless (or familiar) guitar rock which must sound good on the... > Read more

88 Fires Again

Various Artists; Legendary Wild Rockers (BBE)

30 Nov 2011  |  <1 min read

Collated by UK retro-DJs Keb Darge and Little Edith, this is 20 tracks of rare Fifties rockabilly and surf-rock where guitars twang, rhymes are kept simple but effective, saxes honk, Little Lil breaks hearts, those left-hand breaks somehow end up in the bayou and a place called Flipsville seems just around the corner. Yes, this is one for those who love the whole loud, fast and out of... > Read more

Little Lil

Ozric Tentacles: Paper Monkeys (Madfish)

29 Nov 2011  |  1 min read

Some great bands can just go right past you if you're not paying attention, and by being a little too far out-of-it you might miss one that you actually need at those “special” private times. Sky Cries Mary out of Seattle – a swirling techno-psychedelic rock band of sky-scaling intention – have always been a particular favourite when time seems to stretch and... > Read more


Sigur Ros: Inni (XL CD/DVD)

29 Nov 2011  |  <1 min read

Among the many delightful things about Sigur Ros -- the ethereal Icelandic quartet which sings in some made up language -- is you don't need to bother yourself with song titles. Their music is a sonic texture of electronics and plaintive vocals which slides past with a deliberate detachment but a sense of the epic. This double live CD set was recorded at London's Alexandra Palace in late... > Read more


Jordie Lane: Blood Thinner (Vitamin)

28 Nov 2011  |  1 min read

With very little fanfare at all, this excellent and much acclaimed singer-songwriter out of Melbourne embarks on a New Zealand tour (dates below) and he seems definitely one to catch. You can always be suspicious when a press release says an artist has drawn comparisons with Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Townes Van Zandt, Ryan Adams and others, but there is ample evidence here in these 12... > Read more

Annabelle Marie