Music at Elsewhere

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Various Artists: Come Together, Black America sings Lennon and McCartney (Ace)

26 Sep 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

Although their peers like the Rolling Stones, the Downliner Sect and Pretty Things were more profoundly influenced by black American music, the Beatles certainly drew on that deep well. In their Hamburg days they played songs by Chuck Berry, Arthur Alexander and Little Richard, on their first two UK albums they covered the Isley Brothers' Twist and Shout (Lennon's definitive version),... > Read more

Come Together

Jess Chambers: Desire (Chambers)

23 Sep 2011  |  1 min read

Right at the end of this hushed album, Wellington singer-songwriter Chambers adapts the old gospel-country hand-clap This Little Light of Mine into something very different. She takes it right down to an intimate whisper over piano (Peter Hill) and guitar. It sounds like it has been recorded in the empty front parlour of an abandoned home where there are dust-covered family photos on the wall.... > Read more

Full of Fire

Mel Parsons: Red Grey Blue (Border)

20 Sep 2011  |  2 min read

In a country which sometimes seems too profligate with singer-songwriters, a few stand out -- and it was no surprise Mel Parsons should have been nominated for a music award on the strength of her previous album Over My Shoulder, although being in the folk album of the year category would seem to marginalise her in some ways. For many "folk" would be a strange tag for someone like... > Read more

Things Will Get Good

Little Feat: 40 Feat, The Hot Tomato Anthology 1971-2011 (Proper/Southbound)

20 Sep 2011  |  1 min read  |  3

As with Amazing Rhythm Aces, Little Feat seem a band loyally followed by many . . . but largely overlooked by contemporary critics or those who never fell for their particularly imaginative gumbo of sleazy rock, New Orleans funk'n'voodoo, psychedelic country, dirty blues and whatever else made you feel good right at that moment. The drug death of Feat's expressive singer, slide guitarist... > Read more

Apolitical Blues

Superheavy: Superheavy (Universal)

19 Sep 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

There are few bona fide bands worthy of the appellation “supergroup” (these people, or these?) but it's fair to say anything with Mick Jagger, former Eurythmic Dave Stewart, Bollywood megastar A.H. Rahman, hip-hop reggae-rocker Damian Marley and soul singer Joss Stone would unquestionably qualify. Yet given the melange of cultures there it's hardly surprising this... > Read more


Thrashing Marlin: Donkey Deep (Braille)

19 Sep 2011  |  1 min read

Four albums in a 15 year career seems a leisurely pace but David Donaldson and Steve Roche – the core of Wellington's Thrashing Marlin – are busy on other projects, as Donaldson indicates in his interesting answers to the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire. Still, this album is worth the wait as they throw their considerable multi-instrumental skills at a collection of 14 songs... > Read more


They Might Be Giants: Join Us (Rounder)

19 Sep 2011  |  <1 min read

Like Jonathan Richman and Weezer, New York's They Might Be Giants had nerdy charm when they emerged some 15 albums ago and it was fun to hear them on the theme to Malcolm in the Middle and record some songs for a Disney kids' show. Two years ago they did a science-themed children's album (Here Comes the Science). They seemed to be successfully amusing themselves, and the Giants'... > Read more


Tom Russell: Mesabi (Proper)

19 Sep 2011  |  <1 min read

Although American singer-songwriter Tom Russell's name isn't as widely known as that of Joe Ely, Townes Van Zandt and others, his songs have been covered by Johnny Cash, Peter Case, Iris DeMent and many more, and his story-telling tied to a backbeat has consistently drawn praise from critics and peers. Jerry Jeff Walker, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Eliza Gilkyson... > Read more

Sterling Hayden

Jerry Jeff Walker: Jerry Jeff Walker, Expanded Edition (Raven)

13 Sep 2011  |  <1 min read

First released in 1972 and only now available on CD (here expanded with  five extra songs including a 2002 version of his classic Mr Bojangles), this album was one which introduced Texan Walker as part of the left-field non-Nashville country acts of the day alongside Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark and Waylon Jennings. In the liner notes Walker -- who has actually recorded... > Read more

Hairy Ass Hillbillies

Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (Nonesuch/Warners)

12 Sep 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

Ry Cooder's last three outings were the occasionally rewarding but often hard haul through his concept album trilogy Chavez Ravine (Mexican LA in the Forties), My Name is Buddy (Depression era America) and I Flathead (sci-fi Fifties with cool cars). Great songs scattered throughout, but . . .   For this one however Cooder re-enters the present and it is the better for it.... > Read more

No Hard Feelings

Nick Lowe: The Old Magic (Proper)

12 Sep 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

Perhaps after the series of excellence on his albums The Impossible Bird (1994), Dig My Mood ('98, Elsewhere's pick), The Convincer (2001) and At My Age (2007), it was maybe too much to expect the standard from Nick Lowe could remain as high again. But The Old Magic -- while including some beautifully delivered bitter-sweet songs couched in country-influenced Fifties-like standards --... > Read more

Stoplight Roses

Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

12 Sep 2011  |  1 min read

From the deliberate domesticity of the band name/album title, this album which began as a knockabout home sessions between Neil Finn and his wife Sharon comes with some coy downplaying. I guess Neil would be aware of the subtext of the words "Linda McCartney". But here with Neil on drums and guitar, Sharon on bass and SJD on electronica -- and former Smiths guitarist... > Read more

Golden Child

Pretty Wicked Head and the Desperate Men; New Age Savage (Independent distribution)

12 Sep 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

My southern informant tells me this album by the Invercargill band with one of the best-ever names was originally released in 1990 and picked up two years later for national distribution in New Zealand by BMG. Mostly recorded in Vancouver when the band were touring there for three months in '89, it has here been remastered and repackaged with a live DVD of a Canadian show and some... > Read more

It's Okay It's Clean

Drive-By Truckers: Ugly Buildings, Whores and Politicians; Greatest Hits 1998-2009 (New West)

12 Sep 2011  |  <1 min read

Those who have missed the career of Drive-By Truckers out of Athens, Georgia are advised to just dive in at their Southern Rock Opera of a decade ago (which gets four of the 16 tracks on this chronological collection), The Dirty South (three tracks here) and/or Brighter Than Creation's Dark (two). Grounded in Southern rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd) and soul (courtesy of Muscle Shoals connections and... > Read more

Carl Perkins' Cadillac

Dave Lisik: Donated by Cantor Fitzgerald; A Threnody (Rattle)

11 Sep 2011  |  <1 min read

If you are reading this in New Zealand on September 11, 2011 -- the 10th anniversary of 9/11 -- Canadian-born, Wellington-based composer Dave Lisik will have performed this evocative, hour-long work in Virginia yesterday for re-broadcast on a New York radio station on the 11th as part of the day-long commemorations there. Recorded in Wellington with pianist Amy Rempel, tenor... > Read more

Donated by Cantor Fitzgerald (extract)

Cut Off Your Hands: Hollow (Speak N Spell)

5 Sep 2011  |  1 min read

Frankly, when I first encountered Cut Off Your Hands two things struck me: First, how do you do that? (You get one off and then . . .), and more importantly how their bouncy pop-rock would travel. When I heard they were going to the UK I thought, "coals . . . Newcastle". I understand things didn't entirely work out over there and that was a shame. Their debut You and I was... > Read more

By Your Side

Panther and the Zoo: More Fun (download)

5 Sep 2011  |  1 min read

The 2009 EP by this delightfully melodic, Auckland pop-rock outfit Think About It Not Exploding was a mere four songs . . . but was one of those enticing little tasters which left you wanting more. Much more, in fact. So at last here is the nine song album (short, and smart again, you are left wanting more) and you cannot help admire songwriter Graham Panther's lightly gentle but assured... > Read more

Maybe You Get What You Want

The Jayhawks: Mockingbird Time (Universal)

5 Sep 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

Something to speculate on. What if John Lennon had quit the Beatles around the time of Help!/Rubber Soul when it was clear he and Paul McCartney were going in different writing and personal directions. Say he'd gone off into more personal and introspective writing and Macca had steered the band along a more pop route? No Revolver for a kick-off. In a sense something similar happened... > Read more

Pouring Rain at Dawn

Various Artists: After Hours, The Collection; Northern Soul Masters (Rhino)

4 Sep 2011  |  <1 min read

Northern Soul was a British phenomenon in the late 60s/early 70s when clubs in the north played beat-driven American soul for pilled-up patrons of venues like the famous Wigan Casino, the titular subject of a terrific doco by Tony Palmer. The music was rarely from mainstream labels like Motown and much of it came on long lost or deleted singles. A decade ago the archive label Rhino... > Read more

Something's Burnin'

The Smithereens: 2011 (eone)

4 Sep 2011  |  1 min read

It was probably helpful for the long-running power-pop/rock Smithereens out of New Jersey to remind themselves what year they are in with this album's title. Their most recent outings have been covers of the Beatles' first US album Meet the Beatles! (Meet the Smithereens!), one of Beatle b-sides then a truncated run through the Who's Tommy. Fun for them, but you did wonder why.... > Read more

Rings on Her Fingers