Music at Elsewhere

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Various Artists: True Colours, New Colours - The Songs of Split Enz (Warners/digital outlets)

6 Feb 2021  |  3 min read

Split Enz' 1980 album True Colours was a songwriting and commercial watershed for the group, springing memorable material like Tim Finn's edgy Shark Attack and Nobody Takes Me Seriously, his achingly lovely I Hope I Never and brother Neil's irrepressible I Got You. On the album's release, George Kay in Rip It Up wrote, “Words like 'showpiece' and 'classic'... > Read more

Rats on Rafts: Excerpts From Chapter 3 (Fire/digital outlets)

31 Jan 2021  |  1 min read

This Dutch band has only made one previous appearance at Elsewhere, back in '16 when were somewhat underwhelmed by a pairing with their noisy neighbours De Kift for a kind of supergroup which was big on thrash with horns. Here on their own however for their third album (subtitled The Mind Runs a Net of Rabbit Paths), the four-piece deliver something which seems like a concept... > Read more

Elijah Knutsen: Pink Dream (Memory Color/bandcamp)

25 Jan 2021  |  <1 min read

Inspired by Japanese ambient music of the kind collected on the impressive 2019 set Kanyko Ongaku -- where gentle atmospherics and equally discreet field recordings co-exist -- this evocative, 24-minute collection of four pieces is another in a series by Portland's Elijah Knutsen for his appropriately entitled Memory Color label. Released on cassette (but available through... > Read more

Pink Dream

Max Merritt: I Can Dream (Fanfare/Sony/digital outlets)

24 Jan 2021  |  1 min read

When Max Merritt died in LA just weeks before his induction into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame last year, it reminded us of how that first generation of local rock'n'roll stars was passing on. Merritt was being inducted as one of the founders of New Zealand rock'n'roll in the Fifties, although many people would say his song Slipping Away from '75 was not just his... > Read more

I Can Dream Can't I

Matthew Sweet: Catspaw (Omnivore/digital outlets)

18 Jan 2021  |  <1 min read

Elsewhere is an unashamed fan of power pop and its best practitioners like Dwight Twilley and Matthew Sweet, both of whom have albums in our Essential Elsewhere pages here and here). For a guy who delivered what we called “ a thrilling trifecta of smart power pop-cum-indie rock in the early Nineties with his albums Girlfriend (91), Altered Beast (93) and 100% Fun (95)”... > Read more

RECOMMENDED RECORD: The Chills: Submarine Bells (Fire/Flying Nun)

11 Jan 2021  |  1 min read

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release or reissue we recommend on vinyl, like this one . . . .  There is a reason why many Chills' loyalists speak of Martin Phillipps' timeless songwriting for his Chills (by-any-other-name) outlet: It is that because he crafts pop songs which resonate long after their first blush. Nowhere is that more evident than... > Read more

The Flaming Mudcats: Forever and a Day (Mudcat Music)

11 Jan 2021  |  <1 min read

As with their previous album Cut Loose of '18, Auckland's four-piece Flaming Mudcats here neatly mix things up using the blues as a springboard in soul-blues, funk, horn-punctuated r'n'b (sax, trumpet and trombone from guests Andrew Hall, Mike Booth and Jono Tan) as well as bringing in piano (Mike Walker), percussion (Steve Cornane) and Hammond organ (Ron Stevens). That gives diversity to... > Read more

Ane Brun: After the Great Storm/How Beauty Holds the Hand of Sorrow (Balloon Ranger/digital outlets)

8 Jan 2021  |  1 min read

Born in Denmark but living in Stockholm, singer-songwriter Ane Brun was one the discoveries at the 2014 Taranaki Womad and a fascinating, candid interview subject. A writer who draws inspiration from diverse sources and located herself in a place of quiet when creating, Brun wasn't in any lockdown in the past year – the writing had begun earlier and Sweden didn't go that route... > Read more

ONE WE MISSED: Rose City Band, Summerlong (Thrill Jockey/digital outlets)

16 Dec 2020  |  <1 min read  |  1

Quite how this delightful, gently psychedelic country-rock album went past us in the middle of the year is a mystery, especially when the man helming it is Ripley Johnson of Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo. But right from the opener Only Lonely – which stands at the midpoint of the Byrds' Wasn't Born to Follow/Ballad of Easy Rider and Neil Halstead's Sleeping on Roads album -- this... > Read more

Anna Coddington: Beams (Loop/digital outlets)

12 Dec 2020  |  1 min read

Five years ago, when asked what artist she would most like to share a stage with, singer-songwriter Anna Coddington replied emphatically, “LIPS”. On her tour at that time she had LIPS (2012 Apra Silver Scroll winners Steph Brown and Fen Ikner) as part of the double-bill. Four years on from her previous album, the largely self-produced Luck/Time, and... > Read more

Half Japanese: Crazy Hearts (Fire/Southbound/digital outlets)

4 Dec 2020  |  1 min read

And still it comes, this left-field, marginal project of avant-guitarist and noise-maker Jad Fair and his now established fellow travelers (John Sluggett, Giles Vincent Reader, Mick Hobbs and Jason Willett). This is the 19thalbum under Fair's Half Japanese name and if you are expecting him to change direction you haven't been paying attention for the past 40 years. Fair's... > Read more

Chris Stapleton: Starting Over (Universal/digital outlets)

4 Dec 2020  |  1 min read

If you didn't know what he looked like, how might you picture songwriter Chris Stapleton from knowing his songs had been covered by Adele and he's co-written with Ed Sheeran, Peter Frampton and Sheryl Crow?  You might see Stapleton as some bookish-looking writer in an office in London, New York or LA. But add in a swag of country music awards for his songs and his own albums, the... > Read more

Lontalius: Side One (digital outlets)

4 Dec 2020  |  2 min read

Earlier this year Hayley Williams, frontwoman and writer for the US rock band Paramore released her debut album Petals for Armor. However within the 15-song album, the first 10 had been already released as two separate EPs. And all five in the second had appeared as singles. In the world of streaming, the definition of singles, EPs and albums has become flexible, if not... > Read more

Ennio Morricone: Morricone Segreto (Decca/digital outlets)

30 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

The late Ennio Morricone's work was so diverse – orchestral scores to oddball sonic vignettes – that listeners almost invariably default to their favourite style: the quirky spaghetti Western soundtracks, the more heroic and expansive works like the music for The Mission and so on. Elsewhere's favourite spaghetti Western soundtrack is that for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (an... > Read more

Tristan Perich: Drift Multiply (Nonesuch/digital outlets)

30 Nov 2020  |  <1 min read

Although hailed in the New York Classical Review as “establishing a new language and a new future path for music”, many who have heard a fair swag of early Philip Glass (North Star and 1000 Airplanes on the Roof come to mind), Steve Reich's Variations for Winds, Strings & Keyboards ('79) or even the Fripp/Eno collaborations in the mid Seventies, may feel that is something of an... > Read more

Scalper: The Beast and the Beauty (Like Water/digital outlets)

25 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

Those old Romans had a phrase which is very useful: sui generis. It means singular, unique, in a genre/category of its own. The music of Auckland-based producer/poet/rapper and former Fun-Da-Mental member Nadeem Shafi aka Scalper is definitely sui generis. His voice and spoken-word lyrics are dark, full of foreboding, touch on the mythic and are sometimes -- often actually --... > Read more

Songhoy Blues: Optimisme (Transgressive/digital outlets)

23 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

When we first encountered this four-piece from Mali in 2015 with their debut album Music in Exile we were impressed. So much so that it ended up in our Best of the Year picks. We heard but didn't review their follow-up Resistance – which had an appearance by Iggy Pop – but one of our number chose that in the reader's best of for 2017. Neither album perhaps prepares you for the... > Read more

Joni Mitchell: Archives Vol.1: The Early Years. 1963-1967 (Universal/digital outlets)

21 Nov 2020  |  3 min read

A decade ago in a rare interview, Joni Mitchell railed against Bob Dylan saying he was inauthentic, a plagiarist and “his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception”. Three years later when accusing the interviewer of misconstruing her words – they seemed pretty clear – she admitted liking some of Dylan's songs, but “musically he’s not... > Read more

Noah Aire: Ekundayo (digital outlets)

19 Nov 2020  |  <1 min read

Now this is a little different, but also a little bit as you might expect. Noah Aire is Nigerian singer/songwriter and DJ . . . and this is where Elsewhere's information runs out. You can of course check him out on the usual online places but let's throw the spotlight on this new eight-song, danceable collection which brings together African percussion in crisscross... > Read more

Faten Kanaan: A Mythology of Circles (Fire/Southbound)

16 Nov 2020  |  <1 min read

Locating herself somewhere between a mystical and mildly depressed Mike Oldfield, Popol Vuh's soundtracks for Werner Herzog and a more chipper Johann Johannsson, the electronica sound artist Faten Kanaan from New York continues her post-Eno ambient-cum-internal soundtrack releases with this journey where acoustic instruments played live co-exist with electronics, choral samples (on the two... > Read more