Music at Elsewhere

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The New Existentialists: Didn't Have Time (bandcamp)

22 May 2020  |  1 min read

With the subtitle “work in progress 2019-2020” and a blurb which downplays expectations (“raw unformed things that the world was not meant to hear”) the New Existentialists neatly present 10 songs as rough drafts completed during lockdown by synth player Fraser Hunter who co-produced this with mainman George D Henderson (the Puddle). And although pleasing ragged... > Read more

The Music Convention: The Charge of the Music Convention (Frenzy/digital outlets)

21 May 2020  |  1 min read

In the late Sixties Auckland's Music Convention – originally out of the Hamilton area as the Spectres and the Trends – released one of the baddest, greatest, noisiest New Zealand singles ever. It was Belly Board Beat which was an explosion of surf rock with sitar and sounded as if it had been recorded in a beachside ashram where instead of meditating the very stoned devotees... > Read more

US Girls: Heavy Light (4AD/Rhythmethod/digital outlets)

18 May 2020  |  1 min read

From the ambiguous album title – is it a play on opposites, or is the light heavy? – and through these teasingly accomplished songs which reference a swathe of pop history aural references (old school soul, Michael Jackson, r'n'b, disco), this seventh outing for US Girls (Juno-nominated Meghan Remy from Toronto) covers a lot of musical terrain. But it... > Read more

Various Artists: Blood and Dust; A Gothic Western (Venus Aeon/digital outlets)

16 May 2020  |  <1 min read

Given Elsewhere's unashamed affection for the Western genre (is The Good The Bad and The Ugly the best film ever made? A. Yes) and albums like The Unforgiven's self-titled sole outing we would naturally gravitate to this collection. The best Westerns reference Greek mythology as much as gunplay mayhem, and so the darkness of Goth music works into the heroic nihilism of the genre.... > Read more

SHORT CUTS: A round-up of recent New Zealand releases

15 May 2020  |  3 min read

The combination of lockdown and New Zealand Music Month has clearly meant a lot of musicians at home with nothing to do – or now the time to do things in – have recorded and released albums . . . and there is gridlock on the internet highway. It would be impossible for Elsewhere to deal with all the ones which have appeared rather suddenly in the past 10 days, so... > Read more

EOB: Earth (Capitol/digital outlets)

11 May 2020  |  1 min read

The EOB here who also doesn't appear on the album cover is in fact one Ed O'Brien, more widely known as a guitarist in Radiohead. That he slips this out with little fanfare around his reputation is admirable, and as a debut under his own name it is clearly an album with more modest ambitions than what bandmate Thom Yorke explores on his solo outings. O'Brien – with a cast which... > Read more

Hayley Williams: Petals for Armor (WEA/digital outlets)

9 May 2020  |  1 min read

Here's an “album” we mention, if only for it being emblematic of a current phenomenon in pop. In the olden times artists released singles, EPs and albums. They were generally different things – short, medium length, long – although of course an EP and/or album may also include the hit single. That was acceptable. Some acts didn't release singles so when the album... > Read more

Modern Studies: The Weight of the Sun (Fire/Southbound/digital outlets)

8 May 2020  |  1 min read

We're all allowed private passions and music which seduces us in a way we suspect others might enjoy but unfortunately never discover. And so it is with the British quartet Modern Studies whose previous two albums Swell to Great and Welcome Strangers (as well as an interesting remix of Swell to Great by Tommy Perman as Emergent Slow Arc) we have taken quiet delight in.... > Read more

Run for Cover

Fly My Pretties: The Studio Recordings, Part Two (Loop)

6 May 2020  |  <1 min read

The previous volume found Wellington's FMPretties and many guest vocals in the studio revisiting previously released live material. This does exactly the same with mainman Barnaby Weir's vocals central alongside guest singers such as Hollie Smith (especially good on Clarity), Eva Prowse, Ryan Prebble and A Girl Named Mo reprising their live roles. With its easy weave from soul to... > Read more

The Rockets: The Complete Recordings 1961-1964 (Frenzy/digital outlets)

5 May 2020  |  1 min read

In the early Sixties before the arrival of the Beatles, guitar instrumental bands were a commonplace. Among the best known would be the Ventures, Shadows, Surfaris, Tornados . . . Be they surf rock or aiming higher (like into the cosmos during the Space Race era), these bands of largely interchangeable members around the lead player were certainly popular. New Zealand had more than... > Read more

Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters (Epic/digital outlets)

4 May 2020  |  2 min read

This one of the best albums released so far this year, and we'll get back to that. But first, this . . . When music writers offer reference points for an album, they can fall at a couple of hurdles. First, the references will only be useful if the reader knows them. Saying something sounds like Dark Side of the Moon or Like a Virgin might be a safe bet, but with this new album... > Read more

SHORT CUTS: A round-up of recent New Zealand releases

1 May 2020  |  4 min read

Facing down an avalanche of releases, requests for coverage, the occasional demand that we be interested in their new album (sometimes with that absurd comment "but don't write about it if you don't like it") and so on, Elsewhere will every now and again do a quick sweep like this, in the same way it does IN BRIEF about international releases and Yasmin Brown does for EPs.... > Read more

Koizilla: I Don't Surf I Boogie (Trace/Untrace/bandcamp)

27 Apr 2020  |  1 min read  |  1

And here is the sum total of our knowledge of Koizilla who drew our attention this, their second album. They are a self-described “Dunedin surf-psych quartet” who here “continue to expand their sonic palette, maintain the raw garage-rock sound Koizilla are known for while adding dynamic and finesse to the overall appeal”. They also recorded this in their lounge.... > Read more

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Rhian Sheehan; Recollections Vol 1 (Loop/digital outlets)

27 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

Cheating a little here because this is not actually a reissue of a specific album but a collection of Auckland-based ambient/electronica/soundtrack artist Rhian Sheehan's better known pieces along with some remixes and previously unreleased live and studio tracks. It is certainly generous (almost two hours long, 28 pieces all up) and includes discrete pieces from his tasteful Standing... > Read more

Swallow the Rat: Leaving Room (Shifting Sounds/digital outlets)

26 Apr 2020  |  <1 min read

This Austin Tx/Auckland NZ band have opened for Gang of Four and Sebadoh and – not having witnessed that – we'd guess they were a well-judged support act given their 10 gritty, post-punk-with-songs attitude on this second album, and first through the label/online store Shifting Sounds (London, Austin, Melbourne). An aborted trip to play SXSW – cancelled on account of... > Read more

Jeremy Redmore: The Brightest Flame (Believe/digital outlets)

24 Apr 2020  |  2 min read

Not often you'll hear an 18th century Romantic poet and Auckland rock band Midnight Youth mentioned in the same review, but here goes. In his Preface to the collection Lyrical Ballads (pub 1798), William Wordsworth said poetry was “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till, by a... > Read more

Shabazz Palaces: The Don of Diamond Dreams (Sub Pop/Rhythmethod/digital outlets)

24 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

Less a hip-hop duo – as they are often described – but more like musical constructivists, Shabazz Palaces out of Seattle have offered some seductive and game-changing albums in the past decade. Their most played track on Spotify for example is the hypnotic and downbeat Shine A Light which utilises the romantic strings from Theme From a Summer Place to great effect, and they are... > Read more

These Four Walls; This is Not a Future (digital outlets)

24 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

You have to hand it to this former Auckland hard rock band who relocated to Australia's Gold Coast. It might have taken them eight years for this follow-up to Living to Write The End but the album's title plays right into the zeitgeist. And the quiet two minute intro track sets it up with “this is the sound of breaking down” before the abrasive guitar riffery arrives on... > Read more

Rock Bottom

Sneaky Feelings: The Mercury Moment (Flying Nun/digital outlets)

20 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

For decades I wondered about that quote, “there are no second acts in American lives” (F. Scott Fitzgerald). It's been taken to mean that you don't get a second chance, when quite clearly America is a society which allows for that, even in those decades before you made the public apology on Oprah and were forgiven your transgressions. It could also mean – with... > Read more

Accept-Except Me

Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different (Light in the Attic/Southbound/digital)

19 Apr 2020  |  1 min read  |  1

No, this isn't here just so we can display the striking cover of the former Mrs Miles Davis looking like some astral traveller from Ziggy Stardust's planet. In fact this is something of lost soul-funk classic from '74 from a period of skin-tight silver pants, sky-high heels on the dancefloor and shoulder-wide Afros. In her own way Davis -- formerly Betty Mabry -- was well ahead of her... > Read more

He Was A Big Freak