Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

The Dalai Lama: Inner World (digital outlets)

6 Jul 2020  |  1 min read

Two weeks ago in the Guardian's list of top new tracks there was an unusual entry. Alongside the clubland pop of Kiesza, a groovy remix of St Germain's Rose Rouge by Jorja Smith, the big voiced singer-songwriter Tom Walker and the r'n'b of Kenzie with Sia was the 84-year old Dalai Lama with the track Compassion from his debut album Inner Worlds. Maybe – with senior citizens Bob... > Read more

Garnett Betts: Highfield (digital outlets)

4 Jul 2020  |  <1 min read

Although this album by Canadian singer/guitarist Garnett Betts came out late last year, we'd bet high odds that few in this country have heard it, or of him. But with his appealing vocals style – sometimes country-blues, sometimes closer to Bruce Hornsby's easy style – he should have strong appeal here for those who have remained loyal to his fellow Canadian Bruce Cockburn.... > Read more

Brigid Mae Power: Head Above Water (Fire/Southbound)

2 Jul 2020  |  1 min read

Elsewhere is well-known for approaching English and Irish folk music with some caution if not outright suspicion. The lamentations, murder and miserablism, references to medievalism, “fair maiden” and “kind sir” lyrics . . . . that is rarely for these ears. But of course there are a more contemporary stylists – like ol' Bill Fay or the drone-folk of Lankum... > Read more

We Weren't Sure

Marshmellow: Secrets of the Universe (digital outlets)

27 Jun 2020  |  <1 min read

Marshmellow is acclaimed singer-songwriter/soundtrack composer Marshall Smith who has been a Silver Scroll finalist and by his own account 2000 tracks published across the globe. He is also the managing director of The Sound Room . . . . so doubtless has the sonic artillery at hand, certainly enough to record these 12 originals (and a slightly bloodless cover of... > Read more

Khruangbin: Mordechai (Dead Oceans/Rhythmethod)

26 Jun 2020  |  1 min read

We here at Elsewhere are patient and allow people time to catch up with artists we've championed at the start of their careers. Like Khruangbin, the trio out of Texas who have perfected a kind of dreamy, psyche-ambience with nods to dub textures, Thai pop and bits of world music. We hailed their debut album The Universe Smiles Upon You more than four years ago and... > Read more

Gramsci: Inheritance (digital outlets)

26 Jun 2020  |  1 min read

The group Gramsci was a vehicle for Auckland singer-songwriter Paul McLaney. But it had been parked up for more than a decade while he explored other musical outlets, notably his Impending Adorations electronica series, his album of musical settings for some of Shakespeare's soliloquies, the recent Old Traditions album with pianist Raachi Malik, numerous collaborations . . . And do we... > Read more

Bibio: Sleep on the Wing (Warp/Border Music)

21 Jun 2020  |  1 min read

If there is such a thing as pastoral electronic folk with contemporary minimalist tendencies then this sweet and warm collection by England's Stephen Wilkinson (Bibio) defines the phrase. With acoustic guitar, fiddle, keyboards, sometimes dreamy and wordless vocals and wrapped in a cover reminiscent of Lemon Jelly's equally pretty Lost Horizon of 2002 (see below), Sleep on the Wing bridges... > Read more

RECOMMENDED RECORD: MEDaL: Replica (DK Records/bandcamp)

21 Jun 2020  |  <1 min read

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this one . . . This Lyttelton-based trio includes at least one very familiar name, Dave Mulcahy (Superette, JPSE) alongside drummer Mark Whyte (Into the Void) and John Billows (Dark Matter, Renderers). There's some serious head-down melodic thrash here (the opener Wanna Feel Good, The... > Read more

Neil Young: Homegrown (Warners/digital outlets)

21 Jun 2020  |  2 min read

Six years ago a bunch of writers got together to consider The Greatest Albums You'll Never Hear. Not long after it rolled off the presses and into bookshops some of the albums had already appeared. Among their “lost” albums was Neil Young's Homegrown recorded in late '74 – early '75 which he already had finished and even had the cover art done for (by Tom Wilkes who... > Read more

The Mastersons: No Time for Love Songs (Red House/Southbound)

19 Jun 2020  |  1 min read

When this husband and wife duo of Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore opened for Steve Earle (in whose band they played) at the Powerstation in Auckland in 2013 many of us got the impression they'd just one helluva bitter argument backstage. They looked distant from each other and there was barely a smile to be seen. They appeared happier when part of Earle's band, but that initial... > Read more

Circle the Sun

Lady Gaga: Chromatica (Interscope/digital outlets)

15 Jun 2020  |  1 min read

Around Elsewhere's way, song for song, album for album, costume for costume and now movie for movie, Lady Gaga has it all over Lady Madonna. And if you doubt it then just slide this terrific dancefloor-cum-brainfood album alongside Madonna's best which is Ray of Light by some clear margin (and 22 years ago). Very different albums with different career intentions, but Madonna rarely... > Read more

The Stroppies: Look Alive! (Tough Love/Southbound)

15 Jun 2020  |  <1 min read

This economic second album/long EP by the Stroppies out of Melbourne could just as easily have tracks posted under our From the Vaults archive pages and no one would be any the wiser. Across eight songs in 21 minutes they offer a lo-fi sound – jangle'n'drone – akin to what some Flying Nun artists were doing in the Eighties or a little indie-pop by that band out of Athens,... > Read more

Holes in Everything

Lorenzo Senni: Scacco Matto (Warp/Border/digital outlets)

14 Jun 2020  |  <1 min read

Get past the minimalist glitch'n'old school video game sound of the opener here Discipline of Enthusiasm and this electronica album by the Milanese musician and artist Lorenzo Senni opens up into something a bit more wide-ranging. XbreakingEdgeX and Dance Tonight Revolution Tomorrow superficially sound like more of the same but different, however careful attention shows them to be quirky... > Read more

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: The Fourmyula: Turn Your Back on the Wind (independent issue)

14 Jun 2020  |  1 min read

Actually, not so much a “reissue” as an “issue”, this vinyl-only release of an album that never was by the excellent Fourmyula wasn't even tied-in with the recent New Zealand Music Month. It is a limited edition labour of love by archivist/collector and Fourmyula fan Colin Linwood who – with permission from the band members and considerable assistance from... > Read more


Various Artists: Kiwi Animals (Strangelove Music/ bandcamp)

13 Jun 2020  |  1 min read

Were the Eighties the most exciting time for different and innovative music in New Zealand? Seems so. Alongside the emergence of political Pacific reggae (Herbs et al) and numerous independent labels (Ripper, Jayrem, Flying Nun, Xpressway, Braille etc) there was From Scratch and the flourishing of avant-garde music, some of which is now being reissued by the Rattle Echo imprint.... > Read more

RECOMMENDED RECORD: Devilskin: Red (Devilskin/digital outlets)

12 Jun 2020  |  1 min read

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this one . . . Although this third album by New Zealand's hard rock, cross-generational quartet out of Hamilton might not to be to the taste of some Elsewhere listeners, we here are frequently in awe of their accumulated, taut musical firepower and the powerful vocals of Jennie Skulander, all of which... > Read more

Ruby Solly: Poneke (digital outlets)

8 Jun 2020  |  <1 min read

Now this is interesting, a blend of traditional and contemporary sounds. Ruby Solly is a composer and writer, and a performer on taonga puoro and cello who has worked with Trinity Roots, Al Fraser, Whirimako Black, the New Zealand String Ensemble and in the Bach Project with Yo-Yo Ma. Lot of fine credentials there, and she brings a keen sense of understatement and an ear for the... > Read more

Te Aro Pa

Mudbelly: Mudbelly (digital outlets)

7 Jun 2020  |  <1 min read

Quite how this Christchurch rock band could have gone past us for two years is something of a mystery: they are an explosive, disciplined but grimy rock-cum-boogie band alongside the powerful vocals of Bex Barrett who can blow like a humid swampy breeze or howl like a hurricane tossing around Led Zeppelin. Maybe its because they were off in the UK for a while, and presumably holed up... > Read more

RAC: Boy (Counter/Border/digital outlets)

1 Jun 2020  |  1 min read

The sensual pop electronica sound of Andre Allen Anjos (aka Portuguese-American RAC who lives in Portland) hits its apotheosis here on the second song where Luna Shadows' languid, almost post-coital vocals pull the listener into a world of pink sheets and a gentle Mediterranean breeze. And after that the rest of this 47 minute album by RAC – 18 tracks, some obviously little more... > Read more

Flying Lotus: Flamagra Instrumentals (Warp/Border/digital outlets)

30 May 2020  |  <1 min read

Now this is very interesting, the somewhat uneven Flamagra album by Flying Lotus released in the middle of last year now reappears in a Deluxe edition with an extra iteration where many of the tracks with vocals now reappear as instrumentals and remixes. If the half dozen or so vocals tracks on the over-stacked first version – 27 tracks of mostly fast-turnaround short-concentration... > Read more