Music at Elsewhere

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Black Country Communion: Black Country Communion (J and R/Southbound)

7 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

Some don't fall too far from the tree that Led Zeppelin planted, and this outfit -- a kind of second tier hard-rock supergroup -- certainly reference Jimmy Page's riffery and powerhoue attack. And the drummer is Jason Bonham, son of the late John from Zeppelin. But with guitarist Joe Bonamassa, keyboard player Derek Sherinian (Alice Cooper) and singer/bassist Glenn Hughes (Black... > Read more

Black Country Communion: No Time

Bob Dylan: The Witmark Demos 1962-64 (Sony)

1 Nov 2010  |  5 min read

There's a case the most important person in Bob Dylan's early career wasn't his inspiration Woody Guthrie (the folk singer he traveled to New York to meet and whose style he adopted), nor Suze Rotolo (his girlfriend who appeared on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in '63 ) or even Joan Baez (his muse, lover and champion). The key figure – until they bitterly parted... > Read more

Bob Dylan: Ballad For a Friend

Emma Paki: Trinity (Heartmusic)

1 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

It has been an astonishing decade and a half (and a bit) since Emma Paki's remarkable System Virtue, Greenstone and her debut album Oxygen of Love. And since then mostly silence on the recording front. And she's in no hurry to rush back, this EP is just three songs in acoustic versions (two produced by Bic Runga), then mixed and remixed by various people (including Bryson Campbell of Dam... > Read more

Emma Paki: Century Sky (acoustic version)

Belle and Sebastian: Write About Love (Rough Trade)

1 Nov 2010  |  <1 min read

There is perhaps little point in tryin to "sell" Belle and Sebastian, a Scottish group which has appeared at Elsewhere a couple of times (here), because their deft and literate pop has now been spread over almost 10 albums . . . so you've either got them, or not. And the album title here perhaps won't have wide appeal (didn't they always, in some form or another?) But rather... > Read more

Belle and Sebastian: Write About Love

The Soft Boys: A Can of Bees and Underwater Moonlight (both Yep Roc/Southbound)

1 Nov 2010  |  2 min read

When Robyn Hitchcock sang "I wanna destroy you" on the band's second album -- to a power pop riff that wouldn't have disgraced a Cheap Trick album -- you knew he didn't mean he'd be coming with a gun or a bomb, Hitchcock was out to kill with criticism, wit and satire. After all here's a man who launched his band with the first track on their first album A Can of Bees (1979) with... > Read more

The Soft Boys: Sandra's Having Her Brain Out

Bilders: Mindful and Mean Time (both Powertools)

1 Nov 2010  |  2 min read

Bilders (sometimes Bildrine) is the nom de disque of Bill Direen -- and that French there is not being pretentious as Direen spends much of his time in France, and the Mean Time album was largely recorded in Paris this year. The Mindful album was recorded in Berlin in 2008 as an art collaboration between singer/guitarist Direen and Jon Evans (keyboards), Fred Morvan a French DJ and others.... > Read more

Bilders: Fewer Than Few

Edith Piaf: Live at Carnegie Hall 1957 (Fantastic Voyage/Southbound)

31 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

Those who are used to hearing "The Little Sparrow" in aching, melancholy mode will be surprised by this historic concert at Carnegie Hall where she appeared with a full orchestra and choir, and that on ocassion she speaks and in English. After the success of the Piaf film (with Marion Cotillard), interest in Piaf has seldom been higher and those who perhaps picked up a single disc... > Read more

Edith Piaf: C'est a Hambourg

Various Artists: Loop Select 009; Kono 002 (Loop)

25 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

The Loop collections (stacked-full CDs of usually essential soulful electronica, sometimes a DVD with video clips and short films) are often as artistically presented as their classy contents (see the Fly My Pretties A Story CD/DVD package), and are an on-going archive of great New Zealand sounds and images. In the decade since their first CD collection (Cloudboy, Rhian Sheehan,... > Read more

Yule: A Mess

Elliott Smith: An Introduction to Elliott Smith (Kill Rock Stars/Southbound)

25 Oct 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

It seems curious that the intelligent, melodic and very dead Elliott Smith hasn't engendered a cult following: his albums were consistently good and the circumstances of his death (if it was suicide it was a strange one in which questions needed to be asked) should have guaranteed him t-shirt status at least. Smith had half a dozen songs in Good Will Hunting and appeared on stage at the... > Read more

Elliott Smith: Needle in the Hay

Various Artists: Native America Calling; Music from Indian Country (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

25 Oct 2010  |  1 min read  |  2

A few Native Amercans have appeared previously at Elsewhere: the late jazz saxophonist Jim Pepper has an Essential Elsewhere album with Comin' and Goin'; the activist, poet, singer and actor John Trudell is interviewed here; and the great Buffy Sainte-Marie appears at From the Vaults with this track from an album which equally might have made the Essential Elsewhere cut. A few "Native... > Read more

Robert Mirabal: Indians Indians

Various Artists: Murder; Songs from the Dark Side of the Soul (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

25 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

The seemingly endless CSI and such like on television, movies about killers and cops, as well as news reports of real life murders suggests that what began with Cain and Abel still fascinates us -- and we didn't need Nick Cave to tell us that murder songs were kind of interesting. This 23 song r'n'b, blues and country collection brings together songs about killing and bloodshed and a... > Read more

Lord Executor: Seven Skeletons Found in the Yard

Kasey Chambers: Little Bird (Liberation)

25 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

Almost a decade ago this Australian singer-songwriter penned Not Pretty Enough, a penetrating chart-topper about self-doubt. The title track here sounds like its rejoinder with the wisdom of years: Chambers sings of a broken relationship, how a little bird told her what to do the get the guy back, “but I don't want you that bad”. This irrepressibly catchy song and... > Read more

Kasey Chambers: Train Wreck

samRB: Seems I Might Be Human (SRB)

24 Oct 2010  |  1 min read  |  2

samRB is a New Zealand singer-songwriter who has faced mental health issues and this album comes with assistance from NZ Mental Health Media Grant (and some top gun musicians in support of her). I've been on record as looking askance at "the album as therapy" (most recently here) and have run into trouble when denying people their special pleading because of a physical or mental... > Read more

samRB: To Whom It May Concern

Human Instinct: Midnight Sun (Ode)

24 Oct 2010  |  2 min read

When thirtysomething guitarist Joel Haines invited me to the launch of the new Human Instinct album he told me he'd joined the group. I said, “ You've joined what used to one of the most dangerous bands in the country! Good luck.” They might not have been, but in the late Sixties/early Seventies New Zealand bands like Human Instinct, Ticket and the Underdogs were... > Read more

Ken Nordine: Word Jazz; The Complete 1950s Recordings (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

18 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

Ken Nordine's voice -- assured, resonant, clear -- was his passport into radio where he worked as an announcer and narrator. But he was also of the Jazz Generation and in the Fifties he anticipated the Beats by blending poetry and music and then creating his Word Jazz recordings in which he would recite poems, unusual prose-poems and stories full of whimsy and often slightly disturbing... > Read more

Ken Nordine: Looks Like It' Going to Rain

David Bowie: Station to Station, Expanded Edition (EMI)

18 Oct 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

Rock critics and civilians are generally divided over David Bowie: people on the street seem to prefer the stabbing pop-rock of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane (with party favourite The Jean Genie) and singles like Rebel Rebel and Let's Dance. Critics – because they famously don't dance – gravitate towards the sonic landscapes of “the Berlin trilogy” (Low,... > Read more

David Bowie: Word on a Wing

Isbells: Isbells (Zealrecords)

17 Oct 2010  |  <1 min read

In which former rocker Gaeten Vandewoude of Belgium discovers his inner Jose Gonzalez and with a few friends and some multi-tracking also realises he had Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel lurking in there too. This is not an unfamiliar path (Gonzalez did the rock thing first, so did Findlay Brown, and Fink used to deal in hip-hop) but it leads to low-key acoustic songs, sensitive lyrics... > Read more

Isbells: BB Chevelle

Wreckless Eric: Hits, Misses, Rags and Tatters; The Complete Stiff Masters (Stiff/Triton)

17 Oct 2010  |  2 min read  |  4

Long overdue for a revival, reconsideration and wider recognition, Eric Goulden aka Wreckless Eric has been usually dismissed as a one-hit wonder (but was it Whole Wide World, Semaphore Signals, Veronica, I Wish It Would Rain or A Pop Song?). Or written off as a kind of punk comedy act (just because he had a sense of humour?) Of course in the late Seventies he was up against some major... > Read more

Wreckless Eric: I Wish It Would Rain

Soundgarden: Telephantism (Universal)

11 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

Once they hit their stride around the time of Badmotorfinger in '91, Soundgarden out of Seattle had shaken out the ragged semi-punk and yelping metal for a much more dense and intense attack. Material like Jesus Christ Pose (here in a searing, seven minute live version of deconstructed noise) was a quantum leap from the noise they were making on the SST label, and even Badmotorfinger's... > Read more


The Divine Comedy: Bang Goes the Knighthood (DCDR/Southbound)

11 Oct 2010  |  1 min read

The amusing Divine Comedy – Neil Hannon the sole constant the past two decades – effect a kind of elegantly literary and often droll, social commentary, style which often comes with orchestration, or sounds like it has stepped out of a cabaret or music hall. They require, and reward, careful attention because the details are in Hannon's frequently satirical lyrics. Here on... > Read more

The Divine Comedy: When a Man Cries