Music at Elsewhere

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Tono and the Finance Company: Fragile Thing EP (Border)

1 Aug 2010  |  1 min read  |  1

One of the nicest things about small indie artists is the care they lavish on the presentation of their low-key albums. Witness the delightful Tokey Tones albums or even the more rough-hewn albums on Flying Nun where the art was a signifier of the contents. And so it is with this terrific, confident, witty and repeat-play six-song EP which comes in an "exquisite corpse" cover (the... > Read more

Tono and the Finance Company: Barry Smith of Hamilton

Flip Grater: While I'm Awake I'm At War (Maiden)

1 Aug 2010  |  1 min read

New Zealand singer-songwriter Flip Grater has a rare distinction at Elsewhere: she's the only artist so far who has previously had music posted (here) as well as recipe (here) which she picked up on the road for her cookbook. This beautifully arranged album, produced by Tim Guy, delivers through understatement as Grater's vocals are soft, almost hinting at the style of introspective French... > Read more

Flip Grater: Low Light

Renee Geyer: The Definitive Collection 1973 - 1998 (Mushroom)

1 Aug 2010  |  <1 min read

This great Australian soul, funk and blues singer appeared at Elsewhere recently -- more of that in a minute -- but here by coincidence is 18 track collection of some of her finest moments from her four decade career, including her gutsy take on James Brown's classic It's A Man's Man's Man's World on which she really shines. Also here is her version of If Lovin' You is Wrong, the live... > Read more

Renee Geyer: Shakey Ground

Bob Dylan: Folksinger's Choice (Left Field/Triton)

31 Jul 2010  |  2 min read

One of the revelations of the first of Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series was the maturity of his voice for one so young. Songs like Moonshiner showed a wisdom and understanding well beyond his years. And this remarkable, and previously rare, album confirms that point -- and many more about the young Dylan and how he saw himself. Not as a folksinger, he says in one of the interesting snippets of... > Read more

Bob Dylan: Smokestack Lightnin'

Pete Molinari: A Train Bound for Glory (Clarksville)

26 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

English music magpie Molinari's previous two albums alerted you to a folk-driven singer-songwriter who was unashamed of wearing influences but bringing a neat twist to them: his Walking off the Map in '06 cheerfully plundered Hank Williams and pre-66 Bob Dylan (and delivered a beautiful new standard in Indescribably Blue); his follow-up A Virtual Landscape added Sam Cooke soul, Lonnie... > Read more

Pete Molinari: To Be Close to Your Heart's Desire

Blitzen Trapper: Destroyer of the Void (Sub Pop/Rhythmethod)

26 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

More so than their previous releases, this band from the Pacific Northwest seem to ladle in dollops of trippy glam-adelica in the opening overs of this thoroughly enjoyable outing. It's as if a thinking person's band from the late Sixties or mid Seventies has beamed down into the post-grunge pop world (or vice-versa) of Portland and whatever the images and angst in the lyrics are wrapped in... > Read more

Blitzen Trapper: Laughing Lover

Katie Melua: The House (Dramatico)

26 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

Those who have followed Melua's career might be a little surprised by this outing -- and if you haven't then this might be the album to tune in for: dramatic, dark, hypnotic, cabaret-noir, lovely ballads, enough pop-smarts everywhere . . . and a strange sense of sonic discloaction from producer Wiliam Orbit. They all make this quite a grower. Although she previously worked with Mike Batt... > Read more

Katie Melua: The One I Love is Gone

Laurie Anderson: Homeland (Nonesuch)

19 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

From the accompanying DVD, you sense this should have been a double CD for us to fully appreciate the long arc and nuances of this, Anderson's first album in a decade. Anderson's work is allusive rather than literal or descriptive, but in these often disturbing, melancholy and dislocated meditations on the state of her country, some thread is missing between her feeling... > Read more

Laurie Anderson: Strange Perfumes

George Jones: The Great Lost Hits (Time Life/Southbound)

18 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

Lawd almighty, but ain't there been some archival albums appearing lately? In the past few weeks Elsewhere has noted albums of Bob Dylan barely out of his teens (here); Kris Kristofferson before the fame (here), Willie Nelson's earliest material (here) . . . and now the great George Jones. The honky-tonk balladeer, country weeper (Things have Gone to Pieces -- see clip below -- is one... > Read more

George Jones: Take Me

Jamie Liddell: Compass (Warp/Border)

18 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

There is certainly no shortage of white soul singers these days (Hall and Oates seem to be making a comeback too), but Liddell from the UK brings a neat post-Prince funky skew and a techno-twist to his songs which, stripped of some of the considerable sonic effects and colours here, still stand as fine, inner-city soul vehicles for his high but malleable voice. This is at its weakest when... > Read more

Jamie Liddell: Big Drift

Peter Wolf: Midnight Souvenirs (Verve)

12 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read  |  1

The J Geils Band popped up recently at Elsewhere with a cheap set of their early albums as a Bargain Buy -- and here is the world-worn r'n'b blues voice of their singer Wolf in a collection of memorable (and often vaguely) familiar songs which sound peeled off from the Stones '68 to '76 or the more ballad end of Chris Bailey of the Saints (who also appeared here and here). With Larry... > Read more

Peter Wolf: I Don't Wanna Know

The Broken Heartbreakers: Wintersun (BHB)

12 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

The self-titled debut album by this Auckland-based folk-pop band was among the Best of Elsewhere 2007 list -- and they have just been getting better. No surprise really given that alongside the core duo of John Guy Howell and Rachel Bailey are Sam Prebble (who, as Bond Street Bridge, appeared in the following year's Best of Elsewhere with his album The Mapmaker's Art) and Verlaines' bassist... > Read more

The Broken Heartbreakers: Wintersun

Alejandro Escovedo: Street Songs of Love (Concord)

12 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

From the breathless pace he sets on this hard rocking album you'd never know that Escovedo out of Texas (formerly of Rank and File, a fellow traveller with John Dee Graham, co-writer with Chuck Prophet and now managed by Springsteen's Jon Landau) nearly died a few years ago. Such is the high regard he is held in by his peers that for a fund-raising tribute album Son Volt, Ian Hunter of Mott... > Read more

Alejandro Escovedo: Down in the Bowery

Tift Merritt: See You on The Moon (Concord)

11 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

To be honest, despite very much liking most of Merritt's '02 album Bramble Rose -- and concluding the review, "a name to remember, Tift" -- I lost touch with her augmented which came with a little sensuality and suggestions of Petty-like country-rock. That said, of course I remembered the name so this came qucikly to the top of the pile -- but I have to say fell away... > Read more

Tift Merritt: Feel of the World

Ed Harcourt: Lustre (Piano Wolf/Southbound)

11 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

Sometimes these days it seems that more music is coming out of the Pacific Northwest than ever did at the height of grunge: the difference being it is quieter, more folksy and singer-songwriterly, and is often astutely produced with a few strings. Briton Ed Harcourt relocated to somewhere just north of Seattle (not as far as Canada, to Bear Studio) for this, his first album in about four... > Read more

Ed Harcourt: Haywired

Boozoo Bajou: Coming Home (Stereo Deluxe)

11 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

In the mid 2000s I gave up on chill-out music, I'd heard a lot of it and my life was becoming far too laidback for my own good. A Buddha Bar compliation too far I think. Germany's Stereo Deluxe label has a logo of two lounge chairs back-to-back and I thought that rather summed things up -- although I especially like things on that label, notably the tasteful, genuinely interesting stuff... > Read more

Boozoo Bajou: Fursattel

Willie Nelson: Rarities Vol 1 (Great American Music/Southbound)

11 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

Another week, another Willie album? (Previously here the joke was another month, another Willie but . . .) So it has seemed lately -- but this isn't new material: here are songs by Willie from betweeen 1959 and '65,  11 of them just solo with guitar, the rest with a small band. The solo pieces -- only one breaking the two minute mark -- are lovely demos for others to discover and... > Read more

Willie Nelson: I've Seen All This World I Care to See

Vanessa Daou: Joe Sent Me (Daou)

11 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

My dad always used the phrase "Joe sent me", it was the old password to get into illegal bars and speakeasies and the implication was that you were gaining access to the illicit, and therefore rather seductive, world on the other side of the door. Vanessa Daou's breathy, sexually-fuelled electronica offers an entry to that kind of world. Her music oozes sensuality, suggests... > Read more

Vanessa Daou: Love Lives in the Dark

Phosphorescent: Here's to Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)

6 Jul 2010  |  1 min read

The last album by this band -- the vehicle for Matthew Houck -- was their tribute to Willie Nelson, but this time out it is all original material and the energy levels are kicked up, notably on the Band/Black Crowes/E Street opener It's Hard to be Humble (When You're From Alabama). Rolling steel guitars and a country-rock mood propel Nothing Was Stolen and the mood here is that you might... > Read more

Phosphorescent: The Mermaid Parade

Damien Jurado: Saint Bartlett (Secretly Canadian/Rhythmethod)

6 Jul 2010  |  <1 min read

With a lovely, sympathetic production by Richard Swift -- sort of budget-priced Phil Spector -- and melodies which swell with Fifties and Sixties pop-romanticism, this is one of those album (like Swift's) which will be taken to heart with a passion by those who discover it. Previously Jurado out of Seattle came at you from the indie/alt.folk singer-songwriter territory, and none of... > Read more

Damien Jurado: Cloudy Shoes