Music at Elsewhere

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Tash Sultana: Flow State (Sony)

17 Sep 2018  |  2 min read

Anyone who has caught this Australian multi-instrumentalist live and in full flight, as she was at the Auckland City Limits 2018 festival, would come away impressed by her versatility and stage energy . . . but also realising that her free-form playing – where one thing morphed into another – and her songs (if that is what they were) needed some refining and distillation. As she... > Read more


Juanita Stein: Until The Lights Fade (Nude)

16 Sep 2018  |  <1 min read

On this, the second album under her own name in as many years, the former singer-guitarist in ex-Australia, London-based alt-rockers Howling Bells continues here affection for Americana rock, nods towards Patti Smith directness and Chrissie Hynde-inflected pop-rock (both collide on Forgiver written with Brandon Flowers of the Killers) with convincing swagger. There are smatterings of tender... > Read more


Richard Thompson: 13 Rivers (Proper/Southbound)

15 Sep 2018  |  1 min read  |  3

Longtime fans and loyalists – count Elsewhere among them – have long admitted defeat with Richard Thompson OBE: no matter how good the albums are by this extraordinary British guitarist and songwriter, and many are exceptional, his fan base never seems to expand. So despite us here reviewing his albums and conducting interviews we assume that the same small cabal of aficionados... > Read more

The Dog in You

The Warratahs: Drivin' Wheel (Southbound)

14 Sep 2018  |  <1 min read  |  1

This double disc 30thanniversary collection reminds you not just how prolific the Warratahs were in their heyday (things slowed down in the new century when singer-songwriter Barry Saunders and writer Wayne Mason released solo albums) but also how consistent they were with their considered country-influenced pop and rock. The non-chronological 24 song collection includes gems like Kupe's... > Read more

Cape Turnagain (w Sam Hunt)

Paul Simon: In the Blue Light (Sony)

14 Sep 2018  |  1 min read  |  1

At the end of his recent, valuable if slightly flawed, authorised biography of Paul Simon by Robert Hilburn, the musician said his next project would be to go back and re-record and re-arrange some of his favourite but overlooked songs from his vast back-catalogue. “He'll never finish that album. It won't be challenging enough,” Simon's friend, the artist Chuck Close, said.... > Read more

How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns

The Chills: Snow Bound (Fire/Southbound)

14 Sep 2018  |  2 min read

In a typically forthcoming interview with Elsewhere recently, Martin Phillipps – mainman of the Chills – observed that their last album Silver Bullets of 2015 (19 years on from the previous studio album Sunburnt) was in small part a clearing house of songs he'd been sitting on. So he could understand why some said it was just him tidying up scraps . . . but, he asserted, this new... > Read more


The Changing Same: Creative Evolution (Powertools)

12 Sep 2018  |  2 min read

Outside of the folk tradition (and maybe Don McGlashan every now and again) there's not a great lineage of songs which gently and often lovingly skewer specific places and people's mores in this country. On this new collection by the band helmed by Matthew Bannister (Sneaky Feelings, Dribbling Darts of Love, the Weather, One Man Bannister and solo albums) there is a delightfully lightweight... > Read more

Favourite Clown

Paul McCartney: Egypt Station (Capitol/Universal)

7 Sep 2018  |  2 min read

In our Famous Elsewhere Songwriter Questionnaire we ask, “The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?” Names like Bob Dylan, Gillian Welch, Joni Mitchell and Bon Iver have come up a few times. But to the best of our recollection Paul McCartney never has, which is strange given an impressive track record in two Very Big Bands... > Read more

Come On To Me

Princess Chelsea: The Loneliest Girl (Lil' Chief)

7 Sep 2018  |  1 min read

Behind many fairytales there lurks a sense of unease, and so it is with the music of Princess Chelsea (aka Chelsea Nikkel), the Auckland singer-songwriter who has created an interesting persona for herself which she effectively plays with, but frequently delivers music which seems to possess all the magic of dreamy fairytale. But, as we know with fairytales . . . The Pretty Ones here... > Read more

The All Seeing Hand: Syntax Error (usual digital outlets)

3 Sep 2018  |  1 min read

Frankly, Wellington's All Seeing Hand confuse me. They were thrilling at a Laneway two years ago when they delivered a magnificently punishing set which had all the intensity and power of pneumatic drill and a concrete cutter with metal-edge throat singing and stabbing synthesiser and furious percussion. They were the undoubted and most memorable high point of a busy day. But their album... > Read more


Passenger: Runaway (usual digital outlets/Border)

31 Aug 2018  |  3 min read

British singer-songwriter Passenger (Mike Rosenberg) has not only etched himself in his homeland – an Ivor Novello Award for Let Her Go, the most performed song of 2014 there, which gave him a number one single here – and a couple of his subsequent albums did serious damage to the charts in this country. His album Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea of two years ago got a... > Read more

Ghost Town

Steve Young: To Satisfy You (Ace/Border)

30 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

The late Steve Young – who died in 2016 – was one of those literate and interesting singer-songwriters who was nominally country but also had a burnt-blues voice when required. He was a fine songwriter whose work embraced the nascent country-rock/outlaw country genre, flicked out the fine Seven Bridges Road album and gave signature songs to Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr... > Read more

The Contender

Avantdale Bowling Club: Avantdale Bowling Club (digital outlets, Flying Out etc)

27 Aug 2018  |  2 min read

You don't need to know anything about Tom Scott's life because in the compelling seven minute opening track Years Gone By here as he emerges under another imprimatur, he sketches in his autobiography. It is of moving from the UK as child, growing up in Avondale, getting a job, his jazz-bassist dad Peter getting leaving then getting busted and doing time, a friend dying, hitting headlines... > Read more

Old Dogs

Dudley Benson: Zealandia (Golden Retriever)

19 Aug 2018  |  2 min read

It has been more than a dozen years since Dudley Benson announced himself with alarmingly good but small scale solo concerts, one of which I caught at the time where he opened for the American artist Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. At the time it seemed an appropriate pairing – both used loops and sang strangle little songs full of emotional weight – but very quickly Benson,... > Read more

Cook Beleaguered

Fraser Ross and the 04s: Life is Magic, Where is my Rabbit? (Home Alone)

10 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Although singer-songwriter Fraser Ross is sometimes described as “folk” that suggests something a little less than what he does across the 10 songs on this album with a small band. Certainly his intelligent songs seem written on guitar, but a yearning and taut piece like Salisbury Lane sounds as if at any moment it could spring into the epic grandeur of U2. That it doesn't... > Read more

Life is Magic Here is My Rabbit

Giant Sand: Returns to Valley of Rain (Fire/Southbound)

10 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Even for the most ardent Giant Sand/Howe Gelb fans this “new” album comes with an odd provenance. The original Valley of Rain album was the band's impromptu debut recording in LA released back in '85, in 2010 there was a 25thanniversary reissue (of that little heard debut), in 2015 there was Beyond the Valley of Rain (which reissued the album on vinyl with another record of live... > Read more

Curse of a Thousand Chains

The Beths: Future Me Hates Me (Carpark)

7 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

Let's be very clear here: This local four-piece doesn't reinvent the wheel. But Elsewhere is of the unshakable opinion that bristling power-pop doesn't require any kind of overhaul, just that it be done loudly and with enthusiasm. So when the Beths -- who play the soon-come Others Way Festival in Auckland, see below -- hit a midpoint between Nirvana, the pure pop of the Courtneys and/or... > Read more

You Wouldn't Like Me

Cowboy Junkies: All That Reckoning (Proper/Southbound)

6 Aug 2018  |  1 min read  |  2

When Canada's Cowboy Junkies arrived in the late Eighties with their quiet and contained Trinity Sessions album – recorded in hushed tones in a church -- the landscape of music was very noisy: hard metal, gangsta, stadium rock acts . . . Cowboy Junkies' subtle blend of moody folk, alt.Americana, respect for early Elvis and a whisper of Velvet Underground seemed to create a fresh... > Read more

Missing Children

Lionsden: Songbird (usual digital outlets)

4 Aug 2018  |  <1 min read

Perhaps this is more of a public service announcement for Elsewhere readers because this album by the gifted Korean musician/composer doesn't exactly shake our tree, other than admiration for the technical and arranging skills he brings to his meltdown of guitar pyrotechnics and electronica. Rhy Dongju grew up in a classical household, was schooled in Western classical and traditional... > Read more


Ha the Unclear: Invisible Lines (Woollen/usual outlets)

3 Aug 2018  |  1 min read

It has been some years since Dunedin's Ha the Unclear (the band helmed by Michael Cathro, who was interviewed at Elsewhere) first broke into our consciousness with the terrific, quirky, funny and very astute album Bacterium, Look At Your Motor Go. There was more than just wit at work, also an acute understanding of many aspects of pop history which were distilled into tight and memorable... > Read more

Supermarket Queues (Together)