Music at Elsewhere

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ONE WE MISSED: Wallis Bird: Woman (AntiFragile/digital outlets)

21 Oct 2019  |  <1 min read

We didn't so much miss Irish singer-songwriter Wallis Bird as get to her too early, back in March when she was touring in New Zealand and she answered some questions for us. At that time however this album – her sixth studio outing – was six months off. Bird is a serious artist who don't flinch from the big issues confronting these troubling times: the opener As... > Read more

Matthew Bannister: Rubber Solo (Powertool Records)

21 Oct 2019  |  2 min read

Now this is a pleasant and welcome return by Matthew Bannister (Sneaky Feelings, Dribbling Darts of Love, Changing Same and more). Six years ago under the name One Man Bannister he revisited and reconstructed the Beatles' Revolver album in its entirety in what might have been seen as foolhardy and overly ambitious. But it worked because although he was reverential to the songs, that... > Read more

Run for Your Life

Toiling Midgets: Sea of Tranquility (Green Monkey/digital outlets)

14 Oct 2019  |  1 min read

It has been about 15 years since we sat on the back deck of the Seattle home of musician Jeff Kelly and his artist wife Susanne. But we've never forgotten their hospitality . . . and the regular albums by Kelly and/or his band Green Pajamas (new or reissues) from the local label Green Monkey have just kept arriving. Green Monkey is the project of Tom Dyer and we are... > Read more

Beth Hart: War in My Mind (Provogue/digital outlets)

12 Oct 2019  |  1 min read

 Let it be said clearly: the 2015 Powerstation concert by American soul-blues singer Beth Hart was one of the most enjoyable, gripping, cathartic, vocally impressive and sometimes very funny and heartfelt shows that Elsewhere has seen in the past five years. Hart – coming off the back of her exceptional and personal Better Than Home album – sang with the raw... > Read more

Kim Gordon: No Home Record (Matador/digital outlets)

12 Oct 2019  |  1 min read

Points go on the board immediately for Kim Gordon with this debut under her own name after the collapse of Sonic Youth. This starts with a broody, discordant clash of sonics and electro-crunch on Sketch Artist as she menaces close to the mic for an unsettling, industrial mood-setter beamed in from Eraserhead or some collapsing, future technology. When she follows that with what sounds... > Read more

Air BnB

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some international releases

9 Oct 2019  |  3 min read

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks up New Zealand artists and Yasmin does with EPs. Comments will be brief. .    Refuge: Haven to Heavy Soul Anyone looking for a fix of classic Seventies-framed rock... > Read more

Mousey: Lemon Law (digital outlets)

7 Oct 2019  |  1 min read

This assured debut by the young New Zealand singer-songwriter Mousey – Sarena Close to her family – from Christchurch comes straight out of the indie-pop genre. But it also manages to deliver up some serious handclap jangle-pop (With No You with a guitar solo, the bright shine of Extreme Highs which was on the longlist of finalists for the recent APRA Silver Scroll), some sultry... > Read more

Liam Gallagher: Why Me? Why Not. (Universal)

27 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

If older bickering Oasis brother Noel has sometimes seemed to want to be Paul Weller, bickering Liam initially seemed very happy to carry the torch of his Lennon/Rotten vocals into a continuum of Oasis in his first steps with his band Beady Eye. If that outfit's unpersuasive but moderately enjoyable output seemed just a little too steeped in his recent past, his solo outing on As You... > Read more

Danny McCrum: Hustle Bustle (digital outlets/

27 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

Over three previous albums since 2007, Auckland singer-songwriter and guitarist Danny McCrum has created an impressively well-crafted body of sharp pop-rock . . . which, as we are a bit tired of pointing out, has largely gone past most people. That despite having supported the likes of Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck among others, and getting a few tracks on radio.  If you care for a... > Read more


Aly Cook: Caught in the Middle (SBD, Southbound/digital outlets)

27 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

Once again the gifted and independent singer-songwriter Aly Cook has crowd-funded herself into a new album – this her third – which charts a confident course through polished country, earthy Celtic-influenced melodies (The Garden Swing), rootsy acoustic ballads, anthemic feminist affirmation (We Hold Up Half the Sky), poetic stories of heartland people and lives . . . ... > Read more

Brittany Howard: Jaime (Columbia)

26 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

Among the many remarkable songs by Alabama Shakes, the band fronted by Brittany Howard, was Don't Wanna Fight on their 2015 second album Sound and Color. In the song she repeats the line “don't wanna fight no more” and it changes meaning, from anger and confrontation to hurt and despair and a woman breaking down defeated by it all. Howard has an extraordinary and expressive... > Read more

Giant Sand: Recounting the Ballads of The Thin Line Men (Fire/Southbound)

25 Sep 2019  |  <1 min read

Many artists talk about how they'd like to revisit and re-record parts of their catalogue, but few have done it as assiduously as Howe Gelb, the mainman of Giant Sand. In the past decade he has gone back and re-hit, revisited and sometimes reinvented albums from their early catalogue. For this one he goes back to their '86 album Ballad of Thin Line Man where the songs owed a bit to... > Read more

Body of Water (2019)

David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights: Bobbie's a girl (Merge/digital outlets)

23 Sep 2019  |  2 min read

Earlier this year I had a very knowledgable young American student in a couple of my music classes. He knew the Velvet Underground and minimalists, a lot of the Band and Bob Dylan but also contemporary pop and r'n'b. He was also familiar with Flying Nun acts, notably the Chills and the Clean. When I set him on the path of a deeper exploration of the Clean he came back amazed, he never... > Read more


Jay Som: Anak Ko (Polyvinyl/Rhythmethod/digital outlets)

23 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

A glance at the photos of some musicians in the gatefold sleeve of the vinyl edition of this third album by Jay Som alerts you to the idea that “she may not be from around here”. At a guess you'd say she was from the Philippines and her actual name being Melina Duterte would confirm that. In fact she is of a Filipino family but born in California and parlays... > Read more

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Straitjacket Fits: Melt (Flying Nun, vinyl and CD)

23 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

Wrapped in a striking cover (by the group's drummer/artist John Collie at a guess, my original copy has no notes), Melt was Straitjacket Fits' second album and the last with Andrew Brough who contributed the terrific, dreamy pop of the melodic Down in Splendour. Record company people and fans at the time rightly thought that could have been their breakthrough single in the US. It was... > Read more

Sulfate: Sulfate (Prison Tapes/digital outlets)

22 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

Sulfate is keyboard player Peter Ruddell of Auckland's famous “guitarless guitar band” Wax Chattels, a trio which delivers a sometimes melodic and often exciting noise live – and although that wasn't quite captured on their self-titled 2018 album it certainly pushed the envelope and was rightly shortlisted for the Taite Music Prize this year. If Wax Chattels can be loud,... > Read more

Paolo Russo: Imaginary Soundtrack (Odradek)

21 Sep 2019  |  <1 min read

In a world awash with ambient music styled for as-yet-unmade movies, atmospherically evocative and cinematic sounds not to mention bona fide film scores, the title here seems a bit unimaginative if not cliched. However this classically trained Italian composer, pianist and multi-instrumentalist (bandoneon, recorders, contrabassoon) has something larger but more specific in mind... > Read more

Volapyk/Mumbo Jumbo

Efterklang: Altid Sammen (4AD/Rhythmethod/digital outlets)

21 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

As with so many Scandinavian art music/rock bands, the Danes behind Efterklang bring some considerable influences from classical music (contemporary and traditional) to what they do. So baroque-pop and chamber music inclinations sit alongside intimate ambience, the broad scope of soundtracks, a symphonic grandeur and work with choirs or orchestral instruments (if not the... > Read more


Angie McMahon: Salt (AWAL)

18 Sep 2019  |  1 min read

This album-length debut (11 songs over two sides of vinyl) pulls together a few of this powerful, mature and vocally gripping twentysomething Melburnian's previous singles. But as Angie McMahon doesn't seem to have damaged our charts with any of them we can just take this as a complete and discrete work – and frankly her singles sound more like strong,... > Read more

Oh Sees: Face Stabber (Castle Face/digital outlets)

16 Sep 2019  |  <1 min read

You have to be dedicated or aurally nimble to keep up with California's Oh Sees who have explored post-punk, garageband rock, psychedelics, prog, jazz-rock, art noise and so much more across more than 20 albums (many under variants of their Thee Oh Sees imprimatur) since that late Nineties. And done it through a merry-go-round of members with singer-guitarist John Dwyer as the sole constant... > Read more