Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Songhoy Blues: Optimisme (Transgressive/digital outlets)

23 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

When we first encountered this four-piece from Mali in 2015 with their debut album Music in Exile we were impressed. So much so that it ended up in our Best of the Year picks. We heard but didn't review their follow-up Resistance – which had an appearance by Iggy Pop – but one of our number chose that in the reader's best of for 2017. Neither album perhaps prepares you for the... > Read more

Joni Mitchell: Archives Vol.1: The Early Years. 1963-1967 (Universal/digital outlets)

21 Nov 2020  |  3 min read

A decade ago in a rare interview, Joni Mitchell railed against Bob Dylan saying he was inauthentic, a plagiarist and “his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception”. Three years later when accusing the interviewer of misconstruing her words – they seemed pretty clear – she admitted liking some of Dylan's songs, but “musically he’s not... > Read more

Noah Aire: Ekundayo (digital outlets)

19 Nov 2020  |  <1 min read

Now this is a little different, but also a little bit as you might expect. Noah Aire is Nigerian singer/songwriter and DJ . . . and this is where Elsewhere's information runs out. You can of course check him out on the usual online places but let's throw the spotlight on this new eight-song, danceable collection which brings together African percussion in crisscross... > Read more

Faten Kanaan: A Mythology of Circles (Fire/Southbound)

16 Nov 2020  |  <1 min read

Locating herself somewhere between a mystical and mildly depressed Mike Oldfield, Popol Vuh's soundtracks for Werner Herzog and a more chipper Johann Johannsson, the electronica sound artist Faten Kanaan from New York continues her post-Eno ambient-cum-internal soundtrack releases with this journey where acoustic instruments played live co-exist with electronics, choral samples (on the two... > Read more

AC/DC: PWR UP (Sony, digital outlets)

16 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

Okay, let's get the old joke out of the way first: How can you tell one AC/DC album from another? Answer: You can't. Not true of course, but – like Status Quo and the Ramones – there is a patented AC/DC sound and if you expect that on this, their 17thstudio album, they were going to announce a new direction then you'd be fooling yourself. So no, there's no acoustic... > Read more

The Bats: Foothills (Flying Nun/digital outlets)

15 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

This is a very welcome album from the Bats, one of this country's longest-running and most consistent bands. While many hold affection for their earliest and formative albums on Flying Nun like Daddy's Highway ('87) and The Law of Things ('90), for this writer's money their three most recent albums The Guilty Office ('08), Free All the Monsters ('11, in our best of the year list) and the... > Read more

Superturtle: Wait For It (Sarang Bang/digital outlets)

13 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

There's always something appealingly quirky and almost quaint about Auckland's Superturtle helmed by Darren McShane. As with their previous albums, Wait For It comes on vinyl with a striking front cover and a back cover layout like an album from the Sixties. (There is the download option, see below.) It makes for a classy-looking product, but its what's in the grooves which have always... > Read more

Elvis Costello: Hey Clockface (Concord/digital outlets)

12 Nov 2020  |  1 min read  |  1

So how does Elvis Costello, now umpteen albums into his career – which has embraced phlegmatic New Wave post-punk, country music, folk-rock, work with the Brodsky Quartet, Allen Toussaint and Burt Bacharach, the Wise Up Ghost revisions with the Roots and more – keep himself, and just as importantly us, interested? By opening this 31ststudio album with a mournful Middle Eastern... > Read more

Wax Chattels: Clot (Flying Nun)

8 Nov 2020  |  <1 min read

Can you be a fan of a band you've only ever seen twice, and there had been a gap of maybe more than a year between the encounters? The furious but focused energy and sonic intensity here from just vocals,bass (Amanda Cheng), keyboard (Peter Ruddell) and a stripped-down drum kit (Tom Leggett) confirms Wax Chattels credentials as one of this country's most interesting and important... > Read more

Oneohtrix Point Never: Magic Oneohtrix Point Never (Warp/Border)

7 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

New York-based producer/musician Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never) uses sounds as a collage artist might put together postcards, newspaper strips, found objects and snapshots. His musical breadth over his previous 10 albums has run from lush orchestrated work to blip'n'glitch electronica, weaves of evocative soundtracks, soundbites of voices and so much... > Read more

Ian Morris: a and b the c of d

6 Nov 2020  |  3 min read

Despite lockdown limbo when one day was much like another, time steadily implodes as months, years and decades telescope in the memory. Last month, had he not been murdered, John Lennon would have been 80. In December he'll have been dead for as long as he was alive. And it has been a decade since the much respected, talented Ian Morris – best known as one of Th'Dudes, in Dave... > Read more

Larry's Rebels: The Complete Singles A's and B's (Frenzy)

5 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

Larry's Rebels – being inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame this year – were only around for five years in the Sixties (Larry Morris into a solo career, the band enjoying a hit My Son John under their own name before breaking up) but they released a fine album, A Study in Black. They were however a cracking singles band and although Frenzy's Grant Gillanders... > Read more

Brave Caitlin Smith's Imaginary Band: You Have Reached Your Destination (caitlinsmith.com)

4 Nov 2020  |  2 min read

Here's an album which has had a considerable gestation period: about 13 years since Auckland singer, songwriter, vocal coach, columnist and poet was given a Creative NZ grant for a follow-up to her last original collection Aurere in 2004. To be fair, there have been strange and difficult times for Smith since sessions for this began a decade ago. There was voice-loss and a vocal cord... > Read more

Hello Sailor: The Album (Holiday/digital outlets)

2 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

Available now on vinyl for the first time, this was the re-formed Hello Sailor in '94 after the glory (and inglorious) days of the Seventies. Hello Sailor was here reduced to the core songwriting trio of Harry Lyon, Graham Brazier and Dave McArtney – all of whom had enjoyed solo careers in the Eighties – for this reunion album where they were supported by a cast which included... > Read more

Bruce Springsteen, Letter to You (Sony/digital outlets)

2 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

From the downbeat opening ballad through the kick-drum rockers to the final piano note of chord of I'll See You in My Dreams, Letter to You – The Boss back with the E Street Band – is the album Bruce Springsteen will embrace for its familiarity. Springsteen's Western Stars of last year was an excellent album which he populated with characters who might have been the... > Read more

RECOMMENDED RECORD: Reb Fountain: Reb Fountain (Flying Nun/digital outlets)

29 Oct 2020  |  1 min read  |  1

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this one . . . .  Anyone who has paid attention to the remarkable career of Reb Fountain would not be surprised by this album which isn't – as some seem to be reading it – a major departure for her. The opening lines on the first song Hawks and Doves (which fades in,... > Read more

Don't You Know Who I Am

RECOMMENDED RECORD: The Phoenix Foundation: Friend Ship (Universal/digital outlets)

19 Oct 2020  |  2 min read

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this one . . . .   “Five years have past; five summers with the length of five long winters! And again I hear” . . . the beguiling and welcome sound of Phoenix Foundation with their soft murmur. In the five years since GUYD (Give Up Your Dreams), the various members of this... > Read more

Various Artists: The Land of Sensations and Delights (White Whale/Southbound)

19 Oct 2020  |  2 min read

Although some people didn't get it, the Turtles hit Elenore in '68 was pisstake. Pushed by their record company to replicate the success of Happy Together, the band simply rewrote it with inane lyrics like “Elenore, gee, I think you're swell, you really do me well. You're my pride and joy, et cetera . . .”. It appeared on their album The Turtles Present the Battle of the... > Read more

Josephine Foster: No Harm Done (Fire/digital outlets)

19 Oct 2020  |  1 min read

To paraphrase the old joke about Yoko Ono: “Josephine Foster has a voice that comes once in a lifetime. Unfortunately it came in ours.” Now that is cruel and unfair, but the fact is American singer-songwriter Foster's wobbly and warbling voice – which we have written about previously – is going to be a bridge too far for most. The old-time country settings... > Read more

Neon Quaver: Human Time Ocean Spirit (neonquaver)

18 Oct 2020  |  2 min read

In the Eighties, the Cotton Cub in Auckland run by the late Pat Shaw – usually at the now long-gone Mandalay in Newmarket – was a place for unexpected jazz concerts. Shaw would bring through old bluesmen like Sammy Price and Alton Purnell, the jazz-fusion Sanguma from Papua New Guinea, Ellis Marsalis from New Orleans (father to Wynton and Branford) and many more. Lots of local... > Read more