Something Elsewhere

Short stories, satires, thinking-out-loud stuff and nonsense for your enjoyment, amusement . . . or otherwise. Just utterly Elsewhere.

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

SOUND THINKING #5: The podcast for music people

16 Feb 2024  |  <1 min read

The fifth episode of the music podcast in which Marty Duda of 13th Floor hosts some reviewers who discuss new albums. This week Andra Jenkins, Chris Warne, Veronika Bell and I review four new albums by Idles, the Transits, Brittany Howard and Chelsea Wolfe and share thoughts on Graham Nash, Pearl Jam and more… Good informed comment.  Here it is. > Read more

SOUND THINKING #4: The podcast for music people

10 Feb 2024  |  <1 min read

The fourth episode of the podcast in which Marty Duda of 13th Floor hosts some reviewers who discuss new albums. This week Marty, Jeff Neems, Veronika Bell and Andra Jenkin review albums by Tinsley Ellis, Pony Baby, Mean Jeans and Matt Joe Gow. Good informed comment.  Here it is. > Read more

SOUND THINKING #3: The podcast for music people

3 Feb 2024  |  <1 min read

The third episode of the podcast in which Marty Duda of 13th Floor hosts some reviewers who discuss new albums. This week Marty, Jeff Neems, Veronika Bell and Oxford Lamoureaux review albums by Green Day, J Mascis and local artists the Boondocks and Rosina and the Weavers. Good informed comment.  Here it is. .  For previous episodes of Sound Thinking album reviews... > Read more

SOUND THINKING #2: The podcast for music people

29 Jan 2024  |  <1 min read

The second episode of the podcast in which Marty Duda of 13th Floor hosts some reviewers who discuss new albums. This week Marty, Andra Jenkin, Veronika Bell and I review albums by The Smile, New Model Army, Admiral Drowsy and Sarah Jarosz (not necessarily in that order, check out who does what and what they think here). For other episodes of Sound Thinking album reviews go here > Read more

SOUND THINKING #1: The podcast for music people

21 Jan 2024  |  1 min read

Late in 2023 a few articles appeared on the internet bemoaning the lack of music journalism in New Zealand. People looked back to the old days of Rip It Up, the Auckland Star and so on. The distant past in fact, and the world – the music world especially – had changed irrevocably. Just as musicians live in the online world of streaming and downloads, so does music... > Read more

THE BEATLES' CHRISTMAS RECORDS: They wanna wish you a merry crimble and a gear new year

12 Dec 2023  |  6 min read

Among the many remarkable things about the Beatles' short but crowded career in the global eye was that despite touring, recording, making films, doing interviews, filming clips of songs for broadcast (the precursors of video clips) and so much more, they managed to keep going in to the BBC studios to record radio shows. They first recorded for the Beeb before they had a record contract... > Read more

ART ON THEIR SLEEVES, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2023): Album design in the 2020s

22 Nov 2023  |  1 min read

The resurgence of vinyl albums – which outsold CDs in 2021 – has meant local artists are now seeing that having their music on record can be as important as their social media profile. The record is an artefact in a way that CDs could never be: the art in a jewel case too small to have impact, liner notes or lyrics rendered microscopic. And lets not get started on the meagre... > Read more

THE JB HI-FI GUIDE TO ESSENTIAL VINYL, VOL 4 (2023): Another 100+ albums to swipe that card for

13 Nov 2023  |  2 min read  |  1

THE EDITOR SAYS . . .  “Welcome back to black”. Again. Those who've followed the progress of the JB Hi-Fi Guide to Essential Vinyl will know this is the fourth such volume. It has become an annual affair because every week sees more and more reissues and new releases on record, and many local artists now see a vinyl release to be as essential as their social media... > Read more

BENJAMIN JAMES OF HERB'S MOBILE RECORD STORE, INTERVIEWED (2023): Has vinyl, will travel

10 Nov 2023  |  3 min read

Food trucks are common enough, but Benjamin James (“Yeah, Benjamin, everyone's a 'Ben', right?”) has a more colourful, diverse and musical version: Herb's Mobile Record Store. And it's probably coming to a town near you. Based in Wellington but going on the road in his multicoloured truck, he is bringing around 1700 records north through Whanganui, New Plymouth, Hamilton and... > Read more

THE CULTURE AND KILLING OF NATIVE AMERICANS (2023): Songs and stories of tragedy, resilience and murder

30 Oct 2023  |  5 min read

No matter what critics and commentators make of Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon – true crime drama, exploitation and murder of Native American Osage people, white saviour story, the rise of the FBI or just another Marty gangster flick with Robert De Niro as the capo talking to Leonardo DiCaprio about family and loyalty – everyone agrees on one thing. That the New... > Read more

BERNIE GRIFFEN, REMEMBERED AND RESPECTED (2023): Coal into diamond

2 Sep 2023  |  3 min read

I didn't know Bernie Griffen all that well, enough to say hello and chat with on occasion. It wasn't until his recent death I remembered how far back we went, right back to his period managing Global Routes Music about 30 years ago. I'd written about the albums he distributed and his own Gunslinger Ball concerts. I also reviewed his albums, the few that there were and interviewed... > Read more

READ ALL ABOUT IT? (2023): Unless someone says you shouldn't?

14 Jun 2023  |  4 min read  |  1

A couple of weeks ago I did something I hadn't done previously. There was an interesting little stack of books on the bedside table and, it being the time of Readers and Writers Festival (none of the books I was reading were part of it), I took a photo of them. I posted it on Facebook and said something to the effect that while there were a lot of great books around right now these ones... > Read more

AUDIOCULTURE AT 10 (2023): Have your say on New Zealand's classic album

1 May 2023  |  1 min read

Has it really been 10 years since AudioCulture: The Noisy Library of New Zealand Music was launched? It seems like yesterday . . . but equally the essential AudioCulture seems like it has always been here. As a resource or simply a place to get the stories behind the music, to be informed about what you didn't know, or have breadth given to what you did, this has been the site to go to.... > Read more

TEACHING TAYLOR SWIFT (2023): This bird is flying

19 Mar 2023  |  4 min read

No sooner was it announced that prestigious Stanford University in California was offering a 10 week course on Taylor Swift's song All Too Well that the internet lit up with condemnation, contempt and anger. There were the usual bores on Facebook who thought it witty to say “Taylor who?” or “Never heard of her”. But others bemoaned declining standards in academia... > Read more

THE TAITE MUSIC AWARDS (2023): It's the time again . . .

3 Mar 2023  |  2 min read

One of the most presigious events on the local music calendar is the annual Taite Music Prize which recognises an exceptional album and is judged on musical merit not sales. The awards have expanded to include Best Independent Debut Award, another for outstanding music journalism and a classic independently released album from our past. There is also an award for someone who has... > Read more

THE WORLD OF DEEP AND SHALLOW FAKES IN MUSIC (2020): From Milli to Mylie

15 Jan 2023  |  <1 min read

In late 2020 -- on the 30th anniversary of it being revealed that Milli Vanilli didn't sing their own songs -- I was interviewed on Radio NZ about fake musicians, lip-synching, classical and pop music frauds and so much more. You can't take these "artists" seriously and as you may hear, most of it I didn't. I even dragged in sommeliers who couldn't spot the watering of wine,... > Read more

ANOTHER 10 ODD UNPLAYED ALBUMS IN THE COLLECTION (2016): Make them stop!

12 Dec 2022  |  10 min read  |  3

In a previous column I wrote with some embarrassment about 10 odd unplayed albums which had sat on my shelves for many, many years. Decades in some instances. And many of them never even getting close to being played. They were my adopted but unloved children.  Some had arrived in my halfway house between pressing and trashing on the strength of their weird cover ( I have... > Read more

THE NORTHMAN WHO WENT NORTHER: Into the ice with Arctic explorers

12 Dec 2022  |  5 min read

Exploration was different in the old days. Consider the case of the Arctic adventurer Sir John Franklin who lead an 1845 expedition of 129 men. When they set off 59-year old Franklin – who weighed 15 stone and was just 5ft 6in – took with him 1700 books, a hand organ, fine china and expensive cutlery . . . and his pet monkey. They were never heard of again. It... > Read more

THE JB HI-FI GUIDE TO ESSENTIAL VINYL, VOLUME 3 (2022): And another 101, and more, records in any serious collection

28 Nov 2022  |  1 min read

Yes, we've been down this path twice before with our first volume here and second here. But increasingly new albums are appearing on vinyl and back-catalogue is being reissued on lovely shiny records. So once more there was no problem finding 101 (and more) records to expand your mind and music collection. Again I thank the fine people at JB Hi-Fi for trusting me with this, and also... > Read more

THE JB HI-FI GUIDE TO ESSENTIAL VINYL, VOLUME 2 (2021): Another 101, and more, records in any serious collection

27 Nov 2022  |  7 min read  |  1

This time last year -- which seems a very long time ago now -- JB Hi-Fi published The JB Hi-Fi Guide to Essential VInyl Volume 1 which they commissioned me to write. There were 101 main entries of essential albums to have on record, but with suggestions of where to go after that, and also some essay pieces picking up box sets and such. So a great deal of vinyl suggestions by any... > Read more