Something Elsewhere

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AUSTRALIAN AUTOMOBILE DESIGN EXHIBIT (2015): G'day Bruce, godda new mowda?

15 May 2015  |  3 min read  |  1

Amidst the highly polished and gleamingly seductive automobile flesh in Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria right now is an oddity which draws a lot of attention. It is a battered, dust-coloured flatbed Ford ute from 1934. It was found under a peppercorn tree in nearby Gippsland in the 80s and is presented much as it was, untouched by restoration. In the company of... > Read more

Neil Finn and Jim Carter: Blue Smoke (2015)

23 Apr 2015  |  1 min read

When the recording of Blue Smoke by the Ruru Karaitiana Quintette was released in February 1949, the Second World War had only been over for around three and half years. The memories of loved ones who never returned were still fresh and painful, and in many homes -- even for decades after -- their photos were on lounge walls or the top of the sideboard. Or lining the walls of marae... > Read more

The Eastern: Cthulhu (RPR)

17 Apr 2015  |  <1 min read

Here's something we like and use it draw your attention in advance of Record Store Day tomorrow. Rough Peel in Wellington has its own label and has done vinyl of albums by the Eastern, Mantarays. Ladi6 and many others. But they also popped an interesting single -- mine is clear plastic -- with the Eastern doing a Beastwars song (the one posted) and Beastwars doing an Eastern song (State... > Read more

RECORD STORE DAY 2015: Back to black

13 Apr 2015  |  6 min read  |  1

The annual Record Store Day is an opportunity to show the love for vinyl as artists local and international issue good old fashioned records, many of them limited editions and often coming in special packaging. So now is not the time to be worried about the credit card, just let it do the work this coming Saturday, April 18. We offer here a quick rundown on what stores are doing... > Read more

THE TAITE MUSIC AWARD FINALISTS 2015: Money changes everything?

8 Apr 2015  |  13 min read

Every year since 2010 the Taite Music Prize – named for the late journalist and music aficionado Dylan Taite – goes to an artist whose album of the previous year, irrespective of commercial success, is considered outstanding for its consistent creativity. Previous winners have been: Lawrence Arabia, Chant Darling (2010); Ladi6 ‘The Liberation Of’ (2011);... > Read more

VIETNAM IN 1969: A true story

8 Apr 2015  |  <1 min read

In 1969, as an 18-year old, I went to Vietnam. Not to fight of course, but as a short-term "tourist". It was a brief event in a long life but confirmed for me even at that early age that here was a war which could not be won by traditional military means. I thought the same of various countries in the Middle East when I flew over them some decades later. A few years ago I was... > Read more

LUCIA CARBINES INTERVIEWED (2014): The girl in the bubble

19 Jan 2015  |  7 min read

When Lucia Carbines says some bodies are more flexible than others you believe her, because this affable, Christchurch-born 20-year old is the elastic proof. As “Miss A In A Bubble” – wearing a stars'n'stripes one-piece, her long hair tucked into a red bob wig – Carbines performs her balletic contortions at the Empire show in the Spiegeltent to audiences hushed... > Read more

THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC AWARDS (2014): Come and see the real thing . . .

27 Nov 2014  |  6 min read  |  1

The Star in Sydney – a block-occupying casino-cum-hotel with restaurant and bar complexes so large it needs needs no other name than that for a taxi driver – has at least half a dozen entrances. As I discovered. But to find the red carpet for the ARIAs – the Australian music awards – was easy. I just followed the screams. Last night among... > Read more

THE ROLLING STONES REVIEWED, NOV 22, 2014: It's all over now

23 Nov 2014  |  7 min read  |  4

So this is the end. The final concert on the Rolling Stones 14 on Fire tour. And there are no other tours scheduled. They won't go on the road again, and we can dismiss Keith Richards' comments like “you can never tell with this band”. Could they be bothered going through this all over again in five or more years? So this is the end. But what... > Read more

NEW ZEALAND MUSIC AWARDS 2014: You come a long way, baby

21 Nov 2014  |  5 min read

Here's something I sometimes tell the young students in my New Zealand Music Studies course at the University of Auckland: The first music awards show I went to in about 1988 was held in a small room in what is now the Langham Hotel. That room must have held maybe 60 people and my recollection was – aside from Herbs who made up quite a crew – there were... > Read more

THE ROLLING STONES, a photo book from TASCHEN (2014): Rolling out the Stones again

17 Nov 2014  |  4 min read  |  2

Wrapped in a cover from the evocative shoot on Primrose Hill in 1966 by Gerard Mankowitz -- which gave the band their Between the Buttons album cover -- this high-end, 600 page photo-history of the Rolling Stones gives you some idea of how the mighty have risen. It comes with a foreword by former US president Bill Clinton. Not bad for a band which was once denounced in the British... > Read more

Get Off Of My Cloud

BADFINGER and HARRY NILSSON: Without them, no Without You

3 Nov 2014  |  2 min read  |  6

Behind most hit songs -- perhaps even behind many songs -- there can be an interesting story. As songwriters tell us in the Famous Elsewhere Songwriting Questionnaire, very few songs dropped fully formed into an artist's lap. The story behind Harry Nilsson winning a Grammy in 1973 for Without You is interesting, but also comes with a patina of sadness. Badfinger were a British pop band... > Read more

BIEBER FEVER (2010): In defense of cheap pop

1 Oct 2014  |  3 min read

Police. Security. Screams. A singer comes to town. Because I've spent the past week immersed in a collection of essays and rants entitled Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, I'm a bit bemused but increasingly annoyed by the babble from adults about tweenie star Justin Bieber. I heard him on radio dismissed with the self-damning line from a commentator, “I'd never heard of him... > Read more

ALL APOLOGIES: The insincerities of saying sorry

1 Oct 2014  |  2 min read

An apology means nothing if you do it on Facebook or You Tube. Or Twitter or e-mail or txt. Or a talk show. An apology by an actor who cries probably doesn’t mean much. These people are actors, they are trained to fake sincerity. An apology by a politician who appears contrite probably doesn’t mean much. These people are politicians, they are trained to fake... > Read more

BACK TO BLACK (2014): 12 inch vinyl, a Sign o' The Times

29 Aug 2014  |  11 min read  |  1

At last! Although seriously serious old Beatles' fans didn't have long to wait. Just fortysomething years after the band broke up . . . but a mere five years since their albums and singles were given long overdue remastered reissue, here it is. Mono Beatles at last on vinyl record again . . . a real back to the . . . Well, in truth, not "back to the... > Read more

Only a Northern Song (mono)

THE CORNERSTONE COLLECTION (2011): The 101 building blocks of any serious CD collection

9 Jul 2014  |  3 min read  |  4

In early 2011 I was invited by JB HiFi to collate -- for a giveaway booklet through their New Zealand stores -- the 101 albums I thought which should be in any serious music collection. That was the start and end of their input, they left me alone to deliver what I considered cornerstone albums ofr a broad-based collection. They also posted the selection on-line for comment and asked... > Read more

COLIN LINWOOD INTERVIEWED (2014): Keeping the records straight

30 Jun 2014  |  11 min read  |  1

The most extraordinary thing about the extraordinary Colin Linwood is just how ordinary he is. In his early 50s, he's married with children, has worked from the time he left school, is trim and in good condition, and when he walks into the lobby bar of the Heritage Hotel in Auckland for a chat, few in the room give him a second glance. He's an ordinary man . . . and at home he has . . .... > Read more

THE WORLD COMES TO SARAWAK (2014): The Rainforest World Music Festival

27 Jun 2014  |  3 min read

It's a happily weird thing, especially at this time of year, to listen to taonga puoro master Horomona Horo evoke the sounds of New Zealand bush and its native birds . . . then walk outside into the 36 degree heat and hot breeze. Even with the ocean on its doorstep and the towering jungle of Mt Santubong at its back, the Damai region of Sarawak – about 40 minutes from the city... > Read more

Bagun Wei

RADIO RADIO: Odd podcasts from Radio New Zealand's Concert Programme

25 Jun 2014  |  <1 min read

For many years now I have been contributing a 20 minute chat with music to Radio New Zealand's Upbeat segment on the Concert Programme. My brief has been broad, so broad that I might be best described as "contributor without portfolio" because I have covered world music (not just worthy ethnographic stuff, quite a lot of pop), Indian Bollywood psychedelic music, songs from the... > Read more

THE MYSTERY AND MUSIC OF OF MARGARET (2014): A photo, a cassette and a strange tale

26 May 2014  |  4 min read  |  11

Cassette tapes don't turn up in my letterbox that often these days. In fact not for at least a decade, maybe even much longer. They tell me there's a cult audience out there who like the idea of cassettes, but there's a cult audience for most things and tapes are damnably problematic because you can never find a track again, and they break. Remember the Seventies when the side of... > Read more

sample of music by Margaret (extract only)