Monday, September 22, 2014

5 years of LA label Friends of Friends

"For five years, Friends of Friends has been at the forefront of Los Angeles' independent music culture, propagating a rich catalogue of innovative releases from across the electronic music spectrum.

This year, FoF is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a massive compilation featuring classic songs from the likes of Shlohmo, Salva, LOL Boys and Tomas Barfod alongside B-sides, rarities, remixes and brand new tracks from the extended Friends of Friends family. Disparate sounds from Rome Fortune, Shigeto and Nicolas Jaar find a home on 5oFoF: Five Years of Friends of Friends, drawing together the label's eclectic past with its exciting, genre-melding future." 

Out November 4, 2014. Pre-order it now and you get 19 tracks now, plus the complete album the moment it's released.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ring The Alarm playlist, Sept 20

Herbs -French letter dub
Linton Kwesi Johnosn - Victorious dub
Koliphones - Voyage into the sun
Lee Fields - Just can't win - Bacao rhythm and steel band remix
Freddie Joachim - Fountains
Souls of mischief and Adrian Younge - Meeting of the minds inst
The Excelsiors - Lookout weekend
Fat Freddys Drop - Tropo
Curtis Mayfield - Move on up
Unlimited touch - I hear music in the street
James Brown - Get up, get into it, get involved
Lonnie Smith - I can't stand it
Build an ark - Door of the cosmos, Take 1
Prince - Sign of the times
Jody Watley- Friends - extended version
Jimmy Bo Horne - Spank
Stevie Wonder - As
Q-Tip - Work it out - Grant Phabao remix
Specials - It's all up to you
The Clash - Rudie can't fail
Hallelujah Picassos - Salvadore - Dub Asylum vs Pains people remix
Jose James - Blackmagic - Joy Orbison remix
Four Tet - Serious as your life
Souleance - La romance

Tony Allen beat tape....

Some cool beats here, cut from the work of afrobeat drummer Tony Allen.... from Comet Records, who have dropped a number of Tony Allen albums...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Silver Scroll finalists announced

Tami Neilson

After announcing the long list of 20 finalists, APRA has revealed the shortlist for this year's Silver Scroll Award earlier today. The winner will be announced on October 30 at Wellington's TSB Arena.

I'm surprised and disappointed that Connan Mockasin didn't make it thru for his fantastic song I'm The Man Who Will Find You, easily one of the sharpest songs to come out of Aotearoa in a long time. And no hiphop or R&B in the final 5 either.

Joel Little is up for the 2nd year in a row, after winning as co-writer with Lorde for Royals last year.

From APRA's press release: "The top five songs in line for the 2014 APRA Silver Scroll Award are:

Back on My Feet, written and performed by Louis Baker.

Bob Lennon John Dylan, written by Samuel Scott, Lukasz Buda, Thomas Wedde, William Ricketts, Thomas Callwood and Christopher O'Connor, performed by The Phoenix Foundation

Bridges, written by Georgia Nott, Joel Little and Caleb Nott, performed by Broods 

Me At The Museum, You In The Wintergardens
, written by Hollie Fullbrook, Alexander Freer and Cass Mitchell, performed by Tiny Ruins

Walk (Back To Your Arms), written by Tami Neilson and Joshua Neilson, performed by Tami Neilson.

 The winner of the award is decided by the votes of the 10,000 strong APRA membership, comprised of songwriters and composers.

Also announced today are the finalists for the APRA Maioha and SOUNZ Contemporary awards, as well as the finalists for two new awards – APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film and the APRA Best Original Music in a Series.

The finalists for the 2014 APRA Maioha Award, celebrating excellence in Māori Music are:
Kati Ra, written by Maraea Davies, performed by RJ Kerswell
Kei Muri Pea, written by Kororia Taumaunu, Amomai Pihama and Matt Sadgrove, performed by Manea
Tiki Tapu, written and performed by Rob Ruha.

The finalists for the 2014 SOUNZ Contemporary Award, celebrating excellence in contemporary composition are:
Aquae Sulis - for orchestra of winds, strings, harp and percussion, composed by Leonie Holmes
Inner Phases - for Chinese instrument ensemble and string quartet, composed by Michael Norris
Macropsia - for orchestra, composed by Celeste Oram.

The finalists for the 2014 APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film Award are:
Beyond the Edge, written / composed by David Long
Field Punishment No. 1, written / composed by Victoria Kelly
Romeo & Juliet: A Love Song, written / composed by Michael O’Neill and Peter Van Der Fluit.

The finalists for the 2014 APRA Best Original Music in a Series Award are:
Girl Vs. Boy (Season 2), written / composed by Tom Mcleod
Harry, written / composed by Karl Steven
Wiki the Kiwi (Season 1), written by Andrew McDowall.

All awards will be presented at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards, along with the Most Performed Works awards and a very special induction into the NZ Music Hall of Fame.

The Silver Scroll Awards will be streamed live on NZ Herald Online." 

Chali 2Na & The House Of Vibe, live in AKLD this Friday

Chali 2na (of Jurassic 5 fame) and his band The House Of Vibe  are playing live in Auckland at the Powerstation this Friday night (Dunedin show tonight at Union Hall, and Wellington show on Saturday at James Cabaret). He was originally scheduled to play some solo shows here in April, but those shows were cancelled.

His band has some pretty cool cats backing him - on drums, Phillip 'Fish' Fisher one of the founding members of South Central LA's Fishbone;  and Anthony 'Brew' Brewster, a founding member of another great LA band The Untouchables, and keys player on Talib Kweli, and De la Soul live shows.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Freddie Joachim - Leaves

New jazzy, laidback instrumental hiphop beats from Calfornia's Freddie Joachim, producer, musician, label co-owner. Name your price, well worth a  listen.

Monday, September 15, 2014

U2 hit 500 million iTunes users with free album - Ebono virus spreads

I watched numerous friends rant at length on social media last week  about discovering an unwanted U2 album Songs Of Innocence on their Apple devices, following the latest product announcement from Cupertino. It's a concept album about the band’s Dublin childhoods. Excited yet?

Giving away your album for free is very different from forcibly installing it on people's devices without their permission. That's generally called malware, or a virus.

Apple boss Tim Cook showed off some bigger size iPhones (which, while mimicking existing Android phones in size, have incredibly good camera/.video specs). He also came out with an Apple Watch, which The New Yorker's Sasha Frere Jones described as looking "like a Happy Meal prize."

Jones listened to the album (so you don't have to, nice one), and I'm glad he did, cos a U2 album that starts with a song called “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” is never gonna be good.

Jones describes it as  "One of those yo-ho-ho nautical camp sing-alongs that Coldplay loves to squeeze out. Not as good as “Pretty Hurts.” Also: don’t talk about Joey Ramone." Yep, that. He finishes his track by track review by saying "Don’t shove your music into people’s homes."

Bob Lefsetz detailed "How U2 Blew It", noting that "... How could the band be so stupid as to believe anybody would actually play their music, especially the 500 million it was pushed to. Where’s the afterplan? Nonexistent ...

"... We live in a pull economy. Nothing pisses off the audience more than pushing something they don’t want and didn’t ask for to their devices. Even if you don’t download the album, it’s sitting there in your purchases, pissing you off." 

Lefsetz compared it to the impact of Beyonce's latest album, saying that "at least Beyonce had the videos, somewhere to click to." 

Digital Music News noted Billboard saying it would not recognise the U2 album on its charts, as they do not chart albums given away for free. 

DMN also reported that "less than 48 hours after the surprise [release], the publication claimed that the album has only been accessed ‘about 200,000 times’ by iCloud account holders, or 0.04% overall."

This story hints that  Beats Electronics' Jimmy Iovine may have been behind the deal for the free U2 album. U2's deal with Apple includes a $100m marketing campaign. Reckon they are worth it? Possibly, if the follow up album Songs Of Experience is a smash hit. No pressure, guys.

Note: saw a friend mention the Ebono virus on FB, she'd heard it from someone at a record company. "The 'ebono' virus is to blame for the global outbreak of a U2 album in iTunes."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ring The Alarm playlist, September 13

DNA feat Suzanne Vega - Tom's diner
Scribble - Scratch marchin'
The Excelsiors - Cold steel inst
Visioneers - Runnin'
Mantronix - Do you like Mantronix?
Kraftwerk - Telephone call  - Francois K remix
Ballistic Bros - Peckings
Dub connection - Knokoder
Joe Gibbs & African Dub - Outrage
Baba Brooks - Watermelon man ska
Derrick Morgan - I'm the ruler
Stinky Jim - Wretched rub
Bjorn Torkse - Dub vendeors
Beat pharmacy  -Sunshine
Brassroots - Good life
Metrophonics - Latin racer
Jorge Ben - Umbabarauma
Mongo Santamaria - Sing a simple song
Chic - Strike up the band
Stevie Wonder - As
Jean Knight - Carry on
Barkays - Humpijn
Emotions - Blind alley
Staple singers - We the people
Sola Rosa - Both of us
Quincy Jones - Hummin
Bonnie Pointer - Ah shoot
Henry Mancini  - Baretta'a theme

Jaiyede Afro by Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics, out this week

Via Strut: "Asked how his band, The Heliocentrics, would approach their new collaborative album with Nigerian saxophone legend Orlando Julius, drummer Malcolm Catto said that he wanted to record the psychedelic album that Orlando had never made, echoing cult Nigerian bands like The Psychedelic Aliens and others.

The resulting album is a revelation. Brimming with thick afrobeat grooves, the incredible playing of Orlando Julius and touches of otherworldly sonic alchemy, Jaiyede Afro is one of the most exciting new afrobeat recordings we've heard in a long time.

The album is out this week, and always a limited quantity of 180 gram vinyl editions are available exclusively on the Strut store. A making-of feature including footage of both artists in the studio together can be streamed below."

Friday, September 12, 2014

RIP Cosimo Matassa, recorded New Orleans R&B

Cosimo Matassa, 1981. Photo: Times Picayune

Legendary New Orleans studio owner and recording engineer Cosimo Matassa has died, aged 88. He recorded legendary artists Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Lee Dorsey, Ernie K-Doe and dozens others. 

When he was inducted to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. the Times Picayune reported that "Matassa opened what was reportedly New Orleans’ first recording studio at 838-840 North Rampart Street in 1945 after dropping out of the chemistry program at Tulane University. He was not yet 20 years old.

His family’s J&M Music Shop, a record and appliance store, occupied the front of the building. He installed J&M Recording Studio in a back room. It measured 15 by 16 feet, with a control room that Matassa has described as being “as big as my four fingers.” The “J” and “M” referred to the initials of his father, John Matassa.

Though modest in size, J&M Recording played a major role in popular music. Several records cut there facilitated the transition of rhythm & blues to rock ‘n’ roll, including Fats Domino’s 1949 debut, “The Fat Man,” Roy Brown’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti.”

During the golden age of New Orleans rhythm & blues, J&M was ground zero for musicians, songwriters, producers and record label representatives. Its pedigree rivals that of the better-known Sun Studios in Memphis, Tenn. Essentially, Matassa provided the framework for the creation of the “New Orleans sound.”

From Times Picayune: "What a great way to make a living," he said in a 2012 interview with The Huffington Post.

"I wanted to be a just conduit of what that performance was – a performance frozen in time, if you will. So if you didn't know I was there, I did my job. . . .

"I appreciate people thinking about my work, and I always try to say that all the great musicians made me look good. And I believe that. I wasn't playing. I couldn't have done any of those records if the guys sitting in the chairs didn't do them. So first and foremost, credit to them. I will say I tried my damnedest to make them sound good."

Bullet That Breaks The Key - New EP from Hallelujah Picassos, out now!

Press release: "Following on from their insanely catchy new single Salvadore (Miles Away From You), released in July to widespread acclaim and much aroha, Hallelujah Picassos return with a brand new digital EP. Available now on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amplifier.

The four song EP features Salvadore (Miles Away From You) in its original form, plus a special beat-heavy remix of Salvadore by Dub Asylum (Peter McLennan) vs Pains People (John Pain).

Salvadore has featured extensively on the playlists of BFM, KiwiFM, Radio Active, RDU and Radio One, and appeared on the top ten charts voted by listeners of BFM, KiwiFM and RDU. It jumped from #10 to #2 on the BFM Top Ten this week!

Next up, one of their early numbers, Crack Dub (off their debut album Hateman In Love), gets reversioned by the band as Cracked Salvation, a warm, mellow, dubby number, and then we have a raucous, noisy guitar tune, called Hang All Bankers, lyrically inspired by the 2008 financial crisis, and how our politics is ruled by money. It’s a battle cry for the huddled masses. “Let karma be your hell-hound…”

Money, politics, and corruption are themes that runs thru some of the songs featured here. The EP title refers to the key to Pandora's box, and the mythology around it.

The EP was recorded and produced by Daryn Harkness, John Pain and Hallelujah Picassos at the Institute for Telepathic Research, and mastered by Angus McNaughton. Cover art image by Erin Forsyth. Released on Loopy Fruit Recordings, 2014. Cat no PCORP006

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Previously unreleased JBs, out Nov 28

Via Now-Again Records: "Previously unreleased and unheard 1970 album by James Brown’s backing band the JB’s, led by Bootsy Collins. Release date: “Black Friday,” November 28, 2014. 
Limited to 3000 pieces – VINYL ONLY. Exclusive pre-order at

LP with booklet, full annotation, liner notes by James Brown historian Alan Leeds, and never-before-published photos.

In 1970 James Brown perfectly captured a definitive moment in modern music when he called Bootsy Collins into the studio to record the tracks that would beThese Are The J.B.’s, a title given to a King Records test-press LP that was never released, and only rumored to exist.

This album is the epitome of funk music, Brown’s innovation that influenced everything that came after it, from Afro-beat to disco to hip-hop.

If there is any funk ensemble as influential as Brown’s in the post-“Cold Sweat” musical landscape, it’s the Bootsy Collins/Parliament/Funkadelic contingent. Those two streams, as Grammy-winning James Brown historian Alan Leeds details in this album’s liner notes, converged for the first time here.

This link between Brown’s funk and all that followed features Bootsy and his young band running through twelve-minute instrumental take of Marva Whitney’s “It’s My Thing,” replete with blues chord changes, alongside interpretations of the Meters, Kool and the Gang and none other than Jimi Hendrix. This is a young band’s James Brown-turned-on-his-head style of funk that they nail in a one-minute vamp that embodies the essence of the psychedelic-flavored music that would propel them into the orbit of George Clinton’s mothership.

This is the first commercial issue of this album, overseen by Now-Again’s Eothen “Egon” Alapatt alongside Leeds and Universal Music Group’s James Brown expert Harry Weinger. It was mastered specifically for vinyl by Elysian Master’s Dave Cooley, from the original two-track stereo master that James Brown and his engineer Ron Lenhoff delivered to production forty-four years ago. It’s packaged in a thick, “tip-on” Stoughton jacket, with a booklet with liner notes by Leeds and Alapatt and unpublished photographs."

Also read: When Bootsy Collins Met James Brown by Bootsy Collins at RBMA

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bastard Jazz: Hear no evil 3, incl Lord Echo and more

Couple of cool Kiwi tracks on this collection from NYC's Bastard Jazz label...

"Bastard Jazz is proud to present another volume of our sporadic "Hear No Evil" compilations featuring unreleased tracks, B-Sides, Rarities and Remixes from the label.

This time around we're offering up a killer dancefloor remix of Potatohead People's "Blossoms" by Montreal producer Nick Wisdom, Lord Echo's unreleased dub of "Digital Haircut" from his Curiosities album, the instrumental of Captain Planet's dancefloor burner "Poquito Mas", and a beautiful samba-esque remix of the Elder Statesman's "Montreux Sunrise" by Cali-cum-Rio DJ and remixer Tee Cardaci."

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Gene Dudley Group drop new 45

Via Wahwah45s, cool tune from Gene Dudley Group... "Wah Wah 45s are proud to present the brand new single from one-man horn driven funk music machine, The Gene Dudley Group.

Following on from last year’s debut long-player, and a run of gigs and festivals with his band, including touring Europe as Stones Throw artists Myron & E’s new backing band, Gene Dudley returns with a taste of things to come and his first ever vocal offering on 7-inches of wax. Those vocals come courtesy of London singer and erstwhile DJ, the wonderfully monikered Anne Frankenstein, whose contribution to Gene’s canny cover of Richard “Groove” Holmes’ classic No Trouble On The Mountain is something of a floor filler and a rather fitting release in Wah Wah 45s’ fifteenth year, as Holmes’ original was one of the label’s first ever 7-inch releases!

On the flip comes the first real flavour of Gene’s forthcoming sophomore LP, due to drop (on vinyl too!) this November. Stevie Flare is a much more up-tempo and foot friendly affair than previously outings, and has something of a tropical feel courtesy of warm highlife style guitars as well as those trademark Gene Dudley horns.

Look out for the Gene Dudley Group live band playing at a venue near you this autumn, including a special session at London’s Jazz Café on October 24th for none other than BBC 6Music’s funk & soul ambassador, Craig Charles!"

Music genome explored with Pandora's Steve Hogan

Lorde, broken down by Pandora's music genome - techno robotic...

Steve Hogan from Pandora was in Auckland to talk about Pandora's music genome and how it works. He gave a talk at AUT last night, covering how the various elements are broken down, into 25 different pointers. You can see a few of these in the above photo of Lorde, categorising her song 'No Better'.

Stop Press describe it: "Powered by a catalogue of music analysis called the Genome Project, Pandora's recommendation system feeds you songs based not on genres but rather on similarities between songs from a musicological perspective. This removes the bias given to popular songs, and makes it more likely for passive listeners to hear music that would normally fall under their radar."
Hogan said Pandora currently has 250 million registered users (and 75m unique users a month), and in NZ, they will shortly hit 250,000 users. We are the first territory outside the US to get Pandora. 

Pandora was originally a company called Savage Beast Technology - I may have misheard that as Savage Garden. Hogan noted that the big turning point for Pandora was the arrival of the iPhone in 2007. Now, 75-80 % of listening to Pandora is done on mobile devices. 

Their system has three main selectors that influence playlists - 1, content-based recommender (the music genome), 2, collective intelligence (gained from listeners), and 3, collaborative filter, for when you listen to a song and click on the 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' icons. They are currently adding 10,000 songs a month. On an average month, 95-98% of all the tracks they have on file will get played. 

Hogan talked about the acoustic sessions they've been filming with artists at their offices, called the Whiteboard Sessions. When these artists come to visit, they show them the data they have on file about the artists and the geographic info on where their fans are. 

During the Q&A I asked Hogan if they had any plans to make that data available to bands, to help them decide where to tour, for example, and he said yes, they were working on making that available. 

At last weekend's Going Global Music Summit, I heard one of the panellists, Craig Pearce (manager of the Black Seeds, Phoenix Foundation, and Lord Echo), talk about using data collected via aggregators/ streaming services - for example, say one of his bands is keen to tour America - he can show them they have no streaming of their music there, but have lots of listeners in the UK, so it makes sense to tour there, rather than America, because you already have an audience there. Data makes you smarter. 

Hogan also talked about an artist who made $50,000 from Pandora, and told them "You are feeding my family." Cool story, bro. 

More reading: Spotify CEO: “Artists Will Make a Decent Living Off Streaming In Just a Few Years” [as a mate commented to me, " sounds like a Tui billboard..." ]

Added: Pandora is currently in a court case over refusing to pay royalties on pre-1972 recordings
David Lowery: My Song Got Played On Pandora 1 Million Times and All I Got Was $16.89

Steve's final slide. Because, more cowbell...