Monday, May 17, 2004

Headline writer cops a beauty...

"BANANAS GWYNETH NAMES HER BABY APPLE", from the Sunday Mirror
Says it all, really.

Tribute to Coxsone Dodd is an excellent site, put together by Rob Chapman, author of several extensive Studio One discographies. Have a look here.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Everyday people
Sly Stone on KSOL radio circa 1967, in real audio (8 mins) here, found this via Cocaine Blunts. Check the ad with Milt Jackson plugging malt liquor...

Christopher Porter's The Suburbs Are Killing Us MP3 blog has a cool tribute to reggae legend Coxsone Dodd, including Leroy Sibbles doing a reggae cover of Charles Wrights funk classic Express Yourself (Wrights original was also used by NWA). There's also a really sweet Charles Wright tune over at Music For Robots. Go lookee.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Cop dem acting skills...
Local lass Melanie Lynskey has landed in one of the new season comedies in the US, Two and a Half Men. Here's some fun with accents for you...

"... Lynskey's American accent on the show belies her overseas roots, which are evident in regular conversation with her. She reveals Sheen didn't realize her background until they were making the show's second episode: "He turned around and said, 'What's this, uh, voice? What are you doing?' I said, 'I'm just talking.' Then he said, 'Hmmm. Is that some kind of actor-y thing?'" read the full interview here.


Pop Life
O-Dub addresses this pressing issue ...
"One question I frequently get asked by young writers is whether or not you have to be an expert in the subjects you write about. In other words, if you want to write reviews of hip-hop albums, should you be an expert in all things hip-hop from the days of "King Tim III" up to the latest Sage Francis MP3? Or, if you're going to write about food, do you need to have a culinary degree or memorize the collected works of MFK Fisher?" Read his answer here.

MP3blogs are damn fun - have a look at this one - scroll down to the Bill Cosby tune. Its his version of Sunny, backed by Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band, wickedly funky.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Bliss.
This article appeared the Sunday Star Times, under the heading "Fortune awaits NZ Idol winner" (excerpt)...
The NZ Idol television talent quest has both finalists poised for pop stardom, but it remains to be seen whether their fame will translate into commercial success. The winner receives a guaranteed album deal with record label BMG and a management contract with Idol judge Paul Ellis.

Pop writers from Sweden, Australia, the UK and the US have already put forward songs to feature on the winner's 12-track album, to be released in June.

But music industry veteran Simon Grigg said the winning idol was unlikely to make any money from the album. Grigg, who released internationally acclaimed OMC single How Bizarre, said most artists made little money in New Zealand due to the small volume of album sales.

"To be perfectly honest, this will probably be a flash in the pan thing. The winner will have lots of fun for a while but they won't make an awful lot, if anything," Grigg said.

But the record company behind the search-for-a-star show is promising financial rewards to the winning finalist.

BMG marketing manager Jake Shand said: "For them not to make any money is not a reality. I'd be astounded if they didn't."


Now lets take a look at that last statement. Based on the True Bliss/Pop Stars model, the outcomes for Ben may look like this.
One. The songs are being written for him - so no ongoing songwriting royalties, like True Bliss.
Two. The record company will be paying for the recording, videos, and a major promotional budget. Any income Ben will get from CD sales will come after the record company have recouped all their expenses. It's unlikely Ben will get rich off it, as Simon Grigg notes, due to the scale of the local market. He aint gonna be like Scribe and go and pay cash for a brand new car.

Ultimately, NZ Idol is about creating a television spectacle, not a long-term music career - that is basically what members of True Bliss said in the tv doco on The Pop Stars phenomenon that was on tv last year.

Jake Shand, prepare to be astounded.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Guilty.
Thanks to some extensive magazine browsing at the weekend, I now know that RJD2's new album Since We Last Spoke is out May 17, and he lists 'watching the OC ' as one of his top ten favorite things, labelling it his guilty pleasure (mine too). There's a sound sample of his new album over at Def Jux (scroll down). Sounds like he's gone all indie rock on it.

And what's naughty ol Courtney Love been up to, then? Behaving like a rock star? Shocking.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Getting Rawkus
The rise and fall of hiphop record label Rawkus is covered in a fascinating article in the Village Voice (tip of the hat to O-Dub - he's got some extra questions on Rawkus over here).

Rawkus came up in the mid 90s with Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch and Company Flow - El P from the latter outfit eventually left Rawkus and started Def Jux, home to RJD2 (new album out May 18), Mr Lif, Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox, and more.

"... Rawkus Records was founded on 10 g's in savings and a hazily idealistic notion about promoting progressive music. They tried drum'n'bass, electronica, and rock. They were not taken very seriously. But they could write a business plan, and they knew how to pull strings. So they tapped their old friend James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch's kid. Pops agreed to invest in Rawkus even if it didn't have the gravitas. To get that, Brater and Myer would have to focus their vision a bit. They couldn't be all things to all genres. But they could be the only thing that mattered to you.

They got their first inkling from Company Flow. This was not true love—it was a marriage of convenience and opportunity. Orchestrated by abstract beatmaster-MC El-P, Co-Flo had little respect for Rawkus's business acumen or knowledge of hip-hop. But the Murdoch money was irresistible. Like almost every act that came to Rawkus, Co-Flo brought their own dream and asked the label to sell it: Funcrusher Plus. A few months later hordes of college geeks had an excuse for sitting sullenly in the back of the classroom: "Even when I say nothing it's a beautiful use of negative space."

Just prior to the label folding, after being bought by major label MCA (which was then swallowed by Geffen/Interscope, leading to the demise), they missed out on signing Kanye West. Bummer. If you want a local parallel, perhaps compare it to the shifting fortunes of Flying Nun, or more recently Kog Transmissions. NZ Musician did an excellent backgrounder on the Kog situation recently.

Thursday, May 06, 2004


Legendary reggae producer Coxsone Dodd dies.

"FOUR days after the City of Kingston honoured him by naming a street for his famous Studio One recording label, Jamaican music pioneer Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd died suddenly yesterday.
He apparently suffered a heart attack at his offices at 13 Studio One Boulevard, which, until last Friday's big civic ceremony in honour of Dodd, was Brentford Road. Dodd was 72.
In a statement last night, Opposition leader, Edward Seaga, a contemporary of Dodd in the music business in the 1950s and 1960s, described him as "one of the fathers of Jamaican music". He said that Dodd was "an extraordinary talent". Read more here, here and here.

What time is it?
TV2 repeated the insightful documentary Hiphop NZ on Tuesday night after the Comedy Festival Gala (did you see Benjamin Crellin doing Paul Holmes as Gollum? Brilliant). This doco originally screened last year, and with a NZ Music Month logo tacked on the front gave TV2 the appearance of giving a damn about local music, so good on em. Directed by Sima Urale (King Kapisi's sister), the final word in the show went to DJ DLT, talking about what hiphop means to him;
"Remember, hiphop is the description that a journalist had to sort of encompass a feeling, and put it into a word so that Joe Coffeetable could go there and trip with this journalist. So we gotta be very careful with how we label things.
"Hiphop is about 'what are you thinking now?' - 'Show me!', and let's see if I understand what you're trying to portray - it's life itself".


School Principal suffers loss of irony, humour bypass.
"The headmaster of Nelson College today called for a boycott of Farmers stores over "man-bashing" products advertised in their Mother's Day catalogue.
Salvi Gargiulo said he had received three letters from people disturbed by slogans such as "Boys are stupid: throw rocks at them" and "Stupid factory: where boys are made" printed on slippers and bags in the catalogue. He said it was time for people to stop finding humour by putting people down. "I think a lot of bashing goes on under the heading of humour, but it's not humorous. If you joke like that you condone it."

A consumer writes...
I've long been a fan of Wrigleys Juicyfruit chewing gum. I bought a packet at the weekend, and it now comes in a new funky, hip packaging. Gone is the distinctive logo, replaced with some 'groovy' typeface, and a note saying "now longer lasting", but it felt like the packet has got smaller.
Then yesterday, I bought an old-style packet of Juicyfruit from a gas station that still had some of the old stock, and what do you know - the old packet weighed 17g and the new, longer lasting packet is 14g - for the same price as the old packet. So this new redesigned labelling comes with a catch - you are getting ripped off. How can gum be longer lasting? That's subjective. I'm never buying Juicyfruit ever again. If you happen to know anyone who works for Wrigleys, can you find out why they are screwing their customers like this? Thank you.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Bill Cosby Talks To Kids About Drugs


From Radio RDU's The Joint show...
We struck gold last week when we checked out Fluxblog and came across a entry about the 1971 album Bill Cosby Talks To Kids About Drugs. You heard right - Bill Cosby Talks To Kids About Drugs. We happen to use a sample from the very same album for our show promo and get a lot of people asking us where we got it from - but until this point we had never bothered trying to track it down.
It's a strangely compelling album - Bill er... talks to kids about drugs (and those little kids seem to know a bit about drugs), Bill breaks into twisted freaky songs (Captain Junkie has to be heard to believed), and there are some great funky breakdowns going on. So now you know...

DJ Danger mouse mashed up the Beatles with Jay Z, now someone has done Jay Z meets Pavement! It's called The Slack Album.
"London Booted is essential listening, a bootleg mash-up of the entire Clash London Calling LP made by some of the best bootleg djs in the biz. McSleazy's "Lost Souls in The Supermarket," Miss Frenchie's "Fuck Em Boyo" ("Wrong Em Boyo" + "Fuck The Pain Away"!!!), Jimmi James' "This Girl Wants A Cheat," and Blo-Up's mix of Tiga's "Burning Down" and "London Calling" are all must-hears.," says Fluxblog.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Scribe Outernational.
From the Guardian's arts section, with guest editors - Scottish band Franz Ferdinand (via Hard News - Russell suggested the local equivalent would be getting Dimmer to edit the Star-Times magazine section for a week. I'd like to see the Back of the Y lads edit the Sunday News. Can you picture that?).

"Blog all about it ..."
Salam Pax: A tip on how to make your blog popular: position yourself in a place where a bomb might fall on you. Tickles everybody and makes your hits-counter happy. Possibility of death is a downside, but hey! You get linked by A-list bloggers.

Gregor Wright: It's nice to be able to keep a record of things, but I'm more interested in keeping a record of the minutiae of life that I would otherwise forget rather than a catalogue of inner thoughts and feelings. Nutters on the bus are more interesting than angst. Don't put angst-ridden stuff on the web; write it down and hide it somewhere.


Oliver Wang is a very talented US writer/DJ/editor (check his book Classic Material: The Hiphop Album Guide) who has come across our own Scribe. Here's some of his thoughts via Soul Sides...

"... What's interesting about both these songs is that after years of finding int'l hip-hop (i.e. anything outside the parochialism of American hip-hop) to be subpar, it's pretty damn that at this point, folks outside of the U.S. can easily hang with many of the Yankee rappers out there.

To be sure, Scribe really does owe Jay-Z some royalty points for how blatantly his style borrows from Jay's...their voices aren't that similar but on the album, he uses very similar phrases, from a simple, "yep" to proclaiming, "we made it" just like J does. That said, Scribe's flow is mostly his own and he pops nicely in the pocket with his rhymes, rhyming sans-accent and if you told me dude was out of L.A. or N.Y. I certainly would have believed you without question...." There's more, read the whole review here to get the picture.

Oliver also makes a mean mixtape - check out his latest one of cover versions, and peep his review of the Grey Album. He's even down with Mo Show. Cool.

And here's hiphop meets Hobbits - the Lord of the Rings Rap.

Beatdiggers alert!
Searching for old funky records is a lot of fun, and here's an Oz cat who has set up The Tasman Connection, a tribute to such records from this part of the world. Everything from Renee Gayer to Claude Papesch to Doctor Tree.

And getting back to where we started, I saw the new Dimmer video at the weekend, at Semi-Permanent, a one day design seminar featuring local and overseas designers/animators. Local designers Kelvin Soh & Simon Oosterdijk from The Wilderness talked about designing cd covers (amongst other things) - they did the cover for the new Dimmer album, and Shayne Carter liked it, so he asked them to do his next video. They said yes, and went away and panicked for a bit, as they'd never done a music video. After calling in a few friends for advice, they shot the clip - using 3000 polariod snapshots. Then they talked some mates into scanning all them into a computer, and then they animated the vid. The record company wanted more shots of Shayne and Anika, so they shot another 500 polariods, scanned em in, and animated them. Its for the song Come Here, and it looks absolutely wicked.

Other notable guests were UK designer Vince Frost, a gentleman with a very dry sense of humour, who designed the literary mag Zembla - it's an incredible read; great layout, intelligent content (Seen it once in Mega Mags - somebody please distribute it here!). He talked about one of his projects, a book design for photographer Nan Goldin. She was quite difficult to work with, he said. She was in rehab for 3 months during the books production, after a suicide attempt. Frost said there was also some conflict between Goldin and the publishers - she tried to stab her editor at one point - and his role was more one of mediator than designer. There was some amazing animations, clever fonts - like the embroidered font used by Black and White - inspiring stuff.