Friday, October 22, 2004

Russell Brown is doing it for the kids.
From Hard News - Russell reviewed some new local hiphop. He talked about P Moneys new album, and Tha Feelstyle's debut, Break It To Pieces...

"... Break it to Pieces, the debut by Tha Feelstyle, is quite a different affair. While P Money is all crisp, digital beats and iconic samples, this is warm, funky hip-hop. In keeping with the collegial feel of the local music scene these days, there's even a guest appearance from Dimmer's Shayne Carter, who does his Curtis Mayfield thing on 'Savage Feel'. It's a riot.

The world's best Samoan-language rapper is no spring chicken, and he certainly has plenty to say - indeed, there's a little précis of what he's saying under each track title in the CD booklet. 'Le Amatanga' "means the beginning in the Samoan language. A moment of reflection to understand this moment in time", while 'Tha Medicine' "is about self-counselling."

This is a nice album, and in its way a very important one, in the tradition of Ermehn's Samoans Part II (on which Tha Feelstyle featured as the elaborately-named Field Style Orator), which you might say began the story. When I interviewed Mareko last year, I asked him about that record and he agreed that he felt part of its storytelling tradition. Amid a flurry of local hip hop releases Ermehn himself has an album of brutal, convincing South Auckland gangster rap set for release via BMG - with or without one particularly defamatory track."

Niceness. had a listen to it yet? Check it out, it's a fine funky feast for your ears, and perfect for summer, which is right around the corner, I hear.
UPDATE: have it available online, with audio samples for your listening pleasure. good price too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Sweet as.
Andy Morton aka Submariner(DJ/producer of Tha Feelstyle's album) is in Rome at the Red Bull DJ Academy, along with fellow Kiwi Amy B. Excerpt from the daily diary, last thursday follows...

"...I chat to Andy Morton a.k.a Submariner (Aotearoa) who's been reading my book of philosophy by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (and bumped into a statue of the dude one day as well). Andy's found the ornate details of the city mind-boggling; and has also been pretty boggled by the number of guest lecturers who've big-upped New Zealand music. "Man I've been feeling patriotic, got some pride for Aotearoa!" [A few days earlier he'd copped an Irish DJ dropping Downtown Brown's Mr Brown tune which suprised him, as there's only a few hundred copies of it in existence]

Darshan comes on the decks and the dancefloor gets more traffic, and Andy is brave enough to accompany me for a bit of a tutu on the floor, pretty nice to see this 90bpm man feeling some electronic house. He says "After hearing all these four/four beats over the last two weeks, I've been starting to get into it." Who else do I meet in the jam but our other kiwi participant Amy B and we pump it up. She says "Being here has made me realise what a wicked little scene we got in New Zealand, y'know?'
Keep the Groove Going

Dub Reggae Icecream Truck

"Xeni Jardin rides with Aurelito and Shakespeare, two Los Angeles-based reggae DJs who have converted an old ice-cream truck into a mobile sound system."
I first read about this in Giant Robot magazine a few months back; now it turns up on NPR radio over here. Now, aint that a great idea for our shores? And yes, I know Red Bull did a portable DJ thing here with a Hummer, but that's just a bit too Arnie for me.

UPDATE: Just came across this article on Aurelito and Shakespeare from LA Weekly.

I caught the new video from Fast Crew on C4 last night - laughed my head off when I saw the villian in the vid is played by my main man Radar. He runs off with the Fast Crew chasing him, runs into an office and photcopies himself, creating multiple Radars to battle the Fast Crew, then it goes all animated for a minute or so. It's hilarious, but that's Radar for you - he's doing it for the kids. He is a dope mofo. And I'm loving the Scratch School DJ lessons that Sirvere and CXL are doing on the Holla Hour. It's a real eye opener.

And there's something wierd with the new PMoney video. The track is called Stop The Music, Scribe guests on it, and I've seen it twice in the last few days on C4, and both times the presenters introduced it saying 'look out for Sam from 8 Foot Sativa on drums and Justin from Elemnop on guitar'. The catch is neither of them actually play on the recording, but you wouldn't know that from the presenters blurb. When you pick up a copy of the album, the beats are credited to PMoney and the guitar by Tyna (ex Dubious Bros). Hey Pete, WTF?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

You like to go-go, baby?
Selma Blair stars in the new John Waters movie A Dirty Shame ("Threatening the very limits of common decency") as a go-go dancer whose stage name is Ursula Udders. There's a good interview with her at

DRE: Have you gotten sick of talking about the breasts yet?
SB: No it’s ok since I’ll probably never get to talk about my big breasts again seeing as how I don’t even need a brassiere. I did my mommy proud.
DRE: Have you ever thought of go-go dancing professionally?
SB: I do everyday for my dog and my husband. I truly do. I wake up in the morning and I give them a little sugar.
More here. Blair is worth catching in an indie film called Kill Me Later; I saw it on video a while back, and she's great in it. She plays a bank employee whose goldfish dies, her boyfriend cheats on her, so she decides to go to the roof of the bank and jump off, but before she gets to do that, she gets taken hostage by a bank robber, who promises to kill her later.

also at suicidegirls, interviews with...

John Kricfalusi, talking about new episodes of Ren & Stimpy airing on SpikeTV and the first two seasons of the original show are being released on DVD

expat Kiwi Alison Maclean talks about her documentary film Persons of Interest

RJD2 talks food..
DRE: What’s your favorite food?
RJD2: Sushi.
DRE: Do they have good sushi in Philadelphia?
RJD2: It’s ok. There are only a couple of good sushi spots.
DRE: You’ve been to Japan, is it good there?
RJD2: Everything is good there.
DRE: Are you into the punk girls?
RJD2: I’ve got a girlfriend so I’m basically married at this point. I’m into whatever.

There's also interviews with QTip, Christopher Walken, Lemmy from Motorhead, Eric Idle, Jet Li and Stephen Fry to name but a few. And some naked punk/goth girls. But you knew that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Tha Feelstyle (left)

Break it to pieces.
That's the name of the debut album from local hiphop MC Tha Feelstyle, and I picked up a copy yesterday, and it's very cool - funky beats with rapping in English and Samoan. Check it out. There's a great interview with him that was in the NZ Herald at the weekend, over here. Their reporter followed Kas (Feelstyle) and a video crew back to his homeland Samoa for a video shoot for the song Su'amalie/Aint mad at you. You may have copped this on C4 - Feelstyle is the only rapper I've ever seen who can spit a rhyme and operate a machete at the same time, which is one hell of a skill. Props!

Check the cover art above right, it's a beautiful velvet painting by Charles McPhee.
Shayne Carter to Liam Finn: You're going down, bitch!
Liam Finn and his band Betchadupa are finalists for the Apra Silver Scroll Award for NZ songwriters.
Finn the younger said in the weekend paper that "Really, I don't care who wins, so long as it's not Dimmer. To me Dimmer just sounds like Shayne Carter trying to be Marvin Gaye, but he's left out all the Marvin." Sorry? "He sounds really gay."
Carter's response? "... I'm looking forward to the awards night. I don't usually go to those kind of do's, but we're going this year, even if it's just to have a scrap with Betchadupa."
Finn and co's song is about Australian bats. Carter's outfit Dimmer are up for their song Getting What You Give. The shitfight is going down October 26, Wellington Town Hall. Wish I was there. Carter and his band of heavyweight thugs will pummel Liam and his cocky little grungenik mates. Should be hilarious.
And aint having two competing sunday papers a blast, especially when they duplicate each other - this week they both had stories on the Simpsons, and one on breast cancer, last week they both did stories on Linda Clark. The Sunday Star times even managed to review the same cafe twice in the same issue - two reviews of Cafe Rikka in Newmarket.
I am a vinyl junkie...
Think I'm gonna have to buy this book.

Vinyl Junkies, by Brett Milano (St. Martin's Griffin)
Reviewer: Nick A. Zaino III, Paste magazine

"Every guy with a record collection and a girlfriend should read Brett Milano’s Vinyl Junkies with her as relationship therapy. The book follows die-hard collectors from different walks of life—from R. Crumb’s country and blues 78s to several vinyl addicts in Milano’s native Boston, where he writes for the Boston Phoenix and the Boston Herald. The book presents an engaging look at a diverse subculture—from the rabid nerd completists to the musicians and industry types you would expect to have a serious relationship with their records (including R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore). But Milano also writes about “normal” people with jobs and relationships and whose fashion choices range outside jeans and obscure punk T-shirts.

Anyone who has a shelf full of Journey and Foreigner albums and considers himself a collector will probably feel ashamed after reading about the lengths to which Monoman (of Boston’s The Lyres) goes to obtain a rare Tony Jackson EP from an overseas dealer or the description of George Stone’s apartment, where—except for a couple of folding chairs—his collection has taken over the entire space. But Milano’s subjects are all human, and even the most eccentric collectors escape stereotyping— though at times the author enforces such notions (for example, a particularly passionate speech about the merits of the Partridge Family or a record considered a personal holy grail, a 1957 pressing of Scythian Suite by Prokofiev).

Milano strikes a balance between more serious scientific research and light-hearted self-examination. Someone who flies to Japan to pick up a rare jazz album might deeply love the music or they might have an issue with their seratonin levels. Some people like the grooves on the record, while others believe in a scientific argument for the warmth of analog versus a cold digital sound. He gives both viewpoints their due, but always with a knowing smile, noting they equally bring out the inner geek, making the details almost irrelevant. Collecting, after all, ultimately isn’t a logical pastime, and that’s part of what makes it worthwhile."

Speaking of vinyl junkies, the new issue of Wax Poetics is out this week, and the latest issue of Scratch magazine is in stores here now too. Cover story is a wicked indepth interview with Kanye West. There's also a great interview with P-Money in the new issue of Back to Basics, Aoteaora's hiphop mag. This mag is going from strength to strength - check it out.

Monday, October 04, 2004

P Money does some arse kicking.
I went to the Aotearoa Hiphop Summit at the weekend, saw some wicked graffiti art including some cars getting painted (nice work, Sparrow!), some good hiphop and some not so good hiphop. There are a lot of local hiphop albums dropping in the next month - for example, RES, Alphrisk and The Feelstyle all release their albums Oct 11. Grant Smithies noted in the Sunday Star Times yesterday that...

Lately there have been substantially more local hip-hop records on the radio, video clips on TV and CDs being sold than ever before. "Behold the long-awaited flowering of Aotearoa's hip-hop underground!" cry the grateful multitudes, including me. Virtually every recorded utterance by a local rapper is declared not just socially relevant but witty, wise and original beyond measure. Lift up the hoodie of any passing local rapper and you'll find big bruises from too much back-patting. Well, P Money isn't among those doing the patting....
"Look, nobody could doubt that I love New Zealand hip-hop, but it doesn't help the music to just say everything that's made here is great. A lot of mediocre local songs are currently getting thrashed on the radio. We need to stop being stoked just because NZ rap songs are finally on the radio, and start trying to get better rap songs on it. Everyone needs to push themselves harder." A big sigh billows down the phone, followed by a phrase you'd expect from a frowning grandad: "I mean, where's the work ethic?"

Read more here, or here (if the SST has hidden it behind their stupid archive).

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

New Telepathics
If you are in London, check this out. I've heard some of the album, it's wicked. Dunno when it's out here, but I'm sure it will appear at some point round these parts.

"To celebrate the launch of both the website and the debut album by New Telepathics, Spacific returns to where it all began back in august 2001 with a live performance by the 8 piece New Telepathics, and beats from Miss Mill (Soma), Bill Scott and special guest DJs, it will certainly not feel like a normal Monday night!

New Telepathics is the brainchild of Darryn Harkness, brought into being with the assistance of Sandy Mill and Tom Fielding. Together they have created a melting pot of afro-beat, soul, jazz, funk and house - similar in vibe to the west London broken beat sound or that of the Tru Thoughts /Quantic output. Their live set is never the same, with improvisation and rythmic complexity the key. The band includes 2 drum kits, 2 bass players, keyboards, horns, vocals, and a theramin!
Darryn's other project is the rock band Serafin, who are signed to Pias/Sony and have spent the summer touring with Frank Black of the Pixies. Sandy Mill has worked with a host of musical stars, from Gary Numan and Placebo to Basement Jaxx and Dick Johnson and Lofty and Bob Jones's East West Connection.
Spacific is a multimedia collective dedicated to promoting creative culture, especially music, from Aotearoa / New Zealand. Although they only adopted the name in 2003, Spacific has been operating since 2001. Since then they have promoted events at Cargo and Fabric in London, La Sal in Barcelona, Taboo in Madrid and the Batofar in Paris."

8pm to 1am, £5 / £3 NUS
on 18/10/2004 at Cargo.

Who got the flavours?

On Tuesday night on the Holla Hour on C4, DJ Sirvere played videos from several artists on his latest mix cd/mixtape compilation Major Flavours 5, which came out Monday and shipped platinum, he told us, so congrats to him.
The second half of the show was the exclusive premiere of the documentary on the Making of Major Flavours 5, which focuses on Sirvere making a trip to New York, to hook up licensing tunes and do a bit of record shopping, as you do.
He managed to hook up with DJ Premier to go record shopping, which is pretty damn cool. Seeing them flip thru every De La Soul 12" you could ever want at The Sound Library was pretty impressive. Premier took him to see his new recording studio, the former D & D Studio, legendary for many famous hiphop recordings.
It's a very cool little doco, and if you missed it, if you grab a copy of Major Flavours 5 quick, the DVD of the Making Of... comes as a special bonus disk, along with More Aotearoa Flavours, a cd of brand new local hiphop styles.
The launch party is this saturday night at The Studio, 340 K Rd, as part of the weekend events for the Aotearoa Hiphop Summit, happening on in Aotea Square for free on Friday and Saturday (programme here). Get along and check some fresh Aotearoa hiphop styles - MCs, breakers, graffiti artists, DJs, the works!

Official mix cds are easily overshadowed by the unofficial mix cd scene, which Sivere noted in the doco is absolutely massive in NY - there's people selling you mix cds on the street corners, etc. Ex-pat Kirk Harding (now working in NY for SRC as exec vice-president alongside former Loud records boss Steve Rifkin - go Kirk!) described the mix cd scene as one of the most important ways for promotion of new artists, alongside radio. 50 Cent and Eminem both used the mix cd scene as a way of gaining valuable exposure on their rise to the top.
So, if mix cds are widely used by the mainstream record companies, why has the music industry started prosecuting those involved with them? These two stories, one from the US and one from Australia, suggest that the mix cd scene is coming under attack. It doesn't spell the end of mix cds, but as one of these articles suggests, mix cds will now be sold under the counter, and if you phone up and ask a shop if they have them , they will say no, even if they do.

from Nuvo...
Alan and Andy Berry, owners of Berry’s Music stores, saw their nine-month legal nightmare end June 22 in a plea bargain. What was initially 13 felony counts of copyright infringement, leveled by the Recording Industry Association of America, was finally reduced to a single misdemeanor (and a hefty fine). But the real punishment was meted out months ago: Alan Berry lost his livelihood, lost the business he loved and nurtured for 13 years, may yet lose his house. And the crime for which he’s paid this price? Selling DJ mix-CDs...

For an idea of how completely the majors have taken mix-CDs to heart, consider one of Indianapolis’ top DJs, Paul Bunyon. In recent years, he’s received numerous awards from the record industry, including gold and platinum records, for the part his mixtapes play in selling mega-numbers of CDs by artists like Ludacris and Lil Jon. For the industry to acknowledge the value of mixtapes to this extent, then turn around and bring charges against stores for selling them, seems disingenuous at best. “It’s mind numbing,” Alan says, “because it seems so blatantly dipping out of both sides. If the record companies really have a problem with mix-CDs, why wouldn’t they go after the source? They have signed artists, DJs that put out both regular albums and monthly street mixes. Why wouldn’t they contact them and say, ‘Hey why are you guys putting that stuff out?’”

from Downhill Battle...
This crackdown on mixtapes is devastating small hip hop record stores. Just this past week we were contacted by Alan Berry, whose Indianapolis record store was raided by the RIAA last fall.
"We have since lost both of our stores... I can't get a job with 13 felonies hanging on my resume. My court date is less than a month away. So please anyone that knows someone that can help me, pass this info to them. I BEG for myself and my family. I don't think anyone should go to jail for selling mix cds. To my brothers in the industry, please help get the word out. My time is short. Thanks. " Read more here.

Pirates face the music
By PETER HOLMES entertainment writer
Sunday Telegraph Australia August 8, 2004

"RECORD labels will continue hunting down nightclub DJs responsible for CD piracy, despite racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in unrecoupable legal bills.
In a recent Federal Court case, five local DJs – Moto, Chocolate Boy Wonder, Peter Gunz, Demo and Tickelz – and Joe Sitoa, a director of Anthem Records, were found to have infringed record label copyright by producing six pirated compilation CDs.
The CDs featured the DJs' personal remixes of songs by famous acts including Ja Rule and Jennifer Lopez, and were sold and given away to fans and friends.
The DJs and Sitoa were fined a total of $48,000, and ordered to contribute $90,000 towards the record labels' $224,000 legal bill..."

UPDATE: Local music label head honcho Simon Grigg has an interesting response to this issue on his blog here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Coolfer's Tips for Music Consumers
So it's coming from a US perspective, but there's some good basic advice in here, worth pondering. Have a lookee.

"Consumers often make themselves out to be victims who forced into paying outrageous prices for music that costs nothing to make. If this were a political cartoon, one of the "victim's" arms would be held behind his/her back by the music industry as the free arm pays a cashier for a stack of CDs. There's too much exaggerating going on--or ignorance.
Most music--the more mainstream music, generally--doesn't come cheap, and if you paid for it, then it wasn't too expensive, was it? (After all, we're not talking about a staples like bread, milk or flour. You don't have to buy music.) If you truly want to take steps to find better deals, it's not that difficult. I'm amazed that people will drive ten miles out of the way to save a nickel on a gallon of gas but they don't pursue ways to buy music for less money...
For every dispute over royalties and claims that a label is not acting out of good faith, there's a Courtney Love who sabotages the chances for her album's success--which is far from acting out of good faith toward her record label..."
Read it here.