Friday, November 19, 2004

One drop
When The Clash reissued London Calling recently, they followed their longstanding tradition of adding value for money for their fans, giving them the original album, a bonus CD of demos for the album, and a DVD of the making of the album, including previously unseen footage (mainly of the album’s producer Guy Stevens going nuts in the studio, throwing chairs round and swinging a ladder).

The flipside of this trend is the abhorrent practice of artists/bands releasing their album, then re-issuing it a year later with bonus tracks/remixes/instrumentals, making the fans go out and buy the same songs a second time. I got stung when Jurassic 5 did this with their debut Quality Control and ended up paying for the same album twice, when they reissued it for their 2002 Australian tour with a bonus disc of instrumentals. I traded in the first copy, but still made a loss on the deal. Just as well their gig here earlier this year was kick ass.

P-Money did the same thing with his debut album Big Things, reissuing it with a second disc of instrumentals and new tracks (to his credit, his second album Magic City comes with a bonus disc of instrumentals for early purchasers of said product). P-Money isn't the only local example, of course: other culprits include Mareko, Bic Runga, Dimmer, Brooke Fraser, and Golden Horse, who released their debut album three times. Sure, it’s a marketing tool to drag in new fans and bump up sales (nothing wrong with that), but if you went out and bought an album when it first came out and then you find out there's a 'new improved' version of it, you’d feel ripped off, right?

Which is why I got to send out maximum respect to Salmonella Dub – their latest album One Drop East has just been reissued (out Nov 29) with a bonus disc of remixes. But they have also made the second disc of remixes available as a mid-price single disc for their fans who already have the album. Niceness. Let's hope this starts a trend, known henceforth as "Not Ripping Off Your Fanbase". Remixers of the Dub include Mu, Digital, Concord Dawn and Mad Professor -I went to a workshop with Mad Prof back in October last year when he was out here working on this remix. One question - One Drop East came out with copy protection, which didn't impress some folk. Will the reissue be the same deal?

UPDATE: Stinky Jim reviewed the London Calling reissue in this week's Listener, saying that it "remains a stunning record, even with its dirty laundry now on parade", adding that "everyone's got to make a living, but let's hope that this is the last of the attempts to remarket a group that went out of their way not to rip off their fans when they were active." More here.

One of the world's most exciting DJ's Mr Scruff comes to our town this Saturday night playing at The Studio on K Rd, and I can't wait. He's doing one of his 5 hour sets (his preferred set length).
"He rates drinking tea and eating pies as the things he does most besides collecting, playing, and listening to music... He says he made the connection between his favourite band, 80s ska outfit Madness, and the ska of Prince Buster early on, but he's not so sure how important musical history is to people today. It's something that fascinates him, but do others care? "It's reliant on what you're exposed to as a kid. If all you see is MTV and listen to the charts you're just going to think it's supermodels who make music and all you need to do it is jewellery and cigars."
More of this interview (via NZH) over here . [update: The Herald has redesigned their site, and moved their content round the place, making this link dead. Stink - hang on, fixed it.]

He's playing in Wellington tonight (Friday) at Subnine, and after the Saturday night gig in Auckland, according to Mr Scruff's website, it's "Australia, here we come! Mr Scruffs "Keep It Solid Steel" continues to Australia where Scruff plays a series of dates, beginning on Sunday 21st November at 'Dux de Lux' in Christchurch." Dude is a wicked DJ, but somewhat geographically challenged. Any Mainlanders out there impressed at being lumped in with Australia?

Oh, and cruise on over here to hear the new single from the D4, called Sake Bomb, in English and Japanese versions - it pisses all over the Datsuns latest. Cambridge cissies!

PLUS: Catch Te Radar’s Dispatches from the Holy Lands – hear it on National Radio, 4 parts starting Saturday 20 November at 1.30pm (repeats Thursday 8.30pm). Join Radar as he attempts to shoot the seminal work on the Arab-Israeli conflict, his film called Christmas in Bethlehem: A Naivety Story

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Get mashed
Latest from the nutty world of musical mashups - Queen - "A Night At The Hip-Hopera" bought to you by the Kleptones. Grab it quick - Disney (who own the rights to Queen thru Hollywood Records) are chasing after it. There's mirrors here of the audio, plus cover. Klepshimi has a list of all the samples used for it (also check the live Pixies recordings on same blog).

Remember all the fuss about the Grey Album? Beatles vs Jay Z from DJ Dangermouse? Well, now someone's done a video for it. Check it here. Very funny, brilliantly executed. (both via Boingboing)

Tourist fun
The king of abandoned skyscrapers, found in Detroit. This fella and his mates went in and had a lookee. Check the pics here. This looks like a whole lot of fun.

Simon Grigg kicks some shit and comes out punching for the Car Crash Set...
"... Realistically its probably about time to stand up and say that the most interesting and inventive stuff coming out of these isles in the eighties, aside from The Headless Chickens and Fetus Productions, came from outside the Flying Nun catalogue... The early Flying Nun stuff sounds like the past whereas things like the CCS sound like the present and the future in 2004. Sorry, but its true."
The other FNun acts that I reckon still sound fresh are Bailter Space and the Skeptics, easily one of the most important and under-rated bands on the Nun.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

From Jeff: "Ryan Moore from Twilight Circus brought this to my attention: the great reggae engineer and dubmaster Errol Thompson passed away this weekend. He was behind the boards on some of the most thrilling roots and dub records like the African Dub Almighty series, Dennis Brown's Words of Wisdom, Yellowman's Zunguguzungguguzungguzeng, and Culture's Two Sevens Clash.

This from Ryan:
"Errol Thompson must have recorded many 1000's of albums and singles in the 70's. IMO he was the all time greatest recording engineer of reggae & one of the very best on the mix. Clear, open, FAT and well balanced..
He worked at the legendary Randys studio in the early 70's and then later at Joe Gibbs studio..
Anybody here who has heard some vintage reggae has heard his work - he worked with everybody.
The last I heard, from a reliable source who was there, ET was working in the supermarket owned by his former musical production partner Joe Gibbs. Thus, no longer in the music business."

Errol is centre in above photo, working the phone. Augusus Pablo on right.

I know you got soul.
Entertainment Weekly
ranks the "25 best rap albums of all time".
On to the list:
1. Eric B & Rakim Paid In Full (1987)
2. De La Soul 3 Feet High And Rising (1989)
3. The Notorious B.I.G. Ready To Die (1994)
4. Public Enemy Fear Of A Black Planet (1990)
5. RUN-DMC Raising Hell (1986)
6. Dr. Dre The Chronic (1992)
7. Wu-Tang Clan Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
8. Nas Illmatic (1994)
9. A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory (1991)
10. Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique (1989)
11. Outkast Aquemini (1998)
12. Cypress Hill Cypress Hill (1991)
13. Gang Starr Daily Operation (1992)
14. Ice Cube Death Certificate (1991)
15. Jay-Z The Blueprint (2001)
16. LL Cool J Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)
17. Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
18. Lauryn Hill The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill (1998)
19. The Pharcyde Bizarre Ride ll The Pharcyde (1992)
20. Mos Def Black On Both Sides (1999)
21. Boogie Down Productions By All Means Necessary (1988)
22. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five The Message (1982)
23. Missy Elliott Miss E...So Addictive (2001)
24. Dr. Octagon Dr. Octagonecologyst (1996)
25. Aceyalone A Book Of Human Language (1998)

O-Dub notes a few glaring omissions... "where is Pete Rock and CL Smooth's Mecca and the Soul Brother? Where is NWA's Straight Outta Compton?" The Shrimp crew drop the same list, but they "took the liberty of bolding the titles of the albums that aren't even any good." See what you think.

UPDATE: Nelson George weighs in on the above list, and talks about ODB's passing.
"... to name Eric B. & Rakim's Piad in Full the greatest is just plain wrong. They picked the wrong Public Enemy album for their top ten. There are a bunch more crazy ideas in their list..."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Arafat to Pope: Yo, nice Xtian bling bling you got dere,
my homie. Where can I get me sum a dat?
Pope: Yo, quit buggin'. can't you see I'm on da mic, homie?

Mo money.
So, Yasser Arafat died, and turns out he was a billionaire. He lived in bombed out buildings, when he coulda been high rolling.

... For 12 years, until 1996, Mr al-Ghussein was the treasurer for the Palestine Liberation Organisation. It was his duty to keep track of the billions of pounds that were donated to Yasser Arafat, the PLO leader, by sympathetic organisations, such as the European Union.
Eventually, Mr al-Ghussein realised that he had been handed an impossible task - tracing Arafat's billions required a detective, not an accountant. "I just hope he has left some sort of a will," he told The Sunday Telegraph, on the eve of Arafat's death on Thursday. "Or at least some detailed information about all the accounts and the assets, because that money belongs to the Palestinian people, not to him."
... Meanwhile, Mrs Arafat and the Arafats' daughter, Zahwa, allegedly spent an entire year living on a floor of the Hotel Bristol in Paris, at a cost of £8,700 per night, before buying an expensive flat in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe. French authorities have discovered that Mrs Arafat, who moved to Paris in 2000 to avoid the second intifada, received $11.4 million in money transfers from Switzerland, between 2002 and 2003.
More news stories here.

Oh yeah, and Roger Harper - WTF?
"... we don't like the negative messages this particular product gives so we thought, 'How could we turn a negative into a positive?'
"We thought, 'Why don't we make a significant donation to Women's Refuge and youth suicide [prevention] because these organisations help the victims that suffer from Eminem's world view'.

Roger Harper, manager of the CD and DVD Store appeared on TV Ones nightly current affairs show Closeup on Monday night, talking about his actions. He was filmed outside his store in Vulcan Lane in central Auckland. The programme's host Susan Wood pointed out to Harper that the irony of his campaign against Eminem would have the effect of drawing even more attention to his album, which Harper agreed with, saying that the CD had already sold out in some of his 25 stores.

The Herald reported that Harper’s stores displayed a poster “in shop windows to discourage people from buying the new Eminem album, Encore. If people do choose to buy it from the store then it will donate $6 to Women's Refuge and youth suicide prevention charities. The posters claim Encore is more "verbal porn" from Eminem and his "annual pile of refuse" that he releases on record. It goes on to say: "We'd rather not make money selling you this stuff but if you do want this album, buy it here and we will donate $6 for every copy we sell."

The stores will not have the album out on display, but will keep it behind the counter. I went down there at lunchtime today, and they have albums of similar explicit lyrical content on display from the likes of Missy Elliot, Snoop Dogg, Lil Kim and Tupac, to name a few. There are 12 music retailers in the central city area - 5 of them focus mainly on chart CDs. Now what's interesting about the CD and DVD Store is it is the only one of the 12 music retailers to feature a Christian music section - it's right next to Punk/Alternative. Harper’s own religious views didn’t come up during his TV interview.

As one irate letter writer in this morning’s paper observed, “We cannot discriminate on ethnicity or gender, but this store is being allowed to judge on our choice of music. This is juvenile and unfair. I know that I would rather buy products where I am not being judged and criticised for being who I am, no matter what my choice of music.”

MO UPDATE: This story has made it offshore, and is getting coverage on Billboard, MSNBC and We are a bunch of hicks.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Wellington crossdresser masquerades as librarian, wins award.

So, it turns out that Natalie Biz (Bizgirl) is in fact a he. "James" aka "Noizyboy" turned up to take credit for said blog at the Netguide Awards on friday night, when it won best personal blog. What a genius media hoax. I haven't laughed that hard since the middle of last week. Top work, "James" or whoever you are.
Netguide had an expert judge the local blogs, and she had some comments on all the finalists, including a major diss aimed at Public Address; "... what's it about? Or does it matter? They are all good writers with important stuff to say ... clearly the movers and shakers of New Zealand's blogosphere. A little intimidating though." She didn't like David Farrar's Kiwiblog either, but he wasn't fazed. "I think it is hilarious that Natalie is actually James Guthrie of Noizyblog. Makes me feel like Paul Henry when he lost Wairarapa to Georgina Beyer :-) "
The Scavengers played on the weekend - I missed em, choosing Roots Foundation instead, which was a mighty fine night of reggae and dub , tho the poor ol PA at Safari Lounge wasn't up to the task of pumping out some serious bass - shame. Simon Grigg went along to see the Scavs - he was closely involved in the early punk scene in AK, with his record label Propellor, and his association with Suburban Reps.
"... The show itself...short (12 3 minute songs), anthem filled (I was touched to be the only person to get a song dedicated to them), and loud (vastly better sound than I've ever heard the Scavs...we used to throw the vocals thru the guitar amp back then)..."
I suspect the song that was dedicated to Simon was "Born to Bullshit" which got a belated release as a single a few years back, with Simon's photo on the cover, with a black strip tastefully pasted across his eyes to give him some vague level of anonymity. Touching.
Simon also noted that Dion from the D4 did a fine job of filling in for absent bassist Brendan Perry, who is otherwise engaged in prepping a tour with Dead Can Dance from a former church in Ireland (his home and recording studio), where he also runs samba workshops for the locals. Speaking of the D4, check out this MP3 from a group with the same name, from back in the 80s (warning: file is huge, 16MB). from Stickershock.

I caught the tail end of Flashbacks last night on C4, a special looking at a bunch of old Flying Nun vids in honour of the new FNun DVD 'Second season' that's just come out. James Coleman's guests were Dave Yetton (JPSE, Stereobus) and Chris Knox, who rubbed jelly into his arms and face towards the end of the show, while Coleman was trying to intro the next vid without laughing. The jelly was on set as a tribute to Superettes Killer Clown video which features a party with much jelly and other party food. Knox called in "conditioning jelly", and then was surprised when told that you could eat it - "oh really?" Classic Knox antics, reduced Coleman to uncontrollable laughter.

One of the final clips was Bike's "Welcome to my world" vid (directed by Jonathan King), which I worked on as a production assistant. The vid features a family going on holiday, towing a caravan where Bike are playing inside, while they drive down the road. Anyways, my job involved driving back to town to pick up Shayne Carter, who played a policeman in the vid, then drive him back out to Maraeti, about a 2 hr round trip. He wasn't very talkative on the way out (too early in the AM for him?), but on the way back to town after his cameo, we got talking , and ended up raving about Sly and the Family Stone - Shayne had just scored the Sly box set for a bargain at Real Groovy. I remember thinking that was real cool, as it marked him out as a fan.
UPDATE: Watch out for the Second FNun Pub Quiz, Wednesday Nov 24, 8pm at the King's Arms - free! More info here.

RIP Russell Jones
AKA ODB, Ol Dirty Bastard, MC with the Wu Tang Clan. Died in the recording studio on saturday after complaining of chest pains. Dude was 35. Sad news. Last time I heard from this cat was earlier this year, after he'd signed to Rocafella Records, and dropped an exclusive preview of his latest recording, a duet with Macy Grey, the Kiki Dee/Elton John clunker 'Don't go breakin my heart'. You can still hear it over here. He had skills, but he aint no Elton. Here's a 2002 interview with him: Portrait of the artist in jail.

Check out Reinventing Elvis: The American Sound Studio Sessions. It's a fascinating insight behind the sessions that delivered In the Ghetto and Suspicious Minds, produced by former Stax alumni Chips Moman. It aslo reveals how Elvis was tied to his publishing company, who sound like a bunch of money-hungry evil little men. They hound Chips to give up some of the publishing on In the Ghetto, which belongs to him, and he is not impressed. His response? "Gentlemen, I thought we were here to cut some hit records. Now if that's not the case, let me tell you what you can do. You can take your fucking tapes, and you and your whole group can get the hell out of here. Don't ask me for something that belongs to me. I'm not going to give it to you."