Tuesday, January 11, 2005

HITSVILLE
Check out the list of the Official Most Played Alternative Tracks of 2004 - weighing in at number 62, Scratch N Sniff Remix by Dub Asylum! Yay! Also check out Strawpeople's tune The Andy Warhol Effect (cowritten by some guy) at number 14. Niceness.
I;m keeping a low profile gigwise, but catch my crew Bassteppa Sound System at the Raglan Reggae Sunsplash, Feb 5-6, alongside Blood & Fire Sound System, Trinity Roots, Fat Freddys Drop, the Midnights, Roots Foundation and many more.

Hey, check out the trailer for Lee Tamahori's latest directorial effort XXX State of the Union; stars Ice Cube and there's lots of blowing things up, always a good plot device in my book.


Fast food chains are desperately reinventing themselves these days, pitching their wares as healthy and good for you blah blah blah (and good for Sarah Ulmers bank balance, Olympic cracker ho that she is) ... well, here's a burger outfit doing the exact opposite. They are pushing a Monster Thickburger using some well-dodgy ads (more here). The above still is from an ad called 'Fist Girl'. Seriously. Read more at the underground post.

Monday, January 10, 2005


RIP Phill Matthias.
I got my first ever tattoo from Phill, in his studio up the top of College Hill. A friend of mine designed it (kinda Balinese-looking), and Phill dug the design, so he charged me stuff all to do it. I remember thinking that was really cool as I'd saved up a bunch of dosh to get it done.
"He liked the idea of artists becoming tattooists, not drunken bikers ... he helped to legitimise the whole world of tattooing, which was in a dark tunnel for a long time." said Otis Frizzell.
Tattooist and artist Frizzell got his second tattoo from Phill Matthias and later worked at Dermagraphic for nearly seven years. "He taught me the only trade I have ever had. How to be a tattooist and how to be a hustler. How to take on the establishment from the inside, and I have been doing it ever since."
I remember when Phill ran for mayor of Auckland in 1998 - the incumbent was Les Mills, and his main opposition boiled down to dodgy old Christine Fletcher. I was distinctly unimpressed with Fletcher when two of her competiting candidates bowed out and threw their support behind her - one was right-leaning Victoria Carter, and the other was Lynda Topp (of the Topp Twins), a leftie.
Her response at getting backing from the left AND the right? "That's interesting". And that's why I voted for Phill Matthias (and he had a spine, and a brain which he knew how to engage). People didn't vote for Christine Fletcher, they voted against Les Mills, same scenario as the recent mayoral election - people voted against John Banks.

The Kaikoura Roots Festival next weekend has sold out (features Salmonella Dub, Pitch Black Cornerstone Roots, Shapeshifter and one of the final performances by Trinity Roots among the highlights), look out for the same thing happening with the Raglan Reggae Sunsplash, Feb 5th (final gig by Trinity Roots). Don't say I didn't warn you! You can catch my crew Bassteppa Sound System down there too. It's a wicked site, just over the hill from the beach. Dancing to reggae in the sun, grass under your feet, doesn't get much better.

Via Coolfer... On the eve of the opening of Ramones documentary "End of the Century" in London, The Guardian's Alex Petridis talks to Tommy Ramone.

Go Home Productions clever fella Mark Vidler on mashups, from an article in January Wired magazine...
"...Like any self-respecting rule-breaker, Vidler is skeptical about the commercialization of mash-ups, fearing that it might be the genre's death knell. "It's just like punk," Vidler says. "Once you get 'Hurry Up Harry' by Sham 69, it's all over."
Tee hee. Mark has also started a blog, read about his former musical life in a band called Chicane.

Good Q&A with Nas about his latest album, on Yahoo News...
Yahoo: What's next?
Nas: There's so much that I've never done. I love clothes but I'm not excited about getting into the clothing business, I love sneakers but not really excited about doing it. My guys are interested in doing both clothes and sneakers that I might support ... but what I'm really interested in is doing books and I like screenplays and I've written some, so you'll probably see some movies and stuff like that coming from me. Not from the big Hollywood end but on the independent end. I'm a student of filmmaking and not a student of the glitz of Hollywood. So you'll probably see something from me on the independent end and something really different on the novel end of the book level.

Friday, January 07, 2005



HIPHOP TURNS 30
via O-Dub.. "Greg Tate hits you with a double-tap in this week's Village Voice. He's absolutely brilliant on both counts: the first being an essay on hip-hop's 30th anniversary and what it means for Black public culture and politics. The other is a review of Nas' new album, which actually ends up touching on many of the same issues as the other essay."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

GOOGLED NEWS
I got addicted to checking Google News every hour during the Iraq War. Thankfully this addiction has eased off. Russell Brown wrote a good piece on Google News recently in the Listener, worth a look if you missed it.He also backgrounds what comes up most often in their searches, as counted by wellington firm newsknife.com... "The first three in terms of top-ranking stories were not too surprising: the New York Times, Reuters and the Washington Post, in that order. But the fourth-placed site stirred some debate: it was China's Xinhua agency. Curiously, Google News often seems to regard Xinhua as a more relevant source of reporting on American stories than it does most American sites."
Also in the Listener this week, following on from their 'Summer of Rock' cover (what about the Summer of Dub? Kaikoura Roots Fest, Raglan Reggae Sunsplash, new releases from Katchafire, Salmonella Dub), the Listener serve up heaps of useful advice for new years resolutions; how to get fit, get rich, get a blog (they call Noizyboy a blogvestite!!! Ha ha), and they tell you how to play the guitar, so you can bash out a few chords when the acoustic is being passed round the campfire. They give you chords and handy diagrams for Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water. Its a cruel practical joke tho (intentional?) - the chords they've given their readers (E,A,B) will let you play Louie Louie or Wild Thing. Smoke on the Water is E,G,A,and A sharp. Rock on, Listener dudes! Turn it up to 11, man.

more lists... Best music writing of 204 by Jason Gross (tip of the hat to Matos) Check the worst music writing list too, Nick Hornby gets a mention...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

TOUR DE FRANCE
via Coolfer: "The SF Chronicle's Aidin Vaziri is not only a music critic, he's also quite a comedian. Today he has clips from some of the interviews from the past year. Here's a segment from a Q&A he did with Ralph Hutter of Kraftwerk:

Q: Didn't you almost die on a bicycle?
A: No. It was just a very normal fall and a couple days in the hospital. It was nothing to worry about.
Q: Nothing to worry about? You were in a coma.
A: That's how it goes. I just forgot my helmet.

Cream of the crop
via the Guardian's Online team... "With the web still expanding, we have taken the opportunity to ask Online's readers, contributors, and some of the Guardian's journalists to suggest the 100 most useful sites." Heaps of useful stuff.
The Guardian also reports on local press in the tsunami-affected regions "News sites in the worst-hit countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand do all they can to keep up with the unfolding horror and a chaotic relief operation.
A photo gallery on the Phuket Gazette chronicles the enormous task of cleaning up the beachfront at this popular tourist destination.
The paper says: "Most big trash has now been removed, the beachfront street lights are back (but not all the electricity actually), the water is partly back (beachfront shops of course, the rest of Patong always had water and electricity) ... Traffic has been reopened. Few tourists are back on the beach and it gives us hope ... If you want to help Phuket and people living here, come back for holidays!"

Monday, January 03, 2005

C IS FOR COOKIE
Martha Stewart loses design contest in jail. Ha ha.

from Newsday: "We Americans like to think of ourselves as a generous people, but among the world's richest nations ours ranks dead last in terms of development aid as a percentage of gross national product. Still, Americans have an inflated idea of government foreign aid spending. In survey after survey, the median estimate is that foreign aid eats up 20 percent of the federal budget. The real number is about 1 percent, including both military and humanitarian aid."

Or as Stinkzone puts it, "Damn generous Europeans". His reasoning on US aid? "...we help poor countries by invading them and getting rid of stingy leaders and help open them up to foreign business aid. In short, we help countries by helping them to help themselves help us."
Nice.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

HELLO FROM THE MAINSTREAM
Blogs in the mainstream media end of year wrapup nonsense... David Slack from Public Address gets profiled in the Herald's 2004 for NZers feature. Graham Reid writes up Blogs as one of the Herald's "entertainment events and phenomena of the year in 10 easy steps" (scroll down). Check Graham's xmas post on local musician Bill Sevisi. Ever heard of him? You should have.

"Bill is a local legend whom I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago at his modest home in Mt Albert. There, in a small room off the garage, Bill has created his distinctive Hawaiian-Pacific music, all coloured by the sound of shimmering steel guitar.
Bill is about 80 now and despite a Queen's Service Medal in 95 and a few other awards he still hasn't been given the popular acclaim he surely deserves.
The music he has created warms your heart and these past few days as drizzle and high winds sank most people's summer holidays Bill's music speaks of impossibly romantic nights beneath palm trees by a silent, moon-kissed shoreline...."

Graham also wrote a delightful piece on another local music ensemble, the Ramblers, who, like Sevisi, have had very little aclaim, despite releasing 7 albums. They played before Dave Dobbyn and Brooke Fraser down the line recently. "By night these guys are roadies and lighting crew, the oil which greases the rock'n'roll machine. But every once in a while they get together and play as the Ramblers. The idea of them forming a band came from promoter Brent Eccles, a former Kiwi known mostly for his career as the drummer in Australian hard rock bands the Angels, Midnight Oil and Pseudo Echo." Thanks to Graham's excellent investigative skills, surely their time has come?

ADDED: Ah, lists... Best of 2004 songs/albums from Sasha Frere Jones; 2004 list with extensive notes from Michaelangelo Matos.

Friday, December 31, 2004

SOUNDS LOCAL
Check out this new MP3 blog, old local kiwi sounds. Could be onto something...
"An mp3-blog companion piece to thebigcity.co.nz - an archive of New Zealand music that attempts to reach the outskirts of obscurity." See http://thebigcity.blogspot.com/

"You heard of Nat King Cole? Well I'm his half brother, Charcoal." Prince Tui Teka.
I picked up a flyer for Te Papa's first online exhibition, on Maori Showbands, at maorishowbands.co.nz (requires Flash plugin). Well worth a look. Billy T James and Prince Tui Teka got their start in showbands.

O-Dub has an interesting take on news reports on the tsunami disaster...
"... I find it typical - and annoying - that some U.S. media outlets are doing what you might call National Death Rolls - last night, read in several places notes like, "3 Americans confirmed dead." That'd be 3 out of (at the time) 20,000 dead. Is national origin really that important at that point? Sports Illustrated relayed a ridiculous story about "swimsuit model surives tsunami." Seriously, they need to get out of here with that b.s."

Got any good new years resolutions? I'm working on some today.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004



RANDOM READING
"Check Hugh Macleod's "How to Be Creative" project. Hugh draws cartoons on the backs of business cards and works in advertising; his How to Be Creative is a meditation on creativity, individualism and commercialism, and it's full of pithy, clear, no-nonsense advice.
Now Hugh has expanded the piece into a short book, which is online in its entirety. He's found an agent and the agent is shopping the book - I'd certainly buy a copy! " - Cory Doctorow, Boingboing.

"Creativity is all about distruption. The people who tell you that creativity is pain-free are liars. The people who tell you they've got a plan are liars. There is no plan. There's just you, God and the need to invent. And this uncertain world is what most of us now find ourselves entering, willingly or otherwise.
Creativity equals chaos. Chaos equals creativity. Embrace it or die. I've already done so. I know all about it. It almost cost me my liver but like I said, education is expensive.
The Creative Age is upon us. The Chaotic Age is upon us. We are scared. Damn right, we should be scared. But out of the terror comes the amazing opportunities for us to expand both on the material and spiritual level. The fewer safety nets there are to save us, the less choice we have to be anything other than ourselves, the less choice we have besides doing what is meaningful to us. And finding ourselves, doing what matters, becoming the person we were born to be, this is what God put on this earth to do.
We live in amazing and interesting times. If we're lucky, while on this earth we can do a damn good job proving it." Hugh Macleod. More here.
via boingboing.net

Beer and Rap says "Fuck Your Early 90's HipHop Mix. Hey shitbags those early 90's hiphop mixes that you think are so fucking original well guess what? They fucking aren't. No one wants to hear you mix a bunch of fucking reissues that you bought 3 years ago. People have been making early 90's mixes since the goddamn early 90's.

Stinkzone drops his top 40 hiphop albums for 2004, and top 50 songs, plus audio mix to check out.

Oh, did you read the story in the Herald about a crash between a Mr Whippy truck and a car near Te Puke? The road was covered on chocolate sauce, about 30 sq m. The Fire Service had trouble removing it from the road surface as the sauce hardened. Gotta love slow news days, of which there are many between xmas and new years.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Out, like bellbottom trousers.
So, Simon's got one, Stinky Jim dropped his in the Listener, Stylus mag has got theirs up, and I'm gonna do mine. Best Music of 2004. Why the hell not? I came across an old issue of Q Magazine with their Best 50 Albums of 2003 at the weekend and I owned a grand total of one of them (The Roots - Prenology), which is to say, I don't pay a hell of a lot of attention to white rock music these days. Maybe I should.
UPDATE more lists; Gilles Petersons Worldwide radio show faves here (scroll down). Dubber's 'It's a Jazz Thing' radio show best of 2004 over here. Nelson George weighs in with his faves for 2004 here. The NZ Herald's Best Albums of 2004 were in saturday's paper, but they're not online. Suckville.

In No Particular Order...

Tha Feelstyle - Break it to pieces (FMR)
Studio One Funk, Studio One Disco Mix, Studio One Classics (Soul Jazz)
Kanye West -College Dropout (Rocafella)
Sharkey feat Jean Grae - Summer in the city (Babygrande)
Butch Cassidy Sound System - Rudi EP Feat Cissy Strut, Hear what I say EP (Fenetik)
Romanowski -Steady Rocking EP (Future Primitive Sound)
Nas/Olu Dara - Bridging the gap (Columbia)
Overproof Sound System - Nothing to Proove EP (Different Drummer)
Diplo - Diplo rhythm (Big Dada)
Kelis - Trick me (Star Trak)
De la soul - Grind date (Sanctuary)
RJD2 - Since we last spoke (Def Jux)
Jay Z - 99 Problems (Rocafella) Question: now why does Jay Z feel the need to drop a crappy rock collabo with Linkin Park when he has already made the best rock tune of the year with Rick Rubin? Who knows.
Roots of Dancehall compilation (Auralux)
The Roots - Tipping Point (Universal)
Murs - Bad man (Def Jux)
The Clash - London Calling reissue (Sony)
And some other obscure vinyl that I forgot.
Oh yeah, Sesame St Fever - found it at the Grey Lynn Park Festival for a fiver. Muppets go disco. Choice! Any suggestions for your faves of 2004, anything I mighta overlooked, fire em in the comments. Share the information!
And that's me for the next little while. Hope you have a splendid xmas and a chilled out new years, and be good to each other.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004



DISCO DEMOLITION
A few years back I was reading the message boards over at British DJ Norman Jay's site. One cratedigger asked why it was so hard to track down disco records from the late 70s, why were they so rare. Norman Jay responded by talking about the Disco Demolition Rally organised by a radio station DJ named Steve Dahl 25 years ago. Jay was visiting family in the US regularly during the 70s and 80s, experiencing the rise of disco and hiphop first hand. He also saw the underlying racism behind the anti-disco sentiment.

On 12 July 1979, 90,000 angry people converged on a baseball game in Chicago to burn disco records. What began as an effort to sell seats at a White Sox/Detroit Tigers double-header turned into a mass anti-disco movement that would later be credited as the official “day that disco died.”

Two Chicago radio DJs [Steve Dahl and Garry Meier] came up with the idea of having people bring unwanted disco records to the stadium. The spurned records would be burned between doubleheader games with the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. Lead by the chant, “Disco Sucks!”, most of the records weren’t burned, but sailed through the stands during the game - nearly inciting a riot. Some fans started their own fires and mini-riots. There was so much commotion that the ballplayers couldn’t even finish the last game of the doubleheader; the White Sox forfeited.

Dave Haslam: "The 'Disco Sucks' campaign was a white, macho reaction against gay liberation and black pride more than a musical reaction against drum machines. In England, in the same year as the 'Disco Sucks' demo in America, The Young Nationalist - a British National Party publication - told its readers: 'Disco and its melting pot pseudo-philosophy must be fought or Britain's streets will be full of black-worshipping soul boys." (from Jahsonic)

More links... Disco music was gay music; Press coverage from the event; photos

Wednesday, December 15, 2004



UNDER THE COVERS
The Daily Telegraphs music critics have put together a list of the 50 best cover versions ever, (tip of the hat the the lads at The Joint for this) and most of them are utter drivel. I've been putting together a compilation CD of my favorite covers, and sure, they're pretty eclectic, but they've got a whole lot more soul than this boring, white trash pop shite. Here's their top ten...

1 ‘All Along the Watchtower’ Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1968 (orig. Bob Dylan, 1967)
2 ‘You Were Always On My Mind’ Pet Shop Boys, 1987 (orig. Elvis Presley, 1972 - after Brenda Lee, 1971)
3 ‘My Way’ Sid Vicious, 1979 (orig. Frank Sinatra, 1969 - after Paul Anka, 1969)
4 ‘Hallelujah’ Jeff Buckley, 1993 (orig. Leonard Cohen, 1984)
5 ‘Respect’ Aretha Franklin, 1967 (orig. Otis Redding, 1965)
6 ‘Tainted Love’ Soft Cell, 1981 (orig. Gloria Jones, 1964)
7 ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ The Byrds, 1965 (orig. Bob Dylan, 1964)
8 ‘Twist and Shout’ The Beatles, 1963 (orig. the Isley Brothers, 1960)
9 ‘Comfortably Numb’ Scissor Sisters, 2004 (orig. Pink Floyd, 1979)
10 ‘Mr Bojangles’ Nina Simone, 1971 (orig. Jerry Jeff Walker, 1967)

So, you heard Spanky Wilson's version of Sunshine of your Love? Genius. Or what about about Jackie Wilson's version of Light my Fire? O-Dub put together a killer mixtape of his fave covers, over here (pictured above).Must score a copy soon...
So, what's your favorite cover version? Hit me up in comments - no cheese, just the good ish, please.
You can find the original story at the Daily Telegraph, but the site requires registration.

UPDATE: discovered via random Googling... Copy, Right? - an MP3 blog dedicated to cover versions, and the Covers Project- endless lists of covers.


Seen on Queen St yesterday.. girl in a red tshirt with the following slogan... "Save Santa the trip. Be naughty." Peter Jackson is in Auckland this week shooting scenes for King Kong at the Civic Theatre. I walk past this building every day on the way to work. Sighted yesterday morning; a bunch of extras dressed in tuxedos and bowties for the gents, flash 1930s dresses for the ladies. About a dozen large trucks were parked on the surrounding streets, but no sighting of Peter Jackson.
Still, check out the official website for some great behind the scenes production footage. Last week they had a group of international journalists on set, see day 53 production diary. the press interviewing Adrian Brody is hilarious - one journo asks Brody if he finds Kong painless,which Brody says yes, then the journo confesses he meant does Brody find Kong [the story of] timeless!


And on the whole Judy Bailey payrise BS - do the freaking math and shut the hell up! Paul Holmes leaves - saving of $730,000 a year salary. Alison Mau leaves - saving of say $200,00 salary. Ms Bailey gets an extra $400,000, and TVNZ still come out ahead by half a million. It aint some John Hawkesby $7 million payout. Helen Clark is just pissed that she aint pulling that kinda dosh. Hah!

Monday, December 13, 2004



SAGE ADVICE

"Sage Francis is a rapper out of Providence, RI and half of Non-Prophets (the other half is DJ Joe Beats). Sage made a reputation for himself by consistently winning poetry slams and freestyling competitions, and has built something of a cult following. His style is always personal and often highly political, but refreshingly free of preachiness. With his new Fuck Clear Channel Tour, Sage is pushing music industry politics to the forefront." Read the interview here at Downhill Battle.

Sage Francis is playing in Wellington December 16 at Indigo and Auckland December 17 at Rising Sun. Here's his opinion on downloading music...
"Downloading has not had a negative effect on my music. It has had an incalculable positive effect. That being said, I hope people spread the good word and buy an official copy if they enjoy what they hear. We even included the lyrics and booklet on the inside. Oh, and a urine sample." Very funny. From an interview with Music-News.com.

There's a bunch of other interviews over at his official site's messageboards including two Francis labelled as "Two god awful New Zealand interviews". One of the local interviewers takes exception to Francis... "remember that bad New Zealand interview? Look what he did" posts Francis. Its 14 pages of dissing, death threats and crap on the PE messageboards. Utter tripe.



So how many MC's duck like this?
Haven't heard much from Scribe's camp in the media on the ugly assault that happened to BFM's Phil Armstrong at Scribe's management co. Xmas party, but I've heard the person responsible was Scribe's associate and labelmate PNC - have you heard anything? There was even a rumour over at the NZMusic.com boards that Scribe was in jail - totally untrue, but as one clever poster noted - "Scribe is in jail, he got caught with P money".