Friday, January 07, 2005

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

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 "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

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

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."

Sunday, January 02, 2005

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.