Friday, March 04, 2005



My radio, believe me, I like it loud.
Bill Adler started out as a radio DJ and music critic before landing up at Def Jam/Rush Management as their publicist in 1984. He left in 1990, and has since then has worked at Island Records, founded his own PR firm, created a record label, and in 1998-2000 he curated the hiphop exhibit at Seattle's Experience Music Project, which led him to turn his personal office into the Eyejammie Fine Arts Gallery.

I've been reading a great interview with Adler in the latest issue of Wax Poetics magazine; there's photos of Adler with 3Rd Bass, LL Cool J and Fab Five Freddy, all sorts of cats. The gallery has had exhibitions like Riddim Driven: A 25th Birthday Salute to VP Records and Dancehall Reggae, URBAN BLIGHT - The Graffiti Photographs of Ernie Paniccioli, WORK IT! Images of Women in Hip Hop, and It's Like That: 20 Years of RUN-DMC-JMJ.

He talks about what's next for the gallery. "What's delightful and surprising to me is that people are now coming to Eyejammie with great ideas that I myself would never have thought of... there's a local painter named Jackson Brown who grew up in the southeast. He dreamt up a show with the working title The Heroes of Hiphop that will feature about a dozen life-sized oil portraits of some of the culture's greatest movers and shakers." Check the exhibition link below.
He's also released the first Eyejammie book, a postcard book of photos by Ricky Powell.
"Bill Adler's Eyejammie Gallery hosts 'til April 2nd Follow The Leader: Portraits Of The Hip-Hop Avant-Garde. If you can't make it down here's a preview". Via Spine magazine.
(Image above: graffiti stencil in Toronto).

Latest M.I.A. news... Billboard reports she's jumped labels. "Hotly tipped U.K. rapper M.I.A. has signed with Interscope Records, which will release her debut album, "Arular," by mid-April in the United States, sources tell Billboard.com.

"Arular" was initially due to come out Feb. 22 on XL Recordings, but the London-based label pulled the album less than a week before street date. XL, part of Beggars Group, claimed that the release was delayed due to a failure to clear unspecified samples. As of last week, XL was saying the album would be out in mid-March.

Beggars CEO Lesley Bleakley did not return a call for comment.

The Sri Lankan-born M.I.A., who raps over dancehall-inspired electronica, has been the subject of much industry attention the past few months. Her debut single, "Galang," has sold 800 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The artist has a handful of tour dates on tap this month, beginning March 15 in Seattle. She is also confirmed to appear on the second day (May 1) of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California."

Coolfer has comments on the press she's been getting in the Village Voice... "M.I.A. Gets Poked, Prodded and Hyped. One article in the Village Voice makes for good publicity. Two simultaneous articles means the there's enough buzz on the street to merit a higher word count. Three? It's a mark reached by very few musicians, and it takes a combination of music aptitude, political importance and pop culture fascination to get three articles in the same issue. (Courtney Love scored the hat trick not long ago, but nobody else comes to mind.)"


End of the Century

The Ramones doco End of the Century returns from the Film Festival shortly, starting a run at the Rialto here in Auckland. Meanwhile, the DVD is out in the US soon... "Yesterday, Ice Magazine's Daily News Flash talked about the Ramones' documentary, End of the Century, that will be released on DVD in two weeks (by Rhino). I'll quote the most important part:
"Among the bonus features making their debut in the DVD are excerpts from a Joey Ramone radio interview, a deleted scene featuring Blondie drummer Clem Burke as 'Elvis Ramone' and interview excerpts from all Ramones. Also featured are extended portions of interview from Debbie Harry and Chris Stein and Joe Strummer, as well as Marky Ramone demonstrating his drum technique and Tommy Ramone explaining "Who Wrote What on the First Three Albums.'" Via Coolfer. There's also extra footage from the interview with Joe Strummer, one of the last ones he did.

AK05 is hitting it all over AK town - check out Transistor, free show in Aotea Square this friday/saturday/sunday, with performances from heaps of cats - the Feelstyle, Goldenhorse, the Nudie Suits, all sorts. More info here, plus running times.
I caught DJ T-Rock (from San Francisco) on the turntables on wednesday lunchtime in Aotea Square - it's not often you go on your lunch break and end up listening to a cat spinning tunes and cutting up Run DMC, the Monkees , The Jacksons and the Rolling Stones. He even rocked Joan Jett's 'I love rock n roll'. You can see him playing after Goldenhorse on sunday night.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005



Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos
There's a bunch of interesting reporting on the hiphop blogosphere on this event - "The Making Of Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back - An indepth discussion event on the making of hip-hop's greatest album."

Via Different kitchen- "...Engineer Chris Shaw recalled how they set up a phone in a separate room to record Flavor's phone call parts on "Black Steel" but that he went on so long that Hank Shocklee ran into the room to try and cut him off and he shouted, "Hank, don't stop me" which ended up on the record.

The It Takes a Nation of Millions album cost only $40,000 to record (while, by comparison, Yo! Bum Rush the Show cost an even more modest $12,000), while Lyor & Russell had gotten a $225,000 advance from Columbia for it, which meant the album was already way in the black by time the 50,000 retail pre-orders came in."

Via Rio Rock... The NYU seminar on the significance of the Public Enemy album “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” this past weekend was one of those great ideas that actually fulfilled it’s promise. It rekindled the feelings of that ecstatic moment in time that the album ‘created’ (not, necessarily, ‘captured’).

I was only able to attend a few of the events (Friday’s screening and ‘Critics Panel’ and Saturday’s ‘Producer Panel’). Other blogs will likely have more complete accounting of the events judging from early posts on the subject so I will focus on a few comments that hit me center-mass."




"Link to full-size image. Incredible gallery of early hip-hop flyers. Page takes forever to load, all of the images (dozens of 'em) are slapped on one endless static page. But what an amazing collection! Link to image gallery" (via Boingboing)

Check out Steady Bootleggin - great MP3 blog currently hitting it with "Great Soundtracks To Awful Movies".



RIP Phil Fuemana.


Monday, February 28, 2005

Other radio stations are biting us
The March issue of Metro features an article on Radio 95Bfm and the increasingly stiff competition it is facing from low power FM stations like Base FM.

"The rise and rise of the low power radio station is putting pressure on the original alternative radio source, bFM. Simon Farrell-Green charts the battle for listeners, advertising dollars - and credibility".

Slave and Otis Frizzell, the breakfast show hosts on Base (and ex BFMers) say that the station is doing well (an estimated 10,500 listeners) saying that "we're big at the prison" - Otis. "That's on two watts of funk and hiphop power. If we had a bigger frequency, it would be game ovaaa" - Slave.

"Look beyond the loopiness of Bfm's commercials, and you'll find a sophisticated media organisation with 17 full-time staff. Many are now wondering whether its anti-mainstream badge has simply become a market position" Article is called "All other radio stations are sh*t?"

Having some inside knowledge of both stations (as a former Bfm DJ of 8 years standing, and as a Basefm dj for the past year), I think the article does a good job, scratching the surface of what must be an annoying irritation for Bfm - that they no longer have a clear-cut monopoly on media irreverance in the Auckland radio scene. It's still a vital station, but the sands are shifting.

OSCARS LIVE: check the Oscars site, click on Video, and they are playing a live feed from the Oscars Press Room backstage, very entertaining. SF Chronicle updates results live too.
UPDATE: via Stuff.co.nz: "New Zealand's Taika Waititi misses out for Two Cars, One Night but should win an award for best nominee reaction shot when he pretended he was asleep when they said his name."


TAKING LEAVE

(Via No rock n roll fun) "The following has been puttering around online today; it's interesting reading, as it appears to be a genuine 'i quit' from a member of staff at Warners:

Today is my last day of working for the Warner Music Group after five years of hard work for very little recognition and a an absolutely laughable salary, considering that the Warners group used to be one of the mightiest record labels in the world and has one of the greatest unexploited catalogues left in the business. However since your acquisition of the Warner Music Group last year there is probably more exchange of information of what is actually happening at any level in this company than at a deaf, dumb and blind convention.

We understand that you took on a huge task to turn around the ailing, forgotten division of AOL Time Warner, but informing the already morale-drained staff (via a third party) that the bonuses that the top five executives took individually equal more than 20 times my total lifetime salaried income (assuming I started at 18 and retired at 60), is somewhat more than insensitive. If you want to make us feel like maggots., you succeeded.

Paul-Rene Albertini gets paid $4 MILLION in total ?? Hello !!! ? The only deals we are all aware of have all LOST money. Walt Disney Records? unrecoupable - it's still more than $15 million in the hole. Milan Records ? A French turkey. Need I go on? What deals has this guy done that actually MADE money? Lyor Cohen - to give his due, he did what he did at Def Jam, hope it works out for Warners.

He should do ..at $5 MILLION. A nice lifestyle guaranteed.

Rhino Records? Since the new order was imposed, Rhino, once the envy of every record company catalogue division has been DECIMATED. Everyone of any value and integrity has been sacked and the catalogue is being whored out to every tin pot reissue cowboy label. We understand you need the money, but only having eyes on the short-term, easy money is not very STRATEGIC

$50,000 license fees for heritage artist repertoire? Big deal, Rhino records as was, would convert that into $500,000 onto our own bottom line. As you are well aware, catalogue assets are going to become BIG business in the next 10 years (quite distinct from digital downloads).

We should be investing more time , money and MANPOWER to exploit the best catalogue repertoire in the world, not starving it into oblivion for the sake of a short-term buck.

From the vicious rumour-mill that has replaced hard fact in this company, we know that Warner is either being leaned down for sale or set for taking over another three-letter-named label (EMI), with the inevitable blood-bath that will follow. I am saddened that I am leaving.

Music is my life; but I am also relieved that I get to leave the company before everyone I know and value for their knowledge, dedication and love of music gets shuffled out of the door. You would not believe the dedication for this company that exists at grass-roots level, and though we are the little people - we ALL make a crucial difference.

Yours Sincerely,
Carlos Anaia

Genuine? Possibly. Carlos Anaia was one of the names who was credited with putting together WEA's Word of Mouth and Future Vintage compilations. Even if it's not an actual resignation, it would be an interesting hoax with a fascinating commentary on the company."

Coolfer adds.... "A source (you've gotta love anonymous sources, eh?) has told Digital Music News that Waner Music Group has been unable to have its balance sheet certified by an outside auditor. Edgar Bronfman must be cursing those ethical bean counters and remembering the good ol' days before the Enron and Arthur Anderson scandal. You can't have an IPO if you can't get those finanical statements in working order.

DMN also has for us a few of the company's $21 million of executive bonuses. Bronfman cashed in a $5.25 million bonus on top of his $1 million salary. Lyor Cohen got $5.24 on top of $1 million. Those two bonuses alone were greater than the company's operating profit."


CURTIS MAYFIELD - Mayfield: Remixed - The Curtis Mayfield Collection. Remixes by Grandmaster Flash, Ashley Beedle, Eric Kupper, King Britt, Mixmaster Mike and others. Audio samples here. Links don't match the audio titles listed, so do some homework. This just makes me want to hear the originals, but will give it a listen when it drops. Out March 15.

More later.