Friday, April 22, 2005

Songs that make you go Eewww
"We all have songs that we loathe. Now, thanks to a Waikato University study, you've got a chance to tell the rest of New Zealand what they are. The Waikato University Computer Science Department, as part of a research project into musical dislikes, has launched a Kiwi list of the world's worst songs.
Tunes already listed include Racey's Some Girls Do, Song Sung Blue (Neil Diamond), Horse With No Name (America), 50 Cent (In Da Club), Vertigo (U2) and We Built This City (Starship).
The music information retrieval research, by lecturers Sally Jo Cunningham and David Bainbridge, aims to develop systems that will allow people to interact more effectively with their music." - MARY ANNE GILL, Waikato Times

The website to record your choice of worst song is: www.cs.waikato.ac.nz/music


Dunedin student mag Critic sent Aaron Hawkins and Ashley Noel Hinton searching for vinyl - article 'Crate Diggers Union' is here. Good profile of Roi Colbert of Records Records too in same issue. He's selling up.

"After a recent health scare, ending in a kidney transplant, [Colbert] has decided to sell the shop, which, after thirty-five-odd years of trading, has become one of Dunedin’s longest standing locally owned and operated shops, not to mention Colbert’s pride and joy.

“It’s devastating really, because I just love it”, he says. “It has been such a social thing. Friends come in every day; we drink coffee, talk about music. For me, the best thing about having this shop has been meeting people. But my health is more important”."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Pop goes the university academic
Michaelangelo Matos was off last week to Experience Music Project's Pop Music Studies Conference in Seattle. His paper is online here, called All Roads Lead to “Apache” which links Burt Lancaster to Kool Herc, via the Shadows.

Jay Smooth attended and had some good points on the cul de sac that is blogging - "Our music-blogging panel noted an obvious but crucial fact about blogs: they are made for and by people who spend a lot of time on the internet. Among other reasons, this is relevant because when we look for stuff to write about, we tend to draw from the pool of ideas already documented on the internet.
Which means that no matter how tight your news.google game is, you're working from a very limited palette.. cuz less than 1% of the world's ideas are documented anywhere on the internet (much less whichever 10 sites comprise your daily routine)."
O-Dub was in the area too - his wrap up is here.

Nabeel Zuberi, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland (and BaseFM DJ) was presenting a paper there too, called "Brown Skin, Black Masks: UK Asians Process Black Atlantic Sounds". The Seattle Weekly lists a top ten highlights here, including Cecil Brown's "Did She Do Us Wrong? Mae West as White Negress", Kelsey Cowger's "Reading 'Bamp-chicka-waa-waa': Funk, Porn, and the Vision of John Shaft", and a Panel discussion called How to Rock Like a Black Feminist Critic".

Most long winded title for a paper goes to Kimberly Chun, for “Passing, or Through a Glass Dorkily: Adventures in music writing as an Asian American woman from a small, tourist industry-driven island, transplanted in a San Francisco indie/undie-ground where girls will be boyish drag kings, boys will be girls and sport tighty-whiteys as outerwear, and art-noise comes with side of organic ginger-apple pancakes”.
ADDED - Robert Christgau (Village Voice) on EMP Conference.


Hey Joey Ratz....
"14 Thoughts For The New Pope - Condoms. Female priests. Stop gay bashing. And dammit, do something about Christian rock."

Monday, April 18, 2005

I predict a riot.
So, Shihad have got a new album out soon, called Gay Is The New Straight or something, and I saw the new video for their latest single. It's a song call All the Young Fascists, and features the band dressed like young Black Shirts, all very serious. The lyrics gave the impression that its a heavy, deeply felt political song, and their earnest passion moved me so much I had to run to the bathroom and cry and crap at the same time.
Shihad are playing a free concert in Aotea Square for the start of NZ Music Month, late arvo of Sunday May 1st. Imagine if their amped-up mega rock gets the crowd all worked up, then the Police arrive and decide to deal to some of the rowdier elements on the fringes of the audience. Jon Toogood makes some wisecrack about 'wishing that the Police would stop wanking on with their batons', and suddenly everyone in the crowd turns around, sees the cops and before you know it, they are rampaging down Queen St, smashing windows and looting. What a great publicity stunt to launch their album. But that would never happen in our town, right? Right?

Check this - iPod DJ Mixer. Plug in two iPods and you're away.

Simon Grigg had an interesting post on the NZRadio list, now added to his blog, talking about the next big thing musically to come for down here - worth a read.
"I'm willing to bet anything that the next NZ artist to break abroad will not be signed to a major. Fat Freddies as yet unreleased album is creating a major stir internationally already, although they're largely ignored by the mainstream here.."

Went and saw Hitch, the new Will Smith romantic comedy at the movies at the weekend. His love interest is played by Eva Mendes, and I have to say, she has a fantastic ass. That is all.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Girl From Ipanema wants to get paid in full.
From Billboard... The family of the late legendary Brazilian bossa nova guitarist Antonio Carlos Jobim has filed a breach of contract and royalties lawsuit alleging that the rights to many of his famous songs have been wrongly assigned to those who translated them into English.

Lawyers for the widow and three children of Jobim, whose songs include the '60s classic "The Girl From Ipanema," called the practice a "remarkable display of hubris and overreaching."

ADDED check this wicked ad for the new Adidas 1 shoe directed by Spike Jonze.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Tamihere in hospital.
Unconfirmed reports are surfacing regarding John Tamihere being hospitalised late Sunday night with gunshot wounds to his feet. Sources say that Tamihere's injuries are self inflicted. He shot himself in the foot. Twice.


heres the blah on the "Who owns culture?" event, from the NYT.
[ADDED - Lessig's respon
se; "From the continuing-disappointment-that-is-the-NYTIMES department"]

April 9, 2005 Exploring the Right to Share, Mix and Burn By DAVID CARR, NYT.
"The tickets for the event Thursday sold out in five minutes on the Internet, and on the evening itself the lines stretched down the block. The reverent young fans might as well have been holding cellphones aloft as totems of their fealty.

Then again, this was the New York Public Library, a place of very high ceilings and even higher cultural aspirations, so the rock concert vibe created some dissonance. Inside, things became clearer as two high priests of very different tribes came together to address the question of "Who Owns Culture?" - a discussion of digital file-sharing sponsored by Wired magazine, part of a library series called "Live From the NYPL."

Both Jeff Tweedy, the leader of the fervently followed rock band Wilco, and Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor who has opposed criminalizing file sharing, seemed to agree that just about anybody who owns a modem also owns - or at least has every right to download - culture products.

"I don't think anybody should make any money on music," Mr. Tweedy said at one point, only half joking. "Maybe we would pay audiences."

It is a curious sight when a rock star appears before his flock and suggests they take his work without paying for it, and even encourages them to. Mr. Tweedy, who has never been much for rock convention, became a convert to Internet peer-to-peer sharing of music files in 2001, after his band was dropped from its label on the cusp of a tour. Initially, the news left Wilco at the sum end of the standard rock equation: no record/no tour, no tour/no money, no money/no band. But Mr. Tweedy released "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" for streaming on the band's Web site, and fans responded in droves. Wilco then took on the expenses of its tour as a band.

The resulting concerts were a huge success: Mr. Tweedy remembered watching in wonder as fans sang along with music that did not exist in CD form. Then something really funny happened. Nonesuch Records decided to release the actual plastic artifact in 2002. And where the band's previous album, "Summerteeth," sold 20,000 in its first week according to SoundScan, "Yankee" sold 57,000 copies in its first week and went on to sell more than 500,000. Downloading, at least for Wilco, created rather than diminished the appetite for the corporeal version of the work.

Both Mr. Tweedy and Mr. Lessig used their talk to say that the Web, in an age where conglomerated FM radio has squeezed out virtually all possibility of hearing anything worthy and new, is where fans are best exposed to music they might want to buy. And during the presentation (which was streamed live on Wilco's Web site), Mr. Lessig added that the decision to outlaw downloading would have a profoundly inhibiting effect on the creation of culture. He said that in every instance, from the player piano to radio to VCR's to cable, the law had landed on the side of the alleged "pirates," allowing for the copying or broadcasting of cultural works for private consumption. Thus far, both the music industry and the film industry has succeeded in making it illegal for consumers to download their products .

Mr. Lessig said that "the freedom to remix, not just words, but culture" was critical in the development of unforeseen works of art. He pointed to "The Grey Album," produced by the D.J. Danger Mouse, a remix of the Beatles' "White Album" and Jay-Z's "Black Album" that resulted in a wholly new and unexpected piece of music.

"What does it say about our democracy when ordinary behavior is deemed criminal?" he asked. Mr. Lessig and the moderator, Steven Johnson, a contributing editor at Wired, made much of the fact that the discussion was taking place in a library, where much of the Western cultural canon is available free.

Mr. Tweedy has little sympathy for artists who complain about downloading. "To me, the only people who are complaining are people who are so rich they never deserve to be paid again," he said.

Mr. Lessig, one of the philosopher kings of Internet law, and Mr. Tweedy, the crown prince of indie music, traded places more than a few times during the presentation, with Mr. Lessig, who has argued copyright cases before the United States Supreme Court, enthusiastic about the artistic possibilities the Web engenders, and Mr. Tweedy making sapient pronouncements on the theoretical underpinnings of ownership.

"Once you create something, it doesn't exist in the consciousness of the creator," Mr. Tweedy said, telling the audience that they had an investment in a song just by the act of listening. Later, at a dinner at Lever House, Mr. Tweedy suggested that downloading was an act of rightful "civil disobedience."

All of it - high and low culture, Supreme Court rulings and mashed-up video clips ridiculing the president - was eagerly lapped up by the audience, which included musicians like David Byrne and D.J. Spooky, along with a throng of fans who would show up to hear Mr. Tweedy read from a digital phone directory.

Afterward, Alex Sherwin, a 36-year-old graphic designer, said, "It would have been better with a guitar, but I still enjoyed hearing what he had to say." Mr. Sherwin said his favorite CD was a live Jeff Tweedy performance in Chicago, one that had been recorded and distributed with the artist's happy assent."

Friday, April 08, 2005

Some New Zealand music is....
www.somenzmusicisshit.org. "New Zealand is a small country, not a musical sub-branch.
NZ music don't need no pity. We don't have to give it a headstart. Around half of the music we play on RDU happens to be NZ music.
But that's not an act of charity. Our independent radio station has proudly pimped the good stuff - regardless of genre and origin - since 1976. Sure, we have some responsibility to buy drinks for NZ music. But equally, we should tell it when to stop annoying everyone, get in a cab and fuck off home."
From Radio RDU. Bloody genius.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Tunes for days.
MP3 action all over the show... Boom Selection has some Lady Soverign and unreleased M.I.A. Don't tell! Check Scissorkick for a sneak preview of the new Tosca album.

From the Captain's Crate...
"I recently got a pre-release copy of "Gilles Peterson in Africa", where you can find the song Mulatu. It's a 'wikkid' compilation, as to be expected from the 'Best DJ in the World'. Not too many surprises, but strictly solid picks that cover a lot of ground. One disc of 60s and 70's gems, and another of modern club tracks that are keeping the groove alive. If you're a semi-obsessive collector like myself, you'll probably have a lot of the tunes already. If you don't recognize the song titles, then pick it up. Anyway, Gilles came onto my show back in the fall right after "Gilles Peterson in Brazil" came out. It was a real treat for me, and we ended up getting on the topic of Quantic- one of my favorite producers. It turns out that he's currently working on a project with my favorite Ethiopian musical mastermind. I flipped out. I'm still drooling in anticipation of the undoubtedly sick results. You heard it here first (maybe)."

The long rumoured Toy Love album reissue looks likely to drop soon, 15 years after the idea was first suggested, according to the knowledgable Mister Grigg. I've often seen this album on vinyl in Real Groovy and thought of buying it, but its usually way overpriced ($70-100) for an recording that Chris Knox and co have stated they hate (the sound, that is). It's a pretty limp sounding album (compared to their earlier singles), so the reissue should be worth checking if it's been suitably tweaked.

"There was nothing quite like the Saturday afternoons at The Windsor over the spring and summer of 79-80..hundreds of punkish looking teens invading main street of the pristine upper middle class Parnell every week and causing mayhem (not least to my flat..Chris had an unfortunate habit of announcing a party at my place on stage...). Terry Hogan, the man who signed Toy Love to WEA, and myself were running the local record shop, which, in the Stalinistic days of Rob Muldoon, was the only record shop open in Auckland on a Saturday..we closed at 2pm too. In mid 79 we were, thanks to Terry, the first to get the “Rebel” / “Squeeze” single and, with Toy Love playing down the road, we sold a truckload..."
Out April 26, preorder thru SmokeCDs.

From Flying Nuns website..
"TOY LOVE scared me shitless at first. I was 16 or 17 and too young, too straight and way too uptight for that kind of carry on. But I had mates who adored them. And Jane Walker was a third cousin twice removed of my very best friend... so I was practically a member of the band. Thus, at some stage in the early eighties, I trooped along to see them at the Rock Theatre in Wellington. Of all the gigs I ever saw that was the most terrifying. Boots, safety pins, spiked hair, sneers and attitude. Pogo'ing was violence with a beat. A bootgirl had a t-shirt with "fuck off" written on it. Excuse me? Chris Knox was a punk Peter Cushing... so demonic I wanted garlic and a crucifix. It was a cult meeting. I stood at the back appalled, transfixed and utterly in love. I'd seen the future of rock and roll and it was small, white and demented. Pull down the shades? Christ, I felt like someone had lifted them! What would I pay to hear them remastered and issued afresh on cd? Easy: I'd give my Maserati." - JOHN CAMPBELL, TV3 autocue reader, 2005

ADDED Jim emailed me to say that the original Toy Love was selling in Time Bomb Records in Osaka for 12000 yen (about 160 kiwis). Ouch.



McDonalds says an apple a day keeps the lawsuits away...

"In an effort to escape its junk-food image, McDonalds, the company that built its success on fries and burgers, now buys more apples than any restaurant chain in the US. This also gives it enormous power over growers - which could lead to fewer varieties and fewer small producers. Gary Younge on how the golden arches could revolutionise an entire industry.

...McDonalds is already the largest buyer of beef, pork and potatoes, and the second-largest buyer of chicken. With volume comes clout: last year, at an apple-marketing conference organised by the US Apple Association, McDonald's director of quality systems announced that if growers wanted to work with the company, they would have to cultivate more of two varieties of apple in particular: cameo and pink lady. Already, the cameo crop in Washington state is 58% larger than it was last year, according to growers in Yakima Valley.
The interest of McDonald's in healthy eating is not altruistic: it is partly a case of rebranding and partly a defensive manoeuvre against the future possibility of obesity lawsuits..."

McDonalds quietly shut down its restaurant in Auckland Hospital recently due to poor sales. A fast food outlet in a kids hospital - yep, that sent a great message to kids, right?

Monday, April 04, 2005

CONFUSED MESSAGES
Weary of all the Pope coverage blasting across the media? Bet you Graham Capill isn't - took the heat off him nicely, aye? Check this from No RockN Roll Fun...

"While, obviously, during the period of official mourning it'd be a little tactless to criticise the Pope too harshly (we've got a whole future to pick over his record), is anyone else a little surprised at quite how powerful Bono has been in his praise for the man?:

U2 lead singer Bono has paid tribute to Pope John Paul II, calling him the "best frontman the Roman Catholic Church ever had". Bono described the late pontiff - who died on Saturday - as "a great show man, a great communicator of ideas".

Hmm. Is this the same Bono, who has campaigned so strongly for the world to do something about the Aids crisis? Or is this a different Pope he's talking about, one who didn't take a theologically strict line on contraception that in 1988 he said that it wasn't acceptable to use condoms, even to stop the spread of Aids, forcing the US Catholic Church to withdraw its support for them? In 1993, he told a rally of 30,000 young people in Kampala that the only way to put an end to the "tragic plague" was "the sexual restraint of chastity."

We wouldn't have expected Bono to be very tart with the man still warm, but even so... it seems a curious lack of understanding to be praising the life of the man who spent so long communicating such a dangerous idea. Or does Bono not actually think that having someone in such a key spirtitual role spending so much effort condemning something as simple as a condom, something that had such potential to save so many lives, as sinful had any bearing on the numbers of people who need help and treatment today?"

Further views on the late Pope from the BBC over here... "Gay activist Peter Tatchell said the Pope's opposition to condoms to fight Aids "condemned millions to die an agonising, needless death"."


FICTITIOUS HEADLINES...
Terri Schiavo dies
God incandescent with rage
Kills Pope in revenge


FICTITIOUS HEADLINES... the remix
Terri Schiavo dies
GW incandescent with rage
Kills Pope in revenge


George Clinton review coming. Now, get the funk out and let me get on with it.

Thursday, March 31, 2005


"We decided to stop being rappers and become Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young."

Uplifted from Stuff.co.nz cos their archive is crap, but this album is good.
A clean break - 27 March 2005 By Grant Smithies, Sunday Star Times

I'm leaning on a wall outside Auckland venue Studio with bFM diamond geezer Stinky Jim and Breaks Co-Op rapper and beatmaker Hamish Clark. Inside, a slightly off-form Pluto is squeezing out cerebral pop to an appreciative full house. Out here, pissed Westies in dress shirts are queuing to get into the strip bar across the road and a huge Samoan tranny in a short black skirt is pashing a small, well-dressed Asian man as they fall into the back seat of a taxi.

Red-eyed and righteous, their tongues loosened by THC, my two companions are ranting about their favourite subject, and mine - music. The names of inspirational musicians flutter to the dirty pavement alongside the spliff ash: D'Angelo, Freddy Cruger, Lady Sovereign, Nas, The Nextmen, local rappers Dam Native and Tha Feelstyle, Fat Freddy's Drop singer Dallas, the TrinityRoots boys.

As he speaks about the music he loves, Clark cannot keep still. Well over 1.83 metres tall, he weaves and feints like a boxer, punctuating his conversation with his huge dinner-plate hands.

"And what about your own record, mate?" says Jim. "That new single's a pearler." He's referring to "The Otherside", the first radio song lifted from new Breaks Co-Op album The Sound Inside.

It is indeed a pearler - simple yet instantly affecting, its slippery strum and almost gospel harmonies instantly recognisable as Polynesian but also utterly universal. But Clark looks suddenly sheepish. Though he's been talking about other people's albums with all the restraint of a runaway train, analysing his own work is a different proposition entirely. Eventually, he says this: "What can I tell you, bro? We didn't want to make a hip-hop album like the last one. We wanted to try and write some real songs."

He takes another long draw, exhales a pungent cloud. "We decided to stop being rappers and become Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young."

Thank God for that, I say. I wasn't convinced by previous Breaks Co-Op album Roofers from 1997, an album that to my ears tried too hard to be clever, but The Sound Inside got me right from the very first play. Simple and tender, more focussed, with an unpolished home demo quality that's enormously appealing, this album bears witness to Hamish Clark and Zane Lowe, two New Zealanders then living in London, finally finding their rightful sound. And that sound is ballads, me old mate. Love songs, squire. There's barely a rap track on this new album and it's all the better for that.

"To tell the truth, I probably haven't listened to a hip-hop record all the way through since we made Roofers back in 1997," says Clark when I call his Auckland home one night. "Same with Zane, probably. He loves Pavement, Tortoise, Sebadoh and so on, and he's a great guitar player, and I'm a freak for Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Marvin Gaye, Nick Drake, John Martyn and that kind of thing."

Clark followed Lowe to the UK in 1997 with the sole purpose of making a follow-up to Roofers. This wasn't to be. Lowe had just begun the swift ascent to his current position as arguably the most powerful broadcaster in the UK music industry, listened to by millions on his BBC 1 radio show, watched by millions more on his MTV2 show, and so the Breaks Co-Op record languished on the back-burner.

Clark twiddled his thumbs for eight long years. "Life intervened, you might say," he says drily. "I was in a few bands, made tracks with other people, but I've always loved the music me and Zane make together more than anything else. So I waited, and I hassled him, and eventually we started making time to do it. And I think this album has been well worth the wait."

Oh, yes. The best bits of The Sound Inside are very special indeed. "Last Night" takes the chord progression from REM's "Everybody Hurts", adds a few rudimentary bits of vinyl scratching, some subtle dub effects and a fumbling xylophone solo and makes from these unlikely elements one of my favourite songs of the year so far.

Rendered in glorious harmonies, "A Place For You" ponders the importance of creating - both physically and symbolically - a safe area for the person you love to inhabit. "Duet" features the kind of shivering strings and busy bassline that used to back up many a florid '70s ballad, while "Too Easily" is late-'50s west coast cool jazz, rakish and aloof, with its crisp edges eroded by electronics, like Chet Baker adrift in an echo chamber.

Instrumental track "Question Of Freedom" subverts some prog-rock snare-drum and organ noodling with atonal sax blasts, synthesised ray gun sounds and the kind of el cheapo play-by-numbers guitar that might have been lifted from a B52s' record.

Lowe plays most of the instruments on the album, while Clark edits out bad ideas, suggests moods and finds inspirational samples from his sizeable stash of old folk and soul records. New member Andy Lovegrove and good mate Jont Whittington sing on about half the tracks, Lowe the rest.

"This album still has a lot of hip-hop breakbeats on it," continues Clark. "It's just that they're now way in the back, behind the melody. To my mind, there's a strong hip-hop ethos underpinning this record, even though no one would would mistake it for a rap album.

"It's also a record made by men, not teenagers. A lot of records that use breakbeats are made by kids that still have a lot of confusion and aggression to get out of their systems. Me and Zane have both been through that, and now we just want to make some simple music that's beautiful and speaks to you directly." Mission accomplished.

Breaks Co-Op: The Sound Inside (EMI)
'Crosby, Stills, Lowe and Clark' says Mister Smithies. ****
Audio samples at SmokeCDs here.

ADDED
Via Popbitch...
>> No Marley No Cry <<
BBC attempts reggae resurrection

With so many people still surprisingly alive, sometimes it's easy to forget that anyone has actually died. Even the BBC is prone to this problem. One of their researchers contacted the Bob Marley Foundation last week, wanting co-operation in a documentary about the making of No Woman No Cry.

The email says, "... The Story of No Woman No Cry" would obviously only work with some participation from Bob Marley himself. I would be very grateful if you could see whether this is the kind of project that he might be interested in... It would only involve Bob Marley spending one or two days with us to talk about this hit track."

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Some common sense...
Don't blog your boss, from NZ Herald.

"... Defamation and slander aside, where do we stand here in New Zealand? Can you get sacked for posting private thoughts about the office and colleagues on your own website?

Geoff Bevan, a solicitor with Chapman Tripp, says bloggers should be very careful about what they publish. "Although blogs usually take the form of private diaries, as far as the law is concerned they are essentially public documents and bloggers can be sued or face disciplinary action at work if their material causes damage. The law allows employers to dismiss someone if their behaviour (whether at work or after hours) brings the employer into disrepute or undermines the employer's trust and confidence in the employee."

Got beef?
Quote of the last week, from Goldenhorse's singer Kirsten Morell, in the Listener....
Responding to the interviewers suggestion that the band are a terrific bunch of people but intrinsically, compulsively just too darned nice to have a lot of edge to their music, she says "Indie is just so basketed these days. It's a genre I used to really, really like in my teens. Now, it's like, I don't want to be told what to listen to because it's indie. The whole point was that you went and found it. Now it's on TV [she cites Intellectual Property on C4 by way of example] fronted by some minx being as kooky as she can possibly be." Camilla Martin, you kooky - Kirsten says so. Now, will Camilla take it as a diss or a compliment?

And hello person googling for Nathan Haines' girlfriend. Freak.