Tuesday, June 07, 2005

New Zealand hiphop stand the fnck up
Congratulations to Gareth Shute for being nominated as a finalist in the non-fiction section for the Montana NZ Book Awards for his book Hiphop in Aotearoa. Winners anounced July 25 - good luck, fella!

You can vote for his book in the Reader's Choice section here. Click on 'Readers Choice' tag on the lefthand side of page. Get in there!

NZ Idle
I bought the latest Listener at the weekend, wanted to read the interview with NZ Idol judge Paul Ellis. Unfortunately, some idiot at the Listener thought it would be a great idea to get Pam Corkery to do the interview, and she spent the entire conversation (over lunch in a trendy Ponsonby restaurant) getting all excited over Ellis and his famous meetings with various celebrities while he worked for Sony Music in New York. She was especially excited that all those diners sitting around them were also eager to hear their conversation. Poor star-stuck woman.

There is no mention of Ellis role as manager for Ben Lummis and Michael Murphy which is surprising, given the former has just been dropped by his record label, and the latter has vanished off the face of the earth after releasing his album last Xmas. Lummis or Murphy's names don't even come up. It's a slice of journalism worthy of those other weekly rags, like Woman's Day. Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

George Clinton gets the funk back
Musician George Clinton of Parliament/Funkadelic won possession of four master recordings after a 12-year legal fight involving previous business associates.

U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real returned to Clinton masters for the albums "Hardcore Jollies," "One Nation Under a Groove," "Uncle Jam Wants You" and "The Electric Spanking of War Babies." Undisclosed royalties for the albums are expected to be paid to Clinton from an escrow account." (source: LA Times)

NME Editor Conor McNicholas has just been named as Editor of the Year.

"I'VE NEVER been called a twat so many times in my life," says Conor McNicholas. "I've been painted as this bogeyman figure. But there's no grand conspiracy, there's nothing to hide."

These don't sound like the words of a man who's just won the industry's Editor of the Year award and been credited with turning around the fortunes of 53-year-old music weekly New Musical Express. But for the editor of a legendary music magazine like NME, there's a far more demanding, critical and, well, emotional audience to please than his fellow hacks."

Friday, June 03, 2005

Mark Felt (Deep Throat) and Jennifer Dohrn's underwear.
From Democracy Now...

Jennifer Dohrn: I Was The Target Of Illegal FBI Break-Ins
Ordered by Mark Felt aka "Deep Throat".

Mark Felt - who was exposed this week as Deep Throat - was one of only two FBI officials ever to be convicted for ordering COINTELPRO operations. In 1980 he was convicted for ordering FBI agents to break into the home of Dohrn and other associates of the Weather Underground.

He was later pardoned by President Reagan [and had his criminal record wiped clean in 1983]. Jennifer Dohrn discusses the FBI surveillance, break-ins and a secret FBI proposal to kidnap her infant. Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez also reveals that as a leader of the Young Lords that he, too, was also a target of a similar FBI campaign. Link.

"JUAN GONZALEZ: It became clear, I guess in the early 1980s, the extent of this -- of the illegal break-ins and illegal activities. Wesley Swearingen, a former F.B.I. agent, actually testified that he had conducted – he was basically a full-time burglar for many years.
JENNIFER DOHRN: Like 238, or at least, he recorded.
JUAN GONZALEZ: At least 238 burglaries in Chicago and Los Angeles, and that New York there was a special squad of the F.B.I., Squad 47, that was basically assigned to find the Weathermen. Apparently J. Edgar Hoover was obsessed with the Weathermen, as were L. Patrick Gray who then succeeded him. And so, the presumption was that the main reason that they were surveilling you so much and burglarizing your apartments was in search for Bernadine Dohrn and her relationship to the Weathermen, right?"

As the interview draws to a close, this gem emerges...

"AMY GOODMAN: Just before we go, with Jennifer Dohrn still in our studio, I think there was one last story we wanted to hear from you, and that was a trophy that the burglars got when they broke into your apartment.
JENNIFER DOHRN: Right. Apparently on one of the break ins, they took a pair of my underwear and put it in a glass case and gave it as a trophy gift to Mark Felt.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And this was discovered how?
JENNIFER DOHRN: This was discovered – it was actually leaked to me by someone in the press years later who had gone over my F.O.I.A. files."

So, Mark Felt was convicted of Cointelpro operations including countless break-ins, but he is now famous for blowing the whistle on another group of burglars. Ha Ha Ha.

ADDED: Mark Anthony Neal on Mark Felt and Cointelpro.

Long weekend fun'n'games...
If you missed George Clinton back in April, Sunday night sees the return of some of his crew -Bernie Worrell and the P-Funk Allstars with Aja Rock at the Studio on K Rd, debuting her single Boogie Baby, recorded with Clinton and Worrell. It's called the Joker’s Circus. With special guests like LA DJ Isiah Martin, Mikey Havoc, Kourtenay K and drag queens. Best dressed wins a free trip to Las Vegas. Interview with Mister Worrell and Ms Rock in this AM's Herald.

Also Sunday night at the Rising Sun, K Rd, check Givin Up Food For Funk - "
Nine of Auckland's best Funk DJ's are givin' up their Sunday night to play some of the dirtiest and grittiest Funk and Soul tunes to keep your rump bumpin' into the early hours of the Queens Birthday and also to aid the city's homeless and needy.

Entry is by tinned food and blankets, which are donated to the Auckland City Mission. You're Givin' Up Food, so we'll give you some back! The Flossatron 3000 MkII will be on hand dishing out free cotton candy. Join Dunc tha Funk, The Natural Disasters, Selecta Sam, Cesar, Uncle Barnie, Automatic, Darren Souljah and Daniel Ward plus the Flossatron for a huge night of Funk and Soul and bring a ton of food for the Auckland City Mission. It's the Queens birthday, but the mission gets the presents."

New Zealand hiphop stand the fnck up
Props to Gareth Shute for being nominated as a finalist in the non-fiction section for the Montana NZ Book Awards for his book Hiphop in Aotearoa. Winners anounced July 25 - good luck, fella! Hope they fly you to Wellington for the awards ceremony.

Ozzie hiphop stand the fnck up...
Via SOHH... "Reports say Black Eyed Peas frontman Will. I. Am is set to temporarily move to Australia in search of unsigned Hip-Hop acts next year.

Word is Will has been impressed by Australia's flourishing Hip-Hop scene and plans on introducing Antipodean rappers to the rest of the world.

"I'm working something out where I live in Sydney four to six months out of the year to help develop urban acts," Will stated. "We have plans of taking our label to Australia and signing Australian urban acts."

Though Australia has a big Hip-Hop scene, Will was surprised to see that a large number of artists don't have recording contracts. [perhaps cos the Oz music industry don't give a damn about hiphop and never has?]

"Every time we tour there we go out to clubs and there's always these artists. I'm like, 'You ain't got a record deal?' They'd say 'No'. I'd think, 'Damn!,'" Will explained."Seriously, Australia is like my most favorite place to be. People are just nice. It's that simple. It reminds me of LA, but you don't see the crap in the air."

Attention all music producers - you need this plug-in for your computer recording setup - Virtual Studio Visitor (tip of the hat to Dubber). Add that something special to your recordings.

More later.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Peanut butter is coming
US DJ Peanut Butter Wolf from Stones Throw Records hits town tonight DJing at 4.20, tomorrow in Wellington. Few interviews with the man below...

Stop Smiling Magazine: Did Stevie Wonder dig Stevie [the album of Wonder covers Madlib released under his Yesterday's New Quintet alias]?

PBW: I'm not sure he ever heard it. I can tell you that once I was eating at a restaurant in Beverly Hills with my sister, and there were celebrities everywhere. We get in the elevator with Keanu Reeves, Charles Barkley's at a table, and, oh shit, there's Stevie Wonder at the next table! I gotta tell him about Madlib's album. He's at the next table, I don't want to interrupt his dinner. I had a copy of Shades of Blue in the car, so I grabbed that.

He gets up to leave with his manger, and I follow him into the bathroom. And there's, Stevie at the urinal. I told his manager, “I have an album that I want Stevie Wonder to hear, a cover album of all his music.” He says, “This isn't the time or place for this.” Then Stevie calls manager over, and the manager leaves. I asked Stevie if he'd heard of Madlib and he said no. But he'd heard of John Faddis [Madlib's uncle]. I told him Madlib's his nephew, that he experimenting with jazz. I showed him the cover of the Blue Note album, then remembered he can't see [laughs]. I never found out if he checked out the record.

SS: What's the best compliment you've received since starting the label?

PBW: Just that The Source won't review our records [laughs]. They reviewed the Lootpack album and gave it a poor mic review. I thought about using that in a promotional campaign: “Zero mics in The Source.” It's two different worlds. We can get 5 or 6 pages in [a rock magazine like] Spin easier than we can get a review in The Source.

We have a lot fans in Europe. Radiohead's complimented us. The guy from Lord of the Rings, Elijah Wood. I ran into him in an airport and he owned all the records. He was asking what it was like to know Madlib and Peanut Butter Wolf [laughs]. Someone like him, I wouldn't think he would even know about indie hip-hop, but he knew more than me. He was talking about David Axelrod, everything.

also, Undercover magazine interview with PB Wolf.

Anybody else think Dick Hubbard's new Council guidelines for inner city buildings is too little, too late? Take a walk up Hobson st and back down Nelson St, and there's your future. Ugly. As. Fuck.

"Institute of Architects president and taskforce member Gordon Moller said that in the two years since the Council set up the urban design panel to vet buildings, 15 per cent of the 250 applications had been outstanding, 15 per cent were rubbish "that should never have been designed" and the rest were a varying degree of mediocrity."- from NZ Herald.
There are currently 10,000 apartments in central Auckland, with another 4,000 under construction (none of which fall under these new guidelines, as I understand it). There is mention in these new guidelines of making a culture change within the planning dept of the Auckland City Council. But then you take in info like this...

"City planning group manager John Duthie, who has just been promoted to the council's top planning job, defended his staff's decision to rubber-stamp so many poorly designed apartment towers without public scrutiny. At the time they complied with bulk, height and other controls that paid little attention to design matters, he said."
How many apartments? 83 since 1998, of which only 2 were notified for public scrutiny. "
Council planners decided not to give the public a say on the other 81 projects." And there's your democracy right there. Sorry, but this dude deserves to get the boot, not a promotion. Who promoted him? Dick Hubbard?

And give this fool the boot too.... On the Terry Stringer sculpture in Aotea Square, which the Council have decided to 'decommission' as part of the $50M Square revamp...

"It works well in its situation now," says senior arts planner, Warren Pringle, "but it doesn't have a space within the concept of what the upgrade's happening for. The new thinking is the space needs to be free of objects so people can congregate."

Thankfully the public outcry has saved itfrom such a fate. $50 million upgrade and you can't include this sculpture? It's been there for 25 years and provided a community meeting point for a several generations of skateboarders, who cut their teeth skating up and down the sides of Stringer's mountain. It belongs to the people of Auckland, they've claimed it as their own, especially the skateboarders.

Sculptor Greer Twiss says the council's track record with artworks and historic buildings deters him from making any more public artworks. "I'm just fed up with it. I would never do another public work and I know there's a lot of other sculptors who would never try to do another public work. Not because of the people, and not because there aren't good sites, but just because of the general attitude of the city's fathers towards the whole thing."

Twiss' sculpture on the corner of K Rd and Symonds St has a water component, which hasn't worked properly for 15 years. There's the Council's attitude to public art, in a nutshell.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

RIP Oscar Brown Jr.
Most recently heard on the Verve Remixed series, with the killer tune 'Brother Where Are You?'

Singer, songwriter and playwright Oscar Brown Jr. died Sunday in Chicago after a brief illness, his family said. He was 78. Brown was hospitalized in mid-April following emergency surgery to stop the spread of an infection in his lower spine. Before the surgery, he had complained of severe pain and suffered paralysis to both of his legs.

He had been released but was readmitted about two-and-a-half weeks ago and died at St. Joseph Hospital from complications of the illness, said his niece, Lauren Hudson. "Although we will miss him deeply, he has left a wealth of works that will continue to touch the world," his daughter, Maggie Brown, said in a statement.

Brown is known for his compositions "The Snake," "Signifyin' Monkey" and his lyrics for Miles Davis' "All Blues." Early in his career, Brown shared the bill with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane. Brown, who was active in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, also ran and lost twice for political office - first for the Illinois legislature and later for a seat in the U.S. Congress, according to his Web site. Along with his wife, Jean Pace Brown, he is survived by one son, four daughters and grandchildren. From Chicago Sun Times.

From AMG bio for Brown...
The multi-talented Oscar Brown, Jr. wrote several classic pieces, including the lyrics to "Dat Dere," "Work Song," "Watermelon Man," and "The Entertainer" (the latter a bittersweet biography of Scott Joplin); and the compositions "Signifyin' Monkey" and "But I Was Cool."

An important social commentator and playwright, Oscar Brown, Jr. acted on a regular network radio soap opera while in high school. After a wide variety of careers (including public relations, real estate, ad copy, and running unsuccessfully for political office), he became a professional songwriter, starting with "Brown Baby" (which was recorded by Mahalia Jackson) and collaborating with Max Roach on the "Freedom Now Suite."

A dramatic singer, Brown was signed to Columbia in 1960, where he recorded several classic albums. In 1962, he was the MC on the legendary Jazz Scene USA television series (some episodes of which have been made available on video). Brown performed on and wrote many shows through the years, and served as artist-in-residence at several colleges. After recording steadily, he was off records altogether during 1975-1994, until returning with Then & Now for the Weasel Disc label in 1995, a disc full of both fresh remakes and new material.

Check NZ On Air's page about NZ Music Month. Notice something badly wrong with it? Here's a clue... "NZ Music Month is coming ... ! May 2004 will be NZ Music Month again and this time, the colour will be GREEN." In the words of Nelson Muntz (from 'the Simpsons') HA HA!

Monday, May 30, 2005

What's your favorite vice?
Blagged a ticket to the Vice Magazine launch party down on Quay St, cos I was too broke to play with the cool kids at the BNet Awards, boo hoo. The Weekend Herald described the launch party as "full of beautiful people and cool bands", and I was discussing said beautiful people with a journo I ran into at the event, and we both agreed that the beautiful people all dress like crap - the women dress down, and the men just look scruffy, especially you over there in the swandri shirt. Whatever happened to dressing up to go out?

Managed to grab a few copies of the magazine - they were cleverly hidden in neat piles at the bottom of the pillars in the middle of the room, but were rapidly disappearing under a filthy mound of empty beer bottles (see pic above left). Slave was spinning the tunes, which made the event slightly more palatable. Reports were that the organisers had handed out 1200 tickets for a venue that fitted 300.

The launch issue is basically the Oz edition with a few local tweaks and ads. It's the Music Issue, features such great stories as "Dead musicians: corpses are more productive". You need that, right?
Most notable slice of local content - Ruban Nielson from the Mint Chicks admitting that the first time he heard Black Sabbath was while making out with a girl in high school on a trampoline. Speaking of headlines, the aforementioned journo hit me up with this one, a Star Wars Ep. III review with the headline "You can't be Sidious?" That's genius.

NZ Music Month Promo Tips #79.
How to get your band's new CD noticed during Music Month is an ongoing dilemma facing local acts. The latest take on getting some press is the celebrity girlfriend angle, so successfully worked by Shelton Woolright of Blindspott. Unfortunately he's just been dumped by celebrity girlfriend, and as there isn't enough time left in NZ Music Month to find a replacement celebrity girlfriend, he's done the next best thing - sell his soul, I mean sell his story to a woman's magazine, and land the front cover. It's told 'in his own words' and features his own personal private snaps of him and the ex. Nice work.

ADDED: Robyn breaks down the story... "On their early courtship: "I never thought Nicky was interested in me. We were simply mates and when she asked me to go to [the Erotica expo] again the following day, I was happy to go."

Pope watch
via Popbitch... Rome's gay scene is buzzing with the rumour that Pope Benedict XVI has a secret priest lover. The money is on... his 55 year old ex-secretary Josef Clemens.

"More widdle-stained pants at Viacom, fast shaping itself up to win a reputation as better at censorship than the Stalins. They'd booked Nine Inch Nails for the MTV Movie Awards, but then insisted that Trent couldn't stomp about in front of George Bush backdrop. Trent responded with a statement, and a pull-out:

"Apparently the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me."

Via No Rock'n'Roll Fun.

Some light reading... Joan Didion on Terry Schiavo in the New York Review of Books.

Friday, May 27, 2005

48 Hours
Went to the screening of Group Ten of the 48 Hour Film Competition last night - some of my music ended up in an animated short called 'Little Red Riding Hood and Dr Wolf: The Extreme Makeover Edition'. Looked great projected on the big screen at the Civic. The competition involves teams making a 5 min short film in 48 hours - they get given a genre, a prop (this years was a banana), a character (Bodil De Rezny, animal lover) and a line of dialogue ("Please don't do that").

Other notable entries included the group who got Disney Family Movie as their genre, and made a delightful film called 'Khristmas with the Khunts' about the Khunt family - yes, the H is not silent. They were getting kicked out of their home by property developers, so the father reassured the family it would be all right - "don't worry, Khunts stick together!" And sure, enough, they did.

Last years winner Radar is one of this years judges, watching 5 and half hours of shorts every night this week, poor bugger. He wrote about it in his column this AM in the Herald...

"...Many of the films are brilliant. Some are bad. A few are brilliantly atrocious, which makes them all the more enjoyable. It has, however, made me realise that election campaign advertisements and party political broadcasts should be produced in the same way. Each party should be given 48 hours to come up with a range of short films showcasing its policies. Each film must contain an explanation of economic policy using a real pie and contain a line of dialogue stating "and that's a promise". "

The Top 12 Shorts from AK screen at Civic Theatre, Sunday May 29th, Doors Open 8pm
Tickets Available from Ticketek from May 5th - Always very popular, book in advance

The Live National TV Final on C4, SUNDAY JUNE 12, 9pm
The Top 5 films will screen, one from each city, plus a wildcard
Everyone can txt vote for their favourite film shown on C4
Overall Grand National Winner of the 2005 48HOURS will be revealed

Simon Grigg lists the bands he unreservedly hates. Well worth a read. First up, Dire Straits. "If the National Party were a band, they’d sound like this." He also gets stuck into Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, to name but a few.

As an aside, he also gets round to talking about the Fat Freddy's Drop album... "It’s not my cuppa…it’s pleasant enough, and its hit a nerve in NZ, but it still sounds to me like a feral (what is it with the feral thing in NZ right now…can musicians no longer afford soap) UB40 infused with a touch of Stevie Wonder, which is better tha
n The Black Seeds, who remind me of UB40 with Nick Kershaw on vocals. But I think its bloody fantastic that it’s number one, with all that implies for independent music and the future of musical expression in this country. You don’t have to like a record to support it.."

From Coolfer... "There's a lot of spin out there. A lot of laziness in chosing words. People could do better. Here are some translations.

Quote: "I think shareholders are the great evil of this modern world."
Translation: "I've been reading some literature given to me by Oxfam, and I'd like to think that record labels are inherantly different than other businesses and shouldn't care so much about the bottom line."
What should have been said: "Like many musicians, I cannot reconcile two immutable facts of the music business: That is is indeed a business, and that artists like myself would rather enjoy my celebrity status and my celebrity wife than act in a manner more befitting of my public statements -- such as starting my own record label or signing with an independent." [Like this big-name band, perhaps?]
• Inspiration: A direction quote from Coldplay's Chris Martin.

The rebound of internet radio, in the Village Voice

Via Boingboing "NPR's Rick Kleffel did a long interview with Chuck "Fight Club" Palahniuk which he ended up getting cut down prior to airing, due to Pahlaniuk's hilarious, R-rated side-remarks about his fans and their odd habits and confessions, as well as his fiction. The interview is up in an unexpurgated MP3 and definitely worth a listen." Over here. [note: it's a 39.6MB file]

And finally, Glorious Noise interviews the Music Supervisor for The OC...

GLONO: Oh yeah, I know. Hey, one final question.

Patsavas: Uh oh.

GLONO: Any chance you can kill off Marissa?

Patsavas: I love Marissa.

GLONO: She's got to die.

Patsavas: No way, I love Marissa. I do.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

John Williams must die
And there's your four-word Star Wars review. Dialogue so wooden you could build several decent-sized suburbs outta it. Acting not much better. But it's all about spectacle, right? No witty one liners like back in the day with Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. This puppy has dialogue flogged from sources as disparate as GW Bush and Frankenstein.

For your amusement...
Q. What is the quickest way to get a music critic in bed?

A. Send them the new White Stripes advance LP.

from Nerve.com: Sex Advice from Music Critics

but wait, there's more!
Sex Advice from Bloggers
Sex Advice from Publicists
Sex Advice from Stand-Up Comedians
tip of the hat to Brooklyn Vegan.

Coolfer follows the Bob Mould story linked yesterday. "Modern technology has again run up against good ol' business realities. At his blog, Bob Mould wrote about two websites that were posting his new album in its entirity and how he contacted them to request its removal. One, he wrote, had "respectfully removed the content."
Mould: "For the record: this project has taken me 3 years (on and off) to complete, with a price tag of around $50,000. ... There was no evil label paying these costs - I write the checks. I get paid on records sold. This is how I do my business. The price tag doesn't account for my own time and effort, for which I typically get paid fairly well. After 26 years on the job, I have earned my keep."

Also from Coolfer, Go team have signed to Columbia/EMI in the US.

"UK cartoony cheerleaders The Go! Team have inked a deal with major label powerhouse Columbia Records. After weeks of dinner dates with A&Rs from various labels at Warner, Atlantic and both of the Sonys, the buzz band closed with Columbia Records and EMI for publishing. Their sample-heavy tracks are supposedly giving EMI a major headache, especially considering none have been approved and the album has as of yet been released in the U.S.

And just when we thought hip hop was on it's way out, Epic Records has picked up Hasidic reggae rapper Matisyahu. The Hasidic rapper will be appearing at Bonnaroo with album release scheduled for early fall."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Outbreak of Orwellian logic attacks Writers Fest organisers
When is a presale ticket not a presale? When its a ticket to the Writers and Readers Festival.
Get this - I went to Ticketek on Friday to buy a ticket for an event at the Writers Festival on Saturday evening. They no longer had any presales, only door sales, plus a $2 service charge for venues outside the Edge (Aotea Centre, Town Hall etc) and of course, the event is not on their door!

It is accepted practice throughout the English-speaking world that a presale ticket means you buy it before the event, and a door sale ticket is bought at the door of the venue. Except if you are the organisers of the Writers and Readers Festival. Presales stopped when the Festival started on Thursday night, thus making you pay more for door sales, even if you are not buying the ticket from the door! What a briliant scam! Hope it makes the organisers Peter Wells and Stephanie Johnson incredibly rich.

Anyways, Dancing About Architecture was an interesting talk-fest. Graham Reid observed that the interview is the most interesting thing some musicians will ever do, listing Tommy Lee and Deedee Ramone as examples. Reid said that the space for music writing was diminishing, and record reviews of something that a musican had spent two years slaving over were getting 150 words in most magazines, 250 in the Herald. "I can clear my throat and that's 600 words alone", Reid said.

There was some discussion on the notion of a writer being generous in reviews, with Reid saying that wasn't up to a reviewer to offer constructive criticism. He said that musicians should go to their manager, their record label, for that - by the stage he gets the CD in his hands, it's a finished artifact. A reviewers job is to frame it in a current reference.

Nick Bollinger weighed in on this, talking about being generous vs the glib putdown. He gave an example, saying that the shortest review he ever wrote was of a David Crosby record, which he wouldn't tell us what the review said, but told us the album was called Oh Yes I Can.

Hats off to the audience member who managed to get the phrase 'socio-cultural theory' into his question.

33 days and counting
It's now 33 days since Joey Ratz was elected as Pope. One more day and he will have outlasted Pope John Paul I. Cross your fingers.

The Go! Team tunes on myspace.com, plus tour dates, even making it down to Australia in July - please, someone get em over the ditch to NZ!

Vice Magazine arrrives in NZ end of this month - hold on to your brain, this sheeet will fry it in 30 secs minimum. Published in US/CA/UK/Aus/Germany/Italy/Japan. Their Do's and Dont's lists are genius. Try this for size - The Corporatization of Drum Circles.

Bob Mould
is not happy, here's why... "This past weekend, I was alerted to two websites that are illegally distributing the entirety of my new album. (UPDATE: One site has respectfully removed the content.)"

Need a laugh? NZ Idol winner Ben Lummis has been dropped by his record label. Surprised? Thought not.
Bono and his incredible exploding ego.
Via Coolfer, a long interview with Bono, titled..

Bono: 'We need to talk'
"U2's frontman sits down with Greg Kot to 'clear the air' about negative reviews, the band's direction and the role of rock 'n' roll."

Heard some of a very interesting interview with longstanding local musician Rodger Fox on BFM's Jazz Show, hosted by that knowledgable young chap Sean Grattan.

Fox was talking about the current state of the music scene here, saying that he thought the various government initiatives like the Music Industry Commission and so on were on the wrong track, throwing money at 4 or 5 bands. He recalled the 70's and early 80's when he was in Quincy Conserve, describing that as a time when we had a proper music industry that supported a wealth of musicians, unlike now, in his opinion.

Back then, he said there was a brewery circuit that bands could go out and play and make a decent living. Fox said he was often playing 5 nights a week, and earning more than his father, who was a schoolteacher and head of the music dept at a high school. The brewery circuit developed from a time when the breweries owned a large number of pubs around the country and also handled the bookings for live entertainment - Fox said this eventually fell apart when the breweries decided to get out of owning property in the early 80s, and pub owners took over booking bands.

Fox suggested that if instead of throwing money at a smalll handful of bands, if the government schemes went towards creating a live circuit, then say 200 bands could be out there working and making a decent wage from being a musician, just like a nurse or a mechanic. Nowadays, if you are on a band, you can only play live in your own town once a month or so.

Friday, May 20, 2005

How many TV reporters roll like this? Not many, if any
... and probably with good reason. Saw Te Radar's Timor Oddysey documentary show last night, it's brilliantly funny, well worth checking out. Radar provides live narration to the doco as it screens. It originally screened a few years back at the Comedy Festival, and this new version features tighter editing and some tasty music from Jason Smith and Ed Cake. The NBR called it "A voyage of extreme bravery and stupidity".

If you aint heard the premise, it goes a little like this... Radar and chum Aaron set off for East Timor via Oz, drive across the middle of Oz in the wet season thru numerous flooded roads, and then arrive in Darwin, where Radar talks his way onto a UN plane to Dili with nothing more than a TVNZ Visitors pass and a lot of cheek. If only more current affairs tv here took the same attitude, we might have something intelligent to watch (that means you too, Simon Dallow).
On tonight and Saturday at the Silo Theatre, Auckland, and he's taking it round the country too. More info here.

Aslo, out and about this weekend, at the Writer's Festival, you can catch this..
Co-Offenders: A Gang of Three.
"New Zealander Chad Taylor's edgy novels are appreciated around the world. He joins fellow dark imaginers English author Mark Billingham and locally based South African crime writer Zirk van den Berg. They talk about the intricate art of putting together the most entertaining crime". Saturday, 8pm at the Hilton, Princes Wharf. More here.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Apple for the teacher
Last night on tv, I saw an ad for iTunes and iPod, ends with 'apple.co.nz' text onscreen - is the launch finally about to happen here? Been delayed in Oz due to one of the majors dragging their feet. Russell Brown mentioned this three weeks ago - at that stage, Apple NZ was saying 'we know nothing' all very Sgt Schultz.

ADDED - Eating out?
Check Closeup's list of 79 dodgy eateries in Auckland - all got an E rating for standards of hygiene (that's a fail). Here's a few...

AK Indian Sweets & Snacks
Beijing Café
Bombay Blues
Cheer Top Trading Limited
Good Fortune Restaurant
Ginza Sake Bar
IDA Noodle Hut
JR Wholesale
Jia Hwa - 7
Khao Limited
Lee Hong BBQ
Pad Thai - 2
Swamy South Indian Foods
Schwarzwald Konditorei
Stop Food Mart - 29
Sultans Table

0800- Curries

Silver Bell Market

RELATED LINKS (from Closeup)
These council sites provide up-to-date ratings for restaurants. As at March 2005, North Shore City Council's Website did not list the restaurants online, but plans to do so in the future.

Waitakere City Council Food Grading Results

North Shore Food Grading Page
(Information only: results to appear in the future)

Auckland City Council - search by street name or restaurant

Manukau City

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

DJ Sirvere gets back to basics
After yesterdays depressing news on Staple mag's impending closure comes this slice of good news...

"Satellite Media and Dawn Raid Entertainment have announced the re-launch of New Zealand Hip Hop magazine Back2Basics.
Satellite Media currently produce New Zealand's version Top Of The Pops, Coke Countdown and Coke New Releases in addition to publishing Rip It Up.
Dawn Raid have built up an empire which includes a record label, a clothing manufacturer, a hair salon and are venturing into publishing.

Back2Basics will be re-launched with a fresh look and feel, and a new editor, in the form of local Hip Hop mogul DJ Sir-Vere. Sir-Vere started out on 95bFM's True School Hip Hop Show, and now fronts the Holla Hour on C4. He is co-founder of the Aotearoa Hip Hop Summit and compliled the albums for the Major Flavours series.

Back2Basics launches on September 1st." From nzmusician.co.nz.

We saw 'Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy' last night, very amusing. If Chad Taylor was still blogging, he'd write something entertaining about it... hang on, he did, a few weeks back in the SST. Oh. (ADDED: Chad kindly sent me the link to it, in all its untrimmed glory - couldn't find it on the SST's website.)
Great casting, esp Mos Def - his first appearance involves going to an English country pub and ordering six pints, three for him and three for his mate Arthur Dent. Then Mos proceeds to knock back his pint as fast as he can. Skull, Mos Def, skull! Worth the price of admission alone.

THIS JUST IN... Fat Freddy's Drop hold onto number one album slot on the national charts - five of the top ten releases are NZ. (via Radioscope). Savage is still at number one on ther singles chart for the seventh week in a row.

1 Based On A True Story - Fat Freddy's Drop - TheDrop/Rhythm
2 Trouble - Akon - Universal
3 Love Is The New Hate - Shihad - WEA/Warner
4 The Sound Inside - Breaks Co-Op - Capitol/EMI
5 In Between Dreams - Jack Johnson - Universal
6 Playground Battle: Bonus Ed - the feelers - WEA/Warner
7 Il Divo - Il Divo - SBME
8 Love, Angel, Music, Baby - Gwen Stefani - Universal
9 Songs About Jane - Maroon 5 - SBME
10 Out Of The Moon - Goldenhorse - Siren/EMI

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

While Matisyahu was in Austin playing at SXSW recently, his other SXSW highlights included "spotting Elijah Wood, Jessica Simpson's dad, and Karl Rove and Karen Houghes (ok, we didn't see the last two, but all our friends did!)". Matis -who? Read on.
Matisyahu has the distinct advantage of cornering one particular genre - beatboxing Hasidic reggae MCs. Here's the live video to prove it.

From Rolling Stone: "He sticks to his virtues," says D'niscio Brooks, an organizer of New York's massive summer Reggae Carifest, which Matisyahu will headline. "When I first heard Matisyahu, I was taken aback, just at the thought of a Hasidic Jew doing reggae . . . but he's so authentic."

"He can really rip," agrees hip-hop producer and bassist Yossi Fine (David Bowie, Me'Shell Ndege-Ocello), who is himself part Israeli and Afro-Jamaican Jew. "He's extremely fierce, jumping around the stage. The only difference between him and a Jamaican rapper is that he takes the lyrics from the Bible instead of from Rasta. He changes 'Jah' to 'Hashem' [Hebrew for God]."
Reminds me a bit of Snow (remember 'Informer'?) crossed with RATM's singer.
Brookyln Vegan reviews a recent gig at a sold-out Iriving Plaza in NY. Quote; "When someone first offered me two free tickets to see a Hasidic Jew who sings reggae, I assumed it was a joke (see 2 Live Jews). Then I watched the video on Matisyahu's official site, and realized he was more than for real. He was actually really good."

There's a live clip of his latest album on MTV here. His band are more lightweight Sublime than say Bad Brains; maybe a horn section would give their sound a bit more flavour.

Here's video of Matisyahu's national television debut (performance and interview), in which he braves the tauntings of Scott Baio and Kevin Nealon on Jimmy Kimmel's TV show. You gotta wonder if he will last past the sheer novelty value of his appeal Scott Baio gets smart by asking him how does he grow a beard like that, cos Scott has been trying to grow one. Matisyahu answers by telling Scott the trick is to stop shaving. Musically, there's no doubting his sincerity, but the way media works, he will get chewed up and spat out, in all probability...

Matisyahu's story is almost as interesting as his talent....
"Matisyahu, the 25-year-old Hasidic Jew who is a rising star on the reggae music scene, is no novelty. He is part of a growing wave of young Jewish performers who have merged their religious interests with contemporary musical styles. His peers include So Called, a rapper who rhymes in Yiddish; Balkan Beat Box, a group that blends hip-hop and electronic dance beats with Israeli and Eastern European music; and Golem, a post-punk rock band with a strong klezmer influence....

A few days later at his home in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, Matisyahu discussed his unusual journey. Named Matthew Miller by his parents ("Matisyahu" roughly means "Matthew" in Hebrew), he grew up in White Plains, N.Y., in a Reconstructionist Jewish household.

"I've always wanted to sing," he said. "I participated in gospel choirs, performed in theater productions — anything that would enable me to sing." He left high school at 17 to follow the jam band Phish around the country."

From NY Daily News interview... "Any listener who hasn't been warned about the singer Matisyahu has the same reaction when they first see him. "They laugh," says the singer. "They think it must be a joke." After all, it's not every day you see a guy in the black suit of a Hasid singing and rapping over swaying reggae melodies, goosed by a hip-hop beat. "This is my path," the singer explains. "It's how my influences unfolded."

And of course, he is the cause of much blog-angst among young Jewish bloggers which is fascinating. Example; "During Matisyahu’s Boston’s gig on Chanukah my friend Jamie summed it up: "this man can make tzitsis cool!" Or "Matisyahu successfully takes reggae and elevates it, infusing it with kedusha."

ADDED listening right now to author/indie label lackey/internaional librarian of mystery Gareth Shute on BFM, he's talking about music journalism in NZ - he's part of a panel called Dancing About Architecture, Writing About Music at the Writers Festival this weekend. 6pm this Saturday, at Maritime Museum, with Gareth, Nick Bollinger and Graeme Reid, chaired by Chris Knox. And BFM host Noelle M just dropped the bombshell that she's heard that Staple magazine is closing down - stink! One of the top magazines in NZ, gone in a flash.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

How many journos generalise like this? Too many, if any
Gross generalisation alert

This stinker comes from Sydney Morning Herald's Katrina Lobley - an article on Scribe and P-Money, titled 'Fish packer to globe trotting rapper'.

"... With P-Money producing, the pair made Scribe's 2003 debut disc, The Crusader. Its music is the closest thing Australasia has to American rap, but thankfully without the crotch-grabbing, gun-toting nonsense that goes with it."

I love it when people with no working knowledge of hiphop drop this kind of lame generalisation. Its like saying that all rock music is about getting drunk, shagging and shooting up. And all country music is about beating your wife and getting drunk on cheap whiskey. And all jazz is about getting stoned in an odd time signature. And all indie rock is about breaking up with your girlfriend/fighting with your girlfriend/wishing you had a girlfriend/getting wasted on cheap drugs and whining about your girlfriend.

Lobley also notes that P-Money has made several trips to the home of hiphop, New York.

"He has returned many times, which explains the slew of American voices, such as [Roc] Raida's, that rhyme hard and fast on P-Money's album from last year, Magic City."

Cept that Roc Raida is a DJ, not an MC (vocalist). A bit of fact checking aint that hard, especially when she mentions that Roc Raida was a judge at a DJ battle P-Money entered a few sentences earlier. A few minutes on Google can save you a lifetime of embarrassment. Yes, Roc Raida is on Magic City - will check the liner notes and see on this.

Scribe and P-Money are touring Oz this month, then trying their luck in the UK - good luck to those fine fellas, I say.

just for the hell of it - vai FMR...

P-MONEY's Top 5 Hip Hop Tracks
1. Welcome To The Terrordome – Public Enemy
2. Peter Piper – Run DMC
3. New York State Of Mind – Nas
4. Not Many Remix – Scribe
5. Ghetto Thang – De La Soul

P-MONEY's Top 5 Non Hip Hop Tracks
1. Nautilus – Bob James
2. Tainted Love – Soft Cell
3. Misty Frequencies – Che Fu
4. We Need A Resolution – Aaliyah
5. One Step Ahead – Split Enz

Also on the local hiphop theme, nice to see Campbell Live doing a NZ Music Month special last night. Odd tho, that John Campbell ran thru a section on recent breakthru acts, listing Dei Hamo, Fast Crew, Scribe, Misfits of Science and Adeaze, noting their chart successes, but failed to state the obvious - they were all hiphop/r&b acts, and this local trend mirrored the global one where hiphop is the biggest selling genre on the planet. Rock is dead or so Chris Knox said, and now it's all a part of history...

Ska for the Skeptical
, an interesting little primer. Checked out Tofu Hut's audioblog list? Primo.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Audioblog madness.
Further to yesterdays post... Tofu Hut goes link crazy. Perhaps they just want to drive Hilary Rosen nuts after her ridiculous rant at Apple. Only the former head of the RIAA (Recording Industry Assoc of America) could find something bad to say about the iPod. She's one of the few celebrity bloggers at hotspot Huffington Post that looks remotely interesting.

This from Coolfer... "Check Arianna Huffington's new celeblog, The Huffington Post, launched recently to many jeers and few cheers. (Short blasts of political opinions by people who haven't learned how to create a hyperlink...yeah, that's what the country needs.) One post that actually got Coolfer's attention was an attack on Apple by former RIAA chief and former media punching bag, Hilary Rosen."

Course, the beauty of blogging is you get comments running under each post, creating a dialogue with your audience. In Rosen's case, she gets torn apart, with posters pulling apart her argument piece by piece under Howie Kleins (former President of Reprise/Warner Brothers Records) response at Huffington, with comments enabled - correction - just checked again, the comments have been removed. How timid is that? Try Slashdot instead. The Register picks Huffington as being satire, like the Onion. Makes sense.
ADDED: Corante dissects Hilary Rosen's blah, with entertaining comments.

The doco was easily one of the top ten docos ever made, but now the fictionalised Hollywood version is coming... Lords of Dogtown. Sketchy-ass trailer....

No rock'n'roll fun reports - "Wayne Casey, or KC of the Sunshine Band, fell off stage during Phoenix's Cinco De Mayo celebrations. (Arizona, apparently, is now in Mexico). KC ended up with a sprained knee and six stiches above the eye, and he blames it all on the wrong shoes:

"I left my shoes at the hotel and had to perform in a new pair," Casey, who is recovering at his Miami home, said in a statement Monday. "I picked the wrong pair of Boogie Shoes!"

Recent interview with Ike Turner (Real Audio) from WFMU: "The R&B godhead reveals the allure of the whammy, the meaning of "bootie lips", and the wisdom of Miss Boozie on Fool’s Paradise with Rex." In the opening 30 mins of the show. WFMU are also up on that podcasting ish Dubber is always going on about.

Breathe deeply, and relax...
In case you missed this in the Herald. Think walking to work makes you healthier? You are breathing in air that's more polluted than in LA or London. And it might just kill you.

"Toxins such as carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons and fine particulates are blamed for the premature deaths of 400 New Zealanders a year, including 250 Aucklanders. They exacerbate respiratory and heart conditions, lower resistance to colds and flu, cause countless lost working days and add to hospital admissions ... The Niwa roadside study in 2003 put Auckland's carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon levels well ahead of Los Angeles and London."

AND THIS JUST IN... (added 3pm) Fat Freddy's album debuts at Number 1 in the national album charts, with Shihad at number two. According to Medianstrip it's the first time in chart history that an independently distributed album has gone to number one. As I predicted, it's gone gold. Congrats all round.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Who got the RZA?
Tofu Hut goes all out on the RZA from Wu Tang Clan, highlighting his wicked production on the movie soundtrack for Ghost Dog, including some MP3's. Niceness. Sample...
"Read this May '04 interview with Rizz in which he talks about how he met Jarmusch and read this December '04 interview where he talks about studying Danny Elfman." Dropping knowledge like Britney's dropping babies.
More later.

Monday, May 09, 2005

To the stupid moron who broke into my car at the weekend.
I curse you with endless bad luck. You broke into the oldest, beat up car in the parking building (mine), and found... nothing. A crappy old tape deck, no money, and now my lock is totally busted. Damn you, moron. Least you didn't take my Barry White tape.
The Martin Emond retrospective at Illicit HQ Basement is outstanding, well worth a look - it's overwhelming just how much incredible work Marty turned out before he departed. And I caught up with Gavin Downie (ex Picassos) - Gav, if you're reading this, bloody good to see you, fella! Take it easy in the States and don't lose your New Zild accent completely, ok?.

Great article on Fat Freddy's Drop from Grant Smithies in the SST, plus Chris Knox interview on Toy Love. Also over here(FFD) and here (CK) if SST has hidden them behind their stupid archive.

Another great tour diary entry from James Milne of the Brunettes in Saturday's Herald, as they chug around the US, with absolutely no support whatsoever from any NZ govt agency. Nice Nick Cave interview there too, apart from this appalling typo,..
"... He hasn't been intentionally avoiding us but, as this is an extendion of his Australian tour, he's managed to make it include us and says it will be a pleasure."
To the Editor of The Weekend Herald
Your subeditors need a payrise immediately, cos clearly they just aint getting paid enough to care. Please amend this dire situation promptly. Thank you.

Via Boing Boing...
Louie Louie ban lifted
"Yesterday, I posted that a middle school marching band in Michigan was banned by the school superintendent from performing Louie Louie. Band members and parents complained to the Board of Education and the ban was lifted. From the Detroit Free Press:

"Based on them granting permission and the multiple versions of the song, the students will march in the parade and play "Louie Louie," (the superintendent) said in a news release... The FBI spent two years investigating the lyrics on the Kingsmen's recording before declaring they not only were not obscene but also were "unintelligible at any speed." Link
plus more from Chicago Sun Times.

Get your Iggy Pop and Parliament covers sung in Spanish, right here....

ADDED McDonalds goes on the defensive over The Green's New Zealand Children's Food Awards 2005 and come off like whining little money grubbers in the employ of Satan. Nice.