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...

CENTRAL AUCKLAND
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
Laobeijing
Lee Hong BBQ
Pad Thai - 2
Swamy South Indian Foods
Schwarzwald Konditorei
Stop Food Mart - 29
Sultans Table

PONSONBY
0800- Curries

MT EDEN
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



Matis-who?
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.