Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Fat Freddy's get 4/5 stars in the Observer, prior to their forthcoming UK/Europe tour. Any NZ dates before they take off?
Fat Freddy's Drop, Based on a True Story
By Neil Spencer, Sunday June 19, 2005 .
Debut set from the urbane New Zealand fusioneers.
"Reckoned a super group back home in New Zealand, the 'Drop have won an international following with their crisp blend of soul and dub, with DJs Gilles Peterson and OMM contributor Charlie Gillett among their UK champs. Restraint and poise aren't the only qualities they bring to a fusion scene inclined to cliche and over-egged production. They have a horn section that purrs and glides, a sweet-voiced frontman, one Joe Dukie, who can croon and ache, and a classy way of mixing sonic action and accomplished playing. From the deep-dub opener, 'Ernie', to the soulful closing number, 'Hope', the group's debut is a slow-burn winner."
The album has been in the NZ album charts since its release in early May, and hasn't left the top ten, unlike, say, Shihad. Go the indies! (Should point out that when Shihad start touring in July their album will probably race back up the charts - at the moment it's not even top 20)
ADDED Russell Brown has already noted the Aussies are trying to claim Michael Campbell as one of their own, now this gem from The Australian...
"... The win triggered pandemonium in New Zealand, where four million people, including his father Tom, were stationed in front of their television sets..."
So, were you one of the four million watching Campbell win? Or were you at work, like the rest of us? DJ Sirvere dedicated the final video of the Holla Hour last night to Campbell, saying that not only did he win, not only did he beat Tiger Woods, but he got paid. The video was Dam Native's song The Son (from 1997), which namechecks Campbell. When's that new Dam Native album out?
Monday, June 20, 2005
Cross-marketing is a bitch
From yesterday's SST...
"A DVD produced by Destiny Church leaders Brian and Hannah Tamaki has been sent to the chief censor for classification because of its overt political and anti-gay content.
The Tamakis produced the giveaway DVD, New Zealand, Nation Under Siege, which they plan to take on tour this week. But they have failed in their first attempt to have it rated for general release. As with any unclassified film, video or DVD, the Tamaki DVD had to be sent to the Film and Video Labelling Body in Auckland for rating. The body can only classify films G, PG or M.
Executive secretary Bill Hood said he and his staff were not trained censors, and he had worries about the DVD's content. It had been sent to chief censor Bill Hastings in Wellington for classification.
"The content of the disc was very, very political. There was some content in there, particularly the views against the gay community, which I think should be considered by a higher authority than my office. There's a part in there that speaks about Helen Clark and other key members of the Labour Party, and then it goes into their (Destiny's) feelings about the gay community and same-sex marriage. I thought it was beyond what I would like to sign off myself."
Hood said the film was not necessarily too abusive or inflammatory - his main concern was that it was too political. The Tamakis have previously tried to distance themselves from the political arm of their empire, Destiny New Zealand.
Destiny Church spokeswoman Janine Cardno said it was expected the DVD would be cleared for general classification, and if it was not "we will make a big fuss about it". Hastings said the Tamakis had asked for urgency, so he would try to have the DVD classified by mid-week."
Hang on, would this be the same Brian Tamaki who wrote the following vicious rant about Mr Hastings on his new website?
"New Zealand’s chief film censor is Mr. Bill Hastings, a gay activist. This man is responsible for allowing explicit sexual and violent content of the worst kind into our country, including films that depict brutal murders and rapes. This material is now available in our communities. I have also become aware of the strong homosexual and liberal representation at every level through media in our country. I would say much of this representation has come about because of the direct influence of a secular liberal government."
This is part of Tamaki's FAQ in response to the question "You say that the media are a modern day witchcraft. What's with that?" And you expect a fair hearing from a man you spit hatred at? How is that good Christian behaviour?
The good thing about lliving in a democracy is all the nutters/fundamentalists/hate merchants are entitled to free speech, so they are out in the open, where we can keep an eye on em.
In other exciting news for cross-cultural zealots, Tze Ming reports on a feature film in development - it's called Chowick. Not a joking, kids, it's serious, and it's even got $20,000 development money from the Film Commission, and guess what? It's a Touchdown production (the people that bought you quality tv like Celebrity Treasure Island, Miss Popularity, and My House, My Castle). Tze Ming got interviewed by the film's director as research. Read of her frightening, shocking experience here.
"... How the hell could the Film Commission possibly give $20,000 to a non-Chinese writer/director, for a project called 'Chowick'? The Film Commission is based in Wellington, but is that enough to excuse such ignorance? Would they fund a Pakeha writer/director who had never heard of fried bread, to write a film set in Ruatoria called 'Hori-town'?"
Underground vegetables - Melting pot
Carl Bradley -Slippin into darkness
Francois K and U-Roy - Rootsman
Stargard - Which way is up?
DLT - I'm your MC
Patti Jo - Make me believe in you
Romanowski - Why?
Horace Andy - Jah provides
Turbulence - Ethiopia awakes (someone sent a txt asking where can you get this - I ordered it thru Beat Merchants in town, took a while to come in tho. On the Shantytown riddim)
Roy Ayers - Boogie back
Buta - Okwawa Se
J Osbourne and Burro Banton - Truth
Angie Stone meets the Viceroys - My man (Upstate remix)
Common - Testify
DJ Format -The place
Salmonella Dub - Platetechtonics - Groove Corp remix
Damian Marley -Welcome to Jamrock
JMX feat Tikiman - Tikisong - Osunlade remix (Paul St Hilare aka Tikiman features on the new Sola Rosa album, due out soonish)
Ballistic Bros - Peckings
The Nomad - Let's play
Jungle Bros - On the road again - Upstate remix
Barrington Levy - Collie weed
Cornerstone roots- Forward the sax
M.I.A. - Bingo
Nicolette - Wicked mathematics (dedicated to Albert Einstein, who came
up with the theory of relativity 100 years ago this month - hard to
find funky songs about science, so this will have to do)
Capleton - Step 2 fire/4th St Sista - Can you feel it/ Sizzla - It's
appropriate (all on Messer Banzai riddim)
Bounty Killer, Swizz and Freddy Mckay - Bounty is a treasure
Collen and Webb - Jamaican jerkoff aka Golden
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Off the wall
Michael Jackson is found not guilty, but still faces pressing problems - an accountant revealed during the trial that Jackson currently spends $20-30 million a year more than he earns. Dude, live within your means!
Nelson George on MJ...
"Is Michael Jackson's career over? I don't believe so. He's too ingrained into the cultural DNA of two generations for him to become a totally insignificant figure. Will he sell 21 million records again? No. In fact its likely that 'Thriller' (which now behind the Eagles' Greatest Hits for most single albums sold) will never be matched by any album of new material. The business is so different than it was twenty years ago that to sell those numbers today is absolutely impossible.
To reclaim his place in world Jackson should refocus on his strenghts - he's needs to do his first American tour in 15 years and help people remember how good he was. But it shouldn't be one his big budget King of Pop extravaganzas. He needs a stripped down show, that emphasizes his vocals, that plays smaller venues like Radio City Music Hall, not Madison Square Garden, where his true fans can feel close to him. This is a strategy very similar to what Prince employed in the years before his comeback with Musicology.
Taking another leaf from Prince's cap Jackson needs to use his web site to sell records directly to his fans. A new Michael Jackson album, sold directly to consumers via the web and a distribution deal with a major label, would bring in tons of cash and allow him to be viable again. A scaled back, contrite Michael Jackson can be a part of the musical fabric of this nation for another two decades. But if he tries to act like its 1984 again he'll seem ever more out of touch than he already does."
ADDED More on Jackson's finances from the Guardian... excerpts...
"For a man often portrayed by his defence team as a naive Peter Pan, unaware of the machinations of those around him, Jackson showed an extraordinary shrewdness in the way he first acquired the Beatles catalogue. In 1984, he had been collaborating with Paul McCartney, who mentioned to Jackson his plans to buy the catalogue himself from the Australian businessman Robert Holmes á Court. But before McCartney could make his next move, Jackson telephoned John Branca, his lawyer, and, for $47.5m, the deal was done.
The catalogue should have been a source of lasting economic security - but economic security, it turned out, was not to be Jackson's preferred mode of mega-celebrity. Over the next two decades, successive lawsuits brought against him would bring into the public domain the astonishing details of his spending. There were, for example, the extravagant transportation arrangements for the 1987 Bad tour: a bus, a plane and a helicopter had to be available, all at the same time. There was the video for Bad, directed by Martin Scorsese, which cost more than $2m, according to Connolly's investigations. Then there was Neverland itself, purchased for $26m in 1988, not to mention the Rolls-Royce he bought Branca as a thank-you for reaching the deal.
... Jackson is now also understood to be considering a deal to sell Neverland and various rights, perhaps including ringtones of his songs, for $35m, to investors who want to turn the ranch into a theme park. The question now is whether, with no new record contract, he will be able to generate any significant revenues again from the sale of records or tours. Despite his belief that each record will do better than the last, the opposite has held true. His most recent release, the greatest hits collection called Number Ones, has sold just 906,000. The singer last toured in 1997, when his 40 shows grossed between $80m and $90m, according to various reports - making him second only to U2 that year. It is far from clear that he would generate anything like that success if he took to the road again."
More indepth coverage on Jackson's financials from CNN here.
I fought the law and...
Boing Boing hits up the EFF 's "comprehensive, accessible guide to the law and blogging, aimed at bloggers who are worried about protecting their sources' anonymity, about libel, about copyright and trademark infringement claims, and all the other legal risks that might stop a blogger from saying their piece." Link. Based on US law, of course, but worth a look. Any lawyer-types/media know-it-alls care to comment on similarities/differences with our laws and theirs?
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Ring the Alarm, BaseFM, Saturday June 11 - playlist
So, I've decided to start putting up playlists from my radio show, partly so I can remember just what the heck I play each week. Enjoy.
Ethiopians – Muddy water
Skin flesh and bones – Do it til you’re satisfied
Maxwell implosion – Grasshoppper
Betty Wright -Clean up woman
Horace Andy – Just say who
Tanya Stephens – It’s a pity
DJ Format – The place
Skull snaps – It’s a new day
Black Twang – So rotten (upstate remix)
Roots Manuva – So cold (upstate remix)
Solephonic – What’s your style?
Kenny Dope – Supa
Kraftwerk -Computer love
Augustus Pablo – Assignment No 1
Damian Marley -Welcome to jamrock
Jimmy London – Cathy’s clown
The Bamboos – tighten up
Tiombe Lockhart – Mr Johnnie Walker
Ray Barretto – Mercy mercy baby
DJ Krush – Kill switch
Common – Testify
JA 13 and Rico Ridriquez – Wareika vibes
Brother culture – Foundation rockers (Twilight circus vs The Disciples remix)
Butch Cassidy Sound System -Burning sun
Kora – Burning
Romanowski – Why?
Womack and Womack – Teardrops
Dick Hyman – Give it up or turn it loose
James Brown – Funk bomb
Bic Runga – Something good (Submariner remix feat the Feelstyle)
Speaking of playlists, Simon Grigg's farewell show on GeorgeFM is listed here, with some pithy insights from him on 19 years of radio, starting out on BFM, back when all the alternative kids up there hated dance music.
" it was frustration that Roger Perry and I felt which led the two of us to approach bFm to do a regular dance based show in ’86. Nobody at all was playing the stuff we liked on the radio…that funky club stuff, that hip hop, that garage and funk-punk. And, to be honest, B was less than keen too.
"Murray Cammick had the killer soul show,
Monday, June 13, 2005
Lance Strickland (former drummer for SPUD, King Loser, now based in Oz) has got a blog over here. Got some good r'n'r stories on there, like the time SPUD supported Sonic Youth and Lance incurred the wrath of Kim Gordon by "1. I asked Kim about the song Steve Albini wrote called Kim Gordon's panties. 2. I asked Kim for her autograph." Nice.
ADDED just quietly, the programme for this year's Film Festival may not be out til Wednesday, but it's already online over here at the official site.
Skate or die
Edwards presents 'Retro Skate', an exhibition covering skateboarding in Aotearoa from 1976 to 2005 - photos, posters, memorabilia, on display at Boom shop, Queen's Arcade, at the bottom of Queen St, from June 9 to 23.
Brian Eno thinks Arab music will be the next wave. I'd love it if American kids were listening to Muslim music," he said. "Wouldn't that piss their parents off?" (via Coolfer)
Jerry Casale of Devo interview
Vale of ReSearch puts out a semi regular newsletter that's well worth reading. He included this excerpt from a recent interview with Devo's Jerry Casale from Vermont Review.
VR: Going back to your early days. You were present at the Kent State shootings in 1970. How did that day affect you?
JC: Whatever I would say would probably not at all touch upon the significance or gravity of the situation at this point of time--it would probably sound trite or glib. All I can tell you is that it completely and utterly changed my life. I was a white hippie boy and then I saw exit wounds from M1 rifles out of the backs of two people I knew. Two of the four people who were killed, Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause, were my friends. We were all running our asses off from these motherf&*$#ers. It was total, utter bulls--t. Live ammunition and gasmasks - none of us knew, none of us could have imagined... They shot into a crowd that was running away from them! I sopped being a hippie and I started to develop the idea of devolution. I got real, real p--d off. VR: Does Neil young's "Ohio" strike close to your heart?
JC: Of course. It was strange that the first person that we met, as Devo emerged, was Neil Young. He asked us to be in his movie, The Human Highway. It was so strange - San Francisco in 1977. Talk about life being karmic, small and cyclical - it's absolutely true. In fact I just got a call from a person organizing a 30th Anniversary commemoration. Noam Chomsky will be there and I may go talk there if I can get away. I still remember it so crystal clear, like a dream you will never forget . . . or a nightmare. I still remember every moment. It kind of went in slow motion like a car accident. VR: You said that the Kent State shooting sort of served as a catalyst for your theory of Devolution, which spawned Devo--
JC: Absolutely. Until then I was a hippie. I thought that the world is essentially good. If people were evil, there was justice...and that the law mattered. All of those silly naïve things. I saw the depths of the horrors and lies and the evil. The paper that evening, the Akron Beacon Journal, said that students were running around armed and that officers had been hurt. So deputy sheriffs went out and deputized citizens. They drove around with shotguns and there was martial law for ten days. 7 PM curfew. It was open season on the students. We lived in fear. Helicopters surrounding the city with hourly rotating runs out to the West Side and back downtown. All first amendment rights are suspended at the instant the governor gives the order. All of the class-action suits by the parents of the slain students were all dismissed out of court, because once the governor announced martial law, they had no right to assemble.
Link (via Boing boing)
Stevie Wonder keeps Motown waiting for his latest album, his first in a decade...
"It's a rainy April night in New York, and Sylvia Rhone, the new CEO of Motown Records, is lounging on an oversize bed and whispering coquettishly in the ear of her label's legendary star Stevie Wonder. They are at the chic nightclub b.e.d celebrating the birthday of his daughter Aisha Morris, whose arrival 30 years ago inspired his classic "Isn't She Lovely." But Rhone seems fixated instead on trying to charm Wonder into finally delivering "A Time to Love," his first studio album in a decade.
She'd already managed to coax the first radio single from him, "So What the Fuss." Rhone had also begun negotiations for a television special and visited Wal-Mart and Best Buy headquarters to trumpet Wonder's return. She'd spent some $200,000 for billboards. Yet on May 3, when the record was slated to go on sale, Wonder was still refining it. Alas, the CD won't even reach stores for the rescheduled release this week on June 14." More in Newsweek.
GELDOF, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT
Pink Floyd to reform for Live8. Oh please, no.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
The New York Times has a look at the music industry in this recent editorial, on the release of Coldplays 'blockbuster' (via No Rock'n'roll Fun) ...
"Today new albums from Coldplay, the Black Eyed Peas and the White Stripes hit the stores. If you needed to be told that, then you are probably not part of the target audiences for these very popular bands. Just how big those audiences are is a matter of some concern in the music industry, which is showing unmistakable signs of languishing. Some sources report a drop of 15 percent of total sales since 2000; others say it is a 7 percent drop over the past year alone.
Record companies and retailers alike are hoping that today's sales are a blowout for all three albums - Norah Jones times three. That would be good for the weekly figures and the bottom line, but it would really do nothing to change the feeling that something is terribly wrong in the music business. The unease was palpable a month ago when the Warner Music Group went public, to a lukewarm response from Wall Street. Perhaps there was something about seeing Jimmy Page, guitar in hand, in the gallery above the trading floor that made even hardened traders queasy. But it was probably the performance of Warner Music - and the sector as a whole - that gave investors second thoughts.
The music industry loves to blame its problems on digital piracy, a case that has yet to be fully proved. The real problem is an addiction to blockbusters, and that is what today is all about - feeding the monster this industry has become. These days there are more musicians and bands than there have ever been, and there are still plenty of music-buying fans. Together, they are discovering alternative means of connecting with each other.
The big record companies continue to insist that the only route to profitability is blockbuster sales of a few titles, and the result is all too predictable - music that matters more for how it sells than how it sounds."
Growing up Goth.
Via Boing Boing: "Two high school girls in Livermore, California ran a social experiment on preppy retailer Abercrombie & Fitch and mall punk outfitter Hot Topic. Shannon Nichols, 18, is blonde, bubbly, and has perfect grades. So she dressed like a goth and applied for jobs at the stores. Nichols's friend, Sarah Adams, stuck with her preppy look and also sought employment at the shops. From Inside Bay Area:
"The most dramatic was how the Abercrombie employees treated Sarah in comparison to how they treated me," Nichols says. "As soon as she walked in, the cashier started talking to her and told her she could meet with the manager."
Adams explained that she had no retail experience, and really no job experience. That didn't matter, she was assured by a young man identifying himself as the store manager. In fact, she didn't even have to fill out a job application, she just needed to come to a group interview being held in the next two weeks.
Nichols experienced a far different response from store employees, who basically made it clear: Don't let the door hit you on your gothic backside on your way out.." Link.
Tze Ming Mok's roundup of the 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Banana' conference is well worth a read. Some of her highlights...
"Yuk King Tan talking quiet mellifluous iconoclasm, in front of a video of her artwork, which consisted of burning down art galleries. Stunning.
Mua Strickson-Pua, pointing out (and I keep saying this without anyone ever believing me) that Tana Umaga is Chinese.
The snippet of Roseanne Liang's documentary on her parents' ruling that she can only marry her Pakeha boyfriend if he asks for her hand in marriage in Mandarin (screening at the International Film Festival).
Mayor of Gisborne Meng Foon, in between talking a fair amount of assimilationist nonsense after the conference dinner, coming up with an absolute gem that I've been waiting a long time for someone to say: that Chinese people really need to chill out and relax."
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!
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.
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."
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."
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.
TRENT REFUSES TO CUT HIS BUSH
"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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.