Thursday, June 30, 2005
Got a call from Ticketek yesterday - they are offering refunds to people who bought $100 tickets for the George Clinton show held in early April. Closer to the date of the show ticket prices dropped to $80 - I moaned bitterly about this at the time. Ticketek apparently made this decision to do a refund a few weeks back, which is surprising, given the gig was so long ago. Wonder what happened? Still, nice one. That's $20 bucks I didn't have last week.
I played Amerie- 1 Thing (Sikk remix) on my show last week, and Tam kindly put me onto the MIA vs Amerie mashup, it's wicked - cheers, Tam. If you want your own copy, get it here. And while we're on the subject of mashups... Gainsboots manuva - Locataires colossaux métamix Serge Gainsbourg - Dub locataires VS Roots Manuva - colossal insight. Think the Gainsbourg is from his album with Sly and Robbie - anybody got that? And Crookair - John Legend's "Number One" vs. "Under me Sleng Teng" here. And this gem, Eminem vs Manu Chao, "Ass like that" on "Bongo Bong".
ADDED: Someone just hipped me to this... Tricky Sharona (My Sharona with Run DMC's Its' Tricky) and did I mention Primal Scream Remixed? Here you go - Screamixadelica.
FFD Chart Watch - album still in the top ten, but only just. Got some interesting comments to yesterdays posts, including someone who suggested they were surprised FFD had done so well with that album, as it wasn't the killer album they'd been waiting for... "[it's] an awesome achievement which begs the question as to what would have happened if it HAD been the album they are capable of..."
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Somewhere, over the rainbow...
John Butler of award-winning, multi-platinum selling, Aussie musical outfit the John Butler Trio was interviewed in the Sunday Star Times, talking about, music, politics, and his appearance at the upcoming Rainbow Warrior Tribute gig, alongside the D4, Che Fu, Rhombus, Don McGlashan and others (on Sunday July 10, St James, Auckland).
Proving he's not just some dreadlocked eco-hippie, the interviewer noted that Butler is "also comfortable dropping financial lingo into the conversation... speculating on what might have caused independent Kiwi band Fat Freddy's Drop to beat the pacifier out of Shihad on the local music charts. "There must have been some serious strategy behind it, these things don't just happen and even if their reggaeish-dubby sounds are as good as I remember them to be, there had to be more than just word of mouth advertising" [says Butler].
Well, lets break this down. Did Fat Freddy's do any print ads? No. TV ads? No. Live gigs to push the album on its release? No. Videos? No (tho there is one on the way for Wandering Eye). If you run through those categories for Shihad, the answer to all those (bar the album tour, which is coming next month) is yes.
So, Shihad's record company has spent some serious bucks promoting the album, whereas FFD's independent distributor has been low key, as you might expect for an album as highly anticipated as theirs. They spent much of the last 2-3 years playing some blindingly good live shows, and I think it's fair to say that their success with their album (top ten in the album charts since release in early May) is almost purely word of mouth. They've generated a fair bit of press coverage, via interviews and reviews which has also helped them in getting their name in front of a lot of folks who may be unfamiliar with their work
It's pretty amusing that Butler can't fathom FFD's success without being tied to a serious promotional budget from a major record company. I'm assuming that's how he built his own success. (Hang on - just read this interview quote from, Butler: "For the last five years we've just been on the road touring and playing live" explains Butler on why he decided to release the live disc. "And that's how we've built our reputation." So he can't translate his own experience to FFD?)
If there was any clear strategy for FFD with their album, it was restricting their previous releases to compilations and 12" vinyl, making it difficult for the average punter to get a decent fix of them apart from the live setting (and of course their earlier 4 song live CD).
Monday, June 27, 2005
Ring the Alarm, BaseFM, Saturday June 25 playlist
Vin Gordon - Steady beat
Jigsy King meets the Viceroys - gimme da weed
Hortense Ellis - Woman of the ghetto
James Brown - untitled instrumental
Jablonski - Soul makossa
BT Express - Express - Kenny Dope remix
Jackie Mittoo - In cold blood
Butch Cassidy Sound System - Butches brew (take two)
Aim - Just passin thru
Dj Vadim - Leeches
Augustus Pablo - Pretty baby
Barry Brown - Peace and love
Fat Freddy's Drop - Ray ray
(why do they leave out the apostrophe on the album cover? Tsk tsk)
Boozoo Bajou - Camioux melodica cut
Timobe Lockhart - Mr johnnie walker
Spanky Wilson - Sunshine of your love
Junior Reid - Rappa pam pam
Western roots - Bogus buddy
Beenieman - Who am I?
Michael Prophet- Been talking
Dam Native - behold my kool style
(dedicated to Michael Campbell, cept I played the wrong song - doh!)
DJ Format - The turning point
Cornell Campbell - Rope in
Sly and Robbie - Softcore curge - Ashley Beedle remix
Amerie - 1 thing - Sikk remix
Isley Bros - Its a new thing - D-net and Onda fet De la soul remix
Sizzla - it's appropriate (messer banzai riddim)
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Christopher Walken comes into the room....
I read a bunch of Billy Corgan-related stuff on the internets yesterday, following the hype around Mister Corgan's full page ad(PDF) in his hometown paper, plugging his debut solo album 'The Future Embrace' and dropping a bombshell that he's reviving the Smashing Pumpkins - no mention yet whether this includes former members, or is just the name being revived.
He's got some fascinating autobiographical rants on his website, (under 'The Confessions of Bully Corgan', nice title) but I ended up reading the tour journal of Linda Strawberry, a 23-year old ex-Mormon keyboard wiz who is part of Mister Corgan's touring band to promote his solo disc - he's playing Auckland on 24 July at the St James.
Ms Strawberry has interrupted recording her own solo debut to jet off round the globe with Mister Corgan, and now finds herself hanging out with Robert Smith (one of her musical heroes, hardly surprising after looking at her photos, very post-goth punkette) and Bono, and recently played live on the David Letterman Show.
"I'm here in my hotel room, its 4:02 a.m.. My parents are on tour with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in spokane tonight. They announced at breakfast that I would be on letterman tonight. They called this morning to tell me they were in the same hotel as whitesnake. What a mix..
"When it was our turn we went down there and there was a brief moment where no one knew where billy's guitar was as we were plugging our in ear monitors in. In those five seconds I got a little scared. David letterman was on the left and paul schaffer was on the right and billy was standing there empty handed going "where's my guitar" and then suddenly it just started. "
Of course, NZ golfer Michael Campbell was on Letterman last night following his stunning win at the US Open, and wouldn't you know it, the other guests were Christopher Walken plugging his new movie (Wedding Crashers), and Billy Corgan and band playing live. Billy Corgan, Michael Campbell and Christopher Walken, in the same room. Imagine what the conversation was like in the green room backstage? What are they going to talk about - Lord of the Rings?
ADDED: some light relief, oh hang on, this is serious???
In Search Of: The Next DJ Shadow
"..when URB magazine ("Providing the Missing Link Between Trance and Hip-Hop Even Though Nobody Wanted It!") recently decided it needed to manufacture the next DJ Shadow in order to create a new media darling it could call its own, the GBs were on top of it. As public service to all, we're heading off URB's plans at the pass and shining some light on the inner workings of how a new poster boy is decided upon. Below you will find the discarded applications of various hip-hop notables, recovered from the recycling bins at URB's offices. Click on where it says, "Click here for full internal document," to see the full internal document." Link.
DIY hot video action.
Radio Active wants to reward you for doing it yourself (DIY). Get-in-there and patch together a NZ music video of sorts to enter in the 8th Handle the Jandal competition. The idea is to make a mean music video (with written permission from the musician) without any funding.
Last year around 70 music videos made it to the Active Towers, this year we want more. Like every year that's gone before 15 finalists will be screened at the Embassy Theatre Awards Ceremony in September.
Prize categories include: Best editing, Best cinematography, Best concept, Best Animation, Best Use of Exploitative Tactics to Promote a Band, and Rising Star.
Win a golden Jandal, enter Handle the Jandal - last year we gave away a sweet Sony camera.
Check www.radioactive.co.nz for entry details. Preferable formats are Beta Cam, DV or Mini DV. Entries close Monday July 25th.
Fat Freddy's live shows just announced for round Aotearoa before they jet off overseas...
Sat 16 July, St James, Auckland with Tha Feelstyle and OpenSouls
Sat 23 July, Shed 6, Wellington - Support TBA
Thurs 28 July, Town Hall, Wanaka - Support TBA
Fri 29 July, Sammys, Dunedin - Support TBA
Sat 30 July, Town Hall, Christchurch - with Verse II
Higher than the sun
How Lowe took Radio 1 higher
The UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper features an article on Kiwi Zane Lowe, and his "unpredictable, hyper-energetic evening show" pulling in awards and listeners for BBC Radio1.
"Socially, Lowe speaks even faster than he does on air. His enthusiasm is unstoppable, and quite at odds with the level-headed authority that we still associate with BBC broadcasters."
(Tip of the hat to Medianstrip)
and this just in... Tony Blair - war criminal....
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
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.