Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Can't stop the music
latest news from Indie Music New Zealand...
"IMNZ tracks are being played all around the world. iTunes America’s Single of the Week for August 8th was P-Money’s Stop the Music feat Scribe (Dirty). On the same day One million dollars’ ‘Energy State’ (Sugarlicks) was at #5 on the top 100 Jazz albums at Italian iTunes (#98 on the overall chart) and #33 at German iTunes.

And you’ll hear them in the skies – three Katchafire tracks are now on the Jamaican Airlines inflight playlist; you can also hear Katchafire on Air New Zealand’s inflight services, as well as Shapeshifter, The Black Seeds, the Upbeats, the Otautahi Allstars, Dub Asylum [that would be me], Hirini Melbourne & Richard Nunns, Dan Poynton, OG, Eskimo Squad and Alphrisk."

Also, the person who left this comment... "I picked up Songs in the key of Life a while back from Real groovy and was bummed to find out when I got home the bonus 7" wasn't there....good to hear you got tho, I'll have to keep lookin..!"

well, I found TWO copies of that bonus EP, bought one for me, and the other copy is still sitting there, so get digging! Good luck.

RIP Bob Moog. He passed away on Sunday. Obit here, here (NYT) and here (Guardian).

Hunter S blasts off: pics, commentary etc....

Bono is a guest on the new Pat Boone album... yawn....

Via Coolfer, gotta love those wacky Amercians and their sheltered existence... "Courtney Love 'expecting Steve Coogan's baby'. (The Guardian) Yeah, that's what I said. Who's Steve Coogan?"
Remember, The US is a country where only 15% of the population have passports. Coogan's family react... "Let's face it, she's hardly daughter-in-law material, is she?"
"What does it make me look like that I have slept with Alan Partridge?" Love allegedly told a friend. "Given the A-grade stars I've dated it's embarrassing. I mean ... Alan Partridge!"

Ministry of Sound release their own MP3 player - Gizmodo's verdict? "You rarely find a product in so putrid that you must spit after using its name in a sentence, but this special Ministry of Sound MP3 player seems to hit all the right pain receptors." More here.

The Village Voice covers Amadou and Mariam's new album Dimanche A Bamako...
"With its fat here-comes-everybody sound, intimate yet worldly musical content, and high-profile collaborator, Dimanche A Bamako is everything an international breakout ought to be. Mali marrieds Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia have been blending West African traditionalism, Euro-American pop, and political protestation since 1980, though, so you'll have to forgive them for taking their 10th album's inevitable success somewhat in stride... " read the rest of it here...
Nonesuch Records also have a bunch of audio by them for preview, and the video for Senegal Fast Food... just click on the album cover on the right of the page...

I listened to Dubber and Spoons on the buscast yesterday, the one where they are joined by a BBC film crew, one of the funniest things I've heard in ages. Give it a spin.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Saturday August 20, plus some other stuff.
Family Choice - Reggae beat goes on
Love Grocer - Salute to Sam
George Benson - The ghetto/El barrio
Delegates - Pygmy part 2
Collen and Webb - Jamaican jerkoff aka Golden (Jill Scott reggae mashup)
Hopetoun Lewis - Sounds and pressure
Manu Chao - Merry blues
Meters - Tippi toes
Cedric Im Brooks - Idleberg
Turbulence - Notorious
Sola Rosa feat Paul St Hilaire - Breezes blowing
Stevie Wonder -I wish
Ballistic Bros - Peckings
International Observer - London dub
The Clash - Revolution rock (for Joe Strummer's birthday, and the Joe Strummer Day down at the King's Arms, featuring a variety of musos and DJs including one Jordan Luck, who has never written a song that betrays even the slightest influence of The Clash)
Anthony Cruz - No gun a dance (Real Rock Return riddim)
Elephantman - Chapter a day (Real Rock Return riddim)
Tosca - Bossa on the boat
Dangermouse: Jay Z vs The Beatles - Change Clothes
Flirtations - Nothing but a heartache
Recloose -Mana's bounce
Jackie Mittoo - Earthquake
Sabres of Paradise - Wilmot
DJ Fitchie (aka Mu) -Bam bam vs junglist (got this off the Fat Freddy's Drop website - go there and click on 'Radio Fitchie' and you get a DJ set from the man).
Freddy Cruger feat Desmond Foster - Something good
Mad Lion - Take it easy
Katzenjammers - Cars (Gary Numan on steel drums – ace! Reissued on Red Hook)
Yush2K - Fade away

Read the new isue off Xlr8r magazine at the weekend - there's a review in there of a new release from German reggae label Echo Beach, which is called New Zealand Dub (cover above). Not the greatest title, bit bland, but hey. The reviewer went on at length about beautiful scenery and lush tropical surroundings, didn't mention any artists, although they noted that there was a lack of vocals in most tracks. The comp came out back in April, and was put together for Echo Beach by Loop Recordings outta Wellington. Track listing here. Another review here, where the reviewer notes that this comp is more techno than dub.

Tom Bailey of International Observer discussed NZ reggae in the NZ Herald (not online, which is odd, given that they always put their entertainment reporting up on their site) noting that the lyrical concerns here were very lightweight, far removed from the lyrics he used to hear back in the UK, which was more miltiant, more political. Bailey labelled the NZ reggae style as 'barbecue reggae'.

BaseFM DJ and University lecturer Nabeel Zuberi has some similar comments on his site....

"I have to say that I agree with him [Bailey] and don’t think this is just the bias of a Brit in the Antipodes. There’s a summery good time tropical feel to reggae in the Pacific. It’s bland and too complacent and the lyrics generally suck. Even when they’re political they tend to be simplistic and cliched. The sound is more concerned with chug-a-lug ambience.

It’s like Bob Marley’s ‘Jamming’ and ‘Could you be loved’ are the models, rather than the many versions of ‘Green Bay Killing’ or Junior Murvin’s ‘Police and Thieves’. Even bands that are not strictly ‘reggae’ artists have this kind of all’s-well-with-the-world vibe and make affirmative noises that lack grounding in the material of daily ‘politics’ (with a little p, not just a big P). Bu-bum-bum-bum.

In Jamaican music, the names of the rhythms respond to stuff going on, and the lyrics from people like Papa San, Capleton and others just talk about the ordinary stuff of daily life including the nasty stuff, even if they’re offensive some of the time. And they go on about Iraq and the Middle East and about the police and stuff like that.

A lot of New Zealand dub-influenced music is just too NICE: ‘let’s all chill and smoke another doobie so that we might enjoy the view. Sweet as. I can feel my culture in my veins.’ The naff advertising for fruit juices and rum drinks says it all. Let’s have more blacks grinning on TV. I thought it couldn’t get any worse than the Magnum ads with the black mammy. New Zealand likes its darkies, nah?

I’m not against the downbeat blues-y aesthetic and I’m not just a 1970s roots reggae nostalgialator. My favorite dubbed up track right now is Kode9 & Daddy Gee’s “Sign of the Dub” which is a really dread adaptation/version of Prince’s ‘Sign of the Times’. It makes Rhythm & Sound’s glacial dub pacing seem like happy house tunes. It’s ‘as serious as cancer’ but also has a dark sense of humour.

I don’t want all music to reflect the times or the zeitgeist in an obvious and direct way, but I’d welcome more of our music to be engaged with the serious shit that’s going down on the local and global levels."

I also went back to Real Groovy to have further dig thru the sevens, found some Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips doing Heard it thru the grapevine, Jackson 5 - The love you save, Maze - Colourblind, Dazz - Let it whip, Olympic Runners - Dump the bump and a few other bits and pieces. Oddest find - Valley Girl by Frank Zappa (no, I didn't buy it). Don't worry Smackie, I left you Rick James - Super freak and some Grace Jones too. Think they musta all come from jukeboxes, found some labels for em in there. Also found the bonus ep that came with Stevie's Songs in the key of life album - I have this on vinyl without the bonus seven, so now it's a complete set, which pleases the collector in me no end.

via No R'N'R Fun... "We're sure that Ray Charles would be delighted to know that he's now become a street name for heroin cut with clenbuterol. Nice to leave a lasting legacy, isn't it?"

ADDED: Rapper takes tough stand against drugs: Diddy says no to P.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Whose house?
Rev Run of Run DMC has a new single out on his brother's new label (Russell Simmons Music Group) called 'Mind on the road' (listen here), ties in with his appearance in a new reality tv show called Run's House, and as far as comeback tunes go, it kicks. Recalls that classic early Def Jam/Rick Rubin production sound, big rock guitars, loud ass drums, and throws in a sample from Joan Jett. What's not to like? I saw the video on C4 Premieres last night, Run has even got Donald Trump guesting in his vid.

Creativity, not concentration.
"Creativity is essential for innovation and progress. To flourish creativity requires diversity, plurality, fair competition and an open society.

80% of music and films distributed in the world is now tied up in the hands of a few multinationals. Recently a new giant SonyBMG was created with the blessing of the anti-trust authorities on both sides of the Atlantic. The market for cultural goods and services has become oligopolistic with two companies - SonyBMG and Universal - controlling more than 60% of the global music market - the Pepsi/Coke of music. Not even the biggest independent has 1%. This level of concentration works like cholesterol."
This campaign for cultural diversity is being run by IMPALA, the indie labels organisation in UK/Europe. More here.

FFD Chart Watch
Fat Freddy's Drop move from #10 to #12, Anika Moa's 2nd week slips from #6 too #8, that little poppet Hayley Westernra is at #1, and no sign of Shihad returning to the top 40 yet. Sola Rosa move in at #26, first week in.

Anyone know how to stop spam hitting the comments in Blogger?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Pop music is killing home taping.
In The SST, NZ Idol judge and former music exec Paul Ellis says that NZ Idol is about instant celebrity, admitting that last years's winner had produced an album that was rubbish (still sold a truckload tho, right?). He makes the point that the winners had hardly any understanding of the workings of the music industry, and that Ben Lummis had only just started to gain some insight into how it works in the last few weeks, since he's been dropped by his record company. Gosh. It's about creating TV spectacle, nothing more.

NZ Idol's CD 'crap' - manager
15 August 2005 Sunday Star Times
Last year's New Zealand Idol winner, Ben Lummis, locked himself in a TVNZ bathroom and refused to let his manager, Idol judge Paul Ellis, hear his first album because it was so terrible, Ellis has revealed.
The singer was depressed after making what Ellis calls "the worst-sounding album of my entire career" with a company, Sony BMG, which didn't care.
"You don't make a record in 15 days and then have it in the shops," says Ellis, who is also judging this year's competition. "It was crap. It was heartbreaking. I don't blame the producer, I don't blame the record company, I don't blame Ben or myself. It was the time constraint."
In an interview in Sunday magazine today, Ellis says despite Sony BMG dumping Lummis this year, he will stick by him "because he's a great guy". But he admits he would never have worked with Lummis if it hadn't been for his Idol win.
"If he had walked into my office he would have been rejected straight away. "Ben had good intentions from the people who care. TVNZ cares. I care. BMG doesn't care."

From the ridiculous to the sublime - also in the SST, Tom Bailey of International Observer interviewed (archived here)

KanyeWestSounds.com - "Kanye West meets the Beach Boys." This Grey Album-esque remix project produced by Lush Life (who he?) blends Kanye West and the immortal Pet Sounds. Spine ain't feeling it but the "All Falls Down" re-rub is a near-masterpiece IMHO and the "Get Em High" sounds real good too," says Different kitchen.

Speaking of mashups, Go Home Productions has a bunch of em up now, for download... my faves are Eminem/Grover Washington ands Shannon/Rolling Stones....

Go Home Productions 'Popular Art Too' Promo CD (2003)
This compilation rounded up everything post 'Daft Britney', up until early 2003. Including a couple of tracks made under thinly disguised names. All tracks have been remastered.
For info about the tracks, refer to the bootlegs/mash section. Next month I'll upload the 'Remixology' mix for WFMU from 2003.

MORZEPPELIN >Morcheeba / Led Zep / CCS


LAZY KELLY'S PAPA Xpress2 ft D.Byrne / Kelly Osborne

DAYTRIP TO HEAVEN Belinda Carlisle / The Beatles

IF YOUR GIRL WAS STONED Aaliyah / The Stone Roses

HAPPY BEHAVIOUR Bjork / Mary J Blige

2 MONTHS IN A DISCO The Trammps / Underworld

I DREAM OF PUSSY Khia / I Dream Of Genie

AIN'T NO SUNSHINE IN MY CLOSET Eminem / Grover Washington


Prodigy / The Osmonds

Justin Timberlake / Blondie


DIRRTY MAGIC Xtina / Grover Washington

Justin Timberlake / Scritti Politti

ULTRATHIN Ultra Nate / Thin Lizzy

LET THE MUSIC GIMME SHELTER Shannon / Rolling Stones

BEASTIE KETCHUP Beastie Boys / Las Ketchup

English Cheddar Produce
BEYONCE ABOUT THE HOUSE Beyonce / Man About The House

CRAIG DAVES FLAVA Craig David / Dave Allen

David Lange, RIP
TV One's Mark Sainsbury summed it up on Sunday night, introducing his interview with David Lange. He said if you are too young to remember David Lange as Prime Minister, you don't know what you're missing. Seeing the extended clips of Lange's Oxford Union speech was wonderful -what a fantastic speaker. I interviewed him on BFM a few weeks after the first election under MMP, in 1996. He answered the phone by simply stating his name, which threw me for a moment - holy crap, it's David Lange! During the interview he was very scathing of MMP, suggesting that he was glad that he wasn't still in parliament under this new sytem. Remember, at this point Winston Peters was holding the country to ransom while he played 'kingmaker', and Peters dragged this out for a total of 9 weeks.

In more recent comments, Mr Lange praised Helen Clark for making MMP work during his recent interview on Campbell Live, as RB noted "Lange offered his verdict on Helen Clark with grace and good humour. She had, he said, stabilised an MMP environment that had been collapsing: "without once falling prey to the idea that she did so through charm."

David Lange's valedictory speech on his departure from Parliament in 1996 is worth a read - the Herald have an edited verion here, and thanks to a poster (MB) in the comments at DPF's blog, here's the full text.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Ring The Alarm, Base FM, Saturday August 13 playlist

Jimmy London – I'm your puppet
U Roy and Francois K - Rootsman
International Observer - Low light meter
Ray Terrace - Cuchi frito man
Curtis Mayfield – Do do wap is strong in here
Prince Fari - Good music brother
Mike Brooks – Children of Babylon
Nightmares on wax - Ethnic majority
The eternals – Queen of the minstrels
Boozoo Bajou feat Top Cat – Killer
Sugarman Three – Cherry pickin
Rhianna – Pon de replay
Bounty Killer, Swizz, Freddy McKay – Bounty is a treasure
Timmy Thomas – Why can't we live together?
League Unlimited Orchestra - Love action
Sola Rosa – Breezes blowing
Elephantman - Chapter a day (Real rock return riddim)
Temptations – Plastic man
Boca 45 – La bombonera
Shirley Ellis, Beenieman, Ms Thing – Clapping dude song (noisy bunch edit)
Jackie Mittoo – Moon walk
Alton Ellis – I'm just a guy
Amadou and Mariam feat Manu Chao – Senegal fast food
Kanye West – Gold digger
Dancing Djedi – Body surfin (Mos Def & Ernest Ranglin)
Katzenjammers - Cars (Gary Numan on steel drums – ace! Reissued on Red Hook)
Freddie Cruger feat Desmond Foster - Something good
Turbulence - Notorious

Friday, August 12, 2005

Bo Diddley

"You got to get yourself some velcro," Bo Diddley advises.
"What?" I ask.
"For your phone."
My cell phone had just slipped out of my hand and landed on the carpet of his room at the Washington Square Hotel in downtown Manhattan. And Diddley is quick to leap into action with a solution.
"Yeah, Velcro's got rough edges and you can just attach it to the side of your phone so you can keep your grip on it." He stretches his legs and points to them. "Look here!" hecontinues. His left foot is swollen from the amputation of two toes due to recent diabetes complications, and he's fashioned two long strips of Velcro to secure a slipper to his instep.
"That's how it's done," he says, smiling proudly.

Bo Diddley interviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine. If you don't own at least one Bo Diddley CD, you aint really living.

Muppetpastor has 'WTF Cover Versions' up, including David Byrne doing Whitney's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody". And the question is, why?

Found this via Coolfer - the Rhythm Incursion show podcast from Resonance FM in London - more podcasts and show downloads here (big files tho)

Salman Rushdie checks out MIA in Central Park, from The Fader... "There was an announcement from the stage that Sunday’s free MIA show at Central Park was the biggest crowd turnout for SummerStage all year. We don’t doubt it. White dudes doing the Grateful Dead twirly dance, cute girls with enormous sunglasses, even cuter hipster infants, Arto Lindsay and Salman Rushdie - everyone was getting down to the sounds of our homegirl on one of the clearest, breeziest days this summer..."

Comic artist Dan Clowes (Ghost World, Eightball) interviewed here. Ghost World was turned into a pretty cool movie - he's got a new one on the way, starring Angelica Huston and John Malkovich, called Art School Confidential.

Amadou and Mariam interviewed in the New York Times (requires registration, or archived over here). Their album Dimanche A Bamoko (audio samples here) is rapidly becoming one of my faves for 2005.

FFD Chart Watch - After bouncing back from #10 to #6, FFD fall back this week to #10 (14th week in the chart). Shihad still outside the top 40.

More Bo Diddley wisdom to finish...
"I tell young musicians, 'Don't trust nobody but your mama,' " he says as we leave the hotel and slide into the back seat of a car. "And even then, look at her real good."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Now hear this.
Grabbed a cd reissue of Rock For Light by Bad Brains from Sounds, of all places. They are having a 'collector's sale, featuring rarities, imports, and interesting stuff', which translates as marketing-speak for lets get rid of that wierd indie crap that we never move. I aint complaining - Bad Brains for sixteen bucks. Sweet.

Also been listening to the latest album from Recloose (Detroit native now based on Kapiti Coast) called Hiatus on the Horizon, tasty stuff. You've probably heard his tune 'Dust' on the radio, features Dallas from Fat Freddy's Drop on vox. “A sophomore LP, ranging from edgy techno-inspired club tracks, to ska-laden rhythms and downtempo soul.” says Straight No Chaser Magazine. So there. And the new album from International Observer is pretty choice too, if you like laid back electro-dub, which I do.

Miles sent me a lovely email saying nice things about my blog, bless his cotton socks -he's got his own blog on the joys of commuting via Auckland's fraught train system, it's worth a lookee...

Here's a handful of MP3's on the theme of answer records via WFMU - example...
Carole King: Oh! Neil - Answer to Neil Sedaka's Oh! Carol
Sonny Wright: I'll Come Home A' Drinkin' - Answer to Loretta Lynn's Don't Come Home A-Drinkin'
The Bar-Kays: Son of Shaft - Answer to Isaac Hayes' Theme From Shaft
Paul Peek: Brother In-Law (He's A Mooch) - Answer to Ernie K-Doe's Mother-In-Law

You get the idea? Check it.

Shameless plug
Caught this twisted new UK comedy/drama called Shameless on Prime TV last night (screens Monday round 9.45pm). The premise goes like this... "The critically acclaimed and brilliantly funny drama from award-winning writer Paul Abbott features the Chatsworth Estate's Gallaghers, probably the UK's most dysfunctional family.

Head of the family, Frank, embarks on a series of adventures with his remarkably well-balanced children Fiona, Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl and Liam - not forgetting the seventh kid on the way with Frank's valium-fuelled lover, Sheila.

Shameless is packed with sex, drugs, gratuitous violence, love and scams. Chaos ensues with more tales of how one extraordinary family goes about its normal everyday life." It's set in the ugly confines of a Manchester housing estate. Here's some of the characters...

FRANK GALLAGHER (David Threlfall)
Age 42. Roaring drunk, colourful, angry and self-pitying, Frank's the biggest kid of the family.

Age 20. The feisty eldest sister, she’s bright, sassy and craving a bit of adventure in her life.

Age 16. Mouthy, adolescent and extremely intelligent – a dangerous combination. Lip has two obsessions – to lose his virginity and to escape the Chatsworth Estate.

STEVE (James McAvoy)
Age 23. Cool, handsome, charming, with a steady job (car thief). Once a medical student, he comes from a nice middle-class background.

IAN GALLAGHER (Gerard Kearns)
Age 15. Keeps his private life very private - you don’t let on you’re gay on the Chatsworth Estate.

VERONICA (Maxine Peake)
Age 30. She’s the Gallagher’s neighbour and Fiona’s best mate. Calls herself a nurse but was actually a cleaner in the local hospital.

KEV (Dean Lennox Kelly)
Age 33. Good old dependable Kev is Veronica’s long-term boyfriend. He works in the local pub, loves Veronica and keeps getting embroiled in the Gallagher’s scams.

KASH (Chris Bisson)
Age 35. Runs the local mini mart. Kash is a hard-working, married, Muslim father of two. And he’s having a love affair with his under-age shop assistant.

I've also been perservering with Outrageous Fortune, which aint a million miles away from Shameless in terms of it's premise. This local comedy/drama focuses on the ups and downs of a westie family, and no matter how often I watch it, there are no signs of life. Not funny, not engaging - put it this way - Shameless is like Outrageous Fortune, but good.
Diana Wichtel in The Listener suggested that "unlike The Insiders Guide to Happiness, Outrageous Fortune is not another great leap forward for local TV drama. The sad thing is that it clearly could have been."
And did you see Hayley Westernra's rack on the news last night? Wow.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Ring The Alarm, playlist Saturday August 6, BaseFM with guest DJ Big Matt
Le Peuple De L'Herbe - Delice
DJ Zeph - Underscore
Braintax - Escuchame
Cool Hip Noise - Kama Kove
Fat Freddy's Drop - Roady
Freestylers - Weekend Song
Dublex ft Wayne Martin - She'll Stay (Watch-TV Cajun Remix)
Omar - It's So
Chaka Domu & Volcov - Souljah
Cool Hip Noise - C'Mon Family
Prince Fatty - Nina's Dance
The Congos - Solid Foundation
I Roy - Hot Stuff
The Rulers - Copasetic
Wackies Dub Crew - City Line
Jimmy McGriff - The Worm
Claus Ogerman - El Watusi
Gentleman June Gardener - It's Gonna Rain
Ju-Par Universal Orchestra - Chicago Calypso
Notch - Bueno (incl NYC re-lick)
Ms Dynamite - Why Try
UKJ's - Moutamassi
Merciless & Born Jamericans - Cyaan Done
Gregory Isaacs - Do Lord
The Wailers & DJ Wong Chu - Keep On Moving

Thanks to Big Matt for filling in, mucho appreciated!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Iggy and Tom

Hey Jim? How do you spell Noo Yawk?
"Jim Jarmusch does not enjoy the image of Kate Moss wearing a beard any more than I do. But that’s what we’ve been confronted with, on the glossy cover of a Hollywood-lifestyle magazine placed, no doubt by the Gideons, on the coffee table in Ch√Ęteau Marmont’s Suite 69. It’s very unsettling.

“And it’s kind of freaking me out,” says Jarmusch.

“Here,” I offer, rising from my comfy spot on the floor. “Allow me.”

I do what I must: extract the shiny magazine from the coffee table, walk it through the dining room to the kitchen and stash it somewhere safe.

“Did you put it in the fridge?” Jarmusch asks when I return.

“In the freezer.”


Now we can concentrate.

Jarmusch and I replant ourselves in the comfortable living room, and I propose terms for the rest of our one-hour relationship.

“In theory,” I say, “you should be the accomplished artist who says complex and interesting things, and I’ll be the benevolent parasite who encourages you and pretends to understand what you’re talking about.”

“In theory,” says Jarmusch, sucking down a healthy dose of smoke. “We’ll see about that.”

Jim Jarmusch interview in LA Weekly, here. He goes on to describe doing days of press interviews in hotels as making him feel like a whore, noting that journos usually arrive with a preconceived notion of what he's like ("indie punk boho director, quirky sensibility") to which he is expected to conform... entertaining reading. Wait til you read about Jarmusch, Iggy Pop and Joe Strummer discussing their respective hotel rooms...

On a similar tangent...
Some good interviewing tips for journalistic novices (and perhaps for budding/current student radio DJs, who seem to excel in crap interview techniques) from Dan Gillmor over here. Try this...

"Listen to the answers. This may sound obvious, but some interviews are a disjoined bunch of questions that leave obvious follow-up points hanging in the air. Sometimes it's better to toss out a question you've planned to ask in order to delve more deeply into some angle.

I've gone into some interviews with a single question, listened hard to the answer and asked nothing but follow-up questions afterward. To do an interview this way, you need to be well-prepared, of course, but it can lead you down some fascinating paths if the person is interesting enough."

Jimi Hendrix played gay to get out of the US Army... um, do you think he was the first person to ever do this? Ah, no. Then it's not really news, is it? Damn you, lazy freaking mainstream media. Next! (Did you know that 'Hey Joe' was an ode to his gay lover?)

Check this brand new website aimed promoting Dunedin music...

On a similar theme, Stylus Magazine presents In Love With These Times: A Flying Nun primer, best bit is Dave Mulcahy's imaginary casting for the Flying Nun movie "In Love With Those Times"... here's a sample...
Chris Knox – Harvey Keitel (with ponytail and jandals: Mr. Sleazy)
Lesley Paris – Jennifer Saunders (the sardonic floozy)
Martin Phillips – Rowan Atkinson (ala Mr. Bean, with guitar)
Mathew Bannister – Dylan Moran (from Black Books)
Alister Parker - Michael Imperioli (Christopher in Sopranos)
Peter Gutteridge – William Defoe (Drug-crazed enigma)
David Kilgour – Bob Dylan (The serious young man)
Dave Yetton – Michael J Fox (Eternal youth)...

Heres the parallel to FNun - The Sound of Young Scotland from the early 80s, based around the Postcard Records label... If that aint your cup of tea, check their Miami Bass primer.

Via Coolfer... The Daily News' Jim Farbor tracks the steady decline of The Source, the once mighty hip hop bible that has slid over the years.

"Many industry insiders feel the biggest blow to the magazine's credibility stems from its two-year war against Eminem, whom the magazine has cast as a racist, out to whitewash an African-American art form. (The Source's own founder, David Mays, is white.) 'By battling Eminem, they end up battling the whole family he's down with - 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Lloyd Banks - the biggest people in the game,' explains Nelson George, a long-time observer of popular music and the author of 'Hip-Hop America.' 'How can you sustain and not cover those guys?'"

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Rip it up

Simon Reynolds' book 'Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-punk 1978-84' is out now in the UK, and due out in the US in Feb 2006 (haven't seen it here yet), or just grab it from amazon.co.uk. He's got a great interview with Green from Scritti Politti up on his site at the mo...

from Simon's blog... "I tidied up my side of the dialogue a bit (not that much) but altered Green's not one whit: he actually talks like that, these perfectly formed literary sentences, long roaming ones with subclauses and divagations, almost always infallibly reconverging to reach a conclusion. "'E talks like a boook, that Green Gartside".

For all you sneaker freaks...Adidas has bought out Reebok, more here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

FFD Chart Watch
This week Fat Freddy's Drop jump up from #10 to#6, while Shihad drop out of the top 40. Both albums have been out just under 14 weeks. FFD are in the UK/Europe for shows across the continent, arriving there just as the latest issue of hip UK mag Straight No Chaser serves up a full page interview/feature with the band. Unfortunately it's one of the sloppiest pieces of writing on them I've seen so far, and the writer doesn't even manage to spell Dallas's surname correctly. Still, Real Groove managed to come up with TWO different spellings of his surname in one article, so there you go.

Discovered a new MP3 blog, Back to mine, got Manu Dibango, James Brown and Louis Armstong on heat...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Mike Elizondo drops the basslines and writes tunes with Dr Dre - interview with him over here. His credits include writing and co-producing for Eminem and 50 Cent.

Jeff Chang's excellent book Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the HipHop Generation comes out in the paperback edition August 4 in Australia/UK, and is available here via Random House from Sept 9 (their site lists it as a "funny and charming book opens the door to many possibilities of the garden shed" - huh???) - local price will be $45. I bought it via Amazon back in Feb and landed it here for $30 all up - the hardback edition, that is. And the new album from local dub heavyweights International Observer is out August 5, called All Played Out. Can't wait.

Go, Stephen!
From local paper the Central Leader... local DJ Selecto and his lady have been having a few troubles, one for all you Kingslanders....

Construction overrun
29 July 2005 By ESTHER HARWARD

A Kingsland fashion design business is claiming $20,000 in compensation for losses incurred during prolonged building of a new railway station.

Sera Mitchinson and Stephen Wilson, who opened the Selector clothing store next to the Kingsland station in March last year, are seeking the money from the Auckland Regional Transport Authority. They say business was initially good, but customers were turned off when builders moved on to the station site last December.

They had to close their doors for eight weeks while power and phone cables were laid under the footpath, they had workmen smoking on their doorstep and harassing women coming into the shop and customer parking on Sandringham Rd was taken up by construction vehicles. They are angry builders have only just finished work on the site, six months after they were told by the authority the job would be complete and disruption would be kept to a minimum.

The couple, who have a five-year-old daughter and twins born earlier this year while trying to keep their business going, have had to borrow from the bank and Ms Mitchinson's parents to cover the rent. Their landlord gave them a rent holiday between September and December last year, but that did not make up for loss of earnings, they say.

"Unless something absolutely miraculous happens, we'll have to shut our doors. We'll have to find a workroom somewhere and get into wholesaling," says Ms Mitchinson. "We started off fine, and everything was going according to our business plan, but we've wasted a year's worth of establishing our business.

"We had a $20,000 enterprise allowance from Work and Income New Zealand and we feel like it's been completely wasted.

"Ideally, we would make back all the money we've lost, but at the very least we've asked for the $20,000 to start over again."

Mr Wilson says it is the worst time of year to try to get back on their feet, because most people have already bought winter wardrobes or are buying in the sales. Last week, they sent cashflow records to the authority, showing their forecasted earnings were initially on target but plummeted by up to $4000 a month after building started.

Authority infrastructure project manager Roger Mace says he is considering the request and expects to have a response in a week.. Construction firm Arrow International, which was contracted by the authority to improve facilities at Kingsland station, fired two workers after complaints about wolfwhistles at women. Project manager Andrew Quinn told Auckland City Harbour News in April that the company had tried to keep neighbours informed about the delays, and had reminded workers to leave car parking free outside the shop.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Any last requests?
And now, ladies and germs, it is my great pleasure to welcome my very first special guest blogger. Daniel Barnes was a punter at the Danse Macabre gig; here's his thoughts.

Danse Macabre, Kings Arms, Friday 22 July, Reviewed by Daniel Barnes
Most people have not read the interesting, and probably insane, book by physicist Frank J Tipler called "The Physics Of Immortality". In it Tipler puts forward the theory that universe is moving towards something called the Omega Point. The Omega Point is the nerdy equivalent of Biblical eschatology, where everyone that ever existed will reincarnated in a kind of giant computer simulation about 4 billion years hence.

Nothing is ever lost; everything is significant; and it turns out we will live forever not because God loves us, but because the laws of physics do. I trust Tipler; he is an aetheist and a determinist; plus he has done the math - and bloody difficult it looked too.

So much for theory. Friday night at the Kings Arms provided dramatic empirical support that the Omega Point may be even nearer than he guessed. After all, who'da thunk Danse Macabre would be unexpectedly reincarnated after a quarter century's silence, let alone generate more media attention in the week prior to their gig than during their entire previous career?

Until it happened, the prospect seemed somewhat less likely than Pluto hitting the earth, or Pluto hitting no.1, or even Children's Hour reforming. I for one was very happy to see them. Generally I couldn't stand the bleak space-rock of the early '80s, but Danse Macabre did angst with taste and craft that was more Roxy Music than Modern Romance. Guitarist Weston rocked hard in an entirely appropriate classical/metal way; Roddy pounded tribally; Ralph Crump on bass was always more Barry Adamson than Peter Hook; and of course Nigel proved that it is better to play one-finger synthesiser with charisma than it is to be an army of Rick Wakemans. They had some *tunes* too - my own crap glam-punk band did a crap glam-punk cover of "Between The Lines" just last year cos it stands up. As, after 25 odd years, did the band themselves.

Of course, this was more than could be said for those of us in the audience. At least being in the band you get flattering lighting. You also get an inkling of how Bryan Ferry must feel playing live these days – where once he looked out over a sea of Jerry Halls, now there is a sea of geriatrics. But it was encouraging to see that little else had changed. One fashion babe of the era, still lovely and still bombed, wondered aloud to me about when Danse Macabre were coming on; and asked me the exact same question about halfway thru their actual set. Just like old times.

ADDED by Peter: While we're on an 80s nostagia bent, Children's Hour (who later became the Headless Chickens) and YFC play Friday 29 July, Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland and Friday 12 August, Bar Bodega, Wellington. Children's Hour have their collected recordings plus some live goodies reissued on CD thru Failsafe Records. There are some MP3's available for download there too. Russell Brown has some memories of Children's Hour here.

Danse Macabre live photo by Mark Wallbank at Club Bizarre. Tip of the hat in his direction, and to Simon Grigg, who DJ'ed on the night and dug up some great dusty old tunes, from Scritti Politti to The Cure.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Fat Freddy's Drop chart watch
Caught the C4 doco on FFD "Fat Freddy's Drop: Tale of a True Story" (more nice work from Nick D) and Mu talked about the interest they'd got from major labels here to release their album. He said they'd decided to go the independent route, as that way they'd learn more about the business for themselves rather than passing it off to someone else. He also let slip that Atlantic Records in the US had shown serious interest in them, and Mu admitted he was tempted for a second, as he mentioned that a lot of records in his collection that had come out on Atlantic. This offer eventually fell to the wayside.

The doco also demonstrated their extended family approach to being in a band, focussing on shared communal meals cooked by the band's secret weapon, keyboardist (and incredible chef) Iain Gordon, aka Dobie Blaze. General consensus among the FFD boys was that his best dish ever was his paua wontons. There's even a new vid for FFD floating round called Shuck, which is basically a cooking demonstration by Iain while on tour in Europe - it's somewhere in Greece, then changes location to FFD's studio on the Wellie coast for another cookup. Hungry yet?
Go here to the Fat Freddys site and under Mad Feats, look for 'Dobie Blaze Cooks' and you can download one of his recipes...

C4 are giving the doco a second screening tonight (Wednesday) at 10.30pm.

FFD chart watch - this week they bounce back to #10 (up from #12 last week), just ahead of Dave Dobbyn and Mariah Carey. Shihad drop from #35 to #39. Both bands have been touring NZ for the last few weeks.
Speaking of local acts, P-Money's latest album Magic City has just hit the stores on double vinyl (with full colour cover art- wickedness, FMR), and there's also an instrumental version of the album on vinyl too.

Sony admits to paying radio stations to play their artists,
pays out $10 million fine, doesn't blink

"I am shocked and appalled" says Bob Mould, reacting to this article. This kind of thing is widely known, but just in case you think a song gets on the radio because it's good, then you really need to stop sniffing marker pens. Another example here; "In one instance, a Sony BMG executive contemplated a plot to promote Killer Mike's "A.D.I.D.A.S" by sending deejays one Adidas sneaker. Deejays would receive the other sneaker after playing the single ten times." Imagine playing Run DMC like that.

"Please be advised that in this week's Jennifer Lopez Top 40 Spin Increase of 236 we bought 63 spins at a cost of $3,600." "Please be advised that in this week's Good Charlotte Top 40 Spin Increase of 61 we bought approximately 250 spins at a cost of $17K …"

"Take Jennifer Lopez's awful record, "Get Right," with its shrill horn and lifted rap. It's now clear that was a "bought" sensation when it was released last winter. So, too, were her previous "hits" "I'm Glad" and "I'm Real," according to the memos. ... It's no surprise. There isn't a person alive who could hum any of those 'songs' now. Not even J-Lo herself." Hang on, that Get Right tune is based on a James Brown and the JBs sample that is pretty damn hot. Still, it is J-Lo. Gimme the JBs any day.

From a Sony internal memo on Sept. 8, 2004: "Two weeks ago it cost us over 4000.00 to get Franz [Ferdinand] on WKSE." The Glasgow Daily Record drops the bombshell on their hometown heroes... "Last year, a Buffalo-based DJ added their single Take Me Out to a station playlist - and was rewarded with an extravagant trip to Miami for four."

And still more..." Another, from an Epic employee to a Clear Channel programmer looked like this: "WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET AUDIOSLAVE ON WKSS THIS WEEK?!!? Whatever you can dream up, I can make it happen." And of course, Clear Channel are a little worried...

Coolfer notes that a $10m payout is "not so bad. Springsteen wants $10 million per album for five albums."

The closest example we have is Crowded House. When they were pushing their debut album in the States, there was a boycott by the record companies of radio pluggers over there, so they were able to do a super-cheap deal with a radio plugger to push 'Don't dream it's over' to US radio, as they (the radio pluggers) were desperate for work. That song was a hit because someone paid for it to be on radio, not purely because it was a great song (which it is, of course - can't diss Uncle Neil). You can read more on this in Chris Bourke's excellent book 'Something So Strong'.

ADDED: Okay, best headline on this... The Denver Post with "Payola may explain Celine Dion".
Original Sony documents can be viewed here (PDF format). Runs to 59 pages.
Coolfere has more coverage - 'Least Shocking Shock
er: Record Label Paid Off Radio Stations'... "How soon people forget. In 1998 the entire country -- especially the puritans in the print media -- were aghast when it was reported Interscope had paid Portland's KUFO radio station to play Limp Bizkit's "Counterfeit." The label and station were forthcoming about the arrangement. The station was given $5,000 for 50 spins and each spin was preceded with the message, "The song you are about to hear is sponsored by Flip/Interscope."
It was public then and it was still public last week. Labels buy off radio stations. In this moment of warm fuzzies let's all be aware of the fact that labels will continue to do what they can to influence radio spins. Always and forever. Spitzer's clean-up won't change that. It will, we all hope, return some integrity to radio..."

And another local angle - do you know if this practise happens in New Zealand? Any record company spies out there? Please leave an anonymous tip in comments.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ring the Alarm BaseFM playlist Saturday July 23
Lone Ranger - The answer
Horace Andy - Jah will provide
Al Brown -Aint no love in the heart of the city
Manzel - Midnight theme (Dopebrother 7" remix)
Nightmares on wax - Finer
Salmonella dub - Paletechtonics (Groove Corp remix)
King Tubby - King at the controls
Dexys Midnight Runners - Geno
Sergio Mendes and New Brasil 77 - Mozambique (this album was co-produced by Stevie Wonder right after he did Songs in the Key of Life. Read all about it here.)
Jackie Mittoo -In cold blood
Gwen Guthrie feat Sly n Robbie - Ticket to ride
Rosalia de Souza - Bossa 31 (Gerardo Frisina remix)
Risco Connection - One more time
The WBC - Recline dub
Lotek Hifi - Mixtape blessings (excerpt).
Catch em DJing at the Turnaround, direct from the UK this Friday night. At the Rising Sun, K Rd
Jackson Sisters - I believe in miracles (extended re-edit)
Rhythm and Sound feat Lovejoy - Best friend
Sugar Minott and Ninja Kid - Skaba
Trinidad and Tobago allstars - Cissy strut. Hooray for steel drums!
Frankie Paul - Anytime
Missy Elliot - Can't stop
Sound providers - No time
Freddie Cole - Brother where are you?
Augustus Pablo - Dub organiser
Amadou and Mariam feat Manu Chao - Senegal fast food. (You can have a listen to this track over at Tofu Hut (tip of the hat to Tze Ming): also there's an interview with Manu Chao about the making of this album here at Wax Poetics. New issue out August 12)
Turbulence - Notorious
War - Cisco kid

Bit tired doing the show on Saturday morning due to a bit of a late one Friday night, at the Danse Macabre gig. It's amazing to think their music is over 20 years old, yet still sounds totally contemporary. There are hardly any local recordings of 20 years ago that still hold up like that. There's a review coming of the gig shortly, from a special mystery guest reviewer. Oh the excitement. Stay tuned.

To local writer Gareth Shute, who was announced as a winner at the Montana Book Awards last night. He is now officially an award-winning author, and that is damn cool.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Hey Bill Murray.
Went and saw Broken Flowers, the latest film from Jim Jarmusch, at the Film Festival last night - it's shot thru with Jarmusch's dry humour, great little film. Here's Jarmusch on cricket....

JJ: Let's talk about baseball.

GA: I don't know anything about baseball.

JJ: Baseball is one of the most beautiful games. (Laughter) It is. It is a very Zen-like game. I don't like American football. I think it's boring and ridiculous and predictable. But baseball is very beautiful. It's played on a diamond. (Laughter)

GA: I've seen a few movies about it.

JJ: Cricket makes no sense to me. (Laughter) I find it beautiful to watch and I like that they break for tea. (Laughter) That is very cool, but I don't understand. My friends from The Clash tried to explain it years and years ago, but I didn't understand what they were talking about.

Robert Hillburn of the LA Times talks to 21 of the music industry's biggest movers and shakers... and comes up with the most important artists of 2005. It's all hiphop/r'n'b, bar one rock band - Coldplay. " Here's what one says about Eminem: "I feel his moment has come and gone." Another on Britney Spears: "Trust me, she's over." And U2 fans should brace themselves: "Time is catching up with them. I'd rather have Coldplay on my roster." And this on Kanye West... "This may sound strange, but he may be too gifted for the marketplace," an executive suggested. "He is so talented and so willing to be daring that he might be more interested in making great records than commercial records. That's why I would also not put the White Stripes on my list, though I love their music."

Via Ms Behaviour... "Justin Sane, TMet Recordings' A&R guy has written this comprehensive guide for DJs on modern technologies, including the advantages and disadvantages of using CDJs, a list of good digital download sites for DJs to purchase tracks legitimately, the lowdown on file formats and bitrates, and DJing software..." Read more.

And can I get a "Hell yes!" to the restorative power of a nice hot bowl of udon noodles on a cold winters day? Thank you.