Tuesday, November 22, 2005

RIP Link Wray
Via Pitchfork... "The man responsible for popularizing the now-ubiquitous power chord, legendary guitarist Link Wray, passed away at his home in Copenhagen, Denmark on November 5. He was 76 years old.

Wray is perhaps best known for his convention-shattering rock instrumental "Rumble", which landed in the U.S. Top 20 in 1958 despite being banned in several radio markets for its violent evocations. A banned instrumental? How's that for punk rock?

An icon to icons, Wray's legacy stretches far and wide, with everyone from Bob Dylan, David Bowie, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Jerry Garcia to John Kerry's high school band citing the guitarist as an influence. The Who's Pete Townsend went so far as to claim he would "have never picked up a guitar" if it weren't for Wray.

The loss is no doubt deeply felt; Dylan opened a recent London show with his rendition of "Rumble", and other high-profile tributes will surely follow. Fact is, your fledgling garage band is probably steeped in the man's influence.

Three-quarters Shawnee Indian, the prolific Wray pioneered a raucous guitar-playing style that would echo down the decades, through rock, punk, and heavy metal. Revered for his formidable live show, Wray had continued to tour extensively over the years. He wrapped up a lengthy U.S. tour this July. Wray's official website attributes his cause of death to heart failure.

Despite being named by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, Link Wray has not yet been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Wray leaves behind his Danish-born wife Olive, who was his manager and frequently drummed at his live gigs, as well as their son Oliver. He will be missed.

* Link Wray: http://www.linkwraylegend.com/

ADDED from No RockNRoll Fun...

"The death has been announced of Link Wray, inventor of the power chord.Considered by many to be the missing link between the blues and rock, Wray stumbled upon the power chord on his 1958 hit Rumble, setting the blueprint for all rock guitar, ever. He'd taken up guitar playing seriously after the aftermath of tuberculosis made it difficult for him to sing with his brother band Lucky Wray and the Palomino Ranch Hands.

When the band relocated from their birthplace of North Carolina to DC, Wray started to develop his keynote style which came together on Rumble. The song made the top 20, but not without causing some upset - despite having no vocals, it was interpreted as being about gang violence (some things, it seems, never change) and got itself banned from several radio stations.

The Wray brother's label, Cadence, wanted to distance themselves from such allegations, and asked the boys to abandon their leather-and-shades look. The boys refused, and moved on to Epic. Ironically, despite having signed them up because of their edge, and despite the band delivering another top 30 hit with Rawhide, Epic started to panic.

Link was redirected to recording orchestral songs, the sort of Danny Boy bilge which would keep Max Bygraves and Daniel O'Donnell in business.Frustrated, the Wrays founded their own label, Rumble Records, which managed to produce the Jack the Ripper hit before they fell into the arms of Swan Records - an early example of a US act being signed to a UK label as their primary contract.

Swan understood the band better than most, although that meant they gave them space to produce some records best forgotten.Wray released a solo album in 1971 which set a pattern for 'well received by the critics; poorly received by the general public' which would haunt him for the rest of his career.

In 1978, Wray married a Dane, Olive Julie Povlsen, and relocated to Denmark to raise a son. Around the same time, he was tempted out of semi-retirement by Robert Gordon, former singer with The Tuff Darts for a couple of rock revival projects. He carried on recording into his 70s.Wray died of a "tired heart" on November 5th. He is survived by Olive and his son, Oliver.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Big Day Out: good news, bad news
The 2nd announcement of acts for BDO 2006 brings heaps more hiphop - Common, Jean Grae and Edan, and throw in UK indie darlings Go!Team and it's all good. EXCEPT that M.I.A. is playing most of the OZ BDOs but not coming over to Kiwiland. Suckville!

latest from Boing boing..Latest Sony news: 100% of CDs with rootkits, mainstream condemnation, retailers angry

From the New York Times...
CD's Recalled for Posing Risk to PC's

The global music giant Sony BMG yesterday announced plans to recall millions of CD's by at least 20 artists - from the crooners Celine Dion and Neil Diamond to the country-rock act Van Zant - because they contain copy restriction software that poses risks to the computers of consumers.

The move, more commonly associated with collapsing baby strollers, exploding batteries, or cars with faulty brakes, is expected to cost the company tens of millions of dollars. Sony BMG said that all CD's containing the software would be removed from retail outlets and that exchanges would be offered to consumers who had bought any of them.

A toll-free number and e-mail message inquiry system will also be set up on the Sony BMG Web site, sonybmg.com. "We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause our customers," the company said in a letter that it said it would post on its Web site, "and are committed to making this situation right..."

Market research from 2004 has shown that about 30 percent of consumers report obtaining music through the copying and sharing of tracks among friends from legitimately purchased CD's. But the fallout from the aggressive copy protection effort has raised serious questions about how far companies should be permitted to go in seeking to prevent digital piracy.

The recall and exchange program, which was first reported by USA Today, comes two weeks after news began to spread on the Internet that certain Sony BMG CD's contained software designed to limit users to making only three copies. The software also, however, altered the deepest levels of a computer's systems and created vulnerabilities that Internet virus writers could exploit...

AND how many of these CDs are in New Zealand stores? Anyone?


via Gizmodo "For heaven's sake, could it be that only a Swedish designer could get away with making plush toys that represent pee and poo, and have them called cute, cuddly and unique? Pee & Poo toys have been sold solely in the Swedish market thus far (I don't even want to know what Laura Bush would have to say about this) and coincidentally, have completely sold out. Designer Emma Megitt was obviously way ahead of her time, though I mean, who wouldn't want furry human waste hanging around their home? Plushy, stuffed furry human waste, I mean, not the real kind. We all have that lying around, don't we?"PEE & POO TOY

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sony BMG want to root you
Via Boing boing - "Close examination of the rootkit that Sony's audio CDs attack their customers' PCs with has revealed that their malicious software is built on code that infringes on copyright. Indications are that Sony has included the LAME music encoder, which is licensed under the Lesser General Public License (LGPL), which requires that those who use it attribute the original software and publish some of the code they write to use the library. Sony has done none of this.

The evidence against Sony is compelling, and this further reveals the hypocrisy of Sony's actions. Sony claims that it needs to install dangerous, malicious, underhanded software on its customers' computers to protect its copyrights, but in order to write this malware, it has no compunction about infringing on the copyrights of public-spirited software authors who make their works available under free software licenses like the GPL.

I suppose it's natural to believe that everyone is at least as sleazy as you are: for Sony's rip-off artists, assuming that paying customers are planning to rip them off must come easy. Link"

and more from Boing boing...
On the Freedom to Tinker blog, DRM researcher par excellence J. Alex Halderman dissects a second variety of malicious software that purchasers of Sony music CDs can be infected with. Sony not only uses the now-infamous First4Internet rootkit, but also uses a second piece of malicious software from Suncomm, the less-well-known but still-dangerous MediaMax. Halderman's masterful research is both lucid and alarming. If you want to have a safe experience with Sony music, you'd better acquire it by some means other than purchasing it:
To summarize, MediaMax software:

* Is installed onto the computer without meaningful notification or consent, and remains installed even if the license agreement is declined;
* Includes either no uninstall mechanism or an uninstaller that fails to completely remove the program like it claims;
* Sends information to SunnComm about the user's activities contrary to SunnComm and Sony statements and without any option to disable the transmissions.

Does MediaMax also create security problems as serious as the Sony rootkit's? Finding out for sure may be difficult, since the license agreement specifically prohibits disassembling the software. However, it certainly causes unnecessary risk. Playing a regular audio CD doesn't require you to install any new software, so it involves minimal danger. Playing First4Internet or SunnComm discs means not only installing new software but trusting that software with full control of your computer. After last week's revelations about the Sony rootkit, such trust does not seem well deserved.


and still more...

"Dozens of BB readers wrote in to say that Sony is no longer putting malicious rootkit software on its CDs. Of course, the stores are still filled with infectious CDs, and untold millions of computer users have had their PCs compromised by the rootkit. And Sony's statement on the action is the lamest non-apology I've ever read:
Sony defended its right to prevent customers from illegally copying music but said it will halt manufacturing CDs with the "XCP" technology as a precautionary measure. "We also intend to re-examine all aspects of our content protection initiative to be sure that it continues to meet our goals of security and ease of consumer use," the company said in a statement.

ADDED: Genius DNS hacker Dan Kaminsky designed a research project that has produced a count of the number of networks that have been infected with the malicious rootkit Sony distributed with its audio CDs: over 500,000 networks contain at least one infected machine. Many of these are governmental and military networks.

Sony has applied for a patent that will lock a PS game to one console and one console only:

"They take the media that today lets you do everything copyright permits -- timeshifting and quotation, format-shifting and backup -- and they take away all those things. Then they painfully dribble each of those rights back as a "feature" that you pay extra for. Drip, drip, drip -- each drop of functionality painfully and expensively squeezed into your living room, every time you want to do something you used to do for free. That's not a business-model. That's a urinary tract infection."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Ring the Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Saturday November 12
Jackie Mittoo - Chicken and booze
Dancing Djedi - body surfin
Leroy Sibbles - Express yourself
Led Snoopelin - Drop it like a whole lotta love (partyben.com)
James Brown - Funky drummer (DJ Muro remix)
Ray Barretto - Pastime paradise
Beenieman and Devonte - Imagination
King Tubby - Money dub
Sean Paul - Straight up
Keith Lawrence feat Rodney P - Style and fashion
Brooklyn funk essentials - Creator has a masterplan
Rhombus - True rub-a-dub love style
One self -Temptation
Rick James -Bustin out
Cornerstone Roots -Generation dub (see em live in Auckland at Galatos
Saturday 19 November)
Western Roots - rockers galore
Floetry - Waiting in vain (bit heavy on the cheddar but not too bad)
Fabulous Counts - dirty red
Beastie Boys - Shadrach (Peanut Butter Wolf remix)
Dexys Midnight Runners - Geno
Maxwell Implosion - Follow my riddim
Prince Fatty - On the run
Son Sine feat d.e.w. - Believin
Phillip Levy - My god my king
Damian Marley - All night
Bilal - High'n'dry
Peak - Get Carter
Port Authority Soul Band - Superstrut

Friday, November 11, 2005

Hey, baseheads!
There's probably rumours flying round the internets on this, so here's the facts. Base FM took part in the recent radio survey and the ratings results were released last week. Base FM beat Kiwi FM in the ratings, and the weekly total listenership was 10,000 listeners. Apparently Base FM listeners are the most loyal, topping the number of hours listened to weekly -14 hours, ahead of Mai FM, with 8 hours and well ahead of the rest of the pack. (BFM weren't in there this time, but previously they've got 1.3 - 1.7% of the audience, with BFM's weekly total listenership coming in at 40,000 approx. This is of course on a much stronger broadcast frequency than Base FM).
In other Base FM news, Otis and Slave have departed from the Breakfast Show, and Programme director Manuel Bundy has also been let go. Bottom line is that George FM is supporting Base, and the dosh just aint there, yet, so it's maintaining with a roster of volunteer DJs. Sad news, but Base FM continues onwards. Catch the Base FM DJs at Richmond Rd School Fair this Saturday Nov 12 (starts 10am til 4pm) - I'll be there in the early arvo. Come on down and say hi.

Other news, Talib Kweli is rumoured to be playing here in mid February next year.

Buy Brian Eno's synthesizer
From Boingboing: Brian Eno is auctioning off some of his personal music-making gear. The stuff is now up for bid at the 20th Vintage Electric Musical Instrument Auction. From Music Thing:

 Blogger 4749 510 1600 Eno2
Brian Eno is selling off his beloved (and battered) DX-7, which was presumably used to compose the Microsoft Sound, among one or two other pieces of music. He's also selling a Prophet VS, Jellinghaus DX-7 Programmer and a couple of Mackie Mixers. The DX7 is already at almost £2,000. Other delights include Tim Simenon (Bomb The Bass) selling his 303 and a load of other gear.

Bring That Beat Back: The Latin Rascals

The Latin Rascals

Live on WRKS '85 - download it here...

"The Latin Rascals, aka Albert Cabrera and Tony Moran, come from the strain of unsung classic radio DJ's in NYC. They help break Freestyle music in the mid-80s and also flexed a lot of re-edit, cut-n-paste techniques applied from the Disco era. I'm including snippets from one of their radio sets that aired on WRKS December 1985."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

This is a public service announcement... without guitar.
"EFF has released a list of CDs known to have Sony's deadly rootkit DRM technology [these CDs are being sold in NZ too]. If you were unfortunate enough to buy one of these CDs and you've since put it in your PC, Sony may have corrupted your computer already. In the future, think twice before buying any Sony music - what's worth more, your computer, or a CD?"

Trey Anastasio, Shine (Columbia)
Celine Dion, On ne Change Pas (Epic)
Neil Diamond, 12 Songs (Columbia)
Our Lady Peace, Healthy in Paranoid Times (Columbia)
Chris Botti, To Love Again (Columbia)
Van Zant, Get Right with the Man (Columbia)
Switchfoot, Nothing is Sound (Columbia)
The Coral, The Invisible Invasion (Columbia)
Acceptance, Phantoms (Columbia)
Susie Suh, Susie Suh (Epic)
Amerie, Touch (Columbia)
Life of Agony, Broken Valley (Epic)
Horace Silver Quintet, Silver's Blue (Epic Legacy)
Gerry Mulligan, Jeru (Columbia Legacy)
Dexter Gordon, Manhattan Symphonie (Columbia Legacy)
The Bad Plus, Suspicious Activity (Columbia)
The Dead 60s, The Dead 60s (Epic)
Dion, The Essential Dion (Columbia Legacy)
Natasha Bedingfield, Unwritten (Epic)
Ricky Martin, Life (Columbia) (labeled as XCP, but, oddly, our disc had no protection)

Link (from Boingboing)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Checks, Live on a soccer pitch in Albany, Saturday night
So, we're out celebrating Guy Fawkes (gotta love dem anarchists). There's a wizz-bang fireworks display happening at North Harbour Stadium, but before darkness falls, we are treated to a string of young singers warbling karaoke-style over MOR hits of the day – don't ask me to name the songs, I feel dirty just thinking about them. It starts raining, settling to a steady drizzle.

The MC for the evening comes back on stage and encourages the kids to dance – they get up on stage with the next singer, and we have the dubious delight of about 50 pre-teen girls booty dancing. The MC returns after the singer finishes and congratulates the young crowd for dancing, but points out he meant for them to dance in front of the stage, not on it. He says "We've got Check coming soon, The Check…." (some of them do actually have Czech family roots, you know, so he wasn't completely wrong) The preteens correct him and he finally gets their name right.

They bound onto the stage and blast off their fine 60's Brit-pop, under the most basic lighting imaginable – white flood spots on either side of the stage pointing inwards. The lights nicely lit up the drizzle blowing diagonally across the front of stage. The preteens even give a cheer of recognition when they introduce What You Heard and Mercedes Chldren. From a soccer pitch to supporting Oasis in Oz… a nice leap. Then a brief pause before a sustained series of loud bangs and lots of pretty colours fill the sky. The fireworks seem very low, just above us, which was pretty cool, til the wind changed and the smoke from them rolled across us. There's nothing like the smell of napalm in the morning...

MISEX NZs No 1 Band
Saw that on the back windscreen of a car on Sunday – a homemade bumper sticker, the right half with "Misex - NZs # 1 band" written in black felt pen, and the left side said "Ultravox, Visage, Human League- UK #1 bands". The car was a Japanese make of some description, not too old. Like the song said,… Living in the 80s, 80s, you're living in the 80s…

Monday, November 07, 2005

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Saturday November 5
Johnnie Osbourne – Buddy bye
Bim Sherman – You are the one
In crowd - Mango walk
Kenny Knots – Good sensi
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - Your thing is a drag
Maceo and the Macks - Cross the tracks
Keith Mansfield – Crash course (Waiwan re-edit)
John Holt – Fat she fat
Damian Marley – Move
Prince Fari - Same knife
Sunshine Soundsystem - As of lately
Rip Slyme – Blossom
Keith Lawrence feat Rodney P – Style and fashion
Booker T and the MGs – Chicken pox
Recloose - Dust (Submariner remix)
Hopeton Lewis – Express yourself
International Observer – Hip hop final
Rhythm and Sound feat Sugar Minott – Let Jah love come
The Pointer Sisters - Pinball number count (DJ Food re-edit)
Katzenjammers – Cars
Gladys Knight and the Pips – On and on
Beginning of the end – Funky Nassau (Friction re-edit)
Hallelujah Picassos – Marshall law dub
Dillinger – Detention
Morpheus Unlimited meets King Tubby – Morpheus special (Kid Loco remix)
SJD- Southern lights (Kid Loco remix)
From Southern Lights album Pic N Mix special edition featuring this remix (plus remixes from Mood Unit, Greg Churchill and more) in shops now, well worth checking
Muddy Waters – Tom cat
Dub specialist – Kampala
Rosa Parks, Sly and the family stone, Outkast, Neville Bros – Thank you Rosa (audio tribute)
Western roots – Rockers galore
Mad lion and KRS One – Double trouble
Turbulence – Notorious

Friday, November 04, 2005

The dude abides.
Interview with Jeff Dowd, the inspiration for the Coen Bros Big Lebowski character played by Jeff Bridges.
"To cult movie fans, Jeff Dowd’s greatest accomplishment will likely forever be the fact that he’s credited as being the inspiration for the character of The Dude in “The Big Lebowski.” (For the record, it only requires a few moments worth of conversation with him to determine that Jeff Bridges really nailed the impression of Dowd’s voice.) There’s a lot more to Dowd than The Dude, however. His movie career spans decades, and he’s had his hand in many classic films, from “Gandhi” to “War Games.”

Mr Britney Spears has started his rap career...
"The first song from KFed has been leaked online and its everything you might expect. Its sounds like he made it in in one of those 'Make Your Own CD' boothes at Six Flags. Keep in mind that Britney described Kevin as like Eminem but with a more postive message." Hear it over here... "Be warned, if you’re at work, you might want to bite down on a wooden spoon or something to keep from laughing."

Boo f*cking hoo

Susan Woods has got it tough, she reckons... "It feels to me that I'm being punished for a political environment that I didn't create or cause, but because other people got $800,000 salaries. I don't get $800,000 salaries." ... Wood said she felt she was a victim of the backlash at the salaries that had created the "culture of extravagance" image of TVNZ.

So, taking a pay cut of $100,000 and still getting $350,000, that's gotta be hard, aye?

Gentrifying Disaster -- In New Orleans: Ethnic Cleansing, GOP-Style. (excerpt)
... In the meantime more than two-thirds of FEMA contracts (according to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco) has gone to out-of-state firms, with a blatant bias toward Halliburton and other Texas-based investors in Bush Inc. Simultaneously, unscrupulous employers have saturated Latino neighborhoods in Houston and other southwestern cities with fliers advertising a cornucopia of jobs in New Orleans and Gulfport.

With Davis-Bacon and affirmative-action requirements suspended by executive order, immigrant workers—housed in tents and working under appalling conditions—have flocked to jobs sites in the city, largely unaware that tens of thousands of blue-collar evacuees who would relish these jobs are unable to return for lack of family housing and federal support. Ethnic tensions are artificially inflamed by speculations about a “population swap” and impending ‘Latinization” of the workforce.

From commentary by Mike Davis: Gentrifying Disaster -- In New Orleans: Ethnic Cleansing, GOP-Style. Link.

ADDED: Get your freak on...
From Popbitch... Talking Heads' David Byrne has been gossiping about Missy Elliot on his website: "Rumor has it that she works three instant message accounts simultaneously - one for friends, one for business, and one for porn."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Sony CDs could wreck your computer.
"Mark Russinovich couldn’t understand how the rootkit had sneaked onto his system. An expert on the internals of the Windows operating system, he was careful when it came to computer security and generally had a pretty good idea of what was running on his PC at any given time. And yet the security tool he was using to check his PC was pretty clear: it had found the “rootkit” cloaking software typically used by virus and spyware writers.

After a bit of detective work, Russinovich eventually tracked down the source: a Sony BMG Music Entertainment CD, entitled Get Right with the Man, performed by country music duo Donnie and Johnny Van Zant.

It turns out that Sony is using techniques normally only seen in spyware and computer viruses in order to restrict the unauthorised copying of some of its music CDs. Sony’s software, licensed by Sony from a UK company called First 4 Internet, has become the basis of a dispute that once again pits computer advocates against an entertainment company experimenting with new ways to prevent unauthorised copying of its products." Link: Computerworld. More at NBR.

So, the $64,000 question is, will the new Bic Runga album be destroying computers up and down the land?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Fade to black
Russell Brown was on BFM earlier this arvo, talking with Murray Cammick, and mentioned that he'd heard unofficially that FMR staff had been fired, Warners keeping only two staff on.
Murray mentioned that many majors here get pressured to focus on international roster over local signings, citing the example of when former Warners head James Southgate had three local top ten albums in the charts on Xmas, and Warners Hong Kong office phoned him up and asked him why aren't those positions taken up by foreign priorities. Murray used this as an example of how a major here with strong local roster came be too successful. Check BFM's site in the next day or two for audio of this conversation.

Popular Science tells you how to create a $1,000 vinyl-ripping station for your iPod.

ADDED: quote from Coolfer... "As bad as our DRM woes have been, the U.S. is still better off than Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald has an article that explains how Aussies pay 30% more for than we do for songs at iTunes, and they don't have a fair use exemption in copyright law to allow for making copies of CDs or ripping songs from CDs."
Ditto for NZ.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

P Money in trouble?
Just messing. Chart-topping US rapper Akon is reissuing his album Trouble, reports SOHH.com, with a bonus second disc "filled with some of his most recent chart-topping collaborations [Beatnuts, Kardinal Offishall, Baby Bash, and Miri Ben-Ari] and a few unheard gems as well." Of note for locals - P Money gets Keep On Callin in there and Savage makes it with Moonshine. Album drops Nov 22 Stateside. Nice one.

Oh yeah, tickets for the Big Day Out in Sydney has SOLD OUT already. The promoters are holding back 5000 tickets to sell off via the BDO website, 500 going on sales there everey week for the next ten weeks, to beat the scalpers. Tip of the hat to Miles for this. Ran out and bought my ticket this morning. So, don't be a typical Kiwi and leave it til the last minute - you want to miss Iggy and the Stooges due to your own slackness? More fool you.

Design like Barbara Kruger


Via Boing boing... "Here's a fun tongue-in-cheek Graphic Standards Manual to help you design like collage artist/activist Barbara Kruger. From the introduction:
Welcome to the Barbara Kruger Graphic Standards Manual. This guide is intended to service students, artists, designers, and activists that have an interest in juxtaposing text with imagery in the fashion of Barbara Kruger. This has been developed to help you accurately position your own work amongst this famous artist, designer, an/or photographer. As Barbara herself stated, pictures and words have the ability to determine who we are and who we aren't. It is through this combination that we can establish an identity, and by impersonating Barbara's own unique style, you yourself can remain anonymous--in effect being while not being. As Barbara's work evolves using typefaces beyond the Future family and the color red, this guide must evolve as well. Link

Monday, October 31, 2005

Watch B&B on Maori TV tonight, 9.30pm
Why? Cos it's bloody funny. How do I know this? Well, we scored some tickets to go along to the filming of this show yesterday afternoon, and had a ball. It's a comedy/chatshow, with Radar and Hori Ahipene as husband and wife Beven and Beverly Best, who run Best's B&B in Oneoneroa. As Radar says, "This is quite possibly one of the most exciting projects I have worked on. Ever. I always wanted to marry a wahine Māori – I just never thought it would be Hori Ahipene."

On the show they have guests along, and this week Radar managed to get an Oscar-nominated actress to ride around on a fake sheep wearing riding colours, as practise for the Oneoneroa Derby Day, the annual sheep race.

Salmonella dubbed
In last weekend's Sunday Star Times, Andrew Penman of Salmonella Dub hit out at NZ On Air and the NZMIC (I quoted some of it here) admitting that "I sound like a hypocrite, 'cause Salmonella has taken a few NZ On Air video grants, but really, I think these organisations and most major record labels encourage dependence and stop bands from devising alternative ways of working independently."

Brendan Smythe of NZ On Air responded to Penman in the letters section of yesterdays SST, saying that Salmonella Dub had in fact been the third biggest beneficiary of NZ On Air music video grants. He stated that to date they have got $205,000 in total in funding from NZ On Air.
Ring The Alarm playlist, Saturday October 29, BaseFM
3 generations walking -Midnight bustling
Yabby You -Zambia dub
Prince Fatty -School's out
Perfect -Handcart boy
Quantic Soul Orchestra feat Alice Russell - So long (playing in AKL on Nov 25)
Butta - Okwawa se
Prince Charles and the City Beat Band - Don't fake the funk
Sola Rosa feat Paul St Hilaire -Breezes blowing
David Walters - Mesy bon dye (Bigga Bush dub version)
Patti Jo - Make me believe in you (Ashely Beedle and Phil Asher re-edit)
Blackalicious - Your move (live in AKL Dec 17)
Rhythm and Sound feat Cornell Cambell -King in my empire
Twilight Circus meets the Disciples - Foundations rockers (Disciples dub)
Kora - Politician (Paddy Free remix)
Jah Thomas -Gamblin dub
Barrington Levy -Collie weed
Bumps Jackson - Funky in Jamaica part 2
Dick Hyman - Give it up or turn it loose (James Brown done Moog styles)
Idris Mohammed - Superbad
William Bell - I forgot to be your lover
Sean Paul -Send it on
Michael Prophet - Been talking
DJ C and quality diamond - Let it Billie (Jungle mix)
Blufoot vs JStar feat Infinite Livez - Intchaaa!
Jackie Mittoo - One step forward
Amadou and Mariam feat Manu Chao - Senegal fast food
Salmonella Dub - Push on thru (Adrian Sherwood remix)
Tweet vs XTC - Oops! mashup

Thanks to Big Matt for holding it down last week - nice one, fella!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Someone writes a business story on the success of Fat Freddy's Drop. Thank you Liam Dunn. This is easily the biggest NZ album of the year (forget Bic Runga). Interesting read. What took you so long?

Fat Freddy's Drop let music walk the talk
27.10.05, By Liam Dann
When Peter Baker, general manager of record distribution company Rhythmethod, sat down to talk to his new clients, Fat Freddy's Drop, about marketing plans he was a little taken aback.

The band and manager Nicole Duckworth had a clear vision - no marketing.

"It's not that I wanted to do a big marketing campaign, but there are things that you traditionally do with any new release," Baker said.

The band wanted none of them.

When Fat Freddy's released its debut studio album in May there were no street posters, print ads, music video or single. And, Baker recalls, there wasn't even a definite release date to promote.

But the plan worked - big time.

The album's commercial success is unprecedented. It was the first independently distributed album to go straight to number one in the New Zealand charts. It was a gold record by the end of its first day (10,000 sales) and has since gone double platinum.

This week, Baker is doing the paperwork on an order that will see it top sales of 40,000.

Big mainstream retailers like The Warehouse are among the album's biggest buyers, something that was unimaginable in the band's early days as part of Wellington's underground dance music scene. [NB- The Warehouse account for over 60% of all CD sales]

But the "anti-marketing" philosophy is not about nihilistic rock'n' roll posturing.

Duckworth, who knows plenty about marketing, says it's part of a clearly defined strategy.

"We've always been pro-active about establishing a marketing plan," she said. "That plan was based on a couple of philosophies."

The first was to let the music do the talking, not the advertising.

"We'd come across - and been impressed by - marketing theories like the whole 'word-of-mouth thing'," she said.

"The loyalty that a word-of-mouth recommendation creates from a fan is much more powerful than someone discovering the music or the brand through a print ad."

The idea was to encourage a sense of ownership in fans.

"Then the audience is actually out there working for Freddy's."

That audience - which grew from years on the live circuit - created a huge advance demand for the album.

"With a creative business, you must let things happen organically," Duckworth said.

The loyalty, which saw the core fan base buy the album so quickly, has in turn created an industry buzz making Fat Freddy's one of the hottest acts in the country.

It's ironic given that the original plan was to ignore New Zealand and concentrate on foreign markets.

"The whole New Zealand thing surprised us," Duckworth said. "Seven years ago, we decided to focus on the international underground dance music scene because we didn't want to have to move into commercial music to be successful in New Zealand."

The band felt it was better to carve out a niche and sell themselves in places such as Germany, where that niche was big enough to be commercially viable.

That focus has meant that until this year most of Fat Freddy's work was only available on vinyl - something that only heightened demand for the album.

Duckworth said the vinyl release strategy was deliberate.

"You promote music through the DJs. When someone buys a CD, they'll play it in the car or at home and a close network of people will discover that music. But if you put it on a piece of vinyl and a DJ plays it over the weekend, then thousands of people start hearing it."

The Fat Freddy's sound - soulful lyrics layered over a slick brass section and heavy reggae beats - is part of a local movement dubbed Aotearoa Roots.

But, unlike so many Kiwi exporters, New Zealandness is not something the band has pushed.

"We've been careful not to market or brand the band as New Zealand," Duckworth said. "There is little interest, in the European market particularly, in music being from a specific country.

"There is a lot of pride here in New Zealand that the music is home grown but, overseas, you really have to put music out there first."

Fat Freddy Facts:

* Release music through their own label - The Drop.
* Debut studio album has sold nearly 40,000 copies.
* Picked up four New Zealand music awards this month - including best album and best band.

This week's album charts have FFD at #4, no change from last week.

How freaking awesome are Iggy and the Stooges?
That's a rhetorical question, so don't be a smartarse and answer it. Got my hands on the newly reissued/remastered Stooges albums (The Stooges; Funhouse) yesterday, and man, they rock. From the liner notes for Funhouse... The record's passion, attitude, power, emotion and destruction are incalculable. A milestone so overlooked it's despicable. We live in an age where people like James Taylor are inducted into the Rock'N'Roll Hall of Fame before the Stooges." Jack White, the White Stripes.

FMR plugs into the matrix
from the official press release from Warners on their acquisition of FMR....
"In hiring Michael Parisi and acquiring FMR, Warner Music Australasia plugs into a global A&R matrix that is committed to developing global careers," says Paul-Rene Albertini, Chairman and CEO, Warner Music International.
(tip of the hat to Richard B for this)

Just got the latest email from ESL, Thievery Corporation's label, and noticed this...
"You can also see the video for The Time We Lost Our Way directed by our favorite Kiwi Jolyon Hoff on thieverycorporation.com, eslmusic.com and on iTunes."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Itunes is here... almost
Itunes launched in Oz on Tuesday morning, but if you type in your address as Auckland NZ Tasmania or something, you can buy tunes off the site (have heard this from a few journo mates who are doing just that). Lists over a million songs, but Sony BMG haven't signed up to it yet. Word is a deal with them is imminent.

"Tunes can be downloaded at a cost of $1.69 (Aus) per song and $3.39 (Aus) per music video. A whole album can be purchased for $16.99. That compares to US prices of $US0.99 ($1.30 Aus) for a song and $US9.99 ($13.10Aus) for an album." More news here.

Oh, and all the press releases/news reportage mentions the exciting range of current Australian bands on the site, like Evermore. Looks like we lost another one...

ADDED New Nokia 8800 cellphone with sounds/ringtones by Ryuichi Sakamoto... me want...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's a conspiracy...
Salmonella Dub's Andrew Penman, from the Sunday Star Times... they're off on a national tour soon...

"We're touring with several other bands under the Dub Conspiracy banner," says Penman. "Basically Dub Conspiracy is an attempt to bypass idiots like the New Zealand Music Industry Commission or New Zealand on Air. I sound like a hypocrite, 'cause Salmonella has taken a few NZ On Air video grants, but really, I think these organisations and most major record labels encourage dependence and stop bands from devising alternative ways of working independently."

Penman believes bands end up competing against each other for audiences, media space, record contracts and funding, instead of building "a community where bands get together to tour, to appear on each other's albums and to share knowledge and resources."

And did you hear that FMR have been sold off to Warner Music Australiasia? More here - check the fantastic spelling errors... someone forgot to spellcheck the press release...

more later.