Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Seedy fiction/CD non-fiction?

(first published at Observation Post on nzmusician.co.nz)

"Say hi to Sandi Thom and Lily Allen, this week's internet superstars. Now say bye, writes Michael Dwyer, as they drown in a pop bitstream in full flood."

The Sunday Star Times carried an article on August 13 that was taken from the Melbourne Age ("One-week wonders" written by Michael Dwyer, Aug 4 - in the Age it was titled "Bit pop overload"). Some subeditor at the SST had done a sloppy job of altering the copy to fit the New Zealand market.

The original story has this snippet...

"... You can't blame the old bosses for tapping a new cash cow. The old one does appear to have strayed perilously close to the butcher's.

Last week, a digital music forum at the Victorian State Library heard that Australia's current number-one album, Black Fingernails Red Wine, by Eskimo Joe, had sold a meagre 7200 copies to pip the pack. Hardly surprising, then, that major label releases have dropped 40 per cent in Australia since 2001. Local signings have dropped 50 per cent."

The SST's version had replaced the sales figures for Eskimo Joe with the following quote

"New Zealand's current No 1 album, the Black Seed's Into The Dojo, has sold just under 10,000 copies." Now, there's a myriad of things wrong with this spurious claim...

One - claiming that selling only 10,000 copies of a CD here by a NZ band is a bad showing is incorrect. Many local indie bands manage to sell only a few thousand copies of their album, so doing sales of 10,000 is a very healthy result.

EXCEPT the Black Seeds album has only been out for three weeks and has not been certified by the official RIANZ Music Charts as having gone gold (industry-speak for achieving sales of over 7,500), in spite of having been at number one since its release. At the time of printing the article, the claim is inaccurate, and the numbers are wrong.

First week sales for the Black Seeds were less than 1,500, which suggests that the rest of the albums on the top 40 charts are selling even less - has the worldwide music industry downturn hit even harder here?

Industry pundit Simon Grigg wrote on this topic recently, quoting an industry friend who said that "... sales of NZ music are in, and I quote, “complete freefall” and unlikely to improve in the near future. That, coupled with other informed comments on National Radio recently mentioning drops of some twenty percent or so this year, raises one big question. At least from where I’m sitting, several thousand miles from the action.
Namely, what in gods name happened? Of course I’m absolutely aware of the on-going global downturn in sales of compact discs and the inevitable flattening out of digital sales. Especially from acts represented by the major industry organisations such as the RIAA, or their equivalents. But the percentage drop in sales, from labels represented by RIANZ (and that is a major qualifier) of NZ music, far exceeds the global trend and the word why flashes in neon rather brutally."

Simon's full comments are here, with a follow up post here. Well worth reading.

But back to the SST debacle, for all the excitement NZ music generates in the media these days, the quality of the reporting is consistently lame. Why?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Out and about - Friday night
"BASELIFT combines the heavyweights of music and arts. With DJ's Junior, The Turnaround, Trist, Scratch 22 and Dan Pain on the decks and Component, Enforce One, Flox and Trust Me representing the creative side doing a live collaborative mural outside.

The painting will be raffled to one lucky Basehead on the night at around 3am. All you need to do to score yourself the chance to get the artwork is to buy a raffle ticket for an extra $5.

Baselift, 11th August at Rising Sun. $10 on the door or $15 with a raffle ticket.
Doors open 10pm. All proceeds go to Base FM, so get on down and support the station that rules the nation!
I'm Melting!
Pop Candy has an entertaining post on concert meltdowns, here's a few she's seen...

"The time Ryan Adams played the same song three times in a row -- and it was a long song! -- at Washington's 9:30 Club;

An R.E.M. show where Michael Stipe didn't leave the stage until Peter Buck had to drag him off (not like I was complaining);

Kanye West's set at Lollapalooza last weekend, during which he berated the crew for screwing up the sound (which they did)."

91 comments on the post too, with reader's anecdotes, worth a read, here's a few...

"I know it's the stuff of legend, but this is a classic Ryan Adams meltdown from his '02 show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

Some drunk frat boy keeps on yelling for Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69" - hilarious, I know. Ryan finally gets pissed, stops playing, asks for the house lights to be turned on, and tells the audience to point out who kept on yelling for "Summer of '69". He jumps off stage, goes up to the guy, and says, "How much was your ticket? What - 20, 30 bucks?" He pulls out his wallet, gives the guy 30 bucks, and says "Now get the f&<* out of my show." Awesome."

"Another Ryan Adams one - First Ave. in Minneapolis, a couple of years ago on the "Rock 'n' Roll" tour. He played several songs several times, stopped and restarted playing different songs, walked off the stage, verbally abused Paul Westerberg, and then proceeded to climb a top the speaker stack, which is probably 15-20 feet in the air. He was close to falling off and I told my boyfriend, "We are going to be able to say that we were there when Ryan Adams plunged to his death".

Got any similar local tales? Love to hear em...


oh, and Josh Hartnett and his girlfriend are in town...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lollapolooza...
snip... "The Raconteurs got the crowd jumping with a cover of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy, while Gnarls reciprocated with There Is an End by Holly Golightly and The Greenhornes, two members of which make up half of The Raconteurs. The Dresden Dolls belted out Black Sabbath's War Pigs, and The Blisters — a group featuring Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy's young son, Spencer, on drums — busted out Sweet Home Alabama for an encore." From Popcandy (wrap-up here).

See The Raconteurs' cover of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy - video on Youtube.

ADDED here's footage of Wayne Coyne from Flaming Lips inside a giant plastic bubble walking on top of the crowd, with Chicago skyline in background. Trippy.


"Late 1976, and rival political factions are warring on the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, with only Bob Marley calling for peace. In an exclusive extract from her major new book, Vivien Goldman remembers life with Marley at his home on Hope Road and reveals exactly what happened when gunmen came to kill him.." in the Guardian, well worth a read.



Update on New Orleans music and musicians Story from NO Times-Picayune.
snip.... "In January, the mayor's Bring New Orleans Back Commission estimated that fewer than 10 percent of the city's musicians had returned. Marquee names such as Aaron and Cyril Neville and Henry Butler have moved away, along with scores of lesser-known musicians who populated stages from Bourbon Street to Oak Street..."



Trying to cure by Bloglines addiction, any suggestions?

Monday, August 07, 2006



Rumblings/Ramblings
Lots underway, but these items are of note, if you aint seen em already...
The delightful Mr Wallace Chapman gets dumped/departs BFM Breakfast, replaced by former Brekky host (aka Mr Punctuality) Mikey Havoc. Blogosphere reacts with abject horror - see Mr Dubber and Mr Christie (two posts). Looks like BFM are changing hosts to please advertisers, not listeners. Any comments? Email them to BFM here. (under Contacts)

Simon Grigg notes that in a recent conversation with a fellow NZ music industry person he heard that "sales of NZ music are in, and I quote, “complete freefall” and unlikely to improve in the near future. That, coupled with other informed comments on National Radio recently mentioning drops of some twenty percent or so this year, raises one big question. At least from where I’m sitting, several thousand miles from the action. Namely, what in gods name happened?

Of course I’m absolutely aware of the on-going global downturn in sales of compact discs and the inevitable flattening out of digital sales. Especially from acts represented by the major industry organisations such as the RIAA, or their equivalents.But the percentage drop in sales, from labels represented by RIANZ (and that is a major qualifier) of NZ music, far exceeds the global trend and the word why flashes in neon rather brutally..." Full post here.


Simon also points to the fantastic new Toy Love website, set up by TL's Jane Walker. have a lookee. Nice one.
Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM August 5
Timmy Thomas - Why can't we live together (Shoes re-edit - dub mix)
Mere Mortalz - Dis a boom (version)
Rob Symeonn - Chosen one
Ann Sexton -You're gonna miss me
Pointer sisters - Yes we can can
Meters - Same old thing
Romanowski - Dance dance dance
Cut chemist - Metrorail thru space
Hopeton Lewis - take it easy
Loo and placido - Fu gee la sound system
Amadou and Mariam - Senegal fast food
Nina Simone - Funkier than a mosquito's tweeter
Midnights - True progress
Pinchers - Bandolero
Barrington Carey - Love U forever
Cornerstone roots - Forward dub
Maxwell implosion - Buddy Saltzmann's hideout
Bobby Byrd - Hot pants, I'm coming
Yam yam - The spectacle (Mr Scruff remix)
Sole survivor - Right direction
Al Green - Take me to the river
Rolfos Tabanka Rhythms - Watermelon man
Rebel MC - Jahovia
DJ C and Quality diamond - Let it billie
Sole survivor - Breeze and stereo sound
Bombs - Under mi sensi

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM July 29
Shark Wilson and the basement heaters - Make it reggae
Jackie Mittoo - James bond
James Brown - Don't tell it
Graham central station - Water
Zilver Zurf - Good vibes
Digital Underground - Way we swing
Bombs - Under mi sensi
Kevvy Kev - Give and take dub
Desmond Dekker - Intensified
Martin Brew - Sand streppin
Romanowski - Strudel strut
Ramsey Lewis Trio - The in crowd
Quantic soul orchestra - Get a move on
Timmy Thomas - Why can't we live together (Shoes re-edit - dub mix)
War - Cisco kid
Rae and Christian feat Bobby Womack - Wake up everybody
Scrappy - Off the lead
The Jamaicans - Ba ba boom
Lennie Hibbert - Go for yourself
Cut chemist - The garden
Chuck Womack and the sweet souls - Ham hock and beans pt 1
Nomo - Divisions
Horace Andy - Jah provides
Katchafire - Collie herb man (Sola Rosa remix)
Delroy Wilson - Get ready
Freddie Cruger - Simply fresh

Friday, August 04, 2006

Pink rip off
From Dunedin's Radio One - newsletter..
"Okay so Radio One isn’t exactly a big fan of Pink… or even a small one. But have you seen her latest video "U + Ur Hand"? Did you notice the fact that her ‘stylist’ (or whoever squeezed her into those wee leather outfits) obviously came across some of Marty Emonds' (artist/co-founder of Illicit) art and decide to blatantly rip it off!! Three of his characters Rockerbikergirl, HardCandy and Baby Redknuckles were “borrowed” without Illicits knowledge. I bet Marty Emonds is turning in his grave as we speak. Pink, you thief!!"
(see Youtube for video)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Rumours on the internets
A few people have been asking me about a Hallelujah Picassos reunion gig. We had been approached to do a show for that splendid Wellington establishment Bar Bodega for their 15th birthday and were keen, but have had to pull out due to work commitments. Sorry if we got your hopes up.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Coming to you live, from Las Vegas.
Well, that was Saturday (being my birthday). Today is Los Angeles. Vegas was freakin nuts - Eiffel Tower, Greenwich Village, Paris, Venice canals, it's all there. When we flew in Saturday afternoon at 5pm (from San Francisco), the temperature was 109 F (that's 43 C). Next day we went to the Hoover Dam, temperature hit 115 F. More travel tales to follow. Oh yeah. I saw Brad Pitt.