Monday, October 16, 2006

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, October 14
Jingo – Fever
Bobby Hughes Combination – Kerma elastica
James Taylor Quartet – Starsky and Hutch theme
King Tubby – King at the controls
Cornell Campbell – Boxing
Breakestra - Recognize
Bronx River Parkway – La valla
Wreck Allstars – Keep on dancing
Quantic – Poilitck society
Mantronix – megamix (3rd album)
Bokoor Band – Onukpa Shakarpo
The emotions – Blind alley
Rhythm and sound- Best friend
Tanya Stephens – U don’t get it
Jackie Mittoo – Hot milk
Art Blakey percussion – Cubano chant
Diskettes – How bizarre
Roy Ayers – Funk in the hole (Platinum pied pipers remix)
Jugoe – Ohio city
Clarence Reid – Masterpiece
James Blood Ulmer – Little red house
Lyn Collins – Do your thing
United 8 – Getting uptown
George Duke – Dukey stick
Harry Belafonte – Day-o

Friday, October 13, 2006

34 years later...
Iggy and the Stooges return to the studio to cut a new record, at Steve Albini's studio in Chicago. Mike Watt blogs it all, here.

sample... " we chow tacos from inside the supermercado down the street, across from the chow pad I shovel from in the morning. it's good eats and everyone digs in except scotty cuz there's queso (cheese) involved and scotty's lactose intolerant, something that came on him w/age. we then fire it up for "sounds of leather" which is another short one but man, has this tune got some winners for words... I mean, I love iggy's lyrics - just as much as his voice and always have but how can you top this:

w/a fuzzy manifesto
you can sell a lotta pesto

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Towering inferno
snip from LA Times, on Tower's closure...

"The first sign I saw that something was wrong with this picture was the sign an employee was holding up in the parking lot of the Buena Park Tower, as I pulled in on Saturday afternoon," said Dave Schmerler, of Westminster. " 'Up to 30% off,' it proclaimed. Already, my hopes for half-off, and then some, were dashed. And that pesky 'up to' had me worried."

On learning that the initial discount for CDs and DVDs was 10%, Schmerler said, "I realized that, even with the 10% discount, I would be paying way more than Amoeba prices. I mean, the average disc price was an astronomical $17.98, so it was still over $16 — before sales tax — per CD! I put back seven and bought one…. I left thinking that Tower doesn't even know how to go out of business properly. No wonder they went out of business."

In a download-happy, file-swapping era, the discreet joys of browsing among record racks and losing oneself in reverie while pondering album cover art ... seem lost on a generation of young shoppers like Marisa, 13, and Teddy Louden, 15, from Mar Vista. They decided to check out the sale in Santa Monica after seeing the placard-bearers, motivated by curiosity rather than brand allegiance.

"I don't really even like to buy CDs," said Teddy. "Usually I just buy songs on iTunes."

Articles title... "A time to mourn, a time to bargain hunt."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I saw the funniest thing on the tv news on Tuesday night - an item on a new local boy band (called Boyband - now there's some honest branding) put together by radio station The Edge, who were celebrating their debut single going to number one (live on-air, of course). Warner Music's Chris Guzwell was interviewed, and commented that this success would send a message to local musicians to not take themselves so seriously.

He's also quoted in this morning's print edition of the NZ Herald (the version online doesn't include his quotes) as saying "It's absolutely incredible, a testament to the power of radio..."

The Edge program director Leon Wratt said the competition was a bit of a joke, aimed at NZ Idol. "We felt that Idol was really just getting far too bloody serious on themselves. To get to number one on the charts really isn't that huge an achievement. We bet we could bring five guys together and do the same sort of thing."

As Wratt notes, getting to number one in the singles chart isn't a huge achievement - the CD single is nearly extinct, so 75% of the chart ratings are based on radio play, so it stands to reason that a band started by a major radio station will have no trouble hitting number one. As for Guzwell's assertion that it sends a message to local musos not to take themselves so seriously - the only message it sends is don't take the singles chart seriously.

Sure, Dawn Raid has a heap of gold and platinum singles to their name, but they aint getting paid diddly off of the sales of a cd single.

Boyband are reported to be performing at the NZ Music Awards on October 18 - on the red carpet, outside the venue. So, they'll be the ones with the hat on the ground, busking, then? He he.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

10 Things You Don't Know About Women
Jenna Fischer wrote a piece for September's Esquire Magazine called 10 Things You Don't Know About Women "... So [she] decided to celebrate it with a recital from the guys at The Office ... filmed entirely on [her] phone. " (Fischer plays Pam Beesly on The Office, US version).
Ah, Youtube rules. The US version of The Office is starting here on tv sometime soon, or you can just rent it from the video store. TV is dying out.

Taxi gang

hat tip to Different Kitchen... "another of Exclaim! mag 's extremely thorough timelines, this time on reggae production legends Sly & Robbie."

Tower Records goes into liquidation...
Check some of these headlines... Music shoppers mourn fall of Tower Records (Chicago Sun-Times), Tower Records to be liquidated; 3,000 are expected to lose jobs(Seattle Times), RIP Tower Records (Pitchfork), Tower Records RIP (Blogcritics) and this one Good riddance to Tower... quote: "I used to “dumpster dive” one of Tower’s locations in Seattle and, good grief, these people acted like they’d never heard of recycling…and in Seattle, an environmentally-conscious place. Furthermore, the amount of pornography these stores were pumping into the world was amazing..."

And keep an eye on Google, rumours are they're about to buy Youtube for US$1.6 billion.
UPDATE: Sale has been confirmed, immediately adding US$4 billion to Google's market value. Unreal.

Indie booksellers in the age of the internet

(from Boing boing) "Cory Doctorow: Interesting AP story about how indie bookstores are faring in the age of the Internet; I worked for indie bookstores in the late 80s and early 90s and love to patronize them, love the knowledgeable clerks, quirky shelf-reviews, lovingly curated recommendation sections. The business model is plainly, books for people who love books -- not "sell the end-caps for this week's extruded blockbuster product."
Gary Kleiman, who owns BookBeat in the northern California community of Fairfax, decided the way to do it was to get rid of the clutter and make his store a gathering place.
"We had 10,000 or 13,000 books in the store," said Kleiman. "Now we have maybe 1,500." Last fall, Kleiman gave all but a handful of his used books to charity. Then he tore down shelves and in their place put tables and chairs and a small stage for live performances. He started offering free wireless internet access. And to help convince people to take advantage of it all he got a beer and wine license.
As for the books, most of the ones left are new and they're confined to the perimeter walls. While he's selling about the same number of books as he used to, new books are selling better. And his store has a lot more customers -- eating, drinking and listening to music -- than he did before. About 60 percent of the store's profits come from the cafe.
Kleiman's drastic move after six years of business is in large part the result two things he came to understand about the internet.
The first was that there were just too many used books online and they were just too cheap -- far cheaper than he could afford to sell them.
The second was that for all the talk about the speed of ordering books online, he could be faster. "I can order today and they will be here tomorrow," he said -- one reason customers choose him instead of the internet.
(Wired) Link

 In case you missed it, Pauly Fuemana about his music plans,... to quote that famous rap poet LL Cool J, "Don't call it a comeback, I been here for years.." And the article online ends mid-sentence, just as it appeared in the paper. Sigh ...

How bizarre: Pauly is back SUNDAY , 08 OCTOBER 2006 

 It was a bizarre line, a bizarre song and a bizarre time. Pauly Fuemana went from rags to riches and back. Now the voice of The Otara Millionaires' Club tells Tony Wall he's on the way up again.

In 10 years Pauly Fuemana had a worldwide number one hit song, made more than a million dollars, fathered five children, lost his mother and his brother and was declared bankrupt. Now he's back.

 A decade after How Bizarre stormed to the top of the charts in New Zealand and eight other countries, Fuemana has again teamed up with the song's co-writer, Auckland producer Alan Jansson, for what the pair hope will be another successful album by the Otara Millionaires' Club (OMC). Fuemana's story is a remarkable one. He rose from poverty in Otara to co-write one of the most instantly recognisable pop songs of the modern era, and enjoyed all the trappings that went with it: meeting the likes of Cher and the Spice Girls, going to the Grammys, riding in limousines.

The record sold four million copies, making Fuemana at least $1.5m. He travelled the world promoting the album, but around 2000 he tired of it and returned to New Zealand, where he disappeared into life as a "house dad" on Auckland's North Shore.

 Then the royalties for How Bizarre started to dry up. According to the liquidator of Fuemana's company, his and wife Kirstene's "lavish lifestyle had not contracted when the royalties began to diminish". The company collapsed owing $91,000 to creditors; their bank made them sell their Birkenhead house.

Then in June, the final insult: Fuemana, in his mid 30s, was declared bankrupt. Now renting in Beach Haven, Fuemana broke years of media silence in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Star-Times. He admitted he had been "a little bit stupid" with his money at times, but denied he'd blown his fortune.

"If you're talking about us giving money to funerals and stuff like that as blowing our cash, then yeah. I gave to my sister and brothers, at least 150 grand. "I bought my brother Phil a Range Rover and my sister a BMW... because they were at the bottom of their glass, they were struggling. I said `here, have some money'. "I wasn't gonna sit around and say, `hey man, I've got all this money and I'm gonna leave my family out'. That's not the Kiwi way man."

 He wants to repay his creditors. "I've gone to an auditor... he explained to me I need to do this and that, and I'm doing it.

 "I'm not the type of person to run away, I'm not going to take off, I'm actually gonna try." A lot of royalties were absorbed by record company expenses, something he was not warned about. 
"They (Polygram, now Universal) didn't tell me about it, only at the end, eh. They turned around and said I had to pay 50% (of tour costs). I'm like, eh?" But if there is any bitterness about the way his career was managed, Fuemana doesn't show it.

To him, those heady years from 1996 to 2000 were an incredible adventure. "I'm from Otara and I got to see Italy and Spain and Germany. To play at the Supper Club in New York and the Whisky a Go Go in LA. It was like a dream come true."

He also has some wild rock'n'roll stories, such as the time he did an "All Blacks tackle" on a man in San Francisco, sending him through a plate glass window. The man had called him and his entourage "sheep shaggers". "Unbeknown to me he was the head of some record company, Universal or Polygram or something. They sent me a bill for the window."

 Fuemana is scathing of the way records are made in the US."I went to these studios and there were like three guys in there doing the same job that Alan (Jansson) does. Fifty thousand American dollars later I'm like, `what does he do?' `What's he doing?' I call them studio zombies." After the death of his mother Fuemana lost the will to tour and returned home.

Then last year his big brother Phil, the South Auckland record producer who had helped launch his career in 1994, died of a heart attack. Although a sad time, it was also what brought him back together with Jansson.

Fuemana has written about 60 tracks over the past six years, while Jansson has honed his studio skills.They have laid down eight tracks, including a heartfelt song about homesick Kiwis called For All of Us, featuring Lucy Lawless.

It shows a more mature side of the How Bizarre kid. It will be released early next year on Jansson's new label Newco Music Manufacturing, a label which aims to give creative control back to the artist.That appeals to Fuemana.

 "I'm in no rush, we're just taking our time on it. I think if we rush it now we're just gonna get wasted out there. If we take our time and get it down right, I think we're gonna make it; I think we're really gonna kick some butt out there."

 He is not worried that he will probably be remembered for the one song, and says it amazes him how many people loved it, and still ask to hear it. "I'm proud of where How Bizarre has gotten us. Without How Bizarre, I don't think I'd be where I am today, I don't think my kids would have what they.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lust for laughs
From the Smoking Gun... "As if you need another reason to love Iggy Pop, the veteran rocker (and his band The Stooges) have the single most entertaining concert rider TSG has ever obtained.

The document--all 18 pages of which you'll find below--describes Iggy's requirements in terms of amplifiers, security, lighting, stage set up, and dressing rooms. But unlike most similar documents, Iggy's rider is written in a rollicking, stream-of-consciousness fashion that delivers multiple laughs per page.

Apparently written by roadie Jos Grain, the Iggy rider is peppered with witty gems, tasteless asides, and typos. For example, in describing how Iggy's dressing room should be made to "look less like a typical rock & roll dressing room," the rider suggests that promoters "just let someone loose with a little bit of artistic flair...Er, do you know any homosexuals?"

Explaining the need for two heavy duty fans, Grain notes, "So that I can wear a scarf and pretend to be in a Bon Jovi video." Also, don't miss the backstage requirements of a Bob Hope impersonator and "a copy of USA Today that's got a story about morbidly obese people in it. Most amusing!" (18 pages)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Weather bomb attacks Auckland
God angry with Exclusive Bretheren. More here.
Mos Def, T-Bone Burnett and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir have gone missing
You may have already come across this story, but if not, it's pretty damn amusing. From the LA Times (registration reqd, or read it below). Apparently they can't find Public Enemy either.

Music Royalty Checks Languish for Unreachable Stars

Calling Mos Def, the Olsen Twins and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. You have $500,000 looking for you.
By Dawn C. Chmielewski and Charles Duhigg
LA Times Staff Writers, September 29, 2006

Rapper Mos Def, producer T-Bone Burnett and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir have gone missing.

The organization created by the recording industry to collect and distribute Internet and satellite radio royalties can't seem to find these and other artists to whom it owes checks.

Washington-based SoundExchange released a list of 9,000 recording artists with unclaimed royalties in what it described as a last-ditch effort to distribute $500,000 worth of checks to the musicians for digital broadcasts dating from the late '90s. And the clock is ticking: The artists forfeit the money to SoundExchange if they don't claim it by Dec. 15.

The release of the list of unpaid artists has become the butt of jokes on industry Internet forums. And the disclosure comes at an inconvenient time for SoundExchange, which is arguing before the Library of Congress that it should remain the exclusive distributor of digital performance royalties that amount to millions of dollars a year.

"It says obviously how well they do their job — which is not well at all," said Fred Wilhelms, a Nashville lawyer who helps performers and songwriters collect back royalties. "How do you not find the Olsen twins? All you've got to do is get off a bus in Salt Lake City and you'll find the Mormon Tabernacle Choir."

The list of unpaid artists includes some surprisingly well-known acts, including Academy Award winner Three 6 Mafia, the classic folk group Peter, Paul and Mary and celebrity sisters Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.

"Look, there may be people that you can Google and find," said John L. Simson, executive director of SoundExchange. "If they're well-known people, we've probably found them too. We've probably mailed multiple things to them without any response. What it shows you is perhaps for major artists or their management … this may have been lower on the priority list than the current tour or the current recording."

Simson says it's not SoundExchange's job to hunt down performers any more than it's a bank's responsibility to hunt down depositors who have left money in inactive accounts.

Nonetheless, SoundExchange has registered 22,000 performers over the last year for royalty checks. It worked with CD Baby, an online retailer of music by independent artists, to identify 5,500 musicians who had unclaimed royalties.

CD Baby sent e-mail notices urging people to register with SoundExchange. And it has spread the word at countless industry events. "I'd say they've done a pretty fair job of going out there and making a fair effort," said Kevin Arnold, founder of the Independent Online Distribution Alliance.

Simson said SoundExchange sometimes notified performers or their managers but didn't receive paperwork back. He said he personally contacted rapper Chuck D, with whom Simson had made many public appearances, after discovering that influential hip-hop group Public Enemy was among the unpaid.

"In a lot of ways this list, and especially with the bigger performers on it, is a wake-up call," Simson said. "Hey guys, you're about to lose this."

Simson said most of the checks for royalties paid from 1996 through 2000 amounted to small change — about 6,000 performers are each owed $50 or less. Fewer than 75 are due $500 or more, he said. But those royalties will become a more significant source of income for artists as Internet and satellite radio become more popular. SoundExchange estimates that royalties in 2005 will exceed $40 million.

Simon Renshaw, manager of the Dixie Chicks and other groups, said that until now, Webcasting and satellite radio royalties represented little money for big-name acts.

"For a lot of managers, they probably receive the form letter and throw it in the trash without even opening it," Renshaw said. "Now that there's a big sum involved, people will start to pay attention."

Indeed, an attorney for rap artist and actor Ice Cube reportedly filled out the required paperwork within hours of a Times reporter contacting his label, his management firm and his publicist for comment. Another famous name dropped from the list after inquiries by The Times was five-time Grammy winner Lauryn Hill.

Nonetheless, Renshaw called it "sloppy" that SoundExchange failed to track down major acts.

To some, SoundExchange's failure to pay artists' royalties has echoes of industry practices that came to the attention of New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer. In 2004, the world's biggest record labels agreed to pay $50 million in back royalties to artists such as David Bowie, Sean "P Diddy" Combs and Dolly Parton, whom the companies said had gone missing.

"You're preaching to the choir when you say it sounds like standard industry practice," Nashville attorney Wilhelms said. "You've got to figure, when it comes to the industry and the royalties, there's nothing in it for them to do it."

Would-be competitor Royalty Logic Inc. of Woodland Hills seized on the unpaid artists as a reason why the copyright board should permit it to compete with SoundExchange.

"Competitors would jump at the opportunity to be part of this multimillion-dollar business and turn over every stone to sign up these unaffiliated artists and labels," said Kenneth D. Freundlich, a Beverly Hills attorney who represents Royalty Logic. "This list may just be the tip of the iceberg."
Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, September 30
Leela James – Good time
Soulstance - Room 26
Aretha Franklin – Jump
Femi Kuti – Truth don die (Lagos dub)
Nas – Bridging the gap
Quantic feat Ohmega Watts – Ticket to know where
Horace Andy – Jah provides
Open souls – Latin joint
Coldcut feat Roots Manuva – True skool
Booker T and the MGs – Melting pot
The Tennors – Ride the donkey
Cornell Campbell – Rope in
Breakestra feat J5 – Family rap
Meters – Keep on marching
The Beat – Twist and crawl
Heptones – Message from a black man
Grandaddy IU – Something new
Bronx river parkway – La valla
Johnny Rodiguiez and Angel Rene – Sister sue
Big bud – Bubblin dub
Suicide - Cheree
Nightmares on wax – Flip ya lid
Substantial – Home sweet home
Chuck Womack and the Sweet souls – Ham hock and beans Pt 1
Flirtations – Nothing but a heart ache
Bombs – Under mi sensi
Lopez Walker – Jah jah new garden
Maori Hi Five – Poi poi
Cut Chemist – The garden

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Say kids, what time is it?
British dance duo Coldcut (Matt Black and Jonathan More) return to play our shores this week - the Herald has a good primer on em here. The Sunday Star Times also got in on the act, doing an interview with John Matthias from Coldcut. Who? The uncredited article (in the About Town section) seems to have added a third member to the group. And don't get me started on the brain-dead questions - "What's the future of electronica? Is there a place for politics on the dancefloor?" Groan.
Coldcut have been working together for nearly twenty years, so it's surprising that the Sunday Star Times writer didn't know about them - but hey, they could do what any good writer/subeditor should do if you don't know a person's name - JUST GOOGLE IT.

Keeping it musical...

Great news! Music Industry Dying, Says Pink Floyd, Clash Manager
The music industry, in its current form, is dying a slow death, according to the former manager of seminal acts The Clash and Pink Floyd. (Hat tip to Dubber)

and... Oliver Wang (Sole Sides blog) gets all Youtube on it, with Soul Sights. Freakin nuts funky ass sheez - watch this one, anti-MP3 ad. One for all you vinyl hold-outs.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, 23 September
Tosca – Chocolate Elvis (Boozoo Bajou remix)
Risco Connection – Argument
Augustus Pablo – Rockers rock
Nomo – We do we go
Malcolm’s Locks – Get up stand up
BT Express – Do it til you’re satisfied
Big Youth – Waterhouse rock (Groove Corp remix)
Kraftwerk – Man machine
Hugh Masekela – Languta
Connie Price and the Keystones – Western champion
Scrappy – Off the lead
Devonte and Beenieman – Imagination
International Observer – Vale Bengal
Tyra and the Tornadoes – You got me thinkin
(Caught these cats playing at Khuja on Saturday night - the lineup features a number of members of the Open Souls, letting rip on some funky-ass covers, like Aretha's Rocksteady, You're Gonna Miss Me, even played Dust by Recloose. Wicked band, check em if you like the funk)
Thievery Corp – Come in from the top
Schooly D – Where’d you get that funk from?
Onelung – Cinema 90
Quantic – Politick society feat Noelle Scaggs
Lee Dorsey – Give it up
Jugoe – Ohio city
The Clash - Silicone on saphire
Eddie Warner – Poppy fiddles
Horace Andy – Rock to sleep
Bim Sherman – You are the one
Nicola Conte – Missione a bombay
Donald Fagen – I.G.Y.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Content for malcontents
Last week I read a story on British Telecom getting into creating podcasts, with their users sending in their best/worst musical performances for shows delivered via a new internet service (more here). It got me thinking on a similar theme - Vodafone and Telecom spend vast sums of money on providing content for their mobile users. They seek to control exactly what a mobile user can get thru their phones. Why? How about they flip that content model, and open it up?

Make MySpace available via mobiles - that way, the user generates the content, costing the cellphone provider nothing. Or use MySpace as a template, and create their own blog/friend site, accessible via your mobile phone. One thing tho - the beauty of using MySpace is that you could access it from either Vodafone or Telecom - if the cellphone providers set up their own MySpace-styled site, they would need to make them compatible on their competitors phones as well. Remember when you couldn't text someone if they didn't have the same cellphone provider as you?

ADDED Sept 28 - Just saw this story... in the Dom Post... "Vodafone will launch its own version of MySpace on mobile phones by mid October. Though the telco is coy on the details, the service will likely be similar to existing websites such as MySpace and Bebo, but designed for the small screens of mobiles." More here.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, 16 September

Maceo and the Macks – Soul power 74
Fela Kuti - Shakara
Cedric Im Brooks- Mun dun go
Shinehead – Ragamuffin
ESG -Moody (spaced out mix)
Bombs – Under mi sensi re-edit
Jacksons and Mick Jagger – State of shock
Erma Franklin – Piece of my heart
One self – Temptation
Connie Price and the Keystones – Sucker punch
Kingites – Whistling in the dark
Johnny Osbourne – Budy bye
Jstar – Fall in love
Cornerstone roots – Forward dub
King Jammy – Black and white dub
Bronx river parkway – La valla
Cymande – Fug
Gaturs – Cold bear
Morgan Heritage and Bounty Killer – Guns in the ghetto
Jugoe – Ohio city
James Brown – Stone to the bone
Open souls – What you do
Freddie Kruger – Simply fresh
Horne singers – Flat foot
Curtis Mayfield – Freddie’s dead
Kruder and Dorfmeister – Shakatakadoo dub