Friday, May 11, 2007


Earplug sat down with LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and he makes a great recommendation for fans new to dance music:

Read Last Night a DJ Saved My Life by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton. Read the disco sections and check the playlists in the back, like those from Paradise Garage, the Loft, the Funhouse, and the Palladium. It was a real eye-opener for me. There are top-10 and top-20 lists from amazing DJs of that era who were really adventurous and took chances. Just track those songs down and see what you like. It's a really great history of disco and of dance music. (Via BV)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Flight of the Conchords vids
Via US site Brooklyn Vegan (a big fan, apparently); behind the scenes of their HBO series, the HBO ad for it, and their David Bowie skit, just genius stuff... see here

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I've been studying my site statistics, cos the recent reports I've been getting are somewhat alarming. Daily visitors shot up from 50 a day to 400. It seems lots of people have been coming here looking for pictures of some girl named Paris Halfwit or something. Now I'm getting around 6,000 visitors a week. Better write something, then...

"Here's a video archive of about 40-odd vintage punk music performances. Most of them appear to have been taped between 1979 and 1983, in fine old dive bars in and around Boston. Link, link 2. Bands both famous and obscure: Buzzcocks, Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Specials, Mission of Burma, Gang of Four, Dead Kennedys, Stranglers, Stiff Little Fingers, XTC... (via Boingboing)

The commentary on Public Address following Neil Finn's outburst has been fascinating reading, with one poster observing that no-one from NZ Music Month is trumpeting about the levels of NZ music on commercial radio this year (unlike previous years), as it appears to have dropped below 20% (the Govts suggested quota level).

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Don't dream - it's over
Neil Finn is pissed. No, not just cos he got bottled at Coachella. From NZ Herald. [saw this online first - just saw the print version -didn't realise it was front page news.]

"It sort of makes me sick to see Helen Clark getting up at the music awards and taking the bows," Neil Finn says in an interview with Real Groove [May edition].

"Being lauded by the music industry because everyone's getting a handout. It's like New Zealand music is taking over the world and it's all because of Helen.

"I think there is a tendency in New Zealand at the moment, because of NZ on Air dishing out large sums of money, for people to have unreal expectations for what New Zealand music can achieve overseas or is actually achieving.

"I think it would be unrealistic for New Zealanders to expect that more than one or two things at a time would even get attention. But there's a perception that is somewhat hype-generated at the moment that all this music's going out and making a big splash, and it's really not."

... and welcome to NZ Music Month. Comments? Thoughts?

ADDED: NZ Herald readers respond to Neil Finn here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

[Just found this - I wrote it in sept last year and forgot to publish it. Doh.
It never fails to amaze me how much good stuff we throw away - did I ever tell you about the time I found an Apple iMac in the trash? - so here's the ultimate recycling gig.]

"Can a beautiful house be built and furnished using only scrap, salvage and trash? A San Francisco team took on the challenge to find out. In six weeks they designed, built and furnished an entire house using nothing new. ScrapHouse was built as part of UN World Environment Day in June 2005 and was conceived by Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker Anna Fitch of Building 39 Films."
Anna says she got the idea after spending some time at the dump, noticing all the things we throw away, and wondered if you could build and furnish an entire house from scrap. And the answer is yes.

Peter Hyoguchi is the co-founder of a Berkeley-based video production company, minidocs, and has directed over 50 short films for TurnHere.

ScrapHouse video here. More photos here.

SFGate article here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

More Coachella...
- Robots' innards: A lot more interesting than Scarlett Johansson. [Boing Boing]
- Bjork gets political. [eBlips]
- Getting sick in the desert: A first-hand account. [skeet on mischa]
- The fifteen-minute clock on this festival may very well be at 14:59. [Teddy & Moo's Celebrity Pictures And Gossip]
- How do Coachella attendees afford their rock and roll lifestyle, anyway? [Useless Things]

and go read "Crowded House's set sounds like it played host to every "Hey, Asshole!" submission we've received, ever". [Because Lisa Said So] snip...

"In what SHOULD have been a great exciting performance, was marred right from the start. From the Idiot in the control room who misspelled their name. Hello? CROWED HOUSE? To the brain dead Asshole who dared to have the nerve to throw & actually hit Neil Finn in the chest w/ a water bottle... At one point, the jerks in the first 10+ rows were chanting "Rage" over & over, for Rage Against the Machine...."

Maybe not such a great gig for the big comeback, aye Neil?

ADDED - Brooklyn Vegan has a video clip of their warm-up gig, with Neil joking about their playing slot for Coachella, and a nice RATM impersonation from Nick Seymour - BV reports that Neil's bottling went like this... "Hey now, Hey now...BAM...Don't Dream it's over....". Ouch. He handled it well though - looked a little flustered, changed the words of the song to say he was unaffected, told the thrower it was a good shot, and said "they're coming, they're coming" to the many people chanting "RAGE."

via Popcandy...

"Rock critic Lester Bangs died 25 years ago [yesterday]. He remains an essential figure in journalism and rock 'n' roll, and his work feels as passionate and electrifying now as it did when it was published.

The Chicago Sun-Times offers this appreciation of Bangs, calling him "a great thinker and a philosopher." PopMatters delivers an open letter to the critic, saying, "You know full well that the world went right down the toilet as soon as you disembarked the tour bus."

For a trip down memory lane, read what Richard Hell had to say about Bangs in 2003 or Jim DeRogatis' interview with Bangs shortly before he died. (DeRogatis is the author of Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic.)

As for original writing, tons of stuff can be found on Rock's Back Pages if you join the site. Here's a link to Bangs' thoughts on Van Morrison's Astral Weeks and his interview with Brian Eno. Of course, you can also catch Philip Seymour Hoffman's interpretation of Bangs in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Just like Scarlett

Jesus and Mary Chain are playing at Coachella music fest in the States, Scott Kara from NZ Herald is blogging it. Scarlett Johansson sang backup during "Just Like Honey" for JAMC... more pics here.
Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, April 28
James Brown - Blind man can see it
Grant Green - I don't want nobody to give me nothing...
Jacksons - ABC (Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra rework)
The Dynamics - Miss you
Mighty Two - Peeping tom
Stephen Marley - Traffic jam
Keith Mansfield - Crash course (Wai wan remix)
Breakestra - Family rap
JB's - The grunt
SOS Band - Just be good to me
Skuff -The Jamaicans vs the good foot
Courtney Melody and Buster Rhymes - Dangerous bad boy (Flex edit)
Maxwell implosion - Upper left hand corner of the sky
Sly and Family Stone - Smilin'
Bronx river prkway - La valla
Bamboos - Tighten up
Tanya Stephens - Need you tonight
Keith Lawrence - Bad bwoy skank
Romanowski - Days and daze
Ripple - I don't know what it is...
General Levy - The wig (Chaos mix)
Mr Vegas - Heads high
Dawn Penn - To sir with love
Gary Clail - Privatise the air Pt1
Jungle bro and Ernest Ranglin - Funky Bond st (Flex edit)
Yabby You - Conquering lion (Smith and Mighty remix)

best text I got all morning, from one keen listener... "Dope tunes man. You got me lighting up already". Nice.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, April 21
Curtis Mayfield - Right on for the darkness
Keith Lawrence - Whoa whoa
Nightmares on wax - The sweetest
Phillis Dillion - Rocksteady
Karl Bryan and the afrokats - Money generator
Stevie Wonder -Masterblaster (dub)
Al Green - Love and happiness (Shoes edit)
Shinehead - Raggamuffin
Turbulence - Ethiopia awakes
Lalo Schifrin - Bullitt (Black Dog remix)
Wiseguys - Too easy
Migs and Jelly - Dub selecta
Maceo and the Macks - Cross the tracks
Butch Cassidy Sound System - Rockers galore
Jungle bro and Ernest Ranglin - Funky Bond st (Flex edit)
Schoolly D and Joe Delia - The player (Ganja Kru remix)
Rob Base - Turn it out (go Base) Meltdown mix
DJ Smash - Light em up
Graham cnetral station -The jam
Society's bag - Let it crawl
Jackie Mittoo - Ska-culation
Scientist - Pick up the dub
Romanowski - The train story
El Chicano - Viva tirado
Love unlimited orchestra - Strange games and things
Stargard - Which way is up?
Fatback band - Yum yum
The Dynamics -90% of me is you

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Auckland Uki Uki Band
Check out the Auckland ukulele night... at Gyoza King, 107 Ponsonby rd (next to Owens bookshop, George FM) Sunday 29th April, 7pm. Bookings - phone 360 8638. All welcome!

Also, the Wellington Ukulele Orchestra will be playing in AK on May 5, at the Schooner Tavern, with Chris Knox, and the following day at the Museum. Details soon.

Further to the Dawn Raid news, the first report from the liquidators following the collapse of Dawn Raid, "Universal and Warner are owed $320,000, but it is not known if they will pursue the debt now entertainment company Dawn Raid has gone into liquidation owing just over $1 million. Debts to the music companies make up the bulk of $518,819 owed to unsecured creditors. Inland Revenue, a preferential creditor, is owed $410,000 and secured creditors, who are first in line for any pay-out, are owed $140,000.

The liquidation report says [Dawn Raid founders] Murnane and Leaosavai'i sold their homes and invested more than $200,000 as Dawn Raid struggled.They tried to negotiate a deal with Inland Revenue to settle outstanding taxes, but their offer was rejected, forcing them to place the companies in liquidation." More here. It seems unclear whether their artists will remain tied to Dawn Raid, but up to 10 interested parties are looking to purchase the assets of Dawn Raid.

Also, there's a funny little story buried in the back of the Weekend Herald today, in the Careers section, which is an interview with an NZSO flute player, Bridget Douglas, and Nathan Haines, on the viability of music as a career - best quote...

"Haines has some advice for musicians looking for their first record deal. Don't bother. He is self-funding the production of his next album, recording it in his own studio and paying for CD production and artwork himself. Traditionally, record companies pay for these things.

Haines says doing it himself will mean he'll get three times more money from each sale of his new CD than if it was produced under contract to a record company.

"Technology now puts the power into the hands of the musicians and you don't need a big record company any more," he says. "The stranglehold the record companies have on artists is dwindling."

Young people, he says, now need to know as much about the music industry as the music itself."

Oh yeah, the article is called "Jazzing up your career options" Heh heh...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Good to go go - Chuck Brown is bustin' loose
Everything goes better with a bit of Go go - get these tunes down ya. Via Idolator. Listen to a bit of Joe Tex while you're there, maybe?

ADDED: " A few months ago, we tipped our readers to a Firefox extension called Downthemall. While its name sounds like one for an organization devoted to fighting suburban sprawl, it's actually a neat little download accelerator that allows users to snag all the MP3s on a Web page with just one click, and it's become somewhat crucial to our blog-appreciation efforts. We were reminded of its utility today, when Spine Magazine linked to the Wu-Tang Clan's recently updated downloads page; someone within the Wu-Tang camp has put up a whopping 215 MP3s of unreleased, rare, and demo tracks from the group. Seriously, this is the sort of thing Downthemall was made for, so get clicking before the bandwidth police rush the party." more from Idolator.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Stop, drop and roll.
Sad news this morning; Dawn Raid have gone into voluntary liquidation, following rumours of financial difficulties surfacing in the Sunday Star Times a few weeks back.

"They cite, a downturn in the label's revenues as the reason resulting from a shift in the local urban music market, compounded by the label's high overhead structure and increased activity in illegal downloads."

Dawn Raid did a lot of good for the folks of South Auckland, so it's a shame to see them go under. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dawn Raid founders Andy and Danny several years ago for NZ Musician magazine - I took a bus out to Papatoetoe to meet them at their office/studio. They were both very enthusiastic, but also very serious -they met while doing a business course. They had both been involved in the Proud compilation of South Auckland music, but that had been done in a central Auckland studio. They wanted something that the local teens could use, so, after one particularly sucessful Xmas season selling their t-shirts at the markets, they found themselves with a pile of cash, going, what do we do? Let's open our own recording studio! Great way to develop local talent for the label. Now that's all gone. What went wrong? It seemed like they had a lot of knowledge and advice at their disposal.

Rev Mua Strickson-Pua was interviewed about the collapse on Breakfast (TVOne) this morning (he is one of the organisers of the Pacific Island Music Awards late next month). Pua noted that the company had done a lot of good for the community in South Auckland, but that they seem to have over-extended themselves. Check TVNZ's site for a video of the interview later.

From a statement released by the company... "The music industry has experienced rapid change in the last two years with the new digital-driven content formats. Unfortunately we were expanding into Australia at a time that we should have be consolidating our local operation," states Andy Murnane.

NZ Herald reports that "A liquidator said it was too early to say how many unsecured creditors were owed money and whether they would see any funds. The Inland Revenue Department - which has previously applied to liquidate the companies - is the preferential creditor, with a number of secured creditors next in line for any payout from assets.

Liquidator Peri Finnigan said any pay day for creditors would depend "very much" on the ability to sell assets such as sound equipment, musical instruments and computers. Physical assets removed from the company in March were in safe storage and insured. The liquidation would also explore the possibility of assigning the existing artists' contracts to another company." The first report from the Liquidator is due April 27.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jam Master Jay
Finally, 5 years after his tragic shooting, someone gets charged over it... Link.

"... In court papers, the prosecutors identify Ronald "Tenad" Washington as the armed accomplice of a second unidentified gunman who shot Jay, whose real name was Jason Mizell, inside his New York recording studio in 2002. They say Washington also is a suspect in the 1995 fatal shooting of Randy Walker, a close associate of the late rapper Tupac Shakur.

The papers were filed earlier this month in the federal trial of Washington, who was convicted in a string of armed robberies that occurred just after Jay was killed. Prosecutors declined to discuss the unsolved slayings.

A Mizell family spokesperson welcomed news that authorities had for the first time publicly identified a suspect, saying "We're relieved there's some information coming out, although we understand that it's not the full story."

Washington, 45, has denied any connection to either the Mizell or Walker cases. In a sworn statement, he claimed hostile detectives had hounded him about the slaying of his "childhood friend" Mizell and other crimes. Washington's criminal record dates to 1982, and includes convictions for assault, drugs and grand larceny, authorities said."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The "death" of vinyl, part 647

"The vinyl record was supposed to be dead by now, long since swept away by the powerful winds of new technology. If it wasn't the low-quality but highly portable cassette, then surely the CD or mp3 should have finished off the bulky, scratch-prone relics of an earlier era.

The vinyl record appears to have found a welcoming audience lately, however, at least in the Brooklyn hipster havens of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. No less than six new music shops have opened in recent years, including four that specialize in vinyl."

Link (via Coolfer)