Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mashups get dusted.

Idolator reports that "The mash-up--a modern genre of popular music in which two seemingly at-odd songs are blended together--died yesterday. It was five years old.

The style of music came to prominence in 2001, with the release of Freelance Hellraiser's "A Stroke Of Genius," which combined songs by the Strokes and Christina Aguilera. As recently as last fall, it was still being celebrated on content-desperate weblogs, or "blogs."

However, in the last few months, friends and family claim the genre had grown sick from uninspiration. "It basically become a way for white-boy bloggers who never cared about dance music to suddenly write about rap and hip-hop," says San Diego DJ Kahootz. "They'd pretty much ignore Clipse or Nas until someone mashed them with a Rilo Kiley song, and then you'd wind up with some terrible track called 'Mo' Adventurous.'"

Around the world this morning, prominent bloggers mourned the loss, claiming that the mash-up was still vital. "Man, this sucks," says Dale Wilkinson, who runs cutyourheir.blogspot.com. "I just had a friend ProTool a version of [Jay-Z's] 'Big Pimpin'' with [Fleetwood Mac's] 'Big Love.' Now I have to find something else to post about. Do you know if there are any tickets onsale for anything anywhere?"

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Just like static

"More on the CISAC Copyright Summit in Brussels: British Telecom CEO Ben Verwaayen was brutally frank with the audience. "Your [music] industry has not changed for 20 years, maybe 50 years," he said in his keynote address. "You have to rethink how you work in the digital age. Are you just a rights administrator that sends me a bill, or are you something more?" (via Coolfer)

Did you see the latest round of Phase Four album funding from NZ On Air? $50,000 grants went to acts that have had to have at least two radio hits - this round went to The Rabble, The Feelers, Dion Plamer (ex D4, last heard of moving to LA), Pistol Youth (Google them andyou get a myspace page with no customising, and no music) and Ivy Lies (nothing on Google). Those last two - you ever heard of them? Me neither, and seems I'm not the only one who noticed this.. from ex NZ Musician's asst editor Melanie Selby...

"I know NZ On Air like to keep things simple but their funding decisions are often baffling (especially, I'm sure, for those who regularly miss out), and the latest round of Phase Four album grants has left me well confused.

One of the few key criteria to receiving one of the $50,000 album funding grants is that artists must have “two current radio hits” to their name to even compete for one of the refundable packages. Previously a radio hit was defined as "a RadioScope NZ Airplay Chart Top 30 song", but recognising the market degradation this was extended in July last year to include the published Top 40 chart songs.

Now, I know that the feelers have had more than a couple of radio hits over the past year. And I can probably name two songs released by The Rabble - so I can fathom both their $50,000 allocation.

But can someone tell me who the Ivy Lies are? They’ve received $50,000 - under the very same criteria. And I struggle to understand how Brad Carter’s “new” band Pistol Youth have gathered one radio hit, let alone two, especially given Brad has been busy touring foreign parts with Steriogram the last few months.

And despite a serious think I can’t recall hearing anything on the radio by ex- D4 Dion Palmer. He's been back in Auckland doing a few DJ sets lately but the last I heard he had left New Zealand and relocated to the US.

I know I’ve been out of the music industry for a month now but surely these three acts haven’t each released and achieved two “radio hits” in that time? Is there a new radio station no one has told me about. If not then just what are the real criteria being used?"

Monday, May 28, 2007

Remember DKD?
For you old-skool AK types... Derek from Karajoz has a coffee blog, he's put up some pics of DKD Cafe, including one of my main man Harold, back in the day...
see here....

Friday, May 25, 2007

Laugh? She nearly cried.

So, another NZ Music Month draws to a close (see Damian Christie's piece on Close-up last night? Elemeno P's Dave Gibson and Carly Binding talking about how tough it is for local musos to survive, but good news - Carly is moving to LA!), and here's a heartening bit of news on the state of the global music industry...

"We try to minimize our coverage of self-styled industry pundit Bob Lefsetz around here, in part because we don't know enough about Aspen's slopes to keep up with all of his ski-related metaphors, but this was too good not to share: Earlier this week, Lefsetz sent out a spittle-flecked rant titled "Reasons Not To Sign With The Major Labels". Last night, he emailed his list one of the responses inspired by his screed--a sorta-juicy, bitching-about-the-biz blind item that made us more than a bit curious:
My sister is signed with a major label and check out what they told her last week. They said, "We hope you're piling on the makeup and getting dressed up for these radio interviews we're sending you on. We're not hearing good reports. From now on, we're going to select your clothes for you." This is someone who has had two #1's and been nominated for three Grammy's. [sic]
She also said the same thing as you. They aren't paying her a dime and she's never recouped. Because radio is so dead, touring's slow for her as well. She's working her ass off for nothing and the label doesn't have a clue about the Internet or how to sell digital music. My friend works for her management company and he's supposed to be rebuilding her website. He said the label can't even tell him who owns it so he can get in to change the DNS.

Unsurprising--but really, makeup tips for radio interviews? Have these executives ever seen the people behind some of these microphones? (Via idolator, my new fave blog..)

Here's the blurb from Damian's Close-Up piece..

NZ Music Month
"May is New Zealand music month. All month there are special events, the radio stations do their bit, and the government gets to pat itself on the back for supporting the local industry. But is it working? It's seven years since the first music month, and while there's a lot of kiwi music about, the future's not looking great. The percentage of New Zealand music on the radio is down slightly on previous years and following overseas trends, sales of New Zealand albums have dropped a third since the late 1990s. Damian Christie caught up with four bands whose careers launched in those early days of New Zealand Musc Month, to see how well they've fared."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Headline of the Week

... goes to Idolator for this gem...

It Was Forty Years Ago Today. Now Won't You Please Shut The F--k Up?


read the reasons why this album is ca-ca here...

.. and by way of contrast, here's 79 versions of Popcorn, via Spoilt Victorian Child... he he...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Professor, blogger, DJ, curator, and music zealot Oliver Wang reveals even more Soul Sides... Village Voice.

snip... "Soul Sides Vol. 2: The Covers is out this week [on Zealous Records]: Dig the distorted, drum-centered take on Burt Bacharach's "Walk on By" by El Michels Affair, H├ęctor Lavoe's "Che Che Cole" as recast by Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, or how Al Green mishears the Beatles (much like Bob Dylan did) and belts out "I get hiiiigh" during his cover of "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

As if grading papers, blogging about disco mixes of ex-Temptation Eddie Kendricks at Soul Sides, and doing liners for the recent What It Is? box set wasn't enough, Wang also penned the investigative notes for two reissued albums by forgotten singer Betty Davis. Once the wife of Miles Davis (and suspected paramour of Jimi Hendrix), Mrs. Davis cut a handful of raw punk-funk albums and promptly fell off the grid for nearly 30 years, despite influencing two generations of dirty-minded musicians, from Prince to Prince Paul, Rick James to Lil' Kim. With the help of Wang and Seattle label Light in the Attic, Betty's music—her self-titled debut from 1973 and the following year's They Say I'm Differentis back in the spotlight for a new generation to dig."

Soul Sides Vol 1 is a killer compilation, check it. (weird local connection - Zealous Records also release Evermore's Dreams album in the US)

Tuneage... check the Hood Intenernet, indie vs hiphop mashups, ie Go Team meets the Game, Ludacris meets Bonde Do Role...

Friday, May 18, 2007


Radar is one of the smartest chaps out there - go see his show. You'll be a better person for it. Here's some guff on it.

DATE: Saturday 19th May, 5:30.
VENUE: Classic comedy Bar. BOOKINGS: 09 373 4321
TICKETS only $15


"Te Radar set out to find and tell stories about some of Te Wai Pounamou’s unsung, often unhinged, heroes. He found plenty, …Hitori gallops gallantly through tales of bravery and stupidity… there’s much to laugh at and, surprisingly, to learn…" – Listener Review, Aug 20, 2005

"Hitori was all it was promised to be, a witty and off-beat ramble through bizarre stories…". – Nelson Mail, Oct 26, 2005 "Do not die a rotting death like mine, but instead pass from this world via the fragrant ovens of a battlefield". – Te Wera.

Based on this Ngai Tahu pepeha (proverb) HITORI is comedian and documentary-maker Te Radar’s investigation of the history of Te Wai Poenamu, (The South Island).

From the geological to the mythological, and from the sociological to the illogical, this off-beat look at the Island’s history focuses on some of the myriad of heroes and villains, the brave and the insane, who changed the face of the great southern land forever, or failed spectacularly trying.

Initially funded by Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu and the Christchurch Arts Festival, HITORI is based on Maori pepeha, or proverbs, which it uses to introduce aspects of the show.

As Te Radar says, "Studying history is like trying to herd drunken monkeys. Every time you think you have a story narrowed down you to discover a different version, additional facts, or a piece of trivia that alters the basis of the story. It’s fascinating and infuriating."

"The history of this island is one of passion and bravery, bloodshed and tragedy, stupidity and futility. But ultimately history is about good yarns. Our yarns" he says. It’s a history show that will guarantee you will never look at the South Island, or history, the same way again.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Head like a hole

Read the letter by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor yet?

Apparently he's not too impressed at the pricing of his latest album in Oz, which he spied while touring there recently...

"As the climate grows more and more desperate for record labels, their answer to their mostly self-inflicted wounds seems to be to screw the consumer over even more. A couple of examples that quickly come to mind:

* The ABSURD retail pricing of Year Zero in Australia. Shame on you, UMG. Year Zero is selling for $34.99 Australian dollars ($29.10 US). No wonder people steal music. Avril La vigne's record in the same store was $21.99 ($18.21 US).
By the way, when I asked a label rep about this his response was: "It's because we know you have a real core audience that will pay whatever it costs when you put something out - you know, true fans. It's the pop stuff we have to discount to get people to buy."
So... I guess as a reward for being a "true fan" you get ripped off.

* The dreaded EURO Maxi-single. Nothing but a consumer rip-off that I've been talked into my whole career. No more.

The point is, I am trying my best to make sure the music and items NIN puts in the marketplace have value, substance and are worth you considering purchasing. I am not allowing Capital G to be repackaged into several configurations that result in you getting ripped off."

Also, the first episode of Flight of the Conchords HBO series is available online at Myspace, ahead of its June 17 US debut. Go here to watch. More clips from the HBO series - scroll down on this page. (hat tip to Pop Candy)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On wax
Local band manager Campbell Smith (also CEO of the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand, or RIANZ) talks baout what the job invloves, in the NZ Herald's Careers section. Best quote is below...

"... despite the day-to-day details of the jobs, Smith is still an avid music fan. On a recent morning, he cranked up a copy of David Bowie's Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) before heading off to the office. However, the tunes weren't on an iPod or a CD. The man who is looking at leading New Zealand music into tomorrow admits he has a preference for that old standby, vinyl.

"I listen to nothing but vinyl right now. I just think it sounds better." Link.

And if you haven't read it already, check Graham Reid's excellent response to the whoo-ha over Neil Finn's comments on NZ music.

snip... "The tyranny of a small country is that it is easy to exhaust the local touring circuit -- although bugger all bands have tried in my opinion.

So you need to go overseas -- and not just to play a couple gigs then come back home for a cuppa tea and lie down. If you do that I figure you're not that serious. You want success -- but still have mum do your laundry.

Bands or artists may need to base themselves offshore -- as an increasing number are realising. Greg Johnson is still slogging away in LA and every time I've seen him either up there or here it is always the same story: the breakthrough is just beyond reach but you have to keep trying. And you have to be there if it happens....

... My belief is that too often artists here -- and I am listening to two local albums at the moment which, while well intentioned, I wouldn't give you tuppence for -- don't have their work critiqued at every step of the process: in the writing, the recording, production, even the running order on an album.

Those who base themselves offshore are surrounded by so many more musical and cultural influences, so much more information, so many more points of reference or comparison. Music is an international game and if artists only want success in this country then that is fine. I think they, if they deserve it on merit, should have it.

But for those who see something bigger and better out there -- a career even -- then the sights must be set beyond the horizon. But not through rose-tinted glasses...

... I think [Neil Finn] was, in an off-the-cuff way, saying something that we need to hear more. The press releases about our bands at SXSW or playing a big Waitangi Day gig in London, or having a track added a TripleJ or flying to some Sydney-side MTV bash with a bunch of hangers-on need to be put into perspective."

Go read it now.