Friday, July 06, 2007

Get ill
Mister Brown has been noting the efforts of political journos and their blogs, but here's a new one - Wellington hiphop MC (and Fairfax Digital employee) Tommy Ill has been given a blog. Check it out. So far he's busted a fake pic of the tornado. Nice one. LINK.

If you are about and about in Auckland this evening, I'm DJing at A Reggae Affair, down at the Montecristo Room at 53 Nelson St, alongside Sandy Bay Social Club, Jugglin Crew, MC Arme, Oblex B and Capp Silver and more. Free Rum Punch for the early peeps. $10 on the door.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The week of interviews continues
Quite unplanned, but it's a theme, so let's run with it..

Henry Rollins has recently been to Iran...
"I went just as a tourist on the street. I have no great intelligence or in-depth knowledge of a classified nature. But I saw a bunch of people with their kids and I met a lot of people who like America very much but are also scared of America and its president. And I hope I get a chance to go back there..." Interview here.

Headline of the week :Al Gore's son busted for drugs in hybrid car

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Here come the warm jets
Two interviews... one with Brian Eno, and one with Neil Finn. Neil is interviewed by Gary Steel in the latest issue of Metro magazine, the full text is on their website.

It seems Neil was displeased with a review Gary wrote on the mag's website, about a listening session for the new Crowded House album - he wrote that listening sessions are like "The modern equivalent of Chinese water torture, the volunteer victims then have to decide on their tactic for the next hour: Stare vacantly into space, feigning great concentration? Scream at other victims over the din? Drink with great enthusiasm? Be seen to be taking copious, possibly derogatory notes? The first Crowded House album in well over a decade sounds like, um, pretty much like a Crowded House album, really. Except it’s a bit hard to hear clearly, really, because someone’s cranked it up to ear-splitting, heavy metal levels..." (He also wrote some nice things about it too.)

"When Gary Steel went to interview Neil Finn about the reborn Crowded House, the musician took him to task about a certain review.
Neil: I read your little piece actually.
On MetroLive?
Yeah. [Read Gary Steel’s piece here.]
Gary: A bit too facetious for you?
Neil: It made me curious, I was going to ask you why you bothered coming, to be honest, because if it was like Chinese water torture, why would you put yourself through it?

And then Neil listens to Gary's answer, and asks him the same question, again. And again. And again. Til he's asked it SIX TIMES. Tenacious little bugger. (Full interview transcript here) Props to Gary for not letting grumpy Uncle Neil get to him.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, June 30
Today's theme - psychedelic soul. Good excuse to play lots of Norman Whitfield-produced tunes (Temptations, Rose Royce)...
Specials - Message to you Rudy
Jungle Bros, Ernest Ranglin - Funky Bond St
Idris Mohammad - Express yourself
Sly and Family Stone - thankful and thoughtful
Dave Pike Set - Mathar
Hank Marvin - Sunday for seven days
Rose Royce - Put your money where your mouth is
Barry White - Love serenade
Jose Feliciano - She's a woman
Kenny Dope - Can you handle it?
High fidelity -Cream of the beats (Metrophonic mix)
Temptations - Papa was a rolling stone
Solomonic sound - Children of israel (Blak doctor mix)
Sea train - Flute thing
Sisters love - Ha ha ha
Iggy and the Stooges - Down on the street (Cheers to the person who texted the studio with the word "goats" Yes, peeps, you can throw up your goats via txt message -who knew?)
Spanky Wilson -Sunshine of your love
Fred Wesley and the JBs - Watermelon man
Taggy matcher - Rockit
Lalo Schifrin - Enter the dragon theme
Rose Royce - I'm going down
Bad Brains - Banned in DC
Rodriguez - Sugarman
Life Organization - Pink steamroller
Keith Mansfield - Morning Broadway
Didier's sound spectrum - Sound spectrum
Deodato - Superstrut
Ray Charles - In the heat of the night
Rose Royce - It makes you feel like dancin'

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, June 23
Special show - a tribute to Big Matt - lotsa tunes that he put me onto, tunes that I heard him DJ, and some live Bassteppa Sound System from 2002 (Wyndham Bowling Club) with the man at the decks... half way thru this show I realised that I owe a lot of my DJing style to Matt - the tunes I buy, the way I play out... I learnt a lot from watching and listening to him DJ.

Noiseshaper - Moving together
Lightning head - 2nd line stomp
Nightmares on wax - 70s 80s (Scientist remix)
Prince Fatty - Nina's dance
Lopez Walker - Jah jah new garden
Taxi gang - Mambo mambo
Sandoz -King dread
Krafty kuts - Trickatechnology
Hairy Diamond - Giving up
Funkmaster Flex - Six million ways to die
Bassteppa sound system live, 2002 (WBC) feat DJ Big Matt (snip)
Mr Reliable - Lucky dub
Courtney Melody - Bad boy
PD Syndicate - Ruff like me
Le peuple de l'herbe - Reggaematic
Mystro - My kind of party
Morwell unlimited meets King Tubby - Morpheus special (Kid Loco remix)
Love grocer - Salute to Sam
Joni Rewind feat Estelle -Uptown top ranking
Ballistic Bros - Prophecy reveal
Born Jamericans - Warning sign
DJ C and Quality Diamond - Let it billie (Hiphop mix)
Aim - Just passin thru
Nightmares on wax - Flip ya lid
Roberto Carlos - O Calhambeque (XRS remix)
Barrington Levy - Collie weed

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, June 16

Jungle Bros and Ernest Ranglin -Funky bond st (Flex edit)
Shinehead - Raggamuffin inst
Sista Widey - Want it
Pointer sisters -Yes we can, can
Manzel - midnight theme (Kenny Dope remix)
MAW - Nautilius
Cannonball Adderley - Walk thru
Brian Eno - Back water
Stephen Marley - Traffic jam
Lion rock - Rude boy rock
Jackie Mittoo - Too late to turn back now
Horace Andy -Fever
Boozoo Bajou feat Joe Dukie and U Brown -Take it slow
Strawpeople - Hemisphere
Scientist - Rasta dub it everywhere
Neon heights - Cannonball
George McRae - I get lifted (Mischief brew re-edit)
Donna Summer - I feel love
The Revolutionaries - Skanking
Alton Ellis - It's a shame
James Brown - People get up and drive your funky soul
Esther Phillips - Going out of my head
Aaron Neville - Hercules
Tony Allen - Nla - Wareika hill sounds remix
Taggy Matcher - Rockit

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rest in peace... DJ Big Matt

Matt Watson, aka DJ Big Matt, passed away on Friday June 15. Matt was born in Australia and moved to New Zealand in 1972. Matt discovered reggae from his older brother, and started DJing reggae and ska along with soul and rare groove as the club scene in Auckland sprang into life in the early 80s, at Quays, Zanzibar, Collage, Monitor Room, Fingerpop & The Press Club.

He hosted the legendary Skavoovie Sound nights at the Gluepot, and shared his love of reggae over the radio with listeners for ten years on the 'Downbeat Show' on 95BFM (with co-host Yardboy, aka Michael Wells, and later Ruffian, aka Jon Coles), and then for a year on Base FM with 'Wickidness', until his day job as a locations manager for Shortland St took over.

Matt was a scooter fanatic, running a scooter shop for many years in Richmond Road. I first came across him DJing at a party there, in the back yard, with Yardboy. I worked alongside Matt as part of the Bassteppa Sound System, and spent many a happy night mixing up effects and delays while peering at Matt's selections, trying desperately to read the labels so I could rush out the next day and buy them too.

He loved sharing music, and when I'd go to visit him, he'd delight in pulling out new tunes and say "have you heard this?" and then drop the needle on another great record he'd discovered while searching the net­ - he was an internet fiend when it came to finding records. I remember him playing me a tune we'd discussed often, telling me he'd got it online from a record store in Glasgow. He was dedicated to the pursuit of fine tuneage, and he was happy to tell you where he got it from, because he wasn't elitist about his tunes, like some DJs.

His passion for music was overshadowed by his passion for his family ­Trish, his partner of over 20 years (they met when he was living at the Red House), and his two children, Henry (4) and Lola-Jean (1). Three weeks before he passed away, Matt and Trish got married in a very moving ceremony. He succumbed to cancer, aged 42. He wasn't ready to go.

His funeral was attended by everyone from scooter boys to Shortland St stars, DJs, and many more. His co-host on the Downbeat Show, Michael Wells, talked at the funeral about how he first met Matt, when he bought a scooter off of him. "Naturally, it broke down." Matt fixed it and it then, it broke down again. And again, and Michael couldn't afford to get it fixed, so asked Matt if he could work to pay it off, and Matt gave him a job, out back in the yard, hence his DJ name.

Big Matt was a wicked DJ, and a fine, fine man. He will be greatly missed.

Leave a message his Myspace page here, if you want...

Friday, June 15, 2007

"Oh, New Zealand. There’s Vikings there, right?”

The New Zealand Invasion: Digi-Folk Now!
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY, New York Times, June 15, 2007

It sometimes seems as if there is only one joke, and it’s innocence. From Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton to Jerry Lewis, Will Ferrell and Steve Carell, a comedian is as funny as he is unknowing.

The humor can be physical or verbal, the character boorish or endearing, but the key is a childlike lack of self-awareness.

The heroes of “Flight of the Conchords,” a new series that begins on HBO on Sunday, are as witless as they come. Jemaine and Bret are young New Zealanders adrift in New York who hope to break into the music industry with their “digi-folk” two-man band, also named Flight of the Conchords.

They passively bumble through life and the shabby downtown apartment they share without money or contacts and with barely any friends. They have a fan club of one, Mel (Kristen Schaal), a female stalker; and a band manager, Murray (Rhys Darby), an officious deputy cultural attaché at the New Zealand consulate who promises to find them gigs but refuses to book anything after dark because New York is too dangerous.

“You could be murdered,” Murray warns. “Or even just ridiculed.”

“Flight of the Conchords” is funny in such an understated way that it is almost dangerous to make too much of it — it could collapse like a soufflĂ© when the door slams. It’s much slighter than HBO’s big production comedies like “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Entourage.” It’s also a little sweeter, less a satire of show business than wry self-parody.

And that seems to be the way HBO comedy is headed in the post-“Sopranos” era. The network hasn’t found its next big thing and is instead trying out new material in modest bites. “Conchords” is a summer fling of a series, but it is funny, at times very funny.

As in “The Office,” or Ricky Gervais’s “Extras,” the humor lies in a deadpan exchange of inanities, punctuated by long, puzzled silences. It’s a comic style that’s been around a long time and served up many ways since the 1984 mock-documentary “This Is Spinal Tap.”

What distinguishes “The Conchords” from other, similarly dry, sardonic comedies is that at certain junctures the two heroes freeze the action and burst into song in subtle parodies of pop music videos that are almost plausible and deliciously absurd. The range is impressive, everything from David Bowie-style ’80s pop to rap and reggae.

Jemaine, smitten by a pretty girl he sees across the room at a party, croons:

"You could be a part-time model

But you’d probably still have to keep your normal job

A part-time model

Spending part of your time modeling

And part of your time next to me

My place is usually a little tidier than this."

Jemaine is played by Jemaine Clement, the taller, bespectacled half of a real-life music and comedy duo from New Zealand with a cult following in the United States. Bret is Bret McKenzie, the duo’s shorter half. In interviews they have said their series was partly inspired by “Cop Rock,” an ill-fated 1990 show by Steven Bochco that was part crime series, part musical, though even this could be a joke.

Both men are mild and shaggy-haired and speak in flat New Zealand accents that American characters on the show find baffling.

Bret gets a job holding a hot dog sign near City Hall and befriends Coco, a fellow sign holder. When he gives his name, she thinks he has said “Brit.” He explains he is from New Zealand. “Oh, New Zealand,” she says brightly. “There’s Vikings there, right?” Bret politely agrees.

The two friends compete over girls in a subdued, clueless way and sometimes quarrel, but never raise their voices or demand explanations. Nothing seems to perturb their placid befuddlement, not even Murray, who demands a roll call at band meetings in his office, even though it’s just the three of them in the room.

Bret comes home one day with a grocery bag and hands Jemaine a thick sandwich, which he promptly begins eating. When Jemaine asks Bret how he paid for the food, Bret blithely explains that it was free, that he found the bag lying on the street. Jemaine rushes to the sink to spit out the hand-me-down meal, but stops himself.

“I was going to spit it out,” he says calmly. “But I think I’ll just eat it.”

After agreeing that they are quite poor, the duo break into a song, “Inner City Pressure,” in the style of a Pet Shop Boys video.

"You know you’re not in high finance

Considering second-hand underpants

Check your mind

How did it get so bad

What happened to those other underpants you had."

The music parodies are clever, but part of the series’s appeal is the sheer novelty of New Zealanders as comic heroes. New Zealand as an obscure and backward country that no American can find on a map is a recurring joke. On the phone Bret assures his mum that no, he doesn’t need a gun, and that she would be amazed at how many television channels there are. He’s not sure how many, actually, but wows her with the assurance that it’s more than four.

“Flight of the Conchords” is cockeyed and a lot of fun. To say much more might ruin it.

NOTE: Prime have bought the series, no screening dates yet.

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 "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?"