Monday, May 19, 2008

Corporate Beanbag Extravagance
Chris Bourke has some tales of the old days at EMI here...
"For a long while EMI was based in my home town, perched among some very unsalubrious light-industrial buildings in Petone. And of course there were EMI record stores in most New Zealand towns in the 1970s and 80s. I thought I’d share some images from EMI’s heyday, the 1970s. I remember reading somewhere that the success of the Beatles was so massive that their sales alone brought this massive international corporation a profit all the way until 1975. Plus, of course, there were the enormous sales of Fred Dagg’s Greatest Hits."
The photos are great! (Hat tip to Simon)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, May 17 playlist
Natural yoghurt band - Voodoo
Love unlimited orchestra - Theme from King Kong (Danny Krivit edit)
The lions - Ethiosteppers (Wilderstyle dub)
Willie Royal - General alarm
Nicole Willis - Feeling free (Dynamics remix)
Michael Rose - Better mus come
Opotopo - Belema
Mulatu Astatke - Yekermo sew
Heliocentrics feat Percee P, MF Doom - Distant star
Dub connection - Knokoder
Horace Andy - My heart is gone
OG - Bam bam
Lil Buck and the top cats - Monkey in a sack
Phil Cohran - Frankiphone blues
Roots Radics - Lovers mood
Nicola Conte - Bossa per due

Soundtrack set... (inspired after reading the King Britt interview talking about his fave soundtracks in the latest Wax Poetics mag...)
Lalo Schifrin - Bullit (Black Dog mini driver jam)
Vladimir Cosma - Sentimental walk (Diva)
Neal Hefti - Rescue from ritual (Duel at Diablo)
Issac Hayes - Cafe Reggio (Shaft)
Curtis Mayfield - Little child running wild (Pusherman)
Curtis Mayfield - Feak freak free free free (Short eyes)
Aretha Franklin - Jump (Sparkle)
Rose Royce - Sunrise (Carwash)

Dub traffik control - Fresh prince of babylon
Miles Davis - So what (Shoes reggae edit)
Jasmine Sullivan - I need you so bad
Cornerstone roots - One fine day (Kartika Leng remix)
Santo Gold - Your voice

Friday, May 16, 2008

EMI NZ boss gone
The NZ Herald's John Drinnan reports that EMI NZ boss Chris Caddick has been let go, and their staff has been cut from 18 to 9. (link) Excerpted below, read the full article at the link. Simon Grigg also wrote a very good post on the changes at EMI NZ, read it here.


Global music giant EMI Music has dampened New Zealand Music Month by pulling the plug on a top talent spotter and champion of local music, Chris Caddick.

The departure marks the downgrading of the Auckland business from a fully serviced EMI outpost of 18 people last year to a sales operation of around nine, music industry sources say...

... Caddick and EMI had set sights on becoming the major multinational in the New Zealand market. New Zealand musicians signed or licensed to EMI include Salmonella Dub, Hollie Smith, Golden Horse and Opshop. The moves are part of the crisis at EMI under new management and the ongoing unravelling of the global music industry due to illegal downloads.

The business model is shot. So loss of the managing director of signing acts in this tiny and isolated market will be hardly noticed inside EMI. The company refused to comment, as did Caddick.

Media hype up New Zealand music success overseas but, like other industries, New Zealand is becoming a branch office of Sydney. It is expected EMI will become a sales office and signing talent will be controlled from Australia. Sony BMG still has a New Zealand office but it too is focused on Sydney. Universal Music is the most active multinational in this market but some believe it will eventually revert to a marketing role....

... The issue creates big challenges for New Zealand On Air, which is obliged by law to promote New Zealand culture and identity and pumps money into companies to make records - including generous subsidies paid to multinationals like EMI.

Increasingly the state-owned funder is looking like the artist and repertoire man cajoling distant record executives with cash incentives.

While parts of the music scene live off grants, industry folk believe it is time to stop dressing up subsidies as a culture associated with Music-Month festivities and start treating them for what they are - a commercial industry subsidy."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, May 3 playlist
Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet about me (Ashley Beedle remix)
Big Youth - Lion's den dub version
Horace Andy - Problems
Pitch Black - Lost in translation (International Observer remix)
Antibalas - Sister
Piero Umiliani -Mah na mah na (Gak Sato Tiki mix)
Born Jamericans - Boom shakatak
Ghetto - I'm ghettz remix
Manu Chao - Politik kills (Dennis Bovell dub mix feat LKJ)
LKJ - Bitch Dub
James Brown - Blind man can see it
Dave Nada - Spell on you
Scientist - When I love dub

Back to the 80s set
Patea Maori Club - Ngoi Ngoi
ESG - Moody
Grace Jones - My Jamaican guy
Ian Dury - Reasons to be cheerful Pt3
Nile Rogers - Land of the good groove (shout out to Murray Cammick)
Troublefunk -Pump me up

Katalyst feat Steve Spacek - How bout us
Erykah Badu - Honey (Seiji mix)
Little dragon - Test
Musique - In the bush
Cloud one - Atmosphere strut remix

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Big changes at EMI NZ?
There is news coming out of Asia that EMI is closing down some of its Asia operations - will this have a flow-on effect to their NZ operations? Could we see EMI NZ being run from their London or Australian offices?

From Onetwomusic News ..

We recieved rumours from someone working inside EMI that after the long weekend in Hong Kong, EMI will announce that they are closing all operations in Asia. This includes EMI regional office in Hong Kong. We have not heard anything official from EMI yet.

There has been a lot of speculation of how the acquisition by Terra Firma will affect EMI in Asia, where they closed down their Thai Office and laid off Key management staff in Hong Kong’s regional office late last year.

Our sources tell us that EMI will be inking deals with distribution partners in Asia, but no word on whom yet.

EMI has been struggling in the region, with under-performing international albums and successful Asian artists limiting to Greater China only.

Once we recieve more information or a confirmation, we will post it here.

24/03/08 UPDATE: From what we heard after our post, EMI will not be shutting down immediately after Easter, but will start rolling out plans to start a licensing/distribution network for EMI in Asia. Eventually their presence in Asia (ex-Japan) will be in the form of licensing.

ADDED more at Music 2.0. "Already, EMI has effectively closed offices in Thailand and Singapore whilst those in Japan, India, Australia and China will remain to some level of direct EMI jurisdiction especially on the digital front. It is believed that EMI is currently in talks to license a partner to manage their catalogue in Asia, and rumours have Warner Music as the front runner."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Business time
Flight of the Conchords hit number one in NZ this week. On the US charts, they drop from no 3 to no 17, selling 22,000, a 57% drop from its first week. Total is 75,000 (source).
Blog wins over rock
Dave Allen is quitting the reformed Gang of Four to concentrate on his blog. Seriously.

Speaking of old school, Stiff Little Fingers hit Auckland May 14, at the Powerstation, Christchurch at the Civic, May 15th. They're also popping up at the Meltdown Festival in the UK, this year curated by Massive Attack, playing their Inflammable Material album in its entirety.
TV Party NYC 1978
Just watched ESG's final show on PitchforkTV, then discovered this great doco about a cable tv show called TV Party, hosted by Glenn O'Brien outta NYC from 1978-82.

"Running from 1978 to 1982, this hilariously anarchic, drug-fueled NYC cable access show featured unpredictable appearances from David Byrne, Nile Rogers, Arto Lindsay, DNA, Andy Warhol, Blondie, Mick Jones, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, George Clinton, Jean Michel Basquiat and others."

The TV Party Orchestra was led by Walter Staeding with Chris Stein. They weren't allowed to smoke cigarettes in the tv studio, but smoking pot was ok. They also used to take phone-in callers live-to-air, which is pretty funny - it's lots of verbal abuse, which the hosts handled with great humour. More about the doco here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, May 3 playlist
Gamm doin' James pt 2 - U got soul
International Observer - Seedsavers dub
Pitch Black - Flex (Son Sine remix)
Submariner - Tha natural
The Cals - Amazon bossa nova
Lewis McCallum - Way we live
Brother Culture and Twilight Circus - Fiyah well hot
Jackie Mittoo - Moonwalk
Johnny Osbourne - Budy bye
Prince Charles and the City Beat Band - Cash (cash money)
Kashmere stage band - Aint no sunshine (JRocc remix)
J Dilla - Won't do
Barbara Trent - Heartbreak hotel
Dubwize - Dub promise
Benga - 26 basslines
Estelle - The magnificient
Lykke Li - Little bit
Dusty Springfield - Spooky
Dave Cortez and the moon people - Happy soul with a hook
Latin Blues Band feat Luis Aviles - I'll be a happy man
(For more on the tale behind these two songs - as sampled by DJ Premier for his Christina Acquilera tune 'Aint No Other Man' - see music writer Oliver Wang's Soulside blog. Great music geekery. Banging drums courtesy of Mister Bernard Purdie!)
Johnny Rodriquez and Angel Rene - Sister Sue
Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet about me (Ashley Beedle remix)
Lennie Hibbert - Real hot
Fabulous three -Odyssey revised
Tiki - Always on my mind (dub)
Unitone Hifi - Up to eleven
Willie Royal - General alarm
Opotopo - Belema
Mo horizons - Superworld

Friday, May 02, 2008

Base Fm turns four! There will be cake.
Check this out... "Happy Birthday Base!!! Four years of glorious broadcasting, dope tunes and comedy gold. We're celebrating in a BIG way - on Saturday night at Pull Lounge with Base in your Face, featuring the incredible Jerm, The Boil Up and the one and only Tommy Flowers. 10pm onwards although, free entry from 9 - 10!

On Sunday, we're going live-to-air from Conch Records and we'll be giving away birthday presents galore, like a Burton Snowboard and bindings, Dickies Prizepacks, Adidas t-shirts, Federation Tshirts, a Tupac Book, Malt Bar and Pull Bar $100 bar tabs, Beat Merchants Vouchers, Jagermeister and Canadian Club, over $1,000 from Eastern Hi-Fi and sooooooooooooo much more. But you've got to be in it to win it, and we're there from 2pm onwards. Come down and say hey! Oh, and did I mention there'd be cake? Hell yes there'll be cake.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

April 21 marked the NZ release of albums by Flight of the Conchords and Shihad. This week's top 40 album charts came out yesterday and we have Shihad at no 1 and Flight of the Conchords at no 2. Shihad have already gone gold (sales of 7,500) in NZ. Congrats all round.

The big news? The comedy duo sold over 52,000 albums in their first week of release in the US, debuting at no 3 on the Billboard charts. Does this make FOTC the highest charting NZ album in the US ever? Anyone know? ADDED: Just checked Crowded House's US chart history -their highest placing for an album was their debut, which peaked at no 12 - their highest placing single was no 2 for Don't Dream It's Over (source:

From Rolling Stone... "An engagement and a (possible) pregnancy wasn’t enough to help Ashlee Simpson, as the singer’s new album Bittersweet World landed at number four with 47,387 copies sold. Simpson was beat out by Mariah Carey’s E=MC2, which took number one for a second consecutive week, Leona Lewis’ Spirit at two and, surprisingly, Flight of the Conchords’ self-titled debut, which grabbed the third spot with 52,133 copies sold. That’s right: Pete Wentz’s fiancée got edged by the comic duo who were on the show that followed Big Love on HBO."

ADDED: The Aussie papers have picked up this story from Reuters, with the headline "Conchords more popular than Crowded House" which isn't strictly true. Crowded House went higher in the US charts than FOTC - CH hit no 2 with Don't Dream It's Over. And, as Simon noted in the comments, the sales numbers are very small compared to, say, three years ago. I'm trying to track down the sales numbers for CH's no 12 placing.

UPDATE: From author (Crowded House bio "Something So Strong") and journalist Chris Bourke... "sales of the debut album would be over a million. Soundscan didn't exist back in 1986/1987 when the first CH album was on its slow rise up the charts. Remember it took a full year from first release until "Don't Dream It's Over" hit in the US in April 1987. Between May 1986 and Christmas 1986, the album had only sold 3000 copies in New Zealand."

Go check out Chris's CH blog, Something So Strong, he's got a great post on CH album engineer Tchad Blake.

ADDED "From TV 3 news last night... ""The fact Flight of the Conchords has broken at number three on the actual album charts is going to be way more important than any number of New Zealand music months," says Kiwi music legend Chris Knox." Link

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, April 26playlist
Salmonella dub - Lightning (Spot remix)
Barrington Levy - Here I come
Sound dimension - Drum song
El Michaels Affair - Ocho rio
Fred Wesley - House party
Platinum Pied Pipers - Now or never
Julien Dyne - Scissor hands
Sharon Joens and the Dapkings - Nobody's baby
Junior Murvin - Cool out son
Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet about me (Ashley Beedle remix)
Bronx river prkway - Aqua con soul
Hot 8 brass band - Rastafunk
Sergio Mendes - Aqua de beber
Xaver Fischer trio - I sing this song for you (Nicola Conte remix)
Orgone - I get lifted
King Tubby - Dark destroyer dub
Unitone Hifi - Up to eleven
Yes king - Love revolution (dub mix)
Sesame St -One to twelve
Fred Wesley and the JBs - Blow your head (undubbed version)
Tony Benson Sextet - Ugali
Popular Cooper and his All Beats Band - Arraino
Little dragon - Constant surprises (go have a listen to em here)
Eric Lau - Final chance
Erykah Badu - Honey (Moody Boyz remix)
Katalyst (feat Stephanie McKay) - Say what you feel
Gamm doin' James pt 2 - You're dead wrong (Red Astaire mix)
Jimmy and Taurus Riley - Pull up selector

Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, April 19 playlist
Jimmy and Taurus Riley - Pull up selector
Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet about me (Ashley Beedle dub)
DJ Vadim - Watch that sound (JStar remix)
Kutiman - Escape route
Leftie soul connection - Chop it!
Medeski Martin and Wood - Lets go everywhere
Carlos Nino - Find a way
Dillinger -Melting pot
Junior Marvin - Roots train
The Beat -Mirror in the bathroom
Beat pharmacy - Mental universe
Stevie Wonder - As
Dizzy Gillespie - Matrix
King Tubby - Money dub
Muhsinah - Construction
Erykah Badu - American promise
Eric Lau - Final chance
Bronx river prkway - Deixa la pra
Tommy McCook and the Skatalites - Savitt
Bruise n cuts - Down the road
DJ Spinna - Abyzmal
One million dollars - Four easy steps
Might Mo - The next message (version)
Charles Wright and Watts 103rd St Band - Move on up (live)
Leon Haywood - If you're looking for a night of fun (look past me, I'm not the one)
Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet about me (Ashley Beedle remix)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lykke Li
I know nothing about her, but damn, this is a cool tune...

Youtube link or you can watch the official music video for the song here. Check her at myspace/lykkeli. She's currently touring the UK, then off to the US for more shows.

She's Swedish, she's friends with Robyn, and I found this enchanting clip of her via a Russian music blogger... tune is "I'm good, I'm gone".

Wikipedia tells me this: "Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson (born March 18, 1986 in Stockholm, Sweden), better known by her stage name Lykke Li, is an indie singer. She was raised by artistic parents (her mother was a photographer, her father is a musician) and lived in Portugal for five years, and spent winters in Nepal and India. At one point, she worked as a dancer on Swedish TV shows.

She released her first album, Youth Novels on LL Recordings in the Nordic region on 4 February 2008 and it will receive a wider European release this June. The album was produced by Björn Yttling of Peter Bjorn and John and Lasse Mårtén. It will be released in the United States on 6 May 2008."

And here's Little Dragon (also from Sweden) with 'Constant surprises' off their debut album...

So, I was standing outside the Powerstation last night, just gone outside for a breather between bands - Salmonella Dub were setting up. There's a handful of people milling outside, fagging on, and then this black dude in a green baseball cap and green sweatshirt bowls up, with a TV camera crew in tow. I'm thinking "What's Dizzee Rascal doing standing outside the Powerstation? Aint he from England? Long way from home, bro."

Turns out it was Dizzee Rascal - he's doing some gig on a plane for MTV NZ. Dude went inside and hung out upstairs, watching Salmonella Dub. who did a mighty fine show too, joined by Paddy Free and his shiny pink day-glo mohawk on keys for this tour. Ran into Andrew Penman from the band earlier, he gave me a copy of their new remix EP - thanks Andrew!

On another note, read this story about the local Indian wheat shortage? Roti in AK is going bad. The cost of rice has doubled in AK in recent months. Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin, meltdown expected...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fade to Gray.
Simon Grigg responds to musician and promoter Gray Bartlett's rant against NZ On Air and government funding, here. Snip... "Gray says it should be about the artist, not the songs which

New Zealand can't hope to compete on a world market with

Tell that to Neil Finn whose had several million plays of Don’t Dream Its Over world wide, or to Alan Jansson, who has two US BMI Million Play certificates on the wall of his office for a song he wrote with Paul Fuemana in Freeman’s Bay. To my mind, where NZ on Air has fallen over in recent times is because it no longer encourages the sort of individuality these songs represent…it doesn’t go far enough."

My fave snip from Mr Bartlett - "I am angry because when the opportunity is there to apply for something to help an artist, I can't. I'm angry because they will waste money on absolutely ludicrous things. They will give grants to friends of the Labour Party - I find it disgraceful."

His solution? The government should "support him, he says, and help him put together an annual tour of New Zealand and to key overseas markets, showcasing the country's talent." Sounds like sending a bunch of NZ bands to something like SXSW. Don't we do that already?

NZ Herald - "Govt off-key with music support says Bartlett"

Meanwhile, here's some free Manu Chao, remixed by Dennis Bovell and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Sweet! Manu Chao - Politik Kills w/ LKJ (Dennis Bovell Dub Vocal Remix) (MP3 download)

"Fans can now visit the new website,, to preview tracks from the remix EP and watch the new Politik Kills music video. The site also features online-exclusive remixes from Bostich + Fussible of Nortec Collective and DJ Mexican Dubweiser with the band, Kinky. Fans and DJs can also access to download the different parts of the song and create their own remix." Hat tip to BV.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Two vinyl junkies walk into a bar...
"Professor, writer, record collector, DJ and proprietor of the always-wonderful blog Soul Sides (and, ahem, Stop Smiling contributor), Oliver Wang, sat down for an enlightening chat with Chairman Mao, co-founder of ego trip magazine, legendary record collector and music scholar in his own right.

From the sousaphone to racism to The Beatles to the new ego trip show, Miss Rap Supreme, the interview is not only a humorous look into the mind of one of hip-hop’s most impressive voices, but sums up much of how many of us aging hip-hop fans feel these days. (Bonus - check out two of the other ego trip collective, Brent Rolling and Gabriel Alvarez, on the Sound of Young America podcast here)." Hat tip to Stop Smiling Mag. Nicked the title from them too.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lay it down
Al Green's new album (out May 25) is produced by Questlove Thompson of The Roots and James Poyser. Check this clip...

"The Lay It Down album is ... set to feature apperances by Anthony Hamilton, John Legend, Corrine Bailey Rae and The Dap Kings horn section." Hat tip to In The Crowd.