Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mint Chicks Musichyped.
The Mint Chicks recently announced they were ditching Warners for a new digital music startup called Music Hype. I blogged about it last week, which garnered a response in the comments from Music Hype's Dave Moskovitz. I've reposted it below.

"Unfortunately, Pattrick (the journalist) misheard what I said in the phone interview ... I said "a few cents", not "two cents". See this article for a description of how much your typical artist might see from an iTunes sale. Most are lucky to see 8-15c from each iTunes download. I'd like to point out that it isn't really iTunes fault, it's the decrepit underlying structure where labels call the shots and collect the cash, distributing crumbs back to most artists.

We want to change that by putting artists in the drivers seat. MusicHy.pe is a platform they can use to build community and better engage, collaborate with, and inspire their fan bases. We're facilitators, not controllers of production nor distribution.

We'll be using BandCamp for direct music sales. Currently the only fees they charge are PayPal's micropayment charges which work out at about 10c on the dollar.

Fact or fiction? Middlepeople have been taking advantage of musicians for too long, and we're fixing that."

I contacted Stephen O'Hoy at Amplifier.co.nz for his thoughts on Moskovitz's comments. His reaction, via email...

"The quote from the original article was removed after I spoke to the journalist involved.  It was incorrect and misleading and the only reason I can see for such rubbish being printed is to support Musichype’s business model.

DRM represents more New Zealand artists at iTunes than any other label or aggregator in the land.  Even after our commission and in several cases non-resident international withholding tax being taken into account, artists are seeing back around or in excess of 50% of iTunes retail price.  This is considerably more than the $0.08 - $0.15 that Dave is asserting.

Far from the “decrepit underlying structure” with “labels calling the shots” the truth of the modern, digital industry is that the power of distribution has passed back to the artist and independent label.  Couple this with independent physical distribution (Rhythmethod, Border, Pure….) and independent promo/plugging (Maiden, The Label, Isaac) and there’s probably never been an easier time to do it yourself."

Monday, February 08, 2010

More on Pauly Fuemana - it's Pauly, not Pauley
Yesterday the Sunday Star Times managed to produce a tawdry little story by Tim Hume with the headline "Pauly Fuemana: the money, the violence, the drugs." It depicts Pauly as a rock'n'roll victim.

Hume talks with Ermehn about Pauly, who tells a funny story about how he and Pauly stole one of Dave Dobbyn's guitars from a concert: "We took the nicest one off the stands and put it in the car. When we came back, everyone was upset -'Somebody's taken Dave's guitar'!"

The Sunday News ("Pauly Fuemana: The real story") managed to get extensive interviews with Pauly's brother, Tony, and Pauly's wife, Kirstine.Tony talks about some of the things he saw on tour with his brother - Tony played bass in the OMC touring band...

"We had taken a 20-hour bus trip and we got there at six in the morning. They wanted a TV interview at 6.30am. Pauly asked them if he could just have a shower and something to eat before he left," Tony said.

"They threatened to pull the concert that night, if he didn't [do the interview]. The rep said, 'You have to be there at 6.30 or we will pull the plug on your show and the rest of your shows'. Pauly said he wanted to go back and talk to me, but they got him and pulled him from his shoulder off the bus.

"Paul turned around and pushed him back, he [Pauly] didn't want to be manhandled, and he [the rep] fell through the window. The guy said, 'I am going to sue you'.

"Not being pushed around and standing his own ground counted against him," he said.

Thankfully, some clever person at stuff.co.nz (which hosts content from both the SST and the Sunday News) chose the Sunday News story to put on their front page, not the SST one.

A large part of the SST story is sourced from the 20/20 interview I highlighted last week, and also, I suspect, taken from this comments pages on TV3's website, regarding Pauly's unhappy neighbours in Beachaven.

On Friday the NZ Herald published this story by Kara Segedin, which failed to even spell Pauly's first name right - "Pauley Fuemanas funeral today" (it was also wrong in the story and the photo caption)I emailed Kara via the link at the bottom of the story on Friday, and also asked the NZHerald late Friday via Twitter to fix it. (and again on sunday) It's still there, four days later. UPDATE - I emailed someone at the NZ Herald and he was able to go and stand over someone til it was fixed. The NZHerald never responded to me via Twitter or email.

THEN I was sent another NZ Herald story by Vaimoana Tapaleao , headed "Singer broke down cultural barriers" from Feb 1st. The photo caption says "Pauley Fuemana shot to fame..." and in the story it happens again... "Mr Kightley said Pauley Fuemana's passion and knowledge for music was still growing..."

Clearly, spelling someone's name correctly is no longer a priority for the NZ Herald. And Pauly isn't around to complain about it.

ADDED: The Sunday Star Times also features an article on female singer Sheba Williams, who will be performing at the Big Gay Out. The SST described Sheba as a drag queen. Ah, NO.  No link to the story, as they had the good sense not to put that blooper online.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Afro-Rock Vol 1compilation reissue.
I remember scoring this wicked comp back when it first came out in 2001. Now it's  finally been reissued. Check that cover. Heavy heavy heavy! Liner notes are great too.

DOWNLOAD: Steele Beautttah- "Africa" [mediafire] [zshare]
From: Afro-Rock (March 2nd, Strut)
"... Originally surfacing on Duncan Brooker’s indie Kona label in early 2001, the album single-handedly kick-started the thirst among jazz, funk and soul fans and ‘diggers’ to rediscover lost music from Africa made during the ‘60s and ‘70s from a time when many countries were gaining independence and celebrating a Pan-African identity within their music. The album was one of the first to reach a far different audience than the traditional ‘world music’ market and spawned many further projects and labels in its wake. A year later, the Nigeria 70 compilation surfaced on Strut and labels like Soundway and Analog Africa would continue to unearth amazing lost gems from the Motherland..."
LCD Sound System in the studio (video)
The temporary studio set up is in a rented mansion in LA. Best quote - "Why would anyone want to go to a studio? Look at this place! Its fucking awesome!" True.

clip 1 from lcd soundsystem on Vimeo.

Bob Blank remembers Arthur Russell
Watch it here or below (there's three other videos too). Bob Blank- The Blank Generation: Blank Tapes NYC 1975-1985 out on Strut, Feb 1. Tracklisting here... from Gladys Knight to Sun Ra, Lydia Lunch and James Blood Ulmer. Includes an extensive interview with Bob Blank by Bill Brewster. The compilation is the first collaboration between Strut and well-respected authors Brewster and Frank Broughton of djhistory.com.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Feb 6
Three generations walking - Midnight bustling
Brother culture - Warning dub
Dub colossus - Azmari dub
Noiseshaper - Only redeemer
Adrian Sherwood - Ciched dub slave
Super cat - Dolly my baby (Bad Boy extended mix)
Damian Marley and Nas - Strong will continue
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Soul shakedown (Afrodisiac sound system remix)
Rhythm and sound feat Sugar Minnott  -Let Jah love come
Whitefield Brothers - Sad Nile
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - I learned the hard way
Bill Withers - Harlem (Bill Withers doco "Still Bill" screens this thursday at Academy cinema, 8pm, one night only)
Bill Withers - Use me (live)
Gentle rain - Use me
Ed Watson and brass circle - Breeze and soul
Sam Baker - Coming to bring you some soul
Lee Dorsey - Working in a coalmine
Plumstead radical club - One way (Natural self remix)
Cooking on three burners - Cars
Bronx river parkway - Nora se va
Grover Washington Jr - Inner city blues
Myron and E with the Soul investigators - It's a shame
Dub traffik control - Bongo dub
Adrian Sherwood and Lee Scratch Perry  -Lucky Tarzan
Massive attack - Girl I love you (She is danger remix)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Mint Chicks dump Warners/Flying Nun for digital music startup
This story is worth a read. Some of the numbers are way off -  the figure on returns to bands from itunes sales is a fiction.

The ironic thing about the Mint Chicks trumpeting that they're ditching Warners is that they were signed to Flying Nun (which was owned by FMR when they signed, and was subsequently sold to Warners), and that label is now back in the hands of it's founder Roger Shepherd. So it's once again, an independent.

"Wellington-based global internet entrepreneur WebFund is backing what it hopes will be a new way to make money in the cruel and unusual world of digital music sales.

The MusicHy.pe proposition allows fans to remix their favourite bands' music and is being promoted as "the un-label", says Wedbfund chairman Dave Moskovitz.

To prove the point, MusicHy.pe's first signing is Kiwi band The Mint Chicks, who say they "sent their major label Warner packing last December", and are using the local start-up to launch their new EP “Bad Buzz”.

Moskovitz says the business model is based on the expectation that straight music sales are increasingly difficult, whereas artists are increasingly using digital presence to promote their live appearances and merchandise sales, and incentivising music sales using competitions.
Artists will see most of the revenue on download sales, says Moskovitz.  "Bands get very little money from downloads. If you publish on I-Tunes for 99 cents a track, you might see 2 cents of that. With MusicHy.pe, it's more like 90 cents."
Read more here.

ADDED Feb 7 - the above quote regarding the returns bands allegedly get from iTunes has since been deleted from the original story, and the headline changed to  reflect the editing - "UPDATED: Mint Chicks dump Warner for local digital music start-up"

Waitiangi Day fun and games
If you're out and about, I'm DJing at Northcote, alongside Bobby Brazuka, Cinzah Merkens and more, plus live painting from Cut Collective and friends - free too. It starts at midday til 6pm, at Little Shoal Bay Reserve, Maritime Terrace, Northcote.

Then in the evening, I'm DJing at the Racket Bar, Britomart, from 8pm til 930pm, and then the Koretake Sound System jump on til midnight. Free too!

Monday, February 01, 2010

How to offend Pixies fans in one easy lesson
Listen to this...Bassnectar remix of Where is my mind.

QUOTE: "This teeth grindingly shit remix of “Where Is My Mind” is going to open the floodgates for a slurry of mediocre rock/dubstep mashups... This Bassnectar haircut is going to have a lot to answer for. What an absolute fucking rotter."
How does a one man band break up and reform?
A lot of the news coverage of the death of Pauly Feuemana in the last 24 hours has repeated the claim that OMC broke up in 2000 and reformed in 2007 (see ODT, NZPA and here). If you watched the 20/20 story I posted yesterday, it seems that Pauly got sick of touring in 2000 and came home and put his feet up. And what is the source of this break up/reformed tale? The OMC entry on Wikipedia, which has got a fair few mistakes in it.  It makes no mention of the original incarnation of the group, before the other members left and Pauly kept the name, heading in a more pop direction.

Here's TV3s reporting last night, and TVNZs. TV3 talks to Tony Fuemana and onscreen labels him as John Fuemana.

Russell Baillie wrote a good piece on Fuemena in today's NZ Herald but he (or one of the Herald's subeditors) got the name of Pauly's wife wrong, unfortunately.

The Dominion Post's Paul Easton (with Michael Fox, Stuff.co.nz) wrote a story, "Pauly Fulemana mourned" that also repeats the claim that OMC broke up in 2000 and reformed in 2007, and then takes a few more leaps of the imagination. Easton gets some quotes from the local hiphop community, such as this:

"Rest in peace, the one and only Pauly Fuemana," wrote rapper P-Money on his Twitter page."

P-Money is NOT a rapper. Easton also grabbed two other quotes off Twitter without mentioning it as his source, or asking permission.


"Kirk Harding, of hip-hop label MTC, said Fuemana would never be forgotten. "Pauly put South Auckland on the global stage." Porirua-based musician Ben Aitogi said he "made the impossible possible". 

I asked Ben (@USOuljah ) and Kirk (@KirkMTC) via Twitter what they thought of their comments on Twitter being used without permission, and Kirk noted that they could've at least asked permission tho. Both told me that if they'd been asked a quote, they would've sent the journalist to someone who was close to Pauly, like Ermehn or his family. And Easton rewrote Harding's original tweet.

The Dom Post article also mentions his parentage, and mispells Niuean (in reference to his father).

The story continues with...

"How Bizarre made him at least $1.5 million. However, a natural generosity and the cost of a rock'n'roll lifestyle saw the cash slip through his fingers. He was declared bankrupt four years ago.
"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," he said in a 2006 interview. "I said, `Here, have some money."' 

The 20/20 interview  I posted yesterday includes Pauly stating that How Bizarre earned about $11 million, of which he says he got about $5 million, NOT $1.5 million.

It appears Easton sourced some of his information from a Sunday Star Times article in late 2006 - it's no longer online but I posted to my blog at the time, here. Pauly talks about his bankruptcy, returning to the studio with Alan, being hit by his record company for 50% of touring expenses, and studio zombies... "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."

I'm sure there will be several thoughtful, well-written tributes in the media to Pauly Fuemana soon enough, but this is not one of them.

ADDED: This thoughtful piece is from Campbell Live, and talks with Pauly's family and friends (Ermehn, Brotha D), as they bring Pauly's casket home late this afternoon. Campbell Live reports that Pauly died from pneumonia.

As John Campbell says in the story, even tho we live in an age of Scribe, Savage, Tiki Taane, Nesian Mystik and so on, its not that long ago that being brown meant never being played on the radio, and How Bizarre was a breakthru song not only for Pauly, but for a generation of young Polynesian musicians who realised they could do it too.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

R.I.P Pauly Fuemana
Pauly passed away after a short illness earlier today, according to news reports.  Very sad indeed - my condolences to his family. His brother Phil Fuemana passed away back in 2005 (read Simon Grigg's comments on Phil's passing and funeral here)

"In 1995 OMC (Otara Millionaires Club) achieved fame with How Bizarre, which reached number one in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and parts of Europe.
OMC sold between three and four million copies of their album, also titled How Bizarre, making it New Zealand's biggest-selling record."

How Bizarre never came out as a single in the US - if you wanted a copy you had to buy the album - far more lucrative.

Watch: 20/20 (TVNZ) clip from 2007 on Pauly's 'comeback' single and more. (link) He says he made $5 million from How Bizarre.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Music Mountain Matakana Bush Party happening this saturday.
I'm DJing at this event, alongside Rhombus, Katchafire, Open Souls and the mighty Mad Professor! Looking forward to it - the venue looks awesome. Info here. Tickets here

Also, Music Mountain has donated 250 tickets to the UNICEF fund raising effort to raise funds for the children affected by the Haiti disaster.  100% of the price of these tickets will be given to UNICEF. People can choose the UNICEF option to purchase their tickets instead of the general admission option at Eventfinder to defer their ticket money across to UNICEF. Very cool.
Best awards acceptance speech of all time (sorry, Kanye)

Awards speech as performance art. Fever Ray looks like a rather pretty young Swedish woman, but here she looks a little, different. Via Pampelmoose

What's wrong with radio...
"I haven' t used my tuner in years..."
This great clip is from the documentary "Before the music dies" .Makes you realise that Auckland has some great, adventurous radio stations,  like BaseFM, BFM, KFM and so on...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Miles of style
Just discovered this blog called The Selvedge Yard (hat tip to Trevor!). It's a nod to pop culture and sartorial elegence and much more, covering everyone from The Clash to Steve McQueen, Hunter S Thompson to Johnny Cash at Folsom. Go dig in.
The creator of The Selvedge Yard is Jon Patrick, the VP of Product for J. Hilburn Men’s Clothier.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gilles P at The Turnaround
This one will be well worth checking out  - legendary Uk DJ Gilles Peterson is the guest at the Turnaround  on Feb 26. Grab your tickets soon, it's gonna be popular! Presales from Conch Records.

Matakana Bush Party, this saturday
I'm DJing at this event, alongside, Rhombus, Katchafire, Open Souls and Mad Professor. Mean! Info here. Tickets here

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Jan 23
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Giving up
O'Donel Levy - Living for the city
Dapkings- Nervous like me
Al Green - I'm still in love with you
The Delegates - Pygmy pt 1
Johnny Hammond Smith - Shifting gears
Kinny and Horne - Why me
Little dragon - Come home
Manu Chao - Merry blues
Rhythm and sound - Never tell you
Afrikan Simba - Power in the word
Rootical sound - Horny dub
Damien Marley - Move
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Simmer down
Sly n Robbie feat Michael Rose - Salior a gone a sea
Gregory Issacs - Mr know it all
Trackheadz  - Jah shall overcome
Rae and Christian feat the Congos - Hold us down
James Brown - Don't tell it
Clarence Reid - Nobody but you babe
Faith Evans - Mesmerised
Hank Marvin -Sunday for seven days
Bad brains - Return to heaven
King Midas sound - I Man
Ragga twins - Love talk
Mr Vegas - Heads high
Amrals Trinidad cavaliers steel orchestra - 90% of me is you
Issa Bagayogo - Dibi
Hypnotic brass ensemble - Flipside

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dusty fingers
Going digging for records with Mayer Hawthorne. Awesome clip - think it was shot in Groove Merchant, San Francisco, which I've had the pleasure of visiting.

Mayer Hawthorne's Dusty Fingers from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Now go look at the latest post for Dust And Grooves - chatting with Monk One about records. Oh lordy....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy MLK Jr Day

From Jay Smooth... "At this time of year we always hear the same 2 or 3 MLK clips over and over, but there was much more to the man. So here are ten of my favorite quotes from MLK that aren't heard as often."

And if you're a late starter on Jay Smooth, go watch "How to tell people they sound racist".

Daptone gold mining
Great interview with Dapkings bassist and Daptone co-owner/producer Gabe Roth here at Pop Matters.

"... How do you get your bass sound so upfront?
It’s pretty simple. I just put the bass direct in, but I’ve got a good sounding bass. It’s an old Carvin 1970. It’s the only bass I’ve ever had. I bought it in a pawn shop for like 90 bucks..."

Also worth reading, Gabe Roth has written a lovely piece in memory of Willie Mitchell, including his story of meeting the man.  Read it at the Daptone site.

Snip... "As I began to bury him [Mitchell] in a flurry of mundane questions about how he had mic’ed drums, whether Syl Johnson had influenced Al Green or the other way round, how he had modified his mixing console, what had inspired his horn charts and what mic he used on them, he interrupted me.  He looked me in the eyes and told me, “The only thing you need to make a record are these… and this.”  He pointed to his ears and to his heart.  With that one sentence he taught me more about making records than I could have learned from any engineering or arranging school in the world. .."

And check out the latest release from Daptone Records, called Daptone Gold. It's a great introduction to the label with some of their most well known tunes, and some great rare gems in there too for the funk fiends. I bought a copy of it recently and I can guarantee you that it's all killer, no filler.

R.I.P. Yabby You, Teddy Pendergrass
"Details are not clear, but according to Reggae Vibes, Jackson suffered a "head stroke" on Tuesday (January 12) in Jamaica and died at 11 p.m. that night. ReggaeFrance.com elaborates on the cause of death as a ruptured aneurysm. He was 63." From Exclaim.

And R.I.P. Philly soul singer Teddy Pendergrass, passed away Jan 13 aged 59, from cancer. More here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Star Times release of the week is Dub Asylum!
Sunday Star Times' music reviewer Grant Smithies named my Ba Ba Boom vinyl single as his release of the week today, wicked!

If you want to get yourself a copy, try Conch Records, Beat Merchants, Rhythm Discs, DMC (Auckland), Slowboat Records (Wellington), Galaxy Records (Christchurch), or get it via mailorder from Amplifier who will ship anywhere in NZ and around the world or Mighty Ape.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Jan16
Ian Dury - Hit me with your rhythm stick
Sly Dunbar  - River Niger
Dub Colossus - Return to Addis dub
Dubblestandart - I do voodoo (RSD remix)
Colourbox  - Baby I love you so (Radikal roots re-edit)
Tarrus Riley - Start anew
Outlines - Waiting in line
Roy Ayers - Running away
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Stranded in your love (Cool calm Pete remix)
Roxanne Shante - Have a nice day
Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde - Doing the do
Jean Jacques Perry and Luke Vibert - You moog me
K'Naan and J Period - My country/Small axe (Messengers remix)
Alice Russell - Hurry on now (Boub mix)
King Midas Sound - Darlin
The Clonious - Bugs n fools
Shirley Bassey - Light my fire (Kenny Dope remix)
Inez Foxx - Circuit's overloaded
Steppah huntah - I don't know (Mitsu the beats remix)
Dub asylum - Ba ba boom
Manasseh - The next step
Jah Wobble - L1
Brentford allstars -Greedy G
Willie Miitchell - 20 75
Ann Peebles- 99lbs
Al Green - I can't get next to you
Pepe Bradock - Peer pressure
DJ Babu feat Rakaa - Ends to means

Friday, January 15, 2010

 Still Bill doco screens in NZ next month

I put up a clip from this a while back, and it's been doing the rounds of film festivals overseas and finally hits our shores next month. Watch the trailer below if you aint seen it yet... ladies and gentlemen, Mr Bill Withers...

Still Bill Trailer from B-Side Entertainment on Vimeo.

"As part of the NZ Soul Alldayer event we are holding the first NZ screenings of the new movie “Still Bill”.
You know the music – now meet the man
Still Bill is an intimate portrait of soul legend Bill Withers, best known for his classics Aint No Sunshine, Lean On Me, Lovely Day, Grandmas Hands and Just the Two of Us. With his soulful delivery and warm, heartfelt sincerity, Withers has written the songs that have and always will resonate deeply within the fabric of our times.
Filmmakers Damani Baker and Alex Vlack follow Withers and offer a unique and rare look inside the world of this fascinating man.
Through concert footage, journeys to his birthplace, interviews with music legends, his family and closest friends, Still Bill presents the story of an artist who has written some of the most beloved songs in our time and who truly understands the heart and soul of a man.

Thursday, February 11, 2010
Time: 8:00pm – 10:30pm
Location: Academy Cinema, Auckland
Tickets now available from Conch records (Ponsonby) and iticketexpress.co.nz

Wellington screening is Feb 9 at the Paramount.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Matakana Bush Party with Mad Professor, Open Souls, RhombusFirst gig of the year coming up for me - I'm DJing at Music Mountain Matakana Bush Party on Jan 30, mean lineup too, incl Mad Professor, Open souls, Katchafire, Rhombus and more.

I've also got a DJ gig on Waitiangi Day (Feb 6), called Soul Sessions. A free outdoor art/music event featuring Cut Collective, Bobby Brazuka, Peter Mac (Dub Asylum), Cinzah Merkens + more. At Little Shoal Bay Reserve, Northcote, midday til 6pm.

"Music Mountain Matakana is stoked to announce the 2010 Bush Party, all set for Anniversary weekend, Saturday the 30th of January.

Headlining this year’s collection of Reggae, Dub, Blues and Dj acts, Aotearoa’s finest;
Katchafire. The full on version of Rhombus is in there too, along with Open Souls and from the UK, Dub’s legendary Mad Professor. MMM welcomes back dDub and introduces the Knights of the Dub Table. DJ sets from Dub Asylum, Koa Williams, Julian Dyne, Isaac Aesili & DJ Automatic.

Virtually twelve hours of nonstop  Bush Party beats on a long weekend, choice !

Tickets for this boutique, organic venue are limited. The early birds are on sale from Monday the 7th of December, online exclusively from Eventfinder. On the streets from Real Groovy in Auckland and Liquor King in Whangarei.

All you need to know about  charter coaches, accommodation, local camp spots, refreshments and show times are on the web at musicmountainmatakana.co.nz
Beastie Boys live on NYC public access tv show, 1984
On The Scott and Gary Show. Beastie hardcore punk.

New album from Sharon Jones and the Dapkings on the way!
Out May 4 (Miss Jones's birthday), it's called I learned the hard way.

"I Learned the Hard Way was produced by Bosco Mann and recorded on an Ampex eight-track tape machine by Gabriel Roth in Daptone Records' House of Soul studios, the record drips with a warmth and spontaneity rarely found since the golden days of Muscle Shoals and Stax. Sharon's raw power, rhythmic swagger, moaning soulfulness, and melodic command set her firmly alongside Tina Turner, James Brown, Mavis Staples, and Aretha as a fixture in the canon of soul music. From the lush Philly-Soul fanfare that ushers in "The Game Gets Old" at the top of the record, to the stripped down Sam Cooke-style "Mama Don't Like My Man" at the tail, the Dap-Kings dance seamlessly through both the most crafted and simple arrangements with subtlety and discipline."

From the look of the cover photo, they shot it out the back of Daptone Studios - as it looks just like the locale they used for the music video for Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens too (watch it here).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Doing the numbers
The music industry says it is going through tough times. How tough?

From Simon Grigg's blog...

The primary reason revenues are down is because the primary target for recorded music are people under 25. And they no longer buy albums. Mostly they don’t even know what they are. They buy MP3s..the new singles.

They don’t want albums. They want tracks. And the evidence to support this is voluminous. Last year in the United States there were 1.16 billion (yep, billion) digital tracks sold. That is the equivalent of 1.16 billion singles purchased, because that’s what the MP3 is..a single..a 45, in the old language.

Add to that just under 400 million albums (of which some 3.2 million were actually 14 album box sets by The Beatles, so add another 40m or so to that figure!) and you have a very, very large number of units purchased by customers in 2009…far higher, in fact, than at any time since Soundscan began recording accurate figures in 1991.

Throw into that mix two other factors, firstly that the digital figure removes the cost of manufacturing, distribution and warehousing, and secondly the huge drop in recording costs over the past decade as digital became the norm, and a rather different picture emerges...

Oh, and one more figure to toss into the mix: the decade long rise in performance income received by performing rights organisations as many different income streams, driven by technology, plus the massive advances in collection techniques and the sad story that both the media and the lawmakers happily trumpet without question, looks increasingly shaky."

New comp of music jnspired by Fela Kuti
From the folk at Now Again Records. Free mp3 for ya over here - Dan Satch and his Atomic 8 Dance Band - "Woman Pin Down". More info and tracklisting here. Out Feb 23, or get it on pre-release from NowAgain right now.

BONUS POINTS - Check out Egon's Top Ten African Reissues for 2009...
"There were so many, from the Ghana Special comp on Sound Way Records to a reissue of Ofege, from our Picks section. While we’re at it, you can grab an extra mp3 there… So check it out, dig into some of the Zambian and Nigerian sounds we’ll be reissuing next year, and support some of the fine labels represented in the list as you’re doing your Christmas shopping.
Link: Egon’s Top Ten African Reissues at NPR.org."
New King Britt collab.
Grab the demo mix free below. ..

A few years ago, I received a call from my publishing company, Universal, about collaborating with a new 'singer' named Ruth Ann Cunningham.
She was from Dublin and had been a pretty famous writer, doing hits for JoJo, Katherine McFee and Pixie. She also won the ASCAP writer's award. They were about to embark on a collaborative situation and she wanted to work with me. They flew her to Philly and we met at the studio. I
hadnt heard her voice yet, but was up for whatever the universe says.

She was I think 21 and tiny. I had no clue what to expect. I made 3 tracks in a day and she was writing full songs in a matter of an hour or so. She had most of the vocal arrangements done in her head. So the moment came where she was to sing. I was in the control room like, oh
sh*t, this girl is unreal. She really put it down. Her management weren't really into the tunes for her pop album, but we made an amazing musical connection.

Two songs will be on the new SYLK130 album, due out in fall 2010. The song Be Free is here for you to enjoy. This song is a preview of whats to come. (demo stage..as is...)
Get free y'all!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Arch Hill Records potentially teaming up with revived Flying Nun
Arch Hill Records boss Ben Howe wrote a revealing post at the Arch Hill blog [post deleted?] talking about his behind-the-scenes involvement in assisting Roger Shepherd reclaim the FNun back catalogue from Warners. It's a fascinating read, going from Ben's early involvement in the label with his band Superette , to writing his university thesis on Flying Nun, and more recently, his label becoming home to ex FNun artists like David Kilgour and Jay Clarkson.

When it was reported just before christmas that Shepherd had bought the label back off Warners, I was surprised to read that Warners would be distribution partner (given they've paid scant interest in any of the FNun catalogue to date), and that Shepherd seemed to be going into this alone.

He's been out of the music industry for most of the past ten years, and it has changed dramatically in that time. The last time he ventured into the music industry was to add his weight to the RIANZ's support for S92a of the Copyright Act, which subsequently got struck out by John Key and revised to a more sensible position. However, he has been working with Howe since early 2006, and has developed a number of ideas...

"... Out of these discussions a plan started to emerge. Roger and I were going to start a new record label. Actually, we decided we were going to start two new record labels. One for new emerging artists and the other for re-issues and re-releases of the old good stuff. I would also keep Arch Hill going and the three labels would work together, complimenting each other.

For the new artists label our focus was going to be overseas. We had a couple of good acts in mind. I wrote up proposals and met up with the head of Sony/BMG Michael Bradshaw and with A&R man Malcolm Black. I also met with Adam Holt at Universal. Our plan was to look for some kind of backing to help try and make this new label happen.

For the re-issues label we also had a few things in mind. One of these was a band formerly on Flying Nun. They were one of Roger’s favourites. The band were keen to release a re-mastered compilation. Of course our first question was, legally could we do this? Was the band still contracted to Flying Nun (now owned by Warners, who had bought Festival Mushroom, who had bought Mushroom)? After some back and forth we quickly figured out we could. The band had never actually signed a contract and had paid for all the recordings themselves. Flying Nun/Warners legally had no rights to any of their songs and had to concede this fact to the band.

At about this time, in mid 2007, I was back at the Powerstation attending a gig by US band the Shins. Charlotte Ryan – who was then the sole (and last) person responsible for Flying Nun at Warners – was there. We were discussing the re-issues label idea and she said “you know, at a staff meeting the other day Phil Howling [Head of Warners NZ] said they should probably sell Flying Nun”....

Howe goes on to say that "Arch Hill had a successful and functioning label infrastructure in place. We had physical and digital distribution and pretty much everything a contemporary record label needs. In fact, many artists on Arch Hill were once on Flying Nun. It all made good sense...." Read the full post here.

Hat tip to Hussein Moses of The Corner for the Arch Hill link. Go read his story about Jason Kerrison of Opshop building an ark to survive 2012 - "...he plans to survive the “transformative changes” by building a multi-million dollar ark (or “monolithic dome”) that can house 300 people."

Monday, January 11, 2010

R.I.P. Willie Mitchell
Passed away last Tuesday. Legendary Memphis producer for Hi Records, most notably with Al Green.

"Willie Mitchell, 81, a celebrated trumpeter, arranger and producer for Hi Records who launched the careers of Al Green and other leading soul performers of the 1970s, died of cardiac arrest Jan. 5 at a hospital in Memphis.

In a career spanning six decades, Mr. Mitchell proved a hitmaker as a producer for singers such as Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, Syl Johnson and Denise LaSalle. He also worked with a wide range of rock performers including Rod Stewart and John Mayer.

Mr. Mitchell first made an impression as an instrumentalist. His 10-piece rhythm and blues group signed with Hi Records in 1959 and recorded a string of successful soul instrumentals, including the funk groove "20-75" (1964) and a remake of King Curtis's ballad "Soul Serenade" (1968).
Mr. Mitchell took over as the label's staff producer in 1970. With the Hodges brothers -- guitarist Mabon (known as "Teenie"), bassist Leroy Jr. and keyboardist Charles -- and drummer Howard Grimes, Mr. Mitchell had a crack recording unit that gave the label an instantly identifiable sound. Through his efforts, Hi Records competed with Stax Records as the main purveyor of the driving, funky Memphis soul style." From Washington Post.

Also worth a read, the New York Times obit. And 'Remembering Poppa Mitchell' from the Memphis Commercial Appeal.