Monday, April 12, 2010

Jimmy Cliff interview (video)

Jimmy Cliff interviewed for Fader TV.

Gabe Roth - mathematics of soul

From the Red Bull Academy, Daptone Records boss/producer (and Dapkings bass player) Gabe Roth talks shop.(video, 1hr 51 mins)

Also, Gabe Roth  - indepth studio technical talk with Sound on Sound magazine (2008). One for the gearheads. What mics he uses, studio setup and so on.

PLUS interesting backgrounder on Roth's early years from NYTimes (2008). And a more recent interview of Roth with Popmatters from January this year here.

How to Wreck a Nice Beach

"Dave Tompkins heads over to NYC’s Big City Records to share some of his favorite albums that utilised the vocoder and a bit of the strange history behind the device’s creation and rise in popularity." From Crate Kings/FaderTV.

Tompkins’s recent book, How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop, which is available now, thru Stop Smiling Books (the folk behind the excellent Stop Smiling magazine, one of my favourite mags on the planet - shame its defunct).

"This is the story of how a military device became the robot voice of hip-hop and pop music. Though the vocoder, invented by Bell Labs in 1928, was designed to guard phones from eavesdroppers, it expanded beyond its original purpose and has since become widely used as a voice-altering tool for musicians. It has served both the Pentagon and the roller rink, a double agent of pop and espionage.

In How to Wreck a Nice Beach—from a mis-hearing of the vocoder-rendered phrase “how to recognize speech”—music journalist Dave Tompkins traces the history of electronic voices from Nazi research labs to Stalin’s gulags, from the 1939 World’s Fair to Hiroshima, from Manhattan nightclubs to the Muppets." Source.

Banksy, the movie

Exit Through the Gift Shop tells the incredible true story of how an eccentric French shop keeper turned documentary maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner with spectacular results. The film contains exclusive footage of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader [who is the film maker's cousin] and many of the worlds most infamous graffiti artists at work, on walls and in interview. As Banksy describes it, Its basically the story of how one man set out to film the un--filmable. And failed" From BV.

Opens in US on April 16.

Guide to digitising vinyl

Here's a handy guide from Soul Sides, entitled, The Cavern Productions/Soul Sides Guide to Digitising Vinyl.

Prepared by Brendan Irvine-Broque (for Cavern Productions) and Oliver Wang (for

Before you start to build a vinyl digitizing system, remember how sound signal chains work. Every sound, whether it’s coming from a singer’s voice or a groove from one of your LPs, has an origin, and passes through a number of different physical and electric stages before it becomes the 1s and 0s that reside on your hard drive.

This is the long version:
1) The physical grooves of a record
2) The turntable, which spins the record at a theoretically constant speed, and isolates it from any internal or external vibrations.
3) The tiny needle that follows the grooves
4) The cantilever system that acts as a suspension system for the needle as it is affected by the record’s grooves
5) The tonearm that stablizes the needle and keeps it in the grooves
6) The wiring inside the tonearm, and the wiring coming out of the turntable, which carries a very weak signal through unbalanced cables into the phono preamp.
7) The phono preamp, which uses the standardized RIAA equalization curve to boost bass frequencies that cannot be represented by grooves on a vinyl record at high amplitude.
8. The cables that connect the phono preamp to the Analog/Digital Converter (ADC)
9) The ADC itself – its dynamic range, accuracy, and clocking.
10) A computer software program that then saves that information into a sound file (AIFF, WAV, MP3, etc.)

This is the short(er) version:
1) The record itself
2) Stylus + cartridge (can be upgraded separately)
3) Turntable + tonearm (can be upgraded separately)
4) Phono preamp (either stand-alone or built into a stereo receiver or DJ mixer)
5) ADC (either stand-alone or your computer soundcard)
6) Computer software
For each part of this chain, your decisions will impact the quality of sound at the back end.

Let’s get the simplest things out of the way first: computer software.
BIB says: Audacity is the most popular by a long shot, though I find its user interface to be confusing and inefficient. I recommend the inexpensive, yet very worthwhile Peak Express, made by Bias Inc. It’s been around for over a decade, and the professional version is used in many mastering studios. At $29, it’s a steal, and will save you hours of time.
OW says: I’ve always liked Sound Studio 3 for the Mac. Simple, easy to use, but also powerful. $60.

Now here comes the more complicated parts…
The simplest way to digitize vinyl is to buy a generic audio cable as the link between your preamp and ADC. If you’re already a DJ, this likely means running a cheap (less than $5) cable from your DJ mixer to your computer soundcard. Assuming that mixer is connected to something like a 1200 that you already own, this will almost assuredly sound better than the Numark or Crosley USB turntables that seem to be popping up everywhere these days.
Note: It may be tempting to buy one of these cheap, plastic USB turntables since they combine #2-5 into a single machine. And frankly, if you just want to digitize records and you don’t care that much about how the final product sounds, this may be the way to go and you can stop reading now.

For those who want a higher level of sound quality, keep reading. The basic principal of capturing sound is to ALWAYS start at the origin and work from there. There is no need to spend any extra money on a special, high-end ADC if there’s a weak link in the chain PRIOR to getting there. That’s why the kind of cartridge, turntable, and preamp you use are relevant.

To put it another way: you can’t get gold from lead; you need to start off with gold (the record you want to digitize) and hope the rest of your chain doesn’t tarnish the sound too much.
If you want to get serious, start at the beginning.

1) Are your records clean? There are all kinds of options out there, from robust vacuum designs like the VPI 16.5 to Groov Glide, to DIY designs involving ultrasonic cleaners. This may sound excessive, but remember: most of your records are at least a decade old, if not 50, and if you bought them used, who knows where they’ve been and what they’ve been exposed to? Dirty records = dirty sound. So make sure your records are as clean as you can get them before a stylus ever gets into those grooves.

2) Stylus/cartridge. These are a matter of personal choice. There may be objective quality differences between brands and models, but ultimately, it comes down to what’s pleasing to your own ears and people will have their subjective preferences.

BIB: My personal recommendation is Ortofon Concorde style cartridges – I use the Nightclubs for archiving, and have the elliptical (E) styli for LPs and the spherical (S) styli for 45s.

OW: I would second the Nightclub E but, as BIB notes, you may want to change styli (same cart, different needle) for 45s. In my experience, a “loud” 45 played with an E stylus is prone to bad distortion. I use my Nightclub to digitize LPs but often switch to a Shure White Label for 45s (I don’t own a separate S stylus for the Nightclub).

3) Turntables.
BIB: Technics 1200s are the kings. If you’re willing to spend $200 or more, it’s absurd to buy anything else. The “warmth” that audiophiles talk about getting from other turntables is nothing but resonance that reinforces midrange frequencies in a way that pleases the ear, but isn’t accurate. Like EVERYTHING record related, the Japanese have the game on lock and Technics are no exception.
OW: I think 1200s are a perfectly good choice and if you’re a DJ, you already know this. But if you’re NOT a DJ? I think there are other options, especially if you’re willing to spend time on Craigslist or eBay or browsing thrift stores and swap meets. There’s many good medium/high-end consumer turntables made in the ‘70s and ‘80s to be found under $200. This is a great research resource.

Ultimately, if you want to take the guessing game out of it? Look for a used 1200 under $250. Can’t go wrong with that. Me though? I’m fiending for one of these.

4) Preamps.
Preamps pose a unique challenge in the digitizing realm. Professional grade, stand-alone phono preamps are practically nonexistent and instead, you’re often left with either overpriced audiophile models and cheap, high-school-electronics-class designs.
There are some wonderful phono preamps built into some home stereo receivers from the 1970s, but these come with their own problems having to do with crosstalk and voltage, because there are so many other components within an analog stereo receiver (AM/FM radio, inputs, 50 watt speaker amplifiers, etc.). Current, analog DJ mixers are likely the best choice for anyone serious – particularly because they offer XLR or TRS balanced outputs, which keeps the noise floor low and dynamic range high.

BIB: I personally use an Allen & Heath Xone 02, just for the phono section, but only because it’s the best thing I’ve found so far. I’m hoping to build out a balanced Bozak (link) phono preamp sometime this year – they were the gold standard for design in DJ mixers for discos of the 70s and 80s, and are revered for their phono preamps.

I really wish that I could give a more solid recommendation for a dedicated phono pre, but the only phono pre I’m remotely interested in is a rackmount unit that the homie Thes One had custom-built by Manley.

OW: I used to use my Rane TTM56 as a preamp and from what I’ve heard, Rane builds very good preamps into their DJ mixers. But when I decided to separate my digitizing set-up from my DJ set-up, I needed to put the Rane back and look into a stand-alone preamp. The overwhelming recommendation I got was for the Radial J33 (which Thes One also uses when he’s not running sound through his custom Manley pre).

I’ve been happy with it so far and what’s nice is that you can plug headphones into it and you’re likely to get better sound from that than a stock computer soundcard (you can’t adjust volume though). I’ve had some people recommend the Rolls V29; it’s inexpensive but I’ve never test-driven one.

4.5) Cables.
Remember that your sound signal chain has to travel down wiring and the quality of wire matters as much as every other part of the chain.
BIB: My absolute highest recommendation goes to Redco Audio, who lets you design your own cables at very affordable prices, down to the length, connector style, and cable quality. I probably have over 50 cables from them, and know many studios who count on them regularly.

5) ADC.
Unlike preamp choices, the consumer options here may seem staggering but don’t be fooled. The vast majority of ADCs on the market are not worth your $200. Why? Because even though they most often have the exact same chipset that’s used in Protools HD systems, most are fraught with the exact same problems that plague your laptop’s soundcard – unstable and insufficient voltage rails, interference, and shoddy manufacturing. Avoid M-Audio, Tascam, MOTU, or others unless you plan on having it modded.

BIB: There are two companies making quality, affordable audio interfaces that sound great – Apogee Digital and Echo Audio. I personally use the Duet, and it’s wonderful, stable, and is truly the best you can find for less than a grand (at which point I’d start looking at RME, Lynx, and other Apogee products).

OW: I bought a Duet, partially on BIB’s recommendation, and have been very happy with it. The versatility is excellent – you have multiple ways to cable it (XLR, 1/4”) and the jog wheel lets you adjust both input levels and headphone volume. They’re not cheap – even used, expect to shell out around $250-350 – but if you’re serious about stepping up your ADC, it’s worth the added cost.

In conclusion:
The cost-differences here are dramatic depending on how you want to play it. An all-in-one USB turntable will run you about $100 or less. The set-ups both of us use will set you back at least $700-1000+. If you are going to trick it out, just remember: the strength of the digitizing chain is a linear process. You have to make sure your starting components are strong before worrying about the end; investing in a Duet or Echo would be one of your last purchases, not your first.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

McLaren exposed to asbestos

"The former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren may have been exposed to the asbestos which killed him while smashing up Sex, his infamous King's Road punk design shop, his partner, Young Kim, has told The Independent on Sunday." Full story here.

New York is killing me

Off the latest album from Gil Scott Heron (I'm New Here"), here he is doing the song with Nas. Download too.

Malcolm McLaren interview from 1983

Via Different Kitchen.... "This is just further proof that the late Malcolm McLaren was a true visionary of this music game. Read this article (from 1983, almost 30 years ago). The stuff he's talking about: the DIY culture of home DJ's, producers and consumers taking control of their music and remixing & remaking it in any fashion they want has all come to pass in this current internet era of music. Mash-up and remix culture is exactly what Mclaren was envisioning when he want to New York and made the cut-up, scratch hiphop classic, "Buffalo Gals."

Download the January 6-19, 1983 'All-Star Request Issue' of Smash Hits with McLaren on the cover HERE [pdf file] or HERE [individual jpegs]."

Also, McLaren's son Joe Corre, and Julien Temple remember McLaren. From The Guardian.

Billy T James rights dispute

The NZ Herald reports that "The widow and daughter of Billy T. James are considering legal action for what they claim is their share of royalties from DVD sales estimated to be worth $3 million."

The DVD was released by Sony Music NZ and has sold over 100,000 copies since Xmas 2008, but it appears that due to the rights to James' material being held with several copyright holders, they may have used material which they did not have permission to.

" ... it is understood it stems from her [James' wife, Lynn Matthews] claims of intellectual property rights over some Billy T. James recordings and scripts. She has assigned those rights to independent label Pagan Records to license on her behalf. Pagan representative Tim Moon declined to discuss specifics, but said legal action was possible. "These companies rely on copyright legislation in running their businesses. Billy's family are entitled to the same reliance."

Sony responded with a statement, saying "Sony Music Entertainment (New Zealand) is confident it can come to a commercial arrangement with Pagan Records after recently concluding an arrangement with The Billy T James Family Trust."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, April 10

Manu Chao - A Cosa (Prince Fatty edit)
Prince Fari - Right way
Mr Vegas - Must come a road
Trackheadz - Jah shall come
Dubblestandart - Terrorists and inhalers (Keith Le Blanc remix)
Whitefield Brothers - Safari strut
Quantic - I just fell in love again
Los  superiores - Descarga superior
Supreme team - See suite
Mad lion - Girlzz
Funkmaster Flex and ghetto celebs - Safe sex no freaks
Kenny Dope and Mad racket - Supa
Liquid liquid - Cavern
Malcolm McLaren - Buffalo girls
Sidewalk city - Snap (dub mix)
Plumstead Radical Club - One way (Natural self remix)
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Better things
Sunlightsquare latin combo - I believe in miracles
Barrington Levy - Dont fuss nor fight
Knights of the dub table - Sing it to me (Optimus Gryme remix)
King midas sound - Meltdown
Fulgeance - Sour socca
War - Spill the wine
Robbie Hill's family affair - I just want to be like myself
Herbie Hancock - Bring down the birds (B-Boy edit)
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings -  She aint a child no more
Mr Chop  - Mecca and the soul brother
Fred Wesley and the JBs - You can have your Watergate but give me some bucks and I'll be straight

Friday, April 09, 2010

RIP Malcolm Mclaren

McLaren was a grand charlatan, a pop culture thief, and a mis-manager (as branded by the Sex Pistols, after they successfully sued him in 1986 for royalties, and won).

Former Pistol Steve Jones said that McLaren was "a big key in what happened in punk and with the revolution of it all" but that he undermined his own credibility by constantly clamouring for recognition through the years. "The whole thing probably wouldn't have taken off the way it did without him, there's no doubt about that," Jones said, "but his downfall is that he spent the rest of his life trying to take credit for all of it." (source: LA Times)

My favourite take so far on McLaren and his sense of self-importance to the punk scene is from the Guardian's Alexi Petridis, here.  He talks about McLaren's inabiltity to deal with the fallout from the antipathy he helped generate against the Sex Pistols, leaving them to flounder.

Petridis writes "It wasn't until after the band split up that McLaren attempted to reassert his authority over the Sex Pistols: rewriting their story in the film The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle as a masterplan he had controlled all along, the band merely his stooges. It wasn't a terribly convincing argument, nor was it a terribly good film.

"Understandably outraged, Johnny Rotten has spent the subsequent years airbrushing McLaren from the Sex Pistols story, pointing out that the music had nothing to do with him, reinventing the band as autodidacts who would have been even more successful without his interference.
But that seems reductive too: without McLaren's ideas, his art-school grounding in Situationism, without the clothes he and Vivienne Westwood designed for them, the Sex Pistols wouldn't have been the same band, nor would they have had the same impact. Neither party would ever admit it, but they needed each other."

John Lydon farewelled McLaren, saying “For me Malc was always entertaining, and I hope you remember that. Above all else he was an entertainer and I will miss him, and so should you.”

Wallace Chapman has some entertaining quotes from when he interviewed McLaren back when Wallace was hosting BFM Breakfast on his blog on TVNZ7's site.

Watch: Malcolm McLaren - a career in clips

Image credit: Peanut Butter Wolf via Twitpic.

Quick cuts

- Copped this via Stinky Jim's excellent Stink Inc blog - he's right into his South American cumbia bizz at the mo, and this is pretty mean.Toba Rey - Doma Tornado. Argentinian folk singer chopped and diced by Barcelona producer. Jim says "Alongside the archetypal DT percussive panorama there are guitar and bass swells that (and I hesitate to say this) carry a genuine 80's flavour, not in the usually touted cliche way, more like something that ... Keith Levene and Jah Wobble might have cooked up on their mellowest of mellow days."

- The LA Weekly backgrounds the history of LA girl band the Runaways, prior to the (fictional) movie coming out.

- Excellent interview with Dakings Gabe Roth, behind the scenes from Wax Poetics. Great read. It goes back to the early days, how Gabe started out in funk bands with Desco, and how he discovered Lee Fields and Sharon Jones. The best one is how he discovered Charles Bradley  - "He just turned up at my door one morning, said some drummer I knew sent him. I have no idea who he was talking about..."
"WaxPoetics interview with Desco/Daptone founder Gabe Roth aka producer Bosco Mann. Perhaps an article to rival the legendary Shitty is Pretty (I know Bjoern from Mocambo Records to name just one has it pinned to his wall…)" Hat tip to Groovement.

I recall reading an interview with local lad Brendan Moran, drummer for the Hasselhof Experiment, where he talked about Gabe's Shitty is Pretty articles, and how he learned some great info from it on how to record drums.

- Mos Dub - Vocals of rapper Mos Def with classic dub underneath. Check it here. Produced by Max Tannone, check his previous Jaydiohead (Jay Z & Radiohead)  / and Doublecheck your head (BEasties mashed up with themselves) here. Get at him on Twitter: @maxtannone

- Simon Grigg tells the tale of how he ended up at a celebrity wedding involving an All Black and a pop singer from True Bliss. True story.
- Vinyl junkies, pay attention! "Saturday 10 April is the next Record Collectors Fair. It's at is at the new venue - Kelson Community Hall, just off Great North Road, Awaroa Road, next to Waikumete Cemetery. This venue is bigger and better with more stall holders than ever before, more parking and a nicer location. Great atmosphere, good music (vinyl only), food and enjoyment.

The venue may be hard to find - entry is at the back of the building with plenty of parking available. $4 entry to the public. Thanks to Tradetech, George FM, Axent Audio, Audio Reference Co and The Shore Hifi Company for supporting the Record Fair". Good odds that soul/funk DJ Mister Murray Cammick will be there selling some goodies. Get in there!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wanda Sykes does Erykah

Watch Wanda interview Erykah Badu, then show Wanda's own version of the controversial Windowseat video. Erykah seems to get the joke too, which is cool.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

RWC ad mashup

Poi-e replaces Jesus Jones cover?
I chopped this up over the weekend, following last weeks discussion on possible alternatives to the Feelers covering some English 90s pop band - someone suggested Poi-e.  P-Money did a great live remix of Poi-e and played it with the Patea Maori Club and Four Corners a few years back at the Silver Scroll Awards (watch it here) so I grabbed the audio for that and chucked it with the pictures. Boom! Enjoy.

 PS. Don't tell P-Money.

Link to youtube clip below

Monday, April 05, 2010

Guardian's obituary for Pauly Fuemana

This has recently gone up online, and is well worth a read. As Simon Grigg (Huh! Records), noted, via Twitter), "it's the only obit to date that hasn't mixed fact with bizarre fantasy." Written by expat Kiwi Garth Cartwright.

Kutiman tunes in

Kutiman  is Israeli musician Ophir Kutiel, who popped up in Nick D's TV show Making Tracks in the episode on Tel Aviv and that city's thriving music scene. Hes most well known for some amazing video mashups he did lifting musicians from youtube clips and chopping them together.

" What really makes Kutiman unique is his abhorrence of commercial recording; his samples hail from virtual unknowns and his work is distributed for free on the web. That's not to say that Thru-You is just some exercise in artistic egalitarian humanism. Kutiman's stubborn devotion to amateur YouTube artists would only amount to so much branded gimmickry if he were not remarkably adept at making exhilarating crazy-quilts from his dozens of moving parts."

Download some of Kutiman's tunes here, and read this great post from Tofu Hut via BV, lotsa good background info on Kutiman. And check his  Thru-You site for more music.

MTC responds to Dirty Sesh reports

MTC Records boss Kirk Harding has posted a response to much of the media frenzy on Dirty Sesh and his controversial video, here.  As Kirk says, "that if one publication gets their facts wrong, so do the rest.". He repeats his earlier apology over the video. Lesson learned, moving on. But no...

Late last week NZPA put out a story with quotes from Scribe, reacting to the video, and the NZPA story was picked up by TV3 and NZHerald. The story was called "Video controversy 'taking a toll' on Derty Sesh". (I wonder who wrote that story?)

Kirk is quoted in the article as allegedly having said Sesh was "exhausted from the whole ordeal, [and it was] affecting his music and his writing", but there's one tiny problem - Kirk says "I would be very interested to know where those quotes came from, because they are not mine" (see comments on TV3 story, where Kirk also says Dirty Sesh has just delivered 28 new songs for his next album, which contradicts the entire story). Making up quotes... really?

Scribe responded via Twitter, saying he was misquoted. "I will say it was correct the Im not a fan thing coz that's my personal opinion..The whole repurcussions thing was not what they said. The Q was "Would I be scared if Dirty Sesh came to my house?" Being a father with small children at my house I would knock anyone out... It wasn't a personal attack I meant in general... Anyone with bad intentions."

Binky Griptite (Dapkings) interview

With and intro from  Ms Sharon Jones, talking about when she first met Binky. "I first met Binky at a session for Lee Fields, it was on 42nd Street in Manhattan. He still had on big dreads he’d wear under a beanie that looked liked a turban. I think he was still playing with Antibalas at the time..."

Binky, on his role as show MC for Sharon Jones and the Dapkings... "There are a lot of great bands that seem to deny that they are in showbiz. I take my showbiz very seriously."

On recording on 8 track reel to reel tape rather than Protools:  "Having only 8 tracks forces you to get to the point. It also forces you to make decisions on the spot. People have been overproducing records for years; the computer just makes that a little bit easier..."

Read it here, at Nerdtorious, the excellent blog of writer David Ma (Wax Poetics XLR8R, Pitchfork).  There's a ton of great stuff over there to read. Photo: Nerdtorious

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Feelers recorded RWC ad song for free.

I heard a rumour to the effect last week that the Feelers had recorded the Jesus Jones cover for free (which seems absurd, unless they got really good free seats for the RWC in exchange) , and it was confirmed in the Sunday News by Hamish Gee of the Feelers. Gee says that "If there was a New Zealand song, no matter how good that song was, then for people in Argentina who don't know that song it won't have as much impact. I am not a marketing genius, but I think it is smart to use a song that everyone will recognise."

A song that people will recognise on the global (read - rugby-playing) stage is a top idea, but it's arguable whether Right Here Right Now is a song everyone will recognise, given it was a hit in a small number of countries, mainly English-speaking ones, like the US, UK, and NZ. I think that a one hit wonder from 1991is probably not going to be that widely recognised. This is basically a lost chance to push some NZ songwriter out to the world.

There's no reason for the NZ RWC organisers to be patriotic just to please a bunch of whiners, but there is an opportunity to showcase what makes special, but that doesn't appear in teh ads either - maybe they will showcase NZ in subsequent ads  - this is just the start of the campaign, after all. And it can only improve from here.

Arch Hill's Ben Howe wrote an interesting post on it, have a look... "latest blog on various music biznez, Taite prize, Jesus Jones etc " @archhillmystery via Twitter

ADDED From NZ Herald: "Former NZ Idol judge and music industry professional Paul Ellis said the choice of song was "lazy" and the job should have been given to a local band. The well-informed Ellis said the initial contract to use the song for the ad would be worth about $200,000 and the artist would also receive royalties."

Happy birthday, Marvin Gaye

Special Marvin Gaye mix from DJ Spinna, grab it here. Also,  Spinna's Sade mix from a while back over here.

EMI faces tough times with bank

"EMI faces being taken over by its bankers after breaching its debt covenants following its failure to clinch a deal with rival Universal to sell its distribution rights in North America for around £200m.[EMI has also been rumoured to be in talks with other major labels trying to license its catalogue for some immediate cash].

An agreement was viewed as critical if the British-based music company, owned by private equity firm Terra Firma, was to avoid breaching the terms of its debts following a £4.2bn buyout in 2007. Terra Firma, headed by British financier Guy Hands, owes £3bn to Citigroup linked to the transaction, which was clinched on the eve of the credit crunch.

Now Terra Firma must go to its investors in a bid to raise £120m by 12 June or face the prospect of Citigroup seizing control of the business. In normal circumstances, Citigroup could take over EMI now, but under the terms of its so-called "covenant lite" lending agreement, the bank agreed to allow the music company breathing space to make good any breach." From the Guardian

EMI's owners, Terra Firma, face debt that "now stands at more than £3 billion, compared to the £2.4 billion purchase price." From Hits Daily Double.

Erykah Badu gets fined over video

From Gawker: "Erykah Badu's naked video shoot earned her a disorderly conduct charge after some prude Texas lady filed an indecency complaint. Now Erykah owes the Dallas Police Department a $500 fine. If you didn't see it, here are the naked Erykah Badu pictures. She crawled around naked on the sidewalk in the plaza where JFK was assassinated." [TMZ, TMZ]

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, 3 April
Some killer new releases from Ms Sharon Jones, Erykah Badu, and Shawn Lee and Bei Bei to drop today, plus a bunch of rocksteady jams in honour of catching the excellent documentary Rocksteady: Roots of Reggae earlier this week. It's out on DVD soon too, highly reccomended for reggae fans.

Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Better things
Barkin soul  - Babybababebe
The simonsound - Tour de mars
Hopeton Lewis -Take it easy
Brother Culture -Warning dub
Derrick Morgan - I'm the ruler
Alton Ellis - Rocksteady
Austin Faithful - I'm in a rocking mood
Paragons - Tide is high
Viceroys  -Give it to him
Dawn Penn - No no no
Lloyd and Devon - Red bumb ball
Albarosie - Sound killa
Shawn Lee and Bei Bei - East
Musinah feat OOGenesis - Always
Mr Chop - The world is yours
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Money
3 Titans - College
Jean Knight - Do me
The Skatalites - Beardsman ska
The wailers -Put it on
Alton Ellis and the flames - Dance crasher
Tommy McCook - Beirut
RSD - Jah way
Nicolette - Waking up remix
New order - Confusion
Erykah Badu - Turn me away (get munny)
Willie Bobo - Roots
Jean Jacques Perry and Luke Vibert  -Ye olde beatbox
EIl Paperboy Reed - Ace of spades
Dr John - Right place wrong time

Friday, April 02, 2010

Visit Roger Steffens reggae archive
Author Roger Steffens visited NZ a few years back promoting his fantastic book Reggae Scrapbook. This clip is fascinating. Check out his signed seven inch singles.

Quote: "People are always asking me what my records are worth and I don’t know. How do you put a value on these things. They’re irreplaceable. They’re not priceless, but they’re irreplaceable." Hat tip to Crate Kings.

Roger Steffens' Reggae Archives from Babylon Falling on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Rugby World Cup song palaver.
There's been a lot of chatter in the last few days over the choice of song for the 2011 Rugby World Cup  - The Feelers covering Right Here Right Now by Jesus Jones, a hit back in 1990. The general reaction is it's not the most inspired choice. ADDED NZ Herald's Russell Baillie weighs in "Wrong song for rugby singalong".

Right Here Right Now was chosen for the  ads as it's "about selling tickets", and is not the tournament's official song, Rugby World Cup chief executive Martin Snedden says (in NZ Herald). That song is World In Union.

The best alternative I've seen anyone come up with was a suggestion on Twitter that they (RWC) use Poi-e with a modern twist, say Che Fu. Then P-Money joined in the conversation, pointing to this wicked video Patea Maori Club with Four Corners and P-Money... Now imagine this under those rugby ads...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Sharon Jones and Dapkings album streaming at NPR
Go have a listen, it's wicked modern soul. It's out April 6, on CD and LP. And while you're there, NPR have a recent live show from Ms Sharon Jones and her Dapkings, taken from SXSW for download here. Check the Dapkings super soul revue from Daptone Records.

Monday, March 29, 2010

DJ Kentaro at the Turnaround - DAMN!
I had the pleasure of catching DJ Kentaro at the Turnaround last Friday night, after seeing him the previous week at the Tiger Translate event which was incredible - hats off to everyone involved in that mean night. Kentaro's set at the Turnaround ws more of a club set, starting off hiphop, then  going reggae, and off into some mad house bizznizz, then back to dubstep and some jungle. Watching him cut and scratch house tunes was  pretty mad - not a genre I really pay much attention to, but he did some mighty clever stuff with it. And then he went back to the reggae styles and dropped Budy Bye form Johnny Osbourne, which tore the place up. Much respect to Kentaro.

Anyways, this video is a bunch of photos I shot with my iPhone, using a camera app called Hipstermatic, which emulates an instamatic-type look. The music is Dk Kentaro's remix of Kunte Kinte by the Revolutionaries. Enjoy.

Mulatu - new album on the way
Ethiopian jazz legend Mulatu Astatke's first official solo release in over 20 years, called Mulatu Steps Ahead, is coming out March 30. "The tracks were recorded with members of Either/Orchestra in Boston, with contributions by traditional Ethiopian musicians in Addis, members of The Heliocentrics and some of the UK’s leading jazz and African players during the final sessions in London in November 2009."

Here's a clip of Mulatu talking about the new album (14 mins).

"Also, make sure to check out Mulatu's full orchestra Los Angeles performance on Mochilla's Timeless DVD box set, which is also out March 30th on Mochilla.  The limited edition 3-disc box set includes Astatke's full set featuring jazz legends Bennie Maupin, Azar Lawrence & Phil Ranelin, as well as discs featuring a performance by Arthur Verocai, and "Suite For Ma Dukes," an orchestral interpretation of J Dilla's work.  See below for a clip featuring footage from Mulatu Astatke's disc.

And thanks to the kind folk at Strut... in case you missed it, download "Green Africa" from the album below:
Mulatu Astatke- "Green Africa" (mediafire) (zshare)
Over 80 versions of Mas Que Nada
Lounge, Brazilian, disco, drum n bass... you name it. Get your fill over here.  Jorge Ben, the song's composer, is playing in Auckland soon too (May 22 at Powerstation).  Versionsgalore blog (hat tip to Crighton)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

To have and to hold: trailer

To Have & To Hold - Taster Tape from Jony Lyle on Vimeo.

From Crate Kings: "Director Jony Lyle gives a quick teaser of his upcoming film entitled To Have & To Hold, which Lyle describes as “a ‘musicmentory’ to celebrate the age of vinyl records.

The film promises enough archive footage, records rooms, music collections, pressing plants, and rare vinyl to satisfy even the most die hard physical music addicts.  In addition to its irresistible collectible eye candy, To Have & To Hold, which is scheduled for a 2010 release, features interviews with such notable vinyl aficionados as Questlove, Chuck D, Bobbito Garcia, DJ Amir, Bruce Lundvall, Christian Marclay, and Paul Mawhinney."

RIP Bobby Espinosa (of LA group El Chicano)
Saw this over at Soulsides. Bit late, but here it is...
Felix Contreras has a great memorial piece up at NPR about him.
Here's a 2009 interview with him by Jesus Velo of Los Illegals.

I first came across El Chicano when I found their first album Viva Tirado in Real Groovy. I picked it up cos the music was cool jazzy East LA 70s funk, and cos the liners notes were fantastic, including mentioning such important details as "The album was recorded afterhours in the lounge of the Kabuki Sukiyaki Restaurant, 3840 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, because that is what El Chicano wanted and because Moss is too good to be true". And one of the engineers was a Kiwi. The album has some great covers too, like Canteloupe Island, and a dynamite version of the Doors - Light my fire, which is 25 seconds long.

El Chicano - Viva Tirado live, 1971.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ba Ba Boom, supercheap
My Dub Asylum single Ba Ba Boom is on special at the moment over at Mighty Ape, usually $23, now only $15!  Go grab it  - it's bloody good. Audio preview on Dub Asylum Myspace.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hypnotic Womad
NZ Musician's Trevor Reekie has written a great review of some of the acts from the recent Womad Msuic Festival in New Plymouth. He talked to the likes of Nortec Collective, Calexico and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble about their business model, how they survive off their music. Best snippet: Hypnotic Brass have sold a staggering 800,000 albums. Holy crap.
Read the article here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The T.A.M.I Show
The first time I saw this incredible show was on VHS video release back in the early 90s. It's a TV show of a live concert in Santa Monica from 1964, with a killer lineup of live performers - Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Chuck Berry, and best of all, you get to watch the Rolling Stones flail around as they have to come onstage and play right after James Brown. Suckers. Now the show has just come out on DVD, and it's a must-see. Strangely, tho, I recall seeing Bo Diddley on the VHS video, but I think that was the T.A.M.I./TNT Show, combining a few different shows.

There's a write-up about it here on the LA Times...

"There's a story that Keith Richards once said 'Following James Brown was the biggest mistake of our lives,' " pop music historian and documentary filmmaker David Leaf said. "Maybe, waiting in the wings for the audience to recover, the Rolling Stones felt it was a bad idea at the moment. But watching the footage today, the Stones' performance is first-rate rock 'n' roll. It's just not epic in the way Brown's is. Really, nobody could follow James Brown."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Go you good thing
This week sees Kiwi artists at number ones on both the singles and album charts - Hollie Smith htis the top of the album chart on first week of release, and J Williams and Scribe continues their run atop the singles chart.

According to Paul Kennedy, dual Kiwi number ones have happened on 29 occasions in the last 8 years. Last time was April 2007, with Hayley Westenra and Atlas. Only Scribe and Ben Lummis have topped both charts simultaneously, in that time.

Corrugated cardboard record player
Hat tip to Suyin for sending me this... "A record player created from a piece of corrugated cardboard that folds into an envelope. Once assembled, a record can be spun on the player with a pencil. The vibrations go trough the needle and are amplified in the cardboard material. The players were sent out to creative directors across North America as a creative demonstration of GGRP’s sound engineering capabilities. Agency: Grey Vancouver, Canada." From Direct Daily. Click on pic below to enlarge it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Shane McGowan, Nick Cave, Johnny Depp cover I Put A Spell On You
Also features Mick Jones (Clash), Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream), Chrissie Hynde and version of the Screaming Jay Hawkins classic. Wonder if you can buy it from way down here in NZ?

"So moved by the plight of the people of Haiti, Shane and his long term girlfriend, writer Victoria Clarke made calls to friends and associates from which began the process of recording a track from which ALL proceeds go to Concern, a charity who have provided assistance to some of the poorest countries in the world including Haiti, even before the earthquake struck. Some of the stars on the record include - Nick Cave / Bobby Gillespie / Glen Matlock / Johnny Depp / Chrissie Hynde / Paloma Faith / Eliza Doolittle."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat 20 March
War - Me and baby brother
Soul Investigators w Myron and E - Its a shame
Sunlightsquare latin combo - I believe in miracles (inst)
La Belle - What can I do for you?
3 Titans - Life of a scholar
Chic - Good times
Los superiores - Descarga superior
Quantic -Westbound train
Dubblestandart - Pre-emptive dub (Sly n Robbie remix)
Johnny Osbourne - We need love
Jackie Mittoo - Summer breeze
Mr Vegas - Must come a road
Ticklah - Descent
Prince Jammy - A stalawatt version
Hakan Lidbo - Trinity
Oogun - Drony dubhall
Nortec collective - Tenga la voz, Colorado
J Dilla - Safety dance
Joy division - Love will tear us apart (Arthur Baker remix, 1995,
find it here: )
Amral's Trinidad cavaliers - 90% of me is you
Jahdan Blakkamore - She said
Poirier - Let them hate (Mungos Hifi remix)
Richie Phoe - Bumpy's lament
Adrian Sherwood and Lee Scratch Perry - His masters voice
Cooly G - Love dub
DJ Vadim - Soldier (UK Flex mix)
Fink - Sort of revolution (Sideshow dub)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Raw power
They may have been nominated for the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame seven times since becoming eligible back in 1994, but finally, Iggy and the Stooges made it in. They were inducted alongside Abba, Genesis, the Hollies and Jimmy Cliff. The NYT noted that... 'In his acceptance speech, Mr. Pop declared: “Roll over, Woodstock. We won.” HELL YEAH.

They had previously performed at the Inductees event when Madonna asked them to play her songs in 2008, as her protest at the omission that year of Iggy and the Stooges (who were nominated that year but didn't get voted in).

ADDED Here's a review of the staid, black-tie audience reaction to Iggy and the Stooges performance... "Iggy ripped off his shirt and the band roared to life. And the audience … pretty much just sat there.  ... I can’t remember the last time I saw a more uncomfortable looking group of people. You could almost read the thought balloons: “I can’t wait for this to be over.” “Please make them stop.” “Bring out the Hollies.”

AND if you think being nominated seven times and missing out is bad, Solomon Burke was nominated nine times before he got in, and Patti Smith was nominated six times.  Read all about it in this article: Bridesmaided Bands: What it Took for 5 Hall of Famers to Actually Get In.

Video from AP, includes Iggy and the Stooges performance and press conference. More video here - warning  - seems to start playing ALL the videos when you open this page. Sucky.

NZ music websites strike right note at SXSWi web awards
Three of the five finalists for the best music website award at the 13th annual SXSW Web Awards (held Sunday) hailed from New Zealand. Fat Freddys Drop TV and Shapeshifter made the finals, as did Splore music festival. The other finalists were Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, and the winners, Echo and the Bunnymen.

The music award is listed as being for "sites related to musicians, bands and the music industry, as well online radio and other destinations that offer streaming audio content."

Fat Freddys TV and Shapeshifter's sites were designed by Resn, and Splore was designed by Salted Herring.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

For a New Zealand company doing incredible things on the world stage, Serato slide pretty much under the radar in terms of local acclaim. I suspect that's just how they like it.

I recall hearing DJ Sirvere claim on a TV show once that Serato was the greatest invention ever to come out of NZ, and I think he's right on the money.

Not only are they collaborating with some of the world's greatest DJs, they also have great hookups with some of the most prestigious record labels too, resulting in gems like this one. A Serato/Stonesthrow collab with previously unreleased goodness from the late J-Dilla. Exquisite packaging, two vinyls, and slipmats for your turntables shaped like donuts - who doesn't love donuts?

And you can preview one of the tunes here - JDilla covering Safety Dance. Seriously. Go grab it.