Monday, October 11, 2010

TMD Crew fundraiser

This looks like a very cool event.  TMD are some of the finest graff artists in Aotearoa - get along and support em!

 "Come join New Zealand’s most internationally renown crew TMD, as they exhibit new works in an epic one off show, fundraising to attend Primary Flight 2010 in Miami.  Thirteen breathtaking works will be on display, each 2.4m x 2.4m and range from aerosol art to large print photographs. All works will be available for sale for one night only – so don’t miss your chance!

Featured artists: Askew, Dskyes, Phat1, Lady Diva, Vans the Omega, Oche, Saves aka Dyle52, Pest5, Deus, Ryze, Has, Berst, Kost and Rimoni.

Bringing a unique twist to the event is the inclusion of the Auckland Youth Orchestra who will be providing entertainment on the night. There will also be domestic air-fare giveaways provided by Grabaseat, drawn from those that purchase works on the night!  Dress up for the occasion, this is guaranteed to be like no other graffiti art event staged in New Zealand to date.

The show will open at 7pm with the works unveiled at 9pm.  All sales go towards getting TMD to Primary Flight.  Tickets $25.00 (incl. booking fee) and are available from iTICKET and Conch Records.

Thursday, 21st October 2010
Shed 6, Upper Deck, 90 Wellesley St, Auckland City
Starts 7pm – Work unveiled at 9pm

Unitone Hifi chicha bizznizz

Spied this over at Stinky Jims Stink Inc blog - a wicked remix of his band Unitone Hifi, from Kinky Electric Noise. Grab it quick.

Unitone HiFi - Hang On (Kinky Electric Noise Chicha Remix) by Kinky Electric Noise

Fly Lo

Flying Lotus interview... shot at his appearance at Chicago’s North Coast Music Festival

Flying Lotus @ North Coast Music Festival from Cam Be on Vimeo.

Adrock interview

Via Crate Kings... "Propellerhead's interview with Adrock of the Beastie Boys. He tells the story of buying his first drum machine, a Roland TR-808, with $250 [it was a toss up between a Rickenbaker guitar like Paul Weller for the Jam, or the drum machine...], discovering LL Cool J, creating pause tapes, the rise of the Beastie Boys, and being sued by The Jimmy Castor Bunch for their use of “Hey Leroy”."

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Ian Morris farewelled

From Hawkes Bay Today, an editorial "It's a poorer place without Ian Morris". Read it here.

Also, Simon Grigg remembers Ian's work as a studio engineer and producer, for the likes of Hello Sailor (that's his production on Gutter Black), DD Smash, Greg Johnson, The Warratahs, Pop Mechanix, Southside of Bombay, Screaming Meemees and more.

"...An Ian Morris production was noticeably and identifiably an “Ian Morris” record. They had a sound and it was a sound that worked. For me, he produced the only album by The Screaming Meemees. The sessions were uproarious – rather out of control and bourbon soaked. It was at these that he met Kim, his wife.

I talked to him several times over the years about remixing these, as recently as a few months ago – it was his idea, as he felt the album was unfinished and didn’t want to leave it that way, although I guess that’s the way it will now stay.

However, when we remastered Paradise for digital release late last year, the remasterer, Alan Jansson, no studio slouch himself, was blown away by the audio depth and quality of the recording (also a tribute to the original engineer, Steve Kennedy) of the original which still sounds as vaguely ahead of its time as it did when released..."

Ian's own website has some great writing on his studio work, including the tale of two snaredrums (Gutter black/Game of Love). What a loss.

Everyday sunshine

Fishbone were a huge influence on my old band, Hallelujah Picassos. Our former manager Lisa hipped me to this film, a documentary on the band. Fishbone formed in1979 when the members were in junior high school in South Central Los Angeles. From the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Fishbone might be the only African American punk band you could name. It has always stayed a bit underground, but that's the way the band members want to play it. They broke stereotypes, exerted wide influence, yet refused to play by recording labels' rules and paid a heavy price for it. There was also a bit of self-destruction as well.

"In the '80s, there was this kind of Hollywood scene of people that were huge fans of Fishbone," said San Francisco documentarian Chris Metzler, whose film "Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone," makes its Bay Area premiere this month at the Mill Valley Film Festival and DocFest in San Francisco.

"John Cusack, Tim Robbins, Chris Rock, David Arquette. We found out that Laurence Fishburne was the closest to the band. He'd let them crash at his place in LA or New York. The way he knew of the band is he was a bouncer in this club in Hollywood, and heard Fishbone onstage and was like, 'Who are these brothers?'

Among the down periods was in 1993, when founding member Norwood Fisher tried to help a band member succumbing to mental illness, and ended up being tried on kidnapping charges. Another original member, Angelo Moore, was forced to move in with his mother.
So did the band like the film?

"They came and saw it at the Los Angeles Film Festival, where we debuted" in June, Metzler said. "I think seeing it in front of the audience, seeing people laughing, being emotionally wrenched at the end of the film - Norwood likes the movie, but Angelo loves the movie. He's just like, 'That's my life! That's what it is.' This is the trials and travails of trying to be an aging punk rocker into your 40s."

Mike Park has seen Fishbone 173 times.  He talks about the first time he saw them and the impact it had on him here.

Who is Mr Brown?

He's Len Brown - the mayor of the new supercity. Is Mr Brown controlled by remote, asks Bob....

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Oct 9

Oluko Umo - Praise Jah
Milton Hamilton - We have all the time
Keith Mansfield - Crash course
DJ Spinna - Dilla is the G.O.A.T
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings  - Better things
Temptations - Plastic man
Jackie Mittoo - Totally together
Black seeds - Make a move - Downtown Brown remix
Chaka Demus and Pliers - Murder she wrote
Mos dub - History town
Johnny Osbourne - Budy bye - Kenny Dope remix
War - Me and baby brother
Scritti politti - Absolute - Version
Tex Pistol - Game of love
Gladys Knight - It's better than good time - Walter Gibbons mix
Sylvia - Sweet stuff
Hypnotic brass ensemble - Alyo
DJ Vadim - Hidden treasure
Noel Ellis - Stop your fighting
Hollie Smith - Hiding - Dub Asylum remix
Manasseh - Dubbing the gorgon
Gregory Peck - Pocoman jam
Foxy Brown - Fast car
Rhombus feat Rodney P - The bubble - Dub terminator mix
Oogun - Fuss n fight
Shaggy feat Barrington Levy - Broadway
Guinness Steel City Symphony Band - Sir duke
Eru Dangerspiel - Chilli moules
Richie Phoe - Eyes on the prize dub

Friday, October 08, 2010

RIP Ian Morris (Th Dudes, Tex Pistol)

I heard this late last night via Twitter and hoped it wasn't true. Sadly, it is. NZ Herald story here. Much love to his family and friends at this sad time.

UPDATE: Statement from Peter Urlich (Via NZH)

"At this moment I'm waiting to wake from a terrible dream. I have just lost my oldest and dearest friend, Ian Morris.

The cruel fact is that only in these moments, do you truly realise how important a mate like that is. If I were a house, one side of me has just collapsed.

Ian was one of the foundations of me. He possessed a talent that I was in awe of; he had a staggering intelligence that had few equals; his mind was scalpel sharp but his heart was soft; and we shared a sense of humour that I thought we would trade until we were wizened old men. (I recognise these attributes also in David Joseph Dobbyn).

The two of them found each other in Form 1, Sacred Heart College, 1968 - a pair of slightly nervous freshmen, who only had music to fight off the bullies. And I found them at the same time.

Thank God! I cannot begin to accurately describe what those two men mean to me. And now one of them has gone. Ian, I loved the way you played guitar, I loved the way you played with my boys Joe and Stan: I loved your immaculate taste in music.

I cherished that we were so in tune that we didn't need words.

Thank you for all of your wisdom. I can't remember when you were actually wrong. Thank you for your the fact that you would have forgiven me anything. That goes for me too.

And thank you so much for choosing me to be your lead singer."

UPDATE 2: Morris had two number one chart hits as Tex Pistol - the tune above, and Nobody Else, on Trevor Reekie's label Pagan Records.  These release notes are from Simon Grigg's extensive discography of the Pagan catalogue, with notes by Trevor.

PAG 1013Tex Pistol - Ballad of Buckskin Bob / I Don’t Know What Came Over Me / Winter (June 86) Ian Morris. Chris Bourke sold me on Tex. I knew he was gonna do us good but it wasn’t gonna be this one but we managed to get Winter into a film.

PAG 1030Tex Pistol - The Game of Love / Boot Hill drag (87) The old Mindbenders hit. Our first number one single and radio lapped it up.

PAG 1038Tex Pistol - Nobody Else / Wilf (May 88) I convinced Ian Morris to make this recording he’d done with Rikki to be part of Tex Pistol. Then we found Paul Middleditch, a 20 year old genius video maker to make what is still a fantastic video. Went to number one. By this time I’d bought the label from the receivers.

PAG 1048 Tex Pistol and Rikki Morris - Come Back Louise / Notting Hill Shuffle (89) By this time the tall poppy thing was clobbering us big time.

Hollie Smith remix

Ms Hollie Smith has a remix competition on at the moment, and I've cooked up a Dub Asylum remix for it, all reggae-styles. Have a listen, and if you like it, please vote for it. Thanks

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Eat more bran

Screamin Jay Hawkins and Serge Gainsbourg, piano duel. Watch Jay howl and moan as Serge grins his head off, trying not to laugh.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Flying Nun flashback

Spotted via Dubber... Flying Nun have just released their first new vinyl release in over 15 years this week  -Form, the latest album from Die Die Die. Read about the process of getting vinyl out back in the day here, on Flying Nun's blog.

Monday, October 04, 2010

NZ Music Awards get Sweetman'd

Music reviewer and blogger Simon Sweetman wrote a piece today on the NZ Music Awards and his disgust for it. It's worth noting that he was also a judge this year (and yet he claims he isn't part of the music industry - go figure). There were several points he makes in the piece which are factually incorrect - I did try to post them as comments on his blog but they didn't get published, as is their choice.

Sweetman has a go at the Critics Choice Prize, saying "the winner was supposed to be a band that did not have an album out at the time of judging. Two of the three finalists released their albums within weeks of the judging..." Wrong. This award was for bands who did not have an album out during the eligibility period  -June 1 2009 to May 31 2010, not at the time of judging (see NZMA eligibilty criteria).

He also says "There were also meant to be two showcase gigs - one in Wellington and one in Christchurch. A chance to take a part of the awards show on the road, to take it out of Auckland; in the end these shows never happened." Why was that? Because there was an earthquake in Christchurch which made them no longer viable. Left that bit out, aye Simon?

Best part - he slags off Dane Rumble, Gin, Ladyhawke, then highlights his critical darlings, the Phoenix Foundation - but fails to mention they have the most nominations of any act at this years awards.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Real Groove is goneburgers

Friday saw the demise of Real Groove magazine, as its publishers, Tangible Media, said they were merging it into the weekly free magazine, Groove Guide. Longtime contributor Gary Steel wrote a piece on it at, called Real Gone.

Steel says that "it changed markedly with each successive editor. Both [former editors] John Dix and Nick Bollinger reflected Real Groovy’s roots-music bias, but it grew bigger, got a cover price, got glossier and larger in format, and eventually attempted to become a general culture bible in addition to a music magazine. It had elements of Mojo and Uncut, but reflected its smaller demographic by trying valiantly to be all things to all people."

I totally agree with him that the columns were "the real guts of Real Groove ...  it did have a bunch of specialists in different genres writing with passion and knowledge in a section of columns, and ... I think this section was really the best part of the magazine, and the one that will be most missed." I loved reading what columnists like Kerry Buchanan, Troy Ferguson, and Stinky Jim had to say every month. Fantastically opinionated writing from such hugely knowledgeable folk was a delight. 

Former editor Duncan Greive weighs in over at  He notes that the magazine departs on its 18th birthday,with the final issue, with Leonard Cohen on the cover, hitting newstands now. Oddly enough the magazine has had a redesign, and looks a lot like Rolling Stone and Uncut. It's a strange look to go out on, but I suspect the staff probably didn't know it was the mag's swansong when they were putting it together.

Duncan talks about the magazine's circulation, and its perception in the marketplace among punters. He talks about battling the effects of the internet, and ad sales declining.

"... The final issue, with Leonard Cohen on the cover, is a pretty impressive way to bow out. It looks fantastic, design-wise, and seems to have settled into a groove (argh) which might have actually worked, had it been allowed to continue. A local answer to Uncut et al might have worked (though as others have pointed out, those publications’ ad pages are thin and unglamourous), with an equal engagement with the past and the future, targeting the people who still spend money on music.

" That was always Tangible’s plan for the publication, one which I definitely didn’t engage with beyond bowing to the suggestion that U2 grace the cover (then immaturely struggling to restrain my glee when it tanked at the news-stand). Given six more months to truly define the role and get the market to buy in maybe the story ends very differently .... But the demise itself was never in question, in my opinion, no matter what well-intentioned sales people, editors, publishers and more tried to do. It was the date which remained in play until now. Whether magazines can continue to limp on until some new technology or system makes them viable is an open question."

UPDATE Wednesday 6 Oct: More Real Groove tributes from former writers Joe Nunweek and Dan Trevarthen. also carried a story about Real Groove's closure, based on some wildly  inaccurate information which I understand was a press release provided by Tangible Media. "When Tangible Media purchased the Groove titles after Real Groovy went into liquidation in 2008, the magazine couldn’t continue to be propped up by the music store."

Former General Manager at Real Groovy, Steve Richards, bought Real Groove off Real Groovy way before the liquidation and started up Groove Media as their publisher, and was successfully running nthe mags without being propped up by the stores., which were clearly doing badly then. I remember when  Real Groovy went into liquidation thinking that at least Real Groove would survive the fallout, as it was no longer part of the shops.

R.I.P. Richard Griffey (Solar Records)

Photo: LA Times (taken in 1973)
"Richard Griffey, the founder of the Los Angeles-based R&B record label Solar (Sound Of Los Angeles Records), died at the age of 71 of complications from quadruple-bypass heart surgery that he underwent last year (read more about Griffey’s life in The LA Times' obituary).

"From 1977 when Griffey founded the label, which stands for Sounds of Los Angeles Records, through its peak in the 1980s, the label quickly earned its moniker, “the Motown of the '80s,” for its stable of artists.

"Acts like the Whispers, Shalamar (featuring Jody Watley and Howard Hewett), Klymaxx, Midnight Star and the Deele (featuring Antonio "L.A." Reid and Babyface Edmonds) all have Griffey’s imprint on them. His hits are inescapable, with classics including “Fantastic Voyage,” “And the Beat Goes On,” “Rock Steady” and “Tender Lover.” The string of success led to Griffey being pegged "the most promising new black music executive," which The Times reported in 1980.

The R&B, funk and soul jams his acts crafted laid the foundation for the early-1990s G-funk West Coast flavor of Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Warren G, among others. Edmonds said it was all part of Griffey’s genius." LA Time Pop and Hiss blog

Griffey got his start in the music business as a nightclub owner and promoter. He became the talent co-ordinator on the tv show Soul Train, working with host and producer Don Cornelius. His last ten years were spent mostly in Africa, where he went to promote music but stayed because he "was touched by the poverty and felt that he could make a difference," his daughter said.

Diplo profiled

Nice little mini-documentary on DJ/producer Diplo from film maker Wing-Yee Wu... (hat tip to Duncan Blair for the link)...

Fave quote: "as a producer I still don't have a lot of confidence but I think that grows... you can grow up as a producer a lot more than you can as a dj, that's a logical progression"

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Oct 2

Chaka Khan - Love of a lifetime - extended dance mix
Chairmen of the board - Life and death - Danny Krivit edit
Gwen Guthrie - Padlock - Larry Levan mix
Galaxy - Visions of tomorrow
Jackie Mittoo - Grand funk
The Topics - Louie louie
Major Lazer - Can't stop now
MIA - It takes a muscle
Western roots  - Bogus buddy
Sounds unlimited - Roadrunner
Nambo and Ian Hird - Universal horns
Lee Scratch Perry - Used to drive a tractor in Negrille
Muhsinah feat 00Genesis - Always
Mr Chop - Shut em down
Lee Fields and the expressions - Ladies
Roy Ayers - Love will bring us together
Jody Watley  -Saturday night experience
Kinny and Horne - Why me
Mario's tuna - Waste of money
Rosalia De Sousa - Maria Moita
Rebel MC - Wickedest sound - Don Gorgon mix
Ragga twins - Love talk
Rockers delight - Moments in dub
Thievery Corporation - 38 45 (a thievery number)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Buju Banton - mistrial declared

From the BBC, "A US judge has declared a mistrial for reggae star Buju Banton, accused last year of conspiring to buy cocaine from an undercover police officer.

"Jurors in the US state of Florida were unable to reach a verdict. The four-time Grammy nominee may be re-tried in December. A defence lawyer asked he be freed on a bond.... Banton has been jailed since 10 December [last year]."

His arrest and trial have been widely reported in Jamaica - his family talk on the trial here.

Two iPads and a DJ mixer

Rana Sobhany is one of the speakers at Web 2.0 conference on in New York this week - she talks about developing music apps for the iPad. She started developing this idea since April this year.
 Demo of the gear starts at 4.11 into the video.

She says shes hacked it together based on Ableton Live software, and uses an app called Looptastic. Warning - her demo uses cheesy techno (she describes it as eclectrobreakstep). It's an interesting concept, but it's not exactly Serato on iPad. The use of Ableton on iPad suggests it could be something a group like locals Pitch Black (who use Ableton in a live setting) could really have some fun with. (Wired magazine article on  Rana)

Another session at Web 2.0 that sounds like it would've been fun was Why Everything Sounds Better Auto-Tuned, Despite Auto-Tune's Alleged Death (link), presented by the Gregory Brothers, the folk behind autotune the news, and the Double Rainbow song.

"Jay Z declared the death of  autotune, and we're here to give it a proper funeral..."

And look - here it is.... awesome youtubeness...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Awards season

In this month's Metro magazine, Gary Steel has critiqued the NZ Music Awards, and picked at the bones - he's is a former judge of said awards. Hussein Moses at The Corner blog talks about his comments here, and has a pdf of the article too if you want to read it  (as Metro no longer has a website - that's the progessive thinking of old media for you).

Hussein says... "... as Steel tries to get across in his column, let’s not forget about the independent labels and artists which are the backbone of our industry. Border, Arch Hill, Muzai and countless others release superb music every year and will continue to as long as they can."

The need for some kind of recognition of the incredibly strong indie sector we have at present seems to be coming thru from a lot of quarters - maybe it's time to revive an indie awards show, similar to the B-Net awards? The indie labels have a very strong organisation in Independent Music New Zealand, who could pull it together. If it's anything like the B-Net Awards, it would be a bloody great night.

The B-Nets started out in 1998 at the Mandalay (remember the Male/Female Fox award?), and originally sprang into existence because the NZ Music Awards were so endlessly crap. They’ve kind of outlived their purpose, as many of the acts it used to highlight like Fat Freddys, SJD, Mint Chicks, Phoenix Foundation or Shapeshifter, now get recognised by the NZMA’s, which is a sign of the Music Awards evolving. The B-Nets stopped in 2007.

Steels' argument for overlooked acts highlights critically acclaimed artist SJD, and Steel claims that as long as the the music awards judging team is "loaded with radio jocks and industry honchos" with little passion for music or limited knowledge,  SJD "will continue to be roundly ignored".

SJD has won two Tui awards (in 2005), and been nominated for best male solo act. He's not in the running this year, I guess because he hasn't put out an album recently. Steel also points at the Naked and Famous as being proudly indie, but distributed by  a major label, Universal. The last three SJD albums were also distributed by Universal (as were Naked And Famous's earlier EP releases).

One of the things I like about the NZ Music Awards, it gets people talking about our music.  We're a passionate lot and that's a good thing. Now, lets bring back the B-Nets!

Rock Hall of Fame nominees

Pretty amusing list of names... First-time nominees include Bon Jovi, Donovan, Dr. John, Tom Waits, Alice Cooper and Neil Diamond. Darlene Love, LL Cool J, Donna Summer and the Beastie Boys have been nominated before. Other previous nominees include the J Geils Band; Chuck Willis; Chic and Joe Tex.

Artists must have had their first release 25 years ago. Tom Waits has been eligible since 1998 as has Neil Diamond; Dr John, since 1993. Chic have been nominated 5 times prior to this year. Go figure.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Roar power

The Big Day Out lineup was announced this morning at 8am. Local media seem to have been under an NDA (non disclosure agreement) until that time, even though the BDO official website posted the lineup at 2am NZT (breaking their own NDA). The original media launch was scheduled for 7pm last night. Apparently this is the last time the BDO organisers will do the launch this way - I hope they do it next year with a dance party in the Supertop at 2am. That would be fun for the media, aye? Anyways, my two predictions were right on - Tool and Grinderman. So much for the rumoured Soundgarden/Stone Temple Pilots grunge revival. Or maybe that's in the 2nd announcement.

The lineup includes MIA, LCD Sound System (one of the best live acts I've ever seen, based on their 2008 BDO appearance), Grinderman, Deftones, The Black Keys, Lupe Fiasco, Bookashade DJs, Die Antwoord, Crysal Castles, and more. It's also slightly nostalgic, with the likes of Tool, Rammstein, Primal Scream (playing Screamadelica) and of course Iggy and the Stooges, with James Williamson on guitar, in for the late, great Ron Asheton. They are currently playing the Raw Power album, and it sounds like this. Fucken rock n roll excitement, kids.

BDO Auckland, January 21, 2011. Tickets on sale October 8.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Keep it acapella

Live, acapella version of Momma hold my hand, by Aloe Blacc. Incredible.

Album version of Momma hold my hand is below (nice fan video), off Good Things. Out now on Stonesthrow, produced by Truth and Soul crew (El Michels Affair etc). The album is super soulful. Don't sleep on it.

Look, it's the vinyl revival! (Story #281)

Photo: Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

It's that time again - another fabulous story about the rise of vinyl sales. Computerworld US does a bunch of number crunching, over here - "Forget digital tunes; analog music on the upswing".

"As surprising as it may sound, LP sales are up again this year, and 2009 had the highest number of LP sales ever since we started tracking them," said David Bakula, senior vice president of analytics at Nielsen Entertainment." Unfortunately the article fails to mention exactly when they did start tracking vinyl sales.

And as a bonus, here's the New York Times on record collectors at the recent Brooklyn Flea record fair, like "Bill Yawien, a 55-year-old from Sheepshead Bay whose recent move from a house to a condo forced him into the kind of difficult life decision Manhattan Mini Storage was created to facilitate. “It was time to whittle it down a little,” Mr. Yawien remarked to some browsers perusing his trove of ancient discs. “I kept about 4,000 records."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Salsa Explosion

Salsa Explosion: The New York Salsa Revolution is a compilation of some of the finest tunes from legendary label Fania Records. If you want a taster, try this free download...

Louie Ramirez- "Ahora Es El Tiempo" (mediafire) (soundcloud)

"Salsa Explosion, provides an essential introduction to the classic Fania sound through some of the label’s major artists including Celia Cruz, Mongo Santamaria, Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Ray Barretto and the Daddy of the Fania family, Johnny Pacheco.

From: Salsa Explosion: The New York Salsa Revolution 1969 - 1979 (out Sept 28th, Strut)

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Sept 25

Chuck Womack and the sweet souls -Ham hocks and beans - Quantic remix
Tubbs - Five day night - Fat Freddys rework
Timmy Thomas - Why can't we live together -Shoes edit
Wajeed - Jeedo suave
Romanowski - Romjack steady
Dub Spencer and Trance Hill - Enter the sandman
Lovejoys - It aint easy
Manasseh - I-wah
Roots radics -Babylon wrong
Phyllis Dillon - Woman of the ghetto
Derrick Morgan - I'm the ruler
Big youth - Jim screechy - Smith and Mighty remix
Philadelphia allstars - Let's clean up the ghetto - Danny Krivit edit
Sleepwalker - Brotherhood - Mitsu the Beats remix
Aloe Blacc - Loving you is killing me
Budos Band - Golden dunes
Outlines - Waiting in line inst
Charles Wright and Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band - Girl from Ipanema, Express yourself, Must be your thing
(off the 5 album boxset from Rhno, only $19.99. Grab it! Every home should have one.)
Tokyo ska paradise orchestra - The Big Man still standing - Winston Hazel and Marc Woolford remix
Mad lion - Girlzzz
Dillinger - Cokane in my brain 12" mix
Lee Scratch Perry - Fire power
Keith Hudson - Troubles

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

America’s 10 greatest indie record stores

Via Flavorpill. Read it here...

" A few weeks ago, we published our list of the country’s top 10 bookstores, a response to those who browse but don’t buy and those who would abandon paperbacks and hardcovers for the realm of eBooks. It generated so much discussion it inspired us to put together another roundup of shops for culture vultures: America’s best independent music stores.

" Although, in general, they seem to be doing much better than their chain competitors in this era of declining CD sales and renewed interest in vinyl records, legendary outlets still go out of business all the time — like, most recently, beloved NY and LA hip-hop destination Fat Beats.

" This list isn’t just our opinion: It’s the result of recommendations from Flavorpill staff and readers (who weighed in via Facebook). Add to our celebration of indie music stores around the country by leaving your picks in the comments."

Push your barrow

Portishead's Geoff Barrow has a new album out December 7, via Invada/Stonesthrow. It's a collaboration between Barrow's 3 piece band Beak and a singer named Anika.  It's labelled as "political, trashy, dub, punk, funk..."

"Political Journalist isn't a credential we usually have in musician's bios, but this is exactly what Anika was doing while living between Berlin and Bristol earlier this year when she met Geoff Barrow. The producer was looking for a new singer to work with his band Beak>, and it was immediately clear they shared the same musical vision, including a love of punk, dub and 60s girl groups."

Read more about it on the Stonesthrow site, and go there to download an MP3 of the tune below.

Anika - Yang Yang by stonesthrow

The Warehouse drive a hard bargain

I bought some DVDs at The Warehouse at the weekend, and the cashier made me open the cases and check the DVDs for scratches, as she told me they no longer give refunds for them. I thought this was a bit odd, but it got even odder when she gave me the till docket. On it was printed the message that The Warehouse no longer give refunds or exchanges on DVDs/CDs because of the Copyright Act. No mention of exchanges if the disc was faulty.

It seems from the docket that they are trying to opt out of their obligations to consumers under the Consumer Guarantee Act. I asked on Twitter if anyone knew if this was legal, and got several opinions which suggest this approach by The Warehouse is clearly wrong. Lawyer Rick Shera (@lawgeeknz) told me that "Consumer Guarantees Act will override Copyright Act but TW may be responding to licensing terms by Big Music". The folks at Ampilfier sent me this, which "outlines what's not covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act"

I phoned up The Warehouse to ask them about how this worked, and were they using the Copyright act over the CGA. The person I spoke with directed me to their Returns policy online, which says...

 "Restrictions and exceptions resulting from New Zealand Copyright laws and health and safety issues mean a refund or exchange is only available for the following products if that product is defective:

Music CDs / DVDs / PC Software / Gaming Console Software / Underwear / Earrings

If a product is deemed unsatisfactory, we can offer to exchange it for another one (ie: a different colour or size) or another product for the same value."

Does anyone know exactly HOW NZ copyright laws affect this?

UPDATE 1 (Wednesday 22nd, 10.20am): I emailed The Warehouse last night, asking several questions about the above, after checking the till docket.

I asked...

"1 Why are your staff being instructed to inform customers they will not get a refund, and being made to check the discs? Clearly, if the faulty is on the disc manufacture, that wont be visible til you watch it.

2. What part/s of NZ copyright laws are you referring to in your returns policy and on your till dockets? I see on the back of the docket is a generic message regarding refunds, which alludes to Copyright infringement product as being excluded from refunds. What does this mean?

3. Will you please look at changing your till dockets to read "As a result of copyright laws, product such as CDs, DVD/VCR, gaming software , PC software are NOT refundable or exchangable unless defective?" (last two words added)."

The Warehouse replied to my email at 10am this morning - with a blank email. I'm hoping their next response is more detailed.

UPDATE II (Wednesday 22nd, 9.50 pm):
I got an email back from The Warehouse this afternoon - excerpted below.

They say that "The cashier has asked you to check the disk prior to purchase to make sure you are happy that disk is not damaged/scratched or the incorrect disk and it is not so The Warehouse will not return due to a manufacturing fault on the disks .

"The Warehouse will not refund or replace DVD’s or CD’s IF customers change their minds as this is a breach of the copyright act as customers had in the past, purchased disks, burnt copies and then returned for a refund and due to Copyright laws, we are legally not able to refund or replace disks that are not faulty where a customer has just bought back when the disk is in fact not faulty and any return of DVD’s or Cd’s is at the store managers discretion.

"On the docket, we are not trying to opt out of the Consumers Guarantee act and as stated on the docket :

Restrictions and Exceptions:
Any product covered by warranty
Hygiene product
Copyright infringement product
Unless faulty or defective."

They also pointed to their returns policy on their website, adding that "these products are still guaranteed under the Consumer Guarantees Act."

"The returns policy clearly does state that we will not refund a DVD or a CD UNLESS it is defective or faulty and this is in accordance with the Consumers Guarantee Act.

"Please note that you can contact any of our store managers in regards to a faulty product for a repair (if under warranty) replacement or refund.

"Our team members are not instructed to inform customers will not get a refund if a DVD or CD is defective. This was one team member who obviously communicated to you in a way that was not in accordance to The Warehouse policy on returns and if you care to advise which store you purchased your disks from and the team members name, we can address this with the manager of that store.

"You are not made to check the disks but it is a courtesy we do expect our team members to do in order for the customer to see if there is any damage externally to the disks and to make sure it is the disk the customer is wishing to purchase and the wrong disk is not in the case.

"In regards to the New Zealand Copyright laws, please find attached a copy of the Copyright laws in New Zealand [it was a 5 page introduction to copyright from the Copyright Council of NZ, dated Jan 2009] and as per that introduction to Copyright laws the following is an excerpt from there:-

"Owners of copyright in films, sound recordings, and communication works have the exclusive right to:
• copy their material;
• issue copies to the public for the first time, by sale or otherwise;
• in the case of sound recordings and films, rent copies to the public;
• play or show their material in public; and
• communicate their material to the public.

"This means the owner of the Copyright has exclusive right to copy their material and as such customers who purchase disks with the sole reason to copy that work are in breach of the Copyright laws.

"I have passed on your feedback in regards to the docket wording to the relevant department."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Go bang

Video from last week's Great Blend (blogged previously here)  - Russell Brown interviews Simon Grigg. Read Simon's thoughts on the event here.

Clap your hands

One of the musical projects I've been working on this year is a reissue/remaster project for my old band, Hallelujah Picassos. We've been having regular get togethers, and we've sorted the track listing, but deciding on the artwork is taking a little while - that's typical for us, the way. Same thing happened back in the day too. Arty buggers. Just look at the name.

Clap Your Hands was the first release of ours that came out on vinyl, thanks to Trevor Reekie at Pagan Records picking it for his compilation, Positive Vibrations, in 1989. We recorded this in a manic one day session at Airforce studios, along with a bunch of other tunes, which we released as a cassette only release called Taxi Driver.

Bobbylon and Roland had done some work as painters and plasterers at Airforce before it opened, and they got paid in studio time.  This song was very popular on student radio, back in the day, which how Trevor heard it, I'm picking. I've added some pics to go with the audio, watch out for the band portraits done by the late Martin Emond, which came from our second album, Drinking With Judas. I made a video for it at the time, thanks to Mark Tierney and the music show CV (RWP's replacement). They gave me some free film stock, processing and editing too. Grand cost of the video was $138 - to pay the cameraman, and buy fish n chips for cast and crew. Wish I had a copy of it.

Bassweight film on tonight

As part of the "ThisCulture" film series we are proud to present the NZ premiere of "Bassweight". 

Bassweight is the first feature documentary that gives you an insight into the birth, growth and success of Dubstep music. See the trailer below.

"From the very start in Croydon, through to a recognised global culture, Bassweight provides a timeline of information via some of the most important exponents from this ever expanding scene.
Featuring in-depth interviews with the genre’s true ambassadors around the world including; Skream and Benga, Kode 9, Plastician and BBC Radio 1 DJ, Mary Anne Hobbs. Each reflect on their personal journey and provide thought on maintaining Dubstep at the forefront of dance music. With intimate imagery from Europe, Japan and Brazil, Bassweight is a unique stylised music documentary celebrating the art form that is Dubstep."
September 16th - Khuja Lounge, Auckland - 8pm
$10 entry - DJ support from Jason Howson & for more info.

Wellington screening thanks to Audio Cinema on Sept 25th, check Facebook for full details

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Woop woop! It's the sound of the police

Cut Chemist has a life-size R2D2 in his home, and lots of autographed photos of his heroes, including Bob Dylan. He constructed his latest album, a mix cd called Sound of the Police with just one turntable. Read this cool interview from LA Weekly here.  Excerpt below...

"... It makes me happy that everybody appreciates DJs enough to wanna be one. Absolutely, that makes me happy. What doesn't make me happy is my perception that people seem to appreciate specific DJs less or are willing to support DJs less because they are themselves one.

Like, "Oh, I don't need to go check him out, or maybe I don't need to hire him because I hired this person to be the DJ." Or, "I can do it: I'm a DJ." So, the more DJs there are, the less demand there is. That's just basic supply and demand: The jobs have become less for me now that there are more DJs.

I don't think that's an accident, and it's harder for me to get people to listen to what my niche is because it's very different from what all these other DJs have been doing. You know, I'm not a Top 40 DJ. I consider myself more like a performance artist, and in an age when there are so many DJs, it's harder to recognize a DJ as a performance artist.

...  I'm not just behind two decks, but actually making music with different things, performing with different elements, you know, something hopefully captivating."

See sidebar: Four crucial records at the core of the Sound of the Police album.

Free sample of the album below, at Bandcamp. Bonus - go to Cut Chemist's website, and watch the video called Cut Chemist Goes Digging. Niceness. Might have to post it too.

<a href="">Adidas to Addis by Cut Chemist</a>

Sun aint shining

If you are a musician who is writing and recording original material, work for hire is possibly the worst kind of contract you could sign with a record company. The more money they give you, the more rights you will have to sign away to your music. The best situation is to get a contract where all the rights to your music revert to you after a certain time period. Read this story about Bob Marley and his family and learn, kids.

Bob Marley Family Loses Case Over Hit Records, from Billboard.

"Bob Marley's family lost a lawsuit seeking the copyrights to several of the late Jamaican reggae singer's best-known recordings.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan said the UMG Recordings unit of Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group is the rightful owner of copyrights to five albums that Marley had recorded between 1973 and 1977 for Island Records.

The albums "Catch a Fire," "Burnin'," "Natty Dread," "Rastaman Vibrations" and "Exodus" were recorded with Marley's band The Wailers. They include some of Marley's best-known songs, including "Get Up, Stand Up," "I Shot the Sheriff," "No Woman, No Cry" and "One Love." Marley died of cancer in 1981 at age 36.

Friday night's ruling is a defeat for Marley's widow Rita and nine children who had sought to recover millions of dollars in damages over UMG's effort to "exploit" what they called "the quintessential Bob Marley sound recordings."

L. Peter Parcher and Peter Shukat, who are lawyers for the family, did not immediately return calls seeking comment. UMG spokesman Peter LoFrumento said the company is pleased with Cote's ruling.

Marley's family accused UMG of intentionally withholding royalties from their company Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Ltd, and ignoring a 1995 agreement assigning them rights under the original recording agreements, court papers show.

It also accused UMG of failing as required to consult with them on key licensing decisions, including the use of Marley's music as "ringtones" on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile phones, the papers show.

But Cote concluded that Marley's recordings were "works made for hire" as defined under U.S. copyright law, entitling UMG to be designated the owner of those recordings, for both the initial 28-year copyright terms and for renewals. [my bold]

"Each of the agreements provided that the sound recordings were the 'absolute property' of Island," Cote wrote. "Whether Marley would have recorded his music even if he had not entered the recording agreements with Island is beside the point."

She added that it was irrelevant that Marley might have maintained artistic control over the recording process. What mattered, she said, was that Island had a contractual "right" to accept or reject what he produced.

Cote also denied the Marley family's request for a ruling upholding its claims over digital downloads, citing ambiguity in a 1992 royalties agreement.  She directed the parties to enter court-supervised settlement talks, and scheduled an October 29 conference.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Earliest known footage of Jimi Hendrix playing guitar

Spotted at Dangerous Minds. From 1965, the song is “Shotgun” and the TV show, televised on Nashville’s Channel 5 WLAC-TV, was called Night Train. Singing duo is Buddy and Stacy, and Jimi is part of the Crown Jewels, Little Richard’s back-up band.

You down with #ogb?

The Orcon Great Blend returned last Friday, this time at the magnificent Wintergarden venue in the Civic Theatre, a criminally underused space. The lineup included music, some collaborations (Askew vs Karl Maughan  - street art meets high art and wins) and some fine conversation. First up was host Russell Brown interviewing music impresario Simon Grigg onstage.

Simon talked about starting the Suburban Reptiles - he was originally planning on starting a jazz band with a mate, but then he saw the Sex Pistols and he told his mate "forget the jazz band, we're starting a punk band". Simon said that the punk explosion was fuelled by Mr Asia heroin too, among other drugs.

Russell asked about the huge influx of bands from the North Shore in the early 80s, like the Screaming Meemees, who Simon managed and also released their hit record, See Me Go on his label Propellor. Simon put it down to an influx of Shore kids discovering punk and new wave and coming into the city. Smart kids leave the Shore.

Simon is currently writing a book on OMC  - he's writing the story of the record How Bizarre. He says that it will probably upset some people. And Russell had to ask - Where did all the money go? Simon's reply - Pauly spent it. He was very generous, buying houses, paying off mortgages, buying cars for people. I remember hearing about Pauly getting into Brazilian music, and decided to take off to Brazil with 6 of his mates to go record buying.

Then we had a comic book collaboration between Dylan Horrocks and Emily Perkins, which they read out aloud from the stage, very entertaining (they had copeis for sale later too, and they signed them - how lovely). Karl Maughan and Askew talked about their art collaboration, with Askew complimenting Karl's newfound skills with a spraycan. Welcome to the future, bro.

Silke Hartung and her uke and friends played a few songs, and then Simon Grigg got on the decks and played some splendid tunes. I'm still shocked that nobody bothered to get up and dance when he dropped Innerzone Orchestra's classic Bug in the bassbin. The dancefloor eventually filled out, thanks to some classic funk and soul, not a million miles away from a classic night at Cause Celebre/Box.  Even Russell danced. Excellent night out! Thanks to all involved. 

Suzi also blogged about the event at Kiss My Arts. And check Askew's blog too for video of their collabration.