Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Making Tracks

Making Tracks has returned to our tv screens, with that intrepid wee lad Nick D heading off around the globe to far-flung cities, finding musicians and persuading them to cover a New Zealand song.

Thankfully the cover songs from the show are now on sale while the series is still screening, which is a great idea  -worked brilliantly for the 1st series of Glee in the US, where the songs from each episode went on sale on iTunes as soon as the show had aired there, creating huge demand.

Grab them here at Amplifier. Songs for ep 2 & 4 up now. 
Bonus: go watch Supergroove's Can't Get Enough covered by 30-piece steel drum group Phase II Pan Groove in Trinidad. Mean!

Photo: Makjng Tracks website, Ghana episode.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blowing smoke

Free download of remix of Arc In Round's "3 A.M. All The Time" from their forthcoming E.P, by Brooklyns' own Smoke Machine. Follow him on Twitter here. Another cool remix from him here.

Pin Group

Spotted over at the excellent Mysterex blog. The Pin Group rehearsing, footage shot by Ronnie Van Hout in 1981. Playing their early Flying Nun single Coat/Ambivalence. Great stuff.

Ronnie Van Hout (via Youtube): "1981 film of The Pin Group. Shows band running through Ambivalence and Coat in practice room and gives a reasonably good idea of their dynamic and entertaining stage show. The first two and a half minutes feature verse by a Christchurch poet called Desmond Brice, who penned some of the Pin Group's lyrics including the above. Film closes with some flip remarks about Pin Group from local painter Marty Whitworth. Gives you some sense of how droll it was to live in this city in the early 1980s."

RIP David Wood (Straitjacket fits' bass player)

Straitjacket Fits, with David Wood far right.  Photo: Flying Nun

Very sad news indeed. Much love to his family and friends. He passed away suddenly Nov 17. A service was held earlier today for him. Read NZ Herald notice here.

David had some dry comments here in the Story of Straitjacket Fits, from 2008 - written by NZ Herald's Scott Kara on the occasion of their induction to the NZ Music Hall of Fame.

WOOD: With the Shayne songs he'd come along with a riff or a sketch of a chord sequence, play something like this, and we'd jam and bugger about with it. With Andrew he'd come along with a bit of paper with chords and words written out and go, "Here, play this". And if you tried to deviate from it he'd just stop you. But I like his songs.

The band's legacy?

WOOD: I wouldn't have a clue [laughs]. I just always thought I was the bass player in a band that really sparked your endorphins and got your neurons connecting with a bit of adrenalin, and that's what that band was like. We were playing these songs and it sounded incredibly unbelievable.

Jeff Goldblum covers the Biz

Jeff Goldblum on Jimmy Fallon's show, gets asked to sing a song for the audience, and comes up with  Just A Friend by Biz Markie, with some help from the Biz himself. Studio band is the Roots. Very funny. I know it's a week old, but I just came across it.... Go watch it at Gawker.com (video won't let me embed it, stink)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sidewalk city

The Music Machines event is now in its second year, and happens this Saturday Nov 27, 1-5pm. Lotsa synths and drum machines, live demos, beat battles, all sorts of goodness. Well worth checking out.  There's a clip I shot from last year's event at the bottom of this page to give you a wee taster for it.

One of the tunes that came up last year around a discussion on NZ electronica was this tune, from 1984. Possibly the earliest example of local dance culture taking on New York electro breakdance... Read more about the history behind this tune here...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Nov 20

Sly n Robbie - Boops
Nas - Bridging the gap
Lefties soul connection - Have love will travel
Shawn Lee and Beibei - East
Aloe Blacc - Loving you is killing me
Billy Preston - Right now
Orgone - I get lifted
Resonators - Sweet dub affair
Roots manuva vs wrongtom - Butterfly crab walk
Augustus Pablo - Cassava piece
Jah Batta - Informa
Prince Jammy  -BQE dub
The Marvels - Rocksteady
Fitz and the tantrums - Moneygrabber
Belleruche - 56% proof
Colman bros - El Nino - cha cha mix
Pitchito - Frente cumbiero
Chancha via curcuito - Puente
7A3 - Drums of steel
Wreckx n effect  -Wreckxshop - Jamaica mix
Cherelle - Artificial heart - dance remix
Chaka Khan - Love of a lifetime - extended dance version
Snap -  Sidewalk city - dub mix
J Period and K'Naan  -My country/small axe
Bigga Bush  -Sound and blues
Ruts DC  -Whatever we do  -RSD remix
Trackheadz - Jah shall come
Colm K and the freestyle mellowship - Dancing skills  - main mix

Friday, November 19, 2010

Loopstation fun n games

Loop box fun, way more interesting than Liam Finn's use of it.... hat tip to Andrew Spraggon for this

Thursday, November 18, 2010

EMusic: Win a little, lose a little

EMusic: Win a little, lose a little is the optimistic title of an article on the LA Times site. It details the reasons behind the recent moves at Emusic, noting that "getting Warner and Sony's releases on the same day they go to iTunes could make eMusic significantly more appealing to mainstream music fans, especially given that the former charges [US]99 cents to $1.29 for those tracks, while eMusic has said it will charge no more than 89 cents. Granted, Amazon and Walmart charge less than iTunes too, and neither of them has been able to make much of a dent in Apple's dominant market share. But eMusic's subscription approach yields larger discounts."

"[Emusic CEO Adam] Klein said in an interview in September that the service was hovering around 400,000 subscribers - essentially unchanged from its level two years before, and not quite where it needed to be to sustain its business."

Clearly, staying with indie music fans is not a long term sustainable business plan for Emusic. 

Screaming Jay Hawkins

Screaming Jay Hawkins - I put a spell on me is a documentary about the legendary rock n roll singer, made in 2001. Cam Gordon put me onto it via Twitter (thank you, sir!), and the whole doco is up on Google Video, see below. Gotta watch ti!

Still Bill

Was reading something about Bill Withers the other day, and came across this great interview with the man in the UK Telegraph from August this year. It's a fantastic read.

"... So why has Bill Withers not released any new music since 1985? A fascinating new documentary, Still Bill, offers clues without quite getting under his skin. In one of the film’s candid moments, he plays a few sombre chords on the piano, turns to the camera and says, ‘Thoreau said most men live lives of quiet desperation. I would like to know how it feels for my desperation to get louder.’

"... Songs like Grandma’s Hands brought warmth, intimacy and simplicity to a bombastic music scene. Withers recalls A&R men telling him he should copy James Brown, and use some horns, female singers and a driving backbeat. In short, they were telling him to sound more ‘black’ if he wanted to sell records. ‘Blaxperts, I call ’em. That’s the white guys who are supposed to have some kind of tap into your black psyche.’

Equally, he is under no illusion about the Back-to-Africa pose certain artists adopted during the same period. Withers was part of the star-studded cast that travelled to Kinshasa, Zaire, in October 1974 to give a pre-fight concert for the Ali-Foreman ‘Rumble in the Jungle’. His performance is one of the standouts of the resulting documentary, Soul Power. Did it feel like a historic event? ‘No. It was two big guys going to fight each other at four o’clock in the morning. It wasn’t this great intellectual pursuit. And there’s a certain reality to going someplace where there’s a dictator. You notice the disparity in the wealth.’

Well, I say, at the time there was a lot of hype about African-American artists discovering their roots. He chuckles. ‘Awwww, come on, man. It wasn’t a great historical moment. Interesting, but that was that. No great spiritual experience. Mostly what everybody found out was: we had been shaped and transformed by American culture and the history we had here, and they had been shaped by whoever colonised their place. They weren’t speaking any African languages. We were speaking English and they were speaking French. How African is that?’

Expressway thru your skull

Bruce Russell is in legendary Dunedin (or was it Port Chalmers) band The Dead C, and was behind the label Expressway. Flying Nun has posted a radio show he did recently on their blog, go have a listen. There's tracks from Fetus Productions, Playthings, Swingers, Herco Pilots, Naked Spots Dance, Wasp Factory....

As Bruce notes, his selections aim to highlight "... how there was a lot of stuff happening in that decade [1980s] in NZ ‘around’ what in retrospect seems like the ‘prime’ imprint of the decade (Flying Nun), but which at the time was just one (the biggest) among a number of like-minded outlets for the burgeoning music scene of the time, in what was a golden age of creativity and talent investment....

"... I think I can honestly say that back then we hardly knew how lucky we were to be so spoiled for choice. I actually did have a rather crazy inkling that The Clean were quite literally the best band in the world in 1981. And ever since then I’ve felt I was right. What I didn’t know was that within my lifetime such music would become almost impossible to make with the same degree of passion and commitment..."

Bruce Russell - interviewed (in 2000).

Wah Wah 45s

Go grab this wicked EP from UK label Wah Wah 45s. Especially like Sweet Dub Affair from the Resonators, UK reggae outfit produced by Manasseh. Only available til  Nov 27. Get em! Listen below...

Also from Wah Wah 45s, top UK producer Ashley Beedle interviewed here.

Don't stop the music

Emusic recently announced it was adding 250,000 new songs from Universal to its catalogue. They also said they were changing the pricing structure. The bummer for Kiwis using Emusic was that none of the new catalogue will be available here, but we still get the price hike. Suck!

Now comes the news that Emusic have lost the rights to music from Domino, Merge, and Beggars Group (XL, 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade) and music from those labels "...will no longer be available on eMusic as of Nov. 18, 2010 pending further discussions."

Emusic has sent out an email to its members urging them to petition the labels mentioned, but fail to explain why they haven't been able to renegotiate with them.

Paidcontent.org has more detail on this... see "Emusic’s rift with indie labels"

"Gerard Cosloy, head of Matador Records, explained the departure in a post on the Matador blog: “[A]s eMusic has brought more major labels into the fold, they have changed the terms on which they deal with labels, some of which we have found impossible to accept, in our own interests, those of our artists, and ultimately those of their fans.” Merge Records wrote: “Unfortunately, eMusic’s unilateral changes in an effort to bring on the major labels has created a situation where it would be harmful to the interests of Merge and our artists to continue our partnership at this time.”

Emusic built up its user base by catering to indie music fans, so signing up major labels doesn't really add anything of value for those existing customers. Losing access to the likes of Arcade Fire, The National, Vampire Weekend, The xx, Cat Power, Caribou, The Pixies, and more sounds like a death blow to me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jewel School

If you're in Wellington, Tiger Translate is putting on a mean gig down there on Nov 26 - check the free e-magazine here, with a free mixtape download from Dan Aikido of the Jewel School, on Radio Active. Includes tunes from Electric Wire Hustle ,and Julien Dyne, both playing the event.

Serious as a heart attack

Once upon a time Karl Stevens was in a pop group called Supergroove. These days he's in a few bands, one of which is called Heart Attack Alley, and they are a 3-piece raucous rock n roll act, with Karl on harmonica. Dude can blow, seriously. Free download from them below.

Hello Alice

Very tasty free DL from Tru Thoughts, of Alice Russell. Get it!

"Compiled by Tru Thoughts A&R Robert Luis, Shades 10:02 is set to feature 30 tracks, a big bulk of them exclusive or previously only released as limited 7” singles. Just like you would expect from Brighton’s ever-prolific quality imprint, the sampler features everything from vintage deep funk to the elegant post-garage riddims of newly-signed production vet Maddslinky, reggaefied club classics, and even a full-fledged psych jazz combo working their magic on an early ‘90s rave classic." Out Dec 6. Via RBMA.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Nov 13

Had some guests doing the show this weekend, Coopa Blu and friends. I joined them later on Saturday night at Jam, a monthly night at Grand Central on Ponsonby Rd. It's a mad concept - you take 5 DJs, let em play two records each, then switch to the next DJ. Two for two, the whole night, from 8pm til 5 in the morning. It was hilarious. I even got to play Poi-e, and people danced and sang along. How cool is that? Anyways, here is the playlist from Coopa Blu,...

Turn it Out - Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band
Fools Gold - Calvin Law
King Charles - Budos Band
B For My Name - Beastie Boys
After Midnight - Sharm
Night Air (Ramadanman Refix) - Jamie Woon
Bi-Cyles - Greyboy
Manteca - Cesars Salad
Manila - Seelenluft
King of Darkness (Swell Session Stateless Remix) - Susuma Yokota
Tabaco y Ron - TM Juke
Exit Routine - Ras
Cocan - Patchworks
Babyback - Ron Buford
Older-Shawn Lee&Miles Boney
Eye to eye-Amp Fiddler
Saturday - Home Brew
From The Drop - Wiley & MJ Cole
This Is A Jam - Demon Boyz
Barrio - Lopez
Bath Music - Greyboy
70mph Isn't Fast Enough To Get Out Of Nebraska - Shawn Lee & Clutchy Hopkins
Pain(It's Gonna Come Heavier)-Silhouette Brown
Version for Version - Oogun
Razor Sharp Dub - Cessman vs Joe Ariwa
Step It Up (Dan Donovan For Dons Letts Dub Cartel) - Scientist

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Nov 6

Primal scream vs Jungle Bros - Playloaded
20th century steel band - Land of a thousand dances
Mucho plus - Nassau's disco
Breakestra - Dark clouds rain soul (dub)
Stevie Wonder - Superstition - Todd Terje edit
Miles Davis - So what  -Shoes dub edit
Quantic - Westbound train
Rob Symmeon - Chose one - Zebs steppers mix
Keith Hudson - Nuh skin up dub
Tenor Saw - Pumpkin belly
Luciano and Ras Zacharri - River Jordan
Yush2K - Fade away
Lee Scratch Perry - International broadcaster
Mr Vegas - Must come a road
Ticklah  -Scratch to win
Brentford allstars - Greedy G
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Better things
Colman bros - She who dares  - lounge mix
DJ Day - Close your eyes
Ladi6 - Burn with me
Jules Issa - Dangerous game
Knights of the dub table - Sing it to me -Optimus Gryme remix
Oogun - Drony dubhall
Unitone hifi  - Up to eleven
Benny Tones - Aerosoul

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Oct 30

Billy Cole - Extra carefully
Okyerema Asante - Sabi
Ladi 6 - Walk right up - Parks remix
DJ Vadim - Soldier
Manasseh  -Natural dub 12" mix
Lee Scratch Perry - Money comes and money goes
Gregory Isaacs - Night nurse / Night nurse dub
AIFF - Let it roll
The Cals - Amazon bossa nova
The Emotions  -From toys to boys
Rodriguez - Sugarman
Kendra Lou and the miracles - Be kind to your mind - Red Astaire remix
Staple Singers/Curtis Mayfield - Chase (off "Let's do it again" OST)
Nona Hendryx - Transformation
Beat conductor - Hottest dub
Keith Lawrence  -Style and fashion
Junior Reid - Rappa pam pam
Gregory Isaacs - Mind yu dis
Colm K and the freestyle mellowship - Dancing skulls - main mix
Austin Faithful - I'm in a rocking mood
Jackie Mittoo - Stereo freeze
Oogun - Version for version
RSD - Corner dub
Philip Cohran - New frankiphone blues
Plumstead radical club - I shot the sheriff

Sunday, October 24, 2010


This blog is on holiday for the next month or so, but I'm still posting music links via Twitter and also on Dubdotdash Extended Version on Tumblr. Check em out.