Tuesday, August 09, 2011

More Coffey

More goodies from Mr Coffey, courtesy of Strut: "As a thank you to all of the fine folks who downloaded our Dennis Coffey remix EP, we're offering a free download of a slice of instrumental psychedelic funk from the original album. Download "Knockabout" below. The self-titled album, which featuresMayer Hawthorne, Kings Go Forth, Mick Collins of the Dirtbombs, Rachel Nagy ofDetroit Cobras, Paulo Nutini & more is out now.

Download: Dennis Coffey- "Knockabout"

Also if you missed it, check out House Shoes' amazing mix, covering Coffey's classic solo material, legendary soul tracks on which he performed as a sessions musician, and several tracks from the new album.
Constellations: The A to Z of Dennis Coffey - A Mix by House Shoes

Allo Love Vol.1

Allo Love Vol.1 is a brand new digital compilation from top UK label WahWah45s. There's some killer tunes on this, give it a spin... wicked remixes of Colman Bros and the Resonators (who opened for Fat Freddys in London recently), plus Greg Foat Group, Hackney Colliery band and more - out August 15.

"The first of a fresh new series of digital only compilations from Wah Wah 45s, each complied by a member of the Wah Wah family. We kick things off, as you would expect, with head honcho at the label and international DJ, Dom Servini.

Dom’s selection features recent gems from the Wah Wah 45s back catalogue, including music from the Colman Brothers, featuring sister Sara on vocals; a classic from last year courtesy of Stac; Hackney Colliery Band in a more mellow mood; plus recent remixes from junglist don Cyantific and our very own Part-Time Heroes for Resonators and Colman Brothers respectively.

But it doesn’t stop there, the “Allo Love” series also reaches out to our extended musical family, current office faves and perhaps a sneak peak at a future family member! So, check brand new cuts from exciting young Brighton producer Ambassadeurs; long time favourite Landslide, featuring Sabira Jade on vocals; electronic wizard Yult with the incredible Tanya Auclair; jazz maestro Greg Foat; Mancunian troubadour Gideon Conn; plus a brand spanking exclusive new cover of a Stevie classic from Scrimshire and Stac! And not only that, if you purchase the whole album through the Wah Wah on-line store, you’ll get a stunning piece of contemporary soul from rising star Szjerdene for free!"

Attention goths...

Chico Mann vs The Cure. Bit of fun!

Monday, August 08, 2011


Free DL from Julien Dyne, not on his album but an earlier tune, off his debut, Phantom Limbo EP (2007). Wicked track!

JB Hifi streaming

"JB ... plans to launch an online music streaming service called “JB Hi-Fi NOW” in the December quarter, which will allow subscribers unlimited access to up to 8 million songs." Hat tip to Nigel Horrocks for the link. Buried in the last paragraph. Interesting.

Don Letts in space

I've been hunting back thru the filmography of Don Letts, most well-known for Westway to the world (The Clash) and Punk Attitude /Punk Rock Movie. Since directing Punk Atiitdue in 2005, hes has done documentaries on George Clinton, Gil Scott Heron, the making of The Jam's All Mod Cons album, Tony Christie, The Notting Hill Carnival  and this film below, Brother From Another Planet: Sun Ra. Haven't found the others online yet tho...

More recently, Don Letts has been travelling round for screenings of a film about his life, called The Superstonic Sound: A Rebel Dread Documentary. Trailer below.

 Letts filmography.  He also hosts a show on BBC Radio 6  - last weekend he played Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Dope.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Stereo MCs

New album Emperor's Nightingale on the way from Stereo MCs, heres a sneak preview, free download too... It's a bit of a departure from their old sound,. more electro... out August 30.

Download: Stereo MCs "Manner" (Mediafire)

Stereo MCs- Manner by !K7 Records

Free Oddisee

For this weekend only, Oddisee's label Mello Music is putting his first relesse on the label , from 2008, up for free download. features, Little Brother, Jean Grae, J-Live, Flying Lotus... Listen below

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, August 6

Blackbyrds - The runaway
Johnny Hammond - Star borne
Charles Wright and Watts 103rd st band - What can you bring me?
The Pharaohs - The Pharaohs love y'all
Sound dimension - Man pon spot
Tenor saw - Golden hen
Yami bolo - When a man's in love
Reggie Stepper - Cuh oonuh
Prince Jammy - 271 Utica dub
Quantic - TROY
Pucho and his latin soul brothers - Chitterlings con carne
Brass roots  -Good life
Booker T Jones - Down in Memphis
Bill Withers - Railroad man
Bobbi Humphrey - Please set me at ease
Charles Bradley - Why is it so hard?
Gizelle Smith and the mighty mocambos - Working woman - Kenny Dope main mix
The Silvertones - Tamborito swing
Keith Mansfield - Crash course
Colman bros - The Cheif - PTH interpol challenges remix
Dennis Coffey - Plutonius - Recloose re-dub
Ikebe shakedown - Kumani walk
The Jam - Town called malice
Miles Davis - Freddie boi - Applejuice Kid mix
Melvin Jackson - Funky skull pt 1
Chaka Khan - I feel for you
Keni Burke - Rising to the top - AliOOFT edit
Visioneers - Funk box
Mophono - The edge remix

Friday, August 05, 2011

Che Fu cops blame

Yesterday, Che Fu was in South Auckland and "...tweeted he had been locked in the nearby Te Wananga O Aotearoa as a gunman was on the loose and someone had been shot. Police said the tweet caused "a frenzy of misinformation".

"The tweet spread like wildfire and Police were inundated with calls from concerned members of the public and media outlets, literally within minutes," a police spokesperson says.  Source: Tweets incite panic.

Che Fu was interviewed by TV3 last night, and apologised for send out the message. "One of the best known names in Kiwi music is a little red faced tonight after mistakingly thinking he'd stumbled into a fatal shooting and tweeting about it." Not quite the full story...

After the item screened, Che responded via Twitter "Rude TV3, you edited out the part where I said one of the Tutors had told us about the shooting. Rats."

The outcome for the Police: see "South Auckland police join Twitter after 'fiasco'"

@ManukauPolice are now on Twitter  -they're not following Che Fu - yet. They're not following anyone, actually.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Three strikes

"Think milk is expensive? How about a $15,000 fine… even if you yourself haven’t done anything wrong...."

Our new copyright law comes into effect on September 1. Copyright holders can starts collecting information on offenders from August 11 (21 days prior to the law taking effect). This means that if you have P2P software on your computer, you will most likely get caught. Best thing to do is delete it. 

InternetNZ have set up a very useful site ThreeStrikes, outlining what the new law means for you, and what it covers. Go have a read.

More info: From next week, P2P in New Zealand is illegal (explains how rights holders will track P2P/torrenting software and why it will be detected, even if you are not using it.)

excerpt.. "Apparently many rightsholders are using the BitTorrent DHT (distributed hash table) to find infringing users. This is terrible practice, because a BitTorrent client, simply by running (even if it has never downloaded or uploaded anything, let alone anything infringing), participates in the DHT and passes on information about which peer to get files from - and some of those files may be infringing.

A rightsholder using this method can't distinguish between clients simply participating in the DHT, and those actually sharing the file.

This applies to not just BitTorrent, but any other P2P software using a DHT, eg. eMule, LimeWire, BearShare, Shareaza, giFT clients..."

Rival reggae fest coming?

Raggamuffin Festival announced its first act for the 2012 event late July, ex UB40 singer Ali Campbell. They have billed him on their website under the headline "Ali Campbell's UB40 returns to NZ" which is somewhat misleading. There are not two different UB40's touring the world right now (like the three different versions of Slade that once toured).

Campbell left the band in 2008, and tours as a solo artist with band. There's some confusion in the media too, as this Google News search indicates, with the conflicting headlines "UB40 singer set for Raggamuffin" and "UB40 to play Raggamuffin 2012".

This morning Raggamuffin announced some more acts for 2012, including Billy Ocean, Marvin Priest, Big Mountain, The Wailers' Junior Marvin, Lucky Dube’s daughter Nkulee Dube, Kora, Three Houses Down, House of Shem, Cornerstone Roots, Sons of Zion, Sweet and Irie, Tomorrow People, Soljah, NRG Rising and Foundation, with DJs Sir-Vere, Poroufessor and Beau Zee. Still four more acts to be announced, including two internationals.

I did some searching on the Companies Office site and uncovered a company called Raggamuffin Festival Limited which was incorporated on the 5th of April 2011by Leesa Tilley, who quit working for Raggamuffin/Mcmanus in December last year.

The name Raggamuffin has previously been trademarked by Andrew McManus Presents NZ, a company which was put into liquidation by members of Herbs in March. There are currently two companies registered to use the name Raggamuffin for music events  - Andrew McManus Presents Pty Ltd, Australia, and Raggamuffin Festival Ltd, Tilley's company. They have both registered under slightly different classifications for the trademark, which is listed as 'under examination' by the Intellectual Property Office. 

Tilley registered her trademark on 4 April, McManus on 2 May. Could Tilley be planning to run a competing festival?

Previous posts: Herbs vs Raggamuffin (March 26 2011), Raggamuffin rumblings (Dec 8 2010)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

JBrown & the Mic Smith EP

JBrown & the Mic Smith drop their debut EP, name your price. JBrown is the beatmaker/producer for Kolab, and The Mic Smith is a fella named Mikey Rockwell. Well tasty, soulful hiphop.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

RIP Eugene McDaniels

Eugene McDaniels Discusses "Compared to What" [also gives thanks to the hiphoppers who sampled him]

DJ Cosmo Baker on McDaniels, from May 2010. Twenty minutes after Cosmo wrote this, he got contacted by McDaniel's publicist, to work together, which never eventuated, sadly.

"... My phenom of a brother had just brought home Eugene McDaniels freak-folk-funk power-piece “Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse” a tour-de-force concept album that was a complete departure from music that had been heard before or since. “The Left Rev Mc D” Eugene McDaniels, hailing from Kansas City, had already become an accomplished singer and songwriter by the mid 1960s, most notably with his song “100 Pounds Of Clay.” And he saw continued success later on in life having penned such hits like Roberta Flack’s “Feel Like Making Love” – which is a song a lot of you younger folk might actually think is just a D’Angelo record but actually was a huge hit when it came out in 1975. It was a #1 hit actually, and was nominated for a Grammy for Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

But something happened in the mid to late 60s. The Vietnam war was in full swing and people were mad disillusioned and just generally fed up with things. Out of this environment McDaniels wrote “Compared To What” which was the first song on Roberta Flack’s debut album. 

Later on that year Les McCann & Eddie Harris covered it for their “Swiss Movement” album, the recording of their performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The song was a runaway success, a simple protest song that took on a life of its own because it reflected the sentiments of the people and their frustrations with the direction our country was headed. And also because it was incredibly groovy. Check this video out, which after years of listening to this song, I never even knew it existed. Man is it COOKING…"

McDaniels' recorded a few solo albums for Atlantic in the early 1970s, including “Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse.” which hit a raw nerve with the White House...

"Approaching subjects like the co-opting of black culture by white artists (“Jagger The Dagger,”) the history of American colonialism (“The Parasite,”) and racial profiling and police brutality (“Supermarket Blues,”) Mc D opened up a new door for radical subject matter in pop music. This was a door that the powers that be didn’t want opened.

Atlantic was one of the biggest record companies in the world at that time. The story is that Spiro Agnew, Vice President under Dick Nixon, personally called Ahmet & Nesuhi Ertegun, founders of Atlantic and, for the sake of not “causing public unrest” demanded that support for the album be pulled. I don’t know what happened after that but promotions immediately dried up and the album sunk like a lead balloon."

ADDED Ann Ruckert confirms : "Gene McDaniels dies".

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, July 30

Today's theme  - a whole lotta soul...

Sisters love - Give me your love
Aretha Franklin - Jump
Al Green - Can't get next to you
Rare earth - Big John is my name
Rose royce - Ooh boy
Willie Mitchell - 20-75
Linda Lyndall - What a man
Willie Kendrick - Change your ways
Billy Butler - Right track
People's choice - Let me do my thing
Brenda and the Tabulations - California soul
Black velvet - an earthquake's coming
Jean Knight - Carry on
Staple singers -Washington we're watching you
The Emotions - I like it
Myron and E with the Soul Investigators - Cold game
Raphael Saadiq - Heart attack
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings -  Mamma don't like my man
Sly and the family Stone - Thankful and thoughtful
Charles Wright and Watts 103rd st band - Loveland
Ann Sexton - You're gonna miss me
Rose royce  -Sunrise
Lee Dorsey - Operation heartache
Ike and Tina Turner - A fool in love
The service men - Are you angry
Bob Brady and the con chords - Everybody's going to the love-in
Pepperpots - Real tru love
Chosen few - Tears of a clown
Jimmy London - I'm your puppet
Delroy Wilson - Get ready 12" mix
Al Brown - Aint no love in the heart of the city
Phillis Dillion - Woman of the ghetto

... and RIP Eugene McDaniels.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bill Cosby talks to kids about drugs

... a record intended for children to school them on the dangers of drugs through songs and dialogue. It won the Grammy Award in 1972 for Best Recording for Children. Fave moment - Bill Cosby yelling "HERE COMES THE DOPE PUSHER!" Listen to a sample off the album here. Not too hard to find copies of this album floating round the internets.

Tornadoes vs Mitsu

The Tornadoes - El Salvador "MITSU THE BEATS re-edit" (WN12019) by wonderfulnoise

Out on Japanese label Wonderful Noise, features members of the Opensouls.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blue Smoke is a winner

Blue Smoke, Chris Bourke's fantastic book on our musical history, won The Book Of The Year prize last night. Congratulations! See Kiwi musical history takes top award... 

"Blue Smoke: The Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music 1918-1964 by Chris Bourke won the 2011 New Zealand Post Book of the Year last night. The Wellington writer picked up $15,000 for the work, which he largely wrote during the year he spent as Writer in Residence at Waikato University in 2008.

... New Zealand Post Book Awards judge Charmaine Pountney said Bourke had interviewed many key figures in the country's early music scene in researching his subject.

"It is a book about music and musicians, many of whom Bourke has interviewed himself, drawing out anecdotes that enrich our understanding of our nation's cultural development."

The awards' convener of judges, Paul Diamond, described the winning work as "a magnificent book" that had revealed a hidden social history of New Zealand.

"Blue Smoke tells us about ourselves, our music, and the way we take things from overseas."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Public image

Spotted at Dangerous Minds... "Fascinating unedited raw footage of a 1982 JJ Jackson interview of Public Image Ltd’s John Lydon and Keith Levene at MTV’s studio.... Levene talks briefly about his tenure in the Clash during the second part of the interview.... At the beginning, and near the end, after a few minutes of silence, you can hear what they were talking about off-camera...." like Lydon, seeing himself on a tv monitor, and exclaims "farking hell, we look as white as death!"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kilodee video

New music video for the first single from my new project, Kilodee, chopped up from US Govt informational film on exciting Alaska. Can you see Russia from your house?. Available as a free download over at Bandcamp, or click link below.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse

Sad news, indeed. Watch lazy journos add her into the pile of dead rockstars who also died at age 27, and focus on her drug use instead of talking about her music.

Her breakthrough album Back to Black came about when her producer Mark Ronson hired the Dapkings and their studio. Her subsequent success off that record created an audience for Sharon Jones and the Dapkings... Dapkings member Neal Sugarman talks about that time, with the BBC.

"I was in the studio for Back To Black sessions and a couple of other things with Amy, and then on her first US tour. When I first met her, she came over to do some vocals and she hadn't broken out in the States.

"I arranged some of the rehearsals. She was a great musician and really open. She was really into collaborating with the band and never came off as being bull-headed in any way.

"All she wanted to do was get everyone's impression of where the music was going and for everyone to put their creative aspects into the music.

"Every time we were with her, it was never as if we were with this star. I think that might have been one of the things that haunted her -she really liked being with people one-to-one, especially with musicians.

"I think she used to like coming to New York in her early days because we would all go out to dinner together and she wasn't being recognised the same way as she was in the UK.

"It seemed as though the best times were when we were able to be casual and just get into music.
Sugarman says the last time he saw Winehouse, it was "not a pretty sight"

"The tour was right when Back To Black came out. One of the things she used to do was play really good mixes before we'd go on stage. We'd always be listening to The Supremes or some doo-wop or girl group stuff. It wasn't as if she had her own dressing room - we were all together getting ready for the shows.

"I feel really lucky to be part of what was obviously a great record that touched a lot of people. It was a true crossover record, which is rare in these times. What great art does is touch a lot of people and that's what her record did.

"When we were doing these gigs, there were black people, white people, gay people, straight people. She really was able to touch a nerve and it was uncompromised...."

Amy Winehouse, live in session with Dapkings' Binky Griptite on guitar...

ADDED July 26: From MTV News "... England's Daily Telegraph reported that Winehouse was visited at home by her doctor on Friday night, 24 hours before her body was discovered at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Police sources told the paper that no drugs were found in the house and that the security detail had last spoken to her around 10 a.m. on Saturday, when she said she was going to take a rest in her room.

The doctor had reportedly been visiting Winehouse regularly to help her combat the ill effects of her years of drinking and drugging. In 2008, Mitch Winehouse revealed that Amy was suffering from the early stages of the incurable pulmonary ailment emphysema, including scarring in her lungs."

From ABC: Winehouse Autopsy Inconclusive; Funeral Tuesday

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, July 23

The Lions - Cumbia del leon
Dub traffik control  -Bongo dub
Jackie Mittoo - Disco Jack version
Augustus Pablo - Lovers mood
Johnny Osbourne - Dance with you
Junior Murvin - Jack slick
Dubblestandart - Terrarists and inhalers - Keith le Blanc remix
Ikebe shakedown - Don't contradict
Issa Bagayogo - Dibi
Idris Muhammad - Express yourself
Booker T Jones - Down in Memphis
Brassroots - Good life
Bonobo - Eyesdown
Fatback band - Wicky wacky
BT Express - Express
Chico Mann - Harmonia
Colman bros - The chief - PTH Interpol challenges mix
Jean Jacques Perry and Luke Vibert - Ye olde beatbox
Sergio Mendes - Mozambique
The Yoots - E papa waiari
Dubkasm - No retreat - flute inst
African head charge - Heading to glory
Manasseh - Stepping pt 2
Prince Fatty - Scorpio
Menahan st band - Esma

Booker T Jones - Everything is everything
Bob Brady and the con chords - Everybody's going to the love-in
Major Lance - Aint no soul in these shoes

Friday, July 22, 2011

Spin cycle

Spin cycle: Resurgence of vinyl records means new business up their sleeve [Toronto Star]

"... A Winkler und D√ľnnebier record sleeve fabricating machine, 31 feet long and 2 tonnes of steel, takes up a third of the [2000 sq ft] space. Manually operated, it can cut, fold and glue up to 10,000 12-inch record jackets per hour. The machine was made in the 1970s and fell out of use, but just like vinyl sales, has been resuscitated.

Co-owners Paul Miller and Alex Durlak, both 30, and sole employee Jason Cousineau, have tattoos and facial hair. Giant Mac screens sit on the office desks. Close friends, Miller and Durlak bonded over a mutual love of art, music and record collecting...

...The new venture is one of only two record jacket companies in the country. There are just five vinyl manufacturing plants in North America. Record Jacket sells to music distributors and record labels as well as to individual independent bands. They’ve sold 15,000 sleeves since April...

...Durlak doesn’t believe in a vinyl revival.

“I think it’s a steady niche that’s always been there and it’s not going anywhere,” Durlak says. Some genres, such as punk, hip-hop, electronica and indie rock, always produced LPs, regardless of mainstream sales. But now those mainstream sales are increasing..."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chants R&B

Movie trailer about the best NZ band you've never heard of. Premiere at the Wellington Film Festival. Directed by Jeff Smith, Simon Ogston

ADDED: Also screening in Christchurch as part of the Film Festival, screening in Auckland in September.

Coffey remixed

Dennis Coffey- Outer Galaxies: Dennis Coffey Re-Interpreted
Free D/L >> http://www.denniscoffey-thealbum.com/Re-Worked/ <<

"Dennis Coffey is a legend, not merely for the timeless music he made in the past but also for the fact that he continues to be musically relevant to this day. Check out his new album for the pudding proof." - Recloose

1. 7th Galaxy feat. Jamall Bufford (14KT remix)
2. I Bet You (version) (DeepSeeSoundSyetem mix)
3. All Your Goodies Are Gone feat. Mayer Hawthorne (Shigeto remix)
4. Plutonius (Recloose Re-Dub) Cuts by DJ CXL
5. Imported From Detroit (Magestik Legend, Produced by Astronote) made from samples of Knockabout
6. Miss Millie feat. Kings Go Forth (Dabrye’s Synthesized mix)
7. Space Traveller (Nick Speed remix)
8. Only Good For Ectomorph (Ectomorph appears courtesy of Interdimensional Transmissions)

Everything is everything

Booker T Jones, off his fantastic new album The Road To Memphis, covering Lauryn Hill. Whoever came up with the idea of putting  The Roots behind Booker T and getting Gabe Roth from Daptone/Dapkings to man the mixing desk is a genius. Other guests on the album include, Sharon Jones, Dennis Coffey, and Lou Reed. Questlove from The Roots gets a co-production credit too. Check it out.... fave moment - the shot in the control room, the players listening to a take, everyone in the room headnodding...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's the good life

Good Life by Innercity gets the brass band treatment. Wicked. Hat tip to Puttingoutfire blog.

RIP Jerry Ragovoy, Songwriter and Producer

Jerry Ragovoy, Songwriter and Producer, Is Dead at 80 - NYTimes.com

Jerry Ragovoy, who wrote or collaborated on some of the most soulful ballads of the 1960s, including the Rolling Stones hit “Time Is on My Side” and the Janis Joplin signatures “Piece of My Heart,” “Cry Baby” and “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder),” died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 80.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, July 16

Quantic soul orchestra - Raw ingredients - Nostalgia 77 remix
BT Express - Do it til you're satisfied
One essence - Blackness of darkness
Augustus Pablo - Lovers mood
Derrick Morgan - I'm the ruler
Earl Brown - Get together
Dandy Livingston and Rico - Rudy a message to you
Errol Scorcher  -Roach in de corner
General Trees - Everything so so so so
Mungos hifi - Super sharp shooter
Toddla T - Watch me dance - Andrew Weatherall remix
Ghostfunk - Dem back
Hypnotic brass ensemble - Spottie
Charles Bradley - No time for dreaming
Dave Brubeck - Take five
Bobby Valentin - Use it before you lose it
Antibalas - Che che cole makossa
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan - Stone cold dead in the market - Ticklah remix
Resonators - Mandrake 7" edit
Farm fresh sound system - Still lifted
Dub Kweli - Your gospel
Horace Andy - Cherry oh baby
Prince Jammy - Strictly dub
Big Youth - Chucky no lucky - Disciples dub
Havana boys - Paul's dub
Rae and Christian - Hold us down
Kraftwerk - Man machine

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vinyl is making a comeback #254 Waikato edition

There's a record fair on this saturday in Hamilton. Cue vinyl revival story from local paper..

Veteran vinyl going another round: Forget CDs and MP3s. There is a vinyl revival, and Waikato record buffs are as staunch as they come.

"... beware of labelling them record "collectors". They resent the term. Vinyl, it appears, is in a different league to stamps, coins, and model airplanes.

Graham Don said he would rather be called a "music nerd" or a "vinyl fanatic" than a record collector. He has been buying vinyl since he was 12 and nostalgically recounted his first purchase.

"I bought Iggy Pop's Lust for Life and Tom Petty's Damn the Torpedoes, and I was hooked on music ever since. Hooked on vinyl."

Hamilton Record Fair is on Saturday at Riverlea Theatre, 80 Riverlea Rd, from 2pm with entry $2. Early entry from 1pm costs $10.

“Manage the temptation to publish yourself”

Musician John Mayer did a clinic at Berklee music school recently, and essentially his take on the internet and social media was that it made him stupid, which is why he quit Twitter and blogging.

After hearing Amanda Palmer at Webstock earlier this year, it strikes me that Mayer's statements in this story are the complete opposite of everything Palmer says and does, the way she engages with her fans via Twitter etc. Mayer still seems stuck in a star system from 20 years ago. He wants to be the mysterious artist.

“The tweets are getting shorter, but the songs are still 4 minutes long. You’re coming up with 140-character zingers, and the song is still 4 minutes long…I realized about a year ago that I couldn’t have a complete thought anymore. And I was a tweetaholic. I had four million twitter followers, and I was always writing on it. And I stopped using twitter as an outlet and I started using twitter as the instrument to riff on, and it started to make my mind smaller and smaller and smaller. And I couldn’t write a song.”

But John Mayer’s main reason for discouraging promotion came from his own struggle to curb using social media, which should have been an outlet for promotion but eventually became an outlet for artistic expression. Mayer shared that he found himself asking himself questions like “Is this a good blog? Is this a good tweet? Which used to be is this a good song title? Is this a good bridge?”
Read: John Mayer at Berklee.

Russell Brown, get down

In the early 2000s I had a writing gig doing a music and technology column for Real Groove magazine for a few years. In the October 2000 edition, I did an interview with one Russell Brown. I just found it floating round my archives. When Russell started using the internet (in 1994), it cost $12 a megabyte.

The photo above is Russell featured in Stamp magazine, from the early 1990s - I found it cos the flipside of that page has a photo of me and my Picassos band mates (incl a butt-naked Johnnie Pain) snapped with our manager, Lisa van der Aarde. That's a photo for another day tho.

Russell Brown, get down.

Recently labelled as 'Hot' by Metro magazine for Hard News, his incisive weekly political commentary slot on Radio 95BFM.

Russell Brown started out as a newspaper journalist on the Mainland, before moving to the Big Smoke to take up the post of Assistant Editor at Rip It Up. He lived and worked in the UK for several years, before returning here with partner Fiona Rae in the early nineties, working first as Editor of Planet magazine, then moving into writing about computers and the internet for various publications such as the Listener, Computerworld and Unlimited. I emailed Russell a few questions to find out a few of his favourite surfing moves. Hang ten, Russell.

How long have you been surfing the net?

Since 1994. I bought a 14.4k modem from Iconz at the beginning of 1995 and was kind of own my own after that. It was pretty unfriendly - you logged onto a shell account on their Unix machine and you were expected to know an array of arcane Unix commands just to handle your email.

Why did you start using the net?
I had begun writing the Computer column for the Listener and so it was an obvious thing to do - but there was quite a bit of resistance to me writing about it as much as I did. Some people thought it was all hype and that consumer CD-Roms were what I should be devoting my attention to. I think I was right. One of the key reasons I was so keen to explore it was because I was a freelancer and I was conscious of not having access to the same resources as people who worked in big offices. The Internet seemed like the way to get those resources for myself.

What's the main changes you've seen since you first started using the net?

It's gone from a difficult command-line interface to a place to watch movies. My typical download speed now is about 1000 times what it was in 1994. Back then, traffic cost $12 a megabyte - at those prices my current usage would cost me $18,000 a month. Those changes have helped the shift from it being a fringe pursuit to being almost pervasive. We have very high rates of Internet usage in New Zealand. It's been interesting seeing it go from being dismissed by business to basically determining the future of business.

Has your use of the net changed over time?

It got very boring and functional for a while, because it's a tool of trade for me. I try now to remember to use it recreationally too - sites like ifilm.com. I spend less time in newsgroups than I used to, but I'm still ona good little mailing list where we argue about rugby. Our household uses it for information all the time.

What sites do you and your family visit regularly, for entertainment, information, and fun?

I news edit IDGNet NZ (www.idg.net.nz) so I'm there a lot. I read all the local news sites: the Herald, Scoop (which hosts my Hard News bulletin), NewsRoom and, lately, the horribly-named Stuff. Ifilm.com, The Guardian Website and Arts & Letters Daily less often. Macintouch, Macsurfer, and MacOS Rumors, Slashdot, Wired.

Fiona replies: I use television sites for looking up stuff about telly progs for work, such as Zap2it.com (horrible name, it used to be ultimatetv.com), epguides.com, rickontv.com, bbc.co.uk or the American network sites, like abc.com - anywhere I can find info I need about a show (often find good fan sites). Also look at my favourite, guardianunlimited (especially filmunlimited - fantastic). News, I look at Herald, INSIDE, Ain't It Cool News. The kids like FoxKids, cartoonnetwork.com, disney.com, lego.com, squirt.co.nz - basically, anything with good games! I browse occasionally at Flying Pig, and have bought books, but sometimes prices aren't that comparable. Also do most banking online - I can make transfers between accounts really easily, rather than farting around with bits of paper at the bank.

How much time on an average day do you spend on the net?

Overall, including publishing to our Website and doing email, 2-8 hours a day. If I've been in front of computer a lot during the week, I might avoid it at the weekends, or just do a quick email check. I'm not one of those people who can't be away from it for a day.

Is there fierce competition to get onto a computer in your house? Do you monitor where the kids visit? (Netnanny or similar software, or good old fashioned 'adult supervision')

I've wondered about some kind of netnanny thing for our more adventurous 6 year-old. It's faintly possible that he could accidentally click his way to something offensive from a games site or something, and he has a right to be protected from that for a while. But our computers are right by the living area, so it's not like they're tucked away. The kids like us to sit down with them anyway.

What's it like watching your kids grow up with computers as part of their natural environment (something that perhaps wasn't so prevalent in your own generation?)

Their whole relationship with media is quite different to ours. When I was a kid, you basically caught something when it was screened on TV and then it was gone. Our kids were born after the VCR and they fully expect to be able to copy and repeat anything they like. So already they're coming into the Internet with interesting expectations about control of media.

Could you live without the net/email, and what’s the longest you've gone without touching a computer (ie on holiday)?

I'd live, but life would suck without Internet access - apart from anything else I depend on the Internet for news more than any other medium these days. I've gone a couple of weeks without, when away on holiday - and come back to an absolute mountain of email.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ghost funk

From  the cat behind Jaydiohead,  Mos Dub and Dub Kweli... "Released in July 2011, Ghostfunk pairs one of my favorite hip-hop artists, Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah, with vintage African funk, high-life, and psychedelic rock music."

Ghostfunk by Max Tannone

Imperica - The legacy of Len Lye

The relationship between art and advertising has forever been one of fascination. The manifestation of this relationship has been both plentiful and diverse. The Campbell's Soup can; television advertising from famous directors; and Beck's Futures are just three of a seemingly infinite number of ways that the relationship – and, sometimes, the tension – has been expressed to mass audiences.

Such a relationship clearly stretches across many decades, certainly as far as contemporary media is concerned. A pioneer of ways to bring art and advertising together is Len Lye, a New Zealand-born artist that lived for much of his life in the UK, where many of his more well-known works were commissioned and exhibited....

Kilodee electro

The debut single from Kilodee, my new project. Dirty strings, blippy drums, mariachi horns. Free DL too!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

NYC 70s


John Peel narrates this '95 documentary on the late 70's NYC Punk scene, made by Peter Frame of Rock Family Tree fame.

Monday, July 11, 2011

RIP Fonce Mizell

Seeing reports on Twitter that Fonce Mizell has passed away. Sad news.

ADDED Thurs 14 July: LA Times confirms report of his passing.

Mizell Brothers interviewed at Red Bull Music Academy, 2006 (transcript)