Saturday, December 03, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Dec 3

Masters at work - MAW expensive (Tribute to Fela)
Boca 45 - La bombonera
Patti Jo - Make me believe in you
Mayer Hawthorne - The ills
Eddie Palmieri - My spiritual Indian
Miriam Makeba - Lumumba
Mulatu Astatke - Yegelle tezeta
Patea maori club - Poi-e -disco mix
Prince Charles and the city beat band - Cash (cash money)
Max Coles - Who got the keys?
Lee Scratch Perry - Jungle youth - Congo natty remix
African head charge - Some bizarre
Bim Sherman - You are the one
Ticklah - Si hecho palente
Sound dimension - Man pon spot
Sister Nancy - Only woman DJ with degree
Yellowman - Nobody move nobody get hurt
James Brown - Time is running out fast
Booker T and the MGs - It's your thing
Banbarra - Shack up - Wiseguys edit
George Clinton - Do fries go with that shake? Extended mix
Cookin on 3 burners - Cars
King Erisson - Conga man

Let's go

Youtube poster Southwonnie says "Filmed by me on standard 8mm during a rehearsal of Let's Go in 1965. Location was NZBC WNTV1 studios in Waring Taylor Street, Wellington, New Zealand. Those people I can identify are Bruce 'Crud' Anderson (camera), Peter Morritt (lighting), Ian Cumming (floor manager), Pete Sinclair (presenter). I've no idea who the artists are. The cameras are Marconi Mk. IV (4.5 inch image othicon)." Hat tip to Simon Grigg for this.

plus, more Pete Sinclair...

Friday, December 02, 2011

Some light reading

From the Village Voice... "Da Capo's Second-Best Music Writing 2011: 112 Of Last Year's Most Notable Music Stories"

"The 2011 edition of Da Capo's annual anthology Best Music Writing— which this year was guest edited by The New Yorker classical writer and The Rest Is Noise author Alex Ross; Daphne Carr has been the series editor since 2006—contains 32 essays and is augmented by a a jumbo-sized "Other Notable Music Writing" section. This year's honorable mentions list (or at least the galley for it, which sometimes differs from the final version) contains 129 further recommendations, for which we found links to 112, presented below. (All are from 2010.) Happy reading."

Stacey Anderson, "The Jazz Evangelism of Woody Allen" (Village Voice, July 1)

Noah Arjomand, "Rap in the Capital: Hip-Hop Tehran Style" (PBS Frontline, April 22)

Jake Austen, "The Woman on the Right" (Chicago Reader, Feb. 11)

Zach Baron, "Flux = Rad" (Slate, March 18)

Mike Barthel, "Scissor Sisters, 'Night Work': Yay for Sex and Drugs and Pleasure" (The Awl, June 28)

Angus Batey, "The Hip-Hop Heritage Society" (The Guardian, Oct. 7)

Trish Bendix, "The 'If I Was a Boy' Trend in Music" (After Ellen, Nov. 16)

Larry Bluemenfeld, "How Treme Can Get It Right" (Village Voice, March 30)

Jonathan Bradley, "Just Being Miley" (American Review, April 21)

Norman Brannon, "So, hey Nicki Minaj. It's real talk time." (Nervous Acid, Nov. 24)

Frank Bruni, "An Ageless Diva of a Certain Age" (New York Times, Nov. 21)

Brett Campbell, "Gonzalo Ruiz, Oboist, Restoring Bach" (Wall Street Journal, July 15)

Jon Caramanica, "Seeping Out of Houston, Slowly" (New York Times, Nov. 4)

Rodney Carmichael, "The Making of OutKast's Aquemini" (Creative Loafing, June 24)

Conor Christofferson, "About a Grandson" (Seattle Weekly, Aug. 18)

Ta-Nehisi Coates, "Travelling Music" (The Atlantic, Feb. 19)

John Colapinto, "New Note" (The New Yorker, March 15; subscribers only)

Alex V. Cook, "The Ozzy Osbourne T-Shirt" (Offbeat, Nov.)

Sergeant D, "The Final Word on Metal Drumming" (Metal Sucks, Dec. 3)

Jane Dark, "Vomiting Up Tequila & Glitter: Pop 2010" (Lana Turner, Dec.)

Dessa Darling, "Dessa Reflects on Her Artistic Journey" (City Pages, Aug. 18)

Jonathan Dee, "New Orleans's Gender-Bending Rap" (New York Times, July 22)

David Dennis, "Curren$y: the new high life" (OffBeat, Sept.)

Rachel Devitt, "Justin Bieber Cracks Up" (Village Voice, Aug. 18)

Camille Dodero, "Live from Insane Clown Posse's Gathering of the Juggalos" (Village Voice, Sept. 8)

Sady Doyle, "Rivers Cuomo Messes You Up Forever" (The Awl, April 27)

Baz Dreisinger, "Reggae's Civil War" (Vilage Voice, March 2)

Andrew Earles, "Jay Reatard Remembered" (Spin, Jan. 28)

Chuck Eddy, Frank Kogan, Michaelangelo Matos, Katherine St. Asaph, John Seroff, Al Shipley, and Martin Skidmore, "Far East Movement ft. Cataracs & Dev--Like a G6" (The Singles Jukebox, Sept. 28)

Gavin Edwards, "Dr. Luke's Awesomely Trashy Pop Sound Is Ruling the Airwaves" (Rolling Stone, April 29)

Jeremy Eichler, "There Is Magic in the Music" (Boston Globe, July 11)

Tom Ewing, "Shiny Shiny: A Future History of the CD Revival" (Pitchfork, March 5)

Jonathan L. Fischer, "Our Year in Moombahton" (Washington City Paper, Dec. 24)

Sidik Fofana, "Refugee for Prez" (Corner Boy Jazz, Nov. 7)

Mick Foley, "The Wrestler and the Cornflake Girl" (Slate, Sept. 28)

Tad Friend, "Sleeping with Weapons" (The New Yorker, Aug. 16)

Yoav Fromer, "Message" (Tablet, Nov. 23)

Leor Galil, "Everything's Coming Up Kittens" (Chicago Reader, Oct. 14)

Luis-Manuel Garcia, "Showdown in Spreepark" (Resident Advisor, Nov. 26)

Gus Garcia-Roberts, "Scott Storch Raked in Hip-Hop Millions and Then Snorted His Way to Ruin" (Miami New Times, Aug. 22)

Rachel Kaazdi Ghansah, "He Shall Overcome" (New York Observer, Nov. 30)

Sarah Godfrey, "Private school go-go goes public" (, Aug. 12)

Thomas Golianopolous, "Jay Electronica: Man or Myth?" (Spin, July)

Peter Gordon, "Teenage Days with Captain Beefheart" (Nedslist/The Daily Swarm, Dec. 20)

Joe Gross, "In Praise of the Vuvuzela" (Austin American-Statesman, June 29)

Matthew Guerrieri, "Complexity Wars" (New Music Box, Sept. 8)

Jack Halberstam, "What's Paglia Got to Do with It?" (Bullybloggers, Sept. 14)

Shirley Halperin, "Who Destroyed Epic Records?" (Hollywood Reporter, Nov. 18)

Steve Haruch, "Women Account for Less Than 5 Percent of Producers and Engineers" (Nashville Scene, June 3)

Eric Harvey, "This Is Not a Photograph" (Pitchfork, Sept. 13)

Dave Heaton, "A Mexico State of Mind" (PopMatters, Nov. 9)

Virginia Heffernan, "Sound Logic" (New York Times, Feb. 19)

David Hepworth, "When the Last Recording Studio Goes, What Will Go with It?" (The Word, March 13)

Monica Herrera, "The Year That Went Pop" (Billboard, Dec. 10)

Geoffrey Himes, "Hillbilly Heaven" (Baltimore City Paper, May 26)

Marc Hogan, "What's the Matter with Sweden" (Pitchfork, March 29)

Hua Hsu, "The Passing of a Record Store" (The Atlantic, Sept. 7)

Steve Hyden, "Part 5: 1994: Kurt Cobain Is Dead! Long Live Soundgarden!" (The A.V. Club, Nov. 30)

Ethan Iverson, "Interview with Gunther Schuller" (Part 1; Part 2) (Do the Math, Sept. 19)

Vijay Iyer, "Theonious Monk: Ode to a Sphere" (JazzTimes, Jan./Feb.)

Maura Johnston, "Dirty Projectors, Solange Knowles, and the Perils of Music-Racism" (Village Voice, Jan. 19)

Maura Johnston and Christopher R. Weingarten, "The 20 Worst Songs of 2010, #1: Train, 'Hey, Soul Sister'" (Village Voice, Dec. 22)

Rich Juzwiak, "A Collage for a Collage" (Four Four, July 15)

Aryan Kaganof, "Aryan Kaganof Interviews Johnny Mbizo Dyani" (Kagablog, April 7)

David Kastin, "Fred Ho and the Evolution of Afro-Asian New American Multicultural Music" (Popular Music and Society, April 7; paid .pdf)

Lenny Kaye, "Dennis Wilson: Like the River to the Sea" (eMusic, Sept. 3)

Frank Kogan, "Ke$ha Day 2" (Koganbot, March 4)

Dan Kois, "Tickets Out!" (The New Yorker, Sept. 20)

Toshitaka Kondo, "Making Minaj" (Complex, Oct./Nov.)

Chris Kornelis, "Marco Collins Picks Up the Pieces" (Seattle Weekly, Dec. 29)

Molly Lambert, "In Which John Mayer Is a Douchebag for Possibly the Last Time" (This Recording, Feb. 11)

David Lowery, selections from 300 Songs)

Fiona Maddocks, "Bayreuth Festival 2010" (The Guardian, Aug. 1)

Sharanya Manivannan, "The Venus Flytrap: In Song and in Silence" (Sharanya Manivannan's Wordpress, June 12)

Chris Martins, "Flying Lotus Rising" (L.A. Weekly, May 13)

Michaelangelo Matos, "Three Singles Featuring 3OH!3" (The Stranger, July 13)

Erik Maza, "Cuban Punk Rockers Gorki and Gil Used Music to Take on Castro" (Miami New Times, June 24)

Anne Midgette, "Is Anybody Listening? American Opera Faces Crossroads as Audiences for Performing Arts Slide" (Washington Post, June 27)

Barbara Mitchell, "December Boys Got It Bad" (Blurt, March 24)

Larry Mizell Jr., "Taste That Crown" (The Stranger, Jan. 5)

Evie Nagy, "Devo: How to Get Ahead with Advertising" (Billboard, July 11)

Tavia Nyong'o, "Lady Gaga's Lesbian Phallus" (Bullybloggers, March 16)

Ben Patashnik, "A Day to Remember: The New Sound of Sacrifice Rock" (Rock Sound, Nov.)

David Peisner, "When the Bottom Fell Out" (Spin, July)

Matthew Perpetua, "At the End of the World with Gauntlet Hair" (The Awl, Dec. 28)

Chris Randle, "Curtis Jackson and the Jeweled Skull" (Social Text Journal, Oct. 1)

Gillian Reagan, "on Rap and Rape and Dudes in a Room" (Shield Your Eyes, Nov. 11)

Eugene Robinson, "Lena Horne: A glamorous revolutionary" (Washington Post, May 11)

Lisa Robinson, "Lady Gaga's Cultural Revolution" (Vanity Fair, Sept.)

John Roderick, "Chucked Profit: Benefit Shows Can Be Bad Business" (Seattle Weekly, Nov. 23)

Jody Rosen, "Joanna Newsom, the Changeling" (New York Times, March 7)

Katrina Stuart Santiago, "The Charice Challenge" (GMA News, Sept. 20)

Scott Saul, "Off Minor" (Boston Review, Sept./Oct.)

Rebecca Schmid, "To Teach the World . . ." (BBC Music Magazine, Aug.; .pdf)

Solvej Schou, "Hanging at Lemmy's Virtual Castle in ROCKTropia: Watch Out for the Demon Spawn" (L.A. Times, May 10)

Shea Serrano, "Out of the Box" (Houston Press, June 24)

Ben Sisario, "Looking to a Sneaker for a Band's Big Break" (New York Times, Oct. 6)

RJ Smith, "Debasement Tapes" (Spin, Nov.)

Deborah Solomon, "Straight Outta Wesleyan" (New York Times, Dec. 5)

Sam Stephenson, "Dorrie Glenn Woodson" (The Paris Review, Dec. 22)

Lisa Taddeo, "The Ke$ha-Loving, Command-Defying Army Auteur" (New York, Aug. 1)

Stephen Titmus, "Boy's Own: A History" (Resident Advisor, Jan. 12)

Aidin Vaziri, "Big Stage Exposes Justin Bieber's Limitations" (San Francisco Chronicle, July 19)

Gabe Vodicka, "Why the Caged King Sings" (Creative Loafing, Dec. 13)

Jesse Walker, "2010: The Year John Cage Broke" (Reason, Dec. 30)

Theon Weber, "The Iceberg Songs of Taylor Swift" (Village Voice, Nov. 3)

Christopher Weingarten, "The Life and Death of Alan Carton" (Village Voice, Jan. 22)

Jeff Weiss, "The Madlib Mystique" (L.A. Weekly, June 24)

Carl Wilson, "Busby Madoff Dreams" (Back to the World, Aug. 26)

Zach Woolfe and Seth Colter Walls, "Renee Fleming's 'Dark Hope': June Cleaver Does Muse" (The Awl, June 16)

Bill Wyman, "Please Allow Me to Correct a Few Things" (Slate, Nov. 5)

Rob Young, "Cloud of Knowing" (The Guardian, June 12)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FNun sound and pictures

Henrietta Harris is the talented artist behind the splendid collage artwork for the Flying Nun compilation Tally Ho: Flying Nun's Greatest Bits. She also was involved in the cover for Volume magazine's Nun tribute issue, using this artwork. Read an interview with her here, talking about the process of putting this cover together.

source: Chillblue on Flickr

I recall meeting another artist who was involved closely with Flying Nun when I was at Elam art school in the late 1980s. Lesley Maclean was from Christchurch, and she'd played in a few bands down there and in Akld (The Letter Five, with Richard James from Mainly Spaniards, an early FNun outfit - soundclip at bottom).

There is a ton of great art as well as music that was associated with Flying Nun over the years, like Chris Knox's art, or David Mitchell's magnificently twisted, gothic drawings for his various bands (Exploding Budgies, 3Ds etc) to name just two examples. There's a coffee table book in there somewhere, with all the FNun art.

Maclean had done a lot of poster designs for Flying Nun bands, and is most famous, I reckon, for designing the distinctive label (above) for Flying Nun's vinyl releases. I vaguely remember Lesley working on it as a holiday project during a term break at art school. Prior to that, every Flying Nun vinyl release had its own unique/messy label.

Below is Lesley's cover design for the very influential Tuatara compilation, which was important in exposing Flying Nun's stable to the world.

The current revival, helmed by the label's founder, Roger Shepherd, came to fruition in 2009, with the financial help of Neil and Sharon Finn, and Graham Cockcroft ex Netherworld Dancing Toys among others.  It's great to see some of the label's leading lights re-emerge, and its back catalog being revived and introduced to a new generation, along with new signings.

Flying Nun was part of the sale of FMR (Festival Mushroom Records) to Warners in late 2006 (see NZ Musician) and it can be argued that it spent most of the 2000s as a less than vital imprint and little more than a logo on the back of Mint Chicks releases. The Mint Chicks may have always claimed they signed to Flying Nun, but when they ditched the label in early 2010, they said they were leaving Warners. The irony being that Roger Shepherd had regained ownership of the label by then, once again making it independent (albeit tied to Warners for distribution).

Conventional wisdom is that Warners neglected the FNun back catalog, failing to even note the label's 25th birthday. Not true. There's a 17-track compilation  to commemorate the 25th anniversary available on iTunes, released in Feb 2007 (drawing on the 4 CD boxset malarkey from that year, compiled by Shepherd). Of course that date sounds wrong, but hey, Flying Nun's own website says they celebrated their 21st birthday in 2003, which aint right either. There was the release Under the Influence – 21 Years of Flying Nun Records, from 2002. They just love celebrating, so who's to stop them?

The Nun's 21st anniversary wasn't without controversy though - Gary Steel wrote a piece in the NZ Listener decrying the label's roster at the time, among other crimes. Numerous folk in the press and the music scene rounded on Steel - Chris Knox even performed a song about it entitled "The Late Gary Steel".

Russell Brown also responded in a robust fashion to Steel's comments (Brown recalls the song in question as being called "In memory of Gary Steel").

But that was 9 years ago, and a lot has changed with The Nun since then. Why, only yesterday Mr Steel was praising Flying Nun on Twitter. "It was very gracious of Flying Nun to gift me a pack of their delicious 30th anniversary ale. Has the disser been bought? More, please."

So, does time heal all wounds? Yes. That, and beer.

The Nun's connection with Mushroom Records (which was later sold to Festival Records) started in 1990, with them buying a 50% share in Flying Nun, helping to give that label some financial stability, and decent recording budgets for its acts such as Straitjacket Fits and JPSE.

I recall reading an article from  the early 90s where the JPSE were talking about their album budget, which was $60,000. That's a long way from Chris Knox hauling his four track reel to reel down to Dunedin and he and Doug Hood setting up in a hall to record The Clean.

Festival Records was part of Rupert Murdoch's News Limited, and in 1995 a 23-year-old James Murdoch took over as chairman at Festival. He reportedly dropped out of Harvard to start hiphop label Rawkus Records (source). I know John Peel was quite surprised to discover that Rupert Murdoch owned half of Flying Nun when he visited NZ in the early 2000s!

Now then, where's the Skeptics boxset?

Here are some of Maclean's poster designs from 1985-86, via National Library.

Below, a poster for the first two Flying Nun releases 
From the Christchurch Library's online poster collection, numerous FNun posters

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Adrian Sherwood - Dubwise Damage

Adrian Sherwood - Dubwise Damage from this week's edition of Volume. Interview by Stinky Jim, it's a bloody great read too. And it solves the mystery of whey there is a song on the latest African Head Charge album released earlier this year that namechecks Dave Dobbyn...

"Though Adrian Sherwood's production credits are impressively wide (Primal Scream, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Dave Dobbyn etc), it is the On-U Sound label built around artists like Dub Syndicate, African Head Charge, Singers & Players, Mark Stewart & The Mafia and Bim Sherman and Gary Clail that is the real legacy. From early experiments in noisy, post-punk afro-dustrial music in 1981, to 2011's sophisticated dubbed-out blues with Skip McDonald's Little Axe outfit, On-U Sound has remained a standard setter for adventurousness and sonic pugilism.

One of Sherwood's most consistent collaborators has been Lee "Scratch" Perry, the Jamaican dub pioneer and unhinged genius, whose work with others has been notoriously patchy at best.

However with Sherwood there's a real chemistry, and actual quality control - what's the secret?

"I care more probably. I get on well with him in the studio. He's got streams of consciousness that pour out of him and good ideas, and if you stop him in his tracks and say, 'Let's enlarge on that', he'll take you off on something amazing, even at the age he's at now."

On-U Sound may well have started off in debt and has had to endure various tough times and even ill-advised dalliances with major labels and shifty indies, but the sound and aesthetic has remained strong. Brand-building may not have been the intention, but three decades down the track, On-U remains an unimpeachable trademark for quality, innovation, sonic adventure and elephantine basslines. That's a point that isn't lost on the elders of the dubstep community like Digital Mystikz's Mala, Horsepower Productions, Moody Boyz and Kode 9 who all contributed to the stunning 2011 Lee "Scratch" Perry remix set Nu Sound and Version. The feeling is mutual.

"I got a good respect from that community. I big up the ones I like, and they all kind of give me a good respect - it's brilliant. I think it's important; the evolution of what came from Jamaica - roots and dub - is now kept alive by a lot of people in London because the Jamaican scene is pretty unhealthy. There's incredible stuff coming out of London at the moment."

Though he did his first DJ gigs in school lunch breaks as a 13-year-old, Sherwood remains primarily a backroom operator, only releasing a record under his own name in 2003. Previously the closest he came to the limelight was as part of Tackhead, the ferocious outfit who provided the backing for records like Grandmaster Flash's The Message and White Lines in New York, before being led to the outer limits with Sherwood at the controls.

"I got very disillusioned with the reggae because my friend, [Prince] Fari, had been killed I thought, 'F**k this, it's rubbish. What are you doing?' A lot of it was thankless, I wasn't making any money and I was doing it because I loved it. But how much can you love something when your friends are being topped by a***holes? Then I thought, 'Hang on a minute - we were going in an area with the noise and funk and the dub together, and it was really exciting and nothing had been done like that before'."

So what went so wrong with the big Tackhead album, Strange Things, then?

"Cocaine... cocaine, I think that's it. We suddenly got given lots of money and everybody wanted to make a record that was a bit of this, a bit of that, and Keith [LeBlanc] wanted to play acoustic drums, having made all the records with these fierce fucking drum machines before. So it was an absolute pile of shit, that record. Don't get me wrong - everything comes to an end eventually - but that turned into the epitome of Spinal Tap."
Disarmingly honest and down to earth after over 30 years in the business, Sherwood is an unsullied true original and, as his New Zealand show will testify, there's a good deal more woofer worrying and tweeter terrifying yet to come.

The NZ Connection
Mad bNet radio and DJ support alongside a series of scorching tours in the late '80s and early '90s solidified On-U's place in the New Zealand firmament. However while Salmonella Dub remixes are to be expected, Sherwood producing Dave Dobbyn [2008's Anotherland]... what the... ?

"His manager's an old friend of mine, and she suggested we meet. So we met and it was a really good experience, brilliant people. He's a really good lad, Dave, and I really enjoyed doing that - bit of a departure. I've always tried to do things that are different, so working with a singer/songwriter like Dave was really good fun."

And the rather splendidly titled track Dobbyn Joins the Head Charge on their latest album Voodoo of the Godsent?

"That track was derived off one of Dave's tunes, the horns. I thought it was like when Whitney joined the Justified Ancients of MuMu (on 'Whitney Joins The JAMs'). I thought that was quite funny."

Adrian Sherwood plays The Powerstation in Auckland on Friday 16 December, and Wellington Dec 15, at Bodega..

Slice of Dobbyn

This is deeply twisted. You will laugh, you will cry, you will go "What the hell?"

Slice of Heaven (Tom Cosm Remix) by TomCosm

Party in my pants

Party in my pants megamix from Romanowksi. "Party in my pants, you're invited..."



Dalvanius on Poi-e

Found this clip on Youtube, of Dalvanius and co (incl Alister Riddell) in 2003, talking about the origins of Poi-e. You can read a great interview Murray Cammick did with Dalvanius for Real Groove in 2001 here.

BONUS: Frank Jade and Dalvanius and Peter Morgan - Uh-huh-uh-huh - live, 1986

You got Guts?

I first came across Guts when he dropped a rather splendid tune several years back, called "And the living is easy" on Wax On Records, run by George Evelyn (Nightmares on Wax). He dropped his debut album on that label, his second one came out under his own steam on Pura Vida Records in 2009, and now he's back with his third. It's called Paradise for all, listen below.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monk Monday

Hat tip to Andrew Dubber for this... funky Hammond/guitar/drums from a trio from Iceland, Thelonius Monk covers... check it.