Saturday, February 04, 2012

Metallica brass

New Orleans outfit Soul Rebels perfom the Metallica's "Enter Sandman" live during one of four Metallica 30th birthday concerts. Recorded live at The Fillmore in San Francisco, California on December 5th, 2011.

Soul Rebels debut album Unlock your mind dropped Jan 31. Might need to check this one...

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Feb 4

Kruder and dorfmeister - Shakatadoodub
Renegade soundwave - Black eye boy
Harry Beckett - Rise and shine
One blood - Be thankful for what you've got
U Brown - Gal u so bad
Sound dimension - Love Jah
Horace Andy - Jah provides
Vin Gordon - Steady beat
Lord Echo - Things I like to do
The BEat - Whine n grind/Stand down Margaret
Dub Asylum - Skatta
Chuck Brown - We need some money
Wild magnolias - Battlefield - Joe Claussell remix
Bonnie Pointer - Free me from my freedom - Special disco version
Anthony Joseph - Bullet in the rocks
Charles Bradley - Why is it so hard?
The Paragons - Tide is high
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Put it on
Pablove Black - Poco tempo
Alton Ellis - It's a shame
Lloyd Williams - Reggae feet
S Matthewman - Tempest dub
Red eyes - Can you hear it?
Fila Brazilia - A Zed and two Ls
Lee Scratch Perry - God smiled - Moody boyz remix

Friday, February 03, 2012

Do-Over Waiheke

Do-Over residents Haycock and Strong flew in from LA with some mystery guests - J-Rocc and DJ Day.

Charles Bradley doco debuts

"I've been doing James Brown since I was 14, now I'm gonna do Charles Bradley."

"Starting off on his 62nd birthday, Charles Bradley: Soul of America follows the extraordinary journey of singer Charles Bradley during the electrifying and transformative months leading up to the release of his debut album "No Time for Dreaming." The 74-minute documentary feature will premiere at the SXSW 2012 Film Festival in Austin, Texas. "

Charles Bradley released his debut album last year, at the age of 62.  His story is incredibly moving. Can't wait to see this.

The real thing?

Lana Del Rey, Exene Cervenka of X 

Last weekend, legendary punk bands X, Dead Kennedys, and The Avengers, played at an art museum in LA (the MOCA).  This article in the LA Weekly notes that punk by definition was anti-nostalgia, so the idea of dragging out some punk rock relics to play in a museum may be seem counter to what punk was about. Mind you, don't relics belong in a museum? Kidding...

"... Such questions of authenticity and identity - eternal themes in both art and punk rock - were enough to drive one crazy, but they were rendered moot within the first few explosive chords of the Avengers' set. .." - LA Weekly.

Authenticity is a word that seems to have come up a lot recently with the explosive arrival of Lana Del Rey on the music scene. I'm not sure how conjuring up a pop persona makes her any less authentic than the gazillion popsters who have gone before her. Her Dad is backrolling her career  - so what? So did Beyonce's Dad, so did Taylor Swift's Dad.

It's been fascinating following the excitement and then the backlash to Lana Del Rey. Some folk like Simon Sweetman, feel deeply offended by a manufactured pop star.

Sure, she's not the first, but she might well be the last. Here's a response to Sweetman's piece, "Lana Del Rey vs. Hipster Snobbery" from the delightfully named Unapologetically Pop! blog. 

Is Lana Del Rey authentic? Does it even matter? As Russell Brown noted in his review of her album, "For the indie chin-strokers, it's as if they saw that amazing girl they met last Saturday at the hipster bar promenading on the arm of some douchebag hunk. Grief gave way to anger as they realised she wasn't the girl they thought she was.

"Well, no. Lana Del Rey's not her real name! It was suggested by her management! She has a deal with a major label! Her father is actually a millionaire! The sooner you say it out loud, the sooner you can get over it."

Brown praises the album, saying "there's some pop gold on this record." His main issue with it? "Like much modern pop music, it's compressed to buggery. That's audio compression - making everything loud - rather than file compression..."

The Loudness wars - that's worth arguing about.

And how is Ms Del Ray handling all this? Well, her album just hit number one in 14 countries. I'm guessing she's not too fussed right now.

Authenticity ('keeping it real') is something that comes up very frequently in hiphop circles, ever since the genre emerged on wax in the late 1970s. There's even university theses on it. It has been an issue in hiphop ever since it hit the mainstream, with the likes of Fresh Prince, Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer. How do you 'keep it street' if you're not from the street?

Take Run DMC, a crew originally from the middle class suburb of Queens NYC. By dressing in their street clothes, rather than flashy show-off uniforms like most rap groups of the time (see Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five), Run DMC made a definite impression. By being true to themselves, they were keeping it real.

Rapper 50 Cent got shot nine times and then got dropped by his record label, before eventually finding success. On the question of authenticity, he says  “When I offer aggression, I offer it from an author, a real place ... It’s just a lot of the other artists, I don’t believe them. I believe hip-hop is in a struggle of being artistic or [having] authenticity—which one matters?

"Because a lot of them that write music that has a street-life theme to it haven’t actually been exposed to very much of that. It’s starting to feel like it doesn’t matter. I’m watching it, and I’m like, Okay, it sounded great, but ya lyin’.” [source: XXL]

RELATED Jessica Hooper at Spin: Deconstructing Lana Del Rey
and Sasha Frere-Jones at the New Yorker: Screen Shot: Lana Del Rey's fixed image
Hat tip to Robyn Gallagher for the links.
Under the big black sun, California art 1974-1981, exhibition at the MOCA, LA. 

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Governed by you

Wellington band Naked Spots Dance, from a 1982 release distributed by Flying Nun. NSD on this record were Kate Walker, Katherine McRae, Matthew Fisher, Stephen Norris. Produced by Chris Fleming, Ian Morris, Naked Spots Dance.

Amplifier have a Jayrem Records compilation of NZ women's music that features a Naked Spots Dance track, with Fran Walsh when she was in the band (and before she became an Oscar-winning screenwriter and film producer alongside her husband, Peter Jackson).

NSD featured on "the **** [Four Stars] album, released in November 1980, which also featured The Wallsockets, Life in the Fridge Exists, and Naked Spots Dance. These bands comprised the "Terrace Scene" - so named because a number of the band-members lived in a couple of large houses on The Terrace, near Victoria University." [source]

The band released two EPs and an album, according to Discogs.

R.I.P Don Cornelius

From Reuters: "Don Cornelius, creator of iconic dance program "Soul Train" that helped introduce Americans to black culture on TV, died on Wednesday after shooting himself in the head, officials in Los Angeles said. [He said he was dealing with significant health issues during his 2009 divorce case.]

Police discovered the body of Cornelius, 75, at his house after responding to reports of shots fired in the wealthy, hillside area of Los Angeles called Sherman Oaks where he lived.

Cornelius launched "Soul Train" in the early 1970s as a local dance show from Chicago. It relocated to Los Angeles the following year and became part of pop culture history by boosting the careers of young artists such as the Jackson Five, and older artists such as James Brown who were trying to tap into a younger audience.

"Soul Train" aired until 2006, making it the longest running U.S. series in first-run syndication.

Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton, a long time friend, expressed shock and grief over the news of the death. "He brought soul music and dance to the world in a way that it had never been shown and he was a cultural game changer on a global level," Sharpton said in a statement.

Composer-producer Quincy Jones said he was "deeply saddened" at the sudden passing of his friend, colleague and business partner. "Before MTV there was 'Soul Train,' that will be the great legacy of Don Cornelius," Jones said. "His contributions to television, music and our culture as a whole will never be matched."

ADDED: Why Don Cornelius matters by author Dan Charnas (well worth a read)
Billboard: Kenny Gamble remembers Don Cornelius, origins of Soul Train theme (TSOP)
Don Cornelius, the Billboard interviews, going way back to 1970
Don Cornelius: A Smooth Operator in the Name of Soul. NYTimes

VIDEOS: Aretha Franklin, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Heavy D, Jimmy Bo Horne.... and Don Cornelius grooving on the Soul Train dance line...

Electric wire brushes

Myele Manzanza holds down the drum seat for Electric Wire Hustle. His debut album is out Feb 17, here's a free taster...

Press blurb: "The musically prolific Myele Manzanza has not only held down the drums as part of Wellington’s Electric Wire Hustle for the past 4 years but has also drummed for Olmecha Supreme, Sheba Williams, The Recloose Live Band, The Jonathan Crayford Trio as well as for his father – Sam Manzanza’s Rhythm Africa Band & countless other musical projects.

Myele only started playing drum kit at age 14 but has been hand drumming traditional African rhythms with his father Sam Manzanza from a young age.

“Growing up music and rhythm was all around me and I understood it from a very early age. Through my father I learnt the language of the drum probably at the same time as I learnt to talk! My dad was one of the first Africans to perform traditional African & High Life music live in New Zealand & he has been a tremendous influence & inspiration on my career as a musician.” says Myele.

In 2010 Myele was the only New Zealander selected to participate in the Red Bull Music Academy in London. The rest of 2010 was spent living between Berlin & New York & touring with Electric Wire Hustle with laptop in hand. The fertile breeding ground of creativity of these cities provided the musical inspiration to put together his first album aptly titled One.

“This album was a challenge to myself to broaden my own musical identity as a musician.” he says.

The guest features on ‘One’ are a diverse bunch and include Myele’s own father, Congolese master percussionist and musician Sam Manzanza, NZ’s own Ladi 6, Bella Kalolo, Mara TK, Rachel Fraser & the unmistakable Mark de Clive Lowe on keys. International guests include Charlie K from Philadelphia Hip Hop group ‘Writtenhouse’,Canadian vocalist Amenta and James Wylie’s Boston based woodwind section.

See Myele Manzanza and the Estobahn Eclectic featuring Bella Kalolo, Rachel Fraser  -
10 February – San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington
23 February – Ponsonby Social Club, Auck­land

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Nerve Ends in Power Lines

Photo: Jonathan Cameron/FairfaxNZ
Last year, I saw musician Amanda Palmer speak and perform at Webstock in February. While she was here, she was trying to track down a contact for one of her musical heroes, Peter Jefferies. He hails from Taranaki, and had a strong following on US college radio in the 1990s. She managed to get an email address for him and got in touch.

This week, as part of her current NZ tour, she visited New Plymouth, and got to play a gig with Jefferies at Vinyl Countdown (the record store opened by the former owner of Real Groovy Wellington). Jefferies hasn't performed live in over 8 years. He works as a music teacher at various high schools in the region.

"If you told me that I would ever come to New Zealand and play with Peter Jefferies I would have s.... a brick," Palmer said.

Jefferies, now a music teacher at Spotswood College, Coastal Taranaki School, and Stratford and Waitara High Schools, said he was extremely flattered to have such a talented musician hunt him down in little old New Plymouth.

"What she does is so great which is why it's special. To know someone who plays as well as her is listening to your music is just great."

Last night's performance was Jefferies' first in over eight years, and also his first time playing acoustic guitar live which he said "scared him more than anything".

"It's only because of Amanda – that's the simple reason why I'm here and why I'm doing it."

Last night, the duo each played a collection of lyrically humorous solo songs to the crowd of about 40, before combining on a number of covers including Oasis's Wonderwall and Wild Thing, a song made famous by The Troggs in 1966." From Taranaki Daily News.

Spontaneous collaboration for Amanda Palmer, Taranaki Daily News, with their footage below, of Palmer singing Creep, with help from the audience. The second clip is Palmer covering a song by Peter Jefferies.

ADDED Feb 29: Peter Jefferies talks about how he became a music teacher, after quitting live performing in 2003, and playing with Amanda Palmer, his first ever acoustic performance... From the Stratford Press.

"Peter came to a point in his life where he didn't want to perform, he needed another path. "I know all of this stuff. Now what do you do with a used muso? How am I going to do what I want to do?'' were questions [he] asked himself.

In 2003, Peter was selected to be part of the New Zealand Music Commission's Music Mentoring In Schools programme, which was life-changing, he says. Nine years ago, Peter took up a teaching role at New Plymouth Boys High School, which then led to Spotswood College, Waitara High School, Coastal Taranaki School and Stratford High School..."

RELATED: Amanda Palmer responds on her blog to Simon Sweetman's review of her Wellington gig with Dresden Dolls. Title: WELLINGTON JOURNALIST ABSOLUTELY TRASHES OUR GIG, MISSES POINT OF MUSIC COMPLETELY. ….or….. “amanda palmer looks back on her press clippings from age 73”

R.I.P King Stitt

Via Jamaica Observer, hat tip to Dubhead...

"Legendary Jamaican vocalist King Stitt is dead. King Stitt, whose real name is Winston Sparkes, passed away at his home in Nannyville, Kingston minutes after 1 this afternoon. He had been ailing for some time.

King Stitt can be described as one of the pioneers of the deejay idiom as his voice was a regular feature in the late 1960s over Sir Coxsone Dodd's Downbeat Sound System during the infancy of the now famous reggae music."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Toro y Moi - Laneway

An Interview With: Toro Y Moi's Chaz Bundick | from CHART attack on Vimeo.

I knew nothing about Toro y Moi before Laneway - I watched two videos on youtube the day before Laneway as part of my familiarisation course, and that was it.

Watching this interview with the band's main man Chaz Bundick, I discovered his latest album was influenced by Italian film composer Piero Umiliani (writer of Mahna Mahna) and his score for the film Il Corpo, which made him shoot up in my estimation.

They were definitely one of my highlights from Laneway, and they had the whole crowd on their feet dancing, and waving their shoes in the air like they just didn't care. Seriously. Photographic evidence below.

This clip from the 2011 Pitchfork Festival gives you an idea of the band live...

Truth and soul

Download the My World Sampler by DJ Akalepse and enjoy the tunes from T&S! My World Sampler mixed by DJ Akalepse!

R.I.P Mary Yandall

Singer Mary Yandall dies, TVNZ.

ADDED Wed Feb 1st: From Mary Yandall, an obituary.

ADDED Fri 3rd Feb: Mary Yandall laid to rest in Auckland, photos.

From (Feb 1): Music scene farewells Yandall sister

A who's who of the Kiwi entertainment scene will gather in Auckland on Friday to farewell one of its own. Anna - better known as Mary - Yandall, a key member of the Yandall Sisters, has died aged 62.

A funeral will be held at the Pacific Islanders' Presbyterian Church at Newton from 10am.

Mourners will include veteran crooner John Rowles who took to the stage with Mary, Adele and Pauline numerous times through the 1970s. "They were a united team that worked for every prominent performer in the country through those years," he says.

"They always had a lot of love in their hearts and were a great support to me as back up singers on many occasions - probably the best I've had."

"It always came so naturally for them... they always knew what they had to do."

The Yandall sisters were born into a Samoan family and started performing with another sibling, the late Caroline, as children at Sunday school and various private functions.

Their first recording was in the mid 1960s but they shot to prominence around 1972 as cabaret act - heading to Australia shortly after the release of their first single.

A return to New Zealand in 1973 saw the Yandalls - by now a trio - picked up as a backing group for a number of high profile acts. The sisters appeared on stage with entertainers including Mr Rowles, Billy T James, Prince Tui Teka, Dalvanius Prime and Sir Howard Morrison in the years that followed.

They performed at a tribute concert for Sir Howard after his death in 2009.

The Yandall Sisters recorded numerous singles and released their own album, Up Front in 1976. Sweet Inspiration, released in 1974, was their biggest hit and stayed in the top charts for over three months.

The sisters won the New Zealand Entertainer of the Year Award in 1977 and enjoyed growing popularity as a regular live act and on television well into the 1980s. Rowles recorded Hawaiian Wedding Song as a duet with Mary in the early 70s and the pair performed it live during a concert in 1974.

"She was such a beautiful girl," he says. "And she never changed. She was always kind and a little mischievous in such a wonderful way. I am very sad to know she has gone but she does leave behind such a great legacy."

Yandall will be buried at Waikumete cemetery.

Monday, January 30, 2012


I'm off to Laneway Festival today, got a ticket out of the blue (Thanks Sam!). Excited to see what music I will discover. Of the overseas acts, the only one I know is Feist (her drummer is a Kiwi, apparently). Should be an interesting day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Raggamuffin crowds

Photo by Stephen Field
Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

Photo by Stephen Field

From these photos posted on Raggamuffin NZ's Facebook page, the venue looks like there was a bit of room left (I'm guessing the 1st photo was taken early in the day - no time listed on the pic). I heard from someone who attended Raggamuffin that the venue was about two thirds full. Will  be interesting to see what the official crowd estimates are. Doesn't look like it sold out though.

Raggamuffin announced announced on Friday that they would be offering a reduced gate price ticket, unlike previous years, when they have added $20 to ticket price for walk ups. “Sales have been steady but we want a big walk up on the day too” says Festival Director Jackie Sanders.'

ADDED NZ Herald Online reports Raggamuffin crowds numbered about 20,000, down on last year's 30,000. "It's a big success. I would say it's the success story of the summer music festivals," said [Raggamuffin] spokeswoman Sandra Roberts. The story also notes Monday's Laneway Festival has sold out.

UPDATED: From 7 News: "A 20,000-strong crowd attended Raggamuffin's 5th anniversary concert in Rotorua on Saturday with a further 4,500 attending on Friday night, making the two-day music festival the great success story of summer. Promoter Andrew McManus was thrilled with the attendance, saying it was the "best Raggamuffin yet. Raggamuffin was the great success story of summer," says McManus. "We bought the hottest acts and the fans responded. We are looking forward to announcing the date for 2013 in the coming months."

I want you back

Panorama Steel Orchestra, inspired by Esso Trinidad Steel band's Jackson 5 cover, i'm picking. Live in Tokyo, 2009. Wicked version.