Friday, February 17, 2012

Deadlines...

New band from Wellington featuring Dan and Jarney from the Black Seeds. Free EP of loud, noisy, dirty rock... their live debut is March 2nd in Welli...


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Checker



Via Voices of East Anglia super dope drums. Wonder who is on the drum seat?

"This latest gem comes from Ernest Evans or as he is known to friends and neighbours Chubby Checker and the B-side to his 1973 release ‘Reggae My Way’. Ignore the A-side and flip it over for this psychedelic-drum-and-organ-heavy stomper that never fails to please. This was first released on Checker’s 1969 album called ‘Chequered!’ (geddit?) which was later renamed ‘New Revelations’.

It seems he really doesn’t like talking about this album now and hasn’t for some time which is a shame because it’s got some great tracks on it most notably Stoned in the Bathroom and My Mind Comes from a High Place. Quite what he was ingesting at the time we wouldn’t like to guess but it obviously hit the spot...."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sammy Doodle is like..


Sammy Doodle (real name; Sam Touli) sent me his bio, some beats, and a few photos recently. His bio says he grew up in Staten Island, New York, and there's the obvious influences from that place (Wu Tang, Mobb Deep, Nas), and he's also traveled beyond the confines of the US to Indonesia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and Iran (his parents came from there to NYC in the 70s). But he's covered in tattoos from his punk days and has a crazy-ass dreadlocked beard. His Twitter bio describes him as a "Raw food eating, muslim, hip-hop artist."

In short, he looks nothing like you'd expect a Staten island rapper to appear. I dig that. Check out one of his tunes below, free download too...




Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why instrumental hiphop doesn't suck

J Dilla. RIP, Feb 10 2006

DJ Prestige over at Flea Market Funk has written a great piece - it's a rebuttal on why instrumental hiphop doesn't suck a la the SF Weekly's article.....

"I came across this article in the San Francisco Weekly by Phillip Mlynar stating that “Instrumental Hip Hop Sucks. Ban It Forever”. Now if you have been a follower of Flea Market Funk, you know that not only do we promote the vinyl from original artists that fuel instrumental Hip Hop, but support today’s producers and artists that make quality music.

Some of them are strictly instrumental Hip Hop. In his article, Mr. Mlynar rips the entire genre (except DJ Shadow, for some reason he gets a pass and “is exonerated from the crime of instrumental hip-hop by virtue of his music being more correctly in the lineage of Steinski’s witty cut-and-paste experiments.”).

He goes on to bash artists like DOOM, Diplo, RJD2, and Dilla. While this is America, and of course just an opinion of Mr. Mylnar, I am really offended, and appalled that a writer for a national weekly was allowed to publish such trash. What came across was an ill informed, horribly researched, personal witch hunt on music he doesn’t like. If you look back on the articles he wrote in 2011, they ranged from “The World’s Most Regrettable Hip Hop Tattoos” (oh wait I saw an ice cream cone on a guy’s face!) to multiple articles on Kreayshawn, some *surprise*, DJ Shadow, and a whole lot of lists that look like something ego trip list would publish. Let’s break down why this article doesn’t make sense.

“It’s music without a start or end, without peaks and momentum — it’s hip-hop without a money shot. Tragically, it also forgets what makes hip-hop so invigorating in the first place.”:

Obviously, there is no research in the this at all. Way before DOOM or Madlib released the instrumentals, way before he was on DJ Shadow’s dick (I’m surprised he didn’t refer to him as “Josh” in the article), there were instrumentals. DJ’s cut up the breaks, extended the groove, and made people dance. We all are aware of that.

Let’s take it back to mid-80′s, when Delicious Vinyl was not yet started (although it was a concept without the label really), and the Dust Brothers were making instrumental Hip Hop. These guys made sample based instrumental records and played them way before they even had a record label off the ground. People danced to this on the weekly at clubs like Power Tools, where their originals were mixed in with Funk, Disco, Heavy Metal, and underground Hip Hop of the day. These instrumentals would become the back bone for one of the best sample based record ever, the Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique....

Read the rest of the article over at Flea Market Funk.

One for Valentines Day...



Great Smokey Robinson production for later period Supremes (off the album Floy Joy), clip from the Sonny and Cher Show.... What's your favourite song for Valentines Day?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Grammy for GSH

Gil Scott Heron was honoured posthumously at the 2012 Grammys with a lifetime achievement award. Here's rapper Common, writing on this event...

"Gil Scott-Heron was a leader, a leader in revolution. He had the courage, strength, heart, will, sense of sacrifice, and selflessness that few embody in this world. Gil was a leader who possessed a powerful but soothing voice, a voice that had the tone and texture of standing up for the people. He represented the people from the ghetto, the people who were oppressed and the people who were standing up for justice and equality for all. Gil Scott-Heron was the embodiment of millions; their voices and their spirits were alive in him.

I remember the first time I heard Gil as a young boy. My best friend played his record, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” I was intrigued, excited and amused by this inspirational piece. At the time, I was unaware of the mighty influence the song's empowering message would have on me not only as an artist, but as a human being. From that point on, every time I listened to Gil's music he truly left footprints on my soul. He left footprints of joy, footprints of resistance, and footprints of power and love. Gil gave us a chorus of power to chant to. And he gave us shoes of positive change and upward mobility to walk in.

What was so beautiful about Gil's gilded gift of artistry was that he blessed the world with messages that impacted the paradigms of the youth in such a dynamic way. What makes this truth so magical is that in the eyes of our youth we find our development and progress as a collective human race. We find our future. I was a member of that youth at one period of time. I represent the generation Gil influenced and crowned with his wisdom, style and musical genius.

In college, as I was being exposed to more and more types of music, I was reintroduced to Gil Scott-Heron. It was then, after having the same intrigue and excitement as hearing him the first time, that he officially became one of my favorite artists. I loved the depth of his voice, the soul he sang with, the music that he created, and the words that sparked illuminating thoughts. I loved the beautiful experience I had every single time I listened to Gil's music and felt the movement that naturally shined through the lyrics.

I found myself taking pieces of him and placing them into my own music because he represented something bigger than us and of the spiritual realm. I would quote him, sample him and use his lyrics for inspiration in my songs. On my single "The 6th Sense" I quoted "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." On my single "The People" we sampled "We Almost Lost Detroit," and it felt great to connect my work to the work of such an iconic poet and artist as Gil Scott-Heron.

To make it all even more mesmerizing, in August 2010 I was afforded the blessing to connect with Gil personally during a performance we had together in Central Park. I remember the day vividly. First, I went to Gil's home in New York. He was barbequing and we were talking about how to perform the songs at the show. We traded thoughts and I even revealed to him that I someday wished to play him in a movie. He told me all about the new book he was writing. As we exchanged stories and thoughts with one another, I thought to myself, "This is one of the greatest artists the world has ever seen," and I was honored just to share the moments we had as artists and as brothers.

I know Gil Scott-Heron shared his soul in every note, lyric and song we heard from him. I will always appreciate the influence and impact he had on me and the world. I will forever work to keep his inspiration alive."

Here's his some of his children accepting the award, noting that Bill Withers wrote a letter of reccomendation in support of their father getting this award...



Other recipients of the Lifetime Achievement award included Diana Ross, Glen Campbell (who is retiring from music due to Alzheimers), Antonio Jobim, and Steve Jobs.

Record retail blues n hues

The racks at Kristina


READ: Music loses its beat as internet competition bites. Great piece in the business section of Saturday's NZ Herald.

NZ Herald's Hamish Fletcher talked with Beat Merchants owner Jason Howson about them shutting up their Grey Lynn shop and moving to a solely online operation, and the reasons behind it. He also talks with other music retailers - Dustin Lindale at Conch Records and Chris Hart at Real Groovy - to get their impressions on the current state of music retail.

Jason Howson, Beat Merchants: "We came out of the blocks saying 'we know music is getting harder to sell, we're selling less of it but at the time my biggest seller was drum n' bass and dubstep vinyl [records] and we were still selling a lot of music but then people got short in the pocket and vinyl especially became a bit of a luxury.""

Dustin Lindale, Conch:"Generally I think retail is probably hard, I don't know many retailers who'd say the last three years [have been] easy."

One way Conch was trying to generate interest was hosting in-store events to attract people to the shop. "If you get people in the door there's a chance they're going to buy something ... [a lot] of people that do come in really enjoy the place and experiences they have, it's kind of a hub for people meeting up."

Chris Hart, Real Groovy: "The single biggest thing affecting music retailers isn't downloads, it's the fact that the big box retailers have jumped on the wagon to use CDs and DVDs as a loss-leader to sell their stereos, caneware and plasticware. It's really hard for us to compete with The Warehouse selling CDs at $19.95 when our cost price is $20.60 plus GST".

Then don't compete - no one goes to Real Groovy to buy chart CDs anyway. What's your point of difference? Where's the instores? Oh, that's right,  Real Groovy got rid of the stage. Stink. And I recall Chris Hart blaming illegal downloads and piracy as one of the reasons Real Groovy went bust in 2008.

For a contrast... From Factmag: How to… open an independent record store, by Kristina's owners.

"Kristina rejects virtually every traditional tenet of the British independent record store. It’s spacious and airy as opposed to claustrophobic and grimy; its staff are friendly, not curmudgeonly; its atmosphere is lively rather than funereal. If it wasn't for the ample racks and wall-displays of vinyl, you’d be hard-pressed to identify it as a record store at all....

[Their top tips, in brief - read the article for full version...]

Believe in your business.
Location is everything.
Support the scene, or create one.
Get fitted out nicely.
Stimulate eyes as well as ears.
Don’t run before you can walk.
Know and love what you sell.
Look far and wide for good product.
Make the internet work for you.
Have parties.
Respect the old and embrace the new.
Keep learning.
Remember what’s important.
Stay adaptable, and ignore the doom-mongers.

...which sounds a lot like Conch Records to me....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

R.I.P. Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston died aged 48 on Saturday afternoon (US time) in a Los Angeles hotel room at the Beverly Hilton. Police have confirmed she was found underwater and apparently unconscious in the bathtub. She was in town to perform at a musical tribute to the man who made her a superstar, record label boss Clive Davis. He was due to hold his annual pre-Grammys party in LA on Saturday night.

TMZ reports there were no signs of foul play (via Gawker). In May last year her spokeswoman said she was going back to rehab.

Billboard is reporting Davis's party will go ahead. BET is saying that there are reports that Jennifer Hudson will perform a tribute to Houston at Sunday night's Grammy Awards.

Musician Marcus Miller remembers the first time he saw Whitney perform...

"Luther Vandross called me up one day in 1983 and said, "I'm picking you up, you have to hear Cissy Houston and her daughter. They're singing together at Sweetwater's" (a supper club on Amsterdam Ave in NY).

He sat me right in front of the stage. Cissy and her daughter, Whitney, started singing and blew me away. They would sing in perfect unison, then break into two part harmony for one ridiculously high note. It was truly breathtaking. Luther was having as much fun watching my reaction as he was enjoying the show.

After they finished, he told me, "Clive Davis just signed her and he's gonna make her huge!"...and that's exactly what happened. I would always think about that 19 year old on that small stage at Sweetwater's when, over the years, I would hear her glorious voice on the radio. She was a true gift - she carried the lineage of her mom, her cousin Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin who her mom sang backup for..."

ADDED: LA Times reports that "Houston had recently finished shooting "Sparkle," the remake of the 1976 Irene Cara film that, eerily, focuses on talented young musicians whose lives are ruined by addiction. Houston also served as an executive producer on the movie, acquiring rights to the original film more than a decade ago...

"I'm in total shock," executive producer Howard Rosenman told The Times. "I have no idea about the impact on 'Sparkle,' which I saw last night.[Houston] was unbelievably fanastic in it." Meanwhile, a spokesman for the studio, Sony Pictures, said the movie remains set for an August 17 release.

The original 1976 film [watch] had a soundtrack performed by Aretha Franklin and written and produced by Curtis Mayfield. Rosenman was the writer of the original story with Joel Schumacher.

Vinyl is making a comeback #259


Here's the latest installments of this long-running news story... first one, on a tangent...

"While the LP revival is still in full swing you rarely hear about the other 12-inch, grooved vinyl record format, the RCA VideoDisc." 


and, from Melbourne, Australia... "Just a few years ago, Mr Thomson's [owner of The Vintage Record shop] clientele was almost exclusively men aged over 30. Now the gender balance is evening up, and his market demographic keeps getting younger.

Rosie Letford, 18, a graphic design student from Ashfield, admires the album covers' art. "There's also something in the way [the sound] fills the room, it's a more authentic sound," she says. "And it's a beautiful ritual, to turn the record over and place the needle."

From The Age "Digital music backlash creates a vinyl revival."