Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Specials reviewed

Photos by Volume/Dalla Pickering.
Here's my review of The Specials gig last Tuesday, published in this week's issue of Volume  Magazine. Thanks, Sam!

"I had misgivings about seeing The Specials in a tin shed on the waterfront, but with a sizeable crowd in there to soak up the sound it worked surprisingly well (not unlike the dance parties in the sheds next to the old Auckland railway station back in the 1990s - Massive Attack, anyone?) It was gloomy, dark and dusty - even Terry Hall pointed out how dusty it was, glancing up at the rafters - but it suited the music.

Six of the original seven members of The Specials reunited in 2009 and set off on a 30th anniversary tour that bought them here for the first time (minus founder and main songwriter Jerry Dammers). That sold-out show was at the truly awful Logan Campbell Centre (aka the Logan Concrete Centre) and somehow they managed to overcome the notoriously bad acoustics of that rustic barn.

The opening act this time was local '80s ska outfit The Newmatics, who have done the occasional reunion show in recent years. This one, unlike their previous reunions, lacked a number of original members and also reconfigured the original lineup, adding a keyboard player and a full horn section. The Newmatics without powerhouse drummer Benny Staples? Ahem. Their brief set took in spirited versions of classics like Doobie Do Boy, Judas and Riot Squad, and they acquitted themselves well enough.

Queuing for half an hour for a beer didn't sound like much fun, and then I hear the beer ran out before The Specials even hit the stage. That's some poor planning. How could you fail to predict that a crowd of former mods and punks would be VERY THIRSTY?

Finally, the horrible fluorescent house lights go out, the drums start pounding, and then The Specials bound onstage, ripping into Do the Dog. It's glorious. What follows is every song off their first album: throw in Gangsters and A Message to You, Rudy, and you have yourself a serious dance party.

The band look very dapper, dressed in black for the last show on this tour, after five gigs in Australia. There's the front line of vocalists Lynval Golding, Neville Staples and Terry Hall, super cool guitarist Roddy Radiation, and the killer rhythm section of Horace Panter and John Bradbury, with Nik Torp in for Dammers on keys.

Lynval dedicates their song Poor Little Rich Girl to Amy Winehouse, a song she covered. Lynval tells the crowd Winehouse passed away on his birthday last year.

Their horn section and percussionist join the band onstage for Stupid Marriage, with Hall dropping in the lyric "Like a virgin", which was vaguely postmodern and a little unsettling. Terry Hall as Madonna? After the song finishes he tells the crowd, "I will probably slip into some Leo Sayer a bit later on this evening..."

We get Concrete Jungle, and Friday Night, Saturday Morning, and then the droll Mr Hall introduces International Jet Set: "This is from our difficult 2nd album - it was so fuckin' difficult that we didn't talk to each other for 25 years!" It's a groovy rendition, but once it's done, Lynval confesses, "We wrote that 30 years ago and it's a nice tune, but I just can't dance to it."

They wrap up their set with Too Much Too Young and Enjoy Yourself, before exiting the stage. This crowd ain't going nowhere though, and start cheering for more.

The band return for an encore and Lynval apologises to us: "This is only our second time in New Zealand, and I'm sorry it took us 30 years to get down here - we should have come ages ago". We get Little Bitch, then You're Wondering Now. The song finishes with the band stopping the music and leading the crowd in a singalong. Terry says, "Bye, thanks, lots of love" and they're off.

The glaring omission was Ghost Town. Why? The rumour was noise complaints from nearby apartment dwellers on Quay St, and the band had to cut the encore short by one song. At 10.30pm. It doesn't bode well for the upcoming KRS-One show next door in The Cloud, essentially a tent with zero soundproofing. However, the promoter said noise wasn't an issue. The venue had a 10.30pm curfew and song choice was the band's decision. Go figure.

The Specials served up note-perfect renditions of their classics, and they had a lot of fun doing it - it was infectious. Thirty years on, those songs still come across as joyful, clever, danceable, and as much fun as they ever did.

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think!

Third notice

TV3 reports that internet service provider Telstra Clear has "sent out the first third strike notice under a new copyright infringement law passed this week.

The company said the alleged copyright infringer had illegally downloaded music, but could not comment further as it was now a matter for the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ)."

The latter part of that article is a bit of a cut and paste job from other publications like NBR, and incorrectly refers to the new copyright law taking effect from September 1. It's been in effect since Sept 1 last year. It also says the law was passed April 14, without referencing what year. Odds on they downloaded One Direction.

Fitz hits Coachella

LA soul outfit Fitz and the Tantrums made their Coachella debut yesterday, they played a killer set. Here's their closer, Moneygrabber. Their take on Steady As She Goes (as done originally by prev Coachella faves The Raconteurs) was awesome. Haven't seen that clip come up yet from Coachella, so there's an older take below.

Mayer Hawthorne debut

Mayer Hawthorne kicked off a run of US shows last night (tour dates here), here's his live debut, from Feb 17, 2009.

Record Store Day this saturday

Record Store Day is a great day to go for a record store crawl. Never know who you will run into...

In Auckland, Conch Records is teaming up with George FM for a live broadcast instore. The day will include live performances from Christoph El Truento and co, and Latinaotearoa.

Record Store Day releases at Conch: The Pharcyde - "Bizarre Ride II" 20th Anniversary Box Set // Peter Tosh - "Legalize It" - Echodelic Remixes 10" (PICTURE DISC) // Various - Never To Be Forgotten: The Flip Side of Stax 1968-1974 10 x 7" (LIGHT IN THE ATTIC) Only 4,000 hand-numbered copies worldwide // ESG / Las Kellies - Erase You 7" (FIRE RECORDS).
For more details check here.

Real Groovy Records in Queen St has a bunch of special happenings, including the exclusive release of the double vinyl live album Toy Love at The Gluepot. Limited to 400 copies, only available from Real Groovy, limit of one per customer. Live performances from bands and DJs including Rackets, The Broadsides, Princess Chelsea, Tom Scott (Homebrew), Pennie Blair (bFM), Andrew Tidball (Cheese On Toast). More info here.

Get down to Southbound Records, at 69 Mt Eden Rd (down from the Powerstation), worth a gander, and their website promises Record Store Day vinyl exclusives (PiL, Devo, Black Keys, Peter Tosh, Amanda Palmer) and free brewed coffee. Lots of great reissues, only catch is they don't have turntables to let you hear the vinyl before purchasing.

Rhythm Records down the Three Lamps end of Ponsonby Rd has some good vinyl, they're at 299  Ponsonby Rd.

ADDED Volume Magazine hooked up with Lawrence Arabia to make a seven inch single for Record Store Day - "Rick Lapore gave Volume a tour of the Rainbo Records pressing plant in California where the record was made".

Watch the video for the making of the vinyl here.  I would embed the video but the NZ Herald think they own the internetz. Mutter  mutter. You can win a copy of the Lawrence Arabia vinyl, just make a purchase at any NZ record store  this Saturday and send the receipt to Volume, PO Box 32, Auckland.

Real Groovy Akld staff member gets into the spirit, 2010

In Wellington, Slow Boat Records in Cuba St has live performances instore from The Eversons and Dictaphone Blues and more.

Rough Peel Music, at140 Vivian St, has live instores too (see their Facebook page for more), plus an exclusive local vinyl release, from hiphop crew Dam Native. It's a few classic cuts from them.

Track listing:
Side A (Aotea Side):
1- Sirens in the City (Chong Nee Remix)
2- Sirens in the City (Album mix Feat Tyna)
3- Sirens in the City (Hori Acoustic Mix)
Side B (Roa Side):
1- Horrified One Feat. Teremoana Rapley
2- Horrified One Instrumental
3- Lick My Patu

Evil Genius at 462 Adelaide Road, Berhampore, has an instore live performance from Tono and the Finance Company at 3pm, and DJs all day. Discounts and giveaways.

Other special Record Store Day releases include James Brown, Kimbra, Lee Scratch Perry, Luna, Devo, Shuggie Otis, The Specials, ESG, Peaches, and more. Full list of RSD releases here.

Tupac at Coachella

Dr Dre and Snoop preformed at Coachella last night, and were joined onstage by Tupac recreated as a hologram. A lot of folk on social media were discussing the hologram this morning - it was a source of some amusement. Meanwhile, Tupac's murder remains unsolved.

Via Wired: "... Tupac, who was murdered in 1996, joined Dre and Snoop Dogg for three songs — “Gangsta Party,” “Hail Mary” and “Come With Me.” He hadn’t ever performed “Hail Mary” when he was alive. Nate Dogg, who died in 2011, also joined the pair for a time onstage alongside various living guests, including Eminem, Wiz Khalifa and 50 Cent..."

Via The Source Mag: "In an interview today with MTV, Tupac Shakur hologram curator Nick Smith of AV Concepts explained how it all went down. Below is two excerpts from the interview.

“We worked with Dr. Dre on this and it was Dre’s vision to bring this back to life,” said Nick Smith, president of AV Concepts, the San Diego company that created the hologram. “It was his idea from the very beginning and we worked with him and his camp to utilize the technology to make it come to life. You can take their likenesses and voice and … take people that haven’t done concerts before or perform music they haven’t sung and digitally recreate it.

"The Tupac hologram was several months in the planning and took nearly four months to create in a studio and though Smith was not able to reveal the exact price tag for the illusion, he said a comparable one could cost anywhere from $100,000 to more than $400,000 to pull off. “I can’t say how much that event cost, but I can say it’s affordable in the sense that if we had to bring entertainers around world and create concerts across the country, we could put [artists] in every venue in the country.”

ADDED: Russell Brown of Public Address notes that "It wasn't actually a true hologram, but an instance of Pepper's ghost, a reflection technique first presented to an audience in the 1860s, during a stage production of Charles Dickens' The Haunted Man. It's difficult to depict adequately in diagrams, but I've seen it in real life before and it works. (Indeed, I actually use a version of it every week when I read from a televsion autocue.)

...The other part -- the prior creation of the amazingly lifelike 3D image by AV Concepts and the company Digital Domain --seems to have invoved some mixture of archive concert footage, wire-frame animation and CGI. There was clearly some voice-acting: the late actor and rapper died in 1996, three years before the first Coachella festival, yet he hailed the crowd: "What the fuck up, Coachella?"

ADDED Tupac hologram helpfully explained by Taiwanese tv animators. Very funny. Watch for their suggestions of other stars due for reanimation, including Kurt Cobain.... Via Prefix Mag

Rakim to Nat

Last night at Chapel Bar, I got away with playing some pretty crazy tunes. Fave mix was from Eric B and Rakim to Nat King Cole... This tune...

followed by this tune... It worked too. Nuts.

Monday, April 16, 2012


This weekend's Coachella Festival in California is being streamed live on Youtube. Just watched Fitz and the Tantrums kill it, even dropping a version of Steady As She Goes (Raconteurs). Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg are on tonight, at 535-pm NZ time.

Watch it here http://www.youtube.com/user/coachella/live

Ther's some Kiwi representation there too, Mt Eden (formerly Mt Eden Dubstep) and Kimbra is playing with Gotye, who currently has the number 3 single on the US Billboard Singles Chart, and it's climbing too, on the back of appearing on Glee.

Club connisseurs tonight!

Looking forward to this, me and Average White DJ spinning tunes at Chapel Bar & Bistro, 147 Ponsonby Rd tonight - I'm up first at 630pm til 830pm, playing everything from Kraftwerk to King Sunny Ade, Labelle to Little Dragon., The Beat to The Boss. Free entry, $10 pizzas, good tunes.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


A few years back, Moodymann (Kenny Dixon Jr) did an interview session at the Red Bull Music Academy  - from memory, for the entire time he was talking, he had an attractive young black woman braiding his afro.

This recent interview for Scion, is equally entertaining. Dude's in bed with female company. Hat tip to Bob Daktari for the link to the free album download. Get Moodymann - Picture This over here...

Vinyl making a comeback #261: Welsh edition

From Wales Online... "The hiss and crackle of vinyl records are making a big comeback in Wales as music lovers buy the old fashioned discs in increasing numbers.

High street music and video giant HMV has just refitted its stores in Swansea and Cardiff to accommodate vinyl seven-inch and LP records to keep up with the trend...

...Swansea HMV store manager John Hatfield, 41, said he is really “chuffed” at the news – he’s a vinyl connoisseur with a private collection of more than 2,000 records.

“We do get people asking for vinyl and there has been a massive resurgence of interest over the last 10 years, a lot of it encouraged by the Indie culture.

“Buying vinyl has become cool with the kids and purists like me. I am old enough to remember it from first time around, when I started out in 1990 everything we sold was vinyl...."

Meanwhile, in the States...Vinyl records: Music to the ears of audiophiles, collectors. Features Taylor's Treasures, in Kannapolis, North Carolina, watch clip below.

Club Connisseurs

Looking forward to this, me and Average White DJ spinning tunes at Chapel Bar & Bistro on Monday night, I'm up first at 630pm til 830pm, playing everything from Kraftwerk to King Sunny Ade, Labelle to Little Dragon., The Beat to The Boss. Free entry, $10 pizzas, good tunes.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Comrade Q

Q-Tipokratiya is a mash-up album by Miami-based producer TenDJiz, created by blending the acapellas of Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) and instrumentals composed from Soviet Union soul and jazz samples. The title of the album is a portmanteau of the name Q-Tip and the Greek word Kratia (“Power”). Hat tip Findmag/Chip M.

You may have checked the previous mash-up album “De La Soulviet“ by TenDJiz from late last year. That's pretty sweet too.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, April 14

Sheila E - Love bizarre
The Clash and Futura 2000 - Escapades dub
Afrodisiac sound system - Fela spider
Quantic - Gte a move on
Koliphones - Jungle concerto (moog)
Bongmaster - Brothers and sisters
General Levy - Monkey man - fashion remix
Prince Fari - Weatherman tam
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Brain smashing dub
The Lions - This generation dub (free download)
Love unlimited orchestra - Theme from King kong - Danny Krivit edit
Noel Pointer - Living for the city
Candi Staton - Do your duty - Pepe Bradock remix
The Specials - A message to you, Rudy
Kalbata and Mixmonster - Play music selecta
Soul vendors - Swing easy
Augustus Pablo - Dub organiser
Harry Beckett - Switch up!
Hackney colliery band - No diggity
Dexter Wansel - Life on Mars - DJ Mila edit
The Nu Page - A heart is a house
Harlem river drive - Idle hands
Beanfield - Tides - Carl Craig remix

Friday, April 13, 2012


From the lovely folk at Stonesthrow: Chimera is the new EP from Homeboy Sandman, 6 full length tracks on 12-inch vinyl, with complete lyrics printed in gloss on the front & back covers. "Chimera Out Now" was created by the artist specifically to announce the release of the record. A free download right here: http://sthrow.com/sandman

MP3: http://stonesthrow.com/jukebox/homeboy_chimera_out_now.mp3

No depression in New Zealand

It's Bigger Than Both Of Us (NZ Singles 79-82) gets released digitally (with digi booklet).... Newmatics, Androidds, Blams, Dance Macabre, Herco Pilots, all sorts of great tunes.... watch for Mayor Robbie in that clip above, mowing the lawns....

"Thanks to Propeller Records and DRMNZ, the reissue of this essential 1988 compilation is now available digitally after being released on CD in 2003.

A collection of New Zealand indie singles released between 1979-82. Thirty important and timeless tracks from all the indie labels of the time. Inspired by the great Australian sixties compilation So You Wanna Be a Rock'n'Roll Star.

Thirty tracks from the likes of Toy Love, The Spelling Mistakes, The Clean, The Screaming Meemees, The Swingers, The Chills, Tall Dwarfs, The Body Electric, Proud Scum, The Features and Blam Blam Blam to name but a few.

Remastered at Mandrill Studios, Auckland, June/July 1988 by Roland Morris.

Original artwork by Chad Taylor / Thermostat, booklet created by designer Andrew B. White. Liner notes by Murray Cammick, Harry Ratbag, Barry Jenkins, Colin Hogg and Simon Grigg. Compiled by Simon Grigg with Simon Baeyertz."

Out now thru Amplifier, iTunes, and coming shortly on Bandcamp for those of you who want lossless.

Clash on Times Square

Volume Magazine recently revisited the February 1982 visit by The Clash, thanks to some splendid photos from their Auckland show taken by Jonathan Ganley. I used one of Jonathan's photos of that gig for the book cover design I did last year for London's Burning by Hans Versluys (pictured above).
Here's a tv interview with The Clash shot during their NZ jaunt in 82, noted in the comments as "possibly the last interview featuring Topper who leaves abruptly during the interview." He doesn't leave abruptly tho - he gets up and says "I'm gonna go sunbathing, see ya!" Interviewer is Dylan Taite, and it is unedited raw footage, including the "5,4,3,2..." countdown leader from NZBC.

The Clash did a run of shows the previous year in New York - they had planned to do 7 shows, but the promoter allegedly oversold them, resulting in a riot at one of the first few shows when ticket holders couldn't get in, so they did 17 shows in all. The show on June 9 1981 was recorded for radio broadcast, and there's bootlegs of other shows floating round the internet.

NYC TV news reports on The Clash at Bonds, watch below... the news reporter in the last item says that The Clash sold 3500 tickets for each show, but fire marshals determined only 1800 people could safely attend, and that this was the first time they'd made such a ruling, despite previous shows at Bonds having higher capacity.

Check for some amusing name spelling in the news captioning (Kosmo Vinyl identified as Joe Strummer?), and see Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five getting pelted with cups at 5.30. Joe got on the mic and told the crowd off, more on that shortly.

One fascinating aspect of The Clash and their legacy since splitting is how carefully the band members stage-manage their archival releases - they seem to be able to get fans to buy the same songs in different release packages again and again. For example, take best ofs - there's The Story of The Clash (1988), Clash on Broadway (1991), The Clash - The Singles (1996), The Essental Clash (2003), The Clash - Singles (2006) ... then there's London Calling the 25th anniversary edition (2004), followed by London Calling the 30th anniversary edition (2009).
They put out an official live album Live: From Here to Eternity in 1999, and then another live album, in 2008 - Live at Shea Stadium. Meanwhile, there's this stunning concert from 1981 lingering in the vaults. Track it down if you can, it's an incredible document of the band in their prime.

The other thing that amazed me is that there's almost no gap between songs. They finish one song, take a breath, Strummer barks the next song title and the band launch into it. And they keep that intense pace up for an hour and three quarters. Over 17 shows. No wonder Joe Stummer described this run of shows by saying "We took a stand and it nearly killed us."

Joe Streno is a photographer who was friends with a woman who worked for The Clash, and she got him into as many of the Bonds shows as he liked. His photos of the shows are great - check out his shots of The Slits hanging outside Bonds with Mick Jones. They were opening one of the shows.

From Dangerous Minds: "Not a lot of footage exists from the Clash’s legendary Bond’s Casino residency [apparently it was destroyed when former Clash manager Bernie Rhodes forgot to pay the money on a storage locker where it was being kept], apparently not even one complete show was shot, but there were some tantalizing clips in Don Letts’ Grammy-winning Westway to the World rock doc (released in 2000), as well as in the abandoned short “The Clash on Broadway” (on Westway as a DVD extra).

"Sadly the sound quality is not great, so the performances lacked the hinted at oomph they should have had. Letts’ Bonds footage was apparently shot on the same day as the FM recording was made. Luckily an enterprising Clash fan has restriped the stereo audio from that source and synced up some other angles found in various places. The results are probably the best glimpse we have at what went on at these shows. Ain’t the internet great?" See below.

Berkeley Press notes that "On May 28, 1981, the band took up residency for two weeks and 17 shows. The had opening acts of such magnitude and variety as Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, the Treacherous Three, Joe Ely, The Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, The Fall, The Sugar Hill Gang, The Slits, and even ESG." Other acts included the Bush Tetras, The Brattles, and Lee Scratch Perry.

On the opening night, the crowd were warmed up by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, who got a mixed reception. Joe Bosso writes that "Halfway through the Furious Five’s set, as trash pelted the stage, the music stopped abruptly and the voice of Joe Strummer himself boomed over the PA. “Cut the crap and give them a chance! The Clash picked Grandmaster Flash to play for you, and if you don’t treat them with some respect, then you don’t deserve to see the Clash!” Chastened, the crowd cooled down, and the show continued..."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Beats working overtime

When I went to The Specials show on Tuesday night, there were some folk handing out flyers at the gate, advertising The English Beat playing at The Powerstation, August 23rd. Tickets available through www.ticketmaster.co.nz from Thursday 19th April.  Today's NZ Herald has an interview with Ranking Roger - he's bringing The Beat to NZ in late September (Sept 29 Auckland; Sept 30 Wellington; Oct 2 Christchurch). Two versions of The Beat. What gives? EDIT That story was from 2006 - my apologies, I got it wrong.

The English Beat is led by original member, vocalist Dave Wakeling (the sole original member in the English Beat), and apparently he and Ranking Roger don't get on these days, so Roger and original drummer Everett Morton tour their own version, as The Beat.

Given Wakeling SANG most of the songs, and Ranking Roger was their toaster, I suspect seeing Wakeling's version might be slightly more rewarding.

".... About here is where the band's history becomes ska's answer to Spinal Tap. When the Beat split after three albums in 1983, Roger and Wakeling formed General Public, which got them some mid-80s American pop success. So did Beat guitarist Andy Cox and bassist David Steele after recruiting signer Roland Gift into their Fine Young Cannibals.

As the years rolled on, and with the split of General Public, various incarnations of the Beat kept touring. As well as Wakeling's English Beat there was Special Beat, International Beat, the New Beat and Roger's Twist and Crawl, which eventually took back its original moniker...

...Roger says Cox and Steele have given their blessing to his Beat carrying on under the original name. But as the competing Beats might suggest, there's little love lost between Roger and his former co-frontman Wakeling.

"Dave Wakeling and myself, we haven't got on for a couple of years so I just don't really bother with him. He doesn't exist as far as I'm concerned."

The Beat (w Ranking Roger, Morton) toured here in 2006, and according to the NZH's Timeout "resident Beat fan they weren't very good, and not just because they didn't play Dream Home in New Zealand..."

Ranking Roger also worked a lot with Mick Jones from The Clash in his post-Clash outfit Big Audio Dynamite. The Beat opened for The Clash in live shows too. Read Ranking Roger and Mick Jones: A musical mutual appreciation society.

I know I posted this recently but hey.... twice as nice? Ranking Roger with The Clash

Del The Funky Homosapien vs Daptone

Free download of a special track from Del and co, in advance of their album - Del The Funky Homosapien & Parallel Thought - Attractive Sin, out June 19th. "Enjoy the first in a series of non album tracks from Del & Parallel Thought , " If Ya Dont " sampling the sweet soul sounds of the Menahan Street Band."

Download : Del The Funky Homosapien & Parallel Thought "If Ya Dont"
Soundcloud Mediafire (12MB)


What's that? You Kiwis want me to come play there? Can I hang with them hobbits? Ok, cool.
Prince was rumoured for this year's Big Day Out, and the promoter revealed they had spent a year negotiating with Prince's management, but it all came to nothing, sadly. Now dates have leaked for the purple one's Australian tour dates, ahead of the official announcement.  No word on any NZ shows, so start looking at plane tickets. (via everguide.com.au)

Tickets onsale on Monday April 16, no presales. Tickets start at AU$99.

Friday 11th May – Allphones Arena, Sydney
Monday 14th May – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Friday 18th May – Entertainment Centre, Brisbane

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hypnotic mix by DJ Expo

"This is a collage of sounds from Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and the roots of their music. This half-hour mix is a journey through instrumentals and interviews of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Phil Cohran, added in with a sprinkle of Sun Ra, whom Cohran worked with in the pivotal, early years. The listening experience will shed light on the Chicago family’s story, inspiration, and feelings. 9 brothers and a father will share the stage at this legendary, once in a lifetime experience."

Homage III - The Cohran Family Philosphy (83mb DL)
Mixed by DJ Expo

1. Randolph St. Swing – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
2. Ballicki Home – H.B.E.
3. War – H.B.E.
4. Marcus Garvey – H.B.E.
5. Water – H.B.E.
6. Flipside – H.B.E.
7. Rainbows - H.B.E.
8. Scrabble – H.B.E. feat Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (recorded live in LA)
9. Alyo - H.B.E.
10. Tema Do Canibal – BK-One feat Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
11. Brass In Africa - H.B.E.
12. Africa – Sun Ra
13. White Nile – Phil Cohran and Legacy
14. The Dogon – Phil Cohran and Legacy
15. Unity - Phil Cohran & The Artistic Heritage Ensamble
16. Mushallah – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
17. Moments – H.B.E.
18. Spottie – H.B.E.
19. Black Boy – Hypnotic Brass (w/ readings by Phil Cohran)

Oddisee hustles

From the man Oddisee - he is giving away Hustle Off to announce his new album People Hear What They See is up for pre-orders and ready for release June 12th! While Hustle Off is not on the upcoming album, it does set the tone nicely.


Last night, Lynval Golding of the Specials dedicated their song Poor Little Rich Girl to the late Amy Winehouse - a song she covered. Lynval said she passed away on his birthday, last year. Here she is playing with The Specials.

Homebrew album - finally!

Homebrew have been talking about dropping their debut album (a double album!) for quite a few months now. The release date is set, and they plan a 48 hour launch party in a former brothel. Cos that's how they roll. I've been to a few events in this salubrious location (called Shooters), and can report they still have a stripper pole in the middle of the bar.

Album presales on iTunes on April 13. Release party May 5 & 6, tickets $30, and you get a deluxe edition of the album on entry. Everything I've heard from Homebrew recently suggests this album will eclipse every other local release this year.  Eagerly anticipated doesn't even begin to cut it....

Venue; Shooters, 330 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland.
10am Saturday 5 May – 10am Monday 7 May, featuring beer and performances from Home Brew and special guests. Tickets available from Under The Radar from Monday 16 April.

'We got a mad drinking culture in this country cos there's nothing to do..." Tom Scott, Homebrew

Swede as

What's the Matter With Sweden? That's the title of an article on Pitchfork that looks at government funding of music in Sweden. You only have to think of the number of acts that have leapt onto the world stage in recent years - Likke Li, Robyn, the Knife, Little Dragon, Fever Ray and more - to see that their government's cultural policies are paying off. The article is from 2010, but still has some interesting points.

"... countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Canada make it easier for bands to focus on the creative arts by providing not only universal health care, but often cold hard cash, too. Every year, millions in public money goes toward recording, artist promotion, videos, venues, touring, festivals - even showcases at South By Southwest or CMJ Music Marathon.

"Things that are not possible are made possible," notes Ólöf Arnalds, an Icelandic singer/multi-instrumentalist who has benefited from government support. Over the past decade, Sweden has, perhaps not coincidentally, become a major player in global indie music. So, too, has Canada, which also enjoys government support for pop music..."

So, how much does Sweden spend on funding musicians? One example...

"The Swedish Arts Grants Committee allocates about 19 million SEK ($2.7 million) to musicians annually. There's also Export Music Sweden, which organized two all-Swedish SXSW showcases with the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Austin, Texas."

And the article points out, just like with NZ On Air's Making Tracks funding, there are frustrated artists who miss out...

"With any public assistance for music, there are surely warts. Swedish artist and producer Tobias Fröberg voices one commonly heard complaint: "How do you pick one act from another to get financial support from the government? Of course, this is a delicate question, and it can be questioned by everybody, except for the lucky ones."

Others note the difficulties of paperwork and accounting, which aren't necessarily a musician's strong suit; companies in Canada will fill out artists' FACTOR applications for them, for a fee."

Then there are the hurdles that musicians face in Iran...

"... As two new movies screening at festivals this year show, music really is life or death there. Hassan Khademi's documentary Rapping in Tehran explores the Persian-language rap scene; Bahman Ghobadi's No One Knows About Persian Cats tells the story of Tehran's underground indie music community. "Support? Are you kiddin' me?" a member of Iranian expatriate band Take It Easy Hospital, the film's main protagonists, emails from London. "We are blessed not to be executed."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Specials tonight....

Playing times...

DOORS: 7pm

SXSW and beyond

King Kapisi with Rob Lowe, in LA outside Roscoes
A handful of Kiwi musicians recently ventured off to the annual music festival SXSW, held in Austin, Texas every March. New Zealand has built up a small but solid presence there over recent years (there's around 2000 bands playing), backed by the efforts of Outward Sound, the NZ Music Commission's initiative to support our bands get to new markets overseas.

This year's contingent at the official NZ Showcases ran to four acts: Electric Wire Hustle, Cairo Knife Fight, Kimbra, and Avalanche City. Other Kiwi-related acts playing SXSW were King Kapisi and Teremoana Rapley, and No, the new band from Steriogram's Brad Carter. King Kapisi was a late addition at the official NZ Showcase, (alongside Electric Wire Hustle, Cairo Knife Fight and Avalanche City) as he and Teremoana were attending SXSW as delegates, their second visit.

Read Cairo Knife Fight's tour diary here, and Electric Wire Hustle in Austin - 5 shows in 3 days, via Volume magazine.

Manager of Outward Sound Gary Fortune says that 35 bands applied to go to SXSW this year, 15 were chosen, and 5 went to the event.

The NZ Music Commission receives $1.378m a year from the government thru Ministry for Culture & Heritage - of that $400,000 goes directly to artists for international projects via Outward Sound. So, how do you get the money?

I spoke with Gary and Alan Holt (Outward Sound's export co-ordinator) late last year, to get some more background on how their programmes work. 

When Outward Sound started, it was in three stages, and it has evolved from there to its current form. Gary noted the original founding document for the programme from 2004, called Creating Heat, has been used as a template for similar initiatives in Ireland and Canada (see Creating Heat, pdf). The organisation is set up as a charitable trust, and uses an anonymous panel of 6 experts to select who gets the grants. 

Basically, if bands want to get that funding, they can't just turn up and say they're off to the UK or the US for a few shows and see what happens. They need say 15-20 shows and an album release, something solid. The goal with the Outward Sound funding is for growth stages for an act, not just return visits. 

They admit the success of the scheme does make it harder for new bands. But Fortune was keen to stress that they will help bands, even if they aren't successful with funding thru Outward Sound.

They have a range of contacts built up from networking at trade shows and events like SXSW or Midem and are happy to use them to help bands who are wanting to get offshore.

The funding is retrospective so bands have to spend the money first and front up with receipts, and is to half the value of the budgeted tour.

Read Outward Sound application forms, guidelines etc here.

Gary Fortune at SXSW, photo by Sam Wicks/Volume Magazine

Early last year, Fat Freddys Drop were successful in being granted funding to the tune of $30,000 for a proposed US trip on the back of being the first NZ act ever to be invited to play the prestigious festival Coachella, but the band eventually dropped out, saying that "... As an independent band that operates entirely within the confines of their own bank account, Fat Freddy's are unable to sustain the financial loss required to make this trip happen".

The NZ Herald's media columnist John Drinnan wrote a news story last June on NZ artist Ladyhawke getting funding from Outward Sound, which made the front page of the Herald with the rather absurd headline "Taxpayers' $60,000 gift for Ladyhawke".

I wrote him an open letter on my blog, pointing out that "When Ladyhawke gets $59,000 of taxpayer funds to tour overseas, and says she will remain based in NZ, that means shes going away and earning money and coming back and paying taxes here. In business I believe they call that EXPORTING."

Drinnan waded in on the comments on that blogpost, and several media folk such as Russell Brown and Paul Kennedy took him to task, and he did not like it one bit. He found the whole experience so distasteful he referred to it in print the following week, saying "the Ladyhawke debate was peppered with personal invective and swearing. The lesson was clear - you're in Blogland now."

The funny thing is, if you read thru the comments on that post, it is exceedingly civil, as internet debates go. I should have sent Drinnan off to Whale Oil for some real internet rage.

"Stalin was a probably big fan of state involvement in popular culture." - John Drinnnan, in the comments.

NZ On Air also funds some offshore initiatives, though to a lesser degree.

NZOA's 2011 annual report says they budgeted $5.5 million this year on music funding, of which $406,000 was spent on getting NZ acts noticed internationally (Aust/US)

For the coming year (2012), NZ On Air's Brendan Smyth says that budget has reduced to $380,000, as they are focussing on Australia. That country is now NZOA's sole focus, one of the outcomes of the review of NZOA's international music support programme done by Chris Caddick and released in late in 2009.

Smyth says "that [$380,000] is 6.6% of the NZ Music budget or 0.3% of the NZ On Air total budget.

"That $380,000 is pretty much half ($200,000) grants to bands for broadcast promotions campaigns in Australia (based on a 50% reimbursement of actual and eligible costs incurred) and half ($180,000) for other promotions like Big Sound, New Zealand music showcases, our deal with The Music Network, etc.

"Overseas is a pretty small part of our business really (as the % above suggest), partly because our core business is on-shore, not off-shore, and partly because international stuff is really the NZ Music Commission’s core business."

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Songs From The Inside

Songs From The Inside is easily the most compelling thing on our tv screens right now. The documentary series is a brilliant idea  - take four musicians (Anika Moa, Warren Maxwell, Maisey Rika and Ruia Aperahama) and send them into prison to teach songwriting workshops.

It's three episodes in so far -  you can catch up on demand on Maori TV's website. The first episode, where the musicians visit the prisons they will be working in for the first time, is very moving. The show screens Sundays 8:00pm on Maori TV, and repeats Fridays at 10.30pm from 20 April.

"I'm more nervous about doing this than doing a gig"- Anika Moa.

From Maori TV: "SONGS FROM THE INSIDE follows New Zealand musicians Anika Moa, Warren Maxwell, Maisey Rika and Ruia Aperahama, who went into Rimutaka and Arohata correction facilities to teach songwriting to prisoners.

Directed by Julian Arahanga (Once Were Warriors’ Nig Heke) the musicians taught 10 prisoners the step-by-step music programme developed by Evan Rhys Davies – a pilot programme he had tutored at Spring Hill Corrections Facility in the Waikato.

There will be a thirteenth, hour-long special in which the songs the prisoners wrote, sang and recorded will be revealed.

Music therapy is used in prisons throughout the world, but SONGS FROM THE INSIDE is the first production to bring in established musicians and record the workshops, challenges and outcomes on film."

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, April 7

Steel n skin - Afro punk reggae dub
Sly n Robbie vs Dubblestandart feat Dillinger - 10 tons of dope -Heavy heavy monster dub
Manasseh feat Johnny Osbourne - Rise up
Rhythm and sound feat Jennifer Lara - Queen in my empire
Lovejoys - It aint easy
Israel Starr - Summertime
Billy Preston - Struttin
Charles Wright and Watts 103rd st band - What can you bring me?
Princess - Say I'm your number one
Shannon - Do you wanna get away - dub version
Shirley Murdock - Teasing
Kraftwerk  -Tour de france
Diana Ross - Upside down
Anthony Joseph - Bullet in the rocks
Luis Bonfa - Jacaranda
Bo Diddley - Hit or miss
Ramsey Lewis Trio - The in crowd
Charles Wright and Watts 103rd st band - Can't get no satisfaction
Wally Badarou - Chief inspector - inspector dub
Colm K and the freestyle mellowship - Dancing skulls - main mix
Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren band - Savannah
King Tubby - Bag a wire - Avatars of Dub remix
Big Youth - Jim Screechy - Smith n Mighty remix
 Lundaland - Charlemane - Bigga's imperial delay mix

Friday, April 06, 2012

Digging Easter

Easter Friday, and all the shops are closed! Oh the horror. Hang on, Real Groovy Records is open. Off to dig for records then. Today's finds - 6 records for $6 each. Score!

Billy Preston - The kids and me. Funky as Billy on the keys, from 1974. Best track is this mad synth jam called Struttin'. That's Billy miming up a storm on Soul Train, with a cool Don Cornelius intro.

Princess - Say I'm your number one. My wife asked me recently "Do you have any Princess?" When I said no, she asked "Why not?" Situation rectified. Released in NZ by Stimulant, a label run by Simon Grigg, Peter Urlich and Mark Phillips. Charted at no 2.

Diana Ross - Diana. Classic album produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edward for the Chic Organisation. Motown hated the mixes they handed in and Berry Gordy had them remixed inhouse, much to the horror of Rodgers and Edwards. This was reissued on CD with the final mixes plus the unreleased Chic mixes.

Sheila E  - Romance 1600. Prince protegee, features album version of Love Bizarre, all 12 minutes and 18 seconds of it. Needed this ever since I was reminded of it after seeing the live clip of Prince jamming this last year with Sharon Jones and the Dapkings guesting with him and his band.

Shirley Murdock - Shirley Murdock! Murray Cammick put me onto her a few years back at one of the Record Fairs, hipping me to the fact that her producer was usually Roger Troutman (Zapp).

Shannon - Do you wanna get away. Most well known for the hit Let the music play, this one has a mean 80s Dub Version on the flip.

You know what most of those records have in common? All of them, apart from Billy Preston, were released in 1985. Anyone who tells you that the 80s was the decade good taste forgot clearly didn't like black music in that decade. EDIT: so, that Diana Ross album was 1980, not 85. Four outta six albums from 1985, then.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Special AK

The Newmatics live at XS Cafe. Photo: Simon Grigg

Just announced, Auckland 80s ska outfit The Newmatics will reform once more to open for The Specials, playing here on this coming Tuesday, April 10.

The Newmatics played an an afterparty for The Specials on their previous 2009 visit, when they played at The Logan Campbell Centre, or Logan Concrete Centre, as it's nicknamed, due to its appalling acoustics.

I'd love to know why the promoters for the return visit by The Specials have chosen Shed 10, as it is potentially a worse venue acoustically than the Logan Campbell. It's a tin shed on a wharf, next to The Cloud, and was used as a beer barn for the Rugby World Cup. Lacking in potential?


Came across this randomly, Wellington's own DJ Alphabethead covering ESG's tune UFO. Download it from his blog here.

Alphabethead says that it's an "unrealeased instrumental circa 2009. It’s my take on ESG’s amazing “UFO”. When I lived on Mt Kau Kau I used to frequently see flying saucers knocking about high in the Wellington sky. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a UFO since October that year. The video features documentary footage from the historical 1956 Washington flying saucer attack."

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Whitney cumbia dubplate

Los Angeles DJ Jeremy Sole has done a tasty remix for Sola Rosa, here's his Whitney Houston cumbia remix. DL too. Love the comment from someone who didnt like the airhorn. What's wrong with you?


Speaking of Sideways alumni, here's something special from Sola Rosa... free DL

Sideways 2000

ONSIDE: For a musical bit on the side, listen no further than the selections of sounds on local compilation Sideways. 

By Peter McLennan, Pavement magazine, 2000

Sixteen months ago, Auckland DJ/producer Stinky Jim (AKA James Pinckney) began developing a germ of an idea that he had bubbling away in the recesses of his dub-addled brain. The result of his labours is Sideways, a compilation that bears the endearing subtitle "a sizzling selection of stinking southern hemispherical sounds".

A collection of some of the finest sonic sorcerers from around these parts, the album delivers tracks mostly written and recorded especially for this disc, and includes such artists as SJD, Sola Rosa, Mood Unit, Pains People, Juse, Submariner, Dooblong Tondra, International Observer and Pinckney's own outfit Phase 5, to name but a few.

''It's an idea that's been kicking around for a while between myself and Richard Whittington from Rockers Hifi,'' explains Pinckney. "Richard has always taken an interest in New Zealand music. He's done stuff with Unitone Hifi, Phase 5 and Short Fuse. He's just an open-minded musical geezer.

"We discussed it as something from over here that could be good for their label [Different Drummer] over there. When they played here last year, it was just obvious that there's been a surge of lots of interesting music from lots of different angles. You could pull something together that would be cohesive enough but the quality would be there."

Pinckney fired half a dozen tunes across to the UK to convince Whittington it was a workable idea.

Once he got the thumbs up, he set about pursuing a swag of musical delights. "I wanted each tune to be hand-picked,'' says Pinckney. "I chose songs from people's live sets and so on. It's taken a long time to do it but it does stand out. The thing that attracts me to all of them is that none of them are just genre- peddlers. They're not just chucking out tunes.

They're all trying to do something a little bit sideways, a little bit bent. And, of course, I like them all."

All of the Sideways artists are independent in more than just their musical approach. "None of them are signed to a major label," observes Pinckney.

"They've all got an independent spirit and that comes across in their music. A lot of them have also released their own recordings. These people have all forged their own path and it's fantastic for me, having lived here for 10 years. It's the first time I've really felt that you could scoop up a dozen folks like that and make it work in that way."

Pinckney put his belief into action, fronting up the cash to pay for the release of Sideways on his own label, Round Trip Mars Records. No Arts Council hand-outs here, just a slice of savvy local enterprise.

The compilation is scheduled for release in the UK and Europe on Different Drummer early next year.

There is also the possibility of a US release too, leaving Pinckney confident that when Sideways hits foreign soil, at least four or five of the artists on the compilation will attract interest from record labels overseas.

"There's this surge of bubbling talent out there who don't want to play by the same old genre rules,'' enthuses Pinckney. "It's really exciting. Finally, the edges are getting more blurred again. It's cool!''

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Record Store Day love

Happening again on April 21, first out of the blocks is a very limited vinyl release from Toy Love.

Via Cheese on Toast: "Real Groovy will be the very first NZ record store to release vinyl specifically to celebrate International Record Store Day this April 21st – with a strictly limited run of 400 vinyl double albums (200 on pink vinyl; 200 on black) capturing the legendary Toy Love performing one of their last live shows – nearly 32 years ago on Friday 12th September 1980 at The Gluepot in Ponsonby, Auckland.

There will be NO digital or compact disc release of this item.

Fifteen / Blackboard Grin / Unscrewed Up / Amputee Song / Toy Love Song / I Wanna Die WIth You / Don’t Catch Fire / Bedroom / Photographs of Naked Ladies / Lust / Second to Last Song Toy Love Ever Wrote / Sheep / Swimming Pool / Fast Ostrich / Good Old Joe / I Thought I Needed You / I’m In Love / Green Walls / Horror Comic / Rebel / Cold Meat/ Don’t Ask Me / Squeeze / I Don’t Mind / Ain’t It Nice / The Crunch / Death Rehearsal / Bride of Frankenstein / Pull Down the Shades


When I heard at the weekend that Ashton Kutcher was tipped to play Steve Jobs in a biopic on the Apple head honcho, I figured it had to be an April fools prank. Turns out it's true. Pic above suggests it might work out. Via Laughingsquid.

Mo Kolours bizznizz

Mo Kolours tune remixed by Beautiful Swimmers - download it free along with the rest of EP2: Banana Wine right here. Or listen below...

Dub Combinations

Photo: Mat Baker
DUB COMBOS By Stephen Jewell. Published in Pavement, April/May 2000

Considering Aotearoa's long-standing affinity with reggae and dub, it was a natural move for Auckland's dance music factory Kog Transmissions to highlight the best of our dub producers on their latest release, Dub Combinations.

Calling in an expert in the field certainly worked on Kog house compilation, Algorhythm, thanks to the efforts and expertise of Subware's Joost Langeveld. For Dub Combinations, Kog's resident dub master, Andrew Manning, wasted no time in contacting 95bFM DJ Dubhead, who ranks as one of the counters finest dub and reggae authorities.

Dubhead's pedigree dates back to the beginning of his DJing days in 1983. "When I first started, I only played early '70s stuff like King Tubby,'' recalls Dubhead. "But, as I went along, I branched out and started incorporating hip-hop tracks and dancefloor and raggamuffin, At the time, no other DJs were playing dub. That's how I became Dubhead.''

Andrew Manning's roots lie in heavy metal and industrial music but his life changed when he first heard dub. "The first CD I listened to that made me go 'Wow!' was Pay It All Back. Volume Three," he remembers, citing Dub Syndicate and the On U Sound System as major influences.

''All I'd listened to up till then was heavy heavy metal. Once I started my metal thing, it just got heavier, until I got to Napalm Death and everybody else was commercial crap. Then, all of a sudden, right at the other end of the spectrum, I heard this spacey, soft music. It had hard drums and bass but, compared to heavy metal, it was so lush and amazing."

Dub Combination's line-up is about as eclectic as you can get, including tracks by artists not normally associated with dub, such as Epsilon Blue and 50 Hz, while Langeveld himself returns to his Unitone Hifi 'roots'. Patio, aka Involve Record's Bevan 'Aspen' Smith and Michael 'Jet Jaguar' Upton, provide a taster of their just- released collaborative album, Parallel Play.

Dubhead's own Sound Foundation also contribute, as do digital dub stalwarts International Observer and Salmonella Dub, with Andy Morton's Dub Mariner mix of Johnny.

''Even though this compilation is very studio and technology-driven, there's something about New Zealand and its environment which is reflected in the music, insists Manning.

"The dub thing in New Zealand is not a current trend. It's something that's grown slowly over the last 18 years as a mass, conscious thing. People are getting more and more aware of it. Ten years ago, you could say 'dub music' to people and they wouldn't know what you were talking about. But now, because of Massive Attack, they do know and that's reflected in the music that's made here.

''New Zealand also has its own dub sound," Manning argues. "We get all these influences from America, Australia and the UK and then we put our own twist on them. This music could only come from here.''

Shut up and play the hits

New clip from the highly-anticipated forthcoming LCD Sound System documentary. NME reports that the film has picked up distribution from Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys.

"Yauch's company Oscilloscope Laboratories, will be releasing the film in North America this  [northern] summer. According to LCD Soundsystem's Twitter, the movie will be out in the UK later in the year.

Adam Yauch has said of the film: "Perhaps having grown up in a band for most of my life – a band that formed when I was 16 years old – and having released our first record when I was still in high school, this film addresses so many questions. For instance, it can be pretty clear when a band starts, but perhaps less so when it ends, or how it should end. In that sense, it's brilliant of James [Murphy] to end it in such a definitive way."

Kim Fowley profiled

Kim Fowley in Auckland 1979. From Kim's Myspace.
Recall it was in RIU, so probably shot by Murray Cammick

From the LA Times. Fowley had a brief spell in NZ in the late 1970s, trying to make hits. He worked with the band Street Talk, recording their self-titled debut LP at Mandrill Studio.

The late Ian Morris describes the band on his site like this: "Streettalk were a pure blues band in the mid-late 1970s, so it was something of a surprise in 1981 when mad rock svengali Kim Fowley came to NZ at the behest of WEA head honcho Tim Murdoch to produce this slice of Springsteen-esque melodrama. Bemusement would probably be the best way to describe the band's reaction to the whole process."

LA Times: "Kim Fowley pulls DVDs, fliers, CDs, a hospital admission slip and more DVDs out of a jumble of media on the mixing board of a drab Hollywood strip-mall studio. Per usual, the infamous pop schlockmeister has a beautiful young woman by his side. Fowley wants to transform Snow Mercy, a scientist-turned-dominatrix/performance artist, into his latest star. But he's got a dozen other hustles going on too, and he hands a reporter one copy after another of B-minus movies. They all feature Kim Fowley.

"I'm the king of bad taste," says the man who started his songwriting, production and performance career with the 1960 novelty hit "Alley Oop." Fowley went on to work with artists including KISS, the Byrds, Helen Reddy and Frank Zappa and is perhaps most famous for helping form the 1970s band the Runaways..." Read the full story here.

BONUS: Kim Fowley’s Advice For New Zealand Musicians: Live Local and Think Global. By Alan Holt. Think it was written for Real Groove in mid 2000s.

"... I rang him [Fowley] ostensibly to talk about the Runaways but Kim declined this topic and decided he wanted to talk about “what’s wrong with New Zealand bands”. I thought “Sounds good” This is what he had to say.

“New Zealand needs to live local and think global. The musical community needn’t become a traveling circus rushing off to Australia, United States of America otherwise known as the USA, the UK or any other EU destination. Live local. Think global..."

Monday, April 02, 2012


Recent post on Andrew Schmidt's Mysterex blog... "Rip It Up and Start Again - Writing New Zealand Music History in 2012"  - cheers for the kind words.

"... Dub Dot Dash has marshalled a similar gathering of media around its interest area – urban dance related forms – but has always had the inclusive internationalist focus needed and isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions when necessary. Actual music journalism goes on here.

There is also a lot of community reassertion happening through sites such as Christchurch Punks on Facebook and the HTown Wiki.

In printed media, Volume is bringing a lot of reminisce into its pages, as is NZ Musician and Rip It Up, who have been doing it for a while, but again, this is not history, it is the stuff used to write history."

Awa, Che Fu

Former Nesian Mystik cat Awa with Che Fu. Deep tune! Video below...

"Toitū he whenua, whatungarongaro he tangata
." Land is permanent, man disappears.

Base FM’s Shake & Bake

Base FM’s Shake & Bake is back, this Easter Saturday, 7th of April, FREE! Midday til 6pm.

"This year’s Shake and Bake is moving to a brand, spanking new location down in Silo Park in the Wynyard Quarter. It’s all happening a little bit later than usual but here at Base FM we’re all about extending your summer as much as possible. So make sure you keep Easter Saturday, the 7th of April, free for some good times with the Base crew.

The line up is even bigger than ever – we’ve got Che Fu, Julien Dyne, Team Dynamite, Imagine This, Manuel Bundy, Junior, Jusayin’ and Zane:Tee all set to bring you the best day out to be had."

Friday, March 30, 2012

Purple Jose

Joes Feliciano blazes away on Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze, from 1985. Dude even drops the riff from MJ's Beat It at the end. Hat tip to Alan Holt.

This is my fave jam from Jose Feliciano, very groovy take on Beatles tune. I saw Mr Feliciano last time he played in Auckland in the mid 90s, it was downtown at a venue called Trillos, now long gone. I remember seeing Mikey Havoc race into the venue several songs after Feliciano had started. He dashed over to me and said "has he played Chico and the Man yet?" I replied "Yeah, that was his first song." Poor Mikey looked gutted. He loved that song.

Dub Terminator vs JStar

Free download over here, check this... tasty nz dub styles, remixed by UK producer JStar. Wicked vocal from Ras Stone.

Sir-vere ITFs 99

Scratch that itch

NZ ITF DJ Championship. By Peter McLennan, Pavement June/July 1999.

If all that scratching is making you itch, scratch the itch at the New Zealand finals of the International Turntablists Federation champs for hip-hop DJs in July and August.

Who’s got the skills to pay the bills? Always a pressing question. And if you’re a DJ, it’s one that will be answered at the New Zealand finals of the International Turntablists Federation Championships in July, when our best Djs will square off against each other for turntable supremacy and a chance to compete at the international finals in the United States.

‘’The ITFs were originally set up by Alex Aquino from San Francisco” explains Pavement hip-hop columnist and organiser of the New Zealand ITF finals, DJ Sir-vere (aka Philip Bell). ‘’He used to be the manager of the Invisibl Scratch Pikls, one of the best DJ crews on the planet. What happened was, the DMC champs put in a ban that the Scratch Pikls couldn’t enter their competitions because they were too good. They just kept winning every year.

“It’s the Q-Bert rule, so they can’t enter! And the DMC champs is only six minutes each. You do a routine and the judges decide who wins and that’s it. So they decided they’d have a battle version of it – DJs on DJs – and that’s the most ruthless competition to win in the world.

“For ITF, you do a three minute routine and out of all of them, they choose eight to go to the semi- finale’s continues Sir-vere. “And they do 30 seconds each, back and forth between each DJ, so you can directly diss the other guy in your routine, almost like a mini boxing match. You do two rounds, then two more, then the finals is three rounds. It’s way more dynamic. It’s super exciting to be there, it’s really hardcore, man! When we did it last year at [inner city Auckland bar)] Control Room, the crowd just went bananas, We’ve found that the standard of competition has got better each year.

“This year, I think they’ve finally got a grasp on it. In Wellington, they run them monthly, as a semi-battle, to get them into the form of them,

"This is the year we break through because, in the past, our winner would go to Australia and battle for the Australasian title, whereas we don’t do that now. We go straight to the world final because we’re to strong. Like in the final last year in Australia, there were three New Zealander’s and one Australian and the Australian won it. So I said to the guy in Aussie, ‘This is stupid, man! We’re obviously way stronger than you guys are.’ They wouldn’t want to hear that but that’s the truth, So I ended up doing a deal with the organisers and this year we’ll send the winner directly to the world final.”

Sir-vere has been to the world finals himself, travelling with NZ ITF champ DJ Raw from Wellington to San Francisco in 1997.

‘’It was pretty wicked, man!’’ exclaims Sir-vere, ‘’It’s exactly the same format but he was battling the world’s best. At the time, Raw was probably just slightly below the top four, whereas now he’s by far the best New Zealand DJ But he’s retired from battling now. It’s a real pity. He’d waste everybody easily, he’s so good. He got into the final 16 in the world. That’s awesome!

“The Wellington crew are so united and there’s such a huge DJ scene down there. Auckland is getting there but we’re two years behind them in organising ourselves. And I’m not saying two years behind them skillwise. But in organising a unified DJ crowd, Wellington is by far the best. They get together regularly. We have a unity problem in Auckland. And Wellington is so easy too, so central. In Auckland though, you’ve got P-Money from Papakura and, say, a whole bunch of guys here in central and it’s a long way out.”

Geographic problems aside, Sir-vere, former co-host of the sadly defunct Wreckognise hip-hop show on MTV with DLT, rates the local DJ chews very highly.
“Hip-hop here at the moment is pretty awesome,” he waxes. “Like on the True School hip-hop show [on Auckland’s 95bFM every Thursday night], we get all these guys to come up and freestyle on the mic. That’s going off every week.”

What is the attraction of the ITFs for Djs and crowds? “People like competitions, especially DJs,” insists Sir-vere. “I can’t think of how many times I’ve been to a gig and someone says, ‘Man, I can do better than that.’ With people who can scratch and mix, there’s an element of competition that will never go away. I just like the fact that we can represent Aotearoa New Zealand by sending somebody to the world champs.

“Initially, the reason I did it was because they had DJ Rockraida and he’s one of my favourite DJs I said I definitely want to get involved in that. I just wanted to do the gig with him, And then I realised that Rockraida was secondary to the fact that this was another way of advancing our local hip-hop scene, Look at it now. It’s awesome!”

The NZ ITF DJ heats take place in Auckland and Wellington in the first week of July. Guest DJ is Shortkut of the Invisibl Scratch Piklz. The New Zealand finals are held the first week ofAugust in Wellington, with a guest DJ to be announced shortly

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Half naked or infamous?

TV3 News is reporting that NZ band The Naked and Famous have been having words via Twitter with Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly, saying he stole a sample of their song Young Blood. Unfortunately for TNAF, the rapper has written permission to use it from the band. Or maybe their management forgot to tell them?

"[TNAF posted] “This guy… – This ‘artist’ has never once thanked, acknowledged or even asked our permission to use ‘Young Blood’,” the band wrote on their Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts.

The band has since deleted all online posts referencing the scandal, but not before MGK responded with a series of tweets.

“The band The Naked and Famous are the ones who cleared the song I sampled. I was paying hommage [sic] to them, not stealing, u f**kin idiots,” Machine Gun Kelly stated on his Twitter account.

@TNAF first and foremost, YOUR the ones who cleared the song in the first place. 2ndly I was referring to writing MY verses in that quote. I was actually a huge fan of yours and was paying hommage [sic] to yall by making a play off the name to describe my situation.

@TNAF yall deleted your tweet? Someone mustve showed u the paperwork of yall APPROVING that sample. Now apologize for ur bitchassness.”

ADDED Machine Gun Kelly also posted on Twitter :"I can't believe that weak ass group I was a fan of publically tried to make me seem like I stole their song last night... I have documents of The Naked and Famous giving us permission to SAMPLE their song, hence my version: Half Naked and Almost Famous."

UPDATED: Thom Powers of Naked and Famous has posted a clarification on their website: "When the Machine Gun Kelly work which samples our song and recording “Young Blood” first appeared online, it hadn’t been cleared by us. In fact we hadn’t even been approached about it. That was what I was referring to in my initial tweet. But, yes, our representatives did then work out a deal that permitted the use.

I do apologize for any confusion I might have caused. What I should have tweeted was:

“This artist has never personally thanked or acknowledged us for the use of Young Blood. He states he wrote this song - http://bit.ly/HhmDqn

ADDED: A commenter on TV3's story notes: "As found on the back of the Half Naked and Almost Famous EP [by Machine Gun Kelly]: “Half Naked and Almost Famous -(R. Colson Baker, B. Allen, A. Fitts, T. Powers, A. Xayalith, A. Short) -Contains elements of “Young Blood” written by T. Powers, A. Short, A. Xayalith and published by Sprit Two Music, Inc. (ASCAP), Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Used by permission. -This track contains a sample of the recording “Young Blood” as performed by The Naked and Famous. Courtesy of Universal Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises. Used by permission”.


Picasso Core Jukebox reviewed by Elsewhere.co.nz's Graham Reid

Hallelujah Picassos: Perfect (1995)

"Thanks to the enthusiasm of former member Peter McLennan, Auckland band Hallelujah Picassos -- once a fixture on the New Zealand music scene in the late Eighties to mid Nineties -- are being given their dues through a series of reissues.

First out of the blocks was the compilation disc Rewind The Hateman (reviewed here) and now there is an 11 track collection of their covers entitled Picasso Core Jukebox (which is available digitally here).

As mentioned previously, the HPicassos were pleasingly uncategorisable and often sounded like a collision between someone's classy reggae and ska collection and bus driven by a funkmaster containing a metal band. In fact when you think their peers were Supergroove, Head Like a Hole, Salmonella Dub and various hair-metal bands playing the "five bands for five bucks" nights at the Powerstation it all makes sense. Sort of.

They were like all of those (without the poodle hair) but sometimes hopped up on anger and most likely other things.

The Picasso Core Jukebox collection tosses out some very bent covers, among them Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love, Sixties garageband the Sonics' Psycho and Strychnine folded into one, Smokey Robinson's Tears of a Clown as reheard through Britain's The Beat, local singer-songwriter Greg Johnson's Talk in this Town . . .

In their own strange ways, they all made sense.

But this, a one-off previously unreleased run-through of The The's poised ennui of Perfect seems an unusual choice.

In the notes which accompany the collection, McLennan says they originally did it as a noisy grunge version as far back as '89 (that makes sense) but this version evolved over a day in the studio and what you hear is the first run-through with Bobbylon trying out a new drum pattern.

He thought they were just rehearsing it.

But folks, that was a take."