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:


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 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

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."