Monday, May 14, 2012

“Once Upon a Time in New York — The Birth of Hip-Hop, Disco & Punk” (2007).

Via Egotrip, hat tip to Jason F. Have sen this floating round before, well worth a look. NYC covered by Tommy Ramone, John Cale, Nile Rogers, David Mancuso, Chuck D, Kool Herc and more...







Homebrew slip to #2

The Top 40 album chart is out, Adele jumps to #1, and Homebrew drop down to #2. Mothers day bounce for Adele? [UPDATED: just been pointed out to me that Mothers Day sales bump was friday/saturday, and that will be counted in next week's chart, not this one]

The other Kiwi album in the top ten is Suzanne Prentice - imagine if Homebrew had been knocked from #1 by her.

Ah, never mind. Let's watch Homebrew bump into Neil and Sharon Finn on the street and try and get him to say "F#ck Dave Dobbyn"...


 
UPDATED from The Corner... Off the back of their triumphant debut at number one on the albums chart last week, Home Brew have opened up a pop up store in Ponsonby where they’re selling merch and copies of their debut album. The Home Brew Take Over Store, next to Video Ezy, 160 Ponsonby Road. Monday 14 May – Sunday 20 May, 11am – 11pm daily

Len Lye talk



 Roger Horrocks (Len Lye biographer and friend) talks about Lye, one of the greatest artists NZ has ever produced. Go give it a listen.

Joel and Nathan Haines talking all that jazz

Photo: Peter McLennan

Joel and Nathan Haines in conversation with Mike Chunn was part of the recent Auckland Writers And Readers Festival (and it was free - yay!). The Composer's Life was the topic, but before the questions started, they played some music, with Nathan on sax, Joel on guitar, and their father Kevin joining them on double bass. The tune was one of Joel's called "Live at Wembley", which Nathan said they'd explain the title later, but never got round to it. 

Mike Chunn tried to get Kevin to sit onstage with his sons but he wasn't keen, so Mike pointed out there was a glass of wine onstage for Kevin which Kevin leapt up and grabbed, then headed back to his seat in the audience. 

Mike started off by asking Joel and Nathan what were their first musical memories? They mentioned names like Gino Vannelli, Stevie Wonder, Art Blakey, Bill Evans, whatever their father chose to put on... Nathan said "Dad was the dark overlord of the stereo."

They grew up in Beachhaven, and went to Northcote College - they got to go to LA as part of the school big band and play some gigs, including Disneyland. Later in the conversation, Mike asks if they were good at school or did they get into trouble. Nathan says we were good, Joel mutters about being bad, and their Dad chimes in with "They were very good, it all went bad later."

Mike asked about their first time onstage. Nathan recalled their earliest gigs were at the Jazz Festival run by Tommy Adderley, at the Sheraton (now the Langham). Their father was playing with them, and they played some of his numbers, which Nathan remembers as "ridiculously difficult tunes." And that he and Joel could barely play. As Mike noted, they didn't take the easy option and just play Summertime

Mike asked what age were thay, and Nathan mentioned about 8 or 9. Mike jokingly suggested that maybe Kevin could be accused of child slave labour... Nathan says they started out playing at age 3 and 4, and he could read music by the time he started school.

Mike recalled the first Apra Silver Scrolls that featured artists covering the five finalists, and that Nathan  and Joel and their band Freebass had played one of the covers, doing a Headless Chickens number is such a fashion that it was largely unrecognisable, and split the room. Murray Cammick told Mike later that night that half the room loved it, the other half hated it. 

Talking about growing up, Nathan said that their mother was more artistic than their father, funnily enough. She was more from the visual side, their father more on the audio side. 

Mike asked about playing with your head or your heart, and Joel talked about his time playing with Human Instinct, which he said is about heart - "sometimes in that band, people are playing different songs! So it's all about heart with them."

They play another song, the title track off Nathan's latest album, The Poet's Embrace. Nathan describes the album as a "Straight to two track, wonderful analog affair." After the song, Nathan says "That's the first time we've played that one."

Mike talks about Nathan's latest album, saying he pre-ordered it, and got it on his iTunes, and asks is Nathan okay with that? Nathan says yes, it's all music. He made the album to be played on vinyl, and says the 300 copies have almost all gone. But any format is okay with him.

Mike asks Joel about his involvement in synchronisation (writing for film, tv). He says he got his big break writing music for tv series Mercy Peak. Prior to that he'd done session work for Murray Grindley on ads and so on and was very interested in that area. He talked about writing for the screen  - "To get it right, you've got to get inside the characters."

Joel says he really likes being part of a big machine where, if everyone gets it right, it becomes this incredible thing. Writing and recording music on his own at home suits him though he confesses "It drives my poor wife crazy!"

He says with his work "It's not about you, how well you are playing, it can be about the grading of a shot. I really like that. I never wanted to be a frontman."

They play one of Joel's film pieces, no song title given. 

Mike talks about choosing music for his father's funeral recently, and plays a snippet of the song he chose, and asks if they recognise it. It's Joni Mitchell's Court and spark, as covered by Nathan on his album Music for Cocktail Lovers. Mike asks would it have been a better song if Joni had used that [Nathan's] arrangement? Nathan says no. The song was suggested by Murray Thom (executive producer and financial backer of the album), from Herbie Hancock's version.

Nathan talked about his former manager Matt Coleman talking with him when Nathan got back from the UK last year about his next album. Matt told Nathan "I''ve got this great idea, you should do an album covering classic NZ songs" [or words to that effect]. Nathan thought about it for 24 hours and said no. 

Mike expressed surprise that Nathan had taken that long to decide against it, suggesting a minute's thought would have been a better length. Guessing Mike didn't think it was a good idea then. And this from the man who bought us Double J and Twice the T.

Mike asked an oddly-worded question about whether Nathan thought NZ was too small for him to  sustain himself? Nathan said no, he was grateful for the support he had here and the audience he had built up. And the hanging question over this reply was why are you moving to the UK, then? 

Nathan described his latest album as one where he decided to make the kind of album he wanted to make, and just not worry about pleasing an audience or whatever, and that it has turned out to be his most well-received album to date.  

I'm not too sure why Nathan should be surprised that an album that aimed to be straight ahead jazz,  which is a pretty conservative musical choice, would do well. Seems like a no brainer to me. 

They close the session with another song, one of their early numbers, but again a lack of song titles. Nevertheless, a very entertaining hour of conversation and jazz. Thanks to all involved. 


Nathan Haines is playing a show on May 18 at Devonport's newly restored Victoria Theatre, playing The Poet's Embrace in full, before he shifts to the UK in June. Details and booking here

Picassos 95

Photo: Karl Pierard
From Pavement magazine, 1995, by Gemma Gracewood. 

If there's a band that can preach passionately about the state of our society for hours on end, it's the Hallelujah Picassos. The five members have been key players on Auckland's music and social scene long enough to know what they're talking about when they call for unity in our community. With the release of their new EP, Gospel of the DNA Demon, a 13-track "genetic mix-up'' of styles and sounds, the Picassos manifesto is at the forefront again.

"lt's very important for us that the community that we live in right now shakes up and we start believing that the individual is worth something,'' says vocalist and guitarist Raudra Bayanaka, aka Harold aka Roland. "What we've seen in the last 15 years in the media and in the music is the deconstruction of the individual. For example, we had the grudge period where it was cool to be a loser, it was cool to be down and out, it was cool to talk about how fucked up your childhood was." Peter McLennan, keyboards and samples, picks up the thread.

"We've learnt that cynicism is a totally healthy way of thinking, which to me is extremely unconstructive.'' Johnny Pain, bass, agrees. ''It constrains people from solving problems. They wallow in trash culture and drown in self-pity. The thing is, no matter how bad you feel, there are ten million other people in exactly the same predicament, and you should take strength from the fact you're not alone,''

Continues Harold: "There's too much selfishness, too much 'fuck you, fuck you'. We've had enough of that. Evelybody's worth something again. We need unity. But the unity thing doesn't mean that everyone should be homogeneous. That's not the idea at all. You're supposed to salvage individuality. You can be wildly different and still be all pushing in the same direction.'' A bit like the Hallelujah Picassos, really.

[I remember the photographer for this article thought he had a great idea, of shooting us all with our shirts, off, then overlaying them. Catch was, Harold didn't want to take his shirt off.]

Green Onions

Sunday, May 13, 2012

RIP Donald Duck Dunn

Legendary bass player Donald 'Duck' Dunn with Booker T and the MGs/Stax Records crew has passed away aged 70.

Steve Cropper, the MGs guitarist, broke the news on his Facebook page at approximately 12:30AM Eastern time.

“Today I lost my best friend, the World has lost the best guy and bass player to ever live,” Cropper, his lifelong friend, wrote. “Duck Dunn died in his sleep Sunday morning May 13 in Tokyo Japan after finishing 2 shows at the Blue Note Night Club.” Source.

Booker T and the MGs were the house band at Stax and backed up Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett and many more, as well as having their own hits with instrumentals like Green Onions, Time is Tight, and Melting Pot, a popular tune with early hiphop DJs.

ADDED: obituary from Memphis Commercial Appeal, with comments from David Porter, Deanie Parker.





Miles Davis signed single


A Miles Davis 1955 signed single has popped up on Trademe. Apparently the owners tried to list it on eBay but found that process to be "...a nightmare. Trademe need to give those fellas a lesson ".



"This is very rare indeed. It has been signed by all the band members who played on this album with Miles signing by doodling a trumpet and a caricature of him playing the trumpet.
Signed by - Red Garland, piano, Phineaus Newborough (Philly Joe Jones), drums,
Oscar Pettiford, bass

We think Miles has put MD on top of Oscars but not sure. The album cover is very faded on the front and some knuckle head has sellotaped the cover up, as you can see. The album is in very good condition and the company is Metronome from Sweden. The recorded songs are - A Gal in Calico and I Didn't." See Trademe. Starts at $990.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Words



Two sessions at the Auckland Writers And Readers Festival that may appeal to music fans... both on Sunday May 13, both at the same time. Lousy scheduling on the part of festival orgainsers...

1. Award-winning writer Chris Bourke (Blue Smoke) presents Auckland After Hours... more info here...

"Prize-winning Blue Smoke (2010) author Chris Bourke brings back to life the venues, sounds and changing dance fashions of the Auckland music scene – from the first cabarets and jazz bands of the 1920s featured at the Dixieland on Queen Street (now Real Groovy), to the arrival of rock ’n’ roll to Auckland in 1956.

The latter drew teenagers to the Trades Hall in Hobson Street at the same time that more sophisticated venues offering jazz combos, cabaret and groundbreaking liquor access were becoming established for adults.

Bourke has spent years searching out the rare archival audio recordings, photos and ephemera that vividly illustrate the sights and sounds of Auckland at play. Introduced by Josie McNaught."

Time: 01:15 p.m. - 02:15 p.m.
Venue: AUCKLAND ART GALLERY AUDITORIUM
Price: Earlybird $20, Standard $25, Patrons $16, Students $12.50


2. Nathan and Joel Haines - The Composer's Life. More info here...

"Brothers Nathan and Joel Haines are musicians and composers of note, each having carved out successful musical careers.

The sons of an accomplished bassist, the pair spent their formative years performing around Auckland and joined the group Freebass in the early 1990s.

Nathan, who has produced seven solo albums to date, has lived in both New York and London, where his musical career has been influenced by a range of other musical genres.

Joel meanwhile has an impressive list of composing credits to his name for feature films, television series and commercials and has worked with a myriad of Maori directors and artists, including traditional Maori instrument players. They speak with Mike Chunn about the composer’s life. Supported by APRA/AMCOS."

Time: 01:00 p.m. - 02:00 p.m.
Venue: UPPER NZI ROOM, AOTEA CENTRE, Free.

Ring The Alarm playlist, Basefm, 12 May

Outlines - Waiting in line inst
Gary Byrd - The Crown
Jimmy Bo Horne - I get lifted
Kid Creole - I'm a wonderful thing baby
Pimps of joytimes - PJTs high steppin
Homebrew - Plastic magic feat Esther Stephens
Temptations - Zoom
Ozomatli - Superbowl sundae - Peanutbutter wolf remix
Sister Nancy - Big beat bam
Pablove Black - Poco tempo
Alton Ellis - It's a shame
Jackie Mittoo - Hang em high
Vin Gordon - Steady beat
Q-Tip - Breathe and stop - TenDJiz mashup
Guilty Simpson - Man's world
Funkmaster Flex - Safe sex no freaks
Prince - Housequake
Gil Scott Heron - B Movie
Sister love - You've got to make the choice
Ike and Tina Turner - Somebody somewhere needs you
Jean Carn - Free Love - Victor Rosado re-edit
Scrimshire - Everything you say - LV remix
Mo kolours - Banana wine

Friday, May 11, 2012

Radio radio



Hat tip to Dan News. 'The History of NZ Radio' through the eyes of the Radio Awards team (NSFW, contains swearing)... As Andrew Dubber noted on Twitter, "Frighteningly accurate. The real history of radio in Auckland in the 1980s, starring everyone as themselves: "

Fela Live!


Strut have just released Fela Kuti, Live in Detroit 1986. "Previously unheard Fela Kuti live material. Need we really say more? We're extremely pleased to offer a document of the inimitable architect of Afrobeat, recorded shortly after his release from Nigerian prison. Fela Kuti Live In Detroit 1986 is out this week on 2xCD, 4xLP, and digital download." Go here to Strut's site for free download.

Via Pitchfork, tracklist:
01 Just Like That
02 Confusion Break Bones
03 Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense
04 Beast of No Nation

Official release of previously bootlegged concert from Fela's first North American tour with Egypt 80. The first album of official unreleased Fela music since his last studio album, 1992's Underground System.




Thursday, May 10, 2012

Home brew #1 next mon?


Today's NZ Herald Timeout entertainment section congratulates Homebrew on entering the album charts at number one - " Selling your album to every punter who came to a marathon 48 hour album release party was a savvy idea."

Except the cutoff for the charts is on Thursday. Meaning Homebrew's album was on sale for only two and a half days (iTunes on Tues, JB Hifi on Wed and others) and still hit number one. Those album sales at their album release party at the weekend will be counted this week, if they had organised to get them included and met the relevant criteria for chart returns.

UPDATED I have had it confirmed by Homebrew's distributor/label that they will be including album sales at the release party in the chart returns this week.

Bob Marley doco hits NZ screens in July

Marley, the new documentary on Bob Marley currently doing the rounds of film festivals overseas, and will hit NZ shores in July, as part of the NZ Intl Film Festivals, which start in Auckland on July 19. It will also be the first time that the half a billion Facebook users worldwide can download and pay for a film at the same time it is in cinemas.

From the trailer you can see bits of footage connected with NZ, like a snippet of Dylan Taite's interview with Marley, and a shot of Marley walking out onstage at Western Springs in 1979.



From TV3 News... "the Jamaican singer died of cancer in 1981.

He kept his illness to himself until it was too late, and of the ninety people interviewed for the film, [director Kevin] MacDonald still couldn't find out why.

“I'd like to know did he know he was ill before the end of his life? I think he did, I just think he didn't tell anyone, but certainly no one around him knew that he was ill.”

“My life is only important if I can help plenty people. My life isn’t for my own security, my life is for people,” Marley says in the film.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Mr Bradley



If you haven't got a copy of No Time For Dreaming, the debut album by Charles Bradley, what are you waiting for? Life is hard - listen to some soul music. 


More from their Jools Holland appearance here.

Macking, not slacking....

Still from Sureshot video
A lot of obituaries for Adam Yauch are resorting to quoting one lyric of his, from Sureshot, to supposedly show how he redeemed himself for his earlier misogynist lyrics. But he wasn't just one lyric. 

When I went back this past week and listened thru the Beasties catalog, one of the many great lyrics that stuck out for me was the next line in Sureshot after the one quoted below  - it went  Well you can say I'm 20-something and I should be slacking, but I'm working harder than ever, and you could calll it macking... 

I remember when I first heard that line, I was a 20-something, and the media had taken to labelling young creative bohemian types as slackers, cos we didn't work a regular job - we were doing half a dozen jobs, not all for money either. I knew a ton of people like that in AKLD in the mid 90s. Hearing that lyric reinforced that it was ok to do that, it WAS work. And you looked at The Beastie Boys, with their record label, and clothing line, and magazine, and went, yeah, I am working harder than ever....

From the LA Weekly, a great piece called  Let's Not Reduce Adam Yauch's Career to a Single Lyric....

"...from the string of memorials that have come out since his death, one could get the impression that a single stanza came to define his career, from the group's 1994 track "Sure Shot": 
I wanna say a little something that's long overdue
The disrespect to women has got to be through.
To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends,
I wanna offer my love and respect to the end


This lyric was quoted in the majority of the high-profile obituaries and remembrances of Yauch, including here, here, here , here and here. Noting the preponderance of off-color and misogynist remarks in the group's early work, one writer said that Yauch's evolution represented "a reassuring sign of the possibility of growth and maturity in hip-hop." To another, "this is the Yauch people remember: a man who could say he was sorry and not feel lessened by it."

For sure, Yauch was a complex person. During different parts of his life he was a rapper, a director, a bassist, a basketball fan, a father, a philanthropist, and a Buddhist. At some point after the Beastie Boys blew up he began to passionately and publicly embrace a number of liberal causes.

He also disavowed his previous, virulent homophobia; in other words, he grew up -- something that is not particularly profound for rappers or anyone else. Yes, Yauch should be applauded for taking stock of himself and changing his content. (And perhaps for encouraging others to do the same thing.) But this stance and the above lyric are not Yauch's legacy. Rather, his legacy is his role in one of the most important groups in hip-hop history. And the trio's most important music is, in large measure, their early material -- the stuff they released before "Sure Shot" -- warts and all.

The desire to put Yauch into a socio-political context is understandable for obituary writers. But to imply that this lyric somehow epitomized Yauch's career -- or that his evolution will be what he is ultimately be remembered for -- is an attempt at revisionism.

If we've decided to judge rappers primarily on how delicately they treat the issue of gender relations, than we can go ahead and throw out the majority of Biggie and Tupac's greatest works, for starters.

Again, this is not a defense of misogynist lyrics in hip-hop. But to say that much of what made Yauch great was his disavowal of his randy "alpha male stuff" is to miss the point; it is not controversial to call Licensed To Ill and Paul's Boutique the group's most important works. (Ill Communication is a dope album, but it didn't change rap like those other two.)

Remember, it's okay to think albums are amazing even if you think some of the sentiments expressed on them are deplorable. That's true of hip-hop as a whole."

Ghost returns


Ghostface Killah returns to NZ for shows in June, taking in Christchurch (June 5) and Wellington for the first time (June 6) and revisiting Auckland (June 7). I saw his previous show here in 2009, his first time in NZ - it was a wicked night, he absolutely rocked it. He's also bringing Killah Piest from the Wu Tang collective as part of his touring crew. And Chch and Welli get locals @Peace in support, which is well cool.

"On stages across the globe, his urgent delivery, dense fascinating slang, raw jokes and emotive stream-of consciousness-narratives have delighted audiences for two decades. This June, Ghostface Killah embarks on his second ever New Zealand tour, taking in debut performances in Wellington and Christchurch. This is a rare opportunity to witness the talent described by Q Magazine as, "one of raps finest storytellers" and praised by MTV and About.com as one of the greatest MCs of our era."

June 5, USCA Events Centre Foundry, Christchurch
Tickets from http://www.dashtickets.co.nz/event/24wq8751r or from the Christchurch iSite (next to the Museum).

June 6, San Francisco Bath House, Wellington 
Tickets from http://www.dashtickets.co.nz/event/f49nph1s0 or from Rough Peel Music and Cosmic Corner Wellington.

June 7, Powerstation, Auckland 
Tickets available from Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.co.nz. Limited early birds $50+bf, and then 65+bf. Local line up TBC.

There's a few fan reviews of his last show in NZ on that Ticketmaster page of his last visit, best quote ... "I have to say this was the best show by a Wu-Tang member so far in NZ.... a real treat and a definite representation of WUTANG..."


BONUS... from last year, check Ghost Funk,  mashups from Max Tannone... Ghostface Killah, with vintage African funk, high-life, and psychedelic rock.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Homebrew #1 debut


Homebrew's album has debuted at number one on the album charts. Last local hiphop act to do that was in 2003. Congratulations, boys, you made it!

Having wrapped up their 48 hour album launch this morning at 10am, word on Twitter is the boys are off out again tonight to celebrate. They are hardy buggers.

@Kidz_In_Space: "Just drove past@HazTweetz [Haz] on K rd raising his arms in victory."

Now, I better go buy a copy of it this week so it stays at number one, aye. Roll on payday.

ADDED Michael Upton (Jet Jaguar, Montano) has written a great piece called All Home Brew's producers' other releases,  including Christoph El Truento, Si Res, Soul Chef, Fire and Ice (David Dallas) and more. 

Bill Brewster in AK

Bill Brewster is visiting our shores for the first time, DJing at Ink Bar on May 26. The night before, he's giving a seminar at Red Bull Studio, 13 Hargreaves St, Freemans Bay, at 730pm, called Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, also the title of an excellent book he co-authored with Frank Broughton. It's essential reading for any DJ. He's definitely got something to say that's worth hearing.

Brewster is a founding resident DJ of Fabric, and author of several books, including How To DJ (Properly), and The Record Players: DJ Revolutionaries. Check out DJHistory.com for more on Brewster and his great writing.

Bill Brewster. Photo: RBMA

From Resident Advisor: " One minute he’s rocking the roof off at Fabric with his tough and funky big-room underground house; the next he’s charming the pants off a more intimate crowd with everything from dubby disco, funk and hip-hop to trip hop and Latin batucadas. Armed with a sensitivity and sense of occasion that few DJs possess Bill Brewster knows how to work a crowd in the best possible sense.

Originally a chef, a football pundit (co-editor of fanzine When Saturday Comes) and record collector, Bill began DJing in in the late 80s, but he cut his teeth playing ‘Low Life’ warehouse parties in Harlem and the East Village – he moved to NYC to manage DMC’s US operation – and anyone hearing Bill today can see how these New York ‘roots’ shine through. For eclecticism, surprises, amazing unique music and sheer long-haul dedication to the dancefloor, Bill’s your man.

His other life is as a writer. Together with long-term pal Frank Broughton, Bill is author of the definitive history of DJing, Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, and has contributed his acid Grimsby wit and encyclopaedic knowledge of music to just about every dance rag there is, not to mention The Guardian, Independent and Mail On Sunday. The Brewster-Broughton double act unveiled their latest hit in 2002 with the uniquely sardonic DJ manual How To DJ (Properly).

He’s an industry insider, having brought Twisted records to the UK and launched his own highly successful deep house label Forensic. In his spare time he is often found in the studio, either with Fat Camp partner, Theo Noble, re-editing old disco, funk and rock records; or producing original music. They run a small edit label Disco Sucks.

As his hero Kid Creole would say, 'Annie I'm not your daddy.'

WHAT THE PRESS SAY ABOUT BILL
“What Bill Brewster doesn’t know about disc jockeying is probably not worth knowing.” Jockey Slut
“One of Fabric’s heroes is behind the decks for one of his multi-genre embracing sessions. It’s going to be a late one.” Metro
“The greatest book ever written about dance music.” Daily Mirror on Last Night A DJ Saved My Life





Via C-store blog, a Bill Brewster mixtape... "The mix, entitled Pre Season Optimist, offers a mix of cool super rare & hard to find records. Awesome nigerian funk, trippy dub disco, library grooves & other funky greatness."

And Bill Brewster - Live mix via RBMA Radio - he drops some Kora in there....

Chuck



 Chuck D talking about the Beastie Boys, rock n roll, and Bette Midler, and sitting with two great songwriters, Carole King and Smokey Robinson at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and then bugging out about it on Twitter - "I tweeted my ass off!"

Chuck calls out urban radio for failing black music in America right now, it's some straight talk. He says Public Enemy got on the Licensed to Ill tour in 87 cos as replacements for Fishbone, and cos they were cheap.

Clip via Dangerous Minds - Read Chuck D's speech inducting the Beasties here.

Numero

Fascinating article from Bloomberg Businessweek, on the Numero Group label. Read it in full here

"...In an industry struggling to stay afloat, Numero is an anomaly: It’s a growing and profitable record company. Dedicated to unearthing lost musical treasures—primarily in the realms of soul, funk, and gospel—the eight-year-old label has amassed legions of devoted fans, including rocker Robert Plant, author Michael Chabon, and actress Zooey Deschanel. Numero, which grossed more than $1 million in 2011, has a grand ambition that belies its modest size: to be the world’s greatest reissue label.

It’s fitting that a record label that relies on serendipitous discoveries was founded by chance. Ken Shipley, 34, a former talent rep for Salem (Mass.)-based reissue label Rykodisc, met Rob Sevier, 33, whose résumé includes a stint at Merge Records, at a Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings concert in 2002. 

Around the same time, longtime advertising executive Tom Lunt, 60, who had previously logged time at record chain Sound Distributors, bumped into Shipley at a record store. Then they crossed shopping carts in a grocery store. Following those random encounters, the three discussed the idea that became Numero. In an effort to retain complete control, the co-founders decided not to solicit outside investors, instead relying on $23,000 of Lunt’s personal savings to get things going...." Read more


Dotcom, large and in charge



Kim Dotcom has released a rap song about John Banks and his apparent amnesia... "John Banks, he's got the vote, thats why John Key keeps him afloat, in his cabbage boat..."

Sure shot

This is a great piece from New York magazine, put together at the time of the release of Hot Sauce Committee Pt 2 in 2011."To mark that occasion, a look back at the birth of the Beastie Boys sound, as told by the people who lived it." It's an oral history of the early days of the Beastie Boys career, from 1981 to 87.

Hear from the band, Bad Brains' Darryl Jennifer, Dante Ross, Thurston Moore, Run and DMC. And Molly Ringwald, who was dating Adam Horowitz. She recounts the time she drank the Beasties under  the table while on tour, in 86.

Run DMC took them on tour as their opening act in 86... DMC: "For the first couple of days of the tour, the towns we were playing were in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee—this was the black South. We expected to hear boos, so we were reluctant to be on the side of the stage, to see them get disappointed.

"But then from the dressing room, we’d hear “Yeaaaaaah! Yeaaahhh!” It was the black audience, praising these dudes. The reason they were so good: It wasn’t white punk rockers trying to be black emcees. They wasn’t talking about gold chains or Cadillacs. They were white rappers rapping about what they did. Real recognize real."

And then there's this....

 

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Trinity Roots vs taxman

Photo: NZ Musician/Sarah Hunter

The Dominion Posts reports that Trinity Roots owe the taxman $100,000.

"Liquidators appointed this month have assumed control of Trinity Roots Ltd's finances, but say it has virtually no assets and any unsecured creditors are unlikely to be repaid.

The company's listed directors are founding members Rio Hemopo and Warren Maxwell. Maxwell also played with Fat Freddy's Drop and is the front man of Little Bushman.

Former members Riki Gooch and Darren Mathiassen are listed as former directors.

The band was formed in 1998 but disbanded in 2005. [They reformed in 2010, but original drummer Riki Gooch departed soon after and was replaced by Jean Pompey in mid 2011.]

Trinity Roots Ltd was fined $1560 in 2006 for 22 charges of failing to file tax and GST returns over three years. Its lawyer at the time told the court the returns had simply been overlooked.

Liquidator Paul Bartley said yesterday at least part of the current debt – totalling $99,140.59 in unpaid taxes and penalties – was linked to the historic charges.

Trinity Roots' co-manager Ange Kalogeropoulos – Maxwell's partner – said the financial troubles had a long history.

"It all [harks] back to when they were originally all together. The management they had completely failed them in the end.

Ms Kalogeropoulos said the tax debt was not the reason the band broke up.

"But after they did break up there were a lot of things that came to light that had been going on that the guys were completely oblivious to. In a business sense, they were directors of that company, they were responsible in that regard."

She declined to name the band's previous managers...."

A quick search reveals the band's manager prior to the 2005 split was Toby Larmer, who also managed Hollie Smith, Kora, Cornerstone Roots, and Phoenix Foundation. 

Sam Scott of the Phoenix Foundation, told me via Twitter that their manager at that time was  "Way too casual. [he was] disorganised, not into the details. Awesome dude though, being a bad accountant doesn't mean you're a dick."

Check your head

The Beastie Boys toured to NZ a lot - they played here in the early 1990s at the Powerstation, and later tours called in at the Logan Campbell Centre with Helmet, the North Shore Events Centre, the Big Day Out....

I remember when my old band Hallelujah Picassos got the opening slot for the Beastie Boys show at the Powerststaion, we were hanging round waiting for soundcheck and one of the band was skateboarding round the dancefloor of the Powerstation, so we gave him a copy of our album. Wish I could remember which band member it was.

On that visit I also remember seeing the Beasties around central Auckland a bit, up on Victoria st by the offices of Stratford Productions, the film company that shot their music video in Rotorua for the song Gratitude , watch it here.

Here's Yauch talking about his debut feature as a director, a b-ball documentary called Gunnin' for the #1 spot... at 1.10 he talks about how he got into film making, shooting super 8 film to project behind the band... he had his own film  production company Oscilloscope Laboratories, who were getting into film distribution too....




Download: Mick Boogie’s Beastie Boys: Grand Royal Mixtape "In honor of the Beastie Boys being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...I thought it’s finally the right time to do a Beasties mixtape. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time… something people have asked me to do for a long time, actually...but I wanted it to mean something. Now, it’s finally the right time. 

I present to you Grand Royal. 80 minutes of my favorite Beastie Boys rarities, remixes, demos, live versions, out-takes, and more... I called my friend Jonathan Mannion, the legendary photographer (8 Jay-Z albums, 3 Eminem albums, Lil Wayne, Nas, Aaliyah, the list goes on and on), and we decided to re-shoot the iconic cover from the Beastie’s 1989 classic Paul’s Boutique...."



The Beastie Boys put out their own magazine Grand Royal, from 93-97 - Grand Royal was also the name of their record label. It was an intermittent thing - the second issue came out a year late. I've got 4 of the 6 issues, they are great reading. From interviews with Lee Scratch Perry to Robert Moog... read Remembering Grand Royal magazine, from Atlantic Monthly...

Plus photographer Glen E Friedman has posted some previously unpublished photos of his of the band... hanging with David Lee Roth, Billy Idol and others... 

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM May 5

A celebrate the start of NZ Music Month, a ton of fine Kiwi reggae and downtempo, and a Beasties tune.

Fat Freddys Drop - Hope - Sonsine remix
International observer - Vale
Jefferson Belt - Creeping tings of the earth
Lord Echo - Thinkining of you
Fredericks Brown - Betrayal - Dusty remix
Snap - Sidewalk city dance mix
DJ Vee feat Mighty Asterix - The best in me
Eru Dangerspeil - Sun again
Joint force - Static - Mario Bros remix
Kas Futialo - Good morning Samoa
Cornerstone roots - Forward the sax
The Yoots - E papa waiari
Dub terminator and Ras Stone - Love you so much
Dub connection - Dub skuffle
Black seeds - Make a move - Downtown Brown version
Tiki - Burning fire - Oogun remix
Lost tribe - Summer in the winter
Ermehn - Don't be late
Che Fu - Misty frequencies - Submariner remix w Hype The Native
@peace - Home
Scratch 22 - For walking faces
Manuel Bundy - What's your style?
Dub Asylum - Ba ba boom
Herbs - French letter dub version
Beastie Boys - Hey ladies

The Beastie Boys - Gratitude, shot in Rotorua, early 1990s...

R.I.P Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys)

Adam Yauch has died of cancer, aged 47. Very sad news.

Yauch was involved in directing the group's videos, as Nathaniel Hornblower. Read a letter he wrote to the New York Times in 2004, regarding their negative review of their video - 'CH-CHECK IT OUT'; One Goat, on Account.

RIP MCA: Vintage Ricky Powell Photos From the 'Paul's Boutique' Sessions

ADDED New York Times reports "he died at 9 a.m. on Friday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan with his parents, his in-laws, his wife, Dechen Wangdu, and his 13-year-old daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch, at his bedside. He had been admitted to the hospital on April 14 after a three-year battle with cancer of the salivary gland. He was conscious until the end."

Expat NZer Kirk Harding on the Beastie Boys..."...pauls boutique was monumental, but it was so different that it took me a minute to catch up. but check your head was whole other story. it was another leveling bomb-blast to my musical universe. it turned me on to a whole new world of music and for that moment the beasties couldn’t get any cooler. their magazine, clothing line, record label all spoke to me and hipped me to artists as diverse as lee scratch perry, jorge ben & at the drive in.

i recently sat with lyor cohen and asked after adam. lyor had just returned from the rock’n’roll hall of fame ceremony, where the beasties boys had been inducted. i could instantly tell by the look on lyor’s face that the news was bad. he responded by simply saying “he’s not well”. i knew at that moment that this day was coming and i was gutted. "


Bill Adler, formerly of Def Jam Records, remembers Yauch. Source.

“My first impression of the Beastie Boys—they were little punks, they were brats. That was my first impression of them. They certainly weren’t interested in making nice with me although I didn’t really take it personally, that’s just the way they were at a time. They got pulled into the Rush artists family and they started going out on tour with Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Houdini and the rest of our guys, and they relaxed a little bit. Not just with me, but with all of us who were working with Russell Simmons at the time, so became closer then.

Adam struck me as the angriest [member] of the Beastie Boys. He really wasn’t a happy guy and he didn’t mind expressing his unhappiness, and I don’t mind talking about it now because he really transformed himself. It was quite a long time ago, 20 years ago or more, that he found Buddhism and he managed to transform himself and calm himself down, so the last 25 years of his life were much more peaceful than the first.


Licensed To Ill came out in 1986 and that was everybody’s first taste of the Beastie Boys, and they lived up to their name. Then they came back three years later in 1989 with Paul’s Boutique and it was a very different album, it was very much in tune with the times, in terms of what was going on with hip-hop at that time. It was really a conscious rap album and it was deliberately that way. After Licensed To Ill, they felt some regret about the sexism on the album, and they really were regretful. It’s not like they apologized for it on Paul’s Boutique but it was going to be a lot more woman-friendly than Licensed To Ill had been.

The thing to remember about the Beastie Boys is that they were a punk rock band before they started making rap records. They started making records, I believe, in 1982 and a quasi rap record in 1983 with Cooky Puss. In 1984 they signed with Rick Rubin and Def Jam and they started to release rap singles produced by Rick, so that’s when I started working with them. I worked with them in ‘84, ‘85 and in ‘86 here’s comes Licensed To Illand in ‘87 Licensed To Ill was the biggest record in rock 'n' roll.

The whole idiom was so new, rap was so new, hip-hop was new, it’s not like there were rules about how one was supposed to compose himself. Nothing was set in stone at that point and they were unique—these were three white kids, they weren’t trying to use the model of some of the great black rappers who had preceded them. They were very much who they were and they brought their punk rock sensibility into it and they rhymed about the things that mattered to them, and in that way, they were precursors to somebody like Eminem. When Eminem came out he didn’t sound like Jay-Z and he didn’t sound like Snoop Dogg and he wasn’t writing about those kinds of things, he had his own personality and it was the same thing with the Beastie Boys then.

The thing to understand about the Beastie Boys is that the music itself was so magnificent and it was so effective. I remember the Beastie Boys go out at the bottom of the bill on the Raising Hell Tour in 1986—It’s Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and Houdini—and the Beastie Boys scampered out for 25 minutes at the beginning of the night every time. They were playing nothing but arenas and the crowd was about 95 percent black, so you’d imagine that that’d be a tough crowd for the Beastie Boys, but they went out and the music was strong and the performance was strong and they made friends every single night all summer long. It was not a problem, they were accepted because they were wonderful.

Their biggest contribution as a group might not even have been the effect within hip-hop. To me, it’s more about their effect on the rock mainstream. They emerged at a moment when rock ‘n roll, in the early-to-mid 80s was terribly bloated and self-important—it was decadent truthfully—so they brought a punk energy back into the rock mainstream. They were funny, they were smart, they were quick. The songs were well-shaped and hard-hitting and they were not pretentious at all. Their entry into the rock mainstream, I’d say really revolutionized things. There were many bands that followed in their wake and took inspiration from their example.

Yauch was the best conventional rapper of the three guys, he’s the one who sounded most like a “rapper” as far as I’m concerned but he was also a musician and he was a producer, so he always had a strong hand in the production of the band’s recording and I think his personal journey must’ve had its affect on his two partners as well. That transition from a Beastie Boy into a post-Beastie Man, somebody who grew up a little bit and had a better idea of how to treat women, because Adam himself went through that transition and it undoubtedly had an effect on his partners and on the group’s music."

Friday, May 04, 2012

R.I.P Lloyd Brevett (Skatalites)

Skatalites bassist Lloyd Brevett has passed away, aged 80. Story via Billboard.com.

"Lloyd Brevett, the upright bass player and founding member of the seminal Jamaican ska group The Skatalites, died this morning at Andrews Memorial Hospital in St. Andrew, Jamaica where he was being treated following a stroke and a series of seizures. He was 80.

The Skatalites were the preeminent collective in popularizing ska, an early 60s creation melding R&B, jazz, calypso and Cuban musical influences, and characterized by its distinctive emphasis on the after beat, as opposed to the down beat of R&B.


Together for just 18 months between 1963-1965 The Skatalites recorded many timeless instrumentals including "Eastern Standard Time" and "Guns of Navarone" for a variety of producers, most notably Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd.

Backing virtually every singer of note during that era, including teen sensations The Wailers on their 1964 hit "Simmer Down," The Skatalites' pioneering efforts at the dawn of the island's recording industry laid the groundwork for the development of rocksteady and reggae later in the decade and the subsequent international embrace of Jamaica's various indigenous genres..."

Happy birthday Keith Haring


One of my favourite artists... there was a fantastic show of his art in Wellington a while back. I got to interview Tony Shafrazi, his art gallery dealer for the show, read that interview here.

Watch part one of the doco about him below.

Pulsing



 Some NZ 80s electro from Wellington outfit the Body Electric, this release now long out of circulation, but you may find it with a bit of searching. From Club Bizarre blurb on the band...

"One of the first electronic bands from New Zealand to break the alterno-mainstream, The Body Electric were formed in 1982 by Alan Jimson (aka Alan Jansson, formerly of 1980s band The Steroids) and Andy Drey.

During their initial rehearsals, they were then joined by actor-turned-singer Garry Smith. The group's debut single, Pulsing, was picked up by radio programmers and spent 27 weeks in the charts. Not entirely indicative of their sound, the track has a novelty quality to it, coming across as a parody of emotionless electronic groups like Kraftwerk. 

Following the success of Pulsing, Andy Drey was replaced by Spines bassist Wendy Calder and the group released two more minor hits (Dreaming In A Life and Imagination) and a full length album before fading into obscurity."

Strut


German site Tonspion has a very cool Strut Records Sampler up for free download, go here to read more. Track listing...

1. Ebo Taylor - Kruman Dey (Radio Edit)
2. Dr Victor Olaiya's International All-Stars -Kinrinjingbin
3. Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo - Pardon
4. Fania All-Stars - Descarga Fania (Live)
5. Ugly Custard - Custard's Last Stand
6. Dennis Coffey feat. Kings Go Forth - Miss Millie
7. Section 25 - Dirty Disco
8. Naked Lunch - Slipping Again
9. Julian Jonah - Jealousy And Lies
10. Kid Creole & The Coconuts - We're Rockin' Out Tonight

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Mr Lee Fields



 The brand new video for "You're The Kind Of Girl", taken off Lee Fields & The Expressions - "Faithful Man" album out now on Truth & Soul Records.

 

From Truth and Soul's site: Check out the video that Stolen moments put together of Lee Fields talking about everything from the first heartbreak to playing a show with 2 Live Crew in 80′s... "It was the nastiest thing I've ever seen in my life" - Lee Fields.

Hawkins and Hazard


I get sent some pretty random music for this blog sometimes. This popped up out of the blue, from two young fellas from the US. And it's damn tasty instrumental bizznizz.... like this track, some abstract, blunted hiphop...




"HxH, the musical duo composed of Kareem Hawkins and Rodney Hazard is a young musical group that blends their love for Hip-Hop with sounds and vibes that are unexplored amongst most genres. After essentially developing a love for music at a young age in two completely different regions of the US, the two came together during their freshman year of college to pursue a career in the music industry. Years before even releasing music, the two honed their music production skills and more recently have become lyricists after only starting to write months ago..."

www.soundcloud.com/hazardxhawkins // HxH Bandcamp

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

C'est Chic 1978 tv ad

R.I.P Charles "Skip" Pitts

Charles "Skip" Pitts (left) with Dennis Coffey, 2009. Photo: Ed Mata
Charles "Skip" Pitts, Stax Records guitarist, has died aged 65. He was best known for the classic wah-wah sound on Shaft by Isaac Hayes. 

"Though nominally a "sideman," Mr. Pitts was a star among fellow musicians and dedicated fans of R&B. "His guitar style was very unique," said producer/musician Scott Bomar, Mr. Pitts' band mate in Bluff City R&B group the Bo-Keys.

"He took a little bit of the Bo Diddley rhythm, the Northern soul of Curtis Mayfield and the Memphis sound of Steve Cropper and Reggie Young and somehow came up with his own thing, a style that no one had."

A Washington DC native who grew up in the shadow of the city's famed Howard Theatre, as a child he rubbed shoulders with musical royalty, getting friendly with Marvin Gaye (who dated his sister) and Bo Diddley (who was a neighbour).

Mr. Pitts got his start professionally in the mid-1960s. As a teenager he backed up R&B stars the Coasters, Gene Chandler (he played on the live hit "Rainbow '65") the Isley Brothers, Sam & Dave and Wilson Pickett.

But it was a move to Memphis and a nearly 30-year collaboration with Isaac Hayes that yielded his greatest legacy, including the immortal guitar riff on the Academy Award-winning "Shaft" soundtrack.

Mr. Pitts' use of the wah-wah effect pedal on "Shaft" resonated for several generations. His work would be sampled by numerous hip-hop and rap acts over the years including Dr. Dre and the Beastie Boys, among others.

Deeply identified with the effect, Mr. Pitts is featured in the new documentary film "Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World" alongside guitarists Slash, Buddy Guy, and Eddie Van Halen...."  Read the full story at The Commercial Appeal, Memphis. 

Kas



 From Kas Futialo (Tha Feelstyle) off his 2008 album Lokokasi.
PLUS: Interview: Kas Futialo: The Making of Feelstyle

Pic from ColdRockDaSpot interview with Kas

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Too much static



Joint Force (DLT, Slave, Otis Frizzell aka MC OJ) from their mid 90s release. I liked this track so much I borrowed the name for a tv fanzine I started in 98 called Too Much Static, which eventually became a monthly column in Lava Magazine.

This version is off the Static single, from memory. This is the Mario Caldato Jr remix. He was out here in the mid 90s as part of the Beastie Boys touring lineup, which is when he probably hooked up with the Joint Force boys. Prior to that, he'd recorded the debut albums from Tone Loc and Young MC, among others. Have to go and dig out my cassingle of this....

Happy birthday Dirty Rec!

Local hiphop label Dirty Records celebrates its tenth birthday this month, with a special party on Friday night, featuring the label's leading lights - P Money, David Dallas, Scribe, PNC, Frontline and more.



Dirty Records was founded by P-Money with Kog's Callum August in 2001. He'd made a name for himself on the DJing scene, after winning a bunch of DJ titles at various competitions - he won the ITF NZ champs two years in a row.

He wanted to move into production, and I interviewed him for the February 2001 issue of NZ Musician - read that interview here. excerpt..."I got a Boss Dr Rhythm DR660 drum machine, after much persuasion of my father - 'Dad, I want a drum machine for Christmas!' It was that and my birthday present and half my own money. That was in my last year of high school. I was fully into making beats and I had a good turntable set-up by then." P-Money left school, got a job in a fish and chip shop, and saved up to buy a Tascam 07 four-track. He also had a toy keyboard from when he was a kid...

P-Money has written a piece on the start of his label, over on his blog... here's an excerpt...

"... Enter ‘The Professor’, one of the Drive show DJs at BFM who would often play and support my tracks. He spoke of a local independent record label by the name of Kog Transmissions that specialized in electronic music whom he thought I should meet with. Truth be told, at the time I had little knowledge of or care for local electronic music (my head was firmly stuck in hip-hop, funny how things change!) but on The Prof’s advice and encouragement we had the meeting.

I played my music and pitched them the idea of putting out an album of tracks similar to the demo’s I had been recording and successfully spinning on the radio. The crew at Kog were receptive to me but more skeptical of the potential of local rap music. They knew little of the genre and feared that Kog was not the right label to release such a project. I detected their reservations and pitched an even bolder idea. Which was to let me release the record through their company but under a different brand, in a sense creating a ‘sub-label’ scenario.

I’m sure there was a lot of debate as to the validity of my proposal but fortunately I had one champion inside Kog who would become my greatest ally and a life-long friend, Mr. Callum August. Callum was a lanky, weed smoking, skate board riding employee (read: mostly unpaid volunteer) at Kog who by some twist of fate or naive confidence was able to convince the rest of the board to take a chance on this album project and establish our yet unnamed rap ‘sub-label’. And they did..."



RELATED: Vinyl flashback #1 - P-Money - I interviewed P-Money about his favourite records (that's him pictured above with a few of them) and the record stores he got them from. It's a fun read.

Remix bizz

Some very tasty remixes from Adi Dick, up for free DL too. My faves are the Q-Tip one and the Opensouls one. Have a listen.

    

Black Keys make it up to NZ

After ditching us a week before their 2011 Big Day Out show due to exhaustion, and then recently announcing a run of Australian shows with no mention of NZ, the Black Keys finally make it up to us with two shows in November - Auckland, Vector Arena Nov 3, and Wellington, Nov 5 TSB Arena.

Tickets on sale now soon, on sale from midday May 1
November 3: Vector Arena, Auckland
November 5: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington

Here's their 2011 Coachella live performance in full....

Monday, April 30, 2012

Toy Love hit top 20


Toy Love - Live at the Gluepot has landed at #11 in the Top 40 Albums chart this week, on the back of its release for Record Store Day. There were only 400 copies pressed up as limited edition vinyl, and the record was only available from one store -real Groovy, on Record Store Day.

It's great to see Toy Love back in the charts, but now you know that if you can sell that many albums, or a maybe few more, you could crack the top ten. Toy Love's debut album peaked at #4 in the album charts on release back in 1980. The reissue of that album, as Cuts, made it to #23 back in 2005.

Fat Freddy's Ebb



Early recording from Ebb featuring Iain Gordon from Fat Freddys Drop, Reuben Sutherland and Lisa Tomlins, off an ep from 2001 released by Dental Records/Loop. DL up for 24 hours.

Volume mag silenced

The Corner is reporting that Volume Magazine, published by the NZ Herald's owners APBN, has been shut down. Their last issue (The Homebrew takeover issue) comes out tomorrow. The closure has been confirmed by Volume via Twitter.

Killing off a magazine that provided a lot of great unique content for the NZ Herald's website doesn't make any sense, especially after only 33 issues. There was some very talented people behind the mag, who put a huge amount of effort into making it special, and local. We need more of that, not less.

I remember going to the launch of Volume, down at Lucha Lounge in Newmarket. I ended up chatting with an APN sales rep, who told me all about how APN had researched the market and felt very positive about developing the title, that there was a niche there that was sustainable. I was a bit surprised to hear such positive sentiment coming from a corporate type, but apparently it was just a passing fad.

From The Corner: " Tomorrow’s issue of APN street press publicationVolume will be its last, with the magazine calling it quits after 33 issues.

The Drab Doo-Riffs graced the cover of the first issue back in September 2011 and subsequently we saw a whole bunch of local artists, including PNC, Lawrence Arabia, UMO, Rackets, The Checks and David Dallas, find themselves in that same position. This week that will continue with the Home Brew “takeover” issue which will see the band on the cover ahead of the release of their debut double-album this Friday.

Regardless of all that though, this is just another blow for local music journalism and we’ll be sad to see the magazine go. Rest in peace Volume, you were great."

ADDED in last Friday's NZ Herald, their media reporter John Drinnan said that the NZ Herald and its website were undergoing review by its owners APN, and they were looking at reducing the format size to a more compact one, as part of a proposed wider review of Herald titles. No mention of killing off Volume, but does report "a 7 per cent fall in all newspaper industry revenue last year and a big shift in media habits and marketing trends affecting the sector around the world."

UPDATED: John Drinnan tells me via Twitter that he wasn't in the loop on Volume's closure

ADDED Russell Brown has blogged over at Public Address about the closure, noting that the reason given was "...Volume’s failure to perform online... the nearest thing to an actual website has been Volume’s lively, well-stocked Facebook profile. When the best way into your content is a Facebook page, you’re basically failing at web publishing...

"...It appears that Sam, who is bright, creative and organised, will find work within the Herald’s growing online Entertainment division, and will take some of Volume’s regular features with him, but there seems to be something particularly inept about what has played out here. Having taken an interesting punt on a street press music mag, APN launched its new magazine without an online strategy – and then killed it because it wasn’t working online."

UPDATED: Audio - Sam Wicks talks with BFM's Charlotte Ryan about the closure...
Sam Wicks, BFM interview: " We didn't have the advertising dollars in there to keep an organisation like APN satiated... features like Talking Heads will tick over, so there's more room to build that [online]...

The execution wasn't there in terms of how we marketed this... if you found Volume content on the Herald's website there was nothing that screamed out Volume, it just looked like other stories that were in there...

"We never had an iPhone, and iPad app. We definitely had content that was used online but I think if there had genuinely been this 360 degree presentation of that content we had, it would have been a different thing, you know... the artifact aint going anywhere, it just has to be done better and smarter."

New Home Brew video



 Home Brew feat. Esther Stephens - Plastic Magic, produced by Christoph el Truento, video directed by Tom Gould

Swifty and PB workshop


UK designer Swifty will be blessing Conch Records front and back with his signature Typografik Art style, creating some unique artwork on the walls of the store. Come and relax, drink coffee and browse through some records as it unfolds. May 16-18.


Also, Swifty and Paul Bradshaw are giving a workshop (11am-4pm May 15-17) while they're out here. Swifty is speaking at SemiPermanent.

"Since his debut at Face Magazine, Swifty has held the role of creative designer for magazines such asStraight No Chaser (The Magazine of World Jazz Jive) and Area, designed covers for countless preeminent musicians through his work with labels Talkin Loud, Mo Wax and Source 360, produced animation for television, designed a camo clothing line, as well as founded his own company Swifty Toypographix through which he has published several books.

Paul Bradshaw is the man behind the iconic London magazine Straight No Chaser, as well as being a journalist and modern day UK music and culture consultant.

Join both UK mentors for an exclusive three day workshop exploring publishing technologies, UK cultural history, Music and fanzine production. To register please contact gareth.farry@britishcouncil.org.nz – places are strictly limited. This is a creative commons FREE event.

We are also holding an industry meet and greet with Swifty and Braders at Conch Records on Friday evening May 18th from 6pm, where some seminal UK tunes will be played, as well as a little chat from the two UK guests, and the completion of some artwork that Swifty will be blessing the Ponsonby shop with during the week..."



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lee Oskar


Lee Oskar was the harmonica player for the band War, and he also dropped some very tasty solo joints. My favourite tune of his is Haunted House, one that Cian (Conch Records) put me onto.

Oskar's self-titled solo debut came out in 1976 and featured a number of members of War backing him, plus Greg Errico (Drummer  for Sly and Family Stone) on several tracks. Errico also produced part of the album, and held down the producer's seat for Oskar's second solo effort, Before The Rain (1978), which features Haunted House.

Oskar left his native Denmark at 18, landing in New York to make it big, with his harmonica in his pocket. Following his success with War (out in LA), he later developed his own line of harmonicas.

If you want the full story on War, get hold of Wax Poetics Magazine issue #44. That details the highs and lows of the band. They eventually had a falling out with their management (record producer Jerry Goldstein), who owned the band's name. They still tour, but are not allowed to call themselves War - they're known as The Lowrider Band, while another lineup (with one original member) tours as War.

UPDATED Just pulled out my copy of Lee Oskar's debut album, still got the price sticker on it from the record store I got it from, Open Mind Music in San Francisco, a store Cian worked in when he lived in SF in the early 2000s.