Saturday, May 12, 2012


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.
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.

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 as one of the greatest MCs of our era."

June 5, USCA Events Centre Foundry, Christchurch
Tickets from or from the Christchurch iSite (next to the Museum).

June 6, San Francisco Bath House, Wellington 
Tickets from or from Rough Peel Music and Cosmic Corner Wellington.

June 7, Powerstation, Auckland 
Tickets available from Ticketmaster 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 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 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 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.


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....