Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sept 15

Nina Simone - Seeline woman - MAW remix
Joubert singers - Stand on the word
Jackie Stoudemire - Invisible wind - Shoes re-edit
OJays - 992 arguments
Antibalas - Che che cole makossa
Steel n skin - Afro punk reggae dub
The Orb and Lee Scratch Perry - Hold me upsetter
Dub traffik control - Searching for stalag
Herbs - Azania (soon come)
Marcia Aitken/Trinity - I'm still in love/three piece suit
Jah Stitch -Raggamuffin style - Smith and Mighty remix
Osibisa - Fire
Fred Wesley - House party
Estere - Cruel Charlie
Sola Rosa feat Iva Lamkum - Turn around - Suff Daddy remix
Esther Phillips - All the way - Leftside wobble edit
Nile Rodgers - Land of the good groove
Keni Burke -Rising to the top - AliOOFT edit
Amalgamation of soundz - Things amiss
Herbie Hancock - Palm grease
Charles Bradley - Why is it so hard?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Herbs at Silver Scrolls

Herbs with APRA's Anthony Healey. Photo: NZ Herald/Natalie Slade
The APRA Silver Scrolls is a night dedicated to celebrating our songwriters. It's a magnificent event, now in its 47th year. The finalists get to hear their songs interpreted by other artists on the night - it makes for some interesting listening.

The main reason I went to the APRA Silver Scrolls last night tho was to see Herbs inducted to the NZ Music Hall Of Fame. Sure, it's a grand night, and there were some entertaining performances, but Herbs, that's some history right there.

Herbs are one of the most important bands this country has ever produced, especially if you have an interest in reggae.

They were introduced onto the stage by Che Fu, who talked about when he was growing up, he used to call the band Uncles. Because back then, there were two reggae bands in New Zealand - his dad's band, and Herbs.

Che talked about going round to the Herbs' place with his dad to drop off packages and being sent outside to play, while the adults talked inside and this funny smelling smoke came out the windows.

He talked about the records the band made, the importance of French Letter (later, in a tribute video to the band, Graham Reid highlighted the amusing choice of using the accordion, a very French instrument, in a song taking aim at the French).

And he talked about the band's inclusion on Slice of Heaven with Dave Dobbyn, "Or as we liked to call him, Yoda." And now, from this day forward, everyone in New Zealand will call Dobbyn Yoda. Shot, Che.

Then Che closed by saying "And that's my 21st speech over with..." and invited us to be upstanding for the members of Herbs, and the past and present members walked up onstage to a standing ovation.

Dilworth Karaka spoke on behalf of the band, thanking a number of people, and talked about how the band had got together the night before for a drink (and perhaps a sneaky smoke outside) and a yarn to clear the air, and they were all good. Cos there is a lot of history in that band, some happy, some not so happy. Dilworth also referred to Slice of Heaven, saying "after you cause a riot you need to come up with a hit song, aye Yoda?"

Then Willie Hona stepped up to the mic and all the band, past and present, sang E Papa, acapella. It was an incredible moment, spine-tingingly good.

As is tradition at the Silver Scrolls, the nominees get to hear their song covered by another artist, and with Herbs, the musical director Jon Toogood chose Kora to cover Rust in dust (watch here). Toogood seemed to favour using a lot of Wellington musicians. Shocker.

Kora came out and opened the song with a musical riff lifted from My Jamaican Guy by Grace Jones, nice touch, and then sang their hearts out. Damn, those guys can harmonise.

The Corner has a full list of the covers done here. The general tone of most of the covers was quite lively, which helped given how maudlin and depressing most of the finalists' originals sounded.

They were largely unsuccessful, I thought, in bringing something fresh or insightful to the songs. Lots of big, flashy covers, high impact but unmemorable. Julia Deans with a string quartet for Opossom's Getaway Tonight was a brave idea, but Deans didn't have the range to really nail it. Rhian Sheehan stood out tho, with his demented sonic excursion on the Sounz Contemporary Award winner Alex Taylor's piece.
The winner was announced by Tony Wain of The Narcs (comeback tour to plug or something?), congratulations to Steph Brown (ex One Million Dollars, Opensouls) aka Lips.

Later, to close the night, Dave Dobbyn and his band came onstage to play Slice of Heaven (but no Herbs members joined him). He did it with a banjo included, and it sounded like a limp hillbilly cover. It didn't really take flight. I found out later Dave was covering Tami Neilson's cover of his own song. How meta. Hear that? That's the sound of the universe folding in on itself. Blame Yoda.

Ex NZ Herald writer Dominic Roskrow joined in via Twitter (from the UK) saying "Remember when Joe Walsh played with Herbs & passed out backstage at The Powerstation? Let me explain... Walsh moved to Auckland & adopted the band as reggae's future. He tried to manage them & did odd reggae versions of Eagles songs with them, but couldn't handle strong NZ dope so it went nowhere. So indirectly it's the fault of Herbs that hell froze over and The Eagles reformed. How zen is that?"

Roskrow was inspired to join in the conversation oline after seeing his former colleague, Russell Baillie, pop up with this: " I once pinched a photo of Nelson Mandela from the Auckland Star library so Herbs could use it in a video. No guilt tonight."

What an incredible night. Tu meke.

MORE: Gareth Shute reviews the night for The Corner, here.
Previous post: Herbs join music hall of fame

ADDED: Video of the night is up on the NZ Herald site, watch the tribute video to Herbs.

Watch Kora cover Rust in dust here.

Don McGlashan's speech from the awards night has been posted on Graham Reid's site, here.

PLUS: 1988 Herbs doco on Ruatoria album launch, by Lee Tamahori, via NZ Onscreen...


Thursday, September 13, 2012

RIP Andrew "Mac" Macaskill

Still from Beth's Song music video, Danny Manetto on left, Mac Macaskill on right
Andrew "Mac" Macaskill, one third of the original line-up of Auckland Band Voom (alongside Danny Manetto and Buzz Moller), passed away this morning. Much love to his friends and family.

some history: "Voom first formed back in the early 90’s. Buzz Moller and Mac MacCaskill noodled away making music in their basement for years before anyone heard a thing. ‘Relax’ was the first single released to student radio and it became a well-known b net hit. Second single ‘Beth’ soon followed suit. Danny Manetto joined the band on bass and they played many venues around New Zealand and released the highly acclaimed debut album ‘Now I Am Me’ in 1998 [Antenna Recordings]. Voom shows grew larger and larger; a particular highlight was performing in support of Pulp at the North Shore Events Centre..."  Mac left the band over personal issues with singer Buzz Moller.

He was also involved in the 2010 Project, a band that featured "2 ex members of Voom being Mac Macaskill & Danny Manetto + Tony Shields & Simon Harris".

Mac features in the video below...

Obit from NZ Herald, Saturday Sept 15: "MACASKILL, Andrew Scott (Mac). Aged 49 yrs, passed away in the company of his darling Leisa on Thursday 13th September 2012 after a short illness. Most treasured son (Scamp) of Trish and Stuart and dearly loved brother of Grant and Helen and Ian and Sandie. Adored Dad of Sophie and Nic and the coolest Uncle Mac to Ella, Callum and Lewis. His loving nature and wonderful free spirit will be greatly missed by us all.

A service will be held at 3:00pm Tuesday 18th September at the Purewa All Saints Crematorium Chapel, All Saints Rd, Meadow Bank, Auckland. Our sincere thanks to the Doctors and Nurses at the Mercy Hospice for their compassionate care of Mac and family. Donations please in lieu of flowers to the Mercy Hospice, Ponsonby, Auckland."

Also from the NZH: "MACASKILL, Mac. My brave man died in my arms at 3.05am on 13 September, 2012. Too young and too good to die. Loved friend and mentor to the Manetto-Munro lads, Xavier and Lucian. A loved member of Christine and Bruce's family, the Munro Clan. Much loved father to Sophie and Nick. My lover and best friend Leisa xxx ..."

photo: Mac Macaskill's Twitter

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Neketini meets Fela

 Amplifier just posted this great Kiwi LP cover (above) on Twitter, saying "They really don't make album artwork like this any more. And probably for a reason."

It reminded me of this great Kiwi LP I've got by Nick Nicholson and the Neketini Brass (1968, HMV), essentially a local take on the classic Herb Alpert and Tijuana Brass sound, covering Maori tunes like Pokarekare Ana and E Hine E. It's a great record. And somehow this LP cover below ended up being recycled for a late 60s Fela Kuti compilation LP. Seriously.

ADDED: Hat tip to Dylan C for reminding me of this 2005 mashup that used the same cover art.

ADDED Stinky Jim reminded me in the comments that there are two versions of the Neketini Brass cover art - Thanks Jim! Here's the other one...

Added: I digitised a tune or two off my copy of Neketini Brass, here's their take on Pokarekare ana...

Aaradhna - Can We Go Back

Serious soul music. Check this. Free download single of Aaradhna's upcoming album "Treble & Reverb", due out in November 2012.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

'Paul's Boutique' revisited

Beasties' 'Paul's Boutique' reworked with original source samples (via LA Times)

"... Looking for a killer weekend listening session, free of charge? Quick, race to the bottom of this post now and start listening to a masterful new reworking of the Beastie Boys' "Paul's Boutique," crafted from the original source material into an hour-long mixtape. Created by crate diggers/producers/DJs Cheeba, Moneyshot and Food over three years, the production is one of the coolest mixes I've heard all year.

Called "Caught in the Middle of A 3-Way Mix," the idea sprouted after Moneyshot did the same thing with the Beasties' "Check Your Head."

They crack open tomtom beats swiped from Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up," blend sourced samples from Black Oak Arkansas, the Eagles and Tower of Power, swipe sounds from Led Zeppelin, the Meters and Johnny Cash, shock with the string screeches fromAlfred Hitchcock's film composer Bernard Herrmann. And by mixing in commentary from recorded interviews with the Beasties themselves discussing the album's creation, the thing feels like some sort of sonic  documentary.

DJ Food's label, Ninja Tune, is hosting the mix on its Soundcloud page, and it's available as a download, as well. In the comments section, Ninja writes that the three were about halfway finished with the remix when Beastie Boy Adam Yauch died after a long battle with cancer, "so the impetus to finish it was instantly doubled and new meaning given to the project. It goes without saying that this is also a tribute to Adam Yauch and the legacy he left behind and we hope it will be embraced by Beastie fans around the globe."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Whats' Be Happen?

Whats' Be Happen? is the fantastic 1981 debut release from Herbs, who are being inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame at the APRA Silver Scrolls on Thursday - more on that here.

Herbs early releases have been out of circulation for many, many years, but Amplifier has announced that there is an extensive digital reissue out now, including Whats Be Happen? Other reissues include Long Ago, Light of the Pacific, and Sensitive to a smile.

"Whats' Be Happen? was the debut studio recording from Herbs. It was released in 1981 through Warrior Records, reaching as high as #40 on the New Zealand album charts. The album is now available again digitally thanks to Warner Music.

Produced and arranged by Herbs. Recording engineers were Gerard Carr and Phil Yule - Phil also mixed the album. Recorded and mixed at Mascot Studios, Auckland, New Zealand.

The cover photo is of the Bastion Point Eviction day, May 25, 1978, when 222 land protesters were arrested."

If you are a fan of kiwi reggae, you need this classic.