Saturday, January 22, 2022

Ring The Alarm playlist Jan 22 2022

Mophono - Sinicism (Natutral Self remix)
Troublefunk - Drop the bomb
Upper Hutt Posse - That's the beat
Nextmen - Silent weapon inst
Unitone Hifi - Unitone Hifi (bonus dub)
Dreadzone & Dubmatix - Dread lockdown
Lee Scratch Perry - God smiled (Moody Boyz remix)
Baby Charles - I bet you look good on the dancefloor
Bill Withers - I don't want you on my mind
Lee Fields - All I need
Dionne Warwick - You cna have him
Chris Clark - Love's gone bad
Marvin Gaye - What's goin' on (original single mix)
Screaming Jay Hawkins - Africa gone funky
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - I got a thing on my mind
Osaka Monaurail - Picking up the pieces one by one
Orgone - It's your thing
Opensouls - Turn it up
Nuyorican Soul - Nautilius (Mawtilus)
Nicola Cruz - Subtropique
Nick Holder - Moments in dub
Francois K and U-Roy - Rootsman
James Hunter Six - I got eyes
The Bar-Kays - Don't do that
Jo Ann Hamilton - I love without a love
Bernard Edwards - Your love is good to me
Dan-i - Roller (do it) boogie

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Ring The Alarm playlist Jan 15 2022

 Willie Songue - Moni ngan
CK Mann - Yeaba
Sir Victor Uwaifo - Sakpaide no 2
Akaba Man - Popular side
Tony Allen - NEPA dance dub
Moritz von Oswald - Ole (remix)
Grace Jones - She's lost control
Sly & Robbie meets Dubmatix - Burro Saturday
Sly & Robbie - Softcore surge (Ashley Beedle remix edit)
Boogaloo Assassins - No no no
Kenny Dope - Can you handle it
Erma Franklin - I'm just not ready for love
Inez Fox - Hurt by love
The Ikettes - Peaches and cream
Bobby Bland - Honey child
Tom Browne - Funkin' for Jamaica (NY) 
Jermiane Jackson - Let's get serious
Mandrill - Fat city strut
Ramsey Lewis - Jungle strut
Scratch 22 - Shivani strut
Julien Dyne feat Ladi6 - Be real
William Onyeabor - Atomic bomb
Video Kid - Dawn skate
DLT - Black panthers
Salmonella Dub - Johnny (Dubmariner remix)

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Ring The Alarm playlist Jan 8 2022

Mo Kolours - Banana wine
Menahan Street Band - Birds
Ramsey Lewis Trio - Slippin' into darkness
Quincy Jones - They call me Mister Tibbs
Ray Charles - In the heat of the night
Ike and Tina Turner - I idolise you
Big Mama Thornton - Hound dog
Major Lance - Monkey time
Barbara Acklin - Aint no love
King Curtis and the Kingpins - In the pocket
Eddie Floyd - Bring it on home to me
Shirley Ellis - I will never forget
Aretha Franklin - Rocksteady
The Dap-Kings - Nervous like me
Curtis Mayfield - Doo doo wap is strong in here (7" edit)
Tyra and the Tornadoes - You got me thinkin' (instrumental)
Mara TK feat Troy Kingi  - Every Hori is a star
Sulata - Mancini
Strawpeople - Inject me (Breaks Co-op remix)
Smashproof - Ordinary life (Moody Boyz dub)
Ruts DC  -Whatever we do  (RSD remix)
Mungo's Hifi feat Ranking Joe - Step it out
Lee Scratch Perry - Really dub
Fat Freddy's Drop - Hope (Sonsine remix)
The New Loungehead - Candyapple (International Observer remix)
The Slits - Animal space (Wrongtom remix)
Wild Bill Ricketts - Riki

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Suga Pop

In the early 1980's Steven Daniels aka Suga Pop hung out in Wellington and was a dancer in a crew called the Funkateers, including DJ Tee Pee. More on Tee Pee's story at Audioculture.

(This bio from 2005 was taken from an archived version of Suga Pop's Website at The photo of Suga Pop is from the Electric Boogaloos Web site at

"Everything I do, it comes from dancing." This isn't a quote you'd expect from a musician but it's the guiding force behind the artist known as Pop. His new album, Caramel '76, channels many styles of music, from hip-hop to reggae to rock to pop, but at its foundation, at the root of Pop's ideology, is the art of the dance. Think of hip-hop as a musical genre and a culture that spawned from dancing - it was the "break" of the record that the dancers loved and which motivated DJs to keep spinning them back to back - and Pop's words make sense. "Everything is from dance, from the movement," explains Pop. "Even when I'm playing the keyboards, it's like I'm dancing on the keys. That's how I envision it."

It's Pop's story that gives Caramel '76 context. As a young teen on the West Coast, Pop hooked up with a street dance group called the Electric Boogaloos. The youthful, rebellious clique is famed for inventing "Poppin'," the robotic-funk dance style associated with early hip-hop, and their spectacular performances on the television show "Soul Train."

While in LA, Pop took a job dancing and acting on the television show Sesame Street. The gig moved him back to New York at the age of 15. The time was right. When he first emigrated, New York's concrete landscape was a Petri dish for a new urban culture - hip-hop. That culture was in full bloom, and Pop was right in the middle of it.

He fell in with the Rock Steady Crew, whose members, Crazy Legs, Fabel, and Mr.Freeze, met Pop dancing in Times Square. Hip-hop was unrehearsed, says Pop. Sometimes it was raw street culture, other times it was art-scene fetish object. "There was no blueprint for it," he says. "We'd get hired out for a party to dance somewhere and you'd see Deborah Harry or Andy Warhol. Some guy on stilts would be walking around the room. And then it'd be Jazzy Jay or Bambaataa DJ-ing. It was wild."

At 18, Pop left television and started dancing on concert tours, shows, and music videos. He went on tour with Shalimar, and Lionel Richie, and appeared in music videos by Michael Jackson [Thriller, Beat it], just at the time when the King Of Pop's lavish choreography was captivating the world through the imaginative medium of MTV.

The next year, Pop's career would take an even bigger step when he hooked up with percussionist Sheila E. She had just been asked to go on tour with Prince for Purple Rain. "That was an amazing time," Pop remembers. "I was young. I'd run around with my backstage pass and get into trouble. There was lots of craziness happening everywhere. But Prince? I watched him every night."

It was that experience that galvanized Pop to make his own music. Pop learned how to play a variety of instruments through dance. As a dancer on tour, he'd sometimes jam with the band, particularly towards the end of a nation-wide trek. "But after Purple Rain," Pop says, "that's when the music bug bit. I bought a drum machine. I already had a guitar. I just started playing around with this stuff, getting bands together, playing by myself. Anything. I wanted to be a musician."

Pop put together some of his own demos but what he really enjoyed was working in the studio with other artists. Producer Joe "Da Butcher" Niccolo (Cypress Hill, Fugees, House of Pain) served as a mentor for a couple of years. Pop also worked with the Boo Yaa Tribe, who were signed to Island Records, and that project led him to a fledgling, LA-based hip-hop group named Cypress Hill.

Pop served as a jack-of-all-trades studio consultant on their breakthrough, self-titled debut, helping the group demo tracks in his living room and working with live instruments, drum machines and samplers. Pop would go on to work as a producer with other groups like Brand Nubian, Third Bass, and Fisbhone. "I like creating in collaboration," says Pop. "I think you get the best ideas that way."

The early '90s were being good to Pop's own solo musical pursuits as a rock front man. He formed a band called Pop's Cool Love, which released an album, A Man, in 1991. It was a rich mix of hip-hop rhythms, pop psychedelia, and spangled rock. The album was critically acclaimed, and took Pop on tours with artists like Beastie boys, Pearl Jam, and Fishbone. 

In 1992, his band backed LL Cool J, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest for the first hip-hop MTV Unplugged. The now legendary performance (LL's "Mama Said Knock You Out") was a prescient look to hip-hop's development toward live instruments. The transition towards the mid-90s would be tougher.

Pop took a dedicated break from music to concentrate on other things in his life, catalyzed by the loss of his younger brother, who died in a tragic car accident in Nevada. Music was secondary to making his own life right. It took a handful of years for Pop to move from a sense of despair to a position of strength. As the '90s came to a close, Pop started to get back to music again. It came through the same method it started with in the first place: dancing. 

"Mr. Wiggles (of the Rock Steady Crew/Electric Boogaloos) called me, and we just talked about dancing. Within six months, he just asked me to do some shows with him and I did, without thinking much about it. That's what got me back. And then the music came naturally from that, just like it did in the beginning." And his music is better for it. 

On Caramel '76, Pop utilizes the techniques of mixing and matching styles he always relied on. A hip-hop sensibility colors the record but it mixes in guitar riffs and bubbling dance tracks, a roots vibe ("Reggae is country music to me," Pop says) with a progressive musical approach. It's unlike any record you'll hear today. "That's always been how I make music," Pop says. "Throw everything in the pot and stir it up. That's the island in me, I guess."

From DJ Tee Pee's story: "In the late 2000s, Tee Pee started hearing about this incredible street dance practitioner and choreographer, Suga Pop. Suga Pop was affiliated with two pivotal dance crews, the Electric Boogaloos and Rock Steady Crew, and had danced in the music videos for ‘Beat It’ and ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson. 
When he looked him up online, he recognised his face and sent him a message: “Hey man, did you come up in New Zealand?” Suga Pop replied. Sure enough, that familiar face was his old mate Steven from The Funkateers. But how did he get from smashing disco competitions in Wellington to dancing in Los Angeles and New York as Suga Pop? Well, that’s a story for another time."

Sunday, January 02, 2022

2021 lists

Via S/FJ's newsletter:

"I asked people on Twitter to fill out this Google spreadsheet of 2021 music. You can add to it, and I’d love it if you did. Here are other lists worth checking out:

Elif Batuman: How can I ever forget 2021, the year I turned both 29 and 72 and lost the ability to perceive linear time?

Allegra Kirkland: The U.S. government is useless and chaos reigns. Revel in the good times when they come. Love your people. Keep holding on.

Jasper Bernes: I’m not sure 2021 is real. It just seems like twelve bonus months of 2020.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Ring The Alarm playlist 18 December

Kenny Dope - Get on down
Supergroove - Bloody shame (DLT remix)
Boozoo Bajou - Camioux (Biggabush version)
Joe Dukie and DJ Fitchie - Midnight marauders (El Head version)
Big Bud - Runaway
Butch Cassidy Sound System - Cissy strut
Tenor Saw and Buju Banton - Ring the alarm quick
Barington Levy - Here I come
Mr Chop - Vitamin C
Mighty Mo - Next message
Sugarman 3 - Chicken half
Binky Griptite - A lover like me
Prince - Hot thing (extended remix)
SOS Band - Take your time do it right
Neneh Cherry - Dream baby dream (FourTet remix)
Aaron Ottignon - So hold still (Surly remix)
Jungle Fire - Comencemos
Dojo Cuts - Falling in love again
The Checkmates Ltd - Do you love your baby
Thee Enchantments - I'm in love with your daughter
Jive Kiwis - Bubble and squeak
Jamie and the Numbers - Boys don't cry
Esther Phillips - Just say goodbye
Julien Dyne - Kawshun
Dub Asylum - Steel limbo

Monday, December 13, 2021

NZ hiphop flashback: Semi MCs

"In the late 1980s, Semi MCs from Manurewa were one of the most important groups in the first wave of hip hop in Aotearoa. However, as the new decade dawned, they embraced the sounds of New Jack Swing and Swingbeat before recording ‘Set Your Body Free’ and ‘Trust Me’, both of which are now highly prized DJ deep cuts. Although the group went their separate ways in the mid-90s, their legacy and influence endure to this day."

Read more about Semi-MCs on Audioculture

"...That same year, they were approached by the then-fledgling TV3 to perform live in a special the station was producing on the New Zealand music scene. As a result, in lead-up to the 1990 New Zealand general election, they got a last-minute call-up to perform in an election commercial. “They wanted us, but the catch was we had to record and film it that night,” Waterhouse says, laughing. He remembers them quickly writing a rap, coming up with some chords and bussing straight into the central city to meet the deadline."

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Youth of Eglinton

Very cool mini doc on the vintage reggae scene in Toronto, and the Jamaican community there incl Jackie Mittoo... hat tip to Stinky Jim for the link.

"There’s a neighbourhood in Toronto that stretches along Eglinton Ave, just north of the downtown core. For years, it’s been buried under construction as the city builds the Crosstown LRT, but under all that is a rich musical history which is under threat. 

"Little Jamaica, as the neighbourhood is known, was one of the largest producers of reggae music in the world outside of Kingston, Jamaica. In the 1960s and ’70s, Jamaicans moving to Toronto helped to create a vibrant music industry, complete with clubs, record shops, recording studios, all with a connection back to Jamaica. Artists like Jackie Mittoo and Leroy Sibbles recorded their music there, and the famous reggae group Black Uhuru immortalized the strip with their song “Youth of Eglinton.”

Ring The Alarm playlist 11 December

Grace Jones - Pull up to the bumper (long version)
Sly n Robbie - Boops (here to go)
Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix - Burro Saturday
Black Uhuru - Shine eye gal
Michael Rose - Sailor gone a sea
Frisco Kid - Sad news
Sly & Robbie with Shaggy - Crazy
Sly & Robbie - Softcore surge
Grace Jones - My Jamaican guy
Gwen Guthrie - Ticket to ride
Bits & Pieces/Sly & Robbie  - Don't stop the music
Ian Dury and the Seven Seas Players - Spasticus autisticus
Primal Scream - Loaded
War - Me and baby brother
Spanky Wilson - Sunshine of your love
Sly & the Family Stone - Love city
Jr Walker - Hip city
James Brown - Santa Claus go straight to the ghetto
Electric Jungle - Funky funky Christmas
Percy Sledge - Heart of a child
Sunny & the Sunglows - Every week, every month, every year
Ann Peebles - I can't let you go
Leo Nocentelli - Riverfront
Julien Dyne feat Joe Dukie - Resolution
Stinky Jim - LMG (For Irene)
Soul Sugar - I want you (Sly & Robbie dub mix)

Friday, December 10, 2021

New Julien Dyne album out

"Modes continues the forward-thinking percussive jazz and afro-inspired house music soundscapes explored on Dyne’s 2018 album Teal, while concentrating more on guest vocalists and instrumentalists with added focus on song form, compositional depth and variance, as well as insistent rhythmic drive and intensity."

Album out now on digital, vinyl out March 2022.

1. ‘The More I Get The Less I Have To Pay’ feat. Semisi Ma'i'ai
2. ‘Resolution’ feat. Joe Dukie
3. ‘Beecon’ inst (feat. Horatio Luna on bass, Jonathan Crayford on Rhodes)
4. ‘Your Life’ feat. Semisi Ma'i'ai
5. ‘With You’ feat. Allysha Joy
6. ‘Water’ feat. Troy Kingi
7. ‘Closer’ feat. Semisi Ma'i'ai
8. ‘Kawshun’ feat. Mara TK
9. ‘Grl’ feat. Leon
10. ‘Be Real’ feat. Ladi6
11. ‘Scoop’ feat. Che-Fu
12. ‘Windows’ feat. Nkechi and Tim Guy
13. ‘Bison’ feat. Toby Laing

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Ring The Alarm playlist 4 December

Dub Asylum - Slice of heaven (Brand new! Good for you!)
Bullwackies Allstars - Rockford dub
Prince Jammy - Dub is my occupation
Gregory Issacs/Christine - Rock one/Saturday
Foxy Brown - Baby can I hold you tonight
Cutty Ranks - Retreat
Top Cat - Request the style
General Levy - The wig
Dream Warriors - Ludi
DLT feat Billy TK Snr - Duel of the assassins
The Nudge vs Troy Kingi - He Ōrite
The New Cobras feat Renee Geyer - Soulgroove 66 pt1
The Pro-Teens - Peach fuzz
Leo Nocentelli - Riverfront
Sisters Love - Now is the time (The Mack Revisited remix)
David Orbnette Cherry - Parallel experience
Ron Holden - I need ya
Brotherly Love - Bingo
Johnnie Taylor - Strange things (are happening in my heart)
Johnny Daye - What'll I do for satisfaction
Booker T and the MGs - Fuquawi
Carla Thomas - Gee whiz it's Christmas
Linda Jones - I can't stop loving my baby
OV Wright - The monkey dog
Orgone - Funky Nassau
Marva Whitney - He's the one
James Brown - Stone to the bone
Sola Rosa - No idea (B Haru remix)
MĀ - Kitchen
Scratch 22 - For walking faces

Friday, December 03, 2021

New Dub Asylum single out - solid steel Slice of Heaven

Here's my reggaematic rendition of a NZ classic by Sir Dave Dobbyn and Herbs, from the 1986 movie Footrot Flats. Hope you enjoy it. 
Big old noisy dub-out at the end too. Out Dec 3rd, if you feel like splurging it's Bandcamp Friday from 9pm NZT so 100% of the moolah goes to the artist. Cheers.

Me ol mate Mr J Pain of Pains People has a new one out this week too, wonderful wild wooly bizz. Take a listen....

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Ring The Alarm playlist 27 November

Jackie Mittoo - Last train to Skaville
The Wailers - Put it on
Skatalites - Coconut rock
Salmonella Dub - Problems (Zion Train remix)
3 Generations Walking - Midnight bustling (Francois K dub mix)
Stinky Jim - Frying symbols
The Night Owls - Me and baby brother
James Brown - Licking stick licking stick pt1
Jive Kiwis - Bubble and squeak
Oscar Toney Jr  - Aint that true love
OV Wright - Love the way you love
Bettye Swann - I will not cry
James and Bobby Purify - I'm your puppet
Billy Preston - What about you?
Hank Ballard and the Midnighters - Let's go again (where we went last night)
LaVerne Baker - Jim Dandy
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas - I promise to wait my love
Don and Juan - Chicken necks
AJ and the Jigawatts - Party music
Orgone - It's my thing (inst)
Theon Cross - The spiral
Mara TK - Every hori is a star
DJ Format - The curse
Dreamcast Moe - Up 2 u
Sault - Smile and go
Stance Bros - On top (guitar and flute)
Dub Asylum - Slice of heaven (out Dec 3rd via Bandcamp)
Cosmic Vibrations - OLAP (Mark de Clive Lowe remix)
Nuyorican Soul - I am the black gold of the sun (MAW remix)
Nicolette - No government
Mr Chop - T.R.O.Y.
Manuel Bundy - What's my dub?

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Pro-Teens x MF Doom

The Pro-Teens put out a very cool instrumental album last year called I Flip My Life Every Time I Fly. Check this new single, a tribute to MF DOOM...

"Melbourne’s enigmatic instrumental soul group The Pro-Teens pay tribute to the late great MF DOOM, reimagining two iconic cuts from the deep catalogue of the infamous Metal Fingered Villain.

Peachfuzz, an early triumph from the days before Daniel Dumile donned the mask and called himself MF DOOM, comes from KMD’s first album Mr Hood. The Pro-Teens take on the uptempo marimba-laced funk of the original beat that DOOM produced under his first moniker MC Zev Love X, paying respect to the early years of DOOM’s career.

One Beer, a standout track from MF DOOM’s MM..FOOD album, finds the Teens diving deep into the tracks sample, French group Cortex’s Huit Octobre 1971. Constructed around the beat’s iconic chorus, voiced by drummer / bandleader Libby Clique-baité, One Beer subversively transforms the original track’s main groove into an eerie landscape of fuzzed out guitar and harsh synthesizer tones.

Within Melbourne's burgeoning cinematic-soul scene mysteriously sit The Pro-Teens. Helmed by prolific drummer Hudson Whitlock (Karate Boogaloo, Surprise Chef), this breakaway studio project involves an interchangeable collective of incognito instrumentalists playing under outlandish pseudonyms such as 'Dead Honest’ Dean Amazing and Libby Clique-Baite.

The forthcoming tribute album 'MF TEEN: Your Concurrence In The Above Is Assumed' is nothing more than an aural open letter posthumously thanking the one and only super villain for guiding The Teens down the only road they know. RIP DOOM, RIP Daniel Dumile. Thank you." 

Out Nov 26 2021.

Deepgrooves hits 30!


This month marks 30 years since the Auckland-based Deepgrooves label decided to record an album over a long weekend, back in November 1991. It came out at the end of that year, on cassette, CD and double 10" vinyl. That's the cover above, designed by John Pitcairn.

The resulting compilation, also called 'Deepgrooves' introduced a funky reggae sound and style that was permeating on the dancefloors of inner city Auckland, and paved the way for a wealth of local acts to follow in their footsteps, from Pitch Black to Fat Freddy's Drop. It truly was ground breaking, raggamuffin business.

To celebrate this anniversary, I wrote an indepth profile for Audioculture, drawing on my research for my forthcoming book on Deepgrooves. 

I'd written about a number of acts on the label for Audioculture (like Sulata, New Loungehead, Breaks Co-op) at their launch in May 2013, but the gap was that label profile. 

Read Deepgrooves profile part one

Read Deepgrooves profile part two

Speaking of New Loungehead, they've recently announced plans to reissue their sole album, Came A Weird Way, in 2022, to celebrate its 25th anniversary. They will also be reuniting to play some live shows too!

Read more articles about Deepgrooves' acts