Friday, May 30, 2008

Stop Smiling is one of my favourite magazines in the world. Following is from their blog. Go listen.

"What’s a frankiphone you ask? A good question, especially if you’re not familiar with Phil Cohran, as he invented it.

Essentially an electric thumb piano, Kelan Phil Cohran developed the instrumenet and used it to anchor the recordings on the album this song was pulled from, Singles. The album is a collection of songs that originally came out on Cohran’s own Zulu Records imprint.

The instrument becomes a focal point on a couple of these songs, which get rounded out Chicago jazz legends like Master Henry Gibson and Pete Cosley. If Cohran’s work with Sun Ra was a little too out for you, this collection tones down the “out” just a tad and wraps everything up in a tighter package.

If you like jazz and/or soul music even a little bit and don’t have this record, I guarantee that it will be a welcome addition to your collection."

Got a bonus video of Phil playing the frankiphone there too. Link.

You can Buy Cohran's music on recently-reissued CDs from Conch Records. You can buy back issues of Stop Smiling direct from their website. I've bought a few from them, and their service was very good. It also turns up in Magazzino and Real Groovy.
Do fries go with that shake?
To finish off NZ Music Month with a bang, Kiwi FM is holding a Live-to-air from Burgerfuel Ponsonby Rd this afternoon (Friday), hosted by Wammo, with a live performance from White Birds and Lemons, and Peter Mac (that's me) DJing his fave Kiwi tunes. Starts 3pm, live band at 4.30pm, and I'm DJing from 5 til 6pm.

Do fries go with that shake? The answer would be yes. That's what I'm getting paid in. Sweet.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

People make the world go round
Was just listening to Benji B's latest radio show and he dropped the above tune, a version by Angela Bofill. Did a quick search and hit pay-dirt - someone's blog with seventeen (count em) different versions of said song, including the Stylistics, Innerzone orchestra, Ramsey Lewis.... Link to Souled On. Nice one.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, May 24 playlist
Bit of a nz music special today, seeing as it's NZ Music Month and all... (not a million miles from my show on Kiwi FM, but with extra cheddar)

Salmonella Dub - Lightning (3spot remix)
King Kapisi - Reverse resistance inst
DLT feat Che Fu - Chains remix
Phase 5 -Box juice
Julien Dyne - Off my feet
Sound foundation - Ram dancehall
Fat Freddy's Drop - Roady (Nextmen burger mix)
Rodger Fox Big Band - Open sesame
Maria Dallas - Um bala bomba
Prince Tui Teka - Let's stay together
Tyra and the tornadoes - Hui hui
Loudhaler - Refresher
Nemesis dub systems - Young boy's tale
Kevvy Kev - Give or take dub
Patea Maori Club - Poi e
Newmatics - Riot squad
Unitone hifi - Up to eleven
Pitch black - Flex (Son sine remix)
Salmonella Dub - Platetechtonics (Groove Corp remix)
Bill Wolfgramm and his islanders feat Daphne Walker - Haere mai
Jay Epae - The creep
Morgan Clarke with Benny's Five - Haka boogie
Fat Freddy's Drop - Hope (MKL vs Soy Sos dub)
Hallelujah Picassos -Rewind
Lewis McCallum - Fly or die
The Midnights - Outside looking in (Dub Asylum remix)
Maori Hi-five - Poi poi

Friday, May 23, 2008

Moron Says What?
I had the pleasure of attending BFM's Fancy New Band Showcase at the King's Arms last night, and damn it was good. Got to see some bands I'd never heard or heard of, and it was great stuff. 20 minute sets, lotsa energy.. especially enjoyed Mean Streets, a taut three piece banging away, and I finally got to see the wonderfully-named Moron Says What? who were every bit as good as their gloriously cool name would suggest. Four young women grooving away, kinda CSS/ESG 80s NYC dance vibe. They finished with a song called Sleep, which they said matched their song Eat (cos everyone likes to sleep and eat, right?).
You can check out both the bands I mentioned on the free CD with this months excellent Real Groove magazine. Cheers to BFM for putting it on, and cheers to Real Groove for profiling em. (Moron Says What? on Myspace, Mean Streets on Myspace)

The second installment of the Fancy New Band Showcase is on tonight at the King's Arms. And it's free. So there. Get along. Line-up follows...

Teacups – 7.00-7.25
Seth & Merle – 7.40-8.05
Turning Tricks – 8.20-8.45
Bionic Pixie – 9.00-9.25
Wilberforces – 9.40-10.05
The Randoms – 10.20-10.45
Side Kick Nick – 11.00-11.25
Clap Clap Riot – 11.40-12.05

Also there's a new FREE Nokia 5610 Xpress Music Phone to be given away on the Friday night – you must be there to pick it up. If you can't make the show, make sure you listen out for the LIVE broadcast on 95bFM with Aroha Harawira from 7-9pm.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New doco about Arthur Russell (Dinosaur L/Loose Joints)
Reviewed at The Playlist, excerpt...
Chances are pretty good that, some possible BBC4 venture aside, "Wild Combination" will be the only Arthur Russell documentary to be made in my lifetime. And while I am thankful that a good one exists, I can’t help but feel that a few of this story’s chapters, the very ones that make Arthur an underappreciated giant of late 20th century music, were given short shrift by filmmaker Matt Wolf.

To be sure, it’s not like Wolf gets anything wrong ... but there’s also the very real sense that Wolf is learning the story - and the music guiding it - as he’s making the film; and this makes for a missed opportunity in the narrative of a cellist-composer born and raised in Iowa, who came of age on a Buddhist commune in San Francisco, relocated to mid-‘70s New York where he played conduit between the downtown minimalist music scene, the early art-punk scene, and the gay disco scene, became a great (semi-) reclusive obsessive composer/songwriter, and died of AIDS in 1992.

Generally speaking, "Wild Combination"s deepest flaw is how little play the disco side of Arthur’s legacy gets ... Some minor insight into the film-maker’s disco/not disco decision was given by Wolf at the Q&A that followed last Thursday’s 9pm screening, when he spoke of not wanting those passages to be portrayed in the shadow of the hedonistic Studio 54 clichĂ©. His explanation made it seem like he himself entered the film-making process under the spell of such cultural biases. That’s too bad – ‘cause those biases show through, and continue to under-estimate the power and repercussions of New York’s great disco story."

Read the full review here. Trailer for the film here. Official movie site here, which lists the film as screening here in the NZ Film Festival circuit in July.

There's a great article in Wax Poetics issue 23 on Arthur Russell (scans by the article's author Stuart Aitken, here), and author Tim Lawrence (Love Saves The Day) is currently writing a biography of Arthur. The image above is from Audika Records, a company dedicated to reissuing Arthurs' recordings. It's takne by Arthur's father, with Arthur playing cello, sitting by the lake near his family home.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Corporate Beanbag Extravagance
Chris Bourke has some tales of the old days at EMI here...
"For a long while EMI was based in my home town, perched among some very unsalubrious light-industrial buildings in Petone. And of course there were EMI record stores in most New Zealand towns in the 1970s and 80s. I thought I’d share some images from EMI’s heyday, the 1970s. I remember reading somewhere that the success of the Beatles was so massive that their sales alone brought this massive international corporation a profit all the way until 1975. Plus, of course, there were the enormous sales of Fred Dagg’s Greatest Hits."
The photos are great! (Hat tip to Simon)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, May 17 playlist
Natural yoghurt band - Voodoo
Love unlimited orchestra - Theme from King Kong (Danny Krivit edit)
The lions - Ethiosteppers (Wilderstyle dub)
Willie Royal - General alarm
Nicole Willis - Feeling free (Dynamics remix)
Michael Rose - Better mus come
Opotopo - Belema
Mulatu Astatke - Yekermo sew
Heliocentrics feat Percee P, MF Doom - Distant star
Dub connection - Knokoder
Horace Andy - My heart is gone
OG - Bam bam
Lil Buck and the top cats - Monkey in a sack
Phil Cohran - Frankiphone blues
Roots Radics - Lovers mood
Nicola Conte - Bossa per due

Soundtrack set... (inspired after reading the King Britt interview talking about his fave soundtracks in the latest Wax Poetics mag...)
Lalo Schifrin - Bullit (Black Dog mini driver jam)
Vladimir Cosma - Sentimental walk (Diva)
Neal Hefti - Rescue from ritual (Duel at Diablo)
Issac Hayes - Cafe Reggio (Shaft)
Curtis Mayfield - Little child running wild (Pusherman)
Curtis Mayfield - Feak freak free free free (Short eyes)
Aretha Franklin - Jump (Sparkle)
Rose Royce - Sunrise (Carwash)

Dub traffik control - Fresh prince of babylon
Miles Davis - So what (Shoes reggae edit)
Jasmine Sullivan - I need you so bad
Cornerstone roots - One fine day (Kartika Leng remix)
Santo Gold - Your voice

Friday, May 16, 2008

EMI NZ boss gone
The NZ Herald's John Drinnan reports that EMI NZ boss Chris Caddick has been let go, and their staff has been cut from 18 to 9. (link) Excerpted below, read the full article at the link. Simon Grigg also wrote a very good post on the changes at EMI NZ, read it here.


Global music giant EMI Music has dampened New Zealand Music Month by pulling the plug on a top talent spotter and champion of local music, Chris Caddick.

The departure marks the downgrading of the Auckland business from a fully serviced EMI outpost of 18 people last year to a sales operation of around nine, music industry sources say...

... Caddick and EMI had set sights on becoming the major multinational in the New Zealand market. New Zealand musicians signed or licensed to EMI include Salmonella Dub, Hollie Smith, Golden Horse and Opshop. The moves are part of the crisis at EMI under new management and the ongoing unravelling of the global music industry due to illegal downloads.

The business model is shot. So loss of the managing director of signing acts in this tiny and isolated market will be hardly noticed inside EMI. The company refused to comment, as did Caddick.

Media hype up New Zealand music success overseas but, like other industries, New Zealand is becoming a branch office of Sydney. It is expected EMI will become a sales office and signing talent will be controlled from Australia. Sony BMG still has a New Zealand office but it too is focused on Sydney. Universal Music is the most active multinational in this market but some believe it will eventually revert to a marketing role....

... The issue creates big challenges for New Zealand On Air, which is obliged by law to promote New Zealand culture and identity and pumps money into companies to make records - including generous subsidies paid to multinationals like EMI.

Increasingly the state-owned funder is looking like the artist and repertoire man cajoling distant record executives with cash incentives.

While parts of the music scene live off grants, industry folk believe it is time to stop dressing up subsidies as a culture associated with Music-Month festivities and start treating them for what they are - a commercial industry subsidy."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, May 3 playlist
Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet about me (Ashley Beedle remix)
Big Youth - Lion's den dub version
Horace Andy - Problems
Pitch Black - Lost in translation (International Observer remix)
Antibalas - Sister
Piero Umiliani -Mah na mah na (Gak Sato Tiki mix)
Born Jamericans - Boom shakatak
Ghetto - I'm ghettz remix
Manu Chao - Politik kills (Dennis Bovell dub mix feat LKJ)
LKJ - Bitch Dub
James Brown - Blind man can see it
Dave Nada - Spell on you
Scientist - When I love dub

Back to the 80s set
Patea Maori Club - Ngoi Ngoi
ESG - Moody
Grace Jones - My Jamaican guy
Ian Dury - Reasons to be cheerful Pt3
Nile Rogers - Land of the good groove (shout out to Murray Cammick)
Troublefunk -Pump me up

Katalyst feat Steve Spacek - How bout us
Erykah Badu - Honey (Seiji mix)
Little dragon - Test
Musique - In the bush
Cloud one - Atmosphere strut remix

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Big changes at EMI NZ?
There is news coming out of Asia that EMI is closing down some of its Asia operations - will this have a flow-on effect to their NZ operations? Could we see EMI NZ being run from their London or Australian offices?

From Onetwomusic News ..

We recieved rumours from someone working inside EMI that after the long weekend in Hong Kong, EMI will announce that they are closing all operations in Asia. This includes EMI regional office in Hong Kong. We have not heard anything official from EMI yet.

There has been a lot of speculation of how the acquisition by Terra Firma will affect EMI in Asia, where they closed down their Thai Office and laid off Key management staff in Hong Kong’s regional office late last year.

Our sources tell us that EMI will be inking deals with distribution partners in Asia, but no word on whom yet.

EMI has been struggling in the region, with under-performing international albums and successful Asian artists limiting to Greater China only.

Once we recieve more information or a confirmation, we will post it here.

24/03/08 UPDATE: From what we heard after our post, EMI will not be shutting down immediately after Easter, but will start rolling out plans to start a licensing/distribution network for EMI in Asia. Eventually their presence in Asia (ex-Japan) will be in the form of licensing.

ADDED more at Music 2.0. "Already, EMI has effectively closed offices in Thailand and Singapore whilst those in Japan, India, Australia and China will remain to some level of direct EMI jurisdiction especially on the digital front. It is believed that EMI is currently in talks to license a partner to manage their catalogue in Asia, and rumours have Warner Music as the front runner."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Business time
Flight of the Conchords hit number one in NZ this week. On the US charts, they drop from no 3 to no 17, selling 22,000, a 57% drop from its first week. Total is 75,000 (source).
Blog wins over rock
Dave Allen is quitting the reformed Gang of Four to concentrate on his blog. Seriously.

Speaking of old school, Stiff Little Fingers hit Auckland May 14, at the Powerstation, Christchurch at the Civic, May 15th. They're also popping up at the Meltdown Festival in the UK, this year curated by Massive Attack, playing their Inflammable Material album in its entirety.
TV Party NYC 1978
Just watched ESG's final show on PitchforkTV, then discovered this great doco about a cable tv show called TV Party, hosted by Glenn O'Brien outta NYC from 1978-82.

"Running from 1978 to 1982, this hilariously anarchic, drug-fueled NYC cable access show featured unpredictable appearances from David Byrne, Nile Rogers, Arto Lindsay, DNA, Andy Warhol, Blondie, Mick Jones, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, George Clinton, Jean Michel Basquiat and others."

The TV Party Orchestra was led by Walter Staeding with Chris Stein. They weren't allowed to smoke cigarettes in the tv studio, but smoking pot was ok. They also used to take phone-in callers live-to-air, which is pretty funny - it's lots of verbal abuse, which the hosts handled with great humour. More about the doco here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ring The Alarm, BaseFM, May 3 playlist
Gamm doin' James pt 2 - U got soul
International Observer - Seedsavers dub
Pitch Black - Flex (Son Sine remix)
Submariner - Tha natural
The Cals - Amazon bossa nova
Lewis McCallum - Way we live
Brother Culture and Twilight Circus - Fiyah well hot
Jackie Mittoo - Moonwalk
Johnny Osbourne - Budy bye
Prince Charles and the City Beat Band - Cash (cash money)
Kashmere stage band - Aint no sunshine (JRocc remix)
J Dilla - Won't do
Barbara Trent - Heartbreak hotel
Dubwize - Dub promise
Benga - 26 basslines
Estelle - The magnificient
Lykke Li - Little bit
Dusty Springfield - Spooky
Dave Cortez and the moon people - Happy soul with a hook
Latin Blues Band feat Luis Aviles - I'll be a happy man
(For more on the tale behind these two songs - as sampled by DJ Premier for his Christina Acquilera tune 'Aint No Other Man' - see music writer Oliver Wang's Soulside blog. Great music geekery. Banging drums courtesy of Mister Bernard Purdie!)
Johnny Rodriquez and Angel Rene - Sister Sue
Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet about me (Ashley Beedle remix)
Lennie Hibbert - Real hot
Fabulous three -Odyssey revised
Tiki - Always on my mind (dub)
Unitone Hifi - Up to eleven
Willie Royal - General alarm
Opotopo - Belema
Mo horizons - Superworld

Friday, May 02, 2008

Base Fm turns four! There will be cake.
Check this out... "Happy Birthday Base!!! Four years of glorious broadcasting, dope tunes and comedy gold. We're celebrating in a BIG way - on Saturday night at Pull Lounge with Base in your Face, featuring the incredible Jerm, The Boil Up and the one and only Tommy Flowers. 10pm onwards although, free entry from 9 - 10!

On Sunday, we're going live-to-air from Conch Records and we'll be giving away birthday presents galore, like a Burton Snowboard and bindings, Dickies Prizepacks, Adidas t-shirts, Federation Tshirts, a Tupac Book, Malt Bar and Pull Bar $100 bar tabs, Beat Merchants Vouchers, Jagermeister and Canadian Club, over $1,000 from Eastern Hi-Fi and sooooooooooooo much more. But you've got to be in it to win it, and we're there from 2pm onwards. Come down and say hey! Oh, and did I mention there'd be cake? Hell yes there'll be cake.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

April 21 marked the NZ release of albums by Flight of the Conchords and Shihad. This week's top 40 album charts came out yesterday and we have Shihad at no 1 and Flight of the Conchords at no 2. Shihad have already gone gold (sales of 7,500) in NZ. Congrats all round.

The big news? The comedy duo sold over 52,000 albums in their first week of release in the US, debuting at no 3 on the Billboard charts. Does this make FOTC the highest charting NZ album in the US ever? Anyone know? ADDED: Just checked Crowded House's US chart history -their highest placing for an album was their debut, which peaked at no 12 - their highest placing single was no 2 for Don't Dream It's Over (source:

From Rolling Stone... "An engagement and a (possible) pregnancy wasn’t enough to help Ashlee Simpson, as the singer’s new album Bittersweet World landed at number four with 47,387 copies sold. Simpson was beat out by Mariah Carey’s E=MC2, which took number one for a second consecutive week, Leona Lewis’ Spirit at two and, surprisingly, Flight of the Conchords’ self-titled debut, which grabbed the third spot with 52,133 copies sold. That’s right: Pete Wentz’s fiancĂ©e got edged by the comic duo who were on the show that followed Big Love on HBO."

ADDED: The Aussie papers have picked up this story from Reuters, with the headline "Conchords more popular than Crowded House" which isn't strictly true. Crowded House went higher in the US charts than FOTC - CH hit no 2 with Don't Dream It's Over. And, as Simon noted in the comments, the sales numbers are very small compared to, say, three years ago. I'm trying to track down the sales numbers for CH's no 12 placing.

UPDATE: From author (Crowded House bio "Something So Strong") and journalist Chris Bourke... "sales of the debut album would be over a million. Soundscan didn't exist back in 1986/1987 when the first CH album was on its slow rise up the charts. Remember it took a full year from first release until "Don't Dream It's Over" hit in the US in April 1987. Between May 1986 and Christmas 1986, the album had only sold 3000 copies in New Zealand."

Go check out Chris's CH blog, Something So Strong, he's got a great post on CH album engineer Tchad Blake.

ADDED "From TV 3 news last night... ""The fact Flight of the Conchords has broken at number three on the actual album charts is going to be way more important than any number of New Zealand music months," says Kiwi music legend Chris Knox." Link