Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stax: The Soul of Hip-Hop
I've been on a bit of a Stax bender for the last few months, saw this choice news today on Crate Kings: "Stax: The Soul of Hip-Hop drops Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 to commemorate the seemingly endless number of classics churned out by Isaac Hayes, Booker T & The MGs, The Emotions, William Bell, David Porter, and more.

Consisting of tracks sampled by notable hip-hop artists, the compilation seeks to honor the musical tradition and amazing roster of Stax legends."

1. 24-CARAT BLACK – “Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth”
2. THE EMOTIONS – “Blind Alley”
3. BOOKER T. & THE MGs – “Melting Pot”
4. THE BAR-KAYS – “Humpin’”
5. THE DRAMATICS – “Get Up and Get Down”
6. ISAAC HAYES – “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”
7. ISAAC HAYES – “Hung Up On My Baby”
8. DAVID PORTER – “I’m Afraid the Masquerade Is Over”
9. WENDY RENE – “After the Laughter (Comes Tears)”
10. CHARMELS – “As Long As I’ve Got You”
12. RUFUS THOMAS – “Do the Funky Penguin (Part 1)”
13. LITTLE MILTON – “Packed Up and Took My Mind”
14. WILLIAM BELL - “I Forgot To Be Your Lover”

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The vinyl revival is here! (story #259)
From the LA Times: "In a digital age, vinyl albums are making a comeback". The angle? Guy working for digital music distributor gets laid off, opens vinyl store.

Special bonus points, for this one: "Younger crowd digging vinyl's sound".

I love how this story gets written every six months, somewhere in the world. Meanwhile, you and me know vinyl never went away. We just don't say that out loud.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sharpen up!
As part of NZ Music Month, the folks over at Devonport's Creative People's Centre are running some seminars for musicians "who want to learn more about developing a sustainable career in the music industry". Should be some really useful stuff in there. So, sharpen up!

May 7 - What Every Musician Should Know

Vital issues every band and musician should make sure they are on top of.

Petrina George – APRA
Mark Roach – PPNZ, General Manager
David Ridler – NZ On Air, Assistant NZ Music Manager.

May 14 - Developing the Business of Your Music

A discussion of the kinds of issues you should start to consider when you are ready to get more organised and professional in what you do with your music and how you run your career in the music industry.

Mark Kneebone – Isaac Promotions, Tardus Music and Chairman IMNZ
Teresa Patterson – Chairperson MMF and Manager of Scribe and Elemeno P
Ashley Page – Page One Management and previously head of A&R Warner Music NZ

May 21 - Key Music Industry Contracts

An explanation of the key issues to be aware of in the most common agreements encountered in the music industry including, Recording Agreements, Publishing Agreements, Live Performance Agreements and Management Agreements.

David McLaughlin – Music Lawyer

May 28 - Licensing and Publishing Explained

A discussion of what exactly the publishing and licensing of music involves in today’s music industry as well as the benefits involved and issues to be aware of.

Savina Kim – Native Tongue Music Publishing NZ
Paul McLaney – Recording Artist and A&R Scout / Licensing Manager Mushroom Music Publishing

If you wish to attend any of the seminars please email to register.

All seminars will be held upstairs at the Masonic Tavern, 29 King Edward Parade, Devonport, from 1-4 pm and there will be a $5 cover charge payable on the day for attendance at each seminar.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Soopa Soul Sundae (with a side of Stax)
Recently rediscovered I had an account with 8tracks, so heres a bunch of soulful tunes for you to enjoy. (link)

Tumblr - Dubdotdash Extended Version.
Tumblr is a great little blogging service that I've been using for a while. After hearing Tumblr's founder David Karp speak at Web09 (dude talked about how his heroes when he was growing up were Willy Wonka and Steve Jobs - and he's only 22), I've got back into spitting out a ton of music links over there.

It's incredibly easy to use - just set up a log-in, add a link to "Share on Tumblr"to your browser favourites, and when you see a site with a good item, just click and post. Check it out here... and please add to your RSS feeds, if you like it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ring The Alarm playlist, Basefm April 25
Johnny Clarke - Crazy baldhead
Prince douglas - Jam love dub
Dennis Brown/Big Youth - Money in my pocket/ah so we say
Derrick Morgan - Fatman
Deodato -Superstrut
Julien Dyne - Behind the forage
Marva Whitney - I am what I am
Inez Foxx - Circuit's overload
Lee Scratch Perry - Everything start from scratch
Leroy Sibbles - Express yourself
Soom T - Did you know?
Manasseh - Western world version
Raz Bin Sam - Crazy for righteousness
Lefties soul connection - Chop it!
Johnny Harris - Stepping stones
Mayer Hawthorne - Maybe so, maybe no
Scientist - Love you dub
Kode9 - Black sun
Specials - Ghost town DJ G remix
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Inspiration information
Blank zulu - Mellow magic
Mulatu and the Heliocentrics - Chik chikka
Kinny - Afro love forest
Como now/John Edwards Singers -New burying ground
Fred Wesley and the JBs - I'm paying taxes, what am I buying?
Lightning head - Area boy
Phenomenal handclap band - You'll disappear
Mophono - Edge remix
Records records records.
From Crate Kings, you mighta seen it... "Aaron Howell and Sharon Shattucks’ short documentary entitled Records covers a quick history of records, the pressing process involved in their creation, and explains the many reasons why otherwise normal people spend a greater portion of their lives chasing after vinyl.

The video includes quick snippets of interviews with DJ’s, collectors, and even the production manager of Brooklyn Phono record plant and touches on various aspects of vinyl such as DJ’ing, Sound Quality, Artwork, and Collecting."

Records (full-length)! from Sharon Shattuck on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Behind the making of De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising

Check it out here. Got your tickets for their NZ shows next month?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ze 30: Ze Records 1979 - 2009
"Strut present the story of one of the most influential and revered labels emerging from New York in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, Ze Records.

After the late ‘70s punk and new wave explosion in New York, Ze became a by-word for the anything-goes culture clashes that typified the Big Apple during the early ‘80s. Formed by French art student Michel Esteban and British journalist Michael Zilkha, Ze quickly created its own unique independent universe, signing artists as varied as Alan Vega’s electronic post-punk pioneers Suicide, trash disco queen Cristina and maverick producer August Darnell a.k.a. Kid Creole.

With Esteban’s sharp graphic eye leading the label’s visual identity, Ze hit the New York zeitgeist head on and became supremely hip – in 1982, The Face magazine nominated it “the most fashionable label in the world.”

With this new compilation, Strut takes a snapshot of the many weird and wonderful fusions that surfaced on its famous NYC cab-influenced yellow and black label. Highlights include one of the earliest outings by Was (Not Was), ‘Tell Me That I’m Dreaming’, a disbelieving commentary on Reaganomics, Bob Blank’s short-lived disco supergroup Aural Exciters and a Larry Levan mix of Kid Creole’s biting parable about corruption in the Caribbean, ‘There’s Something Wrong In Paradise’.

Prepared in conjunction with Ze Records founder Michel Esteban, the CD and vinyl packages feature a full history of Ze including interviews with Esteban and a number of original Ze artists along with rare and previously unpublished photos."

Coming out soon on

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How I spent my weekend

DJed at Web09 conference. Lotsa fun! Met some interesting folk, heard some pretty cool ideas. Free wifi helped too.
Mulatu interviewed
From the Fader: "Legendary Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke's collaboration with the Heliocentrics hits a lot of key points we're into, blending fuzzy psych guitars with heavy drums and complex piano runs. It's an album that successfully mixes old and new without coming across as a self-conscious throwback. Instead, it works as a meeting of minds with a genuine respect for the music that makes up their backgrounds.

Check out our Q+A with Astatke, covering everything from his soundtrack work on Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers to his ongoing update of traditional Ethiopian music. [Theres a Multau and Heliocentrics tune to download over here too]

What have you been up to?
I’ve been in Lisbon, Portugal doing a lecture for the Red Bull Music Academy, it was very interesting, I stayed about four or five days. And I’m here for rehearsal for the next tour.

You lecture a lot?
Well I do both, I teach and I play.

Do you teach Ethiopian music to students?
Sometimes. I am teaching in Poland about Ethiopian modes, how to voice them, but I can also teach jazz education. I’m versatile.

Do you like to teach?
I don’t really love teaching, but I love the experience of discussing music with other musicians in the world, because music is an endless profession, you can learn something everyday.

What was the last big thing that you learned about music?
Not something particular, but while I was at Harvard University—and now I’m a fellow of Harvard—I got a fellowship, but I was at Harvard and it was so beautiful and so very inspiring. Everyday I was working on a different subject, different materials. There were three or four other music composers with me as well. And that was one of the places I enjoyed most in my life. That was really great, what an experience, great intellectuals, it was so beautiful.

Can you talk about the five tone structure of Ethio-jazz a little bit?
I had experimented a bit with music in college at Berklee, but when I went to New York I formed a group called the Ethiopian Quintet, so that’s when I blended the five tone with the twelve tone music. Especially when you try to fuse both, it sounds like two cultures going at the same time. So you really have to be careful, blend the most beautifully without losing the character. That’s how I managed.

So your serious training in music allowed you to make that blend?
Yes, training is important for everything: experience, training—so important to put things together.

Can we talk a little bit about the album you did with the Heliocentrics? They are very interesting musicians, they have their whole way of approaching music, and I have my own way. Another blend. I was here last time to lecture for Red Bull, and we did a show at the Cargo, and people seemed to really love it and enjoy. I enjoyed it myself. So we said, Why don’t we do a CD together, blending jazz and stick with what I’ve been doing 45 years ago, so I said, ok let’s try it out. So I came back, and we did the recording. Heliocentrics have their own studio, we recorded there and that was it.

How long did that take?
I think it was about ten days. Very quick, when you do things with good communication, they were great, loved the Ethio-jazz music, we all have that feeling, so we just blended and played.

I know you are also working on a modern version of a traditional instrument…
I improve musical instruments. My last target for Ethio-jazz is to upgrade all Ethiopian musical instruments to be able to play twelve-tone music. I tried on an instrument called the krarr, I managed to play “Guantanamera” and “Summertime” by putting two more strings on the instrument. So by not changing the shape, just by upgrading the strings, you are able to play those things. The whole thing is young people in Ethiopia today love to learn the guitar, so perhaps they’d forget their own instruments, so I upgraded the krarr to be as good as a guitar and maybe they will stick with it. It’s still very Ethiopian, I’m not touching the shape of the instrument. I won a grant at MIT, so we’ve been working on the krarr and how it can be developed.

Can you tell me a little about how your music came to be in Jim Jarmusch’s movie Broken Flowers?
Jim is a guy who is a very creative person and he was just looking for music in his films. I met him in New York, we had a concert at the Financial Center—Winter Garden—a beautiful jazz place. His secretary called me one afternoon in New York and said Jim wants to come to a concert this evening. So I said, you’re welcome to come, but I didn’t know who he was. So they came, saw the show, the show was great, sold out, and then after the show he came backstage and we had a chance to speak, and he said Mulatu, I love your music, I want to use some of your music in the film. So I said, please you are welcome. That’s it, I left, and in two months they contacted me and it happened. I’ve written for a lot of plays in Ethiopia, for films in Ethiopia, like documentaries…

How did it feel to see your music in the context of that film?
It was beautiful. It turned out so nicely. My fans and people who follow me, they love my music, but I was able to get a lot of fans from film people. So it’s been great, both sides, the film people and the musicians, they love it, it’s been great for Ethio-jazz. If you work hard and aren’t discouraged and keep on working, the result is what it is. It’s beautiful.

Are there younger musicians that you hear that have that mentality?
There is one guitar player called Bibesha, he plays with me sometimes when I’m home, I think he’s one of the upcoming great musicians who loves Ethio-jazz. I wish him good luck.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Whats the haps?
International Record Store Day is this Saturday. Heres a list of some NZ stores involved.

Conch Records on Saturday 18th(115a Ponsonby Rd) are celebrating independent record store day with a special live performance by Gianmarco Liguori alongside, Kim Paterson, Murray McNabb and Miquel Fuentes (from 12.30pm).

As Simon Sweetman suggests, this isn't about saving a dying breed but "... the idea behind Record Store Day, to me, seems to be to go and enjoy music."

From International Record Store Day site: "The original idea for Record Store Day was conceived in 2007, as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally.

This is the one-day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances..."

* Meanwhile across town, I'll be DJing at Web09, a two-day conference for web designers and developers.

* Conch Records have also just launched their blog, check it out here.

* 'Record Dealers' A Record Store gallery... Photography by B+... link "How many of these stores are gone now. I started this series in 1996, then it seemed like a way to record all the strange and wonderful characters that I came across in the search for records. Now it seems that this a view into a world that is disappearing fast. There’s many more in this series and I will put them up soon."

* Spotted via Twitter... musician @olafurarnalds is recording and releasing one song per day. check it out here Cool concept!

* Phenomenal Handclap Band interviewed. Their debut release is out soon on Truth and Soul Records.

How many of you are in the band?

Sean Marquand: There’s eight of us in the band… Daniel Coll├ís, Patrick Wood (drums, vocals), Nicholas Movshon (bass), Luke O’Malley (guitar, vocals), Quinn Luke (guitar, vocals), Laura Marin (vocals, percussion), and Joan Tick (vocals)

How do you all fit into one practice space and manage to make your schedules fit together?

SM: [It's] a headache managing everyone’s schedule. We practice at our guitarist/vocalist’s studio (Quinn Luke) down the street from the Handclap studio and it does get pretty tight there. The ceilings are really low, so some of us can’t even stand up straight.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Purple sign of the times
"Insane fans of Prince can worship the musical maestro by purchasing his limited-edition iPod Touch — for the price of $2,100.

Here's the best part: You don't gain access to a full library of Prince music. Rather, the purple Prince Opus iPod comes preloaded with a 40-minute concert video and 15 songs from a live soundtrack. Only 950 Prince iPods are available.

So why the hefty price? You're also paying for a high-end book of Prince photographs that comes bundled with the iPod. Kraken Opus, a British publisher, produced the photos." Link

Reggae legend Lloyd 'Wackies' Barnes interviewed...
In the New York Times... "Mr. Barnes created the 225th Street studio by hand in the compact space, opening it in December. “I love it here,” he said, his gaze proudly moving from the checkered maroon and white ceiling to the purple and brown floral carpet on the walls to the coffee maker and microwave in the recording booth. “I even built the couch, stayed here last night, yeah mon,” he said in his soft Jamaican patois.

Its predecessor was at the northern end of the No. 2 line and included a record store. That studio, a red storefront with a yellow lion heralding Wackie’s latest releases, soon became a magnet for Jamaican musicians from all over the city after it opened in the 1970s.

“It was like the reggae Motown in the Bronx,” said Ras Menelik DaCosta, 54, a percussionist with a white dreadlocked beard who jammed at the space. “People get wives just from being there; some people became fathers. It took on a life of its own.” Link.
New music from Chali 2na (ex Jurassic 5)
"Probably best known as front man for the groups Jurassic 5 & Ozomatli, Chali 2na presents his first solo effort in a 15+ year career – Fish Outta Water." Check out a tune off it over here...
Download "Lock Sh#t Down" ft. Talib Kweli here:

Album out mid-year on Decon Records. Check Chali 2na on Myspace.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mulatu Astatke and The Heliocentrics album podcast
The more I listen to this album, the more I like it. Another taster from it below...
"Mulatu Astatke and The Heliocentrics' Inspiration Information album is already making noise. From early rumblings on the Stonesthrow site, to a sold-out show in LA w/ openers Madlib, Cut Chemist & Quantic, to an extremely successful tour of Europe getting love from Gilles Peterson & more. Gaslamp Killer even dropped a track in his set @ WMC. But it should come as no surprise.

It's safe to say the music on this record is unlike anything else you'll hear all year. Check out the podcast above for some in-studio sound, and a discussion of the making of the album. Inspiration Information comes out April 14th on Strut."

Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics- Album Podcast

...and if you missed them, grab the track "Masenqo," and check out the behind the scenes video.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

R.I.P. Murray Marbeck

"Back in 1960, this is what the original Marbecks Record shop in Queens Arcade looked like. That's Mr. Murray Marbeck (now retired) pictured on the left and his late brother, Haydn on the right."
He passed away at Auckland Hospital on 4 April 2009 Link

Monday, April 06, 2009

Gloria Jones (Tainted love) gets reissued.

Great interview with Ms Jones over at the Fader. Jones was "a storied Motown songwriter, Rolling Stones/Ike and Tina back-up singer (among others), and a member of UK glam rock outfit T.Rex, Jones was never a household name even though her legacy is essential to rock 'n roll."

Can you talk about how the re-issue came about?
I don’t know if you know but for the last 12 years I’ve been living in Africa. I came home just last year to vote, and be a part of the release of “Share My Love”, the CD. It really is very exciting, because in Sierra Leone we are planning to build the Marc Bolan School of Music and Film. Link.

The kicker? Marc Bolan played guitar on Nutbush City Limits. Sheesh.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, April 4
African head charge - Heading to glory
Barrington Levy - Many changes in life
King tubby - Money dub
Sabres of paradise - Wilmot II (Wilmots last skank)
Daemang and Red Dynasty -Wandering heroes
Aim - Just passin thru
Fairyspace Dub -Strictly roots
Overproof sound system -Kingstep (Unitone Hifi dub mix - unreleased)
Cheers to Stinky Jim for hooking me up with this killer tune.
Horace Andy and Ashley Beedle - What we (Pinch remix)
Manasseh - Western world version
Applejuice kid -Masco
Kokolo - Magnificent seven
Jimi Tenor and Kabu Kabu - Me I say yes
June 22 vs Nas - Get down, stand up
Lee Scratch Perry - International broadcaster
King midas sound - Cool out son
James Brown - Blind man can see it
Eddie Bo - Check your bucket
Roger and the gypsies - Pass the hatchet
Lonk Wray - Fatback
Dutch rhythm combo feat Joe Dukie - Venom (Dr Rubberfunk mix)
El Michels affair - Walk on by (off their new 'Tribute to Isaac Hayes' EP, more here)
King Everand - Kill ole pan
Sister Nancy - Aint no stopping Nancy
Lee Scratch Perry - God smiled (Moody boyz remix)
Blacknificent seven - U wot (Skitz remix)
Phenomenal handclap
"The The Phenomenal Handclap Band, a collective of NY-based musicians that melds disco, funk, tambourine shaking, electronic swirls, and soulful vocal harmonies into one merry pot of juicy retro beats – tipped us off about a killer disco party at Santo's this Saturday. First off, The Phenomenal Handclap Band promises to overflow the stage. Then, Afrika Bambaataa will play. Plus, Farley Jackmaster Funk will be spinning down below."

Click here and download a tasty tune from the Phenomenal Handclap Band. Their debut single is due out soon thru Truth and Soul Records. And grab their song "15 to 20" here, killer tune.

Friday, April 03, 2009

ALT TV collapse leave $3 million debt
NZ Herald's John Drinnan looks into the collapse of ALT TV here.
Excerpt... The Herald "reported problems on January 23, when the four shareholders Thane Kirby, Ricky Newby, Oliver Driver and David Kennedy passed shares to a company controlled by Easy Factors.
Easy Factors approached staff to try and turn the company around in one month, but without success.
Kirby - who moved the channel from a weak free-to-air Auckland frequency on to the Sky digital platform - insisted in January the channel was sound and there were no financial issues relating to the owners' exit..

...A secured creditor - the channel's financier Easy Factors - is owed $1.8 million. Liquidator Anthony Harris said prospects for a dividend being paid to unsecured creditors owed $1.36 million were "remote".
The liquidators' report listed 19 known creditors. Among them are Sky TV, state-owned Kordia, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, AC Nielsen, and the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand, believed to be related to unpaid music royalties."

I remember seeing all the amazing old videos ALT TV dug up when they started out on free-to-air tv, and thinking "wow, they must be paying a ton in royalties for all these rare videos." Looks like they weren't paying a dime.

Drinnan also notes that "Television New Zealand is understood to be interested in buying the Alt TV brand to start the channel anew on the Freeview digital platform. A youth music channel would make sense for TVNZ, helping them to pick up younger people who are boosting viewership for MediaWorks' C4."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Horace Andy/Ashley Beedle Remixed by Pinch
There's a bunch of remixes about to drop from the recent collaboration between reggae legend Horace Andy and Ashley Beedle, here's a sneak preview, courtesy of Strut.

Horace Andy / Ashley Beedle- "Watch We" (Pinch Remix)
From: Inspiration Information - The Remixes (out April 27th on Strut)

Moody, dubbed out mix from Bristol's Pinch. Mighty nice.

download here:
Full tracklisting is...
1. When The Rain Falls (Cosmodelica mix)
2. Watch We (Souljazz Orchestra mix)
3. Rasta Don't (Toddla T mix)
4. Watch We (Pinch mix)

More info here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Mint Chicks faked their move to Portland?
Early this morning I was checking out my RSS feeds to see what was happening round my favourite music blogs, and stumbled upon this rather odd story.

Remember how The Mint Chicks cleaned up at the NZ Music Awards in 2007? After winning their umpteenth award that night they jumped onstage and said thanks, then leaned into the mic and said 'fix'. And then they lost a member, and upped sticks and moved to Portland, Oregon in the USA.

Sure, they have a history of being wily pranksters, but this one is a doozy. Turns out they may have been hiding out up north for the past three years.

I spied this odd story on indie music blog this morning, suggesting that the Mint Chicks had mysteriously moved to the West Coast of the South Island in early 2008, and had relocated in December last year to the far North, and have been holed up in a beach property near Kaitaia - no link , as the story has disappeared form their website, will try Google cache and see if I can find it.

There's never been a gap of more than three months between NZ gigs for them since they claim to have moved 7,000 miles away. When they left NZ in December 2007 after final shows, they were back here a month later in January 2008 for the Big Day Out. Then back a few months later to play with Shihad. Then they did the same thing again for the following year's BDO, Vodafone Homegrown, and so on. And what band can afford repeated trans-Pacific airfares? And strangely, none of the shows they claim to have played in Portland show up on a Google search.

Anyone know what the Mint Chicks are up to?
ADDED: Can't find that on, maybe it was on Under The Radar...