Monday, July 27, 2009

Lee Fields, Phenomenal Handclap Band, recorded live
Listen to Lee Fields and the Expressions, and Phenomenal Handclap Band, paying at Joe's Pub in NYC last week, streaming audio over at NPR. Damn!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Interview with Neville Staples of the Specials.
Next Saturday marks the first time ska band the Specials have visited NZ. They're currently on a 30th anniversary jaunt, (minus founding member Jerry Dammers). Today's Sunday News has a rather amusing interview with band member Neville Staple. He seems a tad confused.

"... Staple admits he didn't exactly jump at the chance to rejoin the guys who pioneered the 2 Tone genre. "I wasn't really bothered because I was doing my own thing and I was with my own band," Staple tells the Sunday News. "To be honest touring with The Specials will give me and my band a bit more exposure. And I need the money. A lot of people say they don't do it for the money but it does come in handy."

Hang on, this is the same Neville Staple who toured NZ with is band in 2006, billing himself as Neville Staple's Specials. Can you say Cash-In? Ha ha.

Anyway, he's written a book about his life, and will be doing an instore signing 2pm this saturday at Real Groovy Auckland. He's got 8 kids from 6 different mothers, so go help him out and buy his book.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ring The Alarm playlist, Basefm July 25
Cookin on 3 burners - Cars
Aim - Just passin thru
E's E - Scratchs skank pt 1
Mr greedy -Fustep version
Dubblestandart - Terrorists and inhalers (Keith Le Blanc version)
Joe Ariwa - Neeky youths
Noel Ellis - Memories
The Dramatics - Get up and get down
Esther Phillips -use me
Johnny Frigo Sextet - Scorpio
DJ Adlib fear MED - Every day
Hypnotic brass ensemble - Sankofa
J Rawls Jay Are project - Lee Morgan story / red peppers
Dub Colossus - Azmari dub
Major lazer -Can't stop now
Noiseshaper - Bushmasta
The Wailers - I'm gonna put it on
Jackie Mittoo - El bang bang
Mophono - Edge remix
El michels affair - Red rooster
Muchael Jackson - Rockin robin (Grant Phabao remix)
The revolutionaries - Kunta Kinte (DJ Kentaro remix)
Smashproof - Ordinary life (Moody boyz dub)
Wajeed - Jeedo suave
Bob James - Angela (theme from Taxi)
Cookin on 3 burners - Settle the score Diesler mix

Friday, July 24, 2009

One of my favourite musical releases so far this year was from Washington DC-based hiphop producer by the name of Oddisee. He dropped the Odd Summer EP back in late May, as a free download (get it here). It's a laidback collection of wicked funky, jazzy instrumentals, check it out. Just discovered this great interview with him, talking about how he works. He's released three (partial) albums this year as free downloads, to test the market and get feedback to take to a label and get a deal for a full version of each release (he mentions in the interview that one of these releases got 12,000 downloads).

He says that if you try and work the old way - send out press copies of your album three months in advance, then do press, tour etc, you will get nowhere. (hat tip: Crate kings. Love that blog!)

Notable Quote:
"Hip hop is bootlegged more than anything else. If you go about putting it out the old way, you’re gonna be destroyed by leaking and bootlegging."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vinyl revival at PortalSpace Records
Via Crate Kings. Financial Times goes inside the PortalSpace Records, EMI’s former vinyl pressing facility, to explain the life of a vinyl record, including masters, mothers, and 100 ton hydraulic presses. (Related: Crate Kings visits United Record Pressing Plant in Nashville, where Daptone Records get akll their vinyl pressed)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dub Echoes Movie Premiere on tonight
At Galatos, 17 Galatos Street, Newton, 7pm doors
7:30pm start (75 mins) $10 door / $5 afterparty

Afterparty featuring...
Newtown Sound, Sandy Bay Social Club, Earthtone Hi-Fi

Dub Echoes is a documentary directed by Bruno Natal (Brazil) that traces the origins of Jamaican dub music and its huge influence on the development of other musical forms including hip-hop and electronica.

It chronicles the evolution of sound and bass and shows how the Jamaican invention called dub has influenced much of the music we hear today and transformed the studio into a musical instrument.

The film was shot in Kingston (Jamaica), London (UK), New York, Washington, LA (US), Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo (Brazil). Dub Echoes features some of the true greats and pioneers of music from around the world including Bunny Lee, King Jammy, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, LTJ Bukem, The Mad Professor, Roots Manuva, Sly and Robbie, Congo Natty, Kode 9 & U Roy. The film was completed in 2008 and released through Soul Jazz Records (UK) in May 2009.

From Mukuna

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Say it loud.
The International Film Festival kicked off in our town this week, and there's a ton of fine cinematic treats on offer. If you're a music fan, make sure you catch Soul Power. It had its first screening this afternoon, and I can report it's a stone killer. Second and last screening in Auckland is this Tuesday night, at 6.30pm, Skycity Theatre.

Via Flavourwire:
Soul Power documents the Zaire ‘74 all-star concert that set the stage for Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s legendary Rumble in the Jungle. Originally uncovered during the editing of Oscar-winning documentary When We Were Kings (1996), which captured the Ali/Foreman fight, this sizzling footage has been waiting nearly 35 years to see the light. Kings incorporated just a few tantalizing glimpses of the three-day concert.

Soul Power sets the record straight by featuring complete, historic performances from legends such as B.B. King, Bill Withers, Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz and the Fania Allstars, The Spinners, and an incendiary James Brown, whose 1971 single lends the film its title.

Like the Rumble itself, the Zaire ‘74 concert marked a seminal moment of cross-cultural contact, bringing together African and Black American musicians for a festival spanning geography and generations. Shot by acclaimed cinematographers including Albert Maysles and Paul Goldsmith, the verité-style doc captures the event’s political and spiritual intensity with intimacy and style.

Watch the trailer, read our exclusive interview with the director, check out video of Celia Cruz’s performance.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ring The Alarm playlist, Basefm July 11
Chosen few - People make the world go round
Butch Cassidy sound system -Rockers galore
Beat pharmacy -Sunshine
Jackie Mittoo - Wall Street
Tommy McCook and the Supersonics -Beriut
Trackheadz - Jah shall come
Hypnotic brass ensemble - Alyo
Phenomenal handclap band - Baby
Lee Scratch Perry -International broadcaster
Major Lazer - Can't stop now
Manasseh - Creation dub
Naomi Shelton - Trouble in my way
Orgone - Come around
Salmonella dub - Freak local
Topaz -Pharaoh
Aim - Birchwood
Hypnotic brass ensemble - Party started
Booker T and the MGs - Melting pot
Speedometer -Work it out (Beatfanatic remix)
DJ Vadim - Hidden treasure
Cooly G - Love dub
Revolutionaries - Kunta Kinte (DJ Kentaro remix)
UBB - I believe in miracles
Angela Bofill - People make the world go round

Ring The Alarm playlist, Basefm July 4

MJ vs Q-Tip -Breathe dont stop
Guts - And the living is easy
DJ Vadim - Watch that sound JStar remix
Prince Jammy - Dub ites green and gold
Mere Mortalz feat U Brown - Dis a boom
Noiseshaper - This is not a gun thing
Freddie Cruger -Running from love
Brother culture -Warning/Warning dub
Beat Pharmacy - Strangers
Budos band -Mas o menos
The topics - Louie Louie
Staple singers -Something aint right
Emotions - Blind alley
Quantic - Cuidad del swing
Sister Nancy - One two
Romanowski -Strudel strut
Orgone - Already doin it
Nickodemus - Gypsy magic
Issa Bagayogo - Filaw (Senor Oz remix)
Jackson 5 - I want you back (Readymade 524 remix)
Phenomenal handclap band - 15 to 20
Dub asylum - Jump and twist
Dubwize and Hi Kee - Goodness gracious
Lee Perry -Yellow tongue (Kode9 remix)
Kode9 - Back sun

Can I get a handclap?

I've been listening to the debut album from New York crew the Phenomenal Handclap Band. I came across them late last year via music blogs, and got hooked after hearing their tune 15 to 20. Its catchy as hell.

"This 8-strong group of NYC-area musicians (and featuring Jon Spencer and Lady Tiga) blend space disco and smooth 60s-style soul perfectly with early hip hop, and moody, synth-soaked hooks'. Now how many bands can you say that about?"

They dropped their first single on Truth and Soul earlier this year, and their debut self-titled album came out On Friendly Fire Recordings late June. Haven't seen physical copies in this part of the world yet, but you can buy it as a digital download - I got it from Juno Download..

Go have a listen to 15 to 20 here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dam Funk
Free mp3 over here. Mad. "Dam-Funk is currently putting finishing touches on his debut album Toeachizown which will be released this Fall as 5/LP set - two and a half hours of music - with CD version to follow."
DJ Cliffy, Black Rio 2 promo mix
Via the Fader: "Look, we know how much we talk about the weather on this site, but what can we say, we’re trapped in big-windowed offices and it is perfect outside. And when it’s not perfect outside, we put on music like Black Rio 2 and think about where it is perfect outside.

DJ Cliffy, who curated the compilation of “Samba Soul” from 1968 to 1981, just made a mix of songs from it and you get the feeling these Brazilian a-holes never even think twice about the forecast, just how narrow their buttfloss is going to be that day or, like, which of their girlfriends is the most supermodelish. Jerks. Regardless, we appreciate their ability to translate that to music for the rest of us."

Download: DJ Cliffy, “Black Rio 2 Promo Mix” (zshare) (mediafire)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Harry Allen, Media Assassin
I was following a chain of posts from Harry Allen on Twitter today, and they make for interesting reading, So I strung them together, below. He talked about a seminar where he posed this idea...

"I make the illustration of someone getting a mortgage, paying it back faithfully, then, after the last payment, having a mortgage-burning party, only to find that the bank has taken back the house. Foul, correct? They listened. I then asked them, in like manner, if artists pay back advances through royalties, why do labels then take ownership of master recordings?"
Response? Oh boy.

You know who Harry Allen is, right? He was Public Enemy's media assassin. Need more? His bio is here.

from @harryallen (via Twitter)

The music business is, essentially, an interface between children and sharks.

Artists, for the most part, are distracted and pre-occupied with bright, shiny things we call "art." Put a contract in front of an artist...

...on one side, then a pretty picture, or lovely sound, on the other. 98 times out of 100, the artist will pick up the art. The music biz... designed to exploit that tendency.

Two Lyor Cohen memories: 1) Him, backstage at Nassau Coliseum, egging Eric Sermon on to spit some new rhymes the Green-Eyed Bandit had...

...recently composed, and of which the rapper was especially proud. Even at that moment, I knew I was watching skillful patronizing.

Second Lyor Cohen memory: NYU, about 5 years ago. Roundtable with Russell, Kevin Liles, Lyor. I'm moderating. 500+ people in audience.

I make the illustration of someone getting a mortgage, paying it back faithfully, then, after the last payment, having a mortgage-burning..., only to find that the bank has taken back the house. Foul, correct? They listened. I then asked them, in like manner, if...

...artists pay back advances through royalties, why do labels then take ownership of master recordings? Lyor made this loud, annoyed...

..teeth-sucking, displeased sigh sound, and started talking about people having other things to do, as the audience when, "Ooooooo...."

When I went there, one of the Def Jam execs sent me a note asking me to not talk about this. I don't have audio of the discussion because...

...the Grammy's, or whichever organization was sponsoring the event got pissed and wouldn't give me a tape, though they'd agreed to before.

I've been waiting for this day for years. I've been talking about the electronic dist. of music since the early 90s. See

I did a panel in July 1994, at the last New Music Seminar, the one where I heard Marc Josephson tell an n-word joke. The title was...

"Multimedia: Will Digital Technology Make Record Companies Obsolete?" Six people from the industry, six renegades, incl. Chuck, the IUMA...

...guys, Adam Curry, who'd registered when the company didn't know enough to care, and Free Software guru Richard Stallman.

To the thesis question, the industry guys said no, tech wouldn't obsolete the industry. The others said yes, and Stallman said that, not...

...only would it obsolete it, but the only thing that would keep it around would be in the gov't did so. Like Bear Sterns, in other word.

Not Bear Sterns: Like AIG, in other words.

[Lyor’s response?] He couldn't answer. The relationship is insane & unjust. Plus, framing it in mortgage terms made it ultra-clear to the crowd."

We say Ze!
New York 1980s label gets the reissue treatment from Strut/K7 crew.

"Ze 30: Ze Records 1979-2009 offers a snapshot of many of the label's most vital recordings including tracks from James Chance & The Contortions, Suicide, Kid Creole, Was (Not Was), Material, & many more. French Duo Casino Music's cover of a Sonny & Cher song (above) offers a slick yet snarling dance track that is as menacing as it is infectious. "

Casino Music- "The Beat Goes On" (zshare) (mediafire)
From: Ze 30: Ze Records 1979-2009

Monday, July 06, 2009

The great Limewire pizza robbery

Woman: “Who the FUCK are you? And why are you eating our pizza?”
Kosuke and Paul look confused.

Kosuke: "Are you joking? Is this a joke?"

Woman: "No this is definitely NOT a joke. I want to know who you are and why you’re eating our pizza."

Kosuke: "Well our friend came in and told us there was free pizza at the bar. We are. So. Sorry. It was a misunderstanding."

Woman: (with unbridled entitlement) "This is a company party our CEO is here and you STOLE our pizza. Are you from out of town? Because let me tell you, NOTHING is free in New York City. Nothing is free… well maybe except for the condoms in Times Square."

Paul and Kosuke continue apologizing. They offer to pay for the two slices.

Woman: (didactically snobbish) "We don’t want your money. No. Enjoy the pizza, but you can’t steal other people’s things. You can’t take what’s not yours."

Again the duo continues their apologies. Kosuke tries to turn the situation around and befriend them.Kosuke: "What company do you guys work for?"

Woman: "We work for Limewire."

Kosuke: Oh ok. Well I work at a record label so fuck you. You’ve stolen from us enough. (Bites pizza. Begins to walk away.)

Link. Now go read what happens next.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Lee Fields
Mister Lee Fields has recently released a fine new album on the Truth and Soul label, called My World. Brooklyn Vegan has a bunch of cool videos featuring the making of the album, and Lee rehearsing with his band, featuring members of Budos Band, Dapkings and Antibalas. Check it. Oh, and there's a couple of tunes to download for free there too.
James Brown, Michael Jackson and Prince onstage. Seriously.
Live footage from a James Brown show from 86. Totally funky. Watch MJ bust out a bunch of JB moves. Watch Prince get it on, then exit the stage and pull down part of the stage set by accident.

I know there's a ton of MJ footage floating round, but this is awesome. (Via The Fader)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Death of Vibe magazine
If you've ever read my profile blurb, you'll see one of my passions is magazines. Sure, I have a record collection (don't you?), but I also have a magazine collection. So, stories like this one fascinate the heck outta me.

Saw this via Twitter from author Jeff Chang (@zentronix for a twitterheads)...
The Death of Vibe And The Future Of Magazines: A Roundtable with Alan Light and Raymond Roker Link.

Raymond Leon Roker : The ways us smaller print brands have a chance is to become boutique agencies. Filter, Cornerstone/Fader, BPM, et al, everybody is in the agency game. The magazines become the branded company pitch. A measure of credibility and clout.

But as print continues to melt away, in the eyes of clients and under the weight of constantly increasing production costs, some of these brands may drop their mags too.

The assumption is that magazine brands, if they walk away from print, can’t survive. That hasn’t been proven one way or another yet. But IMO, the only way they will is by becoming media marketing companies instead. Ones where content and marketing blur (hello ASME). But the standalone magazine model died years ago."

And Media Assassin Harry Allen weighs in on Vibe...
My Final Visit as VIBE Flatlines.: Stick a knife in it, they’re done:..
link (he's on Twitter too - @harryallen)
One Stop
Via Cratekings, wicked video, especially the beat battle at the end.
"Here we have the official video highlight reel for Sha Money XL’s One Stop Shop Producers Conference featuring panel highlights and conversations with producers such as Just Blaze, RZA, Hi-Tek, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Steve Lobel, Dru Ha, and Drumma Boy, and more. In addition, the video features beat battle footage and the crowning of the 2009 champion, Billboard."

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Quincy Jones on MJ
A lot of people/idiots are saying a lot of garbage about Michael Jackson, mostly about his personal life and so on and passing judgment on him. Eventually the chatter from the cheap seats will die down, and we'll be left with the music.

One person who knows all about MJ's music is legendary producer Quincy Jones. He's weighed in with some thoughts on working with MJ, over at the LA Times. This is well worth a read.

"For some reason I have had the honor of meeting young performers when they reach the age of 12. There was Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Tevin Campbell and, of course, Michael Jackson....

"We finished the album [Thiriller] at 9 a.m. the morning we needed to deliver the reference copy. We had three studios going all night long. Michael in one putting final touches on "Billie Jean," Bruce in another, and Eddie Van Halen, who I brought in, in yet another recording his parts for "Beat It."

We all gathered in Studio A to listen to the test pressing with this enormous anticipation. This was it, the eagerly anticipated follow-up to "Off the Wall." And it sounded . . . terrible."

More reading on Jackson from The Village Voice's Greg Tate - "Michael Jackson: The Man in Our Mirror - Black America's eulogies for the King of Pop also let us resurrect his best self".