Monday, December 27, 2010

R.I.P Teena Marie

From LA Times obit, Teena Marie was 54.

Teena Marie, the singer-songwriter known for such funk-infused 1980s hits as "I Need Your Lovin'" and "Lovergirl," and one of the few white musicians to achieve renown on the R&B charts, has died.

Born Mary Christine Brockert on March 5, 1956, in Santa Monica, Marie was raised in a predominantly black area of Venice and began singing professionally at age 8. Soon after graduating from Venice High School she signed with Motown Records, where she met funk music pioneer Rick James, who would become her mentor, musical collaborator and lover, a relationship she described as "fiery."

He produced her 1979 debut album, "Wild and Peaceful," which went gold and featured her first hit single, a duet with James called "I'm a Sucker for Your Love."

Fat Freddy's global profile grows

"Fat Freddy's global profile grows" is the headline from the NZ Herald's David Fisher, who wrote about the band , noting that their latest album, Dr Boondigga and the Big BW sold more copies overseas than here.

"Sales figures show Dr Boondigga & The Big BW has sold more than 60,000 albums overseas - and 39,000 in New Zealand. First album Based on a True Story has sold more than 130,000 albums here. It has not been released overseas." Unfortunately that last part is wrong  - Based on a true story gained release in Australia, UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Holland and Japan.

Fat Freddys have just been invited to play the Coachella music festival in the US, which is big news. They're currently on tour round NZ beaches, and plan to record a new album in the New Year.


Local label Round Trip Mars celebrates 10 years in existence with this wicked compilation. Go grab the whole album now. It's bloody marvellous. Tunes from Phelps and Monro, James Duncan. SJD, Unitone Hifi feat Coco Solid, Scratch 22, Stinky Jim and more.

El Chicano

I first discovered the tune Viva Tirado on an album of the same name by a Mexcian-American band from LA called El Chicano.

There were several reasons I picked up this album; the liner notes listed the nationalities of the band and recording team, including it being engineered by "...a cat who is half English and half Mexican, a New Zealander  and a Scotchman" [I wonder who that Kiwi was?]; they also noted the album was "recorded afterhours of the lounge of the Kabuki Sukiyaki Restaurant, 3840 Crenshaw Blvd  [pictured on the cover above], because that is what El Chicano wanted and because Moss is too good to be true" [what?], and it's got a charming version of Light my fire by the Doors that compresses all that is good about that song into 25 seconds.

Viva Tirado was originally written and performed by Gerald Wilson in the early 60s, and proved to be a big hit for El Chicano in 1970. Oliver Wang at Soulsides has written a recent piece on how he discovered the tune via Kid Frost sampling it in 1990. Read on...

Oliver Wang: "I discovered' “Viva Tirado” back around 1990, when Kid Frost sampled/interpolated parts of it for “La Raza” but I didn’t realize the greater genealogy of the song until later in the decade when one of my academic mentors, Josh Kun, put me up on how Frost was flipping an El Chicano song that, in turn, was based on a Gerald Wilson original.

The connection planted a tenacious seed in my head and for the dozen years after that, I slowly began to flesh out the story behind what I call the song’s “multiple iterations” and specifically, how “Viva Tirado” is at the center of a rather remarkable, multi-generational conversation between L.A.’s Black and Brown communities. After all, here’s a song, originally written by a Black composer in honor of a Mexican bullfighter, covered by a Chicano band steeped in Black R&B and jazz, then sampled by the first major Chicano rap artist. It seems no matter where the song goes, it’s always a bridge between cultures; this becomes even more true once “Viva Tirado” goes international and falls into the hands of everyone from Augustus Pablo to Nico Gomez to Los Mozambiques.

I finally had the chance a few years ago to collect these ideas into an academic essay that just came out in the Journal of Popular Music Studies. They actually use my essay as the “free” offering from this month’s issue and for the occasion, I prepared a mini-mega-mix of “Viva Tirado” versions to the site.

You can find it all here. It really is an astounding story for those who don’t know it and I feel like I wrote my essay with scholarly rigor but hopefully still accessible enough for the “lay person” to read. The mix of songs includes some of my personal favorite versions of “Viva Tirado” though there were many versions I could have included but didn’t."

Check out Oliver's Viva Tirado mix, he's also got a great reggae version in there by Augustus Pablo that I'm rather fond of.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Record Shop R.I.P

A thoughtful article from Gordon Campbell on, subtitled "A few seasonal thoughts on the demise of ye olde record store".

Starts off with the usual grim declining dales figures for music sales (and falling sales for CD/DVD at both The Warehouse and JB Hifi), but then gets into some fascinating comments from some record store owners like Slowboat's Dennis O'Brien, and Mark Thomas, manager of Real Groovy Wellington.

"... These days, second hand sales form an increasing part of the store’s business and core identity. Which is? Well, Thomas explains… the niche identity of Real Groovy Wellington doesn’t strike him as deriving so much anymore from it being an alternative music store, though he sees that as still being the image that the Auckland store continues to project He sees his own operation primarily as a pop/rock record store with a strength in second hand sales, and offering with the full range of cultural products – t-shirts, flags, books, CDs, videogames, DVDs and Blu-Ray. Unit sales in DVDs and Blu-Ray are up, he says as an aside, but the profit margins are slimmer.

Going back to the shop’s re-positioning on the pop/rock centre ground ….that’s mainly because, he says people who like certain other subgenres these days – alternative music, hip hop and r'n'b – are mainly getting their music via downloads. Leaving him by default with pop/rock, jazz, country and world music."

Also interesting to see that one of the keys to Slowboat's survival is that 15 years ago, the owner bought the building, so is not paying rent. ”As things are right now, I couldn’t afford it if I was paying $2,000-3,000 a week in rent. We couldn’t survive. Pure and simple,” says O'Brien.

Read the full article here.

Bic and Kody interview

Photo: Sunday magazine/Fairfax

Last weekend, the Sunday Star Times 'Sunday' weekend magazine published a great story by Duncan Greive on Bic Runga and Kody Neilson collaborating on their new duo, Kody and Bic. Kody has produced Bic's new solo album, and now they're working on this new project - but Bic is unable to write any songs for it, as she's still under contract to Sony.

"The room is a mess. Kody Nielson and Bic Runga, respectively the most critically and commercially successful New Zealand artists of the last 15 years, have been putting in long hours. In a small, windowless room below Newmarket’s Nuffield Street, Nielson perches on an office chair that’s duct-taped to the floor, while Runga teeters precariously on an amplifier. The makeshift studio has been the pair’s workplace for months now, and they’ve made themselves at home. 

Initially, the visual cacophony is overwhelming. To your left a pair of vintage Hammond organs; straight ahead, past eight different effects pedals, lies a pared-down drum kit. In another corner is an eight-track recorder, and amps, bass guitars, microphones, keyboards and leads are strewn wherever they fall. This space, which began the year as the home of Sony Music’s archives, with Betamax tapes and promotional CDs lining the walls, has been entirely taken over by this oddest of musical pairings...."

Read the rest of it here

UPDATED have added rest of the interview below...

"...Despite Brooke Fraser overtly channeling Feist and Rick Rubin producing Neil Diamond, few could have predicted that these two would cross paths, let alone thrive to this extent. Runga is one of New Zealand music’s biggest stars – her three albums have averaged sales of over 100,000 copies each; she’s played sold-out tours with Dave Dobbyn and Tim Finn and had her music featured in smash films like American Pie. She’s collaborated with members of REM and participated in Neil Finn’s 7 Worlds Collide charity project alongside members of Wilco and Radiohead. She’s the epitome of our musical establishment.

Nielson is anything but. He’s the erstwhile singer of The Mint Chicks, an art-punk band that found a cult following and critical acclaim by fusing the aggression and energy of American independent music to melodic pop structures. But even within those notorious outsiders he was always the prickliest. His own brother, Mint Chicks guitarist Ruban, admits that “his unpredictable side has become the most predictable – I’m always more surprised when he does something normal”.

A brief sampling of some of Nielson’s more eccentric behaviour: kidnapping a journalist for music magazine Rip It Up in advance of their interview, open-mouth kissing his own brother in that magazine, failing to show up to a Mint Chicks gig, thus forcing the band to play without him while he watched from the audience in disguise. In the band’s final New Zealand show before an extended hiatus, Nielson took exception to their drummer starting a song before he was ready and destroyed much of the band’s equipment before having a fist fight with his brother backstage.

But here they are, sitting alongside one another, and it doesn’t seem outlandish at all. The pair has a striking physical resemblance – Runga’s ancestry is Chinese-Malay and Maori, while Nielson’s is European and Hawaiian.

They share skin tones, lean frames and jet black hair. More than that, their mannerisms match: they both have a fidgety inability to sit still and are a strange combination of being very single-minded yet not wanting to be in any way obstructive. This leads to some amusing back-and-forth when I arrive. Runga leaps from her seat to introduce herself before saying, “Wanna hear us play?” Nielson begs off, but he doesn’t want to dismiss Runga’s enthusiasm
out of hand – they circle the idea for a spell before coming to an agreement: talk first, play later.

This compromise, a tiny speck of a larger collaboration that grows by the day, is something of a new experience for each of them. Nielson’s band built a career on being inscrutable and following their instincts unerringly.

Runga has a legendary capacity to spend years obsessing alone over an album. Here they’re forced to loosen up and experiment beyond where they’d grown comfortable, and they’re both finding it tremendously liberating.

“Having a solo career, you really paint yourself into a corner,” says Runga. “I think even just being in – would you call yourself a punk band? – you start pigeon-holing yourself.”

Nielson nods a slightly reticent assent to the question about whether the Mint Chicks are or were a punk band, a process that will become familiar as the day wears on. The pair flits between answering questions and interrogating one another. Despite their having worked together for months now, there clearly remains a lot for them to learn about each other.

As much as they have found in common, the worlds they’ve inhabited up till now are very different. This point is made obvious from time to time, such as in the contrast between Runga’s glowing report of their time recording at California’s legendary Ocean Way studio (“We did a great session there recently – we needed it”) versus Nielson’s more cynical take on their time in the room where “Good Vibrations” and countless other classics were recorded.

“It was quite fun to have them on it,” he says, referring to the session musicians they worked with. “I don’t actually think it was essential, but it was good to get a different perspective, and have somewhere different to work.

But it was kind of more an old-school way of working, and it did seem more of a dying way of doing things.

“It was a weird atmosphere in there, really. There were all these pictures on the wall of all these legends working in there and studios full of people, but there was only this ghostly skeleton staff left. Seemed a little bit hollow.”

Despite these occasional differences, it’s clear that their partnership has a real strength to it. The process began after Runga had spent a profoundly depressing period of time in LA meeting professional songwriters, “where you meet at 11 o’clock and you’re supposed to have a song by one”. She figured there was so much talent back in New Zealand that perhaps there was a more natural method awaiting her here.

She contacted her publisher, Mushroom Music’s Paul McLaney (himself a talented writer) about approaching potential collaborators, and he assembled a long list of local songwriters. Right at the top were the Nielson brothers. “I think that, fundamentally, they strive for the same classicism within their writing,” McLaney explains. “The difference is in the manner of presentation.”

Towards the end of 2009 the Nielson brothers and Runga got together, resulting in “Tiny Little Piece of My Heart”, a girl-group homage that will appear on Runga’s forthcoming album, tentatively titled Everything is Beautiful and New. After that session the Mint Chicks toured and released the Bad Buzz EP, before that thrillingly chaotic final show.

When Nielson returned to New Zealand from the band’s base in Portland, Oregon, he had no real fixed aim. There was talk of reuniting with band-mate Michael Logie for a new project, or perhaps getting the charmingly named Pussy Glitch back together. But when Runga called to suggest he produce her next album, he couldn’t refuse.

The resulting album is less of a departure from her earlier work than you might expect. The songs still have the trademark melodicism of “Drive” and “Sway”, along with the melancholic air that’s never too far from her sound. Nielson’s production is sympathetic to the material, with huge tracts of space and very minimal arrangements making it perhaps her sparsest record yet.

It’s a significant work for both of them, but in some ways it was merely the entrée for what flowed from it. Having completed the album, neither seemed content to walk away. For Runga in particular – who split in 2009 from her longtime partner Darryl Ward and is now nearing the end of her contract with Sony Music – the experience had been revelatory.

“I’m just happy to have a collaborator,” she says, “because I can spend years on a record, and disappear into a vacuum with it. Sometimes having too much time is more a hindrance than anything else. It was great to find someone to make my own record with, but then do all this other stuff that I’ve always wanted to do. Because my music’s so controlled.”

The “other stuff” is a band called Kody & Bic, and to spend any time with the pair is to realise that its potential is what most excites them right now. “I’ve wanted to be in a band for years,” says Runga. While Nielson has been in a band for years it’s always felt like his big brother’s creation, a ship which, s lead singer, he was the focal point of, but never quite steering. This time, they’re building it from the ground up.

Their first scheduled show as Kody & Bic is the Big Day Out in January, at the behest of Runga’s brother-in-law and ex-manager Campbell Smith.

The chance for two very established artists to shuck off their cloaks and assume a new identity has clearly had a huge impact on them, but Runga in particular seems to have been electrified by the situation. “What I like about Kody is he’s in my ear a lot of the time to not care too much. Which is quite good. Because you’re a punk, you know?” she says to him, laughing. “And all my favourite artists were actually punks in spirit. Like John Lennon, Yoko Ono, people like that. They’re non-conformists.

“It’s too easy to conform. It’s too easy to react out of fear. It’s quite good to have someone, especially your producer, just telling you to be bolder and bolder.”

After an hour or so, Runga’s wish to play is granted. She positions herself behind the drum kit, with Nielson on keyboard, and they play the first of a pair of striking, heavily psychedelic pop songs that feature Runga’s voice filtered and delayed until it’s entirely unrecognisable. During both songs her eyes are locked on Nielson, who just stares intently at the ground, plucking out strange, gripping melodies on the keys, then a bass guitar. The songs are very, very good.

With the Big Day Out gig a month away they’ve committed themselves to spending the summer locked in this room together in preparation for the event. While many artists might baulk at the prospect, they appear to relish it.

A clue as to why emerges as they wander the grounds of Newmarket’s Highwic House for the photo shoot. Runga lays her head on Nielson’s shoulder, while he stretches his arm around her. It doesn’t feel remotely posed, more unconscious, and while Runga will only admit that she “totally fancies” Nielson, it’s abundantly clear that their partnership, which began with writing before evolving into production and a band, has taken on another, more personal dimension too.

After the shoot we retreat to a café. Runga sips a glass of water in her airy summer dress while, despite the humidity, Nielson’s rugged up in a heavy wool coat. But neither seems to be feeling anything but immense anticipation about where this partnership might lead.

The only barrier still in place is Runga’s contract with Sony, which prevents her from writing for Kody & Bic just now – though it’s not stopping her from being as tickled as a teenager that their first song, the chilling psychedelic nugget “Darkness All Around Us”, has just made Auckland student radio’s top 10.

Once Runga’s album is out and toured it seems likely the pair will throw themselves into Kody & Bic with abandon, relishing both the freedom to construct a new identity and the consuming nature of this partnership.

“It’s really rare to find a collaborator, I think. In a lifetime,” says Runga wistfully.

“It’s quite free,” adds Nielson, attempting to decode what it is they love about making music together. “It seems completely open to do whatever we want.”

- Sunday Magazine

Sandringham bhangra business

Local label Round Trip Mars has been giving away some awesome tunes for the past few weeks from their new compilation INVADERISM, and the final tune dropped earlier and it's a stonker - from new signing to the label, Scratch 22. His debut album is out early 2011 but go grab this tune, it's a fun little jam.

RTM says "From here the full Invaderism will be dropped on Xmas day on Bandcamp (we'll put up a note here directing you to that) as full quality wav files or whatever you desire…still for free!!"

Shivani Strut - Scratch 22 by Round Trip Mars

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 musical favourites

Aloe Blacc - Good things
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - I learned the hard way
Gil Scott Heron – I’m New Here
Chico Mann - Analog drift
Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno - Dog with a rope
Bonobo - Black sands
Whitefield Brothers - Earthology
Lord Echo - Melodies
Ricketts meets Fabulous at Maitland Rd - Wild Bill Ricketts and Mike Fabulous
Ladi 6 - Liberation of...
Shawn Lee and Bei Bei - Into the wind
Dokkebi Q -  Hardcore Cherry Bon Bon
RSD - Good Energy: A Singles Collection
Scientist + various - Scientist Launches Dubstep Into Outer Space (originals, Scientist mixes)

Bob Blank - The Blank Generation – Blank Tapes NYC 1975 - 1985
Walter Gibbons - Jungle Music
Danny Krivit - Edits by Mr K Vol 2
Doris Troy - Doris Troy
Billy Preston -  That's The Way God Planned It, Encouraging Words

and a handful of singles...
Colman Bros -She who dares
Eru Dangerspiel - Chilli moules
Mishkin vs Anna Mystic - Living trouble
Resonators - Sweet dub affair
Fat freddys drop  - The raft - Steppers dub/Jet Jaguar remix
Colman Bros - She who dares - Lounge mix
Fitz and the tantrums - Money grabber
Sunlightsquare Latin Combo - I believe in miracles
Pitchito - Frente cumbiero
Coldcut - A man called garage - King Jammy vocal
Unitone hifi - Hang On (Kinky Electric Noise Chicha Remix) 
Darryl Jennifer [of Bad Brains] - Black Judas
Birds Of Dub - Architeq (Architeq Version)
M.I.A. - It takes a muscle
LA Vampires & Zola Jesus - No no no
The simonsound - Tour de Mars
Seu Jorge and Almaz  - The model
Lee Scratch Perry - Used To Drive A Tractor In Negrille
Phase II Pan Groove - Can't Get Enough
Suizen - Cartesian space - 4D mix (download this killer local slice of dub here)
Mos dub - History town
Bonobo - Eyesdown feat. Andreya Triana (there's a bunch of nice tunes on Triana's debut solo album too, produced by Bonobo)

There's some stuff  that slips my mind right now, but this will do.  Probably the defining trend in my musical collecting this year is the ever-increasing importance of finding new music online. It's juts a no-brainer, especially for feeding new music into my radio shows.

Thanks for reading my blog during the past year, I appreciate you dropping by. I hope you have a good Christmas and a happy New Year. As the Specials sang, enjoy yourself - it's later than you think!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

beats n bleeps

Spotted this via Stink Inc, it's utterly bonkers Brazilian bizznizz.

" Brooklyn beat collective Astro Nautico’s latest effort ‘Quiet Nights EP’ is a kaleidoscopic journey from the heart of Brazilian jazz to the outer limits of experimental hip-hop and bass. Featuring tracks by all three Astro Nautico artists (Kuhn, Obey City, +weed) and guest spots from both sides of the Atlantic (Young Montana?, Termeric, InfinitiRock, Thirsty Jefferson), this compilation album is tied together by the common departing point for each artist’s version: Brazilian jazz classic ‘Corcovado’ as performed by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto."  Free download.

But wait, there's more!

From Sweden's Magowl, check this mean beat tape. Free download too.

NZOA music funding report out

Following on from Chris Caddick's earlier report on NZ On Air's international music support programme, NZ On Air have just released Caddick's review of its music funding. Download it in full from NZ On Air's site, here.
ADDED: NZ Musician has more on report, incl summary, etc noting that "The agency expects to have the changes ready to implement by 1 July 2011." NZ On Airs press release on the report here.

I was half-expecting  them to pull that classic govt department trick of putting it out at 430pm on December 24th. Keep your eyes peeled and see which govt dept pulls that one this year. It's a goodie. Summary at the bottom, from the report.

"New media: the Interview Panel ideas:
Start a YouTube channel (16%)
Start a website for the public featuring archived material (9%)
Start a Facebook page (7%)"

NZ On Air don't have a Youtube channel? What the heck?

Under Other Suggestions...
"Two respondents specifically identified the need for a significant archiving project for New  Zealand music. While this is outside the terms of reference for this review I agree that this would be an extremely valuable project."

The recommendations will, I believe, realign NZ On Air’s music programme with its mandated aims, better reflect the reality of today’s music landscape, acknowledge the role of the internet in achieving broadcast outcomes, broaden the diversity of music experienced by listeners and viewers (surely the most important stakeholders here), address the concerns of stakeholders over procedural matters, and provide opportunities to increase the amount of wonderful music both made by our artists and enjoyed by our public.

Changes to the overall programme should be self-funding in that reductions in expenditure in some areas can be used to fund newer initiatives.

Funding Schemes (Section 7.1.4)
Replace the three existing schemes with one new scheme that provides assistance in the creation of songs and their accompanying videos.
Move to monthly funding rounds of up to 20 tracks per month.
Include a variety of guest panelists in the monthly selection meetings.
Broaden the diversity of track choices.
Establish qualification criteria that reduce the number of applicants.

Application & Audit Procedures (Section 7.3.4)
Increase the number and frequency of audit checks.
Introduce a more detailed application process for funding grants.

New Targets (Section 7.3.1)
Set a five-year goal to increase New Zealand music on radio to 25%, adding an extra 1% to the current base level guaranteed by the Code each year for five years.

Broaden Monitoring (Section 7.3.2)
Collate television exposure weekly and add to radio exposure to get a fuller picture of broadcast outcomes.
Develop a programme to monitor exposure for New Zealand music on the Internet and mobile platforms.

New Media (Section 7.3.3)
Establish a new role in NZ On Air’s NZ Music promotions team specifically dedicated to activities in new media.
Develop a promotional programme for New Zealand music using popular social media networks.

Production of Radio Shows (Section 7.2.1)
Reduce overall expenditure on this initiative.
Consider commercialising the relationship for mainstream radio programming.
Make the programmes exclusively for new artists with no previous track record at commercial radio.
Set targets for ‘crossover’from the programmes to the main playlist and monitor.
Negotiate rights issues to extend the usage of these programmes to new media platforms.
Continue student radio programme funding.

Television Programmes (Section 7.2.2)
Lobby mainstream TV channels for music programming.
Continue funding NZOwn and look at options for further music programming on Juice TV.
Negotiate rights issues to ensure funded programming is available for use on new media platforms.
Continue funding enabling the screening of the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

Pluggers (Section 7.2.3)
Retain the roles.
Clarify the ‘supplementary’ nature of the activity in communication with the industry.
Provide weekly written feedback to the rest of the NZ On Air team
Undertake artist showcases in other main centres.
Increase number of road trips if practical.

Kiwi Hit Disc (Section 7.2.4)
Introduce weekly digital distribution of tracks by genre.
Provide an option to request a physical copy.
Introduce more exciting artwork to physical version.
Monitor broadcast outcomes for both methods of distribution -digital and physical.

Future Reviews (Section 7.3.4)
Establish regular schedule for future reviews.
Undertake next review in two years time.

Industry Analysis (Section 3.2)
Encourage industry bodies and appropriate government agencies
to undertake regular industry ‘big picture’ economic analysis.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Feel Good Inc

The Gorillaz live extravaganza rolled into Auckland earlier this evening, and let rip for the final date of their world tour. Damon Albarn told us this was their last show ever, and later mentioned that it was a special night for them, as it might be the last time they would work together, although he didn't discount collaborating with that bunch of fine folk completely.

Absolute highlight for me was soul legend Bobby Womack. The sight of him crooning his heart out with two members of The Clash onstage was surreal, to say the least. And hats off to the girl next to me, who spent the entire duration of one of Mr Womack's songs studying Google Maps on her phone. I'm sure it was important, but seriously, THAT' S BOBBY WOMACK IN FRONT OF YOU, LADY! Hypnotic Brass rocked it too.

The sound wasn't great where I was sitting, and unlike previous visits to Vector, they hadn't put up any sound baffles on the perspex walls next to the stairs, so the bass was a booming mess mostly and overall it all sounded a  bit brittle.  But it was quite a spectacle. Wonder what Mr Albarn will do next?

ADDED Ok, so I did the classic old music reviewer's trick - forgot to mention the support bands.  Usually music reviewers either turn up too late to see the opening acts (or like this one, who missed Little Dragon), or that part of their review gets cut. No such excuses here, just it was bloody late when I wrote the first bit last night.

Little Dragon opened after Maseo from De La Soul spun a few old school classics and hollered at the crowd. Dude sure can yell. He provided  one of the highlights later in the evening, coming over to Damon Albarn at the end of one song and grabbing him, yelling  "You're the greatest, man, you're the fucken greatest!"

Little Dragon turned out to be a lot more clubby than I expected, less indie. Their drummer sounded like he was pounding away for a hard rock band, but that may have been the sound mix, which was poor all night.

My favourite quote on the sound issues was a mate who was standing by the mixing desk near the sound engineer - "At one point he threw his arms in the air and shouted 'aw for fucks sake - come on'." Little Dragon held the crowd's interest tho, especiallly the magnificent singing of Yukimi Nagano. They finished their all too brief set with the slow, moody ballad Twice. Would love to see em in a club. 

De La Soul ripped onstage next and promptly got the party started. They were in fine form - in fact, pretty much whenever they hit the stage during the Gorillaz set, energy levels shot straight up. They kinda put some of the younger rappers onstage with the Gorillaz to shame.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dangerous game

A wee slice of NZ reggae history for you, from Diatribe, and Jules Issa.

Here's Auckland reggae singer Jules Issa's Diatribe cover, released on the Deepgrooves label in 1991 and featuring Joost Langeveld (Unitone Hifi, Subware) on bass. It also came out as a single, I believe (that's where the image with the video is from). There's images I found for two other singles from her around the same time, and a listing which mentions her album on Deepgrooves, though I have no memory of this actually coming out. Anyone else know? There were quite a few Deepgrooves album/EP releases that got finished but went unreleased, like the 2R2S (Riot Riddum Sound System) EP.

ADDED August 2012. Found In You was the mini album Jules Issa released on Deepgrooves, in 1995.

Diatribe were around in the early 1980s, and were on the same label as Herbs, Warrior Records, run by Hugh Lynn from his Mascot recording studio. Diatribe member Ross France wrote Azania  (Soon Come) for Herbs from their Whats’ Be Happen? EP (he's also listed as singing backing vocals on it), and John Berkley was in an early version of Herbs on bass.

France trained as a lawyer and his biography from his website for his current law practice in South Auckland says he "...established the Ponsonby Labour Co-operative in 1976 and played in a host of bands, including Storm, Herbs, Diatribe and Seven Deadly Sins. I still get royalties from writing "Soon Come Azania" for Herbs in 1981."

Dangerous Game is from their Too Lazy EP from 1983 - one of the songs off the EP (Gift of cruelty) also featured in the film Patu, Merata Mita's documentary about the Springbok tour protests of 1981. Diatribe member Rafer Rautjoki is Merata Mita's son. The band also featured on the compilations We'll Do Our Best, and Banana Dominion. Too Lazy EP was produced by Phil Yule and Diatribe, in June/July 1983.

Band members were...
John Berkley -Bass, Backing Vocals, Percussion; Chris Whyte - Drums, Percussion; Peter Kirkbride - Guitar, Vocals, Percussion; Ross France - Saxophone, Organ, Percussion, Backing Vocals;  Rafer Rautjoki - Saxophone, Vibes, Percussion.

The band later evolved into Seven Deadly Sins,  who also numbered Greg Johnson, Fiona McDonald (Headless Chickens/Strawpeople) and Justin Harwood (Chills, Luna) in their lineup.

In the April/May issue of NZ Musician earlier this year, Greg Johnson talked about Seven Deadly Sins for Trevor Reekie's feature Moments Like These, where Reekie purloins an old photo (see below) of a muso and asks them to talk about that time...

Seven Deadly Sins. Photo: NZ Musician

Can you remember who took this photo and when?

"I can’t for the life of me remember who took the pic but it was near the Auckland railway station in Parnell on a Sunday afternoon in 1986. This was the last version of Diatribe I think, or possibly even Seven Deadly Sins…

Rafer and Ross France started the original band [Diatribe] and recorded a wonderful self-titled EP. Then I joined, followed soon after by Fiona McDonald. There were quite a few versions, which is why I’m a little vague. The music was essentially a blend of Pacific, ska, reggae and soul with Rafer and Ross doing most of the songwriting. We played everywhere from the Rumba Bar and Mainstreet Cabaret to the Black Power nightclub in South Auckland.

What was your relationship to the others in the photo and what are they up to these days?

I met James first at Auckland University when we were about 18 or so, both working at bFM. I’d played my first gig there as well three years earlier supporting the Instigators with a band called Compulsory Allies. The old Uni Café gigs were hard core in those days, very violent, with lots of punks and skinheads, luckily we were so young no-one bothered us.

At some point Rafer asked me to join Diatribe. He was tres mellow and also very charismatic. His mother was a pretty radical film-maker called Merita Mita. Auckland’s Polynesian world opened up to me at that point and I met many great people and players. Fiona and the others I met subsequently.

John Fraser and I were half each of a moody wee outfit called This Boy Rob that signed to Pagan Records in about 1989 for one EP. Hardly anyone made albums then, they were far too expensive and the government wasn’t dishing out money for music back then that’s for sure! John was also a film editor so he and his mates made a clip for us. I think he’s still working as an editor in NZ.

Sadly I really don’t know what the rest of the guys are doing now. I know Fiona married and has kids and I heard Bud Hooper has an African drum group. Daniel might be a lawyer in Auckland.

Where were you at personally at that point of your life? 

I was all over the place at that age I have to say. I hadn’t quite grasped yet that music was going to be my life and I was still pretending to do an architecture degree, which I never finished. No-one believed a career in music was an option in those days and in retrospect maybe they had a point. I’d also just found my mojo and was spending a lot of time hangin’ out in clubs, chasing girls around and causing a little mayhem. That lasted for about another decade actually!"
Watch Patu over at NZOnScreen.  Merata Mita's biography.

Little Dragon

Little Dragon are a band from Sweden who are part of the Gorillaz live extravaganza, playing here on Tuesday. They will also playing an opening set before the Gorillaz, as will De La Soul.

Try Little Dragon remixed by Floating Points, or this tribute mix to Little Dragon's singer Yukimi Nagano, born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden to a Japanese father and Swedish-American mother. She's also sung on tracks from Koop, Geology and Swell Sessions.

One of my favourite tracks is from their 2007 debut album, it's called Constant Surprises, check the video below. If you're going to the Gorillaz, I suggest you get along early and catch Little Dragon. They're kinda special.

ADDED: Little Dragon are on about 730pm, De La Soul at 810pm, Gorillaz at 9pm.

ADDED: My review of the De La Soul/Little Dragon/Gorillaz concert at Vector Arena. 

ADDED: a more recent post with Little Dragon performing with PS22 Chorus, a group of school kids in  NYC

And then  there's Questlove's remix of Robert Glasper's cover of Little Dragon's Twice... featuring Solange Knowles....Heard this? Give it a spin.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Top ten

It's that time of year when list madness descends, along with Santa and all that shizz. This is my fave list so far - from local reggae site Nice Up, who regularly get folk to do their fave top ten tunes.

This one is slightly different. UK producer/DJ Wrongtom who did a wicked collab with Roots Manuva earlier this year, reworking a ton of Mister Manuva's acapellas into heavyweight dub reggae tunes, on the album Duppy Writer.

It's a top ten of Wrongtom's fave pieces of studio gear for making reggae, dub and dancehall. Check his list here. Happy to say I own at least 3 of these bits of kit.

Miss Sharon Jones! Miss Sharon Jones!

Last night Miss Sharon Jones and her Dapkings played in Auckland for the first time at the Powerstation and tore the roof off that sucker. A night of electrifying, satisfying soul and fantastic funk. My favourites included them playing their Chirstmas single Aint no chimneys in the projects, and one of the gospel tunes they've done on their last few albums - Mamma don't like my man, with just Miss Jones, her two female backing singers, and Binky Griptite on guitar. Watch below for a taste of the show...


Label love

Check this free goodness...

"Label Love is an eclectic yet unified bundle of unique sounds compiled simply for the love of sharing them with the universe - each track plucked and presented by label heads from Melting Pot, Ninja Tune, One-Handed , Plug Research, Tru Thoughts and Ubiquity.

Each label evokes its own signature swagger giving this collection a diversified and interesting flow of genres. Label Love consists of nostalgic classics, fresh unreleased gems and other dope, exclusive selections with the goal of expanding minds to new styles, vibrations and colours. "

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Dec 18

Playing some of my musical faves from the past year...

Kormac - People rising
Mishkin vs Anna Mystic - Living trouble
Afrikan simba - Power in the version
Resonators - Sweet dub affair
Fat freddys drop  - The raft - Steppers dub
WIld Bill Ricketts - Riki
Lord Echo - Thinking of you
RSD - Love of Jah light
Colman Bros - She who dares - Lounge mix
Fitz and the tantrums - Money grabber
Pitchito - Frente cumbiero
The simonsound - Tour de Mars
Gil Scott Heron  -New York is killing me
Bei Bei and Shawn Lee - Hot Thursday
Benny Tones - On my way
Suizen - Cartesian space - 4D mix
Mos dub - History town
Roots manuva vs wrongtom - Butterfly crab walk
Dub Terminator and High Freequency  - Man like me feat Senita Mogul
Black seeds - Come to me - International observer remix
Blundetto - Nautilus
Colm K and the freestyle mellowship - Dancing skulls - main mix

Dapkings - Nervous like me
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Got a thing on my mind
Binky Griptite and the mellowmatics - The stroll pt2
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Better things,
Mama don't like my man, The reason, Something's changed
Antibalas feat Mayra Vega - Che che cole makossa

Friday, December 17, 2010

The not so big payback

Following on from his column last Friday on NZ On Air, John Drinnan returned to the matter in today's column, noting that NZOA had got a lot of reaction to stories on it funding the latest album from Annabel Fay, saying " supporters of the scheme criticised this column for not pointing out that NZ On Air is able to recoup money from sales.

"However, it is not clear that recoupment made a big difference. New Zealand On Air advises that 31 album grants were made in the 2009/10 financial year, which would amount to around $1.55 million.

" Recoupments from funded albums for the financial year July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, totalled $146,816, plus GST. Not all 09/10 funded albums have been released."

NZ On Air's annual report (pdf) says that of the 31 albums funded, " 80% are new artists (artists making their first NZ On Air-funded album) or emergent artists (artists making their second funded album)."


I just read Fact mag's list of the 40 best reissues of 2010, which alerted me to this tune being back in circulation. Ten seconds later grabbed it off Emusic. Stonking tune!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


So, Sharon Jones and the Dapkings are playing live in Auckland this Saturday, but its sold out so, y'know - if you got tickets that's all good, otherwise - snooze, you lose. BUT there's still tickets for the Gorillaz show (Dec 21), here's an extremely cool live clip of what you're in for...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kinky electric noise

That's something you need, right? Go get some then... and don't forget all the goodies going at Round Trip Mars too. Much wonderful local eclectic electric bizznizz from SJD, Unitone Hifi, James Duncan....

Via Stink Inc - "I would like to point you in the direction of something quite excellent in the form of our mucker from Miami, Kinky Electric Noise's free EP from the eternally wonderful Cabeza! net label. Included are his remix of Unitone HiFi, our remix of his remix and three other gems from K.E.N. cannon.

May I strongly suggest you get thyself to Cabeza quick smart and grab one of these plump digital EPs (and they've got another new'un I havent even had a chance to check yet too....)"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

C42 say bye bye

C42 was launched back in May, during NZ Music Month with great fanfare over a guaranteed 30% NZ music content. The channel did a deal with local record companies where they got free ads for their artists (and the 30% was to come mostly from IMNZ artists) in return for waiving their right to royalties from video plays.

Now, with the rebrand/relaunch of C4 as FOUR early next year,  C42 is stepping aside as C4 moves over to its slot on Freview. From TV3s news site...

"Coinciding with MediaWorks Ltd’s launch of channel FOUR in early 2011, C4 will replace C42 on the Freeview platform.

C4 will go back to its roots of playing a cross-section of music and will stick to its policy to play at least 30 percent Kiwi content, says network executive Andrew Szusterman.
“Bringing C4 back to solely a music brand is a great result for music lovers,” he says. “Fans of C42 will still be able to see their favourite alternative music videos as C42 will become a show itself on the channel.”

Key C4 music shows like Video Hits, Homegrown and Biggest Records Right Now will remain in the schedule, and a new show hosted by Drew Neemia and Shannaon Ryan will launch on FOUR in the New Year. The final changeover date for the channel will be announced in the coming weeks."


No, not off on some mad politico rant, but some fine music from a duo called Karl Marx, comprising Isaac Aesili of Open souls/Solaa (aka Karl) and Mark McNeill (aka Marx). From Mint Collective...

"Germany’s own Meltingpot Music label has just signed Karlmarx, brothers Isaac Aesili (aka Karl) and Mark McNeill (aka Marx) from New Zealand.  The Mists EP is the first taster from their forthcoming full-length, The Karlmarx Project dropping in spring next year.

Judging from the single Mists (download it below - 33MB wav file) the duo has this unique sound that fuses electronic, hip hop lofi uptempo ish!

Karlmarx have enjoyed early support by Benji B (BBC 1Xtra) and Lefto (Brownswood). The track “Mists” will also be featured on the forthcoming Brownswood comp “Lefto & Simbad present Worldwide Family Vol.1”

Karlmarx - Mists by MPMCGN

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lord Echo

Lord Echo is an alias for Mike Fabulous of the Black Seeds/ Fly My Pretties. He's just released his debut album, Melodies. It's an absolutely gorgeous collection of soul reggae and afro disco tunes, right in time for summer.

A few of the numbers have been floating around for a while, like Wang east and Cosmic echoes, both of which appeared on Mike's debut 7" single in late 2008 or Rhythm 77 from the excellent  Ricketts Meets Fabulous at Maitland Rd EP of earlier this year. It sounds as though some of these have been reworked for the album - the single version of Wang east was instrumental, and here we have a refreshed version with vocal added, courtesy of Mr Toby Laing of Fat Freddys Drop.

Melodies is a great blend of tunes that drift off into dubbed-out summertime vibes, or head over to Africa for some gritty afrofunk. Other guests include Will Ricketts (Phoenix Foundation) and Lisa Tomlins, who helps close the album with a magnificent reggaefied take on Sister Sledge's Thinking of You (listen below for an excerpt). I really need this tune on vinyl. It's an absolute stonker.

Some background... Mike Fabulous started releasing solo tunes in the early 2000s, on various compilations like Loop Select 002. He's one of the founding members of Wellington reggae band the Black Seeds, who have released about half a dozen albums to date over their 10 year existence. Mike also produced their latest studio album, Solid Ground, which gained release in the US on Easystar Records. They also did an extensive US tour to support its release.

The Black Seeds have become a regular feature on the European festival circuit over the last 5 years, making steady inroads into Europe/UK markets. Bret McKenzie was also in the Black Seeds, before his other band, Flight of the Conchords, got busy with some tv show.

Listen to the previews below, or full album preview over at, buy MP3s or CD from there too. And Lord Echo on Bandcamp

Out now on Economy Records - who are so budget, they don't even have a website listed on the back of the CD. Or contact details. That's seriously low key.

Also just out on Economy Records  - Self titled album by Shogun Orchestra, a fascinating mix of afro funk, carribean grooves and Ethio-jazz, led by Lucien Johnson, and featuring members of Fat Freddys Drop and The Black Seeds. Delightfully exotic. Check Shogun Orch on Bandcamp for audio previews. Album out now on CD/digital, coming on vinyl.

PLUS: Mike Fabulous interview from Niceup, around the time that Wang East came out on 7, in 2008. Above image from Niceup.

ADDED: Japanese label Wonderful Noise is releasing an album sampler on 12" vinyl, out mid-late 2011 (incls Thinking Of You). Bastard Jazz are releasing a vinyl 7/digital release of two new tunes from Lord Echo, out Nov 7, 2011.

ADDED (Jan 2012): Wonderful Noise will be releasing Lord Echo's album on double vinyl, more info at Conch RecordsRead some background on the folk behind Japanese label Wonderful Noise and the NZ artists they are working with. Article from NZ Herald.

Mike Fabulous also released a collaboration with local indie pop musician Lawrence Arabia last year, as Fabulous/Arabia. The album is called Unlimited Buffet. Out now on CD/digital, and coming soon on vinyl. Download a free track from Bandcamp.

ADDED Aug 7 2012: Bastard Jazz presents Lord Echo, Mobius Collective, Greenwood Rhythm Coalition playing live at Studio BPM, 237 Kent in Brooklyn. Sat. August 18. 10pm start, $10 suggested.

ADDED Sept 2 2012: 7"single from Lord Echo out soon on German label; Jakarta Records - Thinking of you edit/Rhythm 777 feat Jennifer Zea. Preview the latter tune on a free sampler from Jakarta Records over here.

ADDED November 2012 interview with Lord Echo, from Lumiere Reader

ADDED Oct 16, 2013, from Bastard Jazz: " The mighty New Zealander known as LORD ECHO will be releasing his second album Curiosities on Bastard Jazz in early November, Expect boogie-laced Funk, disco-primed Dub, futuristic Soul, and timeless African rhythms from this cult favourite.

Watch out for the first single - "Molten Lava / Digital Haircut" dropping digitally October 28th - Tune into Gilles Peterson's latest show on BBC Radio 6 for a taste" 

Free download of Digital Haircut at XLR8R  

Out Nov 15 on Economy Records (home to The Yoots, Shogun Orchestra), NZ release thru Rhythm Method/DRM on CD/digital/vinyl. The album is being released on Wonderful Noise in Japan, Bastard Jazz in the US, UK and Australia, and Jakarta in Europe and South America.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Dec 11

James Brown - Santa Claus goes straight to the ghetto
Fatback band - Wicky wacky
DL Jones and DJ 2nd nature - Longer than this
Nina Simone -Seeline woman - MAW remix
Memphis sounds - Run Fay run
Many Dibango - Afro soul - Rob Mello remix
Lyn Collins - Mr big stuff
George Clinton  -Do fries go with that shake? - Thick mix
Orange juice - Rip it dub  -Dicky trisko edit
Aretha Franklin - Rocksteady  -Danny Krivit re-edit
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Aint no chimneys in the projects
Celestial choir - Stand on the word
DLT - Liquid skies - Ultraneon remix
Lord Echo  -Thinking of you
Phase II Pan Groove - Can't get enough (Supergroove cover for Making Tracks tv show)
Little dragon - Constant surprises
Otis Redding - Hard to handle (RIP Dec 10 1967)
Sam Cooke - Bring it on home (RIP Dec 11 1964)
Electric jungle - Funky funky christmas
Timmy Thomas - Why can't we live together - Shoes dub mix
Beverly rd allstars - Murder she wrote
Shogun orchestra - Leogane
Amadou and Mariam - Coulibaly
Labelle - What can I do for you?

The Year in NSFW music videos

Check them over at Flavourwire. Like it says on the box, not safe for work.Vids from Xiu Xiu, Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga, MIA, Kylie Minogue, Flaming Lips, Grinderman, and this humdinger from Ms Erykah Badu, for Window Seat, for which she got charged by Dallas Police for disorderly conduct.

Flavourwire: "All that happens is this: the singer gets out of her car and walks down the street, slowly stripping off layer after layer of clothing. By the end of five and a half minutes, she’s totally nude — and is immediately gunned down. Did we mention that the video takes place in the same part of Dallas where JFK was assassinated? Yeah, it caused some controversy."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Patti on Prince - "He DOES talk!"

There's a great surprise appearance by Prince on chat show The View that's doing the rounds right now - you get to hear Prince's voice, a rare thing, as he doesn't do interviews hardly ever. He's doing a handful of shows at Madison Sq Garden and dropped by to give the ladies on The View some tickets. Watch it here.

One of the commenters over there mentions an episode of Arsinio Halls show where Prince and band played, then Patti La Belle told Prince stories. And of course it's on Youtube.

Best part, Patti keeps calling out her friend Shiela E, who introduced her to Prince, and is in the studio audience, Go figure.

Take the money and run

Last weekend the Sunday Star Times ran a story in its gossip section on local singer Annabel Fay. Seems that she flew some radio programmers over by helicopter to her parents' flash place on Great Mercury Island for a party to say thank you for their support of her latest single. The SST suggests this happened with her father, Michael Fay footing the bill. Her 2nd album is due out next year.

NBR picked up on the story, here. Titled "Excuse me, Sir Michael – is there someone you’re forgetting to thank for your daughter’s success?", the story  talks about the celebration, saying "It’s great to see Sir Michael rewarding key people for their support. But NBR wonders if he is (cough, sorry, this this is awkward) forgetting a few. Mainly, taxpayers who stumped the $50,000 of NZ On Air music funding that has helped bankroll his daughter’s recent efforts."

In today's NZ Herald, John Drinnan picks up the same story in his column. Unfortunately, he gets the $$ value of funding Ms Fay has received from NZ on Air wrong.

Fay has recieved $80,000 to date, not $70,000, as Drinnan  says. He also says "That comprises $50,000 funding for an upcoming but unnamed album." Her debut album was not funded by NZ On Air - the album funding referred to was from 2008.

He could have easily checked this by visiting the NZ On Air website and using the "search funding" option, which displays all the work NZ On Air has funded. This is all publicly available.

Drinnan says "under the music funding system the taxpayer pays - no matter how much cash the artist or record company has. We are paying for the opportunity to hear New Zealand music on radio." And you're paying to see NZ shows on TV, NZ films at the movies, NZ classical music on the radio and in concert, and you're paying for hospitals for the sick, and benefits for poor people... Did Drinnan join the Act Party recently?

The really surprising bit is Drinnan completely failed to mention the independent review of NZ On Air's music programmes that has been carried out this year (and which he's written about previously, if I recall correctly). This report is finished and due for release in the next few weeks, apparently.

Taking cheap shots at the music business is lazy journalism. John, do your homework, bro!

ADDED Russell Brown pointed out to me via Twitter that Drinnan doesn't mention that the NZOA funding is required to be matched dollar for dollar by the record company. And the NZOA funding is also fully recoupable.
ADDED Here's a thought  - maybe Drinnan wants to have a go at Liam Finn getting $60,000 of taxpayer dosh. His dad Neil is well off, I hear. Go on, John, I dare ya.

ADDED Sat Dec 11 - John Drinnan has dropped by and replied in the comments. He corrected me regarding the $ figures -  the $70 k figure came from Brendan Smyth at NZ On Air, who advised Drinnan that the details were wrong on their website. Perhaps someone at NZ On Air needs to make sure all the grant info is up to date.

Dub onna mission

Dubmission Records in the UK are celebrating their 15th brithday with a wee treat. A bunch of laidback, dubwise tunes, including some locals like Pitch Black (remixed by Tom Cosm), and Bluey. Have a listen below then hit download.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque Mix

DJ Hugo Mendez of Sofrito cooked up a  short mix made up of tracks from their compilation which due next year on Strut (note; the compilation itself features full versions of these songs & others, unmixed).  Enjoy!

Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque Mini-Mix From DJ Hugo Mendez (Download: mediafire) 

Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque mini-mix by DJ Hugo Mendez by Strut

1. "Sabroso Bacalao" - Adolfo Echeverria
2. "Je ne bois pas Beaucoup" - Les Ya Toupas du Zaire
3. "Popilation Basse-Terrienne au abois" - Ti Celeste
4. "Pitchito" - Frente Cumbiero
5. "Ohue" (Frankie Francis & SImbad Edit) - Victor Uwaifo
6. "Arrete Mal Parlé" - Fair Nick Stars
7. "Carnival long ago" - Roaring Lion

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Raggamuffin rumblings

The Raggamuffin Festival in Rotorua has been hit by the departures of a few key staff in past weeks. Leesa Tilley, General Manager for the Australian promoters Andrew McManus Presents, has resigned, "saying that her position with the Australian promoter has become untenable, and she has resigned effective immediately"(source: NZ Musician). She has been in that role for four years.

"I've been lucky enough to have been behind Raggamuffin from the first show and in my almost four years with the company, have worked with the most extraordinary people - all of whom I hope to have the opportunity to thank personally for their contribution," Ms Tilley said' (source).

Rotorua's Daily Post also reports that "Public relations company Publicity Plus will also no longer be working on the Raggamuffin Music Festival.

[This]  follows the resignation late last month of Rotorua's Stu Lyall, who has managed the stalls at Raggamuffin for the past three years."

The Australian promoters have appointed replacements. "Andrew McManus Presents has appointed Jackie Sanders as its new general manager for New Zealand and Sandra Roberts will head publicity for the promoter's Raggamuffin festival." Sanders has worked on Rhythm and Vines for the past two years. See "Raggamuffin: key apppointments made", Daily Post.

But wait, there's more!

Free stuff, that is.

Some Christmas chur: Fat Freddys Drop have a couple of brand new remixes of The Big BW (from DJ Vadim and Christiaan Ercolano) up for FREE on, you'll need to log in to get em. Check em out here. Also...

"Little Monster Studios will release a compilation of Christmas themed songs next month. Featuring a who’s who of local indie artists, the album was recorded and produced by home recording entrepreneur Dave Parker in and around his West Auckland abode. From December 6, the 17-track release of original yuletide hits, titled ‘A Very Little Christmas’, will be available as a FREE download.

‘A Very Little Christmas’ includes tracks from Timothy Blackman, Great North, Tono and the Finance Company, Bearcat, Canadia, Glass Owls, Josie Tuck, Luckless, Hold Dear, Chelsea Jade & James Duncan, The Gladeyes, Alaska, Bannerman, Dear Times Waste, The Bayonets, Cool Rainbows and The Crawley Christmas Singers."

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Round Trip Mars freebies!

The good folk at local label Round Trip Mars have a  special treat for you...

"Allow us to introduce Invaderism.... it’s shaping up to be the finest compilation on Round Trip Mars yet, and a well needed antidote to a predominantly slaverage music year all round. What’s more it’s free, digital and features all new, all exclusive tracks from the entire RTM fam.

"From December 5th you can download a free track from Invaderism every 2nd day right here. On the alternate days there will be a lesser known gem from each year of RTM’s history '99-'09. Each download will only be up for 2 days, and on December 25th the entire fundle bundle will drop on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

"Call it a Xmas present or a thank you for the support over the years - its’ bigger than Santa’s creepy finger on Queen Street and the tracklist alone is going to fry some synapses, we take no responsibility for blown minds, head nod related RSI or floor related jaw drop dramas as a result of the musical magnificence about to be bestowed upon you… it’s really that good.

"Amongst the regal rabble on Invaderism is a somewhat new face to our space race, in the form of Scratch 22. Well known as a refreshingly un-formularised and preposterously popular DJ, and co-founder of the ARC crew, his own productions are a whole other fettle of kish. While his remixes of the Mint Chicks, 1995 and others were swiftly taken up by the b-Nets and whatnot, and his work with Tourettes has been justifiably acclaimed, Scratch 22’s debut album (due early 2011) goes wayyyy deeper.

Nightmares On Wax’s George Evelyn has already tapped him for his Wax On compilation series, his remix of Electric Wire Hustle’s ‘Again’ on BBE is stirring up the firmament on wax overseas and he’s just about to head off to Paris to represent New Zealand against the world in the Red Bull Thre3Style championships, having taken out the Auckland and New Zealand finals last week. It's positively breathless, plenty more to come on him and look out for his cut on Invaderism appearing here soon."

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Shortland St loves Recloose?

Shortland St, our long-running soap, played a bit of Recloose, forgot who he was, and then they end up advocating piracy. Don't show this to RIANZ boss Campbell Smith, ok?

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Sat Dec 4

Patato and Totico - Mas que nada
The Dynamites - Do the right thing
Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - Something's changed (Live in Auckland December 17, unmissable!)
Menahan st band - Esma
Mayer Hawthorne - The ills
New mastersounds - Nervous - Kenny Dope bonus beat
Quantic - I just fell in love again
Chico Mann - Anima
Andreya Triana - Lost where I belong
Born Jamericans - Boom shak-a-tak
Coldcut - Man in a garage - King Jammy vocal
General Echo - Arleen
Yamie Bolo - When a man is in love
Freestylers - Ruffneck
Oogun - Version for version War017
Hugh Masekela - Languta
Woima collective - Woima
Luiz Bonfa - Jacaranda
Onra - The anthem
Hot 8 brass band - Sexual healing
Colman bros - El nino - GRC remix
Funk machine  -Soul santa pt 1
Grand wizard Theodore and Fantastic Romantic Five  - Can I get a soul clapp
Gwen Guthrie - Seventh heaven
Cesaria Evora - Angola - Pepe Bradock get down dub
Oddisee - Chocolate city dreaming
Naomi Shelton and the gospel queens - Trouble in my way
Cookin on 3 burners - Cars
Kashmere stage band - Superstrut - Kenny Dope remix
Universal robot band - Dance and shake your tambourine

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ghost - Orion from musicbyghost on Vimeo.

Orion is the latest single from Ghost off his third album., Postcards from the edge (hear it at Bandcamp) He hit me up via Twitter with his new video, and it's a pretty nifty tune - starts out with some wonky bleeps and fried visuals, then the rhythm kicks in around a minute and a half in and it settles into a very cool electronic groove.

Ghost made his musical debut back in 2003, and has been steadily releasing tunes since then. His bio says that "Ghost was runner up in the Glastonbury Unsigned Talent contest in 2007 and had a track featured on the Glastonbury compilation CD for that year. Since 2007 Ghost has been touring and DJ’ing all over the UK and Europe (including stints at Glastonbury, Hip Hop Kemp, The Big Chill, Bestival and The Jazz Cafe). He’s also found time to work on a number of different projects including Lingua Franca and Invisible Inc (Synth/Electronic Hip Hop with Kashmere and Verb T)."

He moved to New Zealand in 2009, and is currently based in Christchurch, where he's Programme Director for Radio RDU, and does the Friday Drive show on that fine station.  For more of his music, check out his Bandcamp page.

He's also got a collection of his remixes for free download here, including mixes he's done of P-Money, The Heavy, Bonobo, Foreign Beggars and more.


Punking Out is a film by Maggi Carson and Ric Shore, saw these clips over at Dangerous Minds, who say "these clips of The Ramones and The Dead Boys at CBGB in 1977 capture the birth of punk in all of its raw glory.Punking Out is a terrific time capsule of a time and place and really should be more widely seen. You can order a DVD copy at the film’s website.  The site hasn’t been updated in a few years, but the ‘shopping cart’ appears to still be functioning. Dee Dee’s glue rant is hilarious."

Catch Lydia Lunch being interviewed at 3.54 into the Dead Boys clip - she's standing with James Chance. She's a charmer. The crowd shots in the first clip are a fascinating insight into what that scene must've  looked like. There are some very cool looking folk in there....

Spree Wilson

Photo credit: Greedmont Park

I first heard about producer/rapper/songwriter Spree Wilson in an article in a recent issue of Wax Poetics. Story goes, last June, he moved to New York city from Atlanta, where he'd been an intern at Dallas Austin's studio. He says he felt like he'd played every music venue in Atlanta twice, so he got up one morning, sold his car and bought a one-way train ticket to NYC.

He lived in the train station for a week when he got to New York, then moved in with a friend. From Wax Poetics: "A few weeks later he was on the phone with Q-Tip - the legendary rapper was a fan of Spree's music. Now the Tribe MC is exec producing Spree's debut album The Neverending Now," due out early 2011.

He's got a fascinating mix of musical influences from hiphop to classic rock to Beat Generation cats like Kerouac and Ginsberg.  Some tunes for you to check below, and his debut EP is over here. Where do we go tonight is off his new album and is produced by No ID, and the other tune is older.

Wilson has just signed to Jive Records  - watch the video of him signing his life away here.

Where Do We Go Tonight by spreewilson

1.Pick You Apart Ref 4 by spreewilson

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sweet latin soul

DJ Timber is an ex-Manchester fella, now based in Barcelona. Check out his Sweet Latin Soul III mixtape over here (download links). Listen below....

Tracks / Canciones:

1: Joe Cuba - Baby You're Everything
2: Eddie Lebron - My Vows To You
3: Orquesta La Solución - Te Quiero (I Love You) Part II
4: Los Exagerados - Contigo Aprendí
5: Johnny Colon - Looking In Your Eyes
6: Landy Nova - Quiéreme Mujer
7: Candido Y Su Movimiento - Baby Doll
8: Cheo Rosario - Tu Querer
9: Eddie Hernandez - The Time Was Yesterday
10: New Generation - Como El Agua Del Río
11: Manuel Y Sus Estrellas Combo - Palabras Vacías
12: Lebron Brothers - Tus Recuerdos
13: Sonora Ponceña - La Puerta Esta Abierta
14: Joe Bataan - Ordinary Guy

Hecho con 100% vinilo - ediciones originales!
100% Vinyl - Strictly OG Pressings