Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FNun sound and pictures

Henrietta Harris is the talented artist behind the splendid collage artwork for the Flying Nun compilation Tally Ho: Flying Nun's Greatest Bits. She also was involved in the cover for Volume magazine's Nun tribute issue, using this artwork. Read an interview with her here, talking about the process of putting this cover together.

source: Chillblue on Flickr

I recall meeting another artist who was involved closely with Flying Nun when I was at Elam art school in the late 1980s. Lesley Maclean was from Christchurch, and she'd played in a few bands down there and in Akld (The Letter Five, with Richard James from Mainly Spaniards, an early FNun outfit - soundclip at bottom).

There is a ton of great art as well as music that was associated with Flying Nun over the years, like Chris Knox's art, or David Mitchell's magnificently twisted, gothic drawings for his various bands (Exploding Budgies, 3Ds etc) to name just two examples. There's a coffee table book in there somewhere, with all the FNun art.

Maclean had done a lot of poster designs for Flying Nun bands, and is most famous, I reckon, for designing the distinctive label (above) for Flying Nun's vinyl releases. I vaguely remember Lesley working on it as a holiday project during a term break at art school. Prior to that, every Flying Nun vinyl release had its own unique/messy label.

Below is Lesley's cover design for the very influential Tuatara compilation, which was important in exposing Flying Nun's stable to the world.

The current revival, helmed by the label's founder, Roger Shepherd, came to fruition in 2009, with the financial help of Neil and Sharon Finn, and Graham Cockcroft ex Netherworld Dancing Toys among others.  It's great to see some of the label's leading lights re-emerge, and its back catalog being revived and introduced to a new generation, along with new signings.

Flying Nun was part of the sale of FMR (Festival Mushroom Records) to Warners in late 2006 (see NZ Musician) and it can be argued that it spent most of the 2000s as a less than vital imprint and little more than a logo on the back of Mint Chicks releases. The Mint Chicks may have always claimed they signed to Flying Nun, but when they ditched the label in early 2010, they said they were leaving Warners. The irony being that Roger Shepherd had regained ownership of the label by then, once again making it independent (albeit tied to Warners for distribution).

Conventional wisdom is that Warners neglected the FNun back catalog, failing to even note the label's 25th birthday. Not true. There's a 17-track compilation  to commemorate the 25th anniversary available on iTunes, released in Feb 2007 (drawing on the 4 CD boxset malarkey from that year, compiled by Shepherd). Of course that date sounds wrong, but hey, Flying Nun's own website says they celebrated their 21st birthday in 2003, which aint right either. There was the release Under the Influence – 21 Years of Flying Nun Records, from 2002. They just love celebrating, so who's to stop them?

The Nun's 21st anniversary wasn't without controversy though - Gary Steel wrote a piece in the NZ Listener decrying the label's roster at the time, among other crimes. Numerous folk in the press and the music scene rounded on Steel - Chris Knox even performed a song about it entitled "The Late Gary Steel".

Russell Brown also responded in a robust fashion to Steel's comments (Brown recalls the song in question as being called "In memory of Gary Steel").

But that was 9 years ago, and a lot has changed with The Nun since then. Why, only yesterday Mr Steel was praising Flying Nun on Twitter. "It was very gracious of Flying Nun to gift me a pack of their delicious 30th anniversary ale. Has the disser been bought? More, please."

So, does time heal all wounds? Yes. That, and beer.

The Nun's connection with Mushroom Records (which was later sold to Festival Records) started in 1990, with them buying a 50% share in Flying Nun, helping to give that label some financial stability, and decent recording budgets for its acts such as Straitjacket Fits and JPSE.

I recall reading an article from  the early 90s where the JPSE were talking about their album budget, which was $60,000. That's a long way from Chris Knox hauling his four track reel to reel down to Dunedin and he and Doug Hood setting up in a hall to record The Clean.

Festival Records was part of Rupert Murdoch's News Limited, and in 1995 a 23-year-old James Murdoch took over as chairman at Festival. He reportedly dropped out of Harvard to start hiphop label Rawkus Records (source). I know John Peel was quite surprised to discover that Rupert Murdoch owned half of Flying Nun when he visited NZ in the early 2000s!

Now then, where's the Skeptics boxset?

Here are some of Maclean's poster designs from 1985-86, via National Library.

Below, a poster for the first two Flying Nun releases 
From the Christchurch Library's online poster collection, numerous FNun posters

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Adrian Sherwood - Dubwise Damage

Adrian Sherwood - Dubwise Damage from this week's edition of Volume. Interview by Stinky Jim, it's a bloody great read too. And it solves the mystery of whey there is a song on the latest African Head Charge album released earlier this year that namechecks Dave Dobbyn...

"Though Adrian Sherwood's production credits are impressively wide (Primal Scream, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Dave Dobbyn etc), it is the On-U Sound label built around artists like Dub Syndicate, African Head Charge, Singers & Players, Mark Stewart & The Mafia and Bim Sherman and Gary Clail that is the real legacy. From early experiments in noisy, post-punk afro-dustrial music in 1981, to 2011's sophisticated dubbed-out blues with Skip McDonald's Little Axe outfit, On-U Sound has remained a standard setter for adventurousness and sonic pugilism.

One of Sherwood's most consistent collaborators has been Lee "Scratch" Perry, the Jamaican dub pioneer and unhinged genius, whose work with others has been notoriously patchy at best.

However with Sherwood there's a real chemistry, and actual quality control - what's the secret?

"I care more probably. I get on well with him in the studio. He's got streams of consciousness that pour out of him and good ideas, and if you stop him in his tracks and say, 'Let's enlarge on that', he'll take you off on something amazing, even at the age he's at now."

On-U Sound may well have started off in debt and has had to endure various tough times and even ill-advised dalliances with major labels and shifty indies, but the sound and aesthetic has remained strong. Brand-building may not have been the intention, but three decades down the track, On-U remains an unimpeachable trademark for quality, innovation, sonic adventure and elephantine basslines. That's a point that isn't lost on the elders of the dubstep community like Digital Mystikz's Mala, Horsepower Productions, Moody Boyz and Kode 9 who all contributed to the stunning 2011 Lee "Scratch" Perry remix set Nu Sound and Version. The feeling is mutual.

"I got a good respect from that community. I big up the ones I like, and they all kind of give me a good respect - it's brilliant. I think it's important; the evolution of what came from Jamaica - roots and dub - is now kept alive by a lot of people in London because the Jamaican scene is pretty unhealthy. There's incredible stuff coming out of London at the moment."

Though he did his first DJ gigs in school lunch breaks as a 13-year-old, Sherwood remains primarily a backroom operator, only releasing a record under his own name in 2003. Previously the closest he came to the limelight was as part of Tackhead, the ferocious outfit who provided the backing for records like Grandmaster Flash's The Message and White Lines in New York, before being led to the outer limits with Sherwood at the controls.

"I got very disillusioned with the reggae because my friend, [Prince] Fari, had been killed I thought, 'F**k this, it's rubbish. What are you doing?' A lot of it was thankless, I wasn't making any money and I was doing it because I loved it. But how much can you love something when your friends are being topped by a***holes? Then I thought, 'Hang on a minute - we were going in an area with the noise and funk and the dub together, and it was really exciting and nothing had been done like that before'."

So what went so wrong with the big Tackhead album, Strange Things, then?

"Cocaine... cocaine, I think that's it. We suddenly got given lots of money and everybody wanted to make a record that was a bit of this, a bit of that, and Keith [LeBlanc] wanted to play acoustic drums, having made all the records with these fierce fucking drum machines before. So it was an absolute pile of shit, that record. Don't get me wrong - everything comes to an end eventually - but that turned into the epitome of Spinal Tap."
Disarmingly honest and down to earth after over 30 years in the business, Sherwood is an unsullied true original and, as his New Zealand show will testify, there's a good deal more woofer worrying and tweeter terrifying yet to come.

The NZ Connection
Mad bNet radio and DJ support alongside a series of scorching tours in the late '80s and early '90s solidified On-U's place in the New Zealand firmament. However while Salmonella Dub remixes are to be expected, Sherwood producing Dave Dobbyn [2008's Anotherland]... what the... ?

"His manager's an old friend of mine, and she suggested we meet. So we met and it was a really good experience, brilliant people. He's a really good lad, Dave, and I really enjoyed doing that - bit of a departure. I've always tried to do things that are different, so working with a singer/songwriter like Dave was really good fun."

And the rather splendidly titled track Dobbyn Joins the Head Charge on their latest album Voodoo of the Godsent?

"That track was derived off one of Dave's tunes, the horns. I thought it was like when Whitney joined the Justified Ancients of MuMu (on 'Whitney Joins The JAMs'). I thought that was quite funny."

Adrian Sherwood plays The Powerstation in Auckland on Friday 16 December, and Wellington Dec 15, at Bodega..

Slice of Dobbyn

This is deeply twisted. You will laugh, you will cry, you will go "What the hell?"

Slice of Heaven (Tom Cosm Remix) by TomCosm

Party in my pants

Party in my pants megamix from Romanowksi. "Party in my pants, you're invited..."



Dalvanius on Poi-e

Found this clip on Youtube, of Dalvanius and co (incl Alister Riddell) in 2003, talking about the origins of Poi-e. You can read a great interview Murray Cammick did with Dalvanius for Real Groove in 2001 here.

BONUS: Frank Jade and Dalvanius and Peter Morgan - Uh-huh-uh-huh - live, 1986

You got Guts?

I first came across Guts when he dropped a rather splendid tune several years back, called "And the living is easy" on Wax On Records, run by George Evelyn (Nightmares on Wax). He dropped his debut album on that label, his second one came out under his own steam on Pura Vida Records in 2009, and now he's back with his third. It's called Paradise for all, listen below.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monk Monday

Hat tip to Andrew Dubber for this... funky Hammond/guitar/drums from a trio from Iceland, Thelonius Monk covers... check it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


My old mate Johnnie Pain (ex Hallelujah Picassos) has made a video for his new song, Big Rock, recorded under the name Pain's People. It's cool.

New York boogie mix

From Mungos Hifi, free download too. Tracklist here, guests include Sugar Minott, Brother Culture, Sister Carol, Daddy Freddy, Eek a mouse...

New York Boogie Mix by mungoshifi

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Nov 26

Charles Bradley  - The world is going up in flames
Jackson sisters - I believe in miracles remix
Romanowski - Romjack steady
The Lions - Think
Hallelujah Picassos - Rewind - Roger Perry re-edit
Bob Marley - Stand up jamrock - Ashley Beedle remix
The Pioneers - Papa was a rolling stone
Barrington Levy - Dances are changing
Yami Bolo - When a man's in love
Jackie Mittoo - Disco Jack version
Lone ranger - Barnabas Collins
Justin Hinds - The higher the monkey climbs
The Specials - Another message to Rudy - Bombs edit
Boris Gardiner - Melting pot
Bobby Byrd - I know you got soul
Bill Withers - You got the stuff
Larry Gold - Aint no stopping us now
Patrice Rushen - Music of the earth - Danny Krivit edit
Electric jungle -Funky funky christmas
New mastersounds - Nervous - Kenny Dope bonus beats
Fat freddys drop - Hope for a generation
Jackson five - ABC - Tokyo ska paradise orchestra remix
Lee Scratch Perry - Jungle youth - Congo Natty remix

RSD - Forward youth

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Michele Bachmann was a guest on tv show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: her walk-on music from the Roots? Fishbone - ‘Lyin’ Ass Bitch’. Genius

Watch it over here

UPDATED: Michelle Bachmann has demanded an apology over The Roots' use of this song. "Questlove, the band's drummer who tweeted about the song before he played it on Monday, gave a semi-apology to ABC News on Tuesday, saying, "The performance was a tongue-in-cheek and spur of the moment decision. The show was not aware of it and I feel bad if her feelings were hurt. That was not my intention."

The beauty of this controversy is two-fold - one, it gives The Roots a blast of publicity right before their new album drops in December, and two, it returns Fishbone to the headlines, with a song they first released 26 years ago.

ADDED: clip has turned up on youtube so I can embed it...

ADDED Maura Johnson of Village Voice weighs in:  excerpt... "...Sure, this was an attempt to turn a title/hook into a 15-second punchline (leaving out the lyric about the titular character also being a slut), but the fact that this woman was obliquely being called a "bitch" on national television, and that it's an insult that would probably not be flung at her competitors, curdled any mirth that I might have felt..."

Scrimshire newie

"This November sees the return of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, DJ and erstwhile Wah Wah 45s label boss, Adam Scrimshire, with his mesmerising second album "The Hollow".

The much anticipated follow up to 2008's "Along Came The Devil One Night" sees Scrimshire going back to his soulful roots, but at the same time, carving a more contemporary, electronic sound." Guests include members of The Resonators, Cinematic Orchestra, and Hackney Colliery Band.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Volume review of Picassos

DDot pops up

David Dallas and fans outside the Rose Tint pop-up store, in Conch.
Photo: David Dallas' Facebook page

David Dallas has been working the internets for a while now. He and his manager Che have been delving into podcasts, RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter since 2008. The pay off for Dallas was it got him into America, giving him a presence there when he couldn't afford to be there physically - and led to Dallas getting a US record deal with Duckdown Records. Andrew Dubber wrote about their approach here. It's taken Dallas and his team four years, but he got there. NYC, baby! Home of hiphop.

There seems to be an endless series of New Zeland musicians and bands at present begging for followers on Facebook and Twitter, now that NZ On Air funding requires some evidence of an online fanbase, not just faces at gigs. I've heard some folk being rather scathing of this social media requirement in the Making Tracks funding, but then you look at David Dallas, and he has over 18,000 fans on Facebook. It works.

Dallas recently celebrated the deluxe CD release of his latest album The Rose Tint, with a pop-up store based in Conch Records (from last Wednesday to Saturday). The Rose Tint came out as a free digital download earlier this year, and has hit 50,000 downloads. So, did anyone turn up to buy the CD? Hell yeah.

Dallas was in the store every day, signing CDs, taking photos, selling merch (David Dallas piggy banks anyone?). And they had live instore performances every night. It also pushed the album back up to the top of the hiphop chart on NZ iTunes.

The theory goes like this: if you give away your music and your fans think it is something of value, they will pay for more of your music. Or in Dallas' case, they will pay for music they've already downloaded for free. Cause they think it's good music.

Not everyone got behind the physical relase tho - Dallas posted this to his FB page at the weekend: "Ha, looks like we're on course to crack the top 20 on the NZ charts next week - and that's despite some retailers cockblocking by not gettin it in stores cause we gave the original Rose Tint away for free and they reckon noone cares bout a 'Deluxe'. They're bout to get schooled."

ADDED: The deluxe edition of the album debuted on the NZ album charts at number three.
ADDED: Volume's Duncan Greive says one of the stores that refused to stock the album was The Warehouse.

I went down to check out the last night, with singer Aradhna dropping half a dozen tunes. Damn, she has mean pipes. Her next release is a collaboration with P-Money, heard a few whispers about it and it sounds very cool.

ADDED The Sunday Star Times says that Dallas had 5,000 people come thru in four days.

Here's the New York Times, writing about US three rappers who have released free music to build fanbase. Just like David Dallas. One of these artists just topped the Billboard album chart. Sure, the chart doesn't mean as much as it once did, it terms of sales numbers. Still, its an  impressive achievement.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top 5

Let's face it, lists are fun. I got asked to do a Top 5 list for Volume magazine, and slipped in a plug for the Picassos - Rewind the Hateman collection.  I came up with this list.. unfortunately Volume doesn't have space for pics, so I've added them in...

Top Five Cheesy Album Covers

Herb Alpert - Whipped cream and other delights
The king of cheesy covers. Super-sexy Dolores Erickson covered in cream, which was mostly shaving foam [and she was 4 months pregnant at the time].

O'Donel Levy - Everything I do gonna be funky
The title tells you all you need to know about this record. Almost everything. Seen the cover?

Herbie Mann - Push push
Guys who played jazz flute in the 70s liked posing shirtless.

Count Basie - E=MC2
there’s a weird bunch of records that came out in the 50s and 60s that thought they would sell by putting a picture of an atomic bomb exploding on the cover.

Bo Diddley - Big Bad Bo
The legendary Mr Diddley on a chopper, on loan from the Hells Angels. Kickass.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Nov 19

Koliphones - Jungle concerto (moog)
Mr Chop - Giving up food for funk
Lord Echo - Thinking of you

On-U-Sound 30th anniversary audio snapshot...
Dub Syndicate - Pounding systems
Singers and players feat Prince Fari - Bedward the flying preacher
Lee Scratch Perry - Train to Doomsville
African head charge - Heading to glory
Dub syndicate - No alternative (but to fight)
Gary Clail and On-U Sound System - Leroy Leroy
Strange parcels - Hearts desire
Bim Sherman - Nightmare
Lee Scratch Perry and Dub Syndicate - You thought I was dead
Lee Scratch Perry - Jungle youth - Congo Natty remix
African head charge - Throw it away
Singers and players - Snipers in the streets
African head charge - Somebody touch I
Little Annie - I think of you
Skip MacDonald - Hammerhead
Forehead bros - Circular motion
Dub Syndicate - Humorless journalist works to rule
(On-U main man Adrian Sherwood at Powertstation, Dec 16)

Macro dubplates  - Brooklyn rocks
Joint force - Burntime inst
Resonators - Gold getter
Centry - Melody of life
Barrington Levy  -Looking for love
Lee Scratch Perry - Spongy rubber dub dubmaster - Dialect and Kosine remix

Friday, November 18, 2011

Drink yourself more bliss

So, mate of mine sent me this link (thanks, Jubt), for a website built as part of Music Hack Day in Boston. "Garnish with glowstick". Seriously? That's pretty funny.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One for anyone enduring the New Zealand election campaign. Hat tip to @matthewdcrawley for image. See Teapot tapes...

Valerie Simpson...

"Valerie Simpson on Nick Ashford: 'I'm not used to him not being here yet'. In her first major interview since her partner's death, Simpson reflects on their work as one of music's most successful songwriting teams." From Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot.

Q: You went door to door, and I heard the first batch of songs sold for the princely sum of $64. Is that true?

A: I actually think it was $75 (laughs). That number has moved and changed over the years. We were introduced to (Josephine) Armstead, who wrote 'Let's Go Get Stoned' with us. She knew all the publishers and helped open some doors. She was about Nick's age, a former Ikette (Ike and Tina Turner's backing group) and had written some songs in Chicago. She knew more about the business than we did...

Q: What did you think of "I'll Be There for You," the huge 1995 hit for Method Man and Mary J. Blige that interpolated your song "You're All I Need to Get By"?

A: We loved it. We incorporated it into our show for a while. We'd start it off that way, and then go into the traditional version. I'm a big Mary J. fan, so anything she sings is quite all right with me. It was summertime when it came out, and it seemed to play constantly. There's a certain monotony to those types of songs sometimes, but because of those chords being what they are, that's a good type of monotony. Those are four good chords.

Q: Do you feel you got enough credit for your role in creating that song?

A: They didn't shout us out when they got the Grammy Award (for best rap performance by a duo or group), but we got the check (laughs)...


Brand new from Scribe...

Sleep when im dead (earlybird edition) by Scribe Music

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

99 problems and a tweet aint one

Twitter Not A Top Source For Music Discovery is the delightful title of a post over at Hypebot. When I saw this headline (via Hypebot's Twitter account) I wondered exactly what numbers they had to back up this odd assertion. It seems to be suggesting that Twitter is not where people go to follow up on finding out about something new, and instead use reccomendations from friends, or the radio/web to find out more.

A year ago I would have said I find out about new music from blogs. Now I follow all those blogs on Twitter. A year ago I would have said I get emailed new music tips by friends. Now I follow those friends on Twitter. Some of them share good music via their Facebook pages too. 

As one of the commenters on this posts says.."Twitter is a personalized experience, you follow the people, magazines and sources for new music YOU respect and appreciate, and you follow them because you value their opinions. HENCE, Twitter is the BEST PERSONALIZED source for Music Discovery..."

That's a view I tend to agree with. Hisham Dahudthe author of the post responds to the above commenter..

"I agree with you that Twitter is a personalized experience in of it's own. In terms of media content however, Twitter does not suffice in providing users the resources they need to complete a discovery other than word-of-mouth recommendations (as you so described)."

Saying that Twitter doesn't do a good job in providing resources for people to complete their music discovery largely ignores the fact that there are a ton of great services already doing that (Bandcamp, Soundcloud) and they are all easily compatible with Twitter. As the article says, if Twitter tried to do those things, it would stop being Twitter.

The article states that ".. Even after making their discovery elsewhere, only 2% of NPD’s respondents said they utilize Twitter to follow-up with their discovery. This falls well behind other follow-up activities like streaming the video (19%), purchasing the download (14%) and waiting to hear the song on the radio (12%)."

I recall having a discussion late last year with someone over the importance of online vs radio when the Caddick review of NZ On Air came out. 

Although most people I know discover new music thru the internet these days, the most recent survey done by NZ On Air (in 2009) found that 46% of New Zealanders discovered new music via radio, and 17% discovered new music via Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. Of course these numbers don't take into how engaged the listener is, ie whether it's passive listening (ie radio on while driving) vs active listening (searching blogs etc). 

R.I.P Laura Kennedy of Bush Tetras

Sad news. I have been listening to a lot of music from the early 80s NYC scene lately, including ESG, Konk, Liquid Liquid, and the Bush Tetras. News sourced from Dangerous Minds.

"Laura Kennedy bass player and co-founder of the legendary New York punk/funk band the Bush Tetras passed away in Minneapolis this past Monday. She had been struggling for years with Hepatitis C and despite receiving a liver transplant in 2008 was unable to survive what she described as a “scourge of an illness.”

Kennedy was in the center of the musical vortex that thrived in downtown Manhattan through the 1970s and into the early 80s. It was a time in which rock and roll was stretching its wings while simultaneously banging its head against the walls and sidewalks of a city both bleak and beautiful.

The Bush Tetras pulled uptown downtown and showed the Studio 54 crowd that there was some tribal thunder brewing below 14th street and you didn’t have to beg to get in. The BTs made it clear: funk was Universal and could not be tamed or commodified. It was in our flesh and bone and in the concrete. The city’s jittery pulse ran from the Bronx to the Bowery, a visceric train on tachycardic tracks where each station crepusculated pinpoints of chakric light. The bloodbeat pinballed and banked against Time’s Square and then veered drunkenly and divinely into the throbbing core of Manhattan’s tattered rock and roll soul: CBGB.

Kennedy wrote of her time living in downtown NYC:

"Us New York City kids from the ‘80s, often transplanted from other cities, other countries, occasionally other planets (take a wild guess who I’m talking about) - we’ve kicked ass. We’ve taken names, too - and a good many of us have not only lived to tell, but are rockin’ the telling and rollin’ the living in a way that’s inspirational… We keep going, and going and going. I defy you to tell me that all of us weren’t defined by that moment in time that we shared. This has been apparent to me for a while, but more so now that we’re a decade into the oughts. We were blessed to come together in this life at a time that defined the End of a Century.”

"I remember seeing Laura jump up with her bass in some kind of rock 'n' roll move (which no No Wave person would ever do) and it forever blowing my mind," Thurston Moore wrote in his book No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980. "I saw her as the coolest girl ever at that point. She certainly remains that way in my consciousness." More from Thurston below.

See also RIP Laura Kennedy at CityPages.


Via Dangerous Minds, synth pioneer Jean Jacques Perrey drops bombs for ya  Moms...

"On this now more than half a century old clip, the pioneering French musician Jean-Jacques Perrey demonstrates the early synthesiser the Ondioline as part of a quiz show called I’ve Got A Secret. The year is 1960 and electronic instruments (in particular synthesisers) are still fascinatingly new.

The point of the show, as the name would suggest, is for guests to reveal a secret to the host and audience and then make the panel of judges guess what their secret is. And I gave away Perrey’s secret in the first sentence of this paragraph. Oops..." Check the tv show host smoking up a storm...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Crazy Clown Time

That's the name of the debut album from film maker David Lynch. He talks about the album with New York magazine here... snip:

Q: Do you miss that era [1950s]?

A: I miss what I call a fifties dream: slow dancing in the basement with a girl with a really soft sweater and these budding breasts. Then a slow kiss in the dark in the basement with certain music playing. You know, it doesn't get much better than that.

I grew up in the eighties, so I can only imagine.

You didn't slow dance with a girl in the eighties?

I was a metalhead.

That's a disaster with a girl then.

New record store in AK opens

Heard whispers a few weeks back about a new record store opening at the top of Mt Eden Rd.  They are now open for business... Some info via Murray Cammick...

"SOUTHBOUND is at 69 Mt Eden Rd, near the Powerstation. They import lots of cool vinyl. CDs and DVDs into NZ and you can now see their range in a retail store. Labels they represent include Soul Jazz Records, Vampi Soul, Light in the Attic, Acid Jazz etc. The vinyl records will be new and sealed and store hours are Tues-Sat 10am to 5.30pm. They have just got stock of Little Roy's reggae covers of Nirvana LP, Battle For Seattle. Contact details: (09) 302-0769 or"

And it's right near where Real Groovy once was a long time ago, before they shifted to the Queen st neighbourhood.

The Joint on Picassos

Picasso Core! God bless the Hallelujah Picassos. From The Joint radio show, RDU, Christchurch. Cheers, fellas.

"... First time I ever heard the Hallelujah Picassos was in 1989 on UFM (formerly Radio U and now RDU) with their track “Clap your hands”. Loved it so much I went out and bought the Pagan Records “Positive Vibrations” compilation.

At the time, with a lyric like “…clap your hands for Jesus…” I did wonder if they were a Christian band trying to put the “fun” back into “Christian Fundamentalism”, but a closer listen to the lyrics revealed that they probably weren’t.

The Hallelujah Picassos were active from 1988 through to 1996, and like contemporaries Salmonella Dub, Supergroove, and Head Like A Hole amongst others, brought some much needed colour to the local music scene.

I loved the Picassos because they crossed genres (garage, pop, reggae, dub), could be light and dark, and sounded like they were having a blast.

“Rewind the Hatemen” ... still sounds quite fresh. “Black Space Picasso Core” is still nutty sampledelic, “Bastardiser” still garage rocks, “Hello Pablo” still has sweet melodica action, and “Shivers” is still The Bats / Able Tasmans collaboration that never happened..."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Nov 12

Bo Diddley - Hit or miss
Lonnie Smith - Afrodesia
Mr Chop - The world is yours
Hackney colliery band - No diggity
Mulatu Astatake and the heliocentrics - Chik chikka
Ikebe shakedown - Tujunga
S tone inc - Arejar - Soulstance remix
Lord Echo - Long time no see
Lancelot Layne - you think it sorf?
Amrals Trinidad cavaliers steel orchestra - 90% of me is you
Gwen Guthrie - Padlock - Larry Levan remix
Liquid liquid - Cavern
ESG - Moody
LCD sound system - 45 33 - Padded cell remix
Billie Holiday - That old devil called love - Moodymann remix
Staple singers - Take your own time
Diders sound spectrum - Impuls
Henry Mancini - Baretta's theme
Border crossing - Jump down
Farm fresh sound system - Still lifted
Brother culture - Foundation rockers - Disciples dub
Etherealites - Rocka shaka dub
Noiseshaper - Ruff like a what
Disrupt - Robot version 

Friday, November 11, 2011

De La Soulviet

De La Soul paired up with Soviet funk, soul and jazz. Hat tip to Fleamarket funk.

Track listing:
1. Oooh
2. The Grind Date
3. Stakes Is High
4. Trouble In The Water
5. Shoomp
6. Hold Tight
7. All Good
8. More Than You Know
9) Jenifa Taught Me
10. Much More
11. Itzsoweezee
12. Rock Co.Kane Flow

All tracks produced/mixed/mastered by TenDJiz at TenDJiz Miami Studio

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fresh Splore acts

New acts added to the bill for Splore Festival 2012... DJ Qbert and beatboxer Reeps One doing The Bass Bizarre live show mixing dubstep, hip hop and drum n bass with digital art; Hudson Mohawke; DJ Sticky Buds; Latinaotearoa; Al Majik.

And then there's Soul II Soul, Erykah Badu, Gappy Ranks, Africa Hitech, Tiki, The Yoots, Ahoribuzz, Lord Echo and His Melodies, The Nudge, Disasteradio, J Star, Hermitude, Barons of Tang, Earl Gateshead, Shortee Blitz, @ Peace, Scratch 22, Alphabethead, King Kapisi, IM ENO, Smoke Eaters, DJ Amato, Optimus Gryme and Maya Vanya.

Spotify in NZ in Feb?

Just heard this via Indies NZ newsletter.. "According to well-placed sources, Spotify is likely to hit Australia and New Zealand 'in or around' February, and boots may already be on the ground. And, that will be complemented by a serious Asian expansion to be headquartered in Hong Kong, Singapore, or both.

"Spotify has declined any comment to Digital Music News, though sources are coming from label contacts in both the United States and Australia itself. The Australian & New Zealand headquarters will be in Sydney, and already, Spotify is seeking a label relations manager to liaise with hundreds of labels, distributors, publishers, and other content partner." More at Digital Music News

New from Tackhead

Fresh business from  Mr Wimbish, McDonald, Le Blanc and Sherwood. Tackhead covering Bob M. New album out early next year.

Tack>>Head - Exodus (dubvisionist 7" dub mix) by Echo Beach lifefidelity

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

BDO not so big

The 2nd announcement for the Auckland Big Day Out this morning revealed some changes to the festival, dropping several stages (from 8 to 4) and shrinking the lineup, including dropping Kanye West. Refunds are available for anyone who bought tickets on the basis of Kanye appearing, but only til Nov 30. Added to the bill were Noel Gallagher, Nero with live band,  Cavalera Conspiracy, and Das Racist.

So, lose Kanye, and gain Noel Gallagher. It's Noel's revenge for Jay-Z playing at Glastonbury, right?

The Lilyworld stage is gone, as is the Local Produce stage. I saw so many great, unexpected musical delights at the Lilyworld stage. There will now be only one main stage, not two as in previous years. The Adelaide and Perth BDOs also made similar announcements, downscaling their events and shrinking the lineup.

There's clearly some hard economics at work, as the organisers face rising costs. BDO NZ boss Campbell Smith said the restructure was ''vital'' for his team to be able to find a way to keep the Big Day Out in Auckland. "It's a very expensive show ... we needed to look at rebuilding it from the ground up. We want to make sure we still have a Big Day Out here," said Campbell.

But halving the stages and the number of bands, while keeping the price similar to last year doesn't seem likely to attract new punters.

So is it due to shrinking crowds? In 2009 the crowd was 40,000 punters, 2010 was 45,000 (sold out), and 2011 was nearly 45,000 according to news reports. Capacity for the event is usually round 40-45,000. So, the BDO audience isn't declining, it's holding steady.

Has the venue costs gone up dramatically, after earlier reports that the BDO might be moving to North Harbour stadium, due to urgent repairs needed to Mt Smart? There was also the suggestion that "It's believed that the council, who run [Mt Smart] stadium, want more money for the location hire and bar sales in the future."

Kat did some number crunching and came up with this chart, on her blog... click on it to enlarge it...

Kat writes about her chart: "It shows in cold hard numbers what has happened to the Big Day Out and what this reduction means to your pocket... These numbers came from my original tickets and the final timetables (obviously, with the exception of the 2012 event, which is yet to release the timetable.

"The numbers for that line are taken from the Big Day Out website). Up until 2012, we were paying less than $2 per ticket for each band. Now we are paying twice that for a lesser festival. You might get a $20 merchandise voucher with your 2012 ticket, but NOTHING is $20 at the merchandise stand..."

now, go read this story in Time magazine... Live, at a Field Near You: Why the Music Industry Is Singing a Happy Tune. "...Music festivals are a rare bright spot in the struggling music industry..."

ADDED Promoter Ken West explains Big Day Out issues (on Triple J)

R.I.P Heavy D

TMZ reports that Heavy D has died, aged 44.

"Heavy D - real name Dwight Arrington Myers -- was rushed to an L.A. hospital around noon today ... and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 1 PM. He was 44 years old.  We've learned a 911 call was placed from Heavy's Beverly Hills home around 11:25 AM to report an unconscious male on the walkway . "

Spin Magazine and its sources confirm Heavy D's passing. "[He] is best known for a consistently great stream of albums in the late '80s and early '90s that seamlessly mixed hip-hop with pop aspirations, culminating in the Top 20 single "Now That We Found Love."

His "chunky but funky" persona, cushiony delivery and high-velocity flow garnered him five Top 40 records and memorable guest appearances on albums by both Michael and Janet Jackson. [Heavy D performed in the MJ memorial concert in Wales on Oct 8]

More recently, Heavy performed on television for the first time in many years, closing out the 2011 B.E.T. Awards with a medley of his classic hits. Earlier this morning, he appeared on Radio 1Xtra to tell Tim Westwood the story about the performance, which he said had him practicing eight hours a day for six weeks and almost vomiting from nervousness."

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Don Dada

New production from P-Money, for Aussie MC Sky'high. Dope sample, dope tune.

Don Dada by Sky'high

...and the Kenny Dope/Madd Racket rework, Supa, from 1991.

Liquid Liquid vs The Roots

From April 2010. Mega-long jam, wait for the outro. Original 1983 video below

Monday, November 07, 2011

Monotron madness

I borrowed a Korg Monotron off a mate of mine a while back, they make fantastic squelchy noises. Now Korg have launched two new versions of the Monotron, a Duo version and a Delay version which sounds glorious. Watch... via Engadget

Factory Dance:1980-87

Fac. Dance: Factory Records 12" Mixes & Rarities 1980-1987

I knew there were like about a million other acts that got signed up to Factory, you just never got to hear about them down here in NZ, on the other side of the planet. Sure, we got Joy Division, New Order and A Certain Ratio, but this new collection goes way deeper...

Review from Turntable Lab: "The good folks at Strut shine some light on the dancier side of iconic Manchester label Factory Records for Factory Dance. Everyone knows the label's iconic acts like Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays, but here we get treated to some of the lesser known bands that graced the label during the early 80's when Factory was exploring jazz funk, experimental soul, and even reggae territories.

Boogie heads will want to check the 52nd Street material, especially "Cool As Ice(1)" and "Look Into My Eyes(2)," while X-O-Dus "See Them A Come" is perfect for the dancehall. Did you know Factory ever took it there? Neither did I! You also get the underground disco-not-disco classic from Quando Quango ("Love Tempo") as well as the slept-on cosmic vibes of "Genius," plus post-punk on the disco side of things from Section 25 on "Dirty Disco" and electro on "Looking From A Hilltop."

There's even some heavy industrial house beats (The Hood's "Salvation"), chilled-out balearic (Durutti Column) and a good dose of experimental no-wave business from Swamp Children, Biting Tongues, Blurt, and Minny Pops. An outstanding collection compiled by Bill Brewster (author of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life and founder). 24 tracks in all."

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Roy Ayers is playing his hometown Los Angeles soon, (with Pete Rock and live band) and DJ Anthony Valdez has put together a very cool mix for the occasion..

"In advance of the performance, KRCW DJ Anthony Valadez has created a stellar mix incorporating Ayers originals and their creative offspring. Appearances include the Roots, Ultramagnetic MCs, X-Clan, and more (the transition from Ayers and Carl Clay's "Shining Symbol" into Redman's "Creepin'" is masterful). But the Ayers effect has extended to a third generation. Also on the bill will be Thundercat, the Brainfeeder-signed fusion jazz artist who clearly channels the beautiful float of Ayers' most poignant compositions."

Homage - Roy Ayers mixed by Anthony Valadez by ArtDontSleep

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Winston Riley shot

From the Gleaner: Techniques boss shot?

"According to, Techniques songwriter and record producer Winston Riley, 65, was shot in the head and arm on Tuesday at his home in Kingston, Jamaica.

The website also claims the status of the hitmaker is unknown, as the hospital where he is being treated is a secret.

A consistent hitmaker since the late 1960s, Riley has been the victim of a series of unexplained violent attacks, says the website. According to it, Riley was shot in August and stabbed in September. The police are investigating the relationship between the incidents."

Louder than a bomb

Public Enemy's Chuck D is suing Universal Music. Rolling Stone reports  that Chuck is "claiming that the company has underpaid his royalties on digital downloads. The suit alleges that UMG routinely misrelates royalties owed to artists on MP3s and ringtones by treating them as sales of physical record as opposed to licensed works...

"Chuck D's complaint follows a federal judge's decision on Tuesday to move forward on a similar class action pursued by Rob Zombie and the estate of Rick James [more here]."

Digital Music News has published documents that back up Chuck D's claims. "According to federal court documents filed Wednesday by attorneys for Chuck D. The detailed breakdown shows that for every 1,000 iTunes downloads sold, a UMG-signed artist gets paid $80.33. And that's after the label collects on a 25% 'Container Charge for Audiophile Records,' as well as a 15% 'Net Sales Deduction'. Which means that for every one download, the payout is roughly 8.033 cents."

" the ringtone payout is loaded with even more artificial ingredients, including the same 'Audiophile Packaging Deduction'. In fact, despite a much higher price tag on ringtones (ie, $3 listed here), the major label artist gets a paltry per-ringtone payout of 5 cents."

ADDED: And Now, Chuck D Is 'Complicating' the Sale of EMI...

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Nov 5

Visioneers - Runnin
Outlines - Waiting in line
Bob James - Angela (Theme from Taxi)
Mulatu Astatke - Yegelle tezeta
Charles Bradley - The world is going up in flames
Bits and pieces - Don't stop the music
The pepperpots  -Real tru love
Lil Buck and the top cats - Monkey in a sack
Soul brother six - You gotta come a little closer
Brenda and the tabulations - California soul
Dynamo productions - Stepping it up
Doug Carn - Surital iklhas - Fulgeance remix
Little dragon - Ritual union
Lee Scratch Perry vs Kode9 - Yellow tongue
Michael Prophet - Been talking
Gussie P allstars - Jah blessing dub version
Slim Smith - My conversation
Ranking Joe - Dont follow Babylon
Jahlicious - Something - Beatlicks remix
African head charge - Heading to glory
Bob Marley - Soul shakedwn party - Afrodisiac sound remix
Elizabeth Archer - Feel like making love
Jackie Mittoo - Wall st
Manu Dibango - Afrosoul - Rob Mello no ears mix
Hallelujah Picassos - Rewind - Roger Perry re-edit
Mos dub - History town
Joint force - Burntime inst

Friday, November 04, 2011

Tiki: fake the police

I watched some of the NZ Music Awards last night. There was some great live performances, though unfortunately the live sound didn't seem to translate well to tv. I saw a number of folk on Twitter complaining about the poor live sound.

The songs from those acts that have toured extensively overseas for the past year stood out for me - the performances of Naked and Famous, and Ladi6 in particular were head and shoulders above the other acts. Clearly, playing live a lot makes for some well-honed performers. And go Ladi6 for winning two awards!

Tiki Taane was joined by a handful of fellow musos, like Julia Deans and Hollie Smith, for his song Freedom To Sing, aimed at his run-in with the police earlier this year. Half way thru the song, the tv cameras showed about half a dozen police walking thru the crowd, towards the stage. They joined Tiki on stage, then started dancing and leaping round while Tiki played.

A lot of people thought they were real police. Russell Brown of Media 7/Public Address tweeted "Apparently real cops DANCING ON STAGE with Tiki. Genius."  Marcus Lush tweeted "Real cops on the stage with tiki taane . . Best thing i have seen at a music award ever !"

I replied to Russell, saying the NZ Herald reported earlier in the week that Tauranga police had politely refused Tiki's invitation to join him onstage. The police onstage with Tiki had very authentic looking costumes on. Russell Brown noted that he "Saw them up close before the performance. Really thought they were real cops." 

PeadPR, who handle publicity for the music awards said via Twitter "They're legit". But Wammo from KiwiFm said "My interview with him [Tiki] yesterday [wed] was inconclusive on the matter." 

So, were they real cops? Brown later posted this: "Update: NOT real cops on stage with Tiki, but nightclub bouncers."  NZ Herald reports that the men were wearing real police uniforms. reported that " ... Along with the awards, Auckland's Vector Arena came to life with performances from [Brooke] Fraser and The Naked and Famous, as well as Ladi6, Six60, Avalanche City and [Tiki] Taane, who performed alongside the "love police" in a nod to his brush with the law earlier this year."  Is using fake cops likely to improve Tiki's relationship with the Police or not? Made for a good spectacle tho.

ADDED Dave Roper (promoter and former owner of Zen/Fu Bar) posted this to Twitter "Cracking up at pictures of our old bar manager Rueben Brooker dancing on stage at the NZ Music Awards in a NZ Police uniform."

My fave moment in Tiki's performance was when one of the faux cops put his cap on the head of Tiki's guitarist for the night Aaron Tokona (Cairo Knife Fight), and he was transformed into Zac Wallace in classic NZ film Utu. Choice.

UPDATED Official Police statement on Tiki and the polcie uniforms... source

November 4, 2011, 2:24 pm
"Acting Police Commissioner Viv Rickard confirmed today that the ‘officers’ on stage with singer Tiki Taane last night at the New Zealand Music Awards were in fact dancers and not Police.

“Mr Taane approached us a while ago and asked if some of our officers could appear on stage with him during his performance of ‘Freedom to sing’. While we were pleased to be asked, we are not able to facilitate those kinds of requests. However, we did approve the use of four uniforms for Mr Taane’s dancers to wear during the performance last night.

“Congratulations to him for his awards, it is good to see him doing well.”

Mr Rickard said Police and Mr Taane had come to an agreement a month ago after a performance by Mr Taane resulted in him being arrested for disorderly behaviour.

“We worked through the matter and Mr Taane has now volunteered to be a family violence spokesperson in one of our districts and it is fantastic to have someone of his profile and youth to be able to connect to our communities about such a serious and important issue.”


NB : It is an offence to personate a police officer. However, Police do need to be able to provide uniforms at times for filming or theatrical purposes. These requests are carefully considered on a case by case basis." 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Erykah Badu at Splore!

"Erykah Badu, will play her first ever New Zealand show at next February’s Splore Festival.

The multi Grammy Award winning artist will be backed by a full band and backing singers. She is known for her compelling stage presence and attention to choreographic detail.

Badu’s groundbreaking debut album, 1997’s Baduizm, went multi-platinum and won her two Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Album.
Her most recent albums, New Amerykah Part I and Part II debuted at Number 2 and 5 respectively on the Billboard Top 200 album charts.

Festival music director, John Minty, says Badu will perform at Splore on her way through to Sydney where she is playing Sydney’s Opera House. “It’s the first time she has been to New Zealand - what better place to get a taste of New Zealand but at a Splore festival."

More info at

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Adrian Sherwood live

Legendary British reggae producer Adrian Sherwood (On-U-Sound) is coming to NZ for a show at the Powerstation, December 16. Support from Stinky Jim and MC Slave's Logg Cabin. Tickets here.

He's also playing Wellington on Dec 15 at Bodega, support from Vital Sounds.

Reposted from The Quietus, Adrian Sherwood's On-U-Sound radio mix...

Mulatu speaks

Ethiopian jazz legend Mulatu Astatke is playing his first-ever NZ show, Friday Novermber 25 at The Powerstation.

"For this one-off New Zealand show, Mulatu Astatke is joined by The Black Jesus Experience, an Australian/Ethiopian ensemble who fuse traditional Ethiopian song with jazz, funk and hip hop. The nine-piece group supported Astatke for his recent sell-out Australian shows, having just returned from their own highly successful tour of Europe and Ethiopia.

Mulatu was interviewed recently by Volume magazine, here's  a few excerpts.. very interesting cat...

"... don't expect a taste of typical Ethiopian music when Mulatu Astatke's grinning face appears on stage at The Powerstation next month; there isn't any. What Astatke's Ethio-jazz stands for is a blend of Latin jazz and Deep South swamp funk decorated with delightful, mysterious vibraphone melodies similar to those you used to hear whenever things got really scary during an episode of Twin Peaks.

"The vibraphone is an extension of the balaphone, an African instrument that's also played with two stakes," Astatke says. "As an African I like to stay close to my roots, which is part of the reason why I chose to play the vibraphone."

While Astatke has reached a legendary status in recent years, recognition hasn't always come naturally for him: "I really struggled to get people to understand my music when I started more than 40 years ago. It's probably because of these difficult times early on in my career that I really appreciate to see my music flourish now."

After having spent decades in relative anonymity, around 2008 Astatke began to record again. As part of the Inspiration Information series, named after the seminal Shuggie Otis album, Mulatu released an album with British band The Heliocentrics, an eclectic group that treads in the footsteps of jazz and funk visionaries like Sun Ra, David Axelrod and Funkadelic. Recording Inspiration Information Vol. 3 got Mulatu started again: "The joint repetition started even before I had seen these guys play solo, but the period of recording and touring turned out to be dynamic and fun."

His newly recognised Godfather status led Astatke to head to Harvard University on a Radcliffe Institute fellowship. Back in the States, he worked on the modernisation of the krar, a traditional Ethiopian string instrument.

"It hurt to see how much the krar became oblivious among young musicians from my country. More and more people decided to play guitar rather than krar because of its greater range. With a group of people at MIT we succeeded in extending the range of the instrument, and you can now actually play modern music with it. To demonstrate the results of my work, I got a student to play a number of jazz standards on the krar as part of my final presentation at MIT."

Of course, Astatke's second Golden Age didn't start at an academic level. Jim Jarmusch's 2005 movie Broken Flowers featured seven of his songs and Mulatu-samples can now be heard in songs by the likes of Damian Marley, Kanye West, Quantic and Madlib. And on the evening of Friday 25 November, the pioneer of these sounds will ask the audience if you've seen a certain movie, raise his drumsticks, and kick start a night of intoxicating Ethio-jazz."

Mulatu Astatke and The Black Jesus Experience perform at Auckland’s Powerstation on Friday 25th November, 2011. Tickets: go to for all ticket and show information. Tickets from Ticketmaster and Real Groovy Auckland.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

You are all digital vampires

Townshend: Something about iTunes reeks

According to rock veteran Pete Townshend (yes, he's still alive), music lovers who steal music are evil, and iTunes is a "digital vampire" that profits from music without supporting the artists who create it. He made his comments while delivering the first John Peel Lecture. Read more here.

Townshend says that "iTunes should offer some of the services to artists that record labels and music publishers used to provide." It seems odd that he expects a music retailer to act like a record company. You wouldn't expect brick and mortar music stores to do that.

"Why can't music lovers just pay for music rather than steal it?" he said.

The Guardian has further coverage of Townshend's comments, including this gem... "Townshend said his "inner artist" thought [Steve] Jobs was "one of the coolest guys on the planet" but admitted he had once said in an interview that he "wanted to cut Job's balls off".

Full text of Townshend's lecture on the Guardian.

Here in New Zealand, the first infringement notices under the new Copyright Act were sent out overnight, by RIANZ (Recording Industry Association of NZ). Forty of the 50 notices were for songs by Rihanna, with the others being songs by Lady Gaga. Orcon has received 8 notices, TelstraClear has got about a dozen, and Telecom has got 40 to date. Vodafone says it has also got a few notices. 

Lord Echo - brand new!

"Bastard Jazz is proud to present a brand new 7” from talented New Zealand producer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Fabulous aka Lord Echo. Known previously for his role as a founding member of New Zealand reggae band The Black Seeds, Lord Echo stepped into his own with his release of his 2010 debut album Melodies. With it’s effortless mixture of funk, dub, latin, and disco sounds, (including a dynamite cover of Sister Sledge’s “Thinking Of You” - listen below), the album slowburned its way to worldwide acclaim, quickly finding itself garnering big buzz on hundreds of music blogs worldwide.

This new 7” on Brooklyn’s Bastard Jazz Recordings is Fabulous’ first new material since "Melodies", and picks right up where the album left off. On the A-Side, “Things I Like To Do” is a feel-good stomper with fuzzed out organ stabs, a bubbling bass, a stuttering stripped down live break and a soaring horn section. On the flip, “Long Time No See” brings in more sunshine with it’s big Boogaloo vibes – heavy on the handclaps, Latin percussion, voical chants and blurts, and horns and flutes galore…. with just a hint of 70s Blaxploitation lurking in the background." Release date: November 7. Preview below...

A refresher for you... Lord Echo covers Sister Sledge. Coming out on 12"vinyl thru Japanese label Wonderful Noise soon.