Friday, March 30, 2012

Purple Jose

Joes Feliciano blazes away on Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze, from 1985. Dude even drops the riff from MJ's Beat It at the end. Hat tip to Alan Holt.

This is my fave jam from Jose Feliciano, very groovy take on Beatles tune. I saw Mr Feliciano last time he played in Auckland in the mid 90s, it was downtown at a venue called Trillos, now long gone. I remember seeing Mikey Havoc race into the venue several songs after Feliciano had started. He dashed over to me and said "has he played Chico and the Man yet?" I replied "Yeah, that was his first song." Poor Mikey looked gutted. He loved that song.

Dub Terminator vs JStar

Free download over here, check this... tasty nz dub styles, remixed by UK producer JStar. Wicked vocal from Ras Stone.

Sir-vere ITFs 99

Scratch that itch

NZ ITF DJ Championship. By Peter McLennan, Pavement June/July 1999.

If all that scratching is making you itch, scratch the itch at the New Zealand finals of the International Turntablists Federation champs for hip-hop DJs in July and August.

Who’s got the skills to pay the bills? Always a pressing question. And if you’re a DJ, it’s one that will be answered at the New Zealand finals of the International Turntablists Federation Championships in July, when our best Djs will square off against each other for turntable supremacy and a chance to compete at the international finals in the United States.

‘’The ITFs were originally set up by Alex Aquino from San Francisco” explains Pavement hip-hop columnist and organiser of the New Zealand ITF finals, DJ Sir-vere (aka Philip Bell). ‘’He used to be the manager of the Invisibl Scratch Pikls, one of the best DJ crews on the planet. What happened was, the DMC champs put in a ban that the Scratch Pikls couldn’t enter their competitions because they were too good. They just kept winning every year.

“It’s the Q-Bert rule, so they can’t enter! And the DMC champs is only six minutes each. You do a routine and the judges decide who wins and that’s it. So they decided they’d have a battle version of it – DJs on DJs – and that’s the most ruthless competition to win in the world.

“For ITF, you do a three minute routine and out of all of them, they choose eight to go to the semi- finale’s continues Sir-vere. “And they do 30 seconds each, back and forth between each DJ, so you can directly diss the other guy in your routine, almost like a mini boxing match. You do two rounds, then two more, then the finals is three rounds. It’s way more dynamic. It’s super exciting to be there, it’s really hardcore, man! When we did it last year at [inner city Auckland bar)] Control Room, the crowd just went bananas, We’ve found that the standard of competition has got better each year.

“This year, I think they’ve finally got a grasp on it. In Wellington, they run them monthly, as a semi-battle, to get them into the form of them,

"This is the year we break through because, in the past, our winner would go to Australia and battle for the Australasian title, whereas we don’t do that now. We go straight to the world final because we’re to strong. Like in the final last year in Australia, there were three New Zealander’s and one Australian and the Australian won it. So I said to the guy in Aussie, ‘This is stupid, man! We’re obviously way stronger than you guys are.’ They wouldn’t want to hear that but that’s the truth, So I ended up doing a deal with the organisers and this year we’ll send the winner directly to the world final.”

Sir-vere has been to the world finals himself, travelling with NZ ITF champ DJ Raw from Wellington to San Francisco in 1997.

‘’It was pretty wicked, man!’’ exclaims Sir-vere, ‘’It’s exactly the same format but he was battling the world’s best. At the time, Raw was probably just slightly below the top four, whereas now he’s by far the best New Zealand DJ But he’s retired from battling now. It’s a real pity. He’d waste everybody easily, he’s so good. He got into the final 16 in the world. That’s awesome!

“The Wellington crew are so united and there’s such a huge DJ scene down there. Auckland is getting there but we’re two years behind them in organising ourselves. And I’m not saying two years behind them skillwise. But in organising a unified DJ crowd, Wellington is by far the best. They get together regularly. We have a unity problem in Auckland. And Wellington is so easy too, so central. In Auckland though, you’ve got P-Money from Papakura and, say, a whole bunch of guys here in central and it’s a long way out.”

Geographic problems aside, Sir-vere, former co-host of the sadly defunct Wreckognise hip-hop show on MTV with DLT, rates the local DJ chews very highly.
“Hip-hop here at the moment is pretty awesome,” he waxes. “Like on the True School hip-hop show [on Auckland’s 95bFM every Thursday night], we get all these guys to come up and freestyle on the mic. That’s going off every week.”

What is the attraction of the ITFs for Djs and crowds? “People like competitions, especially DJs,” insists Sir-vere. “I can’t think of how many times I’ve been to a gig and someone says, ‘Man, I can do better than that.’ With people who can scratch and mix, there’s an element of competition that will never go away. I just like the fact that we can represent Aotearoa New Zealand by sending somebody to the world champs.

“Initially, the reason I did it was because they had DJ Rockraida and he’s one of my favourite DJs I said I definitely want to get involved in that. I just wanted to do the gig with him, And then I realised that Rockraida was secondary to the fact that this was another way of advancing our local hip-hop scene, Look at it now. It’s awesome!”

The NZ ITF DJ heats take place in Auckland and Wellington in the first week of July. Guest DJ is Shortkut of the Invisibl Scratch Piklz. The New Zealand finals are held the first week ofAugust in Wellington, with a guest DJ to be announced shortly

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Half naked or infamous?

TV3 News is reporting that NZ band The Naked and Famous have been having words via Twitter with Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly, saying he stole a sample of their song Young Blood. Unfortunately for TNAF, the rapper has written permission to use it from the band. Or maybe their management forgot to tell them?

"[TNAF posted] “This guy… – This ‘artist’ has never once thanked, acknowledged or even asked our permission to use ‘Young Blood’,” the band wrote on their Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts.

The band has since deleted all online posts referencing the scandal, but not before MGK responded with a series of tweets.

“The band The Naked and Famous are the ones who cleared the song I sampled. I was paying hommage [sic] to them, not stealing, u f**kin idiots,” Machine Gun Kelly stated on his Twitter account.

@TNAF first and foremost, YOUR the ones who cleared the song in the first place. 2ndly I was referring to writing MY verses in that quote. I was actually a huge fan of yours and was paying hommage [sic] to yall by making a play off the name to describe my situation.

@TNAF yall deleted your tweet? Someone mustve showed u the paperwork of yall APPROVING that sample. Now apologize for ur bitchassness.”

ADDED Machine Gun Kelly also posted on Twitter :"I can't believe that weak ass group I was a fan of publically tried to make me seem like I stole their song last night... I have documents of The Naked and Famous giving us permission to SAMPLE their song, hence my version: Half Naked and Almost Famous."

UPDATED: Thom Powers of Naked and Famous has posted a clarification on their website: "When the Machine Gun Kelly work which samples our song and recording “Young Blood” first appeared online, it hadn’t been cleared by us. In fact we hadn’t even been approached about it. That was what I was referring to in my initial tweet. But, yes, our representatives did then work out a deal that permitted the use.

I do apologize for any confusion I might have caused. What I should have tweeted was:

“This artist has never personally thanked or acknowledged us for the use of Young Blood. He states he wrote this song -

ADDED: A commenter on TV3's story notes: "As found on the back of the Half Naked and Almost Famous EP [by Machine Gun Kelly]: “Half Naked and Almost Famous -(R. Colson Baker, B. Allen, A. Fitts, T. Powers, A. Xayalith, A. Short) -Contains elements of “Young Blood” written by T. Powers, A. Short, A. Xayalith and published by Sprit Two Music, Inc. (ASCAP), Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Used by permission. -This track contains a sample of the recording “Young Blood” as performed by The Naked and Famous. Courtesy of Universal Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises. Used by permission”.


Picasso Core Jukebox reviewed by's Graham Reid

Hallelujah Picassos: Perfect (1995)

"Thanks to the enthusiasm of former member Peter McLennan, Auckland band Hallelujah Picassos -- once a fixture on the New Zealand music scene in the late Eighties to mid Nineties -- are being given their dues through a series of reissues.

First out of the blocks was the compilation disc Rewind The Hateman (reviewed here) and now there is an 11 track collection of their covers entitled Picasso Core Jukebox (which is available digitally here).

As mentioned previously, the HPicassos were pleasingly uncategorisable and often sounded like a collision between someone's classy reggae and ska collection and bus driven by a funkmaster containing a metal band. In fact when you think their peers were Supergroove, Head Like a Hole, Salmonella Dub and various hair-metal bands playing the "five bands for five bucks" nights at the Powerstation it all makes sense. Sort of.

They were like all of those (without the poodle hair) but sometimes hopped up on anger and most likely other things.

The Picasso Core Jukebox collection tosses out some very bent covers, among them Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love, Sixties garageband the Sonics' Psycho and Strychnine folded into one, Smokey Robinson's Tears of a Clown as reheard through Britain's The Beat, local singer-songwriter Greg Johnson's Talk in this Town . . .

In their own strange ways, they all made sense.

But this, a one-off previously unreleased run-through of The The's poised ennui of Perfect seems an unusual choice.

In the notes which accompany the collection, McLennan says they originally did it as a noisy grunge version as far back as '89 (that makes sense) but this version evolved over a day in the studio and what you hear is the first run-through with Bobbylon trying out a new drum pattern.

He thought they were just rehearsing it.

But folks, that was a take."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

That grates...

Australian band the Grates are fuming over Weetbix using a soundalike in their NZ tv ads. NZ Herald reports that " Kiwi fans of the group alerted them to the potential copyright breach after finding similarities to the 'Nothing Stops a Weet-Bix Kid' TV advert tune, which has been running for over 12 months.

Now, the cereal's manufacturers Sanitarium could face legal action over the dispute after the band's record label, Dew Process, confirmed to Australian media that they would look into it.

On the band's official Twitter account, The Grates, who consist of Patience Hodgson and John Patterson, wrote: "They asked us if they could record a version of this song for the ad. We said no. Can't believe they did it anyway, jerks.'' The tweet has since been deleted as they probe further."

FasterLouder note that "the Weet-Bix NZ Twitter account has been inactive since 2009 (yes, there really was a weetbixnz twitter account)."

According to the commenters in the Weetbix ad, the music was done by Franklin Rd Productions, composed by Jonathan Bree (of The Brunettes). Don't know if that's correct or not.

Compare the Weetbix ad with the Grates original and see what you think...


Brand new on Stonesthrow: 35 members, 41 tracks, 3 producers: Fuzzface (Geoff Barrow - Portishead), Katalyst, 7 Stu 7. Released on 2/LP, Digital and 2/CD with instrumentals.

Interview with Australian producer Katalyst about Quakers

MP3: Quakers "Smoke" featuring Jonwayne

MP3: Quakers "Fitta Happier" featuring Guilty Simpson & MED

Picassos - Groove Guide review

"I’ve always been a sucker for a good cover version, but suspicious of an entire album's worth. The willfully eclectic Hallelujah Picassos have cobbled together a range of favourites recorded over the last 20 years, and their dub/thrash remains incomparable, if somewhat of a mixed bag.

The James Brown, Bo Diddley and Smokey Robinson tributes are all dementedly worthy ...  the extensive e-booklet is jam-packed with behind the scenes insight into each songs genesis, and hearing them deliver an angry and evil take on ‘Air’ by Head Like A Hole (who have previously made the Picasso’s ‘Hitskin’ entirely their own) is worth the price of admission alone."

By Chris Pole, Groove Guide.

Available from Amplifier, iTunes and Bandcamp...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Breakers wax

Photo: Jono Rotman

Facts Of Wax.

Story by Anna Thomson. Published in Pavement magazine, June/July 2000.

Breakers wax, a label dedicated to bringing New Zealand electronics to both local and international audiences, is a Wellington-based record label catering for the New Zealand breakbeat genre, including hip-hop, trip-hop, ambient and drum&bass, The Breakers Wax label was officially launched in July 1999 by Jo Pewhairangi and Steven King.

By November, the pair had two artists signed - Overwash vs Megalon and 5OHz (AKA Jeremy Goer) - and by the end of the year, their debut release, the Overwash vs Megaton 12-inch vinyl single, was selling in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Not bad for a fledgling label with designs on the international music market.

The first few months of Breakers Wax were feverishly spent trying to build networks in New Zealand, finding vinyl-pressing plants and distribution networks in the UK. One of the labels greatest achievements is signing 5OHz, who will release a 12-inch vinyl single at the end of the month. Then Pewhairangi and King's goal is to release and support as many local producers as possible on a Breakers Wax compilation. Earlier in the year, they called for submissions for the compilation from breakbeat musicians and were flooded with demos.

Pewhairangi took a wine-tasting approach to the selection process by playing the demos (minus any identifying labels) to a panel of experts handpicked for their roles and wide interests in the music industry.

"We had the submissions white-labelled and got the panel to judge." says Pewhairangi. "We wanted to choose the tracks on the merits of the music."

With the 50 original tracks submitted now culled to just 16, Pewhairangi and King say that what has brought them the most pleasure putting the compilation together is that the bulk of the tracks are mostly from musicians who are unknown and unsigned, So what's coming up next for Breakers Wax? "The submissions for the compilation have allowed us to identify producers we'd like to do a 12-inch release of, which we find really exciting," says King.

"One great thing about what we do is that because we sell the majority of our releases overseas, it doesn't matter if you are 'world famous in New Zealand' or not. The worldwide market responds to it purely on the merits of the music. We hope this encourages people to keep producing and working on what they do."

Pewhairangi agrees. "Some people say, 'Why do you bother with the music industry?' But it's a multi-billion dollar industry and we want to be a part of it. We've already made inroads establishing our label overseas and we want to cater for a specialised market in New Zealand".

I've digitised the vinyl or both tracks and uploaded them to Youtube so you can check them out. Listen below. Apopo is a very cool tune, slightly bent breaks.  

The Lions x Stonesthrow

Dub version of the title track from their upcoming Stones Throw album. Their debut on Ubiquity was a tasty slice of dirty old reggae, and their cover of Think by Lynn Collins was dynamite. Looking forward to this newie. 

"All the guys in The Lions grew up on classic Jamaican records so since we began we have wanted to give our records that same edge and roughness that we grew up hearing on LPs by The Upsetters, Soul Syndicate, The Rockers Band and Roots Radics. The rhythm section was all recorded to tape, the Hammond buzzed a little, fuses blew and good mistakes were left in. We basically made the dusty reggae soul LP WE have been wanting to hear for years." – Dan Ubick (ex Breakestra,producer) 

Download MP3 – The Lions - This Generation (Dub)
Download free via iTunes – The Lions - This Generation (Dub)
Website – The Lions

Cian flashback

Photo: Glenn Hunt

By Stephen Jewell. Published in Pavement magazine, August/September, 1999.

When the second summer of love first exploded in Britain in 1988, many New Zealand musicians, from Benny Staples to Jed Town, chose to base themselves in London, the epicenter of the burgeoning dance music scene. Hereford-born Cian O'Donnell, however, chose to travel in the opposite direction, ending up in Wellington, where, ironically, he was first introduced to the art of Djing.

O'Donnell left England at age 18 on a world trip which took in the American west coast and Australia before he arrived in Wellington with only $17 in his pocket. Fortunately, within a day of his arrival, O'Donnell found himself a flat and a job in a record shop. ''The DJing side was just something I fell into," reflects O'Donnell.

''A friend of mine, who is basically my inspiration, a guy called Koa, he saw my record collection and said, 'Look, you've got to buy some turntables.' And I was like, 'Well, maybe. He then went out and found someone who was selling some second- hand Technics. He basically conned me into buying them and moving in with him so that he had decks at his house."

After forming the Funky Monks with Mu, Leon and Matt Morrell, O'Donnell became a fixture in the Wellington music scene before shifting to Auckland a couple of years ago to take up a residency at the Khuja Lounge.

''The big difference between Wellington and Auckland, because of Auckland's actual size and how it's structured, is that there is a lot more interaction between the actual DJs,'' he muses. ''People seem to be a bit precious about what they're doing. A lot of things in Auckland don't turn me on. A lot of people ask me why l don't do more gigs and why I stay at the Khuja Lounge but I can actually nurture something at Khuja.

Auckland is so dominated by house and drum & bass but I like to feel that, through Khuja, I've offered an alternative."

O'Donnell has made quite a name for himself with his Latin-tinged house sets but is quick to point out that there is a lot more to his music than Basement Jaxx-style beats. ''People think I've been playing Latin the whole time, which definitely isn't the case," he asserts.

''I'm totally open-minded. I'll spin the whole musical spectrum over the course of an evening if I'm given the chance. I especially like playing music which is a fusion of lots of different bits and pieces. You can't call it world music but there's a lot of music coming out with traditional rhythms or instruments internalised with beats. What I play is such a big melting pot of everything. One minute you can be listening to phat beats or Latin, then it could go into breakbeat. But I like to think that it always flows.''

O'Donnell recently left New Zealand on a world trip which will take him to London and the year 2000 carnival in Rio before returning to New Zealand next year. But first up for O'Donnell is San Francisco, where he will DJ with Tom Thump from Love, Haight and Ubiquity. ''San Fran' is my kind of town," declares O'Donnell, ''especially with its musical background. It's got its roots firmly stuck in black music which is something the Funky Monks and I have always tried to promote".

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, March 24

IQU - Witchcraft
Troublefunk - Drop the bomb
Tom Tom Club - Genius of love - long version
Jean Carn - Free love - Victor Rosado re-edit
Rose Royce - Make me feel like dancing
Chakachas - Jungle fever - Greg Wilson edit (soundcloud)
Ikebe shakedown - Tunjunga
Buddy Miles - Them changes
Ray Baretto - Acid
Bronx river parkway - Nora se va
J-Star - Fishfinger tentacle dub (soundcloud)
Hallelujah Picassos - Peanut butter (bandcamp)
Norma White and Brentford disco set - I want your love
Dub specialist - Kampala
Althea and Donna - Uptown top ranking
Mere Mortalz feat U Brown - Dis a boom
Herbs - French letter - dub version (Youtube)
Mighty diamonds - Right time
VV Brown - Crying blood - Andrew Weatherall dub 
Lee Scratch Perry  - Jungle youth - Congo Natty remix
Prince - Housequake

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beaten Generation

Hostage to the beat - front cover. Published by Tandem Press
By Robyn Pett, Pavement magazine, Aug/Sept 1995 issue. 

History never repeats, but it may come back to haunt you. In his follow-up to When the Rock Got Rolling, his tribute to Wellington's rock scene in the 60s, author Roger Watkins pays homage to the movers and shakers in the Auckland music scene during the 50s and 60s, an era as wild as it was weird.

A history lecturer at Welllngton's Victoria University and a musician during Auckland's rock 'n' roll years, Watkins new book, Hostage to the Beat: The Auckland Scene 1955-1970, is an alphabetically ordered retrospective that begins with The Acton and ends with The Zodiacs There are also dozens of other imaginatively named outlets like Feet Beats, Velvet Bubble, The Fair Sect, Hi-Revving Tongues, The Steam Packets and, best yet, The Four Fours.

The writing and attention to detail make it clear that Watkins is passionate about the music of his day. He's also pissed off it's been universally forgotten.

"Fundamentally, I'm really cheesed off that that period of our social history has become invisible," he chides. "I mean, so many contemporary musicians have no idea who Larry's Rebels or The Underdogs were. Or even who Johnny Devlin was. He was New Zealand's first rock and roll rebel, he was New Zealand's Elvis. And no one even knows about him. It's a real shame.”

Peter Posa and friend. Porbably something to do with his album called White Rabbit

It's Watkins' opinion that musicians today have nothing on their 60s counterparts. For a start, they have no political or social motivations to spur them on. In Auckland in the 60s shock value counted enormously. It was an age of unspeakable matricide and the incomprehensible notion that teenagers had sex.

Thanks to limitations in technology, it was also a time when talent counted as much as image, maybe even more. "The technology and the equipment didn't exist in those days," explains Watkins.

"Technology these days allows people that might not necessarily have the natural, raw talent as musicians, to create music.” Gaining precious airplay on radio and television is another burden contemporary bands have to contend with. But before the advent of music videos and Casey Kasem's Top 40, things were different.

If you were in a band the DJ was your friend, Somebody who had your best interests at heart. Somebody like Paul Holmes, perhaps, who fronted a rock show called Gruntmachine.

"Radio was a completely different beat," raps Watkins. "A lot of those jocks in the 60s saw the bands live, compered their shows, knew the bands personally. Nowadays radio is all programmed by computer, there isn't even anyone there. So it's much harder to get airplay. I think the bands now have it much harder. The 60s were a much more personable time. It was a people's time."

The Brew, left to right - Doug Jerebine. Bob Gillet, Tom Ferguson, Yuk Harrison, Trixie Willoughby

It was, argues Watkins, the definitive era in rock and roll throughout the world. "The 60s was a renaissance. Everything changed in the 60s. In New Zealand there was a staggering amount of recording done and there were a phenomenal number of bands.

“The music still stacks up today. It was loads better than anything that was coming in from elsewhere. The funny thing is that New Zealand music from that period is now in demand by collectors in Scandinavia and Germany. They recognise the vitality that was lacking In the British and American recordings But no one in New Zealand even knows this stuff exists.''

Republished here for archival purposes only - non-commercial use.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Temptations vs Universal

The Temptations are suing Universal Music Group (read more). "The group is filing against UMG over a number of royalty concerns, and part of a growing class action lawsuit sparked by Eminem's publishing group, F.B.T. Productions... Together, the major labels license 80 percent of the music downloads sold by music download providers to end users in the US.

Not only is it the issue of digital download royalties at stake but also revenue from streaming services.

"... Just last week, Spotify investor Sean Parker admitted that artists are frequently not getting paid a portion of upfront advances by their labels. Well, count the Temptations as Exhibit A: the group really has no idea what Spotify is paying UMG, or how much they should be getting paid.

[from the legal filing] "Some music streaming providers have paid large upfront fees to labels, such as UMG, to acquire rights to large catalogs of music. Due to non-disclosure agreements signed between music streaming providers and labels, artists (such as the plaintiffs and the class action herein) are not provided with any details about these payments, and there is little transparancy about how - and if - that money makes its way to artists. On information and belief, UMG does not provide appropriate royalty payments to its artists from the licensing income it receives from music streaming providers."

Mixtapes r us

From the weekend's Sunday Star Times, article on how the web's changing entertainment...
Living the iLife, by Elle Hunt.

excerpt: "... The brainchild of broadcaster James Coleman, lets you discover and share music. It's an extension of that same sense of High Fidelity-type community, but its reach is hugely greater. The premise behind Mixtape ("Browse. Create. You") is nothing new.

Sites such as iTunes' Ping, Rara, Spotify and Audioboo perform much the same function, effectively letting you turn your mobile devices into personal radios, either free and perhaps with advertising, or paid for by subscriptions. 

The difference is that Mixtape was made here, and it attracted public funding. Coleman's proposal received support from NZ On Air to the tune of more than $330,000. And it means TV3 personality Jaquie Brown can load a 12-song "dance mix to play when you are naked and alone, thinking about being a pop star" for all to enjoy.

"It's about extending our services," says NZOA chief executive Jane Wrightson, a self- confessed "non-digital native" who nonetheless raves about how the Apple iPad has revolutionised NZ On Air board meetings. "We were looking for original ideas for new content or services that had potential to find a decent audience."

Read the full article: Living the iLife

Ranking Casbah

The Clash with Ranking Roger on vocals - Rock The Casbah. What a dope version!

Ranking Roger pops up in the comments on this clip, talking about how this version came about.

"I recorded this for the Clash in London around 82-3 when the Clash and the Beat toured quite a bit in the U.S.A together. I also did a toast/rap over Red angel dragnet which I have not heard since. I did it as a one take in the studio.

"The Clash split up shortly afterwards so it was never released. What you guys are hearing here was just a rough mix for us to go away and listen to. It was never finished. Mick Jones was with me and a couple of engineers. We took the original 24 track and took the lead vox out. Anyway,it was not allowed to be let out to anyone,althouh i gave the late John Peel a copy of it (R.I.P.)"

Ranking Roger later worked with Mick Jones in Big Audio Dynamite - read more on that here.

LISTEN: The Clash with Ranking Roger - 'Armagideon Time' live, Santa Barbara 1982

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Splore boxed

Amazing visuals from Mike Hodgson (Pitch Black) at Splore.... hats off to all involved in this. Some very nice Len Lye-inspired moments, done by Greg Wood on 16mm film.

Stenchmeister speaks

The Listener, March 24, 2012, review by Jim Pinckney (Stinky Jim)

Stinky Jim contributed to the digital booklet liner notes for Rewind The Hateman, the best of collection from Hallelujah Picassos, released in October last year (buy it here on CD/digital). If you haven't seen that, here's what he wrote. Thanks, Jim.

"Gotta to be honest, it's hazy….. good hazy though - Picassos’ gigs, and in fact a fair chunk of time spent with the band (DJing, loafing, shuffling at gigs, call it what you will etc etc), was just like that back then - and you wouldn't have it any other way. So 20 odd years later (and the years were even more refreshingly odd back then, it should be said) and here's some random thoughts on one of the randomest bands Auckland, hell ….New Zealand, maybe even the Southern Hemisphere has ever thrown up (pun fully intended).

They blurred lines, constantly.... on all fronts. Sometimes it may not have been deliberate, most times it was. As a fully operational and downright rockulating live band they engaged with technology and the use of the mixing desk as an instrument, in a way that was infinitely far more effective, genuine and successful than the vast majority of their dilettantish so-called contemporaries.

When they covered a song it was delivered like a lovingly given shiner. Most times their covers sounded like originals, and conversely some of their originals came across like covers. Them kind of grey areas are sadly all but gone in today's overly sanitised, depressingly genrified, and stomach churningly commodified, conservative music scene.

We really don't need any f#cking reunion tour (from anyone at all any more... thanks) to remind us, but a few bands with the awareness, adventurousness and downright danger of the Picassos certainly wouldn't go amiss in Kommander Key's blighted millionaire’s playground right now.

Even as four individuals (and yeah.. I know.. there was more later, but no disrespect intended - the original four person iPicasso Classic line-up is the one that I refer to) they shouldn't have fitted together, yet... like all the wrongest right things, and many of the best…they just did.. gloriously.

Live they were a force of nature, some might say not always necessarily a force for good… but sod the sad sacks - they were never to be underestimated. Their releases weren’t so far away from exceptional radio shows or masterful mixtapes, some might say that you need to know the rules to ignore them but that doesn’t apply when you’re making it up as you go along.

They were, and remain, a bright splash of colour amongst a predominantly dreary monochrome music scene - for sure they didn’t do it entirely alone (potty mouth Hornblow, LVDA et al ...take a bow) but Bob, Harold, Peter and Johnny you cop the broader than Broadway biggest salute, Picasso core for life!

Kim Dotcom asset seizure ruled invalid

In case you missed this, "According to a Friday opinion by New Zealand's highest court, a simple procedural error could force the feds to return all of Kim Dotcom's seized belongings. 

"That is, roughly $200 million worth of luxury automobiles, overpriced furniture, and life-sized giraffe sculptures. Justice Judith Potter ruled the restraining order to be "null and void" and having "no legal effect," based on apparently sloppy paperwork. The development was first reported by the New Zealand Herald.... 

 "... The Herald reports that police commissioner Peter Marshall and advisors at the Crown Law Office have admitted making a 'procedural error' in its massive raid, and subsequently attempted to file the right paperwork - that is, after the raid had already occurred. That was approved, and the courts could cut the feds some slack and let the raid stand. Otherwise, Dotcom gets his stuff back, and MegaUpload lawyers could be preparing a dogfight over this..." Via Digital Music News.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Home, land and sea

Home, land and sea: Situating music in Aotearoa New Zealand is a recently published (2011) collection of academic writings on our music. It's edited by Glenda Keam and Tony Mitchell, and covers hiphop, reggae, Polynesian  and Maori music, sounds from the Mainland, and there's a chapter titled "DIY or DIT: Tales of making music in the capital" which starts off by quoting extensively from several pointed comments off a Simon Sweetman 2009 blog post where he rubbishes Fat Freddys Drop. Sweetman referenced in academic journals - there you go.

There's also a reference to AK79 that mistakenly credits it to Simon Grigg's Propeller label - it came out on Bryan Staff's Ripper Records. Grigg was involved in the 1993 CD release of AK79, released by Propeller/Flying Nun (p122  - sorry, Tony Mitchell. You also misspelled Propeller as Propellor. And the release date in the discography for that chapter says 2003).

Don McGlashan says in the afterword "The essays in this book all ask the question; Does New Zealand music sound like it comes from New Zealand, and if so, what does it sound like?"

In the chapter called 'Oh, reggae but different!' The localisation of roots reggae in Aotearoa, written by Jennifer Cattermole, there's a great quote from Herbs' member  the late Charlie Tumahai... it talks to the notion of the existence of Pacific reggae, and what that means...

"What I was playing was West Indian style reggae, roots reggae. It wasn't until I put one against the other - playing Herbs, then Marley, Herbs, then Black Slate, then it struck me... the key to it for me was Herbs have more of a roll. The roots reggae is more of a staccato style; they leave holes, take things away. It's very heavy. Whereas the Herbs rhythm is more of a rolling thing, quite smooth. It came home to me when the Wailers walked into one of our rehearsals, and they clicked. They said 'Oh, reggae, but different!'I said yeah - it took me a while too."

Offical blurb: "Home, Land and Sea presents twenty different viewpoints on music in Aotearoa,New Zealand. A selection of experts examine the vast range of music production in this country and relate it to what it might say about our homeland, our diverse population, our landscape and our identities.

The collection surveys traditional and popular music created by Maori and Pacific Islanders, distinctively Polynesian brands of reggae and hip hop, the music of migrants from such areas as Latin America, China, Japan and Greece, the electronic and instrumental music traditions made more local by Douglas Lilburn, the internationally recognised 'Dunedin sound' of the Flying Nun label, and the eccentric electroacoustic of 'outsider' musicians, revealing an ever-increasing diversity of music in New Zealand.

Home, Land and Sea is the first comprehensive academic study incorporating contemporary popular, experimental and art music practices in New Zealand. Written for a tertiary audience it will be of relevance to scholars of a variety of disciplines including music; media and communications; cultural studies; sociology; anthropology and geography."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, March 17

Rare pleasure - Let me down easy - Danny Krivit edit
Candi Staton - When you wake up tomorrow
O'Jays - For the love of money
Syreeta -  I love every little thing about you
Mantronix - Who is it?
League unlimited orchestra - Love action
Romanowski - Train song
Skatalites - El pussycat ska
The Specials - Do the dog (Live in Auckland, April 10)
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Simmer down
Michigan and Smiley - Rubadub style
Horace Andy - Fever
Sound dimension - Full up
Carlton and the shoes - Love me forever
Mr Vegas - Heads high
Short fuse - Planar I (slow motion)
Suizen - Cartesian space 4d mix
Lord Echo - Things I like to do
Booker T Jones - Down in Memphis
Flirtations - Nothing but a heartache
Joanie Summers - Dont pity me
Gladys Knight and the Pips - Bourgie bourgie
Scritti politti - Absolute - version
Bobby Womack - Please forgive my heart
Herbie Hancock - Palm grease

Friday, March 16, 2012

Don Zolo

Zolo and the Bantams included Don McGlashan, Tim Mahon and Mark Bell (Blam Blam Blam), and recorded this 45 7"single in 1981, with a group of schoolkids from Manurewa. The A side is a bent little original, and the flip is a charmingly wobbly attempt at Jimmy Cliff's The Harder They Come.

The inner sleeve lists the following people involved in this project: Jason Hutchinson, Phillip Whale, Leanne Hawkins, Rachel Irvine, Sean Harris, Chris Hughes, Nicky Sabbage, Adrian Croucher, Richard Shanks, Richard Horsfall, Marc van der Voorn, Sue Whelan, Meryl Killip, Helen Pye, Steven White, Gary Melrose, Jillian Stanton, Chris Lowrie, Dawn White, Bronwen Richards, Tim Mahon, Steve Galvin, Bruce Robertson, Frank Stark, Kippy Harris, Mark Bell, Don McGlashan, Gerard Carr, Peter Scholes.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Remembering Darcy

Darcy Clay (Daniel Bolton) passed away 15 March 1998. Still missed by many.

Watch: Dylan Taite interviewing Darcy, 1997. Taite: "It's like nothing you've heard before, but in fact, it's like everything you've heard."

Watch: LA Vinyl

Hat tip to Doubtful Sounds for the link.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sh*t People Say At Record Stores

Sun Araw & M Geddes meets the Congos

From FRKWYS Vol. 9: Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras meet The Congos, a seven song record, recently released by RVNG Intl. Hat tip to Martyn P.

More info at, check previous volumes in this series, some interesting collaborations...

FRKWYS VOL. 4 - PSYCHIC ILLS remixed by Juan Atkins, Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers). and Hans-Joachim Irmler (Faust)

Talking Heads: Hallelujah Picassos and Trevor Reekie

Photo: Ted Bagurst/Volume

Talking Heads: Hallelujah Picassos and Trevor Reekie, Volume magazine

"With their groundbreaking fusion of everything to reggae to nascent hip-hop to thrash, the Hallelujah Picassos defined a vibrant, close-knit and avowedly non-conformist time in the Auckland music scene that’s gone undocumented since – but a pair of retrospective compilations are putting the record straight.

Trevor Reekie was there from the start as a producer, Pagan Records owner and fan - for this Talking Heads, he and Picassos Peter McLennan and Harold 'Roland' Rorschach talked about what their music means now, fitting in then, and finally reveal why they ditched Trevor's label."

Listen to the full interview below. Thanks to Trevor Reekie, and Sam Wicks and Ted Bagurst at Volume.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pragmatic Theory present: Curtis the beat tape

"Curtis The Beat Tape" is a Curtis Mayfield Tribute featuring tracks from: ShainCaw, Keor Meteor, Glyphick, Ta-Ku, Constrobuz, Snakehips, Mononome, ManOnWire, Handbook, Keith Price x MadColour, A-Beats, AudioDoctor, Kam0, Jewbei, Byrdverson1 x Nextwon, JP Balboa, SE1DavidE, Cypria, DuckaDucka, Prozak Morris, ChromadaData, ProducerNature, Pawcut, Je$u$ & Funky Notes.

Alternative download link

Doug Jerebine live, free!

Doug Jerebine is celebrating the release of his album Doug Jerebine Is Jesse Harper, with a live show on Wednesday March 14th at the Kings Arms for free. Doors open at 7pm and Jerebine and The World Band will be on stage at 8.15pm. CDs and LPs available at the show.

Here's the official blurb... "It’s been a 43 year wait to get his album released but with rave reviews in Mojo, Uncut, Record Collector, and the NZ Herald – this release has had psyche-heads the world over buzzing over the official release of this important document of New Zealand music history.

Doug’s tale is long – but briefly ...

Rock 'n' roll is awash with long, strange trips but few are longer and stranger than that of NZ psych-rock legend Doug Jerebine.

A revered session musician on the nascent NZ music scene of the late 50s/early 60s, Jerebine's influence cannot be overstated. His compositions became the cornerstone of The Human Instinct's seminal 'Stoned Guitar' album, and his blistering guitar work earned comparisons with Jimi Hendrix.

Jerebine relocated to London in the late sixties and recorded an album under the moniker Jesse Harper. However, despite strong interest from Atlantic the album languished unreleased. He toured with the Jeff Beck group and Junior Walker, but the music scene became increasingly an anathema to Doug's spiritual nature.

In 1973 he moved to India to live as a Krishna monk, and there he remained for some 30 years.

Upon his return to NZ in 2009, Jerebine was stunned to learn that his name was still being spoken of in revered tones by psych-rock aficionados.

Highly respected US label Drag City (home of Will Oldham and Joanna Newsom) have released the album 'Doug Jerebine is Jesse Harper' to much acclaim - Mojo magazine called it 'a real pinnacle of the heavy psych movement', and the Herald's Scott Kara wrote of its 'masterful mix of natural ability, conviction, and most importantly, unbridled soul'.

WORTH A READ: Doug Jerebine interviewed by Graham Reid, 2012.

RELATED: Doug Jerebine is Jesse Harper, backgrounder, audio...

Part time heroes

Part Time Heroes drop their debut album today, here's the single off it, below. For fans of Rotary connection, Zero 7 and Cinematic Orchestra, very tasty. Album out now on Wahwah 45s. Plus, free download...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Synth Britannia

I watched an earlier installment of this series, called Reggae Britannia (watch here), which was an outstanding documentary. Have seen lots of mates raving about this one, check it out.

KRS One presales - tues 9am

BONUS: Watch KRS-ONE speaks at Orakei Marae 20.2.2012. Not great quality, but interesting clip

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lucky Paul

Photo: NZ Musician

Lucky Paul is an expat Kiwi drummer, who has been based in Berlin for several years. He breezed thru Auckland recently, holding down the drumseat for Feist in her band when they played at Laneway. When Feist introduced him, the crowd cheered like crazy. He must've loved that!

There's a great interview with him in the latest issue of NZ Musician magazine. Ep out now, thru Somethinksounds. Features Mara TK (Electric wire hustle) on vocals. Listen below.

BONUS: Lucky Paul rework of Etta James - I'd rather go blind (free download)

R.I.P. Jimmy Ellis (Trammps)

Via NYTimes: "Jimmy Ellis, the soulful lead singer of the Trammps, whose 1970s hit “Disco Inferno” was immortalized in the film “Saturday Night Fever,” died on Thursday in Rock Hill, S.C. He was 74.

The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, Erika Stinson, his daughter, said.

Mr. Ellis’s melodious voice overlaid the funky guitar riffs and driving bass and drums of the Trammps’s dance music. He sang lead on most of the group’s songs, backed by the bass singer Earl Young, and later harmonized with Robert Upchurch, who joined the band in the mid-1970s.

The Trammps were formed in the early ’70s, according to their keyboard player and manager, Edward Cermanski. Mr. Cermanski said the second “m” in the group’s name came from the days when Mr. Ellis and his friends sang on street corners.

“The police called them tramps,” he said. “So they said they wanted to be high-class tramps, with two ‘m’s in the name.”

Their first recording was a remake of one of Judy Garland’s signature songs, “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” which reached No. 17 on the R&B charts. They went on to have hits like “Hold Back the Night,” and in 1975 were signed by Atlantic Records, which released seminal disco records by the group like “Where the Happy People Go.”

The Trammps peaked with the album “Disco Inferno,” whose title track climbed to No. 11 on the Billboard pop chart in 1977. It became emblematic of the disco era when it was used as background music in an extended John Travolta dance sequence in the 1977 movie “Saturday Night Fever.”

From The Guardian... "The Trammps' chart career was short-lived. A year after the soundtrack spent 24 weeks at the top of the US charts, their album The Whole World's Dancing struggled to No 184, despite a guest performance from Stevie Wonder. It was their last chart appearance.

"If their entanglement with disco curtailed the Trammps' lifespan on the charts, it undoubtedly prolonged their live career. Ellis would tour with a version of the band for the next 30 years, until his diagnosis with Alzheimer's in 2008. Two years later, he made a final appearance with the band in Atlantic City, where he had performed in talent contests five decades previously...."

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, March 10

Patrice Rushen - Music of the earth - Danny Krivit edit
Sergio Mendes - Mozambique
Black blood - Chicano
Pleasure - Reality
Risco connection - Aint no stopping us now
King Tubby - King Tubbys dub
Black seeds - Pippy pip
Prince Buster - Girl why don't you answer
Winston Francis - Don't change
Barrington Levy - Under me sensi
Honey boy Martin - Dreader than dread
Cimmarons - We are not the same
General Degree - Pot cover
Erykah Badu - On and on - Adi Dick remix
Sulata - Never
Manzel - Space funk
Bobby Womack - Please forgive my heart
Mandrill - Ali bombaye pt 1
Connie Price and the keystones - Sucker punch
Rose royce - Bad mutherfunker
Manu Dibango - Soul makossa
Ikebe shakedown - Don't contradict
Scrimshire - Everything you say - LV remix
Mo kolours - Banana wine
Gil Scott Heron - New York is killing me

Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday soul

Hat tip to Russell Brown for this. Electric Guest drop their album Mondo, on April 24. Produced by Dangermouse.

Record Shop Dude #05

Sean's Guide To Why Punk Sucks - Record Shop Dude #05. Hilarious.

And from across the Atlantic, this dude...

New Bobby Womack!

Like the folk at The  Fader say, I was not expecting anything new from Mr Womack, but here it is and holy heck, it's gorgeous. Produced by Damon Albarn (who took Mr Womack on tour with him as The Gorillaz) and Richard Russell (producer of the final Gil Scott Heron album). Free download too. From the album The Bravest Man in the Universe is out June 12th on XL.

Record retails woes?

Marbecks on Lambton Quay is closing after 17 years, reports Wellington's Dominion Post. Lots of doom and gloom in the story, but no mention of the new record stores opened recently in the capital, like RPM Music or Evil Genius.

"... The closure is the latest in a slew of specialist record shops closing in Wellington including Cuba St's Real Groovy last year as well as franchises like Sounds and Tower Records and Marbecks outlets at Cuba Mall, Courtenay Place and Wellington Airport... two [Marbecks] stores in the North Island and one in the South would likely shut this year."

Marbecks are "looking at moving into second hand vinyl sales and high-end portable audio.... one of Marbecks' key growth area was in vinyl. "

Captain Planet

New out on Bastard Jazz - who recently dropped a new single from NZ's own Lord Echo - his album is out on vinyl now too - here's some cool remixes from Captain Planet, including a free download of the tune below. Nice slice of boogie funk. Taken from the upcoming Captain Planet "Remixes / Remixed" 12" + Digi Rls - out on Bastard Jazz.

"Captain Planet returns to Bastard Jazz after last fall’s debut album Cookin Gumbo with a treasure trove of remixes both by and for the slicing + dicing chef of global dancefloor delights! This brand new 12" and digi-EP features scorching remixes of Los Chicharrons (Tummy Touch) and Chip Wickham (Lovemonk) by the Captain himself, as well as the Captain's own electro-boogie take on "Get You Some", a remix of "Samba Radiante" by BBE / Music of Substance artist Chris Read, and another remix of "Get You Some" by our contest winner Aphrololo.

"Digital bonus cuts include our two contest runners up, Lil' Dave and PDF, as well as a burning dancehall remix from Bastard Jazz's own Erik The Red.

Captain Planet guestmix on Bastard Jazz Radio!

"To celebrate the release of the new 12", the Captain has returned to his radio roots and put together a special episode of Bastard Jazz Radio on for us -- lots of current favorites, some tracks off the EP plus a few new exclusive and unreleased remixes from C.P. Listen on Mixcloud or download the mix HERE. And don't forget to check out some older episodes of Bastard Jazz radio in the archive."

RELATED : Free download - Bastard Jazz meets Tummy Touch album. Well worth checking out.

Hiphop don't stop

photo: Flea market funk

Over at Flea Market Funk, one of their regular features is Ten Questions with various DJs. Its a great read. The latest one is with Noah Uman, a DJ who hosted a hiphop radio show on WFMU called Coffee Break for Heroes and Villains for seven years (and now presents the show via the net). In 2004 he started working on reissues. He produced the first four Run DMC reissues for Sony.

He says "Talking to everyone involved, going through photo and audio archives was all amazing, but the two highlights were spending the afternoon with [their] producer Larry Smith, and going to the listening party for Rev Run's solo album... Run got out of his car, looked at me and said "Noah's in the house!" That was it, I was done.

"Sadly, hiphop reissues still have a long way to go until they join the ranks of materiel that labels like Norton, Numero Group, or Sundazed release...

"...if someone is going to put something out again, do it so people will WANT it. Liner notes, tell the story of the group, get quotes from other people, dig up old, flyers and photographs, track down those radio freestyles or demos. Just make a real effort to go the extra mile."

That sums up what we've been trying to do with the Hallelujah Picassos reissues so far. Tell some stories, share some photos. Make it worth your while.

Read the rest of the Q&A here. His Best Digging Story is freaking nuts.

My fave comment from Noah - "No sense in keeping a record that does not get turntable love."

Check out Coffee Break Radio’s home online. Get all the new shows on SoundCloud.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

P-core with Wammo

KiwiFM interview with Wammo, from monday. Cheers, fella!

Tune in to Radio BFM this afternoon at 315pm, I'm chatting with Cameron about the new reissue, Picasso Core Jukebox

Taite Prize finalists

Here's the finalists for the 2012 Taite Prize... winner announced April 20th.

Andrew Keoghan - Arctic Tales Divide (Brave Beluga Records)
Beastwars – Beastwars (Destroy Records)
David Dallas – The Rose Tint (Dirty Records)
She’s So Rad – In Circles (Round Trip Mars)
The Bats – Free All Monsters (Flying Nun Records)
Tiny Ruins - Some Were Meant For The Sea (Spunk Records)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Seeing Records)

The voting panel to determine the finalists was made up of a broad section of music media/industry specialists plus all current members of Independent Music New Zealand (IMNZ). There will be a second round of judging by a selected music panel to decide the eventual winner. The judges will make their decision based entirely on the artistic merit on the album(s). Sales, genres, artist recognition or popularity are not contributing factors in their decision- making process. The selected music panel for 2012 is made up of the following persons:

- Jon Bywater (Programme Leader, Critical Studies @ Elam School Of Fine Arts)
- Hugh Sundae (Entertainment Editor, NZ Herald Online)
- Stephen O’Hoy (IMNZ / Amplifier / DRM)
- Jeremy Morrow (Warner Music)
- Leonie Hayden (Editor, RipItUp)
- Richard Thorne (Editor, NZ Musician)
- Andrew Tidball (Editor, Cheese On Toast)
- Russell Brown (Public Address)
- Charlotte Ryan (95bFM)
- Glenn Williams (Wammo) (KiwiFM)
- 11th Man – John Taite (BBC America)
- The Judge Wrangler – Damian Vaughan (APRA)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


I love music. I love cookies almost as much as I love music. And today is the 100th birthday of Oreo cookies. I think I first heard about Oreos when LL Cool J rapped about them in his song "I'm Bad" (watch), back in 1987 - "...forget Oreos, eat Cool J cookies, I'm BAAADDD!". Took them a long time to turn up in New Zealand though. Now they're in almost every Asian supermarket.

A flashmob in Los Angeles.  Picture: Frazer Harrison / Getty
from "... Flash mobs celebrated the centenary in seven US cities including Los Angeles, where country rock trio Lady Antebellum led a shopping-mall crowd of several hundred in singing "Happy Birthday" to the venerable comfort food.... there were fireworks in Shanghai, birthday fetes in Saudi Arabia, special playgrounds in Indonesia and pinata-breaking in Venezuela....

...They first popped out of the oven at the Nabisco factory in New York's Chelsea district ... and sold by a grocer on the other side of the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey....

Among African Americans, in the Black Power era, calling someone an Oreo - black on the outside, white on the inside - was a painful put-down, as Gerald Thompson recalled in Reflections of an Oreo Cookie, a 1991 memoir.

"This was 1970, a year of no middle ground," he wrote, remembering the day he was slapped in the face and likened to a mere cookie. "You allied yourself black or white, but I was not aware of any of this."

P-core Jukebox review

Johnnie and Roland, photo from the ebooklet that comes with the album. 

Review: Hallelujah Picassos 'Picasso Core Jukebox'
By David Carroll (aka Bro90)

"I want to educate people to the fact there are always more possibilities than the situations you have encountered. Naivety is still so strong among people. The Picassos are about social and cultural observation." - Harold 'Roland' Rorschach, Hallelujah Picassos (1992)

I remember coming to Auckland from a rather rural upbringing in Waihi Beach, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and first encountering the Hallelujah Picassos. I was gobsmacked. As a young man wanting to get my teeth into playing in a proper band, these guys blew my mind. They played reggae. They played rock. They played most everything - hard, and loud. I was sold.

What's more, they hung out at what became my local: DKD Cafe. What was curious to me was they never really received their dues. Shit, there are kids worldwide right now trying to piece together what these guys did years ago! Perhaps Picasso Core Jukebox (alongside last years' originals collection, Rewind The Hateman) might address that? Probably not. 

That's a shame, as these guys were the real deal and even now, well over a decade later, the excitement, the genine intent, the sheer passion seeps through these incredibly diverse grooves. Imagine what this sounded like to a fifteen year old kid from the country!? It was like nothing I'd ever heard before. Scratch that. It was like everything I'd ever heard before, thrown together in an aggressive, vibrant, liberating whole. 

Put aside the decidedly average recording quality on some of these tracks and put yourself into the shoes of early 1990s New Zealanders as the Hallelujah Picassos tore through a set littered with these (severely) re-imagined covers alongside their own material. 

One of the criticisms these guys have always copped is that their records sounded like compilations. Fuck that. And fuck the Great New Zealand Songbook, while we're at it. If you want some proper NZ music history, and you want to pay respect to some of the actual originators in our scene, buy Rewind The Hateman, and then buy this. Makes me proud to be a Kiwi again.

4 out of 5 stars.

Available from AmplifieriTunesDigiramaMarbecks Digital, and on Bandcamp (MP3, FLAC, etc).

Safari time

Modern Sound Corporation 'Safari' (greg wilson edit), love this. Cos it's got steel drums, and is funky as hell. Free DL for you too. Thanks, Mr Wilson. Check out the story behind this, Greg explains..

"The original, ‘Safari’ by Modern Sound Corporation, [is] a track I used to play at my hometown club, New Brighton’s Golden Guinea, back in 1979. For my edit, I placed the emphasis on the superior instrumental ‘Pt 2′ version, which found favour in UK Jazz-Funk circles at the time, its unique combination of African and Caribbean flavours setting it apart as a dubbed-up percussion driven Disco hybrid.

"Arriving on import via TK’s Sunshine Sound label, prior to its UK release on Epic, it was assumed that this was hot out of Miami – but there was a strange but true twist to the tale, as it turned out to be of Swedish origin, having first surfaced in this unlikely location the previous year. It was, however, remixed by Florida’s finest, Harry Wayne Casey & Richard Finch, from KC & The Sunshine Band."

Just figured out that the steel drums on this tune were played by Rudy Smith, who recorded a very wicked album in Sweden in 1971 with the Modern Sound Quintet, called Otinku. Modern Sound Quintet later changed their name to Modern Sound Corporation.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

KRS One dates and venues announced

Wellington: Friday 20th April @ The Town Hall. Tickets-
Auckland: Saturday 21st April @ The Cloud on Auckland’s Waterfront. Tickets-
Ltd $69 + BF early bird tickets on sale Tuesday 13th March at 9am

Myele Manzanza, behind the scenes

Electric Wire Hustle's drummer talks about his debut album, One. Hat tip to Martyn P.

RELATED: RBMA introducing Myele Manzanza (March 2010 q&a)
LISTEN: Myele Manzanza on Soundcloud

Off to Mars

Le Peuple de l'Herbe - Mars - Official Video by phofficial

Last time I heard from these cats, they were dropping some skanking reggae styles - that was a while back. This is on a totally different tangent, but what a great video.

Off the new album A Matter Of Time, from Le Peuple de l'Herbe. Download a track off the album free, here.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Erykah on and on

More quality tuneage from Adi Dick... "Erykah Badu has just been to New Zealand to play at Splore festival which everyone said was amazing... I couldn't go so I was inspired to create this. Respect goes out to Badu for her constant inspiration and consistent quality music!"

Ghost town soon come

BBC Inside Out tv programme celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Specials song Ghost Town. Hat tip to Murray Cammick for the link. The Specials (minus Jerry Dammers) return here to play Tuesday 10 April at Shed 10, Queens Wharf in Auckland.

Picasso core jukebox out now!

The brand new Hallelujah Picassos reissue Picasso Core Jukebox hits digital stores (try Amplifier, iTunes, Digirama, Marbecks Digital, etc) today! Very exciting. It's a collection of our cover versions, newly remastered and sounding rather splendid. Listen to it below.

You can catch Peter talking about the new reissue on the radio today (Monday) on KiwiFM at 835am, and on Radio Ponsonby at 1130am, and also on Tuesday morning, Peter will be on GeorgeFM at 7.20am, and  BaseFM Breakfast around 8am.

We've also had coverage online from NZ Musician, Cheese On Toast, and Conch Records.  Cheers! More coming. And big thanks to BFM's Stinky Jim and Andrew Tidball for giving us a spin last week.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Vinyl is making a comeback #261

And here's the three latest installments in this long-running saga... love it...

Vinyl records make a comeback, from The Herald, "informing Arkansas University since 1921."

snip..."My biggest turn on with vinyl records, versus a digital format, is I feel that I can appreciate the artwork and overall product better than that of digital formats," Kyle Cherry, a senior CIT major and record collector, said. Cherry has been collecting since 2006 and currently owns 817 records. Broken down into categories, 603 of his records are 7-inches, one 9-inch, three 10-inches, and 210 are 12-inches ...."

Analogue obsessives: Low-tech movement's proponents find satisfaction doing things the old-fashioned way, from Winnipeg Free Press.

snip...  "... rather than download and share MP3 files by the thousands, they flip through bins of vinyl LPs at neighbourhood record stores and make mix tapes. Instead of camera phones and Photoshop, they're [shooting] film and making prints in "wet darkrooms." Instead of e-books and Tumblr, they're keeping the printed page alive through bookbinding, 'zine publishing and letter pressing.

A recent New York Magazine article referred to "a neo-Luddite counterculture" populated by artists, tinkerers, DIY enthusiasts, hipsters, and "the merely tech-weary."

Nostalgia for yesterday's technology, From, - from pay phones to pagers, record players to VCRs.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Israel Starr - new bizznizz

From Desta Israel Buchanan (son of Mighty Asterix) and co. Fun tune, give it a spin. Free DL too.

Riddim produced by FIZZLE @ SOUL-FORCE, Germany, recorded and mixed HEART OFFISHAL @ NEWTOWN SOUND, Aotearoa.

RELATED POST: Israel Starr, Foundation

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, March 3

Masters at work - Nautilus (MAWtilus)
Johnny Hammond - Higher ground
Candido - Candid's funk
Chaka Khan  - I feel for you
Q-Tip - Breathe and stop - Adi Dick remix
Superspirit - We belong to the cosmos - Jugoe remix
Hortense Ellis - Woman of the ghetto
Lee Scratch Perry - Like the way you should - Mala Digital Mystikz remix
Horace Andy - Aint no sunshine
Tommy McCook - KT88
Hallelujah Picassos - Peanut butter
Shogun orchestra - Jacmel
Modern sound corporation - Safari - Greg Wilson edit
Harlem river drive - Idle hands
Mo kolours - Banana wine
Graham central station - It's alright
Chakachas - Jungle fever - Greg Wilson edit
Jose Feliciano - She's a woman
Donald Fagen - Green flower street
Blackbyrds - The runaway
Rose Royce - Sunrise/Richard Pryor - monologue
Freez - IOU

Friday, March 02, 2012

Kim Dotcom speaks

TV3's Campbell Live played a half hour interview with Kim Dotcom last night, following an earlier interview published yesterday in the NZ Herald.  Read the full transcript of the TV3 interview here. It makes for fascinating reading.

JC [John Campbell]: the FBI indictment against you alleges, and I quote, “Copyright infringement on a massive scale with estimated harm to copyright holders well in excess of 500 million US dollars”.

KD: Well that’s complete nonsense. If you read the indictment and if you hear what the Prosecution has said in court, it’s at least $500 million of damage were just music files ... just within a two-week time period. So they are actually talking about $13 billion US damage within a year just for music downloads. The entire US music industry is less than $20 billion. So how can one website be, you know, responsible for this amount of damage, it’s completely mind-boggling and unrealistic...."

Kim Dotcom says that "there are a hundred other companies out there that offer the same service like us. Why has not something happened to them?"

He then names some: "Mediafire, Rapidshare, Fileserve, Filesonic. Microsoft has their own service called Skydrive. Google is launching a new service called Drive. Everyone is in this cloud arena, in the same business, has the same problems that we had battling piracy. But we are not responsible for the problem and this is, I think, what everyone needs to understand."

NBR reports that Mr Dotcom's defence revolves around claiming "his company, Megaupload, had too great a volume of traffic to police. It made a best-effort to monitor content, and was not liable for allegedly pirated content....

"Dotcom said last night that 800 files a second were transferred via Users were asked to check a box agreeing to terms of service prohibiting copyright infringement. No music or movie company ever attempted to sue Megaupload, Dotcom said."

The wider implications for cloud storage that Dotcom talks about above could affect music services like Apple's iCloud. Or any service you use to store data. It's a fascinating case.

And then there's the aspect of watching the NZ Government bending over backwards to accommodate the US.

NZ is currently involved in secret negotiations around the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) which, from the leaked documents that have emerged, could result in NZ being forced to adopt US intellectual property law amongst others.

"InternetNZ said a proposed chapter in the [TPP] agreement drafted by the US risked "crippling the internet" by preventing internet providers from caching copyright material on their servers without the agreement of copyright owners and would ban the parallel importing of copyright works [ie DVDs], extend the length of copyright and force internet providers to terminate the accounts of customers who repeatedly infringed copyright."  Source.

How TPP affects NZ artists and what the US wants our police to do next

RELATED: Prosecutors refuse to release Megaupload data, Crown claims that cloning seized hard drives would cost $200,000.
From SocialMediaNZ: Kim Dotcom’s master class in public relations "Whether Kim Dotcom is guilty or innocent remains to be seen but his performance was a masterful exercise in public relations".

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