Monday, April 30, 2012

Toy Love hit top 20

Toy Love - Live at the Gluepot has landed at #11 in the Top 40 Albums chart this week, on the back of its release for Record Store Day. There were only 400 copies pressed up as limited edition vinyl, and the record was only available from one store -real Groovy, on Record Store Day.

It's great to see Toy Love back in the charts, but now you know that if you can sell that many albums, or a maybe few more, you could crack the top ten. Toy Love's debut album peaked at #4 in the album charts on release back in 1980. The reissue of that album, as Cuts, made it to #23 back in 2005.

Fat Freddy's Ebb

Early recording from Ebb featuring Iain Gordon from Fat Freddys Drop, Reuben Sutherland and Lisa Tomlins, off an ep from 2001 released by Dental Records/Loop. DL up for 24 hours.

Volume mag silenced

The Corner is reporting that Volume Magazine, published by the NZ Herald's owners APBN, has been shut down. Their last issue (The Homebrew takeover issue) comes out tomorrow. The closure has been confirmed by Volume via Twitter.

Killing off a magazine that provided a lot of great unique content for the NZ Herald's website doesn't make any sense, especially after only 33 issues. There was some very talented people behind the mag, who put a huge amount of effort into making it special, and local. We need more of that, not less.

I remember going to the launch of Volume, down at Lucha Lounge in Newmarket. I ended up chatting with an APN sales rep, who told me all about how APN had researched the market and felt very positive about developing the title, that there was a niche there that was sustainable. I was a bit surprised to hear such positive sentiment coming from a corporate type, but apparently it was just a passing fad.

From The Corner: " Tomorrow’s issue of APN street press publicationVolume will be its last, with the magazine calling it quits after 33 issues.

The Drab Doo-Riffs graced the cover of the first issue back in September 2011 and subsequently we saw a whole bunch of local artists, including PNC, Lawrence Arabia, UMO, Rackets, The Checks and David Dallas, find themselves in that same position. This week that will continue with the Home Brew “takeover” issue which will see the band on the cover ahead of the release of their debut double-album this Friday.

Regardless of all that though, this is just another blow for local music journalism and we’ll be sad to see the magazine go. Rest in peace Volume, you were great."

ADDED in last Friday's NZ Herald, their media reporter John Drinnan said that the NZ Herald and its website were undergoing review by its owners APN, and they were looking at reducing the format size to a more compact one, as part of a proposed wider review of Herald titles. No mention of killing off Volume, but does report "a 7 per cent fall in all newspaper industry revenue last year and a big shift in media habits and marketing trends affecting the sector around the world."

UPDATED: John Drinnan tells me via Twitter that he wasn't in the loop on Volume's closure

ADDED Russell Brown has blogged over at Public Address about the closure, noting that the reason given was "...Volume’s failure to perform online... the nearest thing to an actual website has been Volume’s lively, well-stocked Facebook profile. When the best way into your content is a Facebook page, you’re basically failing at web publishing...

"...It appears that Sam, who is bright, creative and organised, will find work within the Herald’s growing online Entertainment division, and will take some of Volume’s regular features with him, but there seems to be something particularly inept about what has played out here. Having taken an interesting punt on a street press music mag, APN launched its new magazine without an online strategy – and then killed it because it wasn’t working online."

UPDATED: Audio - Sam Wicks talks with BFM's Charlotte Ryan about the closure...
Sam Wicks, BFM interview: " We didn't have the advertising dollars in there to keep an organisation like APN satiated... features like Talking Heads will tick over, so there's more room to build that [online]...

The execution wasn't there in terms of how we marketed this... if you found Volume content on the Herald's website there was nothing that screamed out Volume, it just looked like other stories that were in there...

"We never had an iPhone, and iPad app. We definitely had content that was used online but I think if there had genuinely been this 360 degree presentation of that content we had, it would have been a different thing, you know... the artifact aint going anywhere, it just has to be done better and smarter."

New Home Brew video

 Home Brew feat. Esther Stephens - Plastic Magic, produced by Christoph el Truento, video directed by Tom Gould

Swifty and PB workshop

UK designer Swifty will be blessing Conch Records front and back with his signature Typografik Art style, creating some unique artwork on the walls of the store. Come and relax, drink coffee and browse through some records as it unfolds. May 16-18.

Also, Swifty and Paul Bradshaw are giving a workshop (11am-4pm May 15-17) while they're out here. Swifty is speaking at SemiPermanent.

"Since his debut at Face Magazine, Swifty has held the role of creative designer for magazines such asStraight No Chaser (The Magazine of World Jazz Jive) and Area, designed covers for countless preeminent musicians through his work with labels Talkin Loud, Mo Wax and Source 360, produced animation for television, designed a camo clothing line, as well as founded his own company Swifty Toypographix through which he has published several books.

Paul Bradshaw is the man behind the iconic London magazine Straight No Chaser, as well as being a journalist and modern day UK music and culture consultant.

Join both UK mentors for an exclusive three day workshop exploring publishing technologies, UK cultural history, Music and fanzine production. To register please contact – places are strictly limited. This is a creative commons FREE event.

We are also holding an industry meet and greet with Swifty and Braders at Conch Records on Friday evening May 18th from 6pm, where some seminal UK tunes will be played, as well as a little chat from the two UK guests, and the completion of some artwork that Swifty will be blessing the Ponsonby shop with during the week..."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lee Oskar

Lee Oskar was the harmonica player for the band War, and he also dropped some very tasty solo joints. My favourite tune of his is Haunted House, one that Cian (Conch Records) put me onto.

Oskar's self-titled solo debut came out in 1976 and featured a number of members of War backing him, plus Greg Errico (Drummer  for Sly and Family Stone) on several tracks. Errico also produced part of the album, and held down the producer's seat for Oskar's second solo effort, Before The Rain (1978), which features Haunted House.

Oskar left his native Denmark at 18, landing in New York to make it big, with his harmonica in his pocket. Following his success with War (out in LA), he later developed his own line of harmonicas.

If you want the full story on War, get hold of Wax Poetics Magazine issue #44. That details the highs and lows of the band. They eventually had a falling out with their management (record producer Jerry Goldstein), who owned the band's name. They still tour, but are not allowed to call themselves War - they're known as The Lowrider Band, while another lineup (with one original member) tours as War.

UPDATED Just pulled out my copy of Lee Oskar's debut album, still got the price sticker on it from the record store I got it from, Open Mind Music in San Francisco, a store Cian worked in when he lived in SF in the early 2000s.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Roadrunner caught out

US label Roadrunner has been hit by major staff cuts, including shutting down offices in a number of countries. NZ band Avalanche City signed to Roadrunner in March this year, no word yet what the cuts mean for the band, who have a US tour scheduled for June according to Roadrunner's website. Roadrunner is a sub label of Warners, their NZ label.

Via Digital Music News... "Thursday was an extremely crappy day for the crew at Roadrunner Records. That's because parent Warner Music Group chose Thursday to slash substantial parts of the sub-label, with complete shutdowns happening in several offices outside of the US.

According to executives at the label, offices in the UK, Germany, Canada, and the Netherlands are closing, with substantial chops also happening in the US. "Everyone's getting let go, including me," one source flatly told Digital Music News.

... Roadrunner is clearly a venerable brand that stretches beyond metal, and the brand itself definitely isn't getting laid off. Most roles and backend functions are getting rolled into Warner Music Group, though there is talk of skeleton offices or some superficial presence in the various countries.

That said, this looks like a serious gutting. Sources also noted that CEO Cees Wessels is also packing his things, and in terms of a layoff count, Billboard estimates that 36 are being let go - with 16 in the US.

Warner Music Group has been a majority owner for many years, but became the sole owner late last year. Warner has not issued a release on the matter."

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, April 28

James Brown - Blind man can see it
Foster Sylvers - Misdemeanour
Sly and the Family Stone - Thankful n thoughtful
Wild magnolias - (Somebody  got) Soul soul soul
 Nona Hendryx - Transformation
The Lions - This generation (dub)
Professor Oz - Waves and skank - Grant Phabao remix
Oneself - Paranoid - J-Star remix
Damian Marley - Move
Romanowski - Romjack steady
Akie - Call me Rambo
Rob Symeonn - Message in the music -Shanti Roots dubhouse mix
Zap Mama - Bandy bandy - Carl Craig remix
LCD Soundsystem - 45:33 - Padded cell remix
Sly n Mo - Sensisisms
Black samurai - Information critic
Black grass - Oh Jah
Manzel - Midnight theme - Dopebrother 7" remix
Roy Ayers - Brother green
Patea Maori Club - Poi E
Kas Futialo (aka Tha Feelstyle) - Kaufeai le nu'u
Modern sound corporation - Safari - Greg Wilson edit (free download)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dilla's record collection for sale

Via Pitchfork: "If you want to own a record that once belonged to J Dilla and you live near Detroit, here's your chance. The Detroit News reports (via the Daily Swarm) that Royal Oak record storeUHF has between 7,000-8,000 records that they believe belonged to Dilla. The collection is on sale at the store now.

According to the Detroit News, UHF's Jeff Bubeck got the collection from an abandoned storage unit in Clinton Township. Included in the collection were "mountains of 94-cent Earth, Wind & Fire LPs," but also lyric booklets, junk mail addressed to James Yancey, and cassette tapes labeled "Jaydee Beats." The store released the first batch of the collection on Record Store Day.

Bubeck intends to share some of the proceeds with the J Dilla Foundation, but his attempts to contact the foundation and Dilla's mother, Maureen Yancey, have been unsuccessful so far. Dilla was a notorious record collector, as illustrated by ?uestlove's heartbreaking "5-10-15-20" story about his prized Brazilian Stevie Wonder EP."

UPDATED Rolling Stone: Michigan Record Store Puts Sale of J Dilla Vinyl Collection on Hold
Detriot News: J Dilla's mother to help authenticate late hip-hop producer's record collection...

Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey, the mother of late Detroit hip-hop producer James "J Dilla" Yancey, is meeting today [April 26] with the owner of a Royal Oak record store who says he acquired a stash of Dilla's personal record collection last month from an abandoned Clinton Township storage unit.

Yancey said Dilla indeed kept a large number of his records in a Clinton Township storage facility. When Dilla was notified in 2004 the unit would be closed due to unpaid bills, Yancey says she shipped the records he wanted from the collection to him in Los Angeles, where he was living at the time.

"He knew every record, where it was at, what record it was next to, what record was two records from it, which hand, right hand or left hand of each shelf," Yancey said Thursday. "He knew it like he knew his hand.

"We shipped out everything he had asked for," she says, adding bills ran up to the thousands of dollars. "But we did what we were told."

Jeff Bubeck, co-owner of Royal Oak record store UHF, came across the contents of the locker last month. At first, he wasn't sure what he had; but after digging through the records and finding personal items addressed to James Yancey, he determined it was the personal record collection of J Dilla...."

UPDATED Jan 24, 2013: NME reports that "After his Detroit studio flooded, Dilla put his massive collection of "records, personal test presses and audio master tapes" into storage before moving to Los Angeles in 2004. He passed away in 2006. After his death, the storage unit was lost, but last spring was recovered by Dilla's mother, Maureen 'Ma Dukes' Yancey, reports

Maureen Yancey is now selling off a portion of the collection on eBay, Every purchase comes with a signed and numbered certificate from Maureen Yancey. An online registry of the J Dilla LPs is planned.

The eBay listing reads: "All the J Dilla (Slum Village...etc.) test pressings, personal recordings, personal items, tapes, along with a large portion of the record collection are being held by Ma Dukes for inclusion in a possible future Hip Hop museum and upcoming record release projects."

R.I.P. 'Nanny' Hui Kahu

The vocalist and poi soloist of Patea Maori Club's hit 'Poi-E', 'Nanny' Hui Kahu, has died aged 73. News via NZonScreen on Twitter.

Via "The most memorable voice of New Zealand hit song Poi-E has lost her battle with cancer. "Nanny" Hui Kahu, 73, died this morning at her home in Hawera.

Known best for her work as the vocalist and poi soloist for the Patea Maori Club, those close to her say her death has left a cloud over Taranaki.

Family friend Steve Rangihuna told 3 News she was humble person "who put everyone else first - she was generous and giving".

She was a respected elder who was a great role model to all Maori and her death is a great loss to the country, he said. "She was a great performer and my kids really moulded themselves off her and not only how to perform onstage but off the stage too."

Kahu was a teacher at Hawera's Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ngati Ruanui, and was married to Syd Kahu.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Music man Murray

Another music doco... very cool too.

"It’s about an 88-year-old guy and his record collection. That describes Music Man Murray in its most basic form. But there’s a lot more to this music documentary... calling it a “collection” scarcely does it justice. Gershenz has hundreds of thousands of records and tapes – supposedly the world’s largest private trove of music . And he wants to sell it off for $1 million-plus. Or does he?

Following the music film’s broadcast Record Store Day airing on the Documentary Channel, Parks is making it available for free online viewing for a limited time. You can watch it below. Set aside a half hour and discover a real gem with Music Man Murray." Source.

Read more about Murray Gershenz on La Times: Murray Gershenz’s 300,000-plus record collection is no bestseller. "Director Richard Parks decided in 2010 to make his first documentary about the elder Gershenz after he read about his plight in The Times. "When I first got into records, my dad [composer-lyricist Van Dyke Parks, who scored the film] would tell me you have to go to Murray’s,” Parks said. “It was like the temple so he brought me here all the time.”

ADDED August 31 2013: Remembering 'Music Man Murray': Murray Gershenz dies at 91(LA Times)
Murray Gershenz, the record collector turned character actor, has died. The 91-year-old died of a heart attack Wednesday, a source close to Gershenz confirmed.

Better known as “Music Man Murray,” Gershenz spent nearly three-quarters of a century collecting the more than 300,000 records that filled the dusty wooden shelves of his two-story West Adams record shop....

Gershenz sold the collection earlier this year [2013] to a buyer from New York. It took a fleet of 52-foot-long trucks to load up the collection, which was housed in the store and three adjacent warehouses and contained enough records to refill the shop a few times over...."

Curtis #2

Here's the second installment from Pragmatic Theory: Curtis The Album, a tribute to Curtis Mayfield. Check also... Curtis The Beat Tape

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Don Cherry mixtape

Beautiful Swimmers from Washington D.C. present a brilliant tribute mix to Don Cherry, the multi-instrumentalist best known for playing the cornet & pocket trumpet with the likes of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. Whether this is an introduction to his vast catalogue of world jazz recordings or just a new way of hearing some of it, we hope you enjoy it.

Music by Don Cherry and friends. Mix by Beautiful Swimmers

1. Don Cherry - Brown Rice
2. Old & New Dreams - Song For The Whales
3. Trilok Gurtu - Shangri La/Usfret
4. Don Cherry - Moving Pictures For The Ear
5. Don Cherry & Latif Khan - Air Mail
6. Don Cherry - Journey of Malarepa
7. Don Cherry - Brilliant Action/Amejelo (drum solo Ed Blackwell)
8. Sonny Murray - Black Art (poem Amiri Baraka)
9. Terry Riley, Don Cherry, Karl Berger - Piece 1, Koln Concert 1975
10. Don Cherry - Kamapa Chenno
11. Don Cherry - Love Train
12. Tullio Di Piscopo - Stop Bajon
13. Bengt Berger - Tongsi
14. Old & New Dreams - Guinea

If you want to find out more about Cherry, this feature from The Wire magazine is a good place to start:

Wax docos

Hat tip to Jay for this, its from Musicfilmweb... plus one extra clip, thanks to The Joint.

"... check out these films devoted to the wheels of steel and the stacks of wax, and the places where they still reign supreme.

1. Record Store Day: The Documentary (2012, dir. Jason Wilder Evans)

Evans describes his Record Store Day experience as “a multicultural music lovers’ festival” and that’s the vibe of his short doc, built around testimonials and/or tunes from Buck, Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Telekinesis, and others. Along with a side trip to the famed Grimey’s New & Preloved Music in Nashville and the tale of a vintage Big Star white label, the film cuts in scenes from ’50s instructional films on record pressing that remind you just what a miracle it is turning blobs of wax into grooves of joy. The film is slated to be available on demand from SnagFilmson Record Store Day or shortly thereafter. [Update: it’s available now, right here.]

Vinylmania (2012, dir. Paolo Campana)

The official film of Record Store Day 2012 takes Italian filmmaker/DJ Campana around the world to explore his and others’ lifelong romance with records. In conjunction with RDS Vinylmania has been screening on college campuses and in record shops all month (including today in London and New York and on April 20 in Paris – check the film site for details), and it will be out shortly in a special edition double DVD in several European countries. (Learn more about the movie in our interview with Campana.)
3. Red Beans and Rice Vol. 2: Audio Vibes (2012, no director credited)

Following up on 2010 digging doc Red Beans & Rice, Milwaukee indie hip hop label Jamille Records offers up another heaping helping of tales from the stacks, with vinyl junkies ranging from a young punkette to a wizened British reggae hound recalling their first and best scores. Refreshing for its preponderance of women, considering how widely record collecting is viewed as a Y-chromosome thing. You can watch it in entirely below.

4. Last Shop Standing (2012, Pip Piper and Rob Taylor)

Based on the book by Graham Jones, Last Shop explores the “rise, fall, and rebirth” of British indie record stores, whose numbers have begun ticking up in recent years despite iTunes and the recession. Johnny Marr, Fatboy Slim, and Billy Bragg are among those offering dusty-groove memories. The filmmakers are in the final weeks of an IndieGoGo campaign to cover post-production costs in preparation for a festival run and autumn DVD release – have a look here to help out.

5. Brick and Mortar and Love (2012, dir. C. Scott Shuffitt)

With iconic Louisville shop ear X-tacy and its struggle to survive as his focus, filmmaker (andLebowski Fest co-founder) Shuffitt looks at the cultural and community role played by brick and mortar indies and what’s at stake if they disappear. After a Louisville premiere last week the movie makes its festival bow at the Nashville Film Festival, including an April 21 screening at the aforementioned Grimey’s.

and … Record Paradise: The Musical Life of Joe Lee (2012, dir. Michael Streissguth)

Less a traditional record store doc than a profile of a quirky keeper of the flame, particularly resonant for me in that my own audio education got a major boost at one of Joe Lee’s suburban DC shops. Johnny Cash biographer Streissguth tells the story of this black sheep of a blue blood Maryland family (son of a governor, great-grandson of a senator) whose music jones led him to open a series of locally beloved stores, all called Joe’s Record Paradise, and become a keystone in the Baltimore/Washington sonic scene.

SOUND IT OUT is a documentary portrait of the very last surviving vinyl record shop in Teesside, North East England.

TRAILER: SOUND IT OUT - A documentary by Jeanie Finlay from Jeanie Finlay on Vimeo.

KRS One photos

Danny D of Dam Native, doing The Horified One. Photo: Volume/Milana Radojcic

KRS One  Photo: Volume/Milana Radojcic

Photo: Volume/Milana Radojcic

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Che Fu exits Sony

Che Fu announced on his Facebook page today that he's looking for a new record label to release his new music. Che says: "I've been shopping around for record deal with all the other major players this year as I've left SONY NZ.

"It has been great working with them over the 8 plus years, but their reluctance to put my music out and constant analysing of my single choices has led me to leave. Today was a good day. Im evaluating my options now as you read this..."

Review: KRS One at The Studio, Auckland

When New Zealand hiphop fans heard news reports that legendary New York hiphop MC KRS One was stopping off here on the way to Australia back in December, a lot of folk, myself included, started pleading on social media for some promoter to land a show here with him. He chooses to travel by cruise ship, so was due back here at some point. There were various whispers and then we got the good news - his NZ shows were announced in February after promoter Ginnen Group signed him up.

Opening acts for this hiphop pioneer included some of Aotearoa's hiphop pioneers - DJ Sirvere, MC Slave, and Hedlock, a group comprised of King Kapisi, Che Fu, and Teremoana Rapley.

Heldock also pulled in a few very special guests - like Manuel Bundy, Slave, and Danny D from Dam Native, who came out to deliver The Horifed One with Teremoana, and then the killer hit - Che Fu introducing DLT onto the stage, and DLT drops Chains, with Che upfront singing it (watch it above).

The whole place cheered and hollered, it was very special to see DLT acknowledged by the crowd for one of the songs that is a defining moment in our musical history. Chains was number one for six weeks, back in 1996, when NZ hiphop was all but invisible in the mainstream.

Che Fu. Photo: Mr Rimoni
DJ Sirvere returned to the stage, keeping the crowd energised, and then KRS One's DJ took over, dropping about half a dozen hiphop classics. KRS One's voice then boomed out from the PA, from backstage, calling on his DJ to play one more song, then he said "We're gonna get this started right." So KRS One was welcomed onto the stage by a powhiri. Damn!

A man with a conch shell walked out onstage and blew it into the mic. Two women joined him, singing a traditional welcome calling KRS One to the stage (they were from Ngati Whatua, I heard). He came running out and hugged each of the welcoming party, and then it was on.

KRS One spent the next hour and a half rapping up a storm, throwing down lyrics effortlessly. I won't attempt to name all the songs he dropped, but my favourite was hearing Jack of Spades (with a super cool reggae sample looped up), which he reminded us was from a movie by Keenan Ivory Wayans, called I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

KRS One paused a few times, got his DJ to turn the music down so we could hear him. He dropped an acapella piece half way thru the show that was KRS One rapping lines from a ton of classic hiphop tunes, all jammed into one mega-verse. It was incredible. His energy level the whole night was just was insane. He even rapped over a piece of classical music at one point.

He told the soundman what to do, turn it up! was an oft-repeated phrase of the night. He also wasnt happy with the venue security people standing front of the stage, and told them to move away to the side, cos they were blocking the view of the people down front. They didn't budge.

So KRS One turned round and called to the back of the stage "Where's my security?"and out came two tall men in black suits, who waved the venue security to the sides, which they did. KRS One was in control of this show, and he wanted us to know it.

At one point the told the crowd "I'm gonna come down there and you can get some photos with me..." pointing to the side of stage. Next thing, he's plowing thru the crowd, still rapping, posing for photos, and then makes his way back to the stage, and says "I'm gonna go back down there in a minute." Dude was fully interacting with the crowd.

Finally he wrapped up the show, telling the crowd he will be giving a lecture on the foundation of hiphop at the museum tomorrow (Sunday), continuing the conversation of the show, but he stopped to check with the folk backstage - "they all know which museum, right? Cos there's more than one museum here... oh, they got it. Good!"

His last words were addressed to the police, who didnt want hiphop down at The Cloud because of fears of violence (see below for the official quote). He used that distinctive line from an NWA song on the cops (as also used by Tiki Taane), and he told us to tell the Police that hiphop isnt about violence, it's about peace, love, unity and having fun. And he was out.

It was a great night. You don't see hiphop shows like that here every day. When KRS One said that what we were seeing was a historic moment, he was dead right. It may have sounded like a grand claim, but he delivered on it. In spades.

KRS One. Photo: Mr Rimoni
The venue choice for the Wellington show was the beautiful Wellington Town Hall, but Auckland got The Cloud, a flash tent on the waterfront originally built for the Rugby World Cup. The promoter said they went with that venue as it was all they could secure at short notice.

Having attended The Specials concert in the space next to The Cloud, Shed 10, it was pretty obvious that you would have major noise issues at The Cloud. It has no sound insulation, no solid walls, and faces The Hilton and apartments opposite, and apartments on Quay St.

On the Friday before the show, the promoters announced they were moving it to The Studio, on K Rd, citing "strict sound restrictions and licensing issues which have recently come to our attention that does not help us to proceed with this event at the Cloud due to the Police not approving our license because of their negative view on “RAP MUSIC” being at the Cloud."

The statement from the Police that was doing the rounds on social media on Friday quoted Inspector Derek Davison, saying "Rap draws on a certain group within society which cause problems for the community as a whole". The Police felt this was the case in Auckland with a Council-owned venue, but as far as I know wasn't an issue for Wellington Police with the venue down there, also Council-owned.

While seeing KRS One on K Rd made a lot more sense than on the waterfront, cos let's face it, K Rd is way more hiphop than the waterfront, it still sounds odd. That quote is from an email from Police to the original venue and the promoters, and it would be interesting to see what context that statement was made in.

You have to wonder why we paid almost $10 million for a venue that we were promised would be of use to Aucklanders beyond the RWC, but now sits largely empty on the waterfront like a white elephant. In August last year, Auckland Chamber of Commerce head Michael Barnett said The Cloud will be on Queens Wharf for at least a decade. That's a very long time for a venue that was only actively used for six weeks, during the RWC.

The only public event I can find that has happened at The Cloud since the end of the RWC was the NZ Beer Festival. An event celebrating alcohol is okay but not one celebrating hiphop?

And hang on, Che Fu performed down on the waterfront at a recent event featuring a number of hiphop acts, BaseFM's Shake And Bake gig, at the Silo Park over in the Wynard Quarter. There were people sitting round drinking alcohol outdoors, and listening to rap music. No violence, no arrests, no trouble. Just people having fun.

Slave. Photo: Mr Rimoni

WOOP WOOP! Added: Russell Brown posted the full Police email on Public Address, Plus some more correspondence around the event...

Hi Connie and Cathy – to advise that NO SPECIAL LICENCE will be issued for this event.

There are a whole range of factors behind such a decision;

lateness of the application (although that has been disputed)
because of the lateness Police have not had adequate time to report on the Matter (and statutorily are not required to do so because of said lateness)
type of event – rap draws on a certain group within society which cause problems for the community as a whole
probability of abuse of alcohol causing disorder within and outside the event – alcohol is a crime driver there are many licensed outlets in the CBD to which patrons could avail themselves before and after this event

Otherwise, this event will be visited and monitored by Police on the night.

I will advise the Shift Commanders, Downtown staff and Northern Communications Centre accordingly.

Inspector| Special Operations Planning Group (SOG)

An email in which the promoter addresses the lateness question:

Now when he said the lateness of application…I was shocked as we submitted a while ago, then sat with council saying yes approved at compliance meeting with the Venue staff, my Security team, my bar manager and my business partners. The council apparently said it got lost for a week….

And a response from Davison to Greer Flynn, who was involved with the show:

Good morning Greer.

As I indicated in my telephone conversation with you this morning.

Police will not alter their stance in regards to your liquor licence application.

Had the Police been involved with your event from the outset, then this matter would have been better addressed.

I can say here and now, it would still be most unlikely that Police would have agreed to the granting of a special licence even had we been at that meeting given the nature/location of the event.

RELATED: Ingrid Grenar reviews KRS One's gig and lecture
KRS-One lectures Auckland in hip hop:  KRS One's talk at Auckland Museum...
Volume Mag's Danielle Street reviews KRS One

ADDED Sunday April 29 from today's Sunday Star Times: No home for rap at Queens Wharf. Unfortunately only half of the article is online, the other half, with comment from Waterfront Auckland's Bob Harvey saying that The Cloud was desperate for bookings - it only has 6 upcoming events booked for the main space - plus a list of events happening at the Cloud since Dec 2011 when Waterfront Auckland took over, doesn't appear online - print only.

It notes a list of 11 events that have been held in The Cloud and are reported to have attracted a total of 16,000 people. I looked up attendance on the NZ Beer Festival, and that accounted for a crowd of 10,000.

No requests

This photo is doing the rounds on Facebook and other social media, have heard that it's a Bacardi ad. DJ DRM from Bastard Jazz said on Twitter that "this DJ facepalming pic that's going around is a f'ing bacardi ad and suggests that hitting a woman is funny and/or deserved. #notcool". What do you think?

Bobby Womack, new album mini-doco

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rackets vs C Knox, RSD

 Hat tip to Alan H for sharing this via Twitter. Plus, below, an interview with Knox from SBS Australia, done in 1990. He also does two live songs, finishing the latter, Song for 1990, with the statement "We're getting a National government in New Zealand, and all will be lost..."

ADDED There's someone with a very flash looking video camera in shot, and Cheese On Taost report that "...a multi-angle, high definition clip shot by the wonderful Georgia Schofield is also in the works – she’s working on the edit right now." Cheese On Toast also have a video clip via Simon Kay of the whole song, go watch it here.


Benny Tones remixes Scratch 22

Saturday, April 21, 2012

RSD New Plymouth and more

Brian Wafer and Peter Jefferies checking out Record Store Day at Vinyl Countdown New Plymouth. Wonder what records Peter found? More photos on their FB page.

ADDED Here's Danny Lemon DJing at Rough Peel Music in Wellington (more pics here).

When I was in Real Groovy AK this afternoon, they still had come copies of the ltd edition Toy Love live vinyl, and apparently the last band of the day,  Rackets, played Swimming Pool by Toy Love, joined by Chris Knox. Hope someone videoed it.

Pic via Twitter from Cheese on Toast  -  Chris Knox signing Toy Love vinyl after playing with Rackets.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, April 21

Temptations - Plastic man
Labelle - What can I do for you?
Leon Haywood - If you're looking for a night of fun (look past me, I'm not the one)
Screaming Meemees - Stars in my eyes part one
ESG - Dance
Primal scream - Higher than the sun
Sabre of paradise - Wilmot
Ninjaman and Flourgon - Zig it up
Butch Cassidy sound system - Brothers and sisters
Reggie Steppa - Drum pan sound
Henry and Louis - Love and understanding
Lord echo - Long time no see
Kas Futialo (Tha Feelstyle) - Good morning Samoa
Tiombe Lockhart - Mr Johnny Walker
DJ Spinna - Abyzmal
Rocket juice and the moon - Hey shooter
Frente cumbiero - Pitchito
Freqnik and WDRE - Funky fresh reggae
Jimmy London - I'm your puppet
In crowd - Mango walk
Natural yoghurt band - Voodoo
King Sunny Ade - Ja funmi
DLT - Chains - unreleased hiphop mix
KRS One - Step into a world
Trecherous three - Feel the heartbeat

Jazzy Jeff once went record digging with Kenny Dope & Dilla.

One for Record Store Day, from Egotripland... "The “Crate Diggers” web series returns. This edition finds Fuse’s cameras focused on the record den/studio of the magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff. As vinyl talk goes Jeff modestly maintains that he’s less of a hardcore collector than some.

Yet he’s still got stories like the one about that digging trip to Pittsburgh with Kenny Dope and JDilla when they bought so much stuff they could barely all fit in the car on the way home.

Or those recollections of how he never ate lunch through his high school years so he could save his lunch money for records. Or how thinking back to the time he threw out a bunch of records he was keeping at his moms’ house gives him stomach pains. 

Also included: some history of meeting Will Smith at a house party back when he and Jeff were just starting out."

WATCH: “Crate Diggers” – Rich Medina’s Vinyl Collection.
WATCH: “Crate Diggers” – Da Beatminerz’s Vinyl Collection.

Friday, April 20, 2012

KRS One now at The Studio

The venue for Saturday night's KRS One show in Auckland has moved from The Cloud to The Studio, on K Rd. Unsurprisingly, one of the reasons organisers cite for the move is sound issues. A gig in a room that is a tent directly opposite apartments and a hotel was  never going to work. They also had issues with getting a liquor licence. At least The Studio won't run out of beer, like the temporary bar did at The Specials at Shed 10, next to The Cloud.

Official statement from the organisers (via their Facebook page):

"Due to major issues with the Cloud we have decided to move our event to Studio, K RD Auckland.

There are strict sound restrictions that could affect our show with KRS ONE and licensing issues which have recently come to our to attention that does not help us to proceed with this event at the Cloud due to the Police not approving our license because of their negative view on “RAP MUSIC” being at the Cloud.

We are annoyed but still happy to move forward with the KRS ONE show this Saturday at The STUDIO which will now start at 7pm. We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused. We will need to REFUND ALL UNDER THE AGE OF 18 ticket holders, the Studio are unable to have underage patrons in the venue for this event. We have cut back on tickets available and we are nearly at full capacity, We have searched for venues across Auckland with a larger capacity but had no luck at all!. So we apologize for the fans they may miss out an opportunity to see the HIP HOP legend “KRS ONE”.

But because of this matter KRS ONE has decided to hold a Seminar on Sunday 22nd more info soon."

ADDED KRS One seminar will be on sunday April 22 at the Auckand Museum, 1pm, suggested $10 donation

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Funky reggae biz

Hat tip To Russell B for the link. Super dope Biz Markie over some funky reggae from A Kid Named Miles (Breakestra). The flip of that original single is a reggae take on Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire (listen).

Lucky Pauls Tour Diary #4, Porto, Portugal

Lucky Paul is an expat Kiwi muso currently holding down the drumseat for Feist on her world tour, which kicked off with a show in Paul's hometown, Auckland, for Laneway. He's in Portugal at the moment, having fun from the look of it. Portable sampler and a mini mic and he's off.

Wicked Pickett

Wild footage of Wilson Pickett live, 1968. Hat tip to Dangerous Minds.


I Believe In Miracles is a very funky jam from the Jackson Sisters (no relation to the Jackson 5) and over at Version Galore, they've uncovered some great versions of it - there's the recent latin-styled take from Sunlightsquare Combo and more... the original has been reissued on vinyl a bunch of times, so it's pretty easy to track down a copy....

"... The Jackson Sisters were a Detroit-based (by way of Compton) soul group who enjoyed some minor recognition during the mid 70s. While only having one album and a couple of singles under their belt before vanishing back into the mahogany, a decade and some change later they enjoyed a resurgence via the UK rare groove scene and subsequently Miracles becoming a b-boy sampling favourite.

Believers for today include The Dynamics and their reggae-disco hustle rendition, a spry Cubano cut via Sunlightsquare Latin Combo and a focused intrumental break version from the always welcome El Michels Affair. Also today are two straight ahead soul cuts from Japan’s Indigo Jam Unit & Flexlife as well a rare cut by Miracles original co-penner Mark Capanni."

Listen to them over at Versions Galore.

Strut RSD exclusive

This Saturday, Strut celebrate Record Store Day 2012 with the limited edition, vinyl-only re-release of a rare, funky psychedelic classic; the self-titled 1971 LP from Ugly Custard. The album will be the first in a series of limited edition vinyl-only releases.

Ugly Custard has become a cult classic among vinyl diggers – a dense, heavy, psyched-out set from a short-lived side project put together by UK library and film music composer, Alan Parker (known to savvy collectors for his work on the legendary KPM 1000 series, as well as recordings w/ Donovan, David Bowie, and others). The album reunited Parker with leading session players and fellow members of the band Blue Mink including Herbie Flowers (bass) and Roger Coulam (organ) alongside prolific drummer Clem Cattini (The Tornados, T-Rex, Hot Chocolate).

The album features Parker in top form, re-arranging known standards into open, wigged-out jams including Paul Simon’s "Scarboro’ Fair" and Stephen Stills’ "Hung Upside Down."

Ugly Custard is pressed on heavyweight vinyl and features new sleeve notes including an interview with Alan Parker. Originally issued on Kaleidoscope (KAL 100) in 1971. Available from these US retailers and UK retailers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How bizarre

Australian artist Gotye is riding a wave of popularity in the US charts at the moment (at no 2 currently), on the back of his song Somebody That I Used To Know (featuring local lass/expat Kiwi now resident in Australia Kimbra) being featured on US TV shows Glee and The Voice, and a slot at last weekend's Coachella Festival.
It's great exposure for Kimbra, who has been getting lots of interest off the back of her solo appearances at the recent SXSW event. This story says she was the most highly searched-for act in online searches at SXSW.
A couple of NZ media outlets have got a little over-excited about the chart placing, suggesting that Kimbra would be the first Kiwi linked to a number one on the US music charts. Crowded House got to number two, and let's face it, at that time Neil Finn was a longtime Australian resident with two Aussies in his band. Never mind the fact that NZ radio programmers steadfastly ignored Crowded House until they had a hit in the US.

Or the fact that OMC went to number one on the US charts in 1997, with How Bizarre. Pauly Fuemana, we haven't forgotten you.

ADDED OMC's record label boss Simon Grigg has blogged on the behind the scenes record company machinations around OMC hitting number one in the US.

"... In the US the decision was made by Mercury, a US branch of PolyGram, to issue the single only to radio and use the airplay to drive album sales = more money. This was industry standard at the time and many acts did it... between June and August [97] we totalled some 560,000 radio plays on US top40 radio (it passed a million later that year) and some 10,000 video plays (most played US video of 1997 – 15,000) and finally I had a call from New York on August 16th, 1997. “You’re number one, number one!” screamed the woman from Mercury... we’d knocked off Meredith Brooks and we were number one..."

UPDATED Thurs 19 April: Billboard reports that Gotye and Kimbra have hit number one on the US charts, on the back of appearing on Saturday Night Live and Glee. "...the track sold 542,000 downloads in the April 9-15 tracking period, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The sum is the fourth-best since SoundScan began tracking digital sales in 2003."

Colman Bros

Free download of the Colman Bros 2009 single. Niceness on the latin/bossa nova tip.

Kas says good morning

Tha Feelstyle (Kas Futialo) dropped his outstanding debut album Break It To Pieces back in 2004, a landmark recording for NZ hiphop - scratch that, it's a landmark NZ recording, fullstop.

Produced by very talented Andy 'Submariner' Morton, it won three awards at the Pacific Music Awards in 2005, beating Scribe and Dei Hamo in two categories. Check that beautiful cover, looks even better on the double vinyl release. It won best album cover at the 2005 NZ Music Awards.

The cover painting is by Charles McPhee - there's a great documentary featuring McPhee called Velvet Dreams (watch here), directed by Sima Urale, one of King Kapisi's sisters.

I read yesterday that The Feelstyle has been nominated at this year's Pacific Music Awards, for his 2011 album Good Morning Samoa. That album was released at the Pasifika Festival in March 2011, and available for sale there, apparently. I didn't even know he'd done a new album, and a bit of searching revealed he's done TWO albums since his debut. I got some catching up to do!

This Feb 2010 article mentions a 2008 album title Lokokasi, all in Samoan. Tha Feelstyle's Bebo page says he's working on an English-language album too, Firepower To The People. The most recent single from the Feelstyle (with Adeaze) is available over at Amplifier (from 2010), and I hear they plan to have the Good Morning Samoa album up shortly. Check out the title track below...

Read: One Samoana Notebook interviews Kas Futialo about Good Morning Samoa.
Tha Feelstyle interviewed by Gareth Shute for NZ Musician, 2004.
Listen: Tha Feelstyle on Soundcloud.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Specials reviewed

Photos by Volume/Dalla Pickering.
Here's my review of The Specials gig last Tuesday, published in this week's issue of Volume  Magazine. Thanks, Sam!

"I had misgivings about seeing The Specials in a tin shed on the waterfront, but with a sizeable crowd in there to soak up the sound it worked surprisingly well (not unlike the dance parties in the sheds next to the old Auckland railway station back in the 1990s - Massive Attack, anyone?) It was gloomy, dark and dusty - even Terry Hall pointed out how dusty it was, glancing up at the rafters - but it suited the music.

Six of the original seven members of The Specials reunited in 2009 and set off on a 30th anniversary tour that bought them here for the first time (minus founder and main songwriter Jerry Dammers). That sold-out show was at the truly awful Logan Campbell Centre (aka the Logan Concrete Centre) and somehow they managed to overcome the notoriously bad acoustics of that rustic barn.

The opening act this time was local '80s ska outfit The Newmatics, who have done the occasional reunion show in recent years. This one, unlike their previous reunions, lacked a number of original members and also reconfigured the original lineup, adding a keyboard player and a full horn section. The Newmatics without powerhouse drummer Benny Staples? Ahem. Their brief set took in spirited versions of classics like Doobie Do Boy, Judas and Riot Squad, and they acquitted themselves well enough.

Queuing for half an hour for a beer didn't sound like much fun, and then I hear the beer ran out before The Specials even hit the stage. That's some poor planning. How could you fail to predict that a crowd of former mods and punks would be VERY THIRSTY?

Finally, the horrible fluorescent house lights go out, the drums start pounding, and then The Specials bound onstage, ripping into Do the Dog. It's glorious. What follows is every song off their first album: throw in Gangsters and A Message to You, Rudy, and you have yourself a serious dance party.

The band look very dapper, dressed in black for the last show on this tour, after five gigs in Australia. There's the front line of vocalists Lynval Golding, Neville Staples and Terry Hall, super cool guitarist Roddy Radiation, and the killer rhythm section of Horace Panter and John Bradbury, with Nik Torp in for Dammers on keys.

Lynval dedicates their song Poor Little Rich Girl to Amy Winehouse, a song she covered. Lynval tells the crowd Winehouse passed away on his birthday last year.

Their horn section and percussionist join the band onstage for Stupid Marriage, with Hall dropping in the lyric "Like a virgin", which was vaguely postmodern and a little unsettling. Terry Hall as Madonna? After the song finishes he tells the crowd, "I will probably slip into some Leo Sayer a bit later on this evening..."

We get Concrete Jungle, and Friday Night, Saturday Morning, and then the droll Mr Hall introduces International Jet Set: "This is from our difficult 2nd album - it was so fuckin' difficult that we didn't talk to each other for 25 years!" It's a groovy rendition, but once it's done, Lynval confesses, "We wrote that 30 years ago and it's a nice tune, but I just can't dance to it."

They wrap up their set with Too Much Too Young and Enjoy Yourself, before exiting the stage. This crowd ain't going nowhere though, and start cheering for more.

The band return for an encore and Lynval apologises to us: "This is only our second time in New Zealand, and I'm sorry it took us 30 years to get down here - we should have come ages ago". We get Little Bitch, then You're Wondering Now. The song finishes with the band stopping the music and leading the crowd in a singalong. Terry says, "Bye, thanks, lots of love" and they're off.

The glaring omission was Ghost Town. Why? The rumour was noise complaints from nearby apartment dwellers on Quay St, and the band had to cut the encore short by one song. At 10.30pm. It doesn't bode well for the upcoming KRS-One show next door in The Cloud, essentially a tent with zero soundproofing. However, the promoter said noise wasn't an issue. The venue had a 10.30pm curfew and song choice was the band's decision. Go figure.

The Specials served up note-perfect renditions of their classics, and they had a lot of fun doing it - it was infectious. Thirty years on, those songs still come across as joyful, clever, danceable, and as much fun as they ever did.

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think!

Third notice

TV3 reports that internet service provider Telstra Clear has "sent out the first third strike notice under a new copyright infringement law passed this week.

The company said the alleged copyright infringer had illegally downloaded music, but could not comment further as it was now a matter for the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ)."

The latter part of that article is a bit of a cut and paste job from other publications like NBR, and incorrectly refers to the new copyright law taking effect from September 1. It's been in effect since Sept 1 last year. It also says the law was passed April 14, without referencing what year. Odds on they downloaded One Direction.

Fitz hits Coachella

LA soul outfit Fitz and the Tantrums made their Coachella debut yesterday, they played a killer set. Here's their closer, Moneygrabber. Their take on Steady As She Goes (as done originally by prev Coachella faves The Raconteurs) was awesome. Haven't seen that clip come up yet from Coachella, so there's an older take below.

Mayer Hawthorne debut

Mayer Hawthorne kicked off a run of US shows last night (tour dates here), here's his live debut, from Feb 17, 2009.

Record Store Day this saturday

Record Store Day is a great day to go for a record store crawl. Never know who you will run into...

In Auckland, Conch Records is teaming up with George FM for a live broadcast instore. The day will include live performances from Christoph El Truento and co, and Latinaotearoa.

Record Store Day releases at Conch: The Pharcyde - "Bizarre Ride II" 20th Anniversary Box Set // Peter Tosh - "Legalize It" - Echodelic Remixes 10" (PICTURE DISC) // Various - Never To Be Forgotten: The Flip Side of Stax 1968-1974 10 x 7" (LIGHT IN THE ATTIC) Only 4,000 hand-numbered copies worldwide // ESG / Las Kellies - Erase You 7" (FIRE RECORDS).
For more details check here.

Real Groovy Records in Queen St has a bunch of special happenings, including the exclusive release of the double vinyl live album Toy Love at The Gluepot. Limited to 400 copies, only available from Real Groovy, limit of one per customer. Live performances from bands and DJs including Rackets, The Broadsides, Princess Chelsea, Tom Scott (Homebrew), Pennie Blair (bFM), Andrew Tidball (Cheese On Toast). More info here.

Get down to Southbound Records, at 69 Mt Eden Rd (down from the Powerstation), worth a gander, and their website promises Record Store Day vinyl exclusives (PiL, Devo, Black Keys, Peter Tosh, Amanda Palmer) and free brewed coffee. Lots of great reissues, only catch is they don't have turntables to let you hear the vinyl before purchasing.

Rhythm Records down the Three Lamps end of Ponsonby Rd has some good vinyl, they're at 299  Ponsonby Rd.

ADDED Volume Magazine hooked up with Lawrence Arabia to make a seven inch single for Record Store Day - "Rick Lapore gave Volume a tour of the Rainbo Records pressing plant in California where the record was made".

Watch the video for the making of the vinyl here.  I would embed the video but the NZ Herald think they own the internetz. Mutter  mutter. You can win a copy of the Lawrence Arabia vinyl, just make a purchase at any NZ record store  this Saturday and send the receipt to Volume, PO Box 32, Auckland.

Real Groovy Akld staff member gets into the spirit, 2010

In Wellington, Slow Boat Records in Cuba St has live performances instore from The Eversons and Dictaphone Blues and more.

Rough Peel Music, at140 Vivian St, has live instores too (see their Facebook page for more), plus an exclusive local vinyl release, from hiphop crew Dam Native. It's a few classic cuts from them.

Track listing:
Side A (Aotea Side):
1- Sirens in the City (Chong Nee Remix)
2- Sirens in the City (Album mix Feat Tyna)
3- Sirens in the City (Hori Acoustic Mix)
Side B (Roa Side):
1- Horrified One Feat. Teremoana Rapley
2- Horrified One Instrumental
3- Lick My Patu

Evil Genius at 462 Adelaide Road, Berhampore, has an instore live performance from Tono and the Finance Company at 3pm, and DJs all day. Discounts and giveaways.

Other special Record Store Day releases include James Brown, Kimbra, Lee Scratch Perry, Luna, Devo, Shuggie Otis, The Specials, ESG, Peaches, and more. Full list of RSD releases here.

Tupac at Coachella

Dr Dre and Snoop preformed at Coachella last night, and were joined onstage by Tupac recreated as a hologram. A lot of folk on social media were discussing the hologram this morning - it was a source of some amusement. Meanwhile, Tupac's murder remains unsolved.

Via Wired: "... Tupac, who was murdered in 1996, joined Dre and Snoop Dogg for three songs — “Gangsta Party,” “Hail Mary” and “Come With Me.” He hadn’t ever performed “Hail Mary” when he was alive. Nate Dogg, who died in 2011, also joined the pair for a time onstage alongside various living guests, including Eminem, Wiz Khalifa and 50 Cent..."

Via The Source Mag: "In an interview today with MTV, Tupac Shakur hologram curator Nick Smith of AV Concepts explained how it all went down. Below is two excerpts from the interview.

“We worked with Dr. Dre on this and it was Dre’s vision to bring this back to life,” said Nick Smith, president of AV Concepts, the San Diego company that created the hologram. “It was his idea from the very beginning and we worked with him and his camp to utilize the technology to make it come to life. You can take their likenesses and voice and … take people that haven’t done concerts before or perform music they haven’t sung and digitally recreate it.

"The Tupac hologram was several months in the planning and took nearly four months to create in a studio and though Smith was not able to reveal the exact price tag for the illusion, he said a comparable one could cost anywhere from $100,000 to more than $400,000 to pull off. “I can’t say how much that event cost, but I can say it’s affordable in the sense that if we had to bring entertainers around world and create concerts across the country, we could put [artists] in every venue in the country.”

ADDED: Russell Brown of Public Address notes that "It wasn't actually a true hologram, but an instance of Pepper's ghost, a reflection technique first presented to an audience in the 1860s, during a stage production of Charles Dickens' The Haunted Man. It's difficult to depict adequately in diagrams, but I've seen it in real life before and it works. (Indeed, I actually use a version of it every week when I read from a televsion autocue.)

...The other part -- the prior creation of the amazingly lifelike 3D image by AV Concepts and the company Digital Domain --seems to have invoved some mixture of archive concert footage, wire-frame animation and CGI. There was clearly some voice-acting: the late actor and rapper died in 1996, three years before the first Coachella festival, yet he hailed the crowd: "What the fuck up, Coachella?"

ADDED Tupac hologram helpfully explained by Taiwanese tv animators. Very funny. Watch for their suggestions of other stars due for reanimation, including Kurt Cobain.... Via Prefix Mag