Wednesday, July 29, 2015

She's So Rad: 5 star reviews = stuff all sales

Anji Sami and Jeremy Toy of She's So Rad

Last week I saw on Facebook a post from musician Jeremy Toy of the band She's So Rad, lamenting the low CD sales of his band's second album (he subsequently took it down).

The story has been picked up by Lydia Jenkin at NZ Herald... with some interesting numbers round the declining sales for physical and downloads, and rising streaming sales. Also features comments from Anthony  Tonnon.

"Despite very strong reviews for their album Tango (including a 5-star review in TimeOut, as well as other major New Zealand print publications, and on Radio NZ), and despite having two songs on A-rotate on Radio Hauraki, plus good support from student radio across the country, they've sold 20 CDs, 20 digital copies through Bandcamp, and 30 digital copies through iTunes since they released the album in May.

They had 300 people at their album release gig at the Kings Arms, and sold 1 CD.

But when you look at their streaming data, they've had 90,000 streams on Spotify in the last month, and something in the realm of 80,000 individual song streams on Soundcloud.

The revenue from their online streaming has been about $130....

Toy: "Basically it's just much worse than we expected. I expected it to be bad, but this far surpasses it."

"Of course we're not doing it for the money. But [this situation] is something that has been in the background churning away. It was an interesting Facebook post, because a few people started talking to me about it, other musicians, and said, 'No one's actually talking about it, because the industry is scared to talk about how bad it is'. I mean, I know I'm a small fish, but I think our situation reflects what's going on, on a wider scale...."
"The best revenue streams for artists in terms of profit - digital and physical sales - are no longer as appealing to consumers as they once were.

"The idea of owning a digital file is not appealing to anyone and fair enough" Toy adds. "I pay for digital content not because I want to own a digital file, but because I want to show support to the artist which in turn helps make their art sustainable" Toy. "Streaming doesn't help to keep music a sustainable resource.

"It's tricky to work out what that means in the future. It just seems a pity that music can't thrive because it's an important part of our culture. I mean, I guess everyone could just be making it for free, which is essentially what a lot of us are doing, but everyone will burn out I think."


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ring The Alarm playlist, July 25



James Brown - Funky drummer
Althea Spencer - Take me baby
New mastersounds - When it rains
Faze-O - Riding high
Temptations - Runaway child, running wild
Patti Drew - Hard to handle
Magic tones - We shall overcome
Pointer sisters - Send him back
Bobby Angelle - It's just gotta be that way
Casualeers - Dance dance dance
Len Barry - Bullseye
The Sharpees - Take me to your leader
Alvin Cash and the Registers - Sweatin
Brenda George - What you see is what you get
Jean Knight - Mr big stuff
BT Express - Give it what you got
Dave Pike set - Mathar
Massive attack feat Horace Andy - Spying glass
Jackie Mittoo - Wall street
African head charge - Learning
Bjorn Torske - Dub vendor
Prince Fari - Hello love brother
Jimi Tenor and Kabu Kabu - Mystery spot
Modern sound quintet - Sugar daddy
Alice Clark - Don't you care
Eru Dangerspiel - Coq au vin
Lord Echo - Creator has a master plan
Ladi6 - Diamonds - Oddisee remix
Hairy Diamond - Giving up
24 carat black - The 24 carat black

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Gene Dudley Group - new album Zambidoose out now




Some great funky bizznizz going down here on the second album from this UK crew... "Following on from 2013’s debut long-player, Saturday Shifting, where Gene Dudley played almost every note himself, his second offering is very much a product of the relationships he’s built up over the past two years.

Most notably these have been with vocalists, and particularly when the group got the chance to tour Europe with Stones Throw artists Myron & E in the summer of 2014. This resulted in E contributing to two vocal cuts to the new album, along with hotly tipped US vocalist Ishtar.

Another collaboration that blossomed was with London powerhouse soul vocalist and acclaimed funk DJ Anne Frankenstein. The pair hooked up for Gene’s cover of Richard “Groove” Holmes’ No Trouble on the Mountain, released as a 7” single last year. It’s a tune that appears on the album alongside two hot new offerings from Dudley and Frankenstein – namely the disco flavoured soul monster Dynamite in the Still of the Night, and mid-tempo funk nugget, Jackpot.

Add to that a very cheeky Todd Terje cover (approved by the man himself!) and you have a statement of intent from one of the UK’s finest and most exciting producers and multi-instrumentalists."

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ring The Alarm playlist, July 18



Augustus Pablo - Dub organiser
Lloyd Parks - Kung fu fighting
Ticklah - Mi sonsito
Upsetters - Jam #1
Congos - Bring the mackaback
Lovejoys - One draw
Born Jamericans - Boom shak-a-tak
Lightning head - Raggasalsa
Pete Rodriguez - Ohh that's nice
Willie Bobo - Psychedelic blues
Orchestra Harlow - Freak off
Ray Barretto - Soul drummers
Howard Tate - Look at Granny run run
The Perfections - Why do you want to make me sad
Isley bros - Behind the painted smile
The Impressions - Keep on pushing
JBs - I'll ze
James Brown - Stone to the bone
Vicki Anderson - I'm too tough for Mr Big Stuff
6ix - I'm just like you
Cornell Dupree - Teasin'
Jimmy Norman - Gangster of love
Prime time - Make up your mind
Twennynine with Lenny White - Just right for me
Eddie Kendricks - The thin man
Freedom sounds - Soul sound system
Nash Chase - Gimme little sign
Tubbs - It's love

Thursday, July 16, 2015

APRA Silver Scroll Awards – 2015 Top 20 + 1981 Top 5 (updated)

Screaming Meemees. Image: Simon Grigg


By some really strange turn of history, the APRA Silver Scrolls never happened back in 1981, and no one at APRA can remember why, apparently.

"Nineteen eighty-one was a watershed year in our history. I'm not sure why the Silver Scroll was not awarded, but as often happens in times of social and political unrest the music scene was never more vibrant and exciting," says Apra boss Anthony Healey (via NZH).

1981 was a bloody great year for local music, largely driven by the blossoming indie label scene (Ripper, Propeller, Flying Nun), giving rise to fantastic records by Herbs, The Clean, The Swingers, Newmatics, Blam Blam Blam, and the Screaming Meemees (who hit number one on debut with See Me Go, as did the Swingers).

Simon Grigg (Propeller Records, Audioculture) recalls that back then "APRA was a dusty room in Queen Street then which we didn't pay much attention to. 

"It did nothing for us - many writers were not even allowed to join as I recall - and none of the people who are nominated here probably got a cent from it - except maybe Enz who were not NZ-based anyway. Mike Chunn changed all that later in the decade, although to be fair the changes began with Paul Rose at AMCOS." 


The funny thing is, when you look at the list of Silver Scroll winners during the 1980s (below), it's  all turgid rockers like Hammond Gamble, The Narcs, and Mother Goose, or earnest singer songwriters. The retrospective finalists are way cooler. Although, based on Grigg's comment, probably over half of them weren't even APRA members in 1981.


The finalists chosen for the retrospective award are:

• Counting The Beat by The Swingers
• No Depression In New Zealand by Blam Blam Blam
• One Step Ahead by Split Enz
• See Me Go by The Screaming Meemees
• Tally Ho by The Clean

 NZ Herald's Russell Baillie had a guess at the potential finalists, his guesses were pretty damn good...Baillie writes: " In last Saturday's paper, I had wondered about whether the award might nominate Dean Waretini's 81 number one The Bridge - in te reo, though done to a borrowed Italian tune, or the Newmatics' political ska of Riot Squad and Graham Brazier's Billy Bold. But nervy white guy pop-rock bands of the era it is, it seems..."

The list of Silver Scroll winners during the 1980s suggests that it was a very mainstream event, based on the winners....

1980     Paul Schreuder  "You've Got Me Loving You"
1982     Stephen Young - Mother Goose "I Can't Sing Very Well"
1983     Stephen Bell-Booth "All I Want Is You"
1984     Hammond Gamble "Look What Midnight's Done to Me"
1985     Malcolm Black and Nick Sampson - Netherworld Dancing Toys "For Today"
1986     Tony Waine - The Narcs "Abandoned By Love"
1987     Dave Dobbyn "You Oughta Be In Love"
1988     Shona Laing "Soviet Snow"
1989     Stephen Bell-Booth  "Hand It Over"

Meanwhile, back in the present....

The finalists for the 2015 award are:

• Back Into Your Life by Clap Clap Riot
• Call The Days by Nadia Reid
• Can't Keep Checking My Phone by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
• Collarbones by Thomston
• Cool It by She's So Rad
• Dark Child by Marlon Williams
• Do You Remember by Jarryd James
• Get Out Alive by Mel Parsons
• Just In Case Allelujah by Eyreton Hall
• L.A.F. by Broods
• Little Pieces by SJD
• Multi-Love by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
• Naomi by Martin Andrews
• Perfect Health by Mulholland
• Special by Six60
• Touch by Maala
• Unplugged by SJD
• Water Underground by Anthonie Tonnon
• Welcome Back by King Kapisi
• Yellow Flicker Beat by Lorde

The winner of the APRA Silver Scroll Award is decided by the votes of APRA’s members - over 10,000 New Zealand songwriters and composers. Voting for the award is now open, and closes on Sunday 9th August.

The APRA Silver Scroll Awards will be held at Vector Arena in Auckland on Thursday 17th September.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Souleance newie coming



Cool new biz from Souleance (Soulist + Fulgeance)....

via First Word Records: “At this time of year we’re all looking for those tracks to set alight the parties, festivals and beaches of the (northern) summer season. Last year Souleance’s ‘Jogar’ EP filled that gap, this time around they have delivered once again with the addictive, brassy bounce of ‘Secoue’.

Taking their influence from the Haitian style of meringue known as Compa, Fulgeance and Soulist have crafted an instant dancefloor bomb. ‘Secoue’ translates to ‘Shake’ which is about as appropriate a title as you’re going to get.”

Preview off their upcoming Tartare EP dropping in October.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ring The Alarm playlist, July 11



Johnny Hammond - Catch my soul
Leon Bridges - Coming home
Nicole Willis and the soul investigators - Where are you now?
Gene Dudley Group - Tiger Jaw
Bobby Moore - Hey Mr DJ
Maxayn - Bail out
Willie Hutch - All American funkathon
Chain reaction - Hogtied
Kevvy Kev - Higher dread
Recloose - Mana's bounce
The Ethiopians - I'm gonna take over now 
Jackie Mittoo - El bang bang
Pat Rhoden - Living for the city
The Family - High fashion
Edwin Birdsong - Funtaztik
The Clash - Magnificent dance
Dexys midnight runners - Seven days is too long
Barbara Lynn - This is the thanks I get
Pointer sisters - Send him back
Big guys - Hang my head and cry
Isley bros - Behind a painted smile
Mystiques - Put out the fire
Billy Stewart - Billy's blues pt 1
Bo Diddley - (Extra read all about it) Ben
La Vern Baker - Hey Memphis
Ike and Tina Turner - I idolise you
Leon Haywood - You need a friend like mine
Bohannon  -The funk walk
Frank Ferrer - Johnny's theme
Dr Tree - Eugino D
Lionel Hampton - A&T
Mark de Clive Lowe and Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra - Caravan

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Henry Stone's Miami Soul - The Record Man's Finest 45s



The title alone should tell you pretty much all you need to know about this wicked compilation from UK label Athens of the North.

Henry Stone, the man behind TK Records, made stars of Betty Wright, Clarence Reid (a.k.a Blowfly), Little Beaver, KC and the Sunshine Band and many more. This collections is pure gold.

"When Terry Kane - a sound engineer who was barely twenty years old at the time– built an 8-track recording studio above Henry Stone’s office space in the Hialeah area of Miami, he probably never envisaged that he was laying the bedrock for a creative hub that would spawn over 25 gold records and over 100 million record sales worldwide. In the process, it would help to make Henry Stone a legend of American music.

At one end of the spectrum, warehouse boy turned global superstar Harry Wayne Casey – better known as leader of K.C & The Sunshine Band – was pumping out disco classics on a massive scale with ubiquitous airplay and sell-out shows. At the other, Rodney Matthew and his group Formula 1 were relying on the might of the T.K distribution machine to propel them into the spotlight. As remarkable as their 1977 masterpiece on Du-Vern records was, it inevitably failed have the seismic impact of The Sunshine Band’s commercial dance pop.

For every success story like T-Connection, with their firebrand funk-disco fusion and major label achievements, there were equally talented acts such as Stevens And Foster who also called on Stone’s services to showcase their vision: judging by the scarcity of original copies of their self-written and produced modern soul jewel on Jerri Records, they also failed to reach beyond the Sunshine state, save for the rarified ears of collectors and connoisseurs.

The sheer amount of records that came out of those modest premises at 495 SE 10th Court – about 8km from Downtown Miami (as the pink flamingo flies) - is mind boggling. With a huge roster of in-house labels as well as production and distribution deals, label boss Henry Stone was a passionate, busy, and exceptionally well connected man.

Stone would nurture the early careers of the likes of million seller Betty Wright, as well as provide a platform for Milton Wright and Leno Phillips (her older brothers) to express their creativity. Clarence Reid (a.k.a Blowfly) and Willie Clark penned a raft of amazing tracks for acts such as Jimmie ‘Bo’ Horne and Little Beaver (a.k.a Willie Hale, who would also write a wealth of material for others), while T.K in-house band Miami’s own Robert Moore also released records on yet another T.K imprint, Blue Candle.

The music scene in Miami and indeed, Florida, at the time was fertile and moved quickly with the times; there were hit-makers and risk-takers, shining stars and those who never went far.

As a living document of Henry Stone’s remarkable legacy, the diverse styles and ideas coming out of Miami-Dade County and beyond, as well as a glimpse at the successes and near-misses achieved by a dazzling array of artists at the time, this collection serves as an invaluable insight."- Jason Stirland (2015)

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Fantastic Negrito


From Oakland California, here's Fantastic Negrito, hat tip to Steve S for putting me onto them.


Saturday, July 04, 2015

Ring The Alarm playlist, July 4



Beginning of the end - Funky Nassau  -Friction re-edit
Patrice Rushen - Music of the earth - Danny Krivit edit
Aquarian dream - Play it for me one more time
Temptations - Plastic man
Esther Phillips - Use me
Leroy Parker - Groove with me
Alton Ellis - Alton's official daughter - version 1
Heptones - Do good to each and every one
Earl Brown - Get together
Strange parcels - Outsiders remix
Keith Le Blanc - Taxcider
Grace Jones - She's lost control
Eru Dangerspeil - Chilli moules
Benny Spellman - Fortune teller
Jackie Wilson  -Somebody up there likes you
Thee Enchantments - I'm in love with your daughter
Garnett Mimms - Prove it to me
Red Saunders - Voodoo blues
Zilla Mayes - Calypso blues
Beat conductor - Caribbean path
Lee Fields and the explorers - I'm the man
Jackson sisters  - I believe in miracles edit
Chuck Brown - We need money
St Etienne - Only love can break your heart
Primal scream  -Higher than the sun
Tosca - Chocolate Elvis -Boozoo Bajou remix
Mo kolours - Little brown dog
Nick Waterhouse - It no. 3
New mastersounds - Detox
War - The world is a ghetto
Watts 103rd st rhythm band - Gigging on 103rd


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Terence Hogan - rock n roll graphics 1979-81

Terence Hogan posters and record covers, from his site.


There's a cool exhibition of album and poster art from the 70s and 80s by Terence Hogan, on now at the Auckland Central Library in Lorne St, til July 12.

Hogan designed covers for Toy Love, Screaming Meemees, Techtones and the iconic AK79 compilation album.

Hogan wrote a little background to the show on his site - he started working in the warehouse packing orders at WEA Records in Federal St in the mid-70s, then got into promotion and design... 

"...I think it was Simon Grigg who first asked me to do a poster, for one of his State Theatre concerts featuring Johnny and the Hookers and Toy Love, a band I was becoming closely involved with. I used a collage I’d done a few months earlier, people seemed to like it and I got asked to do another one.

Over the next couple of years I worked on a number of street posters and record covers, mainly for Simon’s Propeller label and Bryan Staff’s Ripper Records.

A selection of these pieces form the bulk of this show, along with some related work from my time with WEA, who had unknowingly made a major contribution through the company’s account at a bromide studio across town.

It was all done on a fast and friendly basis and the results were mixed, but with a few things that really worked and still surprise me a little, knowing the circumstances under which they were done..."

MORE: Radio NZ speaks Terence Hogan


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ring The Alarm playlist, June 27



Romanowski - Flatpicker
Cutty Ranks - The stopper - Richard Dorfmeister remix
Kenny Dope - Supa
Joe Tex - I wanna be free
The Ikettes - Don't feel sorry for me
Brenda George - What you see is what you get
Nicole Willis and the soul investigators - Paint me in a corner
Chic - Hangin
John Gibbs and US Steel Orchestra - Jouvert - Lord Echo re-edit
Gonzalez - Just let it lay
Isley Brothers - It's a disco night (rock don't stop)
Wajeed  - Jeedo suave
Kanaku y el tigre - Si te mueres manana
Junior Murvin - Crossover
The Jamaicans - Chain gang
DJ Vadim - Hidden treasure
Manasseh - Tear down
Rhythm force - Clap, children
Jesse Boykins III - Created beauty
Benjamin - Those memories sneak up on me
Stephanie Mills - Sweet sensation
Gwen Guthrie - Seventh heaven
Discolettes -Yes we can can
Bosq - Getting there
Grace Jones - Peanut butter

Kanaku y El Tigre album out now




Been listening to this album recently, enjoying it heaps!

Out now on Strut: "Peruvian indie folk heroes Kanaku y El Tigre hit the international stage with this brilliant second album. Yearning and life affirming songs meet intricate instrumentation littered with electronic jitters, ghostly delays, serene Hawaiian slide guitars and a chorus of other-wordly vocal harmonies."




Friday, June 26, 2015

Frightnrs x Lord Echo at Daptone

Lord Echo and the Frightners, outside Daptone
Lord Echo with the Frightnrs recording crew, outside Daptone. Pic: Lord Echo

Our own Lord Echo (aka Mike Fabulous from the Black Seeds) has been posting heaps of short videos on his Instagram of the great new reggae-disco songs he's been writing in his studio recently. Go have a listen.

After putting down ideas for 35 new tracks, he's taking a break, and has flown off to New York, to work with a band called the Frightnrs, working as guitarist on their next recording at the legendary Daptone Studio.

The band's latest single is a cover of I'd rather go blind, out on Daptone on June 30.

Fleamarket Funk says " Hailing from Queens, NY, The Frightnrs lay down a beautiful version of the Etta James classic. If you can’t get down with this 45, well people, put it back on again because it’s damn near perfection. A cover like this done in a reggae style is exactly what we want here at FleaMarket Funk.

If you didn’t see the label or know that Daptone was involved, you could swear it was some white label Coxsone or Studio One on the wall at Deadly Dragon for most of your week’s wages. It’s not the first time the label has dabbled in some reggae, or the first time they have got with top notch producer Vincent “Ticklah” Axelrod, who also blesses us with a version on the flip in true JA style.

We can’t cosign this record enough. Do we see more reggae records coming out of the House of Soul? We sure hope so. Originally available in a clear orange vinyl (which sold out fast of course), you can only get this record on a Daptone imprint."