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."

Kenny Dope x seven inch wax

Earlier this month BaseFM held another of its Sunday Sevens DJ sessions  - when the 7th of the month falls on a Sunday, we get together and plays 7 inch vinyl, and each DJ gets to play 7 each. It's a super fun time.

This video from Kenny Dope reminded me of that afternoon. Kenny tells the interviewer he has about 20,000 45s. Woah. Watching him beatmatch 45s is incredible. And his selection is amazing. Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Benjamin - new single

The latest fab release from Chicago-founded label Cherries Records is the duo Benjamin, who dropped one of the label's first releases, back in early 2013. Cherries has focused on putting out great modern funk/r&b/boogie, from the likes of  Doug Shorts (Masterplan), Cermakk, the Social Lovers, mainly on vinyl 45s.

"BENJAMIN comes back full force with two back-to-back modern soul burners. Side A, ‘Those Memories (Sneak Up On Me)’ is a mid-tempo live funk track, originally created for the infamous Toulouse Soul Club party in southern France.

With a driving guitar/bassline combo, slinking funky drums and swelling synth lines, BENJAMIN encourages you to leave the past behind, never looking into the “rear view” mirror of love. On the B side, Cherries’ co-founder, DJ Shred One, serves up a stripped down extended edit version of ‘This Time’. 

Deeply influenced by the Chicago “steppers” sound, ‘This Time’ is a smooth and sultry quiet stormer, custom made for those who like their dance music sexy, sophisticated, cold and grown. It is the perfect 45 for the cool out hour, when it’s the lovers’ turn to take over the dancefloor."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ring The Alarm playlist, June 20

Etta James - Nobody loves you like me
Big Maybelle - One monkey don't stop no show
Mamie Jenkins - Hambone
Little Esther - Hound dog
Leon Spencer - Message from the Meters
Bobby Womack - Lookin for a love
Shirley Scott and the soul saxes - Get back
Reuben Bell - Superjock
Aim - Just passin thru
Conroy Smith - Dangerous

Big Matt tribute mix... remembering the big fella, 8 years gone this past week....
Henry and the revolutionaries - Skanking
Freddie McGregor - Rastaman camp
Barrington Levy -Collie weed
Cornell Campbell - Rope in
Courtney Melody - Bad boy
PD Syndicate - Ruff like me - Shy FX & T Power remix
Overproof sound system - Get with it
Nightmares on wax - 70s/80s  -Scientist remix 1
Love grocer - Salute to Sam
Ballistic bros - Prophecy reveal
Sandoz - King dread
Nightmares on wax - Flip ya lid

Jazmine Sullivan - Need u bad - Moody boyz remix
Lord Echo - Bohemian idol - DJ Day chair bro remix
Daphne Walker - Haere mai
Jay Epae - The creep
Little Walter - It's too late brother
Bo Diddley - Diddley daddy
Young disciples - All I have in me  - Musiquarium mix

Friday, June 19, 2015

Rubble Kings doco coming

"Shan Nicholson's gang-life beauty Rubble Kings, an impassioned examination of New York's gang culture of the late 1970s, isn't just a fascinating piece of urban history ... The film centers on the Bronx's do-gooding Ghetto Brothers, who were less interested in fighting than in political engagement, encouraging kids in school, helping people get off smack, and throwing glorious block parties built around their Latin-funk band."- The Village Voice

"An entertaining doc vividly chronicles a troubled era."- The Hollywood Reporter

"In the new documentary Rubble Kings, New York’s real-life The Warriors scenarios are fully brought to the forefront"- Tribeca

Opens in theatres in LA, Chicago and NY on June 19. Hope it makes it here soon!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Strut x Bandcamp x Pat Thomas

Strut Records has jumped onto Bandcamp, check their wicked deep catalog: "Starting this week, every Strut release will be available digitally at Stop in, take a look around, and give us a follow for updates on new releases and special promotions.

As a special welcome gift, we're offering a free download of the summery Highlife anthem Me Ho Asem from Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band, out this week."

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ring The Alarm playlist, June 13

Baby Charles - I bet you look good on the dancefloor
Johnny Hammond - Fantasy - Marc Mac version
Christian Gaubert - Sweet Maryline
Antibalas - Che che cole makossa
Hugh Masekela - Languta
Patti LaBelle - Most likely you go your way....
Trouble Funk - Don't touch that stereo
Takuya Kuroda  - Rising son
Robert Glasper experiment - Twice - Questlove's remix feat The Roots and Solange Knowles
Quantic - Alegria en bella vista
Dennis Brown and Dillinger - Jah is watching you/Flat foot hustling
Jackie Mittoo - Wall street
Carol Cool - Upside down
Herbs - French letter dub
Katchafire - Collie herb man - Sola Rosa remix
La Toya Jackson - If you feel the funk
Janet Jackson - Don't mess up this good thing
LaVern Baker  -Voodoo voodoo
The Coasters - I'm a hog for you
Ray Charles - Talkin bout you
T-Bone Walker - T-bone shuffle
Charles Wright - You are the one for me
Fabulous counts - Lunar funk
Clarence Reid - Nobody but you
Cold blood - Kissing my love
Fred Wesley and the JBs - You can have Watergate...
Lee Fields - My world

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Real Groovy on the move, premises to be demolished

Radio NZ reports that the site of Real Groovy Records is heading for demolition, to make way for apartments.

RNZ: "Apartment developer Conrad Properties said it was about four weeks away from publicly launching the development. Information had been leaked on a website which described a development of more than 200 apartments, with shops on the Queen Street frontage.

Real Groovy co-owner Chris Hart said negotiations were continuing with the developer over the future of its lease.

The music store was originally the Dixieland Cabaret before becoming car dealership Campbell Motors. It has been owned by the Webster family for 70 years, and Donald Webster said Conrad Properties had a conditional agreement to buy the site." [note that the deal is conditional so is not a done deal as yet. But given that Conrad are currently building apartment towers in Albert st, Howe st and also Wakefield st, I imagine it will go thru]

Real Groovy first opened at 23 Mt Eden Rd in 1981 and settled in its present home in 1991. The owners hit the skids in 2008, going into liquidation and losing their other stores, but managed to revive the business.

UPDATED: Real Groovy have confirmed (via their Facebook page) they are moving, but that won't be til early January 2016, and they will aim to relocate to somewhere nearby if possible.

“This is an opportunity to reshape the business”, says co-owner Marty O’Donnell who joined the business in 1996. “We still want to carry the same range of music, movies, books, pop-culture merchandise and other weird stuff, and we’ll continue to grow the range of vinyl and turntables”.

Sales of LP records have more than doubled for each of the past five years, with vinyl sales now several times higher than those of CDs, and quality turntable sales continuing to rise. It’s part of a world-wide trend, with specialist record stores opening up in cities on all continents.

Both Hart and O’Donnell agree “It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff, and the loyalty of our customers, that we have managed to grow the business into a healthy and strong position where change such as this doesn’t faze us. In fact we’re looking forward to the next stage in Real Groovy’s evolution”. Man, I hope that includes a move to K Rd.

Real Groovy have also posted a photo of the new apartments planned for their current site...

planned apartments for 438 Queen st

Real Groovy posted this proposed design for their new premises, inside a giant robot. Promising! 

MORE: Blue Smoke author Chris Bourke: Real Groovy's site was originally the home of Auckland's 1st large scale cabaret, the Dixieland.
Real Groovy turns 33 and a third (Nov 2014)

Key dates (timeline taken from NZHerald - have updated and corrected mistakes in original)

1981: Real Groovy opens its doors in Mt Eden.
1991: Real Groovy moves to its present location at 438 Queen St.
1992: Real Groove music magazine launches in October.
1999: Wellington store opens. Christchurch and Dunedin soon follow, when they buy out Echo Records.
2008: Real Groovy Auckland goes into receivership, forcing the business to restructure:  Real Groovy Dunedin closes, Real Groovy Chch and Wellington sold off. Real Groove magazine had been sold off prior to receivership.
2010: Real Groove magazine publishes its last issue.
2011: Real Groovy Wellington closes -  owner relocates store to New Plymouth, as Vinyl Countdown, and Real Groovy Christchurch close (this store relocated after first earthquake and reopened, then shut down after the second one).
Real Groovy Auckland celebrates its 30th anniversary with a weekend of festivities.
2015: Real Groovy Auckland looks for new site to move to in Jan 2016 as building is earmarked for demolition.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Zane Lowe's new role at Apple

Julie Adenuga, Ebro Darden, Zane Lowe.

Expat Kiwi Zane Lowe announced he was leaving the BBC for an unspecified role at Apple earlier this year, and relocated from London to LA.What would get him to leave such a prestigious DJ slot? Now we know.

At today's WWDC announcement, Apple revealed Apple Music, its new streaming service, and Beats1, a 24/7 radio station fronted by Lowe in LA, with Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London. It will broadcast to over 100 countries, starting June 30.That's a pretty sweet DJ gig.

The Verge: Apple announces its streaming music service, Apple Music

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Ring The Alarm playlist, June 6

Guts  - And the living is easy
War - Searching for Youngblood and Rommel
Ramsey Lewis - Mighty Quinn
Nick Waterhouse  -It #3
Bobby Angelle - It's just gotta be that way
Pointer sisters  -Send him back
Curtis Mayfield - Give me your love - Todd Terje edit
Mavis Staples - Chocolate city
Curtis Mayfield - Future shock
Impressions - Keep on pushing
Jan Bradley - Mama didn't lie
Gladys Knight and the Pips - On and on
Curtis Mayfield - Freddie's dead
Staple Singers - Funky love
Jr Thomas and the volcanos - Get a hold of you
Foxy Brown - Sorry
Junior Murvin  - Roots train
Adrian Sherwood - Stepping crowd
Jackie Mittoo - Voodoo moon
Prince Jazzbo - Crab walking
Scientist - Babylon fight dub
Rhythm and sound feat Willi Williams - See mi yah - vocal/sub
Fat Freddys Drop - Hope - Sonsine remix
Burro Banton - Boom wha dis
Lightning head - EVA
Curtis Mayfield - If there's a hell below, we all gonna go (live)
Fabulous counts - Jan jan

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

NZ Listener loses music critics

I heard about a month ago that The Listener's longstanding music writers, Nick Bollinger, Jim Pinckney aka Stinky Jim, and Kiran Dass, were quitting. This was due to the changes introduced by the Listener's arts editor, Mark Broatch, and  the ongoing contract issue with Bauer Magazines and its freelancers. The Listener's film critic David Larsen also departed.

The changes Broatch talks about below, such as both editorial and their readers wanting a wider range of music - including popular - covered, seems utterly pointless, given that is the kind of coverage you can find anywhere, especially online.

Losing your point of difference ie, hugely knowledgeable writers, for the sake of popularism, seems short-sighted, to say the least.

Christina Campbell of AUT's Te Waha Nui recently talked with those involved, to get the story. See Longstanding critics quit after changes to Listener’s music column (29 May)

Excerpts: "Nick Bollinger, Jim Pinckney and Kiran Dass resigned last month [April] after being given what they called an “ultimatum” by the magazine’s arts editor, Mark Broatch.

Mr Broatch announced the column would be halved in length to 500 words and their pay would also be halved. He asked the critics to write about “stuff that readers might actually want to buy or will be excited to find out about” in the future. Changes prior to this included the introduction of a star-rating system for music being reviewed and a greater emphasis on images.

Implications for journalism

Mr Pinckney, who’s written for the Listener for 15 years, told Te Waha Nui the changes indicated the magazine wanted “easier, snappier” journalism with less substance.

“We have always written to inform and educate the readers. We gave opinionated reviews that were factually backed up and well-argued.”

Mr Bollinger, a Listener critic for 25 years, said this style was what made the Listener what it was.

He said his columns initiated “a discussion of music at the kind of level you don’t read about popular music in other media ... Standing back and giving a considered review is what the Listener does best.”

He thinks the Listener has pandered to the idea that articles must be short to retain a reader’s attention.

“I just don’t believe that. I think there’s enough publications out there that do that. The Listener’s whole point of difference ought to be that this is where you do get a considered, contextual discussion on a subject.”

Mr Pinckney said such changes in journalism were “frightening”. The Listener had always “operated on a different level” and had aimed for substance, he said.

“When everything is being dragged down, you can follow that, or you can choose to make a stand, which the Listener has consistently done over the years, and say no, we are the journal of record.”

Listener’s response

Mr Broatch said changes were “constant” in journalism, particularly “at this kind of junction of journalism in society”.

“[The magazine is] always changing. It is changing and remains open to change.” He said the changes to the music pages were in response to a survey of readers.

“[Readers] offered their opinion on a range of subjects, but in regards to the music pages they basically said, ‘Can we have a broader range of music on offer and, you know, can you give us music that we will enjoy finding out about and we can actually buy?’”

“What we wanted [and] what our readers wanted . . . was a wider range that included popular [music] – the stuff that perhaps appears on the top 20 artists.” 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Don't give me culture: Taxing times for music fans

Rip It Up, May 1980

Audioculture, the website that calls itself the noisy library of New Zealand music, celebrates its second birthday today. I have had the pleasure to be involved as a writer for this site since its inception.

It has developed and evolved in amazing ways, with all sorts of incredible stories, photos (many previously unpublished) and visual material coming to light. I'm delighted to get the chance to write stories for the site.

The latest one I've done is on the infamous sales tax on music, that troubled the music scene here in the late 70s and early 80s. It was most often associated with Prime Minister Rob Muldoon.

Russell Brown recalls that time on his Hard News blog: "Unless you happened to be a Young Nat – and frankly, a few of them were probably wavering – to be young in late 70s and early 80s New Zealand was to be set against Prime Minister Rob Muldoon ... a key cultural factor was the punitive 40% sales tax on recorded music.

Ironically, as Peter McLennan points out in his fascinating new Audioculture story on the tax, it wasn’t Muldoon’s doing. Although he defended it with a peculiar contempt, the 40% sales tax was the work of the preceding Labour government, which reasoned that records, even if they were pressed here, were imports, because the royalty component largely went offshore. 

It was Labour, too, which axed the tax. It was cut from 40% to 20% in Roger Douglas’s first Budget ... they even taxed the turntables. And the tape decks, to the princely tune of 56%!"

Chris Knox comic, The Listener 1984

One of the amusing parts of researching this story was digging thru Parliamentary transcripts, and finding gems like this:

When the 1984 Budget was tabled, Muldoon started in on the increase on the tax on alcohol ...

Muldoon: “Although this bill taxes liquor at about twice the increase the National Government had in mind, it does give a savage blow to the wine industry, and quite a light tap to the brewers."
Prime Minister David Lange: "A light tap is quite a nice drop."
Muldoon: "Yes, and nothing at all to those who drink water, as the Prime Minister does."
Lange: "I commend water to the Leader of the Opposition."
Muldoon: "I use it for its proper use – washing."
Lange: "No one would guess."

and this exchange, which closes, my article:

On Tuesday, November 13 [1984], a few days after the Budget had been passed, the post-Budget debate resumed in Parliament.

Muldoon: “... Last night the Prime Minister and I were both at the music awards. The Prime Minister was greeted as a hero, and he had a little quip … he said that taxes were like clothes: they were more fun to take off than to put on. There was loud applause. It was an upbeat quip. 

"Taking the tax off records is good for young people, but putting up the price of milk by $30 million is bad for babies. The Government has taken the tax off records and the subsidies off milk. What kind of caring Government is that?”

Lange's reply didn't make the cut for the online piece, but I can report his response was to point out that during the 8 and a half years Muldoon was Minister of Finance, the price of a bottle of milk increased by a staggering 675%.