Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Fever

I got my first new vinyl last night. We were at Tabac, for the official launch of Sundae Sessions, Herald Online entertainment editor Hugh Sundae's lovely-looking series of live performance videos, shot at York Street studio for NZ Music Month. Hugh took to the stage and brandished a copy of Grand Rapids' Faintheartedness, which had arrived from the pressing plant but an hour before.

"Is there anyone here who's just bought a record player?" he asked.

Why, yes there was. Me. My turntable finally arrived on Monday morning, replacing the one that broke perhaps three years ago. So I threaded my way through the hipster throng and claimed my prize. I can report that it sounds quite gorgeous. I'm not about to give up on digital music, but it was nice to be reminded of the warmth of vinyl. I think a copy of the Ladi6 album will be next.

Grand Rapids is the new band formed by Ben King, formerly of Goldenhorse (with the assistance of MusicHype and some whisky and chocolate). Here's one of their Sundae Sessions tracks:

The other videos, including tracks by Night Choir, are here.


I only recently met Dave Yetton, despite having had many friends in common for the past couple of decades, and I can report two things: 1. Dave's a bit of a wag, and 2. Dave has assembled a new Stereo Bus band (which includes members of Night Choir) and has been working on new songs with Sean James Donnelly.

The first new tune is called 'www.leather.boots' (down it free here) and it is a bit pervy, and may come as a surprise to fans of the "sissy rock" genre Dave pioneered with his earlier releases. Dave explained to Damian and I in an interview for Public Address Radio that he'd got a bit more interested in the beat, and had found his "South Island white-boy rhythm".

"Like Salmonella Dub?" I enquired.

"Oh, fuck, NO!" Dave responded calmly.

That won't be the only bleep in the interview, which will air on Radio Live at 7pm on Sunday evening. There is also a chat with and in-studio performance from Princess Chelsea, whose debut album, Lil' Golden Book is at once coy and whimsical and whip-smart and razor-sharp.


At their best, New Zealand music video makers transcend limited means with great ideas, and that is particularly true of two new clips.

Lawrence Arabia's 'Auckland CBD Part 2' was produced by the Jensen Downes Picture Company, and it is a haunting story of existential angst and impeccable grooming:

And Home Brew's 'Underneath the Shade', brilliantly directed by Chris Graham, shows that caring about climate change is no impediment to getting high. I think there's something in that for all of us ...


In an eerie thematic parallel with Home Brew, last night's Media7 covered drug law reform and environmental policy. The show is here on demand, and you should also watch the web-only extra with Dr Mike Joy, the environmental scientist cited (and dismissed) in the BBC Hard Talk interview with John Key. We go through the Yale study which ranked New Zealand second only Iceland for fresh water quality. Without wanting to start that fight, the study was conducted by social scientists who performed considerable indignities on what little data they had.


Returning to a previous Friday theme -- how many remixes of Adele's 'Rolling in the Deep' can there be? Scientists consulted by this blog say, frankly, we don't know.

Here's three more.

The yummy disco-flavoured Tune In Crew Remix.

The deep, deep SpectraSoul bootleg.

And if you liked Jamie Xx's remix, you may also like the next-level sound of Adele & Jamie XX vs. Cecile, Mr. Lexx, Timberlee, 'Rolling in the Heat' (Heatwave Refix) (don't records have such long names these days?), which charges off down the dancehall track like a crazy thing.


I was impressed by AA Gill's session at the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival, in which I thought he showed unexpected generosity of spirit. The drafting in of restauranteur Al Brown as Gill's interviewer was a bizarre idea -- running 90 minutes of one one-on-one interview in front of a couple of thousand people isn't a job for dabblers -- and Gill could have flounced about it. Instead, like a showman, he pretty much carried the whole thing.

We didn't see Gill's buddy Anthony Bourdain here, but the Mumbrella interview with him at the Sydney Writers' Festival is really pretty good. He talks about Gill, food critics and why he's all in favour of competitive cooking shows:


And, finally, a prize for staying with me. Our friends at Auckland's Stardome Observatory and Planetarium have a free family pass to give away. Just email me with "Stardome" in the subject line and I'll draw a winner tomorrow.

You can also go into the draw to win a pass by signing up to their monthly email bulletin, Space News.



A short doco on our own Phoenix Foundation, which screened recently in  4 Music's 4Play slot:

The Phoenix Foundation - 2011 documentary from memphis industries on Vimeo.


So, anyway, it's Friday: post 'em if you got 'em ...

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