Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: A night out dancing

If you've been looking for a night out dancing, Keegan Fepuleai has a big one for you on Saturday week. ALT + CTRL + DANCE is a party across multiple K Road venues (Whammy, the Wine Cellar, Neck of the Woods and The Station), featuring live bands incuding Nathan Haines and Rackets and a DJ lineup including Basement Tapes and, er, me.

Specifically, my fellow old dude (but vastly more famous in dance music circles) Harry the Bastard and I will be holding down an old-school house music room under the Housequake! banner at Whammy.

All this for only $20.

The Facebook event page is here. More details to come in the next week.


People liked the Great Australian Albums doco on The Saints' (I'm) Stranded last week – so here's another from the series: The Go-Betweens' 16 Lovers Lane:

It was made after the untimely death of Grant Maclennan, so he's represented only in archive interviews, but all the others give their accounts in what turns out to be another tale of how weird and sometimes joyous it can be being in a band.

I was interested to see how Lindy Morrison, the band's immensely cool and characterful drummer, was holding up – and the answer is, pretty well. I have fond memories of meeting the Go-Betweens on their first visit to New Zealand (we went to Alfies after their show because back then only the gays knew how to run a nightclub).


A little Apple Music update. People are asking whether it's safe or prudent to to update to iOS 8.4 on mobile and/or iTunes 12.2 on the desktop in order to try out Apple Music.

Yes. Yes, it is.

With some caveats, which may or may not apply to you. I have continuing issues which seem to be related to having a large existing iTunes library (11,000 tracks) and/or being a user of the iTunes Match service. I don't know and Apple's not saying anything helpful.

The iOS 8.4 upgrade is safe and painless. You'll be able to use Apple Music for the three month trial as soon as you have it. But you can't save or playlist anything unless you have iCloud Music Library turned on. This seems safe – or, more to the point, eminently reversible (in Settings > Music).

There's a bit more peril on the desktop. Enabling iCloud Music Library in iTunes 12.2 means that your library is scanned and (without asking) any tracks Apple Music doesn't have being uploaded – the idea being that then you can have all your stuff available on all your devices. But for me, it made a mess of my playlists – duplicating and even triplicating some of them. It still doesn't work consistently.

But because I enabled iCloud Music Library on my desktop, I can't switch on iCloud Music Library on my phone without getting my whole desktop library on it, which I don't want. And when I tried to make it more manageable this week, deleting a lot of old iTunes playlists and filing others in folders and then leaving it iCloud to re-scan my library and upload gigabytes of unmatched tracks overnight ... I woke up to find that it was reverted all my changes and I was back with the old mess. I don't know what to do about this.

Some people have had worse experiences, with metadata and album art mixed up and (for iTunes Match users) tracks they've ripped themselves being lumbered with Apple Music DRM.

On the other hand, my son was already hooked up with family sharing and I got a family Apple Music account and everything has worked seamlessly for him on his iMac and his iPhone. Bizarrely, he has UI elements (the ability to save a song to a new playlist!) I'm not even seeing. This may well be your experience too.

Meanwhile, I'm still finding odd bugs – turning on the Beats1 radio station instatly disables AirPlay in iTunes, to the point of making the AirPlay icon disappear from the menu bar, although AirPlay can still be anbled at system level. (If you have been using Home Sharing to access your desktop library from other devices in the home, that's gone for everyone – except via Apple TV.) Fuck knows, basically.

Apart from the Home Sharing issue there's no risk in just using it all to play music for at least the duration of the three-month free trial. And you may well want to do that, because the curated elements of Apple Music are pretty great and have introduced me to a lot of new music. I've been enjoying Beats1 radio a lot – not least catching Elton John's Rocket Hour show this week. He's not a bad DJ at all.

Meanwhile, if you do have any issues, these might be useful:

Apple Music Problems: How To Fix Issues With Syncing, Playlists, iCloud Library, Offline Listening Not Working And More

Okay, here's the deal with Apple Music, iCloud Music Library, and DRM



A quiet little tune from Lontalius titoed on Soundcloud while you were sleeping last night:

And a not-at-all-quiet new work from Tourettes, assisted by Rodi "Scratch 22" Kirk, Tom Anderson, Kate Elliot and Matthew Crawley. Poetry banger.


And finally, I know I might have had some harsh words for the EDM music genre at times – but never let it be said I don't know a good drop when I hear one ...


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