Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Love Unknown Orchestra

It's been quite a week for Ruban Nielson. Firstly, a new Unknown Mortal Orchestra tune, the title track from a forthcoming album, has been rapturously received. Secondly, he has a hand in the new track from Wu Tang Clan founder GZA. I mean, what did you get out the door this week?

The new UMO single, 'Multi-Love', is wonderful. It takes UMO's mystery pop into the electronic realm. It's fluid and beguiling. It reminds me a bit of Hot Chip, and not only for the falsetto vocal:

You can buy that on iTunes, and read Stereogum's interview with Ruban.

Meanwhile, Pitchfork has the lowdown on the GZA single, a collaboration with Tom Morello, UMO and Hanni El Khatib, which is also pretty fine (and is a free download!):


When the great Frankie Knuckles passed away last year, DJs, producers and dance music fans alike expressed their debt to the man and his work. Now, in advance of the first anniversary of his death, March 31, several of Britain's most prominent beatmongers have made that debt material – and the result is is wonderful in more than one way.

Underworld, Junior Boys Own founders Pete Heller and Terry Farley, and the Mysterons have re-recorded 1987's 'Baby Wants to Ride', the second single Frankie wrote with Jamie Principle. Money raised from the sale of a limited-edition 12" and a digital download will go direct to the Frankie Knuckles Fund (part of the Elton John AIDS Foundation).

And furthermore, it's a banger:

You can go here to buy a four-track download or (while stocks last) the limited-edition 12". I liked it so much I bought both. Hey, it's for charity!


Back in the old days, when horseless carriages were a novelty and hardly anyone had tattoos, we used to write each other letters. Long, mad letters full of news, ironic abuse and typing errors (yes, typing – we weren't cave people!). And some of the letters I most enjoyed receiving were those from legendary Dunedin record store owner and sports columnist Roi Colbert, not least because these contained even more ironic abuse than was usual for the times.

It was fortunate for all of us that Roi's love for music and way with words outstripped his frankly diminutive physical stature. And those two gifts are with him still in a new Otago Daily Times column that addresses one of the enduring questions in New Zealand music: what exactly is Shayne Carter singing in 'She Speeds'?

Love the opening lines, Shayne,'' I wrote.

''And I quietly bound with the dawn, hey man, a number that is bounding beyond.''

After a lengthy silence during which I could almost smell his incredulity, he replied - ''And I quietly count with her gone, name any number and I'm counting beyond.''

Really? I quickly countered with ''Caress without a neigh''.

I had always loved that seamless slide into horse metaphor.

''Caress one night away,'' replied Shayne.

The occasion for the column – as if a man like Colbert needs one to write his tosh – is Southern Sinfonia presents: Tally Ho! Dunedin Sound Songs & Singers on February 28, where the likes of Shayne, Martin Phillipps, David Kilgour and Graeme Downes will share the Dunedin Town hall stage with the Sinfonia's performers.

Speaking of Dunedin, there's a new Flying Nun compilation of the brilliantly brattish The Stones on the way,  curated by Bruce Russell with design and illustrations by Alec Bathgate and Chris Knox, and liner notes from Shayne Carter. You can pre-order it and listen to a previously-unreleased track here.


Over at Dubdotdash, Peter Mac has news of a new video of Auckland in the 1970s, with a soundtrack by Scratch 22. Cool.

If you haven't seen the rundown of the talk content I'm producing at Splore next weekend, it's here.


How ya like this Zeitgeist, Kanye? A few hours ago, Cousin Cole posted a remix of of Beyonce's 'Partition' that is basically a mashup with Beck's 'Loser'. (I can't believe I had to explain this one to my darling. We play in different parts of the culture.)

Meanwhile, Chelsea Jade has posted an a capella (strictly, it's the vocal stem from what, I presume, is a full cover version) of Rihanna's 'You Da One', with an invitation to use and re-use:

In a wholly different vein, Christchurch's Devilish Swing and the Holy Rollers have this delightful 50s pastiche on TheAudience. It's a free download if you click the fan button on their profile:

See Hannah McGowan's profile of the band here.

And, finally, the first new tune from Pikachunes in a while. It's about love and communication ...


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