Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music (on a Thursday): Hype Right

One of the skills of releasing music independently in the present age is getting your hype right. Home Brew did it right last year when, after a highly visible build-up, their self-titled album went instantly to the top of the iTunes chart and subsequently to number one on the national album chart.

The related @Peace project did the same thing this morning when the Girl Songs EP topped the iTunes chart (within, it seemed, minutes of word going out) and then the worldwide Bandcamp chart. But in doing so, they presented a tricky question. Their website links to both iTunes and Bandcamp sales. The price, $16.99, is the same on each.

Bandcamp should be the music fan's choice -- both because of the range of formats in which music is offered (including lossless) and because the return to the artists is better there. But unless I'm mistaken, iTunes sales count towards the national charts and Bandcamp sales don't. So if you want your favourite group to soar over the dreck and top the charts for a week, you choose iTunes, right? Well, no, you probably don't. But it bears thinking about.

UPDATE: I'm mistaken! Paul Kennedy of Radioscope advises that savvy labels and artists can have their Bandcamp sales included in the national charts if they submit the information. @Peace's people are doing this, and he's expecting "a pretty good showing when the chart is out on Monday!"

As I've noted previously, this project is quite different to @Peace's debut. It's about the perils of love and infidelity and it seems appropriate that there are some R&B flavours in the mix. There's a simple, beautifully executed video for the first track, 'Bar Stool Balancing Act':

And a "making of" video with the chaps ...


In a not-entirely-dissimilar vein, I really liked Third3ye's wistful, soulful 'Heart Decide' when I heard it last year:

And now I see they have a video for another tune, 'Moments':

Both songs are on their Earth Raps EP, which you can download for free on Bandcamp. I certainly did. But guys -- why not make it "name your price", just in case someone does want to give you a little money?


Imagine a musical collaboration between local luminaries Riki Gooch, DJ Parks, Christoph El Truento and Julien Dyne. How would you expect it to sound? Probably not like this freaky psychedelic mixtape thing they've just released:

They have a live, improvised thing at Golden Dawn on Thursday the 21st.

I don't like everything Beck does, but as soon as I heard the words "Beck covering Bowie's 'Sound and Vision'," I thought that sounded good. And it really, really does:

Pitchfork has more on the project, which used an ensemble of 160 players, including "the Dap-Kings, a string orchestra, a gamelan ensemble, members of the USC marching band, a Peruvian charango group, choirs, guitarists, a musical saw player, a harpist, and a Theremin player."

Robyn Gallagher has brought it to my attention that there's a reasonably good copy of Sharon O'Neill's 1980 video for 'Asian Paradise'. I'm not sure how I missed it, but it's relatively significant because her record label has lost the master for the video (NZ On Screen tried to find it and failed) and this is the best copy of which I'm aware. It may be that the ABC has a better one. But for now, a generation of men think 30 years back to their teens ...

And once more for the the 80s, The Chills' 'I Saw Your Silhouette' at the Rhumba Bar in 1982. The video has just gone up on YouTube, but I've seen things from the same show on TV before, I think. Just can't think where ...


I have three double passes for the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra's summer tour -- kicking off at Q Theatre in Auckland tomorrow and taking in Hamilton, Whanganui, Hastings, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, Invercargill, Dunedin and Oamaru. First in from any centre, first served -- please email me via the icon at the bottom of this post and put the show you want to attend in your subject line.

Meanwhile -- a Nick Cave cover!


Some good reading: Flying Nun general manager Ben Howe talks about the label's exciting reissue deal with the specialist US label Captured Tracks.

And The Corner's A Low Hmm duo have some kind words for NZ On Air.  No, really, they do.


Aaaaaand ... some random tracks.

The British DJ Weedyman has made this lovely take on the Fela Kuti classic. I hit him up for a download, but he's not doing that just yet ...

A curiousity: re-edit specialist The Reflex got access to the master of Michael Jackson's 'Rock With You' and made a version that's prefaced with the songwriter's original guide vocals. From Gilles Peterson's show on BBC6 Music:

Nicolas Jaar's Essential Mix for BBC radio -- all two hours of it -- voted the best of last year by listeners.

Check out the track listing.

And, finally, as officially talent-spotted on TheAudience by Martyn Pepperell, this special electronic sauce:

It's a download too! More on Soundcloud.

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