Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Scary Young

I wasn't able to get to the Apra Silver Scroll Awards last night (you may wish to view the fruits of my labour, including a frank and absorbing interview with Phil Kitchin on ACC's troubles, on Media3 at 10.25am tomorrow on TV3) but happily, the New Zealand Herald's live stream was almost like being there -- at least until Beastwars brought the noise and broke the internet.

The big award went to Lips, aka New York-based Stephanie Brown, who seemed thoroughly dazzled and delighted. This is her wistful winning song:

You can buy it for a US dollar here on Bandcamp or here on iTunes while you wait for her debut EP proper.

I hope the coverage of last night's Hall of Fame winners Herbs can be made available permanently, because, from Che Fu's speech to the excellent tribute video (Hugh Lynn!) and the marvellous, spontaneous, a capella performance of 'E Papa', it was pretty special.

It was intriguing seeing the former band members all these years on, and inevitably reminded me of the first time I met Herbs, as a 20 year-old Rip It Up deputy editor fresh in from the South Island. I wandered into their Fort Street rehearsal rooms, shyly announced myself and was merrily greeted:

"Wassat!? Roll It Up!? You're just in time!"

I was promptly handed a freshly-fired bong. Herbs were gentlemen like that.

For more on Herbs and the rest of the evening (including a funny Joe Walsh story, involving dope) see Peter McLennan's review. And for a stream of Herbs' classic What's Be Happen and links to buy all their albums, Hugh's got you sorted at the Herald site.

UPDATE: Here's video of the Herbs part from last night.


It seems there will be more where Steph Brown came from. I happened to be chatting online the other night with the Wellington journalist Martyn Pepperell about scary young local talent, and he put me onto the following.

Unmap's 'Etude No.3 (Waiting)', whose art-and-soul blend calls to mind James Blake (for more, see the short profile at Vanguard Red mgazine). It's a free download:

The amazingly assured Wellington teenager Estère:

And the beautiful, dreamy work of a girl called Zoe, as :WON:


Some Soundcloud dance picks ...

From Germany's Minoru, this amazing glitch-hop take on Ray Charles (free direct download here):

Bobby Busnach takes on The Orb's 'Little Fluffy Clouds':

And explains the origin of the famous vocal sample:

"Little Fluffy Clouds" is centred on clips from an interview with Rickie Lee Jones in which she recalls picturesque images of her childhood. Critics and fans sometimes attribute the odd nasal tonality of Jones' voice to drug use, though Jones later claimed that it was the result of a heavy cold. The samples are widely believed to have come from a conversation between Jones and LeVar Burton on the children's television programme Reading Rainbow, but in fact originated from an interview disc that was issued with some promotional boxed copies of her album Flying Cowboys. The interview was not actually conducted by Burton at all.

 Interviewer: "What were the skies like when you were young?" 
Jones: "They went on forever – They - When I w- We lived in Arizona, and the skies always had little fluffy clouds in 'em, and, uh... they were long... and clear and... there were lots of stars at night. And, uh, when it would rain, it would all turn - it- They were beautiful, the most beautiful skies as a matter of fact. Um, the sunsets were purple and red and yellow and on fire, and the clouds would catch the colours everywhere. That's uh, neat 'cause I used to look at them all the time, when I was little. You don't see that. You might still see them in the desert."

Jones' record company was upset at the unauthorized use of her voice and pursued the issue in the legal system. However, when Jones herself heard it, she is reported to have disagreed, saying: "What the hell you doin'? This is good!" Big Life chose to settle out of court for an undisclosed sum of money for use of her voice on The Orb's recording.

And Sasha's honeyed remix of Hot Chip's 'Flutes', due for release later in the month:


Impressing on TheAudience: this merry little number from The Eversons:

And from scary-young to outright terrifying, South Auckland's Mixt Frequencies, who are, respectively, 12 and 13 years of age:

The Hard News Friday Music Post is sponsored by:


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