Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: The Cool Return

The last time I went to see my hairdresser, Shayne, I had something in mind -- apart, of course from having my hair cut. Shayne is a music fan and we always talk about music (amusingly, my tastes are reliably gayer than his). But, more particularly, he is a longtime card-carrrying fan of David Bowie. He owns the bootlegs, belongs to the fan club, haunts the forums and knows the gossip.

Not that there has been much gossip about David Bowie in the past few years, beyond his health problems and his apparent determination to live out his later years quietly in New York.

"Shayne," I said. "Did you have any inkling at all that this new album was coming until the day that the 'Where Are We Now?' video dropped?"

"Not a clue," he said.

I've never really been a full-throated Bowie fan, although I love Heroes, Station to Station and his funk period. Perhaps the excellent subterfuge of his re-appearance would turn out to be the best thing about the project, I thought. But it appears not. The reviews have been stellar. Andy Gill in The Independent called The Next Day 'the greatest comeback album in rock ‘n’ roll history."

Big call. But when I watched the new video for 'The Stars (Are Out Today)', I did wonder if we were seeing a late-in-life creative flourish like that of Johnny Cash. The video itself seems to illustrate the song's themes of celebrity (a common theme on the album, according to the reviews) and highlight a sense of of duelling youth and age, past and future:

Also, it's actually a really good song.


Another comeback, if not quite so dramatic. Tricky's back! And he's well moody:

This the first track from a new album, False Idols, due out on May 28.


I mentioned finding The Basement Tapes on TheAudience recently. He has quite a trove of material on Soundcloud, including this nice Watercolours remix:

I wasn't familiar with the song, but I soon enough found it here on Watercolours' Soundcloud, where it's one of five tracks uploaded in the past week. Cool. You can never have too much Watercolours.


Speaking of TheAudience, download here from Hamilton (to America) hip hop artist Winston Anthony, featuring the striking line: "I miss Paul Henry. I Miss Paul Holmes. I miss Judy Bailey. I feel so alone."


 So So Modern are back! Like so many of the kids these days, they draw on early 80s post-punk and indie-funk. There's even a little Screaming Mee Mees in there, which isn't a bad thing at all.

That's the title track from their new EP, which is released today and can be had from Bandcamp for a fiver.


If you liked the Nicolas Jaar Essential Mix, I feel confident in saying you'll like this new Cyril Hahn mix. Dude is smooth:


And finally, of interest out there ...

This week's Media3 includes an interesting interview with Andrew Dubber about the state of the music business -- and why there's never been a better time to be actually making music. You can see that on-demand here, or catch the repeat on TV3 at 10.25am tomorrow morning. (Sorry, I don't don't have a separate clip -- it's in the third part of the show.)

 A reborn SFX Entertainment has bought online dance music retailer Beatport, because in the words of SFX founder Robert Sillerman, "it gives us a massive platform for everything related to E.D.M." Yeah! Dance music! It's the new thing! Well, if they just keep their stadium E.D.M. out of my club, that's fine ...

And the finalists for the 2013 Taite Music Prize have been announced. That's a hell of a lineup.

And as a special little treat: NZ On Screen has the man for whom the prize is named, Dylan Taite, presenting a report on Sweetwaters 1980. Features Chris Knox doing things to watermelons.

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