Hard News by Russell Brown


Goodie Bag!

It was perhaps predictable that the work at the Auckland Art Fair that really made my heart sing would be a McCahon. I'm like that. It was one I'd never seen before: 'Coastal Landscape', a simple work of ink on gold paper that roiled like the sea. Perhaps it's Muriwai: I can't find any information about it online. Can anyone help?

That isn't to say there was nothing newer that took my fancy at last night's gala opening. I loved John Edgar's Cube JE 90, a work of glass and stone that seemed to possess its own internal source of light, and the small, obsessive paintings of Sam Leach and Neil Pardington's witty photograph Art Store #3 (which doesn't work at all at web size).

Amongst work I might currently aspire to own, Darryn George's formal but sensuous oil paintings, which reference Gordon Walters on their way to somewhere else, stood out. Perhaps we can put one in the budget for the house extension …

The people-watching wasn't bad either. I rarely get to art events, so it was fun to witness the wealthy, the wise and the weird sluicing back the wine and shouting merrily at each other.

I also ran into costume designer Ngila Dickson, who is -- be ready to swoon, geeks -- working on the Green Lantern movie. It's set in the present day, rather than the 1950s, but she's had access to all the original comics illustrated by a series of artists ("bad, bad, BRILLIANT, bad …") for inspiration. The film itself is something of a New Zealanders' club: Martin Campbell is directing and Grant Major is there as DOP production designer. She says she's loving it.


Who is Robert Songsmith? It may just have something to do with the people who built this very website. If there is a Cure song in your heart, you, too, can join in.


I have two double passes to give away to Philip Patston's new comedy show, Philip Patston Gives You A Bit Of What He's Got, 7pm tomorrow at the Herald Theatre.

Be quick: hit reply and email me with "Shit Sandwich" in the subject line. [Both passes are gone. So buy a ticket already.]


It's New Zealand Music Month (it kicks off tonight with a showcase) and my goodness, we have some booty!

Exclusively from Public Address: a limited-time free download of the extremely tasty 'New J' from the Wild Bill Rickets album, John Dryden, which was described on Elsewhere by Graham Reid as being full of "wit, intelligence, evocative music …"

Wild Bill is, of course, Will Ricketts from famous Wellington seven-a-side rugby team the Phoenix Foundation. Here's his MySpace. Many thanks to Charlotte Ryan for the opportunity to offer up the track here.

Also, Peter McLennan has a brand new Dub Asylum track, 'Jump and Twist' available for listening on his MySpace, and for download as a 192k MP3 file.

Peter's also the guest on tomorrow's edition of the very engaging bFM Historical Society, 11am on 95bFM. He says he's talking about "Hallelujah Picassos and BFM, and some of our supports like African Head Charge, and Screaming Jay Hawkins - we asked him 'got any advice? he said 'Keep on rocking'. So we did." His chosen tracks include Eric B and Rakim and Mantronix.

Speaking of which … Damian and I talked to Tyree and Deach of Smashproof, on occasion of their single 'Brother' breaking the record run at No.1 set by that bloody awful yachting song (you can hear the interview on Public Address Radio, 5pm tomorrow on Radio Live). They seem like tremendously nice young men. But, yes, young. When I asked them about the old school hat-tip in the name of Move the Crowd (their record label, founded by the New York-based Kiwi hip-hop impresario Kirk Harding), I thought they'd namecheck the classic Eric B and Rakim tune. But no: they know it as a sample in a Little Wayne track. I am getting old, aren't I?

Anyway, here's the video for the new Smashproof single, 'It's Friday'. It's a party tune (and the radio version is all about the auto-tune) but in a New Zealand stye. Instead of swimming pools and booty camps, it's filling the bathtub with ice and moving the furniture:

It keeps coming: Dirty Records' PNC has a streaming version of his new single 'Tonight' available for listening on his blog. It's a really fun track: very loud synths and namechecks for Brooke Fraser and Millie Holmes, among others. Like Eminem, only better than any of Eminem's comeback stuff. What is reckoned to be an amazing video will go live on the blog later today. PNC's album, Bazooka Kid, is out on June 2.

Note that his blog also features an embedded Twitter feed. The local hip hop scene is going crazy for the social media these days.

I'm really impressed with the way Real Groove magazine is working since its management bought it from the main Real Groovy business. The new cover -- the Mint Chicks in 3D, with free 3D glasses -- is great. Also, the mag's third Awesome Feeling CD, a savvy sampler of the best new local bands beyond the mainstream, is out too: minus the actual CD. You just need to go along to the Real Groove website and register there to download the zip file of all the tracks. They've even sent out a CD slick with the magazine if you want to go old-skool and burn it to to CD. Artists include James Duncan, Bionic Pixie and a bunch of people you've never heard of -- which is pretty much the point.

And when you've finished downloading all that goodness, perhaps you could consider buying some New Zealand music …


Elsewhere, RG editor Duncan Grieve's Free the Internet blog, which regularly compiles legitimate free MP3s from lots of name acts.

And thanks to Paul S for the tip about Pet Sounds in the Key of Dee, British producer Bullion's mash-up of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds with the works of J Dilla. It doesn’t suck! Full download here until the fun police come calling.


And friends and fans of the Androidss may wish to converge on the Bacco Room (under Toto at 53 Nelson Street) tomorrow night for You Wanna Be In Auckland Tonight! A Celebration Of The Life Of Steve ‘Android’ Marsden. It's free, and Chris Matthews and band (including robbery, copyright thread fans!), Newmatics, Spelling Mistakes and the Androidss will be playing. Like the invite says, "come and raise a glass to a fallen brother."

PS: Leo says to check out trailers for The Hunt for Gollum, a LOTR fan film in which the level of detail is positively devotional. Also, he has a new game review up on his blog: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. He was looking up Chernobyl maps on Wikipedia this week, which just proves that video games are educational.

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