Hard News by Russell Brown


Music: Radio is still relevant

Having at various times nailed my colours to the mast in saying that the action of new music discovery has moved irrevocably from radio to the internet, I've been thinking I should write something about how much I still love radio when it's good.

A real, live human still brings something to radio that you're not going to get from any number of Spotify playlists. (Like Simon Grigg, I'm hot and cold on Spotify, but still mostly cold. It just doesn't seem as much fun as it should be.)

There's a lot to be said for curatorial personality -- an attribute whose greatest exponent was the late John Peel. I was lucky enough to spend a bit of time with John when he visited New Zealand a decade ago and it was something of a revelation to discover he had but the one manner: he was the same man over a beer as he was over the airwaves.

I like Andrew Tidball's 95bFM show, 7-9pm Tuesdays for similar reasons. He muses out loud, invites listeners to share silly memories, sounds like he's having fun -- and he has an acute and eclectic ear. I'll quite often find myself making and serving dinner while listening to his show 

Keegan Fepuleai brings a more bustling, drive-time tone to #Justsayin, his soul-and-hip-hop-oriented BaseFM show, Wednesdays 4-6pm. I like the way he always works to make it sound like something's happening out there. 

Peter McLennan's Ring the Alarm show, is your reliable and relaxed Saturday morning (10 till noon) reggae business, nahmean?

My essential indie listening is Pennie Black's Bloody Sunday Drive, 4-7pm Sundays on 95bFM, not least for the regular Trainspotting slot with Gonzo, who covers a lot of stuff I know about from first time round, and thus makes me feel wise as well as quite old.

And I do admire the way my buddy Pete Darlington explores shared musical ground with his son Tom on Generation Beats, their dub-to-dubstep show, Generation Beats, on Nelson's Fresh FM, 7pm Thursdays.

You can listen to all the above over the internet (indeed, unless you live in or near Ponsonby, that's the only way you'll hear Base FM). The respective web streams are here:


Base FM (or here if that doesn't stream for you)

Fresh FM

Feel free to share your own music radio suggestions with the crowd ...


The thing that got me thinking about radio this week was hearing Suren Unka mixing his music live on Keegan's show on Wednesday. It swooped and bubbled and and made live radio sound relevant. Suren is the drummer in a band called Beach Pigs, and you can download (and vote for) his most recent solo tune, 'Early', on TheAudience:

There's also a daffy video on a beach:

And a self-titled album from last year free for the downloading on Bandcamp.

Leading this month's voting on TheAudience, Mark Vanilau's unreleased 'Giant of the Sea', produced by Warren Maxwell. It's soulful and restrained and I can see Vanilau -- a perennial sideman with with everyone from Dave Dobbyn to Ladi6 -- becoming very popular in his own right if he's got more like this:


This week's remix business ...

A fun disco edit of The Clash's 'Train in Vain':

This week's Busnach -- a gritty, atmospheric take on Yoko Ono's 'Walking on Thin Ice' (as ever, be quick for the download):

And I mentioned this in the discussion for last week's post, but what the hell, I'm a bit obsessed with it, so here you go again:

I think downpitched vocals might be one of my new favourite things.


The hipster alert level has been raised to "quite interested, really" as The Xx's second album, Coexist nears release. That's still actually a month away, but later on tonight you can huff some nutmeg or something and watch the video for the video for the album track 'Chained'. In the dark, right ...

And ... THIS JUST IN ... a new video from one of my favourite albums of last year, 'Do Whatever' from Panther and the Zoo's More Fun:

It's nice to see them getting some fresh air ...

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