Its a great sentiment, to start your own band, and I myself wouldn’t mind spinning out a bit more often (constrained by young uns right now tho), but frequently the venue is that missing or difficult element. Last Saturday night I popped out to hear some mates dj’ing at pub in Collingwood, and while it was not the busiest the music was certainly creating a good atmosphere. Anyway, the dj’s were wrapped about 11, and what did the staff put on the sound system – Chris fucking Issacs’ ’Wicked Game'album! Was so mortified we decamped to another nearby pub for a final lager … I mean, Chris Issacs, of all choices in this day in age, and that links back to the point that the venue can be the challenge, so RIP to Golden Dawn, it was clearly good while it lasted.
NME was never a prominent part of my youth/musical education, but the tale of its inescapable influence – despite being three months out of date by the time of local landing – certainly resonates, as my secondary school library used to stock The Face, which portrayed a world quite different to that around us. Coincidentally the New Yorker’s Hua Hsu recently penned a similar piece of reminiscing (and what struck me about this was that he was in NY, seeking out the very same worldliness as me and my friends in suburban AKL):
On the music tip, I belatedly got around to listening to that Black Milk mix from a few weeks ago and it was a good one (backyard system in effect, holding onto them summer days). Also came across a mix of 80’s dubplates from an 80’s South London Sound System, Ghetto Love (originally found at a car boot sale, sigh). Might not be everyone’s cup of tea but with the likes of Ken Booth, Garnett Silk and Tristan Palma well worth a spin if that’s your thing (DL link at the bottom pf the page as well)
On Mancini, but Henry, the first 70 seconds of this one ... talk about some drums!
'Just enjoy the day' seems like an apt assessment to me, noting the contrast with how things are going in Australia - where discontentment with Australia Day being celebrated on the anniversary of Captain Cook's arrival/invasion - is getting larger (and more divisive) with every passing year.
I read some of the Grant Fell tributes, and had various memories triggered and various dots of other things Auckland in the early 1990's joined up. He seemed to be quite the instigator, the sort of person - as I think Russell noted - all scenes need to make things happen. The Headless Chickens were one of the biggest, if not the biggest, local bands circa 1992/93. If memory serves me right they headlined the BFM bombathon for several years in the old warehouses where the viaduct is nowadays, and I recall looking out for their new videos more so than other bands of the time. Also recall Planet making a splash, but never knew of the shared connection (or otherwise had forgotten) until reading of it in the last week - in all honesty, it wasn't a big surprise.
I saw Bill Brewster is also heading down under, and has shows in AKL and Waiheke on Feb 2nd and 3rd ... promo seems a bit light at the mo, but may be of interest to some
I googled the Andy Smith comp and saw its on BBE, which has been doing some good stuff of late such as last years reissue of Ahmad Jamal’s heralded ‘The Awakening’ album. Anyhow, the tracklist on that comp sure seemed pretty obscure although Cloud One’s ‘Patty Duke’ seemed familiar – cue Spoonie Gee’s ‘Spoonie Rappin’ (an early 80’s style direct lift!):
Oh, and I found this mix of tracks on the comp by Andy himself:
And for all the lovers out there, another Tamiko Jones classic:
A great write up of your year Russell, and compulsory reading perhaps for that chap from a few weeks back who thought the NZ music scene was slowly withering away.
Nights out have been on the backburner for me due to young uns, so most of the activity has been around the home collection and new arrivals bin. Earlier in the year I decided to scoop, pretty much exclusively, reggae and rocksteady releases only (and mostly older ones at that). Come year end I’m pretty happy with that decision, knowing that whats been scooped will be played and enjoyed for many years to come.
The three standouts from year are the Creation Rockers series, Derrick Harriot and Japan’s Dubstore.
Creation Rockers is a 6 part Trojan compilation series, and someone happened to list all 6 as a single lot on Ebay right at the time I had some spare money – although I had volume 1 already, it was too much of an opportunity to pass. It really is a great series, and I’ve been giving these lots of spins already.
Derrick Harriot features on volume 1 funnily enough, but somewhere along the line I came across him and his productions and was completely perplexed as to how I hadn’t heard of him before. I’ve since chased down a bunch of his albums, including the great Rocksteady party reissue on Dubstore, and grapple with acquiring the Soul and Funk double comps also on Dubstore. Tonight is one of my favourites.
And Dubstore is the label which just keeps giving, in a rocksteady sense. From a fairly humble shop tucked away in an odd part of Tokyo’s Shinjinku they are developing a catalogue with more depth than the Adriatic trench. Fortuitously one shop here in Melbourne stocks them – a couple of personal favourites are Gregory Issac’s ‘Warning’ album, Hopeton Lewis’ ‘Take it easy’ and Don Drummond’s ‘ABC Rocksteady’.
The whole reggae/rocksteady focus has been complemented by delving into a bunch of books on both Jamaica and its music, including Marlon James’ ‘Brief history of seven killings, Chris Salewicz’ ‘Bob Marley – the untold story’ (acquired at a local garage sale for $2), David Katz’ ‘People funny boy’ (on Lee Perry), the Rough guide to reggae and various volumes of the Small Axe series. All up it feels like I’m still just scratching the surface, so looking forward to learning and discovering more in 2018.
Some of the industry reflections reminded me of passages from ‘How Bizarre’, in terms of the push for albums and the need for follow up singles etc – certainly a dynamic which has changed these days. The reflections on touring as the main money spinner also resonated with a book on Bob Marley I’ve just finished, where it was noted Exodus only sold 180,000 copies – most of the income came from relentless touring (as an aside, Bob’s militancy also seemed to put off some of his potential audience, and when Legend as assembled as a Bob Marley ‘lite’ collection after his death it went on to sell 20 million copies). Anyhow, long story short I think things seem healthy, and there is a stream of new artists and releases which – for me at least, noting I live in Oz – is too hard to keep up with. I have just come across this Midnight Riders release though, which is on a label from Raglan. Tasty stuff, wouldn’t mind some more.
Good looking on the S.O.U.L BBoy edit - as the soundcloud page notes it has some infamy as the source of Pete Rock & CL Smooth's 'Go with the flow'. At least one of S.O.U.L's albums (and possibly both) had an Australian pressing BITD - another page in the 'the industry did that?' book for folks like me who find these things really interesting ...