CREDITS Creators Murray Cammick Alistair Dougal Publisher Grant Hislop Editorial Manager Tyler Hislop - email@example.com Designer Greta Gotlieb - firstname.lastname@example.org Sales Director Pauline Cousens - email@example.com Distribution Jamie Hislop - firstname.lastname@example.org Accounts Gail Hislop - email@example.com Intern Pauline Reinhardt Contributors Murray Cammick, Jamie Wynn, Ren Kirk, Tim Gruar, Gary Steel, James Manning, Daniel Rutledge, Sarah Thomson, Nick Collings.
Rip It Up Magazine is published by Hark Entertainment Ltd Office 2a Waverly Street, Auckland CBD, New Zealand Postal PO Box 6032 Wellesley Street, Auckland 1141, New Zealand Phone (09) 366 4616 Website ripitup.co.nz
IF YOU SUBSCRIBE TO RIALTO NOW, YOU’LL GET THE FIRST 3 MONTHS FOR HALF PRICE. AND THAT’S NOT ALL THE GOOD NEWS. RIGHT NOW IT’S AUSTRALIAN FILM SEASON. SO YOU CAN ENJOY THE FINEST THE LAND OF DINGOES HAS TO OFFER, INCLUDING WISH YOU WERE HERE, JESUS HENRY CHRIST, NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN AND THE SECOND SEASON OF RAKE, FOR NOT VERY MUCH AT ALL.
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Printers Webstar | Blue Star Group Limited Rip It Up is subject to copyright in its entirety. The contents may not be reproduced in any form, either in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher. All rights reserved in material accepted for publication, unless initially specified otherwise. All letters and other material forwarded to the magazine will be assumed intended for publication unless clearly labeled “NOT FOR PUBLICATION”. Opinions express in the magazine are not necessarily those of Satellite Media Limited. No responsibility is accepted for unsolicited material. ISSN 0114-0876
04. Credits, 08. What Goes On & On The Rip It Up Stereo, 10. RIU Reborn & Free again... , 12. Sleigh Bells, 14. So What..., 14. RIU Top 5 16. Nirvana, 18. Dizzee Rascal, 20. Whoâ€™s Next?, 22. Kings Of Leon, 24. Foals, 26. This Month in Clubland, 28. Rob Schneider, 30. Style File & Artist Q&A 32. Style like Haim, 34. Style like Gary Numan, 36. Gadgets, 38. Geeks, 40. Film Reviews, 42. Album Reviews, 43. The Drones, 45. Icona Pop 46. Lefsetz Letter, 48. #Winning, 50. Tweet Talk.
WHAT GOES ON Le Poisson Rouge New York will see performances by Kiwi acts, Tiny Ruins, Ghost Wave, Streets Of Laredo, Black City Lights and Electric Wire Hustle.
THU 31 OCT THE POWERSTATION,
LANEWAY FESTIVAL 2014
ALL AROUND THIS TOWN: A TRIBUTE TO
MON 27 JAN SILO PARK, AUCKLAND
TICKETS ON SALE: 9AM, THU 3 OCT
SAT 02 NOV THE POWERSTATION,
TUE 15 OCT LE POISSON ROUGE,
BOTH SHOWS ON SALE: FRI 04 OCT
The annual Waitakere Festival is back this year with another lineup of local music, forward-thinking community projects, and an abundant marketplace.
LeND A Hand
CMJ MUSIC MARATHON Every year in New York the CMJ Music Marathon takes place as a platform for the discovery of new music. The five-day festival boasts over 1300 artist performances in over 80 venues across Manhattan and Brooklyn along with hundreds of panels, seminars, Q&A sessions, mixers and special events. Tue 15 Oct, New Zealand will take to Manhattan once again. As one of CMJ’s opening night events, hosted by the New Zealand Music Commission at
The big guns of New Zealand music come out in force to lend a hand two friends. “All Around This Town: A Tribute to Dave McArtney” promises to be a memorable and moving send-off to the co-founder of Hello Sailor. The Exponents have celebrated thirty years. During the research period of their documentary, contact was made with ex member Chris Sheehan and the band discovered their ex guitarist and friend was ill. The four founding members of the band have rallied to send funds to Chris and the family and to help contribute and in the hope that Chris can make another record. THE EXPONENTS
LANEWAY 2014 St Jerome’s Laneway Festival has announced the 2014 Auckland line-up. It’s been four years since the birth of Auckland Laneway. The festival will again deliver an exhilarating, urban music experience this summer. LINE-UP INCLUDES: CHVRCHES, Danny Brown, Daughter, Doprah, Earl Sweatshirt, Frightened Rabbit, Ghost Wave, Haim, Jagwar Ma, James Blake, Jamie XX, Kurt Vile, Lorde, Mount Kimbie, Parquet Courts, PCP Eagles, Rackets, Run The Jewels (ELP & Killer Mike), Savages, The Jezabels, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Vance Joy, Watercolours, XXYYXX and
The festival came about in 2010, started by two friends, Chloe Waretini and Tim Gregory. They wanted to ensure the local people continued to feel that sense of place and identity that are at the heart of both our pioneering past and exciting future. LINE-UP WILL INCLUDES: David Saunders (The 3Ds) with Street Chant, Sal Valentine & The Babyshakes, The Eversons, Dictaphone Blues, Eddie Numbers and Miss June. 2013 WAITAKERE FESTIVAL SUN 27 OCT HENDERSON PARK, AUCKLAND
ON THE RIP IT UP STEREO
‘Love film’ (2013)
Kirin J Callinan
Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats
The Bones Of What You Believe (2013)
Mind Control (2013)
Nine Inch Nails
The Honeydrippers: Volume One (1984)
Hesitation Marks (2013)
Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood
Big TV (2013)
‘Summer Wine’ (1967)
L I N K I N P A R K A LIGHT THAT NEVER COMES is the brand new single from Linkin Park & Grammynominated international producer/DJ, Steve Aoki! The track will be featured on the upcoming Linkin Park album, RECHARGED, which features new interpretations of songs from LIVING THINGS, the band’s most recent album that debuted at No. 1 in over 20 countries. RECHARGED will be released on Oct. 25
F O A L S After releasing their most exhilarating album yet - HOLY FIRE - to critical acclaim earlier this year, the UK five piece have since unleashed a feverish assault on live audiences worldwide. Foals will release their first ever DVD - LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL - recorded at the historic London venue, on October 25.
B I R D Y Critically-acclaimed British singer/ songwriter Birdy is back with a brand new album, FIRE WITHIN. Fans will see Birdy come to the forefront as a songwriter in her own right, having written/co-written all of the 11 tracks on the new album, including stunning single 'Wings'.
G R O U P L O V E Just in time for their performance at the 2014 Big Day Out, quirky alt band Grouplove release their much-anticipated new album, SPREADING RUMOURS – out now! The album is led by the insanely catchy single, ‘Ways To Go’ and new track ‘Borderlines and Aliens’.
T I N I E
T E M P A H
One of the UK’s most innovative, credible and authentic artists Tinie Tempah builds towards the release of his eagerly anticipated second album – DEMONSTRATION - with the new singles ’Trampoline’ (produced by Diplo) and ‘Children of the Sun. Album out November 8.
PA N I C ! AT T H E D I S C O Panic! At The Disco’s fourth studio album, and first new release since 2011, will be released on October 4. Simultaneously celebratory and cathartic, new album TOO WEIRD TO LIVE, TOO RARE TO DIE! is Panic! At The Disco at their distinctive best – personal, potent, and utterly irresistible.
H E AV Y M E TA L N I N J A S The five-man, ten-legged Heavy Metal Ninjas collective return with their highly anticipated new album INTERSTELLAR ABDUCTION, due out on October 11. The sheer power and spectacle of the band’s live show has to be witnessed first-hand.
J A S O N D E R U L O Singer, songwriter and superstar performer Jason Derulo releases his third album TATTOOS, featuring the massive hit singles ‘The Other Side’ and ‘Talk Dirty feat. 2 Chainz’. Album out now!
Rip It Up Reborn and Free Again “Hopefully Rip It Up will be empowered by its “new” free distribution.” Rip It Up continued with new publishers and numerous editors over the following few years, but gained stability when David Rose of Satellite Media took over the publishing of Rip It Up in 2002 and issues came out six times a year, beautifully printed on good quality paper that Ad Agency advertisers loved, but that I always viewed as a “coffee table” format. At the time, David Rose spoke of the aim of Rip It Up returning to a monthly format. The years that Satellite Media published Rip It Up saw a series of great editors including Scott Kara who moved on to the NZ Herald, Phil Knight (DJ Sir-Vere) who is now at Mai FM and recent editor Leonie Hayden. Phil originally joined to edit their 2005 relaunch of hip-hop magazine When it was recently announced that Rip It Up would return to a free format, I was pleased to hear the news. When I co-founded the magazine in June 1977 with original editor Alastair Dougal, the free format was already familiar to music readers, as we followed Hot Licks (1974 to 1976). Our initial print-run was 10,000, moving to 12,000 in 1978 and we were soon printing over 20,000 monthly, with a bumper 40,000 copies one crazy month, May 1980.
largely due to the collapse of the Direction Records retail group who owned Hot Licks.
The rationalisation behind free, was that a serious music magazine primarily targets the 18 plus young adult, tertiary student market who would prefer to spend their limited income on a beer or a gig, rather than a magazine.
Although the 1990s gave Rip It Up excellent cover stories such as Pearl Jam, Courtney Love, Offspring, Marilyn Manson, Foo Fighters, Supergroove, Blur, Oasis, Prodigy, Rage Against The Machine, Shihad, Garbage, Garageland etc, the Rip It Up news stand sales had declined by 1996 to give the magazine an ABC audit of 8,964. I ended my run as editor in 1998 when the Liberty Group closed Rip It Up.
Our forerunner, Hot Licks abandoned the free format in 1976 and went on newsstands, selling for 40 cents and soon disappeared, but this was
I was editing Rip It Up in 1994 when the new publisher, Barry Colman of the Liberty Group decided to put a $2 cover price on Rip It Up. The 200th issue sold well with TV adverts, a free cd and The Mutton Birds on the cover (approx. 20,000). Also selling well that year was the issue that followed the death of Kurt Cobain (approx. 17,000).
Back2Basics. Nikki Streater had a key role in “keeping the faith” as GM / publisher in the recent Satellite years. I don’t agree when people say the heyday of Rip It Up was 1980. What about the Aug 83 issue when I put Wham! on the cover? The magazine was only getting started in 1980. A series of writers joined the magazine in the staff writer / assistant editor role – including Mark Phillips, Russell Brown, Chris Bourke (editor 1986- to 1988), Chad Taylor, Donna Yuzwalk etc. I am very proud of the issues we produced in the grunge era, both before and after the change of ownership in February 1994. Our 1994 to 1998 team with John Russell as the staff writer
“What about the Aug 83 issue when I put Wham! on the cover?” produced some of the best issues of Rip It Up fuelled by a vibrant local and international music scene with the annual Big Day Out Festival as the focal point. The designers of that era Ryan Henderson and Struan Ashby were young masters of the new computer-based graphic design. I think the best ever issue of Rip It Up was published in this later era, the 30th Anniversary issue in 2007 with Karl Puschmann as editor. The runner-up best ever issue is the 35th Anniversary issue June/July 2012 with Leonie Hayden as editor. And best ever Rip It Up cover also goes to the Satellite era with Philip Bell (DJ Sir-Vere) as editor, when Otis Frizzell illustrated the Fat Freddy’s Drop cover (June/July 2009).
The years in which I was publishing or editing Rip It Up, from 1977 to 1998 were great years for music and saw the rise of New Zealand music from outsider to insider status. As an editor it was easy to live in times when fads included punk, funk, new wave, post-punk, alt, rap, new romantics, hip-hop, grunge, Brit-pop, Cali-punk, new-metal, garage, dub etc. These styles of music often impacted youth culture in terms of the clothing style as eyes and ears internationally focused on music scenes from London, New York, Manchester, Compton, Seattle etc. Rip It Up was a fun, fad-riding job to have in such culturally rich times. Hopefully Rip It Up will be empowered by its “new” free distribution. Murray Cammick
SLEIGH BELLS beats - making for a blistering and insistent start to the album.
The beginning of the Sleigh Bells story is pretty cute, like the plot of a sun soaked, coming-of-age Indie film; 2008 and Boy is working in a Bistro in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where Girl and her Mother go for dinner one night. Boy has moved to Brooklyn to find a female vocalist for his new musical project and freely chats to customers about it. Girl just happens to have been in a pop group as a teenager, so Boy and Girl exchange email addresses. Boy is none other than guitarist (formerly of hardcore band Poison the Well) Derek Miller, so Girl can only be Alexis Krauss. And talking on the phone to Miller from his home in Brooklyn, it was something beautiful right from the start: “I called Alexis and just listening to her message… the pitch and tone of her voice was perfect, sort of high, and I was incredibly excited!” He even remembers the first day they recorded together at a friends’ apartment. “It was summer and the computer was balanced on top of piles of books. We had to turn the air con off ‘cause it was making too much noise. We were sweating and shouting… and we just haven’t stopped.” Fast forward to 2013 and the alt noise-pop duo are set to release their third LP, Bitter Rivals, arriving only a year and a half after second album Reign Of Terror. The ten-track effort is
produced entirely by Miller and mixed by Kanye regular Andrew Dawson. While Reign Of Terror saw the pair slowing things down and expanding their sonic palette from the set of ear-shattering tunes that was Treats, Bitter Rivals is different again. The primary reason for the difference comes down to approach Miller explains, and being in a different head space: “Reign Of Terror is very dark, heavy and dense. I still really love it - it is what it is - but I don’t feel like that person anymore.” This is a result of having to come to terms with the loss of his father, as well as his mother being diagnosed with cancer – happily now in remission. “This album doesn’t sound beaten down… with Reign Of Terror I feel sorry for the person who made it. But I came out the other side and this record is a reflection of that.” Narrowing the divide between all out noise and shimmering pop melody, the eponymous lead single ‘Bitter Rival’ is vintage Sleigh Bells and carries the band’s signature sound. 30 seconds in and Krauss is belting out pop clichés, “It was the best of times, it was the worst times, I had to kill the new Sheriff in town”, and the hard crunch of Miller’s Jackson guitars is nicely juxtaposed against Krauss’s hooky pop vocals. All of this stomps all over the underlying electronic
While there are a number of tracks with the familiar gang vocals, vicious and slightly brutal production, Krauss did a lot more writing for Bitter Rivals, especially on the melodic choruses. “The first two albums feel more like mine, but this is the first that is ours. I gave her instrumentals and lyrics and she just got to work.” Krauss’s melody work was so instinctive that Miller didn’t feel the need to produce her vocals, leaving her with free reign. And so the finished product has, “more of her [Krauss], so there’s more of the album I like. The collaboration is a result of the chemistry between us.” Second single ‘You Don’t Get Me Twice,’ is a nice contrast, with softer vocals from Krauss,
probably one of the album’s stand out high points, shredding chords and infectiously driving forward. Other songs promise to bring the house down, like ‘Tiger Kit’, which despite being a bit more lethargic still packs a solid punch under its sliding melodies. In between the two is ‘Young Legends,’ which went through many different versions and arrangements but almost didn’t make the album Miller confides: “It kind of haunted me and followed me around. So it was really satisfying to get it done. I knew if I could get it right it had potential to be great song.” Then there’s one of my favourites (apparently probably Kraus’s too, Miller says) ‘To Hell With You’, which got transformed from an old song that’s been kicking round since 2008: “I always liked the music, but the previous
“There’s still lots of tension, but the album doesn’t take itself so seriously.” backbeat drum hits and a chuga-lug guitar riff that shifts into clean, psych-pop guitar and minimal noise. Seesawing between the two guitar sections and avoiding a standard versechorus structure, it all comes to a close with solitary piano chords and a crooning ballad’s promise of, “Maybe, maybe if you ask me nice.” Just one example of the band’s leaner sound, it comes down to being, “a lot less overdubbed and more changes in tempo,” Miller explains. “There’s still lots of tension, but the album doesn’t take itself so seriously.” Which isn’t to say the band doesn’t still crank it, because lets face it, Krauss and Miller are at their best when pushing things to the limit. ‘Single Like A Wire’ is
iteration didn’t work. It sounds very different now and is almost unrecognisable with its little guitar loop. I got to fuck around with some great synth patches too.” It’s an album that is sometimes ferocious and sometimes sugary sweet, all with plenty of childof-the-80s influence. Building layers of vocals and percussion, just begging for some shoulder shaking and finger-snapping, along with full-throttle, raucous, shredding rock, Miller admits to not doing subtlety very well. He thinks it’s a good thing - I whole heartedly agree - and certainly isn’t planning to be middle of the road anytime soon. REN KIRK
SLEIGH BELLS BITTER RIVALS OUT FRI 11 OCT
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So What... Cee Lo Green brought a “king size Boa constrictor” along with him to ‘The Voice’ auditions. The 39-year-old judge on the US version of the talent contest has had animals accompany him on set for previous shows including Purrfect, his Persian cat, and pink Moluccan cockatoo Lady, but his latest pet wasn’t quite so well received leaving many of the crew scared. “I actually had access to a bunch of animals so I tried something new and it didn’t work. Everyone was afraid because I had a giant king size Boa constrictor.” Naomi Campbell is delighted people think she’s scarier than Simon Cowell. The supermodel has turned TV judge for her new Sky Living HD modelling show The Face, and enjoys leaving everyone quivering in their boots with her “tough love” attitude and cutting comments, which rival the ‘Mr Nasty’ X Factor boss himself. Host Nick Grimshaw quipped: “You make Simon Cowell look like a wuss!” A gleeful Naomi exclaimed, “Really? Good!” before bursting into peals of laugher.
Melissa Joan Hart has revealed she used to take ecstasy, ‘magic’ mushrooms and marijuana. The ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ actress had several drug-fuelled nights over an 18-month period and recalls one occasion when she took ecstasy at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion in 1999 and kissed a girl during the limo ride home. “I experimented with weed, ecstasy, mushrooms and mescaline for about a year and a half.”
Miley Cyrus has got “Rolling $tone” tattooed on the soles of her feet. The 20-year-old pop star got the inking during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine as she wanted to do “something fun”. The former ‘Hannah Montana’ star got her first tattoo in 2009 at the age of 17 and since has slowly added to her collection Kanye West demanded that his dressing room carpet be ironed. The rapper caused a stir on the Later... With Jools Holland show after he made a series of outrageous requests before taking to the stage to perform. After turning up for rehearsals the star was less than impressed with his studio set and screeched at staff to tear it down and rebuild it to his original plans, before insisting everything in his dressing room be replaced in the colour white, including the walls, sofa and flowers. However, he really shocked BBC employees when he asked for his carpet to be flattened out with a heated tool as it was too bumpy for his liking.
RIP IT UP TOP 5 APRA have announced the top five finalists in the running to with a Silver Scroll Award this year. Check ‘em out below! The winner will be announced at Vector Arena on Tue 15 Oct.
Bird in Hand Performed by Anna Coddington Written by Anna Coddington Mushroom Music NZ Limited
Complicated Man Performed by Tattletale Saints Written by Cy Winstanley
Royals Performed by Lorde Written by Ella Yelich-O’Connor and Joel Little Control / EMI Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd
Thames Soup Performed by The Phoenix Foundation Written by Luke Buda, Sam Scott, Thomas Callwood, Richie Singleton, Chris O’Connor, Conrad Wedde and William Ricketts Native Tongue Music Publishing
Wake Up Performed by Aaradhna Written by Aaradhna Patel, Evan Short and Peter Wadams Universal Music / Control / Kobalt Music Publishing
NIRVANA Los Angeles September 2013 Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic are remembering Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain. “He had a wicked sense of humour,” smiles Grohl. “People tend to forget that being in Nirvana was often fun.” Novoselic adds: “He was a sweet man, a true brother and he was caring. And he could also be a wicked son of a bitch.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of In Utero. And to commemorate the anniversary of the final release by the legendary Seattle band, a remastered, remixed album including rare, unreleased and live recordings released.
Rip It Up meets Grohl, 44, and 6ft 7 Novoselic, 48, at Grohl’s Roswell Film Offices in the Sherman Oaks district of LA. “What Krist and I have been doing for a long time is trying to keep the legacy of Nirvana in a place where it’s true to the original intention of the band,” says Grohl. “And I think Kurt would be happy.” Following the explosion of Nevermind, released in 1991, things had gotten dark for the band, for Cobain in particular. The trio didn’t want the fame that came with success and were finding the intensity hard to handle. Grohl had returned to Virginia, bassist Krist Novoselic was in Seattle and singer Kurt Cobain had moved to LA. “It was a really weird year,” remembers Grohl. “A lot of weird shit went down after Nevermind, so I wasn’t sure there’d be another record, that we’d ever make In Utero. When Nevermind happened, (which went on to sell 30 million copies worldwide) it fractured the band. We stopped everything and went into hiding. Even though the world was suddenly at our feet, Kurt started doing a lot of drugs and there was a lot of tension in the band because of business stuff and money. Everyone wanted us to be everywhere all the time but we just disappeared because it was all too much.” In Utero was Nirvana at their darkest musically and today, 20 years on, the band’s third and final studio album is still a difficult listen for Novoselic and Grohl, knowing the tragedy was to come, with Cobain’s suicide just seven months later.
“...your lead singer happens to be one of the greatest songwriters of all time. It was great to be in a band with Kurt. I just wanted to play drums.” “I do find it hard personally,” admits Grohl. “It’s hard for me to listen to or look at any Nirvana record like the average listener because of what happened to Kurt. But I am proud of what I learned in that band and without that band I would never have made any Foo Fighters records.” “I remember thinking to just hang in there hoping we could get through this, says Novoselic. “It had been a difficult time but In Utero is the sound of a band who rose to the occasion.” “Everyone thought we’d make a mainstream record, that we’d sell out, but we put out a record after Nevermind and it’s a different record. It’s darker has an edge and we’re not bludgeoning the listener with one idea. There’s a lot of variety. There are some songs on there which would stand up to any of the heaviest rock, “and 20 years on it hasn’t aged.” The In Utero re release includes never-before-heard demos, B-sides, unseen Anton Corbijn photos, Kurt Cobain’s handwritten lyrics, a new 2013 mix of the entire album, the original never-before-heard (producer) Steve Albini mixes of ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ and ‘All Apologies’, the unearthed Nirvana instrumental ‘Forgotten Tune’, Grohl’s original solo demo of ‘Marigold’, a four-page letter from Albini to the band outlining his plans for how the album should be recorded plus the complete Live And Loud show along with several never-before-released performances.
“It was like being in a whirlwind and it ended so terribly. But Kurt was under so much pressure. room,” he says pointing to the walls in his tiny office. “And I slept on the couch and we had this four track recording thing and at night he would go into his room and start writing his journals. “So I would sit down really quietly so as not to wake him up and I played this song and recorded it and he came out of his room and he said ‘What is that?’ and then he said, ‘The harmony was really cool. “We jammed on it a few times. But when you are in Nirvana, you do everything you can not to complicate the songwriting process because your lead singer happens to be one of the greatest songwriters of all time. It was great to be in a band with Kurt. I just wanted to play drums.” A reaction to Nevermind, acclaimed producer Steve Albini, renowned as a hard taskmaster was the producer Nirvana wanted for In Utero. Says Novoselic: “Kurt loved the album Surfer Rosa by The Pixies which Steve had produced, but Steve doesn’t suffer fools gladly and we still had to prove ourselves to him and we did that by recording the first song in one take. It was like saying we’re a real band. “So that’s how we won Steve over, with our song ‘Serve The Servants’. We did that song in one take and most of the other songs we did were two or three takes. Kurt and I played together since 1987 so by that time we knew each other really well musically and Dave is so good he could just come right in and he had that power and it was a done deal at that point.“ Looking back through the vaults has been a bittersweet experience for Novoselic. He says: “If you look at Live and Loud, the performance, Kurt looks great and sounds great. He was at the top of his game and as a band we did our part. “It was like being in a whirlwind and it ended so terribly, but Kurt was under so much pressure. He was the singer, the songwriter, the front man. He was foisted into this role as a spokesperson for a generation but was happy just being in his little apartment in Olympia, Washington and doing his art. He was under a lot of pressure to go out and sing for an hour and a half and he just couldn’t take it. “Grief is hard. You go through all sorts of emotions. If he had been murdered you would be angry at the murderer but because it was suicide that just makes things worse for the survivors. It’s been tough and there’s still pain that we lost Kurt.” “And musically In Utero isn’t too far off what Kurt was doing before Bleach. It wasn’t a contrived change of direction from Nevermind but the world around the band had changed and Kurt had a hard time processing a lot and we were focussing on the instrumentation. It was only when we got home that I listened to his lyrics like on ‘Scentless Apprentice’ (with the lines “You can’t fire me because I quit/throw me in the fire and I won’t throw a fit/Hey, go away, and thought, ‘Wow this is really fucked up’. Though no one imagined what was going to happen to Kurt.” Jamie Wynn
NIRVANA IN UTERO 20TH ANNIVERSARY REISSUE OUT NOW
Says Grohl: “With ‘Marigold’ (which was the b-side to Heart Shaped Box) I wrote it when I was living with Kurt. We lived in a place the size of this
Dizzee R ascal It’s been 10 years since grime prodigy Dizzee Rascal was gearing up to release his first single ‘I Luv U’, 10 years since the release of his seminal album Boy In Da Corner, and 10 years since he won the Mercury Prize. The East London rapper/emcee (turned worldwide superstar) has been a busy lad over the last decade, going on to release three hit albums, including the self-released platinum Tongue ‘n Cheek - which resulted in five number one singles in the UK. With countless accolades and industry awards under his belt, not to mention a landmark performance at the 2012 Olympics, Dizzee has proved he’s one of the most successful British artists of all time. He’s not done yet though, and it seems inevitable there will be more success for him very soon. The UK music legend (born Dylan Kwabena Mills on 1 October 1985) released his brand new album, The Fifth, on 27 September through Liberator Music/Dirtee Stank. His last long player, 2009’s Tongue ‘n Cheek, produced some massive hits including ‘Bonkers’, ‘Holiday’ and ‘Dance Wiv Me’ - which incidentally saw him collaborating with Calvin Harris waaaay before Rihanna did. But that was just the tip of the collaboration iceberg, and he’s pulled together a massive team of musical heavy-weights for this latest record, including rappers Bun B and Trae tha Truth, right through to Will.i.am, Tinie Tempah, Calvin Harris, Jessie J and even Robbie Williams. “It was always gonna be a collab ‘cause I don’t sing. Someone like Tinie Tempah it was just really organic…” - ‘Spend Some Money’ finds Dizzee and said guest trading ferocious lines at speed - “…and then rappers like Bun B, well we’ve worked together before and we’re close friends.” With two thirds of the album featuring other artists the various collabs were definitely not just about singing: “It adds something that you’d never come up with by yourself, and you can tap into other peoples ideas. By getting different people involved you come out with a whole body of work that’s different… and you just can’t get away with doing things in the same way.” Track four, ‘Good’, featuring up-and-coming British R&B star Angel and produced by legendary hip hop producer Hi-Tek was one of the highlights of the whole process for Dizzee, resulting in a soulful, ‘90s hip-hop joint. “I really love the track with Angel, and when we got in the studio together was the first time I ever met him.” Angel and Dizzee meeting in studio is more of a big deal than it seems, because he was one of the select few that did. Sean Kingston was another – ‘Arse Like That’ – and Robbie Williams was the only other. “Robbie agreed to do ‘Goin’ Crazy’ on the condition we recorded together. So we got in the studio and it was fucking cool.” The resulting radio-friendly ‘Goin’ Crazy’ is by far one of the most pop-heavy tracks of the album, with the catchy chorus from Williams taking centre stage.
“When I made ‘Bonkers’ I took it to America and they couldn’t get their head round it!” recorded the majority of in LA and the recording process was really fun. I wanted it to sound like a good time and good vibes, and be really positive.” As well as decent contributions from Rihanna and Chris Brown veterans Warren Okay ‘Oak’ Felder and Andrew ‘Pop’ Wansell, Dizzee managed to nab Jean-Baptiste. He also recorded four tracks with RedOne (the all-conquering Swedish/Moroccan production house that brought Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ and Nicki Minaj’s ‘Starships’ to life) because he wanted a more international sound. Wanting to see what America was all about, the Bow-born bought a place in Miami and set out to soak up new experiences and check out club life and party life in the dance scene. “When I made ‘Bonkers’ I took it to America and they couldn’t get their head round it!” Four years on and Dizzee says the time has been an eye opener and a great way too see America as what it was and what it wasn’t, “…ya know, growing up in the UK and to see how hyped it is for entertainment purposes.” With musical backdrops ranging from dub-step to house and dancehall to moombahton, this diverse pack of tracks may not hang together as a coherent album, but does that really matter? And It’d be stating the obvious to point out that the rapper’s really embraced pop in a new way, though maybe not something fans would have predicted. But past and future aside, there’s a recurring thought that this is a massive album and is going to be a chart monster. As Dizzee Rascal says: “Middle finger in the air, don’t give a care, goin’ full throttle.” Ren Kirk
Other album highlights would have to be ‘Something Really Bad’, where Will.i.am blends nicely into the propulsive, dancefloor-destined track, and ‘Heart Of A Warrior’ finds Dizzee absolutely killing it in the verses - with lyrics that come from experience, and just, well, “living life.” He also flipped his script geographically, leaving the familiar surroundings of his South London studio and walking the platinum disclined hallways of some of the best producers. “It’s the first album that I
Dizzee rascal THE FIFTH OUT NOW
IF YOU LOVE A THRILLER, HAVE A BODY IN THE CHILLER, OR FANCY YOURSELF A SUPERNATURAL KILLER. COME WITH US A teenage girl is brutally murdered and the hunt for her killer is on. But in a town where everyone hides a secret, will they find the monster among them? Hemlock Grove, adapted from the bestseller by Brian McGreevy, is another addictive thriller exclusive to SKY.
Premieres 17 October sky.co.nz/hemlockgrove
WHO’S NEXT? Nominees for the songwriter of the year
Emily Rice 3rd year student, Bachelor of Music (Popular Music programme)
With a hint of old worldly charm Emily Rice is all warm, honey-like vocals and soft and soothing jazzy sensibilities, telling stories and inviting listeners on a journey. ‘Blue Balloon’, the first track on Rice’s facebook page (http://www. facebook.com/emilyricemusic), is a great example of the above, simply delivering delicate vocals and sweet harmonies. ‘Conditional’ picks up the pace, but only slightly, showcasing another facet to Rice’s rich voice. The arrangements are strongly jazz-inspired and the layers are unexpected, but work well and keep the track firmly rooted in a more contemporary space. ‘Ruthy’ again delivers interesting vocal layering and a definite stylistic versatility that is both endearing and intriguing.
University of Auckland students, some of New Zealand’s most talented young songwriters, are competing for the title of Songwriter of the Year, along with five new awards; Best Vocalist, Best Lyricist, Best Instrumentalist, Best Arranger and Best. This years music industry panel of judges are Campbell Smith, Paul McLaney, Julia Deans, Tama Waipara, Emily Littler and Rikki Morris (songwriter). One thing the finalists all have in common is that they’ve been developing their craft at the University of Auckland’s Bachelor of Music programme, majoring in Popular Music. This programme is taught by some of New Zealand’s leading musicians including Godfrey DeGrut, Kiri Eriwata, Neal Watson, Stephen Matthews, Jeremy Toy, Graham Reid and Laughton Kora. Nominees for the Songwriter of the Year Award are Shana Llorando (Pakuranga), Emily Rice (Mairangi Bay), Brayden Jeffrey (Tauranga), Jamie Moana (Auckland Central) and Callum Lee (Mellons Bay), who were all chosen at the semifinals in July from a field of thirteen contestants. Ren Kirk
Brayden Jeffrey 2nd year student, Bachelor of Music (Popular Music programme)
Playing with bizarre caricatures and larger-than-life metaphor, Brayden Jeffrey writes songs about young love and simple moments with a mix of schoolboy naivety and tonguein-cheek sarcasm. Listening to his music on soundcloud (https:// soundcloud.com/brayden-jeffrey) Jeffrey has a unique musicality and style, but shows versatility from track to track as well. ‘Pineapple Tops’ wistfully talks about growing old, with haunting instrumentation floating behind the vocals, while ‘Lets Make Babies’ is still lyrical, but the driving guitars and propulsive beat mark it as sitting somewhere on the blues-rock continuum. ‘The Coffee Is Bitter’ follows in
this vein, but the pace is slowed down and it’s a chance for Jeffrey to demonstrate some theatrical falsetto vocals. Writing songs and being onstage since he was a young boy, Jeffrey is a passionate performer who believes it’s the stage where his music really comes to life. Describing songwriting as a transcendental experience, it’s sometimes melody first for Jeffrey and sometimes lyrics first. The songs that come to life lyrics-first do tend to be his favourite though, and come with the feeling that it was something he needed to say.
With the amount of versatility Rice displays it’s no surprise to discover there’s no particular format for her songwriting; sometimes lyrics first, sometimes beginning with the chords, and at other times it all just happens at once. There’s even diversity in where she gets her inspiration from; Sting, Tarzan, Madeleine Pereoux and Sufjan Stephens at the top of her wish-list of artists to co-write with.
Shana Llorando 2nd year student, Bachelor of Music (Popular Music programme)
Callum Lee 3rd year student, Bachelor of Music
Ethereal, vibrant and sincere, Shana Llorando is developing a sound that is a striking mix of neo-soul and electronica. Listening to the demo of ‘I Know This Isn’t Love ‘ over on Llorando’s website (shanamusic. net), there are beautifully crafted layers that are cleverly and deliberately arranged - but the real highlight is the sweet and smoky tone of her vocal.
(Popular Music programme)
Callum’s work with his band Rewind Fields (http:// rewindfields.bandcamp.com/) shows a certain dream-like sensitivity and a nicely developing music style. Listening to the band’s latest EP, Live At The KMC, there are vocal theatrics straight out of a Bernstein musical, along with some interesting and unexpected arrangements. ‘College For Knowledge’ is reminiscent of a Kody Neilsen track with its off-kilter beat structure, and following immediately after, ‘Photographs’ wraps you in it’s comforting blanket of 60s-inspired guitars and psychedelia. ‘Safe Zone’ is similar, with its modulating guitar effects and hazy layers, with a slight melancholic edge to it. Lee has developed a writing process that starts with chords, then melody a close second. He also says that writing lyrics can be a “nuisance”, especially after creating a nice atmosphere where there’s always the risk that a wrong word might break it. Preferring to make electronic music, he feels more comfortable with it as a medium and enjoys that inspiration can be found in a synth line, a record sample, or a drum groove.
‘Dodging Bullets’ follows and the obvious power of her voice is immediate, hitting all her notes effortlessly. Some effects are Deep Forest-esque. ‘Give It Up’ follows the first track stylistically, and vocal restraint adds power and meaning to the lyrics. ‘How Can I Love You’ is sparse and stark at the start,
but stunningly beautiful for its simplicity – and when the instrumentation begins at 1.36 I just want to go back to the beginning again, and again. While many songwriters find the process dolorous, Llorando says that songs turn up fully formed for her most of the time, and it’s certainly how her best songs come to be. Llorando chooses each word carefully according to vowel sounds and number of syllables.
Jamie Moana 3rd year student, Bachelor of Music degree (Popular Music programme)
Combining an uncompromising sixties influence with garage delta-blues, Jamie Moana makes music under the guise of The Holts. Creating music in the secluded bedroom of a cheap back alley apartment where the sensibilities of the down and out sit high in the psyche, Moana has slowly been brewing the moods of his music and direction of his visual art. With only one track to listen to on The Holts’ bandcamp page (http://theholts.bandcamp.com/), ‘Harold Time’ is engaging and entertaining right from the get-go, strutting along with keys and a marching beat. Talking about the effects of the American Dream and the controversies of the west, there’s some great lines scattered throughout the track, “…treasure in the floorboards… the spirits are high…. a lonely greedy heart… extortion and fraud…” Naming Beck and Nick Cave as wishlist co-writers, Moana also offers up Tom Waits’ ‘Swordfish Trombones and The Velvet Underground’s ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ as tracks to help understand his songwriting style better. Personally, I’m definitely a fan of his songwriting style and just want more, stat!
KINGS OF LEON “Musically we have come full circle and we are enjoying playing again.” agreement however, that becoming fathers has brought the band closer. Caleb has a 17-monthold daughter Dixie Pearl with wife, model Lily Aldridge, Nathan and wife, singer Jessie Baylin have a ten-month-old baby daughter Violet while Matthew and his wife Johanna have a two-year-old son Knox Cameron and a three-month old baby.
Two years ago it seemed like it was all over for Kings of Leon. Brothers Caleb, Nathan, Jared and cousin Matthew Followill were sick of the sight of each other and ready to call it a day. It was November 2011 when they duly finished their rescheduled Australia tour although cracks in the band had appeared four months earlier, in Dallas. Singer Caleb, 31, dramatically walked off stage mid-show and never returned. The rest of the tour was cancelled and it was announced the band were taking a break, a statement released later citing “vocal issues and exhaustion”. Caleb had started to need steroid injections to help him sing. “It was tough,” says Caleb. “We just didn’t know when to stop as we’d never done that before. We’d always kept going.” Kings of Leon formed in Nashville in 1999, when Nathan, Caleb signed up baby brother Jared now 26, and cousin Matthew, 28, to a form a band named after their grandfather Leon. This was their longest break since the start. Much needed family time and becoming fathers, meant that when the Nashville band reconvened it was without any pressures. Making sixth album Mechanical Bull rejuvenated the four. “There was a time when Caleb and I had given up on each other as brothers,” confesses Nathan, 34. Caleb adds: “Of course we had arguments we are family but even families don’t spend the time we all spent together. But now it’s good to be back. But
we’ve had time off, we’ve nearly all had babies and even Jared has grown up and got married. We are back together as family and we like each other. So it was fun to get back into the studio again. It’s easy to lose inspiration when you’ve been doing it for too long.” Making Mechanical Bull became a secret between the Followill’s and longtime producer Angelo Petraglia. “We didn’t tell anyone we were making a record,” explains Nathan. “We’d just bought our own studio - an old paint factory - just got on with playing again and writing. We’d finished the album by the time the news broke.” Caleb adds: “Having your own studio suited where we were, there wasn’t any pressure or time constraints because of money being spent. We could stay late without a worry. And you can hear it on this record - we are hungry again. We’d missed it. You can tell we’re doing it because we want people to hear it. We had fun and you can hear it on the record. We made it a fast record and had a good time in the process.” Listening to old records including Mike and The Mechanics and watching Urban Cowboy, the 1980 western romantic starring John Travolta gave the band the idea for Mechanical Bull as an album title. “Of course we argued over it,” laughs Caleb. “It took a while for us to agree on it.” And Mechanical Bull was the name though it took a while for us to agree on it. Both are in
“Having a family gives you so much more of a responsibility,” says Nathan. Now there is someone else in my life that is the most important. When I was writing, a lot of the time I was thinking ‘I just wanna write something to make my daughter feel proud.’ And on the record there are plenty of family themes. Country anthem ‘Comeback Story’ was inspired by a story the boys’ grandfather used to tell them when they were young and there’s another song called ‘Family Tree’. On ‘Rock City’ Caleb opens up about being lost and trying to get back home. “That is a pretty personal song,” admits Caleb. “I was nervous playing it to the others for the first time as it told them how I’d been feeling. What I needed from them as family and as a band.” “We are closer now,” admits Nathan. “We enjoy family get togethers with mum and all the grandchildren together. That’s how our childhoods were as there was six of us all close in age. “Though our childhood was very different. We were sons of a preacher, whereas we are in a rock band. Living in Nashville will keep our children grounded as it keeps us when we go back.” It’s been ten years since Kings of Leon put out their debut album, Youth and Young Manhood, how have they all grown in that time? “Musically we have come full circle and we are enjoying playing again,” says Caleb. Nathan adds: “On a personal level well we don’t have the hangovers like we used to. And we don’t really fight anymore. I guess we’ve all grown up - finally.” Jamie Wynn
KINGS OF LEON MECHANICAL BULL OUT NOW
SOUND THIS IS THE SOUND
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FOALS “The shows are getting bigger and bigger, and that the live set is complemented by heavier album highlights.” JAMES MANNING
English indie rock band Foals third album Holy Fire was released earlier this year in February and marks another stylistic evolution for the band. Just as Antidotes evolved from the mathematically arranged dance-punk into the more soundscape-driven groove in Total Life Forever, Holy Fire shifts the direction down an edgier path. Sure, it’s a louder and at times more aggressive effort, but it’s done so without abandoning the cutting time signatures and progressive grooves the band is known for. As guitarist and synth player Jimmy Smith tells me, it is a sound the band have been waiting patiently to explore. “I don’t think it was a preconceived ‘thing’, it just sorta went along naturally and ended up there. I think we’ve always loved sort of aggressive, heavy
“It’s really like the hardest thing to make something sound heavy without sounding gross.” music, you know. We’ve been waiting for an excuse to try and do something like that. It seems to be getting even heavier live as well, which is good”. Speaking from Australia, Jimmy is in the middle of a world tour that has seen Foals touchdown in Asia and America, along with all the usual Festival spots including Coachella and Glastonbury (“the ultimate highlight of the whole year”). Commenting on the success of the Australasian leg of the tour, the chirpy brit enthuses the shows are getting bigger and bigger, and that the live set is complemented by heavier album highlights ‘Providence’ and ‘Inhaler’; “they always seem to get the crowd going”.
Aiding the sonic direction of the album are legendary producers Flood and Alan Moulder, who have worked with Smashing Pumpkins, The Killers, U2 and Sigur Ros to name a few. Encouraging Foals to tamper with the ‘louder’ trend developing in recording sessions, Flood and Moulder won over the band with their ability to make the aggression and volume of a track sound good in the mix. Not an easy feat, says Jimmy. “I think maybe we finally felt comfortable enough around producers that actually make it sound good. Like the heavy stuff; it’s really like the hardest thing to make something sound heavy without sounding gross. You know, in the studio, something is loud and amplified, but it’s really hard to make it sound ‘loud’ on the recording. “ Of course, that isn’t to suggest Foals have abandoned their fun, seductive groove. That same groove found in brass excerpts throughout Antidote is still there, it’s just gone baggier and swampier, and has its roots in a recording session spent in Sydney with Jono Ma of Australian indiegone-Madchester revivalists Jagwar Ma (who have recently been announced as part of the Laneway 2014 line up). “It was about half way through the Total Life Forever tour and we just thought it would be a really good time to try out some stuff. We went in with very little, we were kinda just vibing and brainstorming. But we came out with maybe four or five songs,” explains the guitarist. The main song to come from this recording session was lead single ‘Inhaler’, a song that broke Foals silence between albums with a colossal roar. Cutting time signatures and a kraut-y groove build for two minutes before the explosive guitars and massive drones break out in release.
“That was the very first that Jono helped on; the ‘mid-wife’ of that groovy, heavy kinda sticky, swampy stuff.” Originally conceived as a half hour long jam, Jimmy laughs when recalling the task of pummelling it into album-form, saying it was “an absolute pain in the ass”. “It nearly didn’t happen. We had written and trashed so much, [but] Jack (Bevan - drummer) persuaded all of us to give it another shot. I think it was the last song to come together. We knocked it out in the last few days, and I came up with a bridge part which actually gelled two things together, and then switched the outro for the intro.” It was the keen eye for song structure that helped mould the jam into a stand-alone track, and has served them well with Holy Fire recently being nominated for the 2013 Album of the Year Mercury Prize. Their performance at the Auckland Town Hall on Saturday Sat 05 Oct will be their second visit to our shores and their first headline gig, having played at Laneway Festival in 2011. And their plans for their time down under? The tour coincides
with their drummer Jack’s birthday, and the quartet are keen to head back to Waiheke Island. “I think Hudson Mohawke’s playing as well, maybe we’ll head down for Jack’s birthday,” suggests Smith. Smith is also looking forward to reuniting with “old touring friends” Cut Off Your Hands. “They were our first real touring friends, they’re great. We haven’t seen them in years. I presume they’re like the kings of Auckland, they can show us all the ins and outs” SEE THEM LIVE: FOALS SEE TOURS AND EVENTS FOR DATES HOLY FIRE OUT NOW
THIS MONTH IN CLUBLAND Who is your favourite DJ to MC for and why? This is a really tough one for me to answer! But I would have to say my favourite over the years would have to be Concord Dawn. Matty has really looked after me and I literally would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for him. I have a great time with any DJ that wants or requests me up there with them. I also have a good relationship with both Zula from Artificial Intelligence and Klute, so whenever I’m up with those boys I really enjoy myself, they tend to bring out the best in me. On a local level, DJ Orphan, Matiflow, Tweq, Ob Fuscate, Zero & Ruse Kid!
How is the Christchurch dance scene since the quakes? Building up! People such as Tony from Bassfreaks, Muz from Delicious Music, Hendi from PLR & Ryan from Subtle have really helped keep the bass side of things alive. Mad love for all these guys! Venues are slowly building up too, as are the crowds!
CREDIT Nick Gee at Dawn Collectiv
CAMO MC COSMIC CRUSADER Where did your love for dance come from? I have always had a wide taste of music but I didn’t really ‘get’ dance culture until I went to my first basement drum and bass gig at Christchurch club Carbon in 2005. Carbon was a dark dingy dungeon on Lichfield Street that could pack in around 250 people, quite an intimate venue. The Upbeats were playing that night. I had heard a lot of hype about them, but hadn’t had the chance to witness their energy for myself. I was peaking. I met so many cool people that night, it felt like I knew every single person in the club by the end. The music was amazing; I had never before put so much of my heart and soul into the dance. After that night, I knew there was no turning back. Where did the persona of Camo MC come from? Two of my friends and I decided to make a crew in late 2006. We called ourselves Creative Control. They were the DJs so I decided I would be the MC. We played drum and bass , all on vinyl. I originally called myself MC Camouflage but soon shortened it to Camo MC. This was partly because my name is Cam, but I also had the line: “They call me Camo MC because I blend in perfectly” – in reference to my style complimenting the DJ. I played house parties for years with that crew. It’s where I first started to learn about writing, hyping and generally getting the party started! Some of the artists you’ve performed with? I have MC’d for/with Chase & Status, Flux Pavillion, DJ Zinc, Noisia, Rusko, Camo & Krooked, Sigma, DubFX, Zomboy, Jakes, Nero, TC, Dirtyphonics, Datsik, Skism, Borgore, Bar9, Artificial Intelligence, Logistics, Black Sun Empire, Cyantific, Klute, TC, ShockOne, D-bridge, Xample, Fierce, Break, Emalkay, The Others, Concord Dawn, The Upbeats, State of Mind, Trei, Optimus Gryme, K+lab, Bulletproof and more!
How did you get involved in Cosmic? I have been kicking it with the Cosmic team for years now. I used to basically live at the Christchurch Cosmic on High St (RIP). I moved away from Christchurch with my family after the earthquakes for around 8 months. When I returned I needed a job and they hooked me up! It’s only grown from there: Mad love for the Cosmic crew! SEE HIM MC: CAMO MC SAT 12 OCT DUX LIVE, CHRISTCHURCH SAT 2 NOV THE BEDFORD (CSPA), CHRISTCHURCH SAT 16 NOV DUX LIVE, CHRISTCHURCH
SCOT PROJECT In a myriad of copy cat producers Scot Project is one of those talented individuals whose musical style is clearly recognisable as soon as the needle drops. With a discography spanning over 250 releases and a DJing career spanning 27 years, his ability to adapt to trends has seen him grace the stages of some of the worlds biggest festivals including Tomorrowland, Dance Valley, Trance Energy, Sensation and The Love Parade. Originally known as one of the leaders in European Hard Trance his musical landscape in 2013 blends elements of electro, trance and techno to keep you guessing as to what’s going on beneath this Germans beatnik trademark dreadlocks. ESSENTIAL LISTENING
What is the role of an MC for you? The host, the hype man, the mad man! The connection between the DJ & the crowd. The MC is there to light up the atmosphere, to accompany the DJ, to help that the vibe to that next level. “Make some noise, get your hands in the air, get ready, let’s go!!”
‘U (I GOT A FEELING)’ (SINGLE – 1995) AROME ‘HANDS UP’ (SINGLE - 2002) ‘B (BABY)’ (SINGLE -2013) SEE HIM LIVE: SCOT PROJECT SAT 12 OCT DELUXE NIGHTCLUB, AUCKLAND
BULLETPROOF STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN It’s been nearly two years since your last album Dub Me Crazy was released. What has changed for Bulletproof in that time that we may notice musically on #Listen? Dub Me Crazy was a collection of music I had lying around, with a bunch of local remixes and a couple of colabs. I listened back to that album before I started #Listen, after not hearing it for over a year. To me, it wasn’t cohesive. It was all over the place musically and vibe wise. I’m proud of how well the album and main single did, but not really proud of the cohesive nature of the album as a whole. I had signed a three album deal with EMI Music and knew that the second and third albums released by them would need to be a lot more cohesive. A journey, if I may use the cliche. That’s what #Listen is. To me it’s a journey.
Todd Edwards is not so much a household name for most pop music aficionados, but in the electronic world he’s something special. As one of the luminaries of the Garage scene in the mid to late 90’s he’s forged quite the reputation. He describes his musical production as “a unique vocal collage set to a four-on-the-floor beat” and with those credentials leading to remixes and vocal appearances for St Germain, Daft Punk, Justice, Klaxons, Robin S and Dimitri From Paris his influence has been felt the world over for two solid decades now. ESSENTIAL LISTENING ‘SHOW ME A SIGN’ (SINGLE - 2000) NEW TREND SOUNDS (CLASSICS, REMIXES & BEYOND) (2004) DAFT PUNK FEAT. TODD EDWARDS ‘FRAGMENTS OF TIME’ (SINGLE - 2013) SEE HIM LIVE: TODD EDWARDS @ A WEIRD NIGHT OUT SAT 05 OCT THE IMPERIAL LANE LABYRINTH, AUCKLAND
What is your process for putting together a full-length album vs. just a single release? For #Listen, I literally locked myself away for seven months. I stopped listening to anyone else’s music. I stopped listening to the radio. I stopped playing shows. I became a bass music hermit and just focused on the music I wanted to make. I wanted to make something completely void of outside influence. Something original. Something NZ. Reflecting back, that probably wasn’t the best of ideas from a commercial point of view because #Listen, much to the record company’s disgust, is very “UnCommercial”. I don’t regret that decision. Musical integrity is paramount for me. Certain producers have a tight knit crew they know and trust to help add the vocal prowess to an album. Who is in Bulletproof’s #Listen crew? Rugged Tekniques. Silva MC. Nico Jah Red Lion. They are blood to me. Familia. How do you stay motivated to keep producing music after so many years and releases across the world? That motivation comes from seeing people dancing and vibing to my music. It comes from the many awesome messages I get sent online telling me how my music has moved or touched someone in some way shape or form. It comes from having the most amazing partner, son and close circle of friends a person could ever ask for, and it comes from the satisfaction of achieving every goal I’ve ever set for myself. #LISTEN IS OUT NOW
TNGHT TNGHT are the Avengers of dance music. Although only a duo, each member contains super human like powers of dance floor persuasion. Hudson Mohawke (Scotland) and Lunice (Canada) aka TNGHT originally met in 2008, during the first LuckyMe Records tour of North America and after several showcases performing together they snuck into the studio to release what would become their signature EP in 2012 simply named TNGHT. ESSENTIAL LISTENING HUDSON MOHAWKE ‘CBAT’ (SINGLE - 2011) ‘HIGHER GROUND’ (SINGLE – 2012) ‘ACRYLICS’ (SINGLE - 2013) SEE THEM LIVE: TNGHT FRI 04 OCT STUDIO, AUCKLAND
Rob Schneider and Orgasm Guy. But his best known recurring character was Richard Laymer, an office worker whose desk sits by the copier so he can address each of his fellow employees with an endless stream of annoying nicknames. Also featuring regularly were Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Chris Farley. That show was a huge success scooping three Emmy nominations and a Peabody Award for Schneider.
“I’ll take each night as I go. Actually, if I get laughs, I’ll take whatever I get.”
“Her style of comedy is probably more action, less plot,” notes comedian Rob Schneider, whose chatting to me over the phone from his LA home whilst making Google eyes at his under two. “Miranda was an accidental baby but a bit of a blessing as well. She’s also a focus point, to work on my material, which is more ‘middle age’ these days. Less about gigolos and schnenagahans. I leave that to Seth Rogan and Co.” Emmy-nominated actor/comedian Rob Schneider is well known for his trademark blend of zany characters and often base humour. His longtime relationship with Adam Sandler, who he originally collaborated with on the set of Saturday Night Live, has produced many winners including starring and feature roles in Bedtime Stories, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, The Benchwarmers, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, Eight Crazy Nights, Little Nicky and Mr. Deeds. Also, in association with Sandler’s production company Happy Madison, Schneider’s co-written and starred in his most famous pictures Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, The Hot Chick and The Animal. Plus, he can credit Shark Bait, The Waterboy, and Big Daddy to boot. But if you thought things had gone quiet for Schneider of late think again! His dance card is full to at least 2015 with comedy roles in upcoming TV shows and films, some still “hush, hush”. “I’ve just finished a film, all in Spanish about a guy born in a taxi. The experience stays with him for his whole life. Later in life it hits him that nothing is for nothing. What goes on in earlier life can come back to you later on. Karma - sort of.” And what about his artistic triumph voicing in Top Cat: The Movie? “Hey I grew up with that show. Why wouldn’t you want to be in it?” Schneider’s been in the funny business a long time. He began writing jokes as a teenager, treading the local boards before opening for Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld. He cracked it with his major network television debut in 1987 on The David Letterman Show.
I ask him what, given his early breaks were in standup, his first love was. “I began on the stage, so stand up is a passion. It’s tougher now but I want to go back. My materials about where I am now, as a parent, middle aged. I’m still figuring it out. I’ll take each night as I go. Actually, if I get laughs, I’ll take whatever I get.” Delving under the covers proves futile. Schneider’s not going to reveal the details of his routine. “It’s taken about four year’s writing on and off. But I don’t worry about expectations. I just want to subvert you to my point of view,” he notes, cryptically. He describes his comedy as “kinda sweet now. It’s a different type of aggression. Comedians are always angry or challenging the establishment, or injustice or generally those idiots out there that P-youoff. This is a softer approach than my previous over the top methods.” Schneider’s as active in public as he is online. He’s courted controversy as an outspoken critic of California’s vaccination practices, even going so far as to liken some legislation, which would require the informed consent of parents before opting for a philosophical exemption to vaccinations, to the Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany. Perhaps a little OTT at the time but a new parent he still holds that stand. In 1996, he set up the “Rob Schneider Music Foundation” which financially supported music education in the low income elementary schools of the Pacifica region of California, paying the teachers’ salaries and funding instruments and equipment. “I always look for opportunities to support the arts and this is an enduring way to continue this. Plus I get front row seats at the concerts.” I ask him about the upcoming tour to New Zealand. “Oh you mean the land of blue alien porno?” referring to James Cameron’s locally filmed Avatar. “Isn’t the place owned by Shania Twain and James, anyway? I wonder who does their gardens? Gandalf or the Hobbit crew?” And what about traveling with a toddler? “My wife (Mexican television producer Patricia Azarcoya Arce), you mean? No she’s pretty steady on her feet, even Down Under. Maybe after four drinks on the plane… Actually, this will be my daughter’s first trip. There will be ‘special’ conditions to adhere to, of course, but it should be fine.” I ask if there would be any unusual riders back stage. “You mean extra cans of baby rice?” That leads to a warning from me. As a responsible father, I have to notify him of the addictive nature of the Wiggles’ videos (those kiddy-pop entertainers in lurid skivvies). Without a single pause he replies “Are all Australian entertainers dressed as extras from Star Trek?” Apparently, there’s a female Wiggle now - equal opportunity kiddie-trekkies. You have been warned Schneider. You have been warned. TIM GRUAR
Three year’s later Lorne Michaels sees him on HBO’s 13th Annual Young Comedians Special and hires Schneider as a regular on the vastly influential Saturday Night Live, where he played roles like Tiny Elvis
SEE HIM LIVE: ROB SCHNEIDER SEE TOURS AND EVENTS FOR DATES
we do the music
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NIKKI BENNETT ACTRESS/PROFESSIONAL CLOWN Who’s in the dead supergroup for your dream hologram show? Freddie Mercury would be pretty cool in most line-ups. Not sure if I want to see Queen though – I’m just fascinated by Freddie strutting his stuff around the stage.
NICHOLAS DRIVER DESIGNER - LEE What’s your background in fashion? Menswear Designer: Grew up in Moeraki as the son of a fisherman and seamstress. From there I moved to Oamaru and on finishing high school moved north to Wanganui where I studied a Foundation in Visual Arts and a BA in Fashion Communications, however I knew I’d naturally end up designing rather than working within the media side. Shortly after, I moved to Melbourne to work on the Stussy licence for 4 years followed by 4 years in London where I worked for Fenchurch Clothing. On returning to Australia I was fortunate enough to land a role at Lee working along side Cerese (Lee Girls Denim Designer) who had also studied at Wanganui around the same time so it felt like coming full circle and a perfect fit.
What happens when you mix Coca Cola with Pepsi? Who would do this? I gather a sugar high, a few burps and then a major come down, no doubt with a migraine and bad mood. All in one hour.
How did you become a designer at Lee? Like most I was approached to interview for the role and on turning up found myself in front of Cerese. I didn’t even know she was in that role so it was quite a surprise. It felt right for both lee and myself and the rest is history. I still work alongside Cerese so we’ve formed a good partnership in that time.
The best place for a date night is… Ken Yakatori on Anzac Avenue; great food and awesome atmosphere. Nothing like a cold Asahi to start your night off
What’s the inspiration behind the latest collection? Lee as a brand walks the walk of our customer and music is our link at all times. This Spring Summer was inspired by the Lollapalooza gigs of 94. These concerts eptimozed the 90’s mash up where punk, hip hop, metal and grunge took to the stage for one day. Front of stage is a crowd of those subcultures merging to witness game changing bands, that crowd was our key inspiration. Any hints on what we can expect to see from Lee next season? High Summer evolves our Lollapalooza story with some really strong vintage looks in FRESNO BLUE, ATOMIC BLUE & BLEACHER BLUES. It’s a little more weathered and a little more worn. Like when your favourite pair of jeans or shorts reach their peak. That’s what we strove for.
What’s an upcoming film you’re jazzed about? Gravity – pretty unnerving from the looks of the trailers.
Your signature “I’m an amazing cook” dish is… Making something out of nothing; I try not to waste food. I’m always trying to recreate my nana’s goulash. I fail. I do roll up a mean burrito though. Oh dear this just sounds unfortunate. The best TV show around at the moment is… Duck Dynasty. I don’t know if it’s the best and I’m not sure if I’m happy with what it stands for, but I am totally on awe of it.
You’d get arrested if the police knew that you… How much I hate plastic Crocs. You know, shoes that look like clogs? Cute on kids and I understand there majorly comfy but I strongly dislike the look. Whaddaya gonna do? Arrest me? People say you look like… Ellen DeGeneres and occasionally Lady Gaga. I think more Ellen though. What generic current affair has your blood boiled? I’ve been closed off to what’s going on in the past month, but to be serious for a moment, the whole Syrian chemical warfare attack on innocent people is unreal. In this day in age it scares me, the powers that certain people have in the world to inflict such evil on the innocent. Totally does not comprehend in my head. SEE HER PERFORM: NIKKI BENNETT IN THE FEAST TUE 15 OCT – SAT 19 OCT THE BASEMENT, AUCKLAND
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There’s music that needs 2400W to be heard as it was meant to be heard: louderer. The Sony Shake-5 will rock your senses with its powerful 3-way speaker system and pulsating speaker lights. and with Bluetooth built-in, music playback from smartphone, laptop or tablet is easy. Put the ‘er’ into your louder. sony.co.nz/lovemusic
Most new smartphones have an NFC chip in them. This makes it easy to set up a Bluetooth connection to the Shake-5 – just tap to connect. Scan the QR code for more information.
SPLINTER CELL: BLACKLIST The Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series made a move into the action space with the release of 2010’s Splinter Cell: Conviction. It was well received by critics - NZGamer.com gave it an impressive 9.1/10 - but it polarised fans. Some liked the improved gunplay and Uncharted inspired set-pieces, while others lamented the paring back of the stealth elements and gadgetry that were the hallmark of the series. Enter Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist. This new entry basically takes everything that worked in Conviction, gets rid of what didn’t, and brings back the sneakiness and gadgetry that fans missed. The result is a game where action and stealth support and complement each other perfectly, giving you an unprecedented range of options to deal with any given situation. In Blacklist, our greying hero Sam Fisher once again has to stop a terrorist threat - this time, a shadowy group calling themselves the Engineers. The terrorists are demanding that the United States bring an end to their international military interests and withdraw all troops posted overseas, with scheduled weekly attacks as long as the US Government fails to comply. The mantra behind Blacklist’s gameplay seems to be “let the player play how they want”. The
slick cover shooter controls from Conviction are back, as well as the gadgets and use of shadows from Fisher’s earlier adventures, allowing you to approach each mission as you choose. The broad range of tricks up your sleeve allow for some very creative solutions to problems, especially once you start combining different play styles. Struggling to get past a swarm of guards near the goal? Loudly take out some foes in a different part of the map, making your presence known, then use your stealth skills to slink away. Now you’re free to waltz to the goal while the guards are off looking for you where you were last seen. Despite a few minor flaws here and there, Splinter Cell: Blacklist is a stellar game, especially in a market that’s saturated with with generic shooters. The melding of Conviction’s third person shooter elements and more traditional Splinter Cell gameplay are more than the sum of their parts here. No doubt about it, this is the definitive Splinter Cell experience. MATTHEW CODD
VALVE ANNOUNCE STEAM MACHINES HARDWARE RANGE Valve have announced Steam Machines, an upcoming range of hardware designed to complement both their Steam digital distribution service and the recently announced SteamOS operating system. Working with an unnamed group of external hardware partners, Valve plan to release a range of different hardware choices next year, all of which are designed to be used in the living room,
letting gamers experience PC games on their televisions with a minimum of hassle. In addition to running games directly, Steam Machines will also allow users to stream games from Windows and Macintosh computers, further expanding the range of options available to lounge-based gamers. Steam users who opt-in have a chance at being selected to beta test a prototype Steam Machine later this year, while the public launch of the new system is planned for sometime in 2014.
game nearly two weeks before its available to purchase.
CALL OF DUTY TO DEBUT AT AUCKLAND’S ARMAGEDDON Call of Duty: Ghosts will debut in playable form at Armageddon this month, expo organizers have revealed. This will mark the first time in Call of Duty’s history that the game has been playable at an event in New Zealand ahead of its release, allowing consumers to go hands-on with the
Armageddon takes place over Labour Weekend (Fri 25 Oct - Sun 28 Oct) at the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane, Auckland. Other gaming-related events planned for the show include playable PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, a Nintendo booth (centred around Pokemon X / Y), the first ever World of Tanks stand to appear in New Zealand, and more. Other pop culture related content includes appearances from stars of Farscape, Harry Potter, Red Dwarf, Doctor Who, Stargate, and Quantum Leap, as well as animation and comic guests, autograph sessions, live wrestling, robot battles, a burning man, masquerade ball, and many other special events.
MICROSOFT TO RELEASE GAMING CONSOLE IN CHINA BATTLEFIELD 4 BETA DATES ANNOUNCED Electronic Arts have announced the dates for the upcoming Battlefield 4 beta-testing period, along with three different ways to gain access to it. Launching on Wed 02 Oct, the first phase of the beta includes the siege of Shanghai map, which can be played in either Conquest or Domination mode. To get in on Wed 02 Oct, however, you will need to meet at least one of three possible entry criteria: either pre-order the Battlefield 4 PC Digital Deluxe Edition (on EA’s Origin service), be an existing Battlefield 3 Premium member, or a registered owner of Medal of Honor Warfighter Limited Edition or Digital Deluxe Edition. If you don’t meet any of the above requirements, you will still be able to have a go, but not until Fri 04 Oct, when the game enters open beta. The closed and open beta phases will be accessible on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC - the full game will then release on these same systems on Fri 01 Nov.
Microsoft are to release a new gaming console and streaming device in China, in conjunction with local media company BesTV Xinhua Newshas revealed. Microsoft confirmed the report via a statement to Polygon, however they also noted that they have no further details to reveal at this time. The announcement follows the news from July that China is set to relax the thirteen year-long ban on videogame consoles in the territory, which was first introduced in the year 2000 as a method of addressing “potentially unhealthy and violent videogames.” Non-Chinese companies will, however, be required to manufacture their devices within Shanghai’s new “free trade zone” to be exempt from the law. The new venture by Microsoft and BesTV will be setup within the free trade zone, according to Xinhua, and will “develop games and related services.” Another report by Chinese website tech.qq.com suggested the new device will be called Bestpad and feature “Xbox related technologies”, although - as noted by Polygon - those details have not yet been confirmed on the record.
Directed by RON HOWARD STARRING CHRIS HEMSWORTH, DANIEL BRÜHL
BEYOND THE EDGE
Directed by Leanne Pooley
Directed by ROBERT RODRIGUEZ
Starring Chad Moffitt, Sonam Sherpa
STARRING DANNY TREJO, SOFÍA VERGARA, MEL GIBSON
Sir Edmund Hillary’s conquering of Mt Everest will forever hold a place in the heart of New Zealand consciousness. His 1953 ascent of the 29,000ft mountain was one of Earth’s last great challenges that had already claimed thirteen lives in previous attempts. Filmmaker Leanne Pooley had great success with The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls and this follow-up, made with support of the Hillary family, is made with a combination of historical footage and photographs, interviews, re-enactments and new footage filmed at Everest. The film gets off to quite a slow start that is, at times, a little dull. Although the story of how the expedition went and who was involved with them before Sir Ed and Tenzing took off on their own, it’s not as exciting as I imagined it would be, perhaps due to preconceptions of how amazing the whole feat was. Once the final hike to the summit begins, things kick up a few gears and the magnitude of the challenge becomes wonderfully apparent, although there’s only so much excitement to be wrought from two men walking and dealing with problematic oxygen tanks. A documentary film such as this one has to fight hard to justify its existence on the big screen rather than on the History channel. Beyond the Edge takes a while to get there, but manages to achieve it with some awe-inspiring moments that capture some of the magic of Sir Ed’s achievement. The climax atop Everest is particularly great, but the film as a whole is not a triumph to match Sir Ed’s.
I’ve had a very love/hate relationship with the whole grindhouse revival movement. On the one hand, it uses today’s visual effects technology and big budgets to actually deliver on the gory promises of old exploitation movies in ways they could only dream of. On the other, it’s lacking almost all of the charm of those shitty old movies. Forced humour is always so much weaker than unintentional humour, it’s something akin to a corporate body trying to manufacture a ‘viral YouTube video’. There has been some standout grindhouse revival gems, the best being Hobo With a Shotgun, but generally their publicity material is more exciting than the actual films. Robert Rodriguez’ Machete was originally an awesome fake trailer, the later feature film it was expanded to good, but not great. Machete Kills is a further step down in quality. There are a few thrills and a few laughs in it, but it is forgettable and very average. The American President sends Machete on a mission to kill terrorists and save the world, which leads to a lot of wacky Moonraker-esque sci-fi silliness. Yes, Machete kills a lot of dudes, but even though the action is upped from the first film it’s less thrilling. The gore is mostly comprised of bad CGI and the nudity has been removed completely, despite the terrific amount of beautiful actresses. The focus is more on comedy than anything else and most of the jokes are duds, although Mel Gibson is surprisingly hilarious. Here’s hoping the probable third Machete film is a dramatic improvement.
FILM REVIEWS ****
The true story of the epic rivalry between 1970s Grand Prix champions James Hunt and Niki Lauda is more thrilling than almost all of Hollywood’s fictional tales released this year. Hunt, played by Chris Hemsworth, was a charismatic and handsome playboy while Lauda, played by Daniel Brühl, was a disciplined, methodical perfectionist. They really were a pair of perfect, classic rivals and this adaptation of their story by Frost/Nixon filmmaking duo Ron Howard and Peter Morgan is exceptionally satisfying, complete with an awesome, nail-biting climactic finish. Hemsworth and Brühl both deliver fantastic performances that freakishly resemble the real people they’re based on. Rush tracks both of their unconventional journeys from amateur racing to Formula One and rival teams McLaren and Ferrari, with each developing an intense desire to beat the other along the way. As they are real people from history rather than creations from a scriptwriter’s imagination, neither is a straight hero or a straight villain, and it’s easy to root for them both while understanding their flaws. The racing itself is brilliantly filmed and captures well the danger of the sport back then, with famous crashes meticulously reconstructed. But the off-road scenes are just as enthralling, all being helped along by yet another great score from Hans Zimmer. This is high-octane entertainment that should really be seen on the big screen while you have the chance. It’s an incredible story made by expert filmmakers and will easily find a spot in my top ten favourite films of the year.
EL IES LKER SON D N A VIN UL W OH J PA AYNE DW
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón Starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Children of Men was such an amazingly well made film, movie lovers including myself have been eagerly awaiting director Alfonso Cuarón’s follow-up for the past seven years. Gravity does not disappoint. It is a work of cinematic genius and an incredible piece of entertainment. Set almost entirely in space, it is a mind-blowing technical achievement and a masterclass in filmmaking. I wish schmucks like Michael Bay are forced to watch this film repeatedly and adjust their styles accordingly. There are more shots in a strobey modern trailer than there are in Gravity, which holds each for deliciously long periods of time, allowing you to fully drink in what’s going on and completely immerse yourself in the beautiful images. The plot is threadbare; while on a maintennance mission, a small group of astronauts and their space shuttle are hit by flying debris. With the shuttle destroyed and most of the astronauts killed, the remaining two strive to stay alive and return to Earth. The virtuoso filmmaking makes it an enthralling, often stressful cinematic experience, helped along by a terrific score. Starring Sandra Bullock in the lead concerned me - she has a very patchy track record. But she really delivers here, driving most of the film with her performance. George Clooney is also fantastic in his supporting role, but the real star of this film is Cuarón. He’s created a stunningly beautiful work filled with intensely dramatic thrills, leaps and bounds ahead of even Children of Men in its quality. An absolute must on the big screen. © 2013 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALBUM REVIEWS Janelle Monáe*** The Electric Lady
The short ‘Electric Overtures’ that open the two halves of Janelle Monáe’s latest album, her third offering (after 2007’s Metropolis EP & 2010’s The ArchAndroid) to explore a conceptual future of android/humanoid dichotomy, are lush affairs that strongly recall the atmospheric soundtracks of ‘70s Bond films, or a Dynastyera soap sonic swell. And it is from this appropriately confusing touchstone that The Electric Lady continues, refusing to walk a straight line: Afrofuturism nods, Foreigner pushed through a ‘90s Michael Jackson sieve (‘What
*** King Krule 6 Feet Beneath The Sun
King Krule (a.k.a. Archy Marshall) is the kind of artist that sets comment logs alight with a very special breed of troll. Combine his youth, his BRIT Performing Arts School credentials with the merest whiff of a press endorsed ‘street poet’ label – and let the wailing and gnashing of teeth commence. Marshall’s spattered use of hallway-reverb guitar and his characteristic snarling, yowling delivery do, as his critics would attend, skate close to the borders of trite at times. But King Krule’s undeniable charisma on the album’s best performances (‘Out Getting Ribs’, ‘Border Line’, ‘Ocean Bed’ and first single ‘Easy Easy’) elevates his Strummersyllabled lyric mode of everyday ‘documentation’ (a term Marshall seems to like) to a place where his unique digestion of influences. Sarah Thomson
An Experience’), super-femme Stevie Wonder (‘Ghetto Woman’), end of the world Disney pop (‘Dance Apocalyptic’), truestrut George Clinton nods (the wonderful, Erykah Badu featuring ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’) and a thematic concept that attempts to tie the album together whilst referencing Philip K. Dick, Ray Kurzweil and Homer’s Odyssey. Perhaps then, the most infuriating thing about Monáe’s star-studded (Prince, Solange, Miguel, Esperanza Spalding) Electric Lady is that with all its indulgence and posturing, it still works. Just, mind you. …Just. Sarah Thomson
***** Crocodiles Crimes Of Passion
Ghost Wave Ages
Sleeper stands within Segall’s catalogue as its moniker suggests it might: as a softer, heavierlidded cousin within a family of tuneful squall. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the psychedelic folk of Marc Bolan’s pre-name-shortened Tyrannosaurus Rex, the mainly acoustic album tackles some weighty autobiography with an incredible lightness of tone. For example, ‘Crazy’ - a song admittedly about his estrangement from his mother following the death of his father - feels contradictorily light-filled and buoyant. Segall’s undeniable charge of melody and his avoidance of lyric absolutes lifts all the tracks on Sleeper far above the downturned-mouth dangers of confessional mire. Sleeper is far more nuanced than simply being Segall’s ‘folk’ or ‘acoustic album’ - but with those qualities present and in fine force.
Given the profusion of influences rearing their heads on the American group’s fourth album, Crocodiles should sound toothless, like an old Tetrapod thrashing around in the fetid shallows. That couldn’t be further than the truth. They’re not the first ragtag ensemble to swear allegiance to the Rolling Stones at their most decadent, or that group’s degenerate unofficial progeny, the New York Dolls, or the trailer park punk aesthetic of early Iggy Pop, or the junkie grooves of Primal Scream; but they are the first to capture the essence of all those bands rolled into one package, and the first to make a superbly bratty album from those constituent parts. Crimes Of Passion, weaves classic, almost bubblegum pop melodies through its Jesus & Mary Chain guitar fuzz, making for a surprising melodic contrast against the dischord.
It feels odd listening to an album that’s so steeped in the Flying Nun aesthetic of the 1980s, but which appears on a label famously influenced by that same aesthetic, Arch Hill. And it’s even odder knowing that Arch Hill and Flying Nun are both run by the same people these days. But I guess that’s beside the point. The real point is that Ghost Wave’s debut, without doing anything particularly revolutionary, brings real freshness to that sound and subtly updates it. And while they’re at it, the three-piece inject two qualities that are so often at war with each other: the 10 songs on Ages capture both an enjoyable rawness and a lust for the smart songwriting of ‘60s pop groups like The Kinks. It’s as if they’ve bypassed the choppy waters of Britpop altogether, and simply fused the eternally cool grunt and textures of drums/bass/guitar with a shiny pop tunefulness.
Ty Segall Sleeper
Don McGlashan once wrote of ‘A Thing Well Made’, referring to the perfect satisfaction of an artisan craft. The song’s sinister references to a rifle adds to the tension and unease of the narrator’s true intentions. In a similar way Gareth ‘Gaz’ Liddiard’s avant-pop outfit, The Drones, also understand that tension. Their work straddles that line between the poetic, murderous ravings of Nick Cave and the artsy experimentation of Sonic Youth.
We’re a conventional band in the usual sense, but we just try to pervert the whole thing, you know? This is the Drone’s first real tour of Aotearoa, with their earlier foray being in support of Neil Young earlier this year. “We were a ‘support band’, a noisy set. But it was a dream, we did six shows - and we weren’t meant to do it. Neil and that saw us at some winery show and stuck us on the rest of the tour.” Perfect, given two tracks off their new album I See Seaweed (‘How To See Fog’, ‘Maybe They’ll Kill You’) are inspired replications of Young’s grungy electric sound. “Yeah, yeah, we’ve got a bit of him (Young) in us,” he quips, talking as if he’s referring to the mongrel element. I See Seaweed, their is a vast and varied album, starting with a chaotic Avant garde cacophony about “splintered dreams, previous girlfriends, landlocked oceans and nightmare scenarios” and winds down to this final beautiful, dark torch song, which, effectively Liddiard agrees is a sort of ‘note to self’ on matters of self status. “We try to make things weird, I guess. We’re a conventional band in the usual sense, but we just try to pervert the whole thing, you know? We try to attack the weirder side of the musical spectrum.” Staying “weird” has always been part of the Drone’s manifesto, ever since their formation by Liddiard and school mate Rui Periera in Perth in 1997. They hovered around the local scene playing in other bands including the lusciously titled The Gutterville Splendour Six before heading east to the brighter, artier lighting of Melbourne a few years later, raking up guitarist Brendon Humphries (The Kill Devil Hills) and eventually recruiting in others. Their current line up includes drummer Mike Noga and Fiona Kitschin on bass.
The Drones first turned heads with their second album, the elaborately titled Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By, taking out the inaugural Australian Music prize in 2005. But, never ones to stay put long, the Drones embarked on a series of recording projects in a range of different venues, with the rationale being that every new product should have its own “space to breath in”. Of course it could have been Liddiard’s fear of complacency that he would exert the effort to construct an entirely new studio, only to abandon any future possibilities of further recordings by abandoning it after a single album. Significantly, ‘place’ has played a significant part in their previous two LPs with 2006’s Gala Mill made in an old mill on a 10000-acre farm in Tasmania and Havilah produced in a Victorian Alpine Valley. I See Seaweed, too has a fascinating back story, recorded as it was in a converted old classroom, up a dirt road, “in the middle of fucking nowhere. I spent about ten grand bringing it up to scratch. Fixing the holes in the walls, etc. But it worked really well.” With this one in the can, the band is house hunting again for a new studio. “I’m sick of the country and I want to work back in the city. So we can pop in and out, back home when recording. The last three we all had to live together in these remote locations. You couldn’t go to the studio, then pop home for a shower, watch TV, etc. We were on top of each other. This time will be a different, more relaxed way to do it.” The Drones also have a curatorial bent, having put together the recent line up for the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, which featured, amongst others their heroes Einstürzende Neubauten. “Yeah, they’re about as weird and out there as you can get. We put them on last, so nobody would have to follow them. You couldn’t top them. We were on early so we could sit back, have a beer and enjoy the show.” Sitting back won’t be an option during the New Zealand shows, where the sets will be a varied mix of noise, sonic landscapes, rants and poetic interludes. “Well mix it up for you. See how it goes.” TIM GRUAR
SEE THEM LIVE: The DRONES FRI 04 OCT THE KINGS ARMS, AUCKLAND SAT 05 OCT BODEGA, WELLINGTON
ALBUM REVIEWS Transistors ***** Is This Anything? (Arch Hill Recordings)
Forty minutes of melodic powerpop punk, the Transistors’ second album Is This Anything? answers its own question fairly succinctly: yes, this is quite something. The titular query is typical of the endearingly self-effacing streak of humour that runs throughout the album – particularly on tracks ‘Bright & Early’, ‘Look At Me Now’ and single ‘Your Life Could Be So Easy’, which sports a fittingly hilarious video. The fourteen Bob Frisbee produced (Street Chant, The Situations) tracks, while all definitely existing in a very similar vein
Elton John The Diving Board
to one another, are taut and tuneful affairs. If this instantly enjoyable album is the output of the Christchurch/Rangiora based three-piece prior to their recent road-hardening at the hands of international touring with Guitar Wolf and King Cannons, then their next effort (apparently already in the works) is likely to be met with deserved clamour. Sarah Thomson
Jack Johnson From Here To Now To You
Mark Lanegan Imitations
Cameron Mesirow (aka Glasser) would be unthinkable without Bjork, but don’t hold that against her. While Bjork is a true original, but a rather lumpy listening prospect, Glasser is a much smoother proposition. The American singer/composer’s second full-length offering boasts an attractively aquiline electronic backing that’s just a step away from dance culture rhythms, and bathes her willful vocals in complementary textures. She’s like a high-gloss, hi-tech version of our own Bachelorette without the nostalgia for 8-bit toy keyboards, but both similarly sing of their specific emotional interiors using technological/ machine metaphors. While it’s become a child’s game to overdub one’s voice to oblivion, few make it sound as awestruck as Glasser, or use cleverness to make magic rather than simply to impress. But impress, she does.
There’s no ‘Candle In The Wind’ or ‘Your Song’ here, but really, who could expect that kind of conjunction of melodic grandeur and lyrical acuity from the Elton John/Bernie Taupin songwriting partnership at this stage of the game? If The Diving Board proves anything, it’s that time marches on regardless, but happily, with super-skilled producer T Bone Burnett on board, John has eschewed all the pomp and saccharine sweetness that marred his last few decades. Instead, the album is graced with a raw, stripped-back emotionality that gives it real dignity and stature. His vocals have a coarseness of texture that only comes with age and experience, and they convey Taupin’s often regretful, reflective and nostalgic lyrics with conviction. John’s richly melodic piano playing is constantly highlighted, and the songs are full of engaging touches.
What did you expect? Vicious guitar shredding? Awkward time signatures? Dissonant experimentation? A litany of postapocalyptic doom? From Here To Now To You offers up pretty what fans expect from Johnson: simple, sunny, life-affirming grooves that anyone could sing-along to on a beach at sunset, and happy odes to sweet life and sweeter women. It would be churlish to demand otherwise, and besides, aren’t there already enough artists turning their existential angst into gold? Johnson’s latest is fine, as far as it goes, but that’s only about as far as a quick stroll from the bach to the beach. ‘Ones And Zeros’ is a rare rant against technology, but his protest is so mild it hardly registers. He’s at his best when expressing life’s simple joys, and the semi-acoustic palette gives the whole thing a sunny disposition.
Connoisseurs of vocal stylists who have yet to experience the dulcet tones of Mark Lanegan could do worse than to start right here. Having served time in a variety of ensembles and contexts over the years - including Queens Of The Stone Age and Screaming Trees - he has also slowly built up a solo discography, of which Imitations is the eighth example of his restless approach to song. It’s a 12 track covers album that’s far removed from the typical karaoke moves: these are genuine interpretations where his gravelly croon and its extended vibrato are painted across a tasteful canvas, and applied to a sonic universe where Nick Cave shares an aesthetic with Frank Sinatra, and John Cale with Andy Williams. If you want a killer rock/electronic hybrid featuring Lanegan’s original songs, try 2010’s Blues Funeral. But you could do worse than trying this for size.
If you’ve ever watched the HBO’s Girls, then one song on the soundtrack would have stuck out as distinctively memorable. Swedish pop sensations Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’ is a heady mix of post Spice-Girl Power and techno-punk. It’s a song that’s not only whizzed up the charts and put this precocious, very young all female duo on the map, it also put them in 20,000 seat stadiums like Madison Square Garden.
“...and it was love at first sight. You know, it’s a joke but we really were! Talking to one half of the team Aino Jawo (the other being Caroline Hjelt) on the phone from New York is an utter pleasure. Dispatch your clichéd stereotypes of Swedish Au Pairs, Abba extras or Jacuzzis dwellers. Jawo is smart, intelligent and very humble. “We’re actually homeless right now. But it’s ok,” she says referring to their relocation to the Big Apple from their home base of Stockholm. Jawo, who has a Finnish mother and Zambian father, and has lived in both Europe and Africa, is a real citizen of the world. Originally she sung in a six-piece band that played pop, rock and even jazz, before meeting Caroline Hjelt at an all-night dance-a-thon party “and it was love at first sight. You know, it’s a joke but we really were! We wrote a song in one night and we decided that we were going to be a band.” In fact they decided they were going to be the best band ever! Sparks flew like a welder’s torch – out with relationship angst and in with female friendship and the creative fuse that brings souring harmonies and high-energy techno beats. Armed with their laptops and Jawo’s brothers’ studio, the girls began writing, creating a repertoire that was as much an assault and a challenge.
“Music in the 90’s was especially influential”, she says. Clearly, as many of their videos are shot in settings that are reminiscent of the U2’s Joshua Tree period. ‘Girlfriend’ features the duo running around, jumping on train carriages in a Mid West outback. “It was a little scary, but we wanted the feeling of friendship and adventure and movement, which is what’s happing to us right now. We are on this amazing journey.” Also influential is Madonna. Their latest single ‘All Night’ is set in the same night club in New York where Madonna had recruited dancers for her ‘Vogue’ phase and the resulting videos and music. “It’s wonderful that these people are still ‘vogue-ing’. Still doing this. Expressing themselves. It’s almost a history. The video (‘All Night’) is a sort of (chronicle) of a night out in this part of New York. You get to know all the wonderful people, characters and their passions. I love that.” Jawo refers to their music as ‘bittersweet’. A mash up of attitude and driving electronica, with a pop angle. She notes that on stage it’s not all pre-recorded techno, with them playing instruments or using live players, but their style has always been melodic and song orientated. “I like to think it will endure beyond just than a…” “Glowstick Army?” I proffer. “Yes!” is the reply. Jawo’s adamant that they are more than a five minute trend and to prove it have just released their first album, This Is… which builds on the EP Nights Like This and singles like ‘I Love It’. I point out that that single has already become… erm… iconic, with Cookie Monster doing a rendition. Jawo is gracious in her reply. “I hope he still looks as cuddly as when I was a child. What an honour!” TIM GRUAR
Jawo describes the Stockholm nightclub scene as small but special. She grew up listening to a wide collection of both standard American and English pop and Scandinavian ‘one hit wonders’. She notes The Smiths and grunge bands like Nirvana and PJ Harvey as particular influences.
NEW ALBUM: THIS IS… ICONA POP OUT NOW
PORN. Got your attention there, didn’t I? If you want to know the future for all media, look to pornography, it leads the way. Porn was the first to videocassette, the first to DVD, the first to the Internet, and the first to be eviscerated by the Web. Wait a minute? It’s EVERYWHERE! There’s more porn than ever before, it’s just a click away! True. But the porn companies of yore or crying in their beer. No one will pay anymore. They don’t want movies. But they do want cam girls. That’s what bugs me about the music industry. The goal is to constantly jet everybody into the past. You’ve got to pay for recordings, a lot. And the usual suspects must get richer. Then again, do you expect the RIAA to say otherwise? It’s a trade group for record labels, but unlike most lobbying organisations the RIAA has little sway over its customers, because music is not B to B, but B to C, and if you think you can control customers, you probably believe you can herd cats.
The cam girls have shown us there’s a way out. So what we used to have was long porn videos with a hint of plot wherein stars did it in all manner of positions. It worked, especially in puritanical America, where we argue about whether women can breastfeed in public. But it turns out that’s not what people really want. They prefer something more intimate, more one on one, more interactive. That’s how you succeed in the twenty first century, by getting the public involved. That’s the key to awards shows’ spiking ratings. Yes, the Emmys were horrible as TV, but a field day for snark. Twitter upped the ratings. And cam girls have created a huge revenue stream. But the money doesn’t go to the usual suspects. Live. You say you can’t sell a recording and you must make it up on live. But maybe the truth is recordings are plentiful and what we’re looking for most is the live experience! Looking to the cam girls, what we want even more is a personalized live experience. The more you can vary the
set list, the more you can personalize the patter, the more people will want to come back. In other words, the spectacle show may only work for a few acts and may be dying, just like full length, prepackaged porn flicks are. But the truth is there’s still a ton of money in porn, it’s just going to different people, who are making it in a different way. It’s a completely different paradigm. Just like there’s a ton of money in music and will be even more. Used to be there were three TV channels, sync opportunities were minimal, and completely nonexistent for the indie or wannabe. Now so many shows need music... And BMI just reported that revenues went up! Partially because of Internet radio. Yes, while you’re busy bitching about Pandora payouts, you don’t see that the pot is growing! Maybe it’s all not going to the same people, but music revenues keep climbing, it’s only recording revenue that’s tanked. And just like in music, in the camming world it’s about entrepreneurs and super-serving the audience. Working, advertising, meet and greets. Everybody’s a hustler these days. And that may be hard, but in the old world very few made money. Ever hear of a rich porn actor? Absolutely not! All the money went to the studios. Change is constant. The key is to see the opportunities as opposed to mourning the loss. People want to listen to music, they just don’t want to do it in the same way. Are you willing to go back to three networks and no remote control? You’d positively scream! So today listeners are grazers, they gravitate to what’s great, so is it any wonder the middle class and marginal see such low royalties? I’m not saying I’m not troubled by the hollowing out of the middle class of musicmakers. But to rail against consumer behavior is a ticket to nowhere. The cam girls have shown us there’s a way out. And music is intertwined with sex, the hit you get from it is almost equal and more readily available. Don’t let the shifting sands freak you out. There will always be a demand for music, it’s just that the business might look a little different. If someone is lamenting the passage of the good old days, stop listening. Because unlike buggy whips and typewriters, music is never going out of style. Bob Lefsetz Lefsetz.com
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T WEET TALK “c’mon acne don’t do this now” A reminder Lorde is only a teenager. @lordemusic
“*straight guys in the gym* ‘i hope my earbuds aren’t too loud so no one hears im blasting lady gaga applause. #CAUGHT” Gaga on her fan’s guilty pleasures. @ladygaga
“I think the moral of this story is that Merritt Wever is the best person in the world” Kat Dennings on the Emmy winner’s speech. @officialkat
“SARAH SILVERMAN IS A THOUSAND TIMES FUNNIER THAN YOU AND THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS IT!!!” Kanye West fuels the fire with Jimmy Kimmel. @kaynewest
“I swear, @kanyewest one more of these I WILL unfollow you #warning #Goshdarnit” Kimmel just wants to be friends. @jimmykimmel
THE NEW ALBUM OUT NOW
FEATURES: BASSLINE JUNKIE, H-TOWN, GOIN’ CRAZY (FT. ROBBIE WILLIAMS) & GUEST APPEARANCES FROM JESSIE J, TINIE TEMPAH, WILL.I.AM, CALVIN HARRIS AND MORE
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