Wednesday, 27 November 2013

MORE 'N.Z ON AIR' FAILS


It’s that time of the month.  

That awkward time when we get to see ‘the anointed’ bands who shamelessly suckle on the tax-payers tit, get their hobbies subsidised via the good peoples at:   
 
 

So let me apply the blowtorch to this month’s (November2013) recipients of taxpayer funding.

Yes, I hate this system:

Dan Aux is Australian! As Rob Mayes subsequently points out on the 'Sounds Like Us' Facebook, one of the judges, Willy Macalister works with Dan at George FM. I gather Willy did the right thing and abstained from voting on his work-mates submission? 

N.Z Unfair couldn’t even get the song name and band right for ‘Bangladesh’ a song by Hourglass. They had it ‘Hour Glass (sic)’ by Bangladesh!  

Moorhouse is a fucking naff boy-band like 500 others floating around the globe allowing girls to stuff pillow between their legs at night and hump them.  

There’s Midnight Gallery’s song ‘Scars’ featuring Raiza Biza. Raiza wasn’t not happy with one bite of the apple. He got another shot in November round of funding with his video ‘Flashback’ – which I might add is already on You Tube.  

This is the video for The Wlyds ‘Confusion’.  Why are tax-payers now funding a second one?  
 
 
Yuma Zouma? I searched google. I searched Facebook. I searched Bandcamp. I drew a blank apart from a similarly spelt South African dancing troupe. How they are going to make it in the modern day of the internet is beyond me. Clearly this small hurdle of having zero internet presence is no impediment to NZOA funding.   

Part of keeping New Zealand On Air we are funding an artist called ‘Grand Rapids’. The  namesake has a murder rate that makes Soweto seem safe. This is the cover to his first EP. Is that the beach at St Heliers perhaps? Lyall Bay?  


 

Brooke Duff is getting funding for ‘Nothing Compares’. Tell me this is 'the' cover and I will be cutting and pasting this entire post to the Broadcasting Minister, after I stop primeval screaming and spending 15 minutes on my punch bag.     

There is a video for 'More Than I was' by James Read (ex Feelers) already up-loaded on You Tube a month ago personally by none other than James. So far its gleaned a paltry 150 views. Surely that was feedback enough for NZOA to say “no” to $6,000? Providing a link here would have only encouraged him. 
 
Last but not least this is my bands video.  



I don’t give ‘a rats’ if you like it or not.  

I'm not here to critique the bands mentioned, nor their videos but 'the system of funding'.

The base criteria, which effectively is being washed over: to promote New Zealand Music.    

Why I’ve included it, is because (a.) it is currently happily chugging away on You Tube out-scoring a number of the ‘blessed’ videos you paid for over time (b.) it was a real hoot to make, came from our own creativity not some production companies (c.) was made with zero budget (d.) it’s a shameless New Zealand song which is a change (e.) and why the hell not plug your own stuff?! Piss all other people will.        

So we all need to move past our individual loves and hates when it comes to local music/artists. 
Okay I’ll make an exception for Moorhouse and the bloke from The Feelers. And ask yourself “Is N.Z on Air working to promote New Zealand music” given some of the examples provided?  

I say not.   

I say NZOA's criteria is way too loose.

The logical starting point for change: can anyone actually define what New Zealand Music is? 
 
BTW this isn't my first NZOA article. 
 
Search the site for more vitriol, call for change.          

  

When is a New Zealand Tour not a Tour?


There's one thing that get's my goat-up more than a band just stopping in Auckland. 
 
That's media coverage emblazoned with childlike anticipation that Band X is making a 'New Zealand Tour. '

The Music/Popular Press haven’t seemed to grasp the geography of the two islands.   

I can currently get a return ticket Christchurch-Sydney for $299. 

That’s just $75 more than the corresponding airfare Christchurch to Auckland.   

So as far as I’m concerned announcing an Auckland only gig has the same relevance as one in Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney.

It’s nothing to travel the 2 hours extra to Sydney, perhaps a few extra dollars in cab fares.  
 
I still access the tickets on-line regardless of venue.  

What I’m getting at here is the Auckland-Centric reporting.  

Could you image a band that opted for a sole gig at Dunedin’s new stadium heralded as undertaking a ‘New Zealand Tour’?  

I don’t think so. 

So music journo’s stop reporting Auckland gigs as New Zealand Tour(s)   

A tour is where a band travels further than 20kms outside the airport of arrival.   
 
 

 

  

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Delusional World of David Rovics



It must really fuck David ‘Blowing in the Wind’ Rovics off being American.  

Via his songs he doesn’t have a good word to say about the place he calls home, votes Democratic and pays taxes. 

But at least he does pay tax somewhere. 

He hoped to come to New Zealand and ply his trade and keep all the coin. 

Duplicitously rallies along with his followers against corporate greed in music yet is a tax dodger himself.  

Perhaps “the little bit” of money you made in N.Z could have translated into a “little bit” of tax towards our health system etc, eh Davy?  

Back to the facts, not hyperbole.

Our Immigration Service told Rovics the same as anyone else entering the country to work “you’ll need a work permit to do that” and off he trots into the world of paranoia implying it was a Governmental plot stemming via Washington to Wellington to have him banned.   

That’s delusion one.  

Funny how he was similarly banned from playing in that fellow puppet state of the CIA, Canada, for exactly the same reason?   

You would have thought a musician and his management team would have worked-out that a number of countries have different ‘sovereign’ employment rules and sort them out before you book a gig. If it's good enough for Devo and Radiohead to pay tax in New Zealand it's good enough for a c-grader like you. 

Psssst....let you into a secret...if you are going to take drugs it also doesn’t pay to boast about it on your blog site. 

No need to bug your phone, place agents on your tail 24/7 when the shadowy figures of our respective secret services can simply access your lifestyle on the internet.

Having our own laws has up-set Rovics who ingratiates himself with all Kiwis by describing the country as “three million people and 60 million sheep and is located in the middle of nowhere.”  

It’s 4.5 million and 40 million by the way Dave. 

Still going to a school system where the first thing they teach is “get under the desk Jimmy has his fathers hunting rifle” it wasn’t a bad guess.

One imagines the pissed-off Rovics penning a new ‘blowing in the wind’ folky ditty about New Zealand. 

‘Great Satan’s Kid Brother’ has a certain ring to it. 

The Occupy bunch will buy into it and everything you have to say about the evils of the country you carry a passport from, hate so much.   

Now to the all- important second strain of Rovics delusion.

The belief you are going to change the world singing this drively Woodstocky stuff. 

Musicians can change the world.  

Like fuck they can.  

The only people that listen to your stuff are ‘the converted’.  

The left-wing anti-American greenies at you first concert in New Zealand, inside a Nelson yurt, will be left-wing anti-American greenies before/after you began strumming and singing say the praises of that serial sex-offender Julian Assanges flunky Bradley Manning. 

I wonder if Rovics will now be changing the lyrics of his ‘theme’ song after the namesake is on record last week stating “I want to start off with an apology. I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I'm sorry that they hurt the United States”? Still I suppose Manning was tortured.  

The barman at Nelsons Free House is hardly likely to sell his worldly goods, shack-up with some hairy arm-pitted hippy chick at an anarcho commune out the back of Motueka after listening to a Rovics concert.    

Spookily Rovics actually believes he is a threat to 'the system' and people are out to silence him.    

Another example of paranoia, what is going on in this guys head.   

He's started to believe his own rhetoric!   

Say bat-shit-stupid conspiracies that the U.S Government was behind 9/11 then weaving them in with German politics in the late 30's.



Mean-while back on planet Earth.

Attn Mr Rovics: The reason you get banned and searched at airports is you are unprofessional, you don’t do your homework before embarking on a world tour and write about your use of recreational drugs on a blog which any Customs official around the globe can gleefully read about and alert their global border partners. 

The Immigration Department of New Zealand did the country a favour banning David ‘Blowing in the Wind’ Rovics. 

It stopped the possibility of him breading in this country.   

Creating more loony hippy balladeers.

Where's Cartman when you need him?   

PS: The CIA paid me to write this.


    

Monday, 5 August 2013

It’s all good on Pledge Me



For ulterior reasons I ended-up on the Pledge Me ‘crowd funding’ site. 

Amongst the “please give me” pages I then stumbled on-to one from the local band Von Voin Strum.

Bands and charity have always equated to the same thing in New Zealand, just ask any musician.  

VVS were chasing $4000 from their fan base to record an album and assist tour-costs to Australia.  

So how did they get on?  

Well in short time they reached the total with a few incentives like exclusive copies of the release, t-shirts and even drum lessons.  

The average ‘give’ was $80.   

Intrigued I searched further amongst the musical genre and came across one from Proud Scum of all bands.   

Proud Scum were after $2000 to get the songs they played at the AK79 reunion concert, I was at, immortalised on to CD. 

Pleasingly they too were successful in reaching their goal thanks to 21 pledgers.  

Also amongst the other Pledge Me success stories were Dunedin bands TLA and Black Sky Hustler who are heading around the South Island thanks to a grand from fans.

Seventy per cent of the musical projects on Pledge Me meet with success, far higher than I thought would be the case.   

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra raised a not inconsiderable $9K for their trip to Scotland, yes Scotland.  

The 176 pledgers for Daniel McBride’s solo project Sheep, Dog & Wolf came up with $8k to send the teen to Germany.   

Girl on Girl Action, Astro Empire, Phantom Empire , Mangle and Gruff etc attracted monies to record albums.  

Christchurch band Ashei left tax-payers untarnished by getting $1,700 from supporters for their video.   

It’s refreshing seeing so many local bands getting support from their fans, families, friend from the pub, work mates etc.  

Given its anecdotal success I’m confident more bands will employ this funding avenue.    
 
 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Australian(?) Band Gets NZ. Taxpayer Funding


 
A Dead Forest Index are a couple of ex-pat Kiwi bros who have moved off shore to Melbourne, been there for three odd years. 

You can buy stuff off their Bandcamp site in Australian Dollars, see in their web presence they are comfortable announcing to the world they are a Melbourne band these-days.   

But it goes further than mere pedantics on a single web site.  

The Australian Bigpop Studios is plugging on their web site “Engineer/Producer Simon Gooding was in last week finishing touches on the upcoming album for Melbourne band, A Dead Forest Index.”   

DFI’s record company (Denovali) bio doesn’t mention a word about their N.Z origins.  

It’s Melbourne that crops up again.

Further when they toured N.Z last year or so ago DFI were touted as a band from MEB AUS.  
 
 

Similarly DFI were promoted (top of page and below) as Australian when they toured Europe last year.
 


 
Minimalist retro rock from Australia to be exact.

Adam & Sam Sherry, who incidentally formed the band in London, clearly don’t have an issue being dubbed Australian – when suits their cause.     

Except for recently.
 
When it comes to getting a grant to make a video (N.Z on Air Making Tracks, July 2012 Funding)
 
Then they are happy changing tack, reverting back to being Kiwi’s.  

Sure guys, it was all a horrible typo, promoter blunder being called Aussies all the time when you are so clearly Kiwis.  
 
Those dummkopft menschen in Munich and Vienna can't tell the difference between "Keeping N.Z Music on Air" and "Keeping Aussie Music on Air" anyway eh?   
 
Oi! Oi! Oi!

This is again another case of lax vetting and 'open' criteria by NZOA.

The fact still remains the N.Z Taxpayers paying for a video for a band that flew the Australian flag on their European and 'to rub salt into the wound' even the New Zealand tour! 

The only bands that should get N.Z Taxpayer funding are those that advertise themselves as New Zealanders.
 
 
 
 

  

What qualifies as a New Zealand Artist in the eyes of N.Z On Air?


Jess Harlen is a New Zealand born soul vocalist who now lives overseas, Boston being a long way from Ngapuhi and Ngati Porou territory.   

Harlen forms one third of Cocoa Jackson Lane who if google is correct have never performed in New Zealand.  

On her site Harlen proudly displays the accolades of Australian magazine 3D. 

Jess Harlen is steeping into the spotlight and AUSTRALIAN MUSIC is richer for it 

The capitisation of Australian Music was their call and not mine.

Cocoa Jackson Lane is a street in Melbourne.  

Her fellow group members are Camilla Charlesworth and Meritxell Vinaixa.  

Vinaixa is Spanish and Charlesworth is Australian.  

So to get the make-up of Cocoa Jackson Lane straight -  not one in this group lives in New Zealand. 

Two of them may possibly have never even visited our shores.     

Harlen their song-writer was born here but has since moved off-shore for education, doesn’t mind putting the Aussie flag up the mast when it suits record sales.    

Their only video on You Tube, studio work was made in Massachusetts, not Masterton.     

So why is the N.Z Taxpayer giving this band money? (N.Z on Air Making Tracks decisions July 2013) 

Does the fact you simply have a N.Z passport qualify you as ‘Keeping N.Z on The Air’ when you & your band spend the vast majority of your lives overseas?  

When two thirds of the band couldn’t hum the N.Z anthem?  

Can bands throughout the world with N.Z passport holders also similarly qualify for Making Tracks funding based on the loose criteria of having a Kiwi in their midst? 

If you shifted to Australia as a toddler would the Making Tracks committee still consider you a New Zealander or is it only if you have Maori heritage?        

Surely playing the local circuit is a right-of-passage for any band wanting tax-payer money?  

I for one would like to see the criteria tightened up.  

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Why Do Bands Now By-Pass Christchurch?


Going straight for the jugular perhaps the easy answer is: because Christchurch crowds are too ‘fickle’ (the pc word for ‘shit’)?   

Worse than Dunedin, come on?  

Now one of the benefits of me having a messy desk is the ability to dredge up old copies of the Groove Guide, Penthouse mags from the 80’s etc.    

I found 4 of them, Groove mags as opposed to Penthouse of which I only discovered 2, from this year and decided I would do a completely unscientific study as to what percentage of N.Z bands graced Christchurch on their N.Z Tours.  

Auckland punters got all but 100% of the bands. 

Wellington just over half at 60%. 

Christchurch was 40% and Dunedin not far behind at 35%. 

Rider: I did fail School Cert maths.  

So Christchurch is definitely no longer seen as a must-do ‘destination’ for N.Z bands doing the traps.  

Perhaps it never was, but traditionally it was always one tare above Dunedin gig wise. 

Increasingly bands today are opting for Dunedin, Unknown Mortal Orchestra springs to mind, over Christchurch.  

Bands are signalling N.Z Tours that is better framed as North Island Tours.    

This death spiral trend (less crowds mean less visits, means less venues willing to have bands versus a local DJ) is replicated with overseas bands. 

I spotted in the latest Gig Guide that The Hard Ons aren’t making the trip across the ferry, picked New Plymouth over Christchurch and the Japandroids are appearing in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin, no Christchurch.   

Just an hour ago via the Cheese On Toast Facebook link a band I’m getting into, The Drones are crossing the ditch. Peoples of Wellington and Auckland will no doubt enjoy them whilst I can but look on in envy.      

This is all a sad indictment of Christchurch music-fans malaise, people here have no one else to blame but themselves.   

The post-earth-quake stupor continues to see people of all varieties sitting-in front of televisions and computers wasting their lives away.   

There is an old saying that is apt here: Once the rot sets in.  

 

 

   

  

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Death to Wall-of Noise Shoe-Gaze!


The shoegazing sound is typified by significant use of guitar effects, and indistinguishable vocal melodies that blend into the creative noise of the guitars. 

Common musical elements of shoegazing consist of distortion, droning riffs and a "wall of sound" from noisy guitars. Typically, two distorted rhythm guitars are played together to give an amorphous quality to the sound. Although lead guitar riffs were often present, they were not the central focus of most shoegazing songs. [Wikipedia]  
 

The other night I was at a gig, the two bands were a blur as was their music and shall remain nameless, least I up-set the guilty.  

I wasn’t even that pissed, which is rather unusual.    

Both guitarists, I caught the end of band A and start of band B, possessed enough effects boxes of varying descriptions to make The Edge jealous.  

One had his rigs ‘nailed’ to a board, side by side for ease of use and to move from A to B.  

At $500 a throw there was a small fortune of technology on display, playing through amps high on reverb.    

And what does a small fortune of effects boxes get you over same a single ‘fuzz box’ unit? 

Say a better sound for the audience? 

What say a discernible difference between the varying devices?   

Perhaps a significant marketable differential for the band in question?  

Well no. 

It was a wall of reverby, wahy guitar sound punctuated by a wailing bass-line.   

Not to be outdone the bass players having plugged in their respective instruments into an effects box of some persuasion.  

The overall sound was filtered into homeopathic percentages. 

Don’t ask me to tell actually what any of the songs were about. 

It was too loud to tell, people looked like stunned mullets, a super 8 movie of 1950’s LSD experiments.     

After less than an hour it actually got annoying as each song drifted seamlessly into the next like a grunge version of a Yes album.  

So I departed.  

My cranium stopped reverberating two days later.  

To be fair the bar sold ear-plugs and there’s a message in that.

 

Footnote: I wrote this sometime last year, it got buried and dug-up.  

Thursday, 4 July 2013

What qualifies as ‘Alternative Rock Music’ these days?


The term ‘alternative’ is one of the most over-used terms in music.

Bands like REM have been described as alternative, its meaning diluted to the point it is itself now virtually redundant, self-prescribed.   

‘Alternative’ to what?  

Contestants off The X-Factor?  

Neil Diamond? 

 Alternative to me is something like Throbbing Gristle or Einst├╝rzende Neubauten.  

Bands that explore musical soundscapes that set themselves apart from their contemporaries, set-out to be different damn the audience numbers, record sales and media write-ups.     

Try and sound different, simply because they desire to do so. 

One of the dictionary meanings of the word is after-all: ‘Existing outside traditional or established institutions or systems’.   

Can the term in its rawest form be attributed to Soundgarden, Linkin Park and All American Rejects – the first names that appear on google when you type in ‘alternative rock band’? 

All these bands are generic, have peers, been there done that.   

Who were the peers of Devo when they first came out?     

Who else sounds like Radiohead these-days?  

Being a punk or death metal band doesn’t mean you are alternative.    

Punk and Metal are fairly main-stream and have been about for ages, seen little movement away from the original template set 30/40 years ago.  

Most parents of teenagers probably have a Black Sabbath or Deep Purple album lurking somewhere. 

Nor does wearing a mask, chopping things apart with a chainsaw on stage actually qualify a band as being alternative. 

Only your music can do that.   
 
 

Quint Baker Appreciation Society



I first heard of Quint via the magnificent Natures Worst (NW) series. 

His bio reads: New Zealand’s weirdest songwriter.  

A quick gezz at his Flickr site shows the Aucklander is more than just an avant-garde musician. 

Painter, poet, photographer and You Tube producer par excellence. 

The play on the iconic 4 Square Grocer and the green Lenin head on the NW3 CD are all of his work.  

Sadly for Mr Baker his output is largely ignored, even by the arty-farties.  

Piss all hits on quality musical output like this is a cruel injustice to his talents, what I for one see and hear in front of me.
 
 
Still, I try not to fixate too much, embroil myself in negativity, when it comes to New Zealanders attitudes to the arts in general.

Doing so would get me joining the 1 in 5 on some sort of anti-depressant.  

Music is mostly my vent and I see a vast array of talent that is all but ignored, north to south.  

Musical ‘talent’ is seemingly hedged to your ability to sing karaoke style in front of a camera, look good in make-up and the lynch-pin: attracting enough pubescent girls to masturbate over you.    

This is my humble cry from ‘the wilds’ for Kiwi’s to switch channel now and again.      
 
The one I watch is much more interesting.
 
        

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Christchurch Obliterates Vorn.




The night was advertised as ‘Vorn Obliterates The Dux!’ 

Oh if only! 

I really need to get checked out at 52 for dyslexia, or is this just a case of spoonerising the words Christchurch, Vorn and Obliterate in the same sentence?    
 
What wasn't confusing was the lack of audience.

Christchurch music goers proved to be the most fickle in the land by lounging in front of telly’s on a nothing Wednesday night instead of getting off the chuffs and seeing one of N.Z’s most talented artists and tightest, harmonised groups.   

“I can’t wait for the city to be re-built” is a constant reverb around Christchurch. 

Well the fucking Dux has been re-built you prats, bigger and better than its predecessor and you still can’t be fucked.  

Cantabs apathy means bands give Christchurch a miss, pubs don’t make money, staff aren’t employed, taxis aren’t called and the place goes down the tubes with cries of “Help us Mr Key” when the solution to the re-build, rejuvenated city lies far closer to home, watching re-runs of Coro Street.    

A two year old earthquake doesn’t wash it as an excuse either.   

If having a few beers and watching an entertaining, up-lifting act like Vorn plus side-kicks isn’t a good enough panacea to ones woes in itself you need the quack or your local tinny house to prescribe something heavier, post haste.    

And whilst I’m venting it doesn’t help the cause of attracting acts from outside Christchurch by The Darkroom deciding their staff’s pet-project band should have an impromptu gig on the very same night.   

The shameless folk who missed Vorn and Pals on 13th Feb 2013 should at least absolve themselves of the guilt they now carry by going to Vorns Bandcamp site and downloading an album of theirs.
 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Die! Die! Die! Live at WunderBar Lyttelton 26th Dec




VINEYARD CONCERTS IN THIS COUNTRY SUCK


Until recently, 15th December 2012 to be exact, I had never attended a music concert held in a Vineyard.  

Perhaps my neurosis was not on par with other Kiwis my vintage because wine vineyards seem to be the ‘in’ place these-days when it comes to open-air concerts in N.Z.   

I had previously been well out of the loop confining my concert going to the strangest of venues – a concert hall.    

On Saturday 15th I tasted (pun intended) my first experience of bands plonked among the vines, deckchairs, blankets and pissed kindy mums.   

Devo, Simple Minds and the Church playing Villa Maria in Auckland. 

If this was a bottle of over-priced vintage I would have spat it out, protested to the waiter it was corked – not that I even drink wine – I’m way too unsophisticated to waste money on that muck.   

I’m not taking away anything from the bands or the sound on the night. 

Devo had lost nothing from the last time I saw them 25 years ago.

Simple Minds were on key, played too little of their ‘interesting’ earlier stuff for my liking.  

The Church were always a bit soppy for my tastes but to be fair to their fans they put on a great performance.  

However all of these bands performances were impinged by the incessant chatter from the crowd.  

Soon after The Church twanged their first chord I learnt a sizeable chunk of the crowd was only there to sing-along to the one or two songs they could vaguely remember from their last listen.
That was when cars came with cassette players.  

It may as well have been the races at Ellerslie or Addington as far as they were concerned. 

Now I’m not adverse to getting pissed at concerts – even if the beer offerings on this occasion was isolated to the sponsors watery, sugary lager offering – but at least I have respect for people who paid money to listen to the bands by keeping my trap shut.  

This was thought of as more of a social occasion for many rather than a musical occasion.  

A chance for four-wheel-drive owning mums to compare kids reports and government property values, eat cheese and crackers from well-appointed picnic baskets.          

A grand opportunity for their similarly over-dressed husbands to get-together, natter about sailing on the harbour earlier in the day, golf handicaps whilst their kids, yes couples turned-up with brats, could kick an empty wine bottle about getting bored shitless with their parents taste in music. So much for it being a R18 gig.    

I would doubt it most punters at Villa Maria would even own an album by Devo or Simple Minds.  

Conclusion: If you are vaguely into music, truly love a band Vineyard Concerts are going to piss you off, better left alone unopened on the shelf.  

                                                      SEE WHAT I MEAN ANNOYING?!