Read- Def Jams from 1986. ‘Licensed to Ill’ by the Beastie Boys (30th Anniversary).

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Landing like a loose lunar explosion, MTV was the only channel to view in the eighties, if you wanted to see the latest visual promotional clips on your television screen. This corporate driven commercial music channel served up a high sugar diet of colourful creativity, high rotation hedonism for high school jocks and cutesy cheerleaders. Think Rick Dees top 40 with high impact effects and you got the radio with pictures. With a predominantly white content mantra, MTV steered clear of rap music, offering the raw-edged ‘Yo! MTV Raps’, to any block jams that promised major record label returns. 

These segregated sounds were about to receive an almighty brat-attack from a trio of backward cap wearing homeboys from around the way. Discovered by the bearded rock producing guru Rick Rubin and Russel Simmons (Run DMC and LL Cool J), the Beastie Boys eagerly grabbed the microphone after banging heads in the grungy garages of NYC, making punk-rock beer noise.

Rubin brought an edgy guitar riff landscape to the bragging beats and off stage antics of these 3 MCs from the 5 boroughs.  Ad-rock, MCA and Mike D bounced rhymes off each other with an ease and brashness that had not been witnessed before, nerdy and naughty with a troublesome attitude.

‘Licensed to Ill’ was their first flight into unknown territory and crashed into the living rooms of America and the world with a long playing disregard to all that had come before. Stealing licks from Led Zepplin, riffs from Creedence Clearwater Revival and vocal samples from Mr Ed, Licensed to Ill was weirdly wonderful. Boasting beer spraying anthems, ‘She’s Crafty’ and ‘New Style’, side one went where nobody had dared to go before. It was time to get ill, with ‘Brass Monkey’ and ‘Girls’ chugging kegs of refreshing raucousness. Rewinding tales of scratching in the saddle, ‘Paul Revere’ took a backwards playing platter on a wild gallop, whilst the eternal party anthem ‘Fight for your Right to Party’ made every listener late for school the next day.

Whether it was the fold out plane crashing album cover, the treacherous turntable trickery of DJ Hurricane or the funky flow of these 3 microphone masters, the Beastie Boys shook up the traditionally super serious hip hop scene with a fresh and filthy version of rhymes from their streets and alleyways of Brooklyn.

‘License to Ill’ was my first ever CD, bought after owning and destroying at least 2 copies of the vinyl version of the album. With downloads and streams of free music flowing out of all devices, my needle never travels too far from the goofy grooves of this raw, rowdy and still really good first album from three decades ago.

Check out the original classic License to Ill ,or get a crash course in the boys' extensive catalogue with Solid Gold Hits

Dave Tucker                                   

News- A Feast of Musicals

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Auckland is fortunate enough to be providing a feast for music lovers over the next few months. NZ Opera, Auckland Theatre Company and a musical cast direct from the UK will be pulling out all the stops to entertain.

Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street

Deliciously scary, Sondheim's Sweeney Todd is seen in most of the opera houses around the world. Now it is our turn to be able to experience this most powerful of theatrical horror tales ever set to music at the wonderfully atmospheric Civic Theatre. Underneath its dark humour, there is a human tale with themes of revenge, obsession and lust as well as pain, yearning and love.
This is presented by NZ Opera in collaboration with the Victorian Opera and boasts a star studded cast featuring non other than our own Teddy Tahu Rhodes opposite Antoinette Halloran and the  Freemason Chorus.



 Billy Elliot

In October there will be some firsts! This is the first production of the spectacular and uplifting musical Billy Elliot in NZ and it is the inaugural production at the Auckland Theatre Company's new home  - the ASB Waterfront Theatre. Based on the smash hit movie the inspirational story of this musical tugs at the heart strings as a young boy of 10 struggles against the odds to see his dream to be a dancer come to fruition. The story and lyrics are written by Lee Hall and the music is written by the legendary Elton John in an inspired partnership.




Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Also showing at the Civic in October is this must-see Tony Award winning spectacular direct from the UK.. Based on the Oscar-winning hit movie, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert is the heart-warming, uplifting story of three drag artists who jump  on board a battered old bus named Priscilla, and in their quest for love and friendship they end up on a journey of self-discovery and the road trip of a lifetime through the Australian outback.
This wildly fresh and funny musical features a hit parade of dance-floor favourites including: Don’t Leave Me This Way, I Will Survive, Finally, I Love The Nightlife, Go West, Hot Stuff, Colour My World and Shake Your Groove Thing. 




Don't forget you can also borrow the music scores, sound recordings and DVDs from Auckland Libraries


Listen: Silver Scroll Awards Finalists

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New Zealand's well-respected songwriting awards, The Silver Scrolls, announced their five finalists last week. Here's a bit of background on each of the nominees...

Street Chant - 'Pedestrian Support League'


The main songwriter behind Street Chant is Emily Littler, who also plays solo as Emily Edrosa. She first began playing with bass player, Billie Rogers, around a decade ago when the pair formed a band called Mean Street. The band morphed into Street Chant a few years later, though kept a reference to their old band in the name of their first album, Means (2010). Their early successes included touring Australia in support of Jack White's band, Dead Weather, and playing the SXSW festival.

The recording of their new album, Hauora (2016), was a more difficult process and it ended up being a full six years since the predecessor. The nominated track, 'Pedestrian Support League', captures some of the ennui of the band at the time, as Emily recounted in a piece for Pantograph Punch:
"When I wrote it, I had just come back from a long stint of touring overseas with only occasional trips home, and I’d moved into a crummy flat in Grey Lynn. I felt an extreme sense of ennui amongst my peers, and especially in myself, around that time. A few years ago, I had felt excited for the future. So had most of my friends: now they were "seeking existence, or just commitment, or even just a job". Now, I was paranoid that my flatmates were stealing all my margarine."






The Phoenix Foundation - 'Give Up Your Dreams'


The Phoenix Foundation formed over two decades ago and have been among the top five finalists for the Silver Scroll Award on four previous occasions, so they probably have a great chance of winning this year. Band member, Luke Buda, has actually previously been a co-winner of the award for his minor contribution to the Lawrence Arabia song, 'Apple Pie Bed.'

'Give Up Your Dreams' is the title track of their album, GUYD (2015), and is a reaction to the current world's obsession with presenting a perfect version of oneself on Facebook, Instagram, etc. In a more personal way, it is also about the band trying to survive in a world of streaming and illegal downloading, in which it is increasingly difficult to make enough money to keep creating their work.

Luke Buda explained the genesis of the song to Radio New Zealand, during a recent live session:

"I was having the most intense - I hate the word but - 'career angst'. Just basically worried about being able to continue to make music. It wasn't like - it's a bummer I won't get to play Wembley like I wanted to. It's more like - next year there might not be enough money for me to record an album. That caused me  considerable angst. Because I room with Sam on tour, he got a bit pummeled by it. And it would surely be that he was feeling it too. So it was kind like a survival tactic - stop whining and get on with stuff, as the song says."



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READ: MAKING MUSIC DIGITALLY

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Making music digitally....hmmmmm, allot has changed over the years in terms of making music. The options for how one creates a song has quadrupled. You don't necessarily have to rely on others to create music which sounds like a whole band is playing. A little while ago I tried to get my head around making music digitally; laptop-check, midi controller-check, drum pad-check, ableton live-check, but what on earth does this all mean? And how do you even start recording and making music?

This week I talk to Brent 'Parks' Park, the producer and music man alongside Ladi 6, a bit about making music digitally (also Ladi's husband and baby-daddy).


How did you get into making digital music?
I think i first got into it from listening to so much sample based rap music in the 90's. The sampler sound really intrigued me because i was learning to play guitar and hiphop beats weren't as rigid as other forms of programmed-style music of that era like techno and stuff. I think i related to it a bit more because of that. It had the raw sample which made this weird friction between raw live instrumentation within the sample and the stiff machine sequencing.

What is your background in terms of making digital music....are you self taught? If so how did you go about learning the process? 
Where I grew up in Christchurch basically no one made the type of raw rap beats that I was interested in. Drum n bass owned our city and I never really related to that. When I moved to Auckland at age 21 I started hanging out with some guys who were much more hip to the

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Read: Beat Streets – An old school history lesson

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With raucous reality shows at a pervasive premium, it is refreshing and timely that the naughty folks at Netflix have secured a dynamite dose of ‘hip-hopology’ in the funky form of ‘The Get Down’, an adaptation of the early formative years of hip hop in the boogie down Bronx. This humungous history lesson is the master creation of Baz Luhrmann, yes he of epic classics such as ‘Moulin Rouge’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ and promises to be a colourful cut ’n ’paste mosaic of the music, moves and grandmasters of the day.
So, with my Casio timepiece set to back in the day, I kicked off my Adidas, donned my Kangol cap and popped a personal mixtape into my memory bank of the sounds and music that etched its’ way into my scratched up lined refill from Waiheke Area School, circa 1984.   

Grandmaster Flash and his Furious Five took street gangs to the op shop, styling up in fur coats and fat gold chains, with the seminal ‘The Message’, an urban heads up from the crack laden footpaths of NYC. Def jams jingled and jangled care of ladies love cool James (or LL Cool J to those in the know), with Run DMC raising hell on the mic whilst Jam Master Jay transformed cold cuts to order like a beat crazed butcher.
Brat hop became a tag stolen from the bonnets of VW convertibles, as those beers swilling Beastie Boys tapped the bottle of teenage frenzy, taking keg party anthems to the suburban screens of everyday America via MTV. And for those who wanted something to dance to, Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force, lay down the mat for futuristic funk and unearthly electro, a head spinning mix of German electronica injected with James Brown drum loops.

As an English born beat lover, raised on the average avenues of Avondale, my mid 80s love affair with ghetto blasters, turntables and bedroom beat-masters is a far reaching testament to the raw sentiment, back shed construction and articulate recollections of a walk on the wild side, The fashion, the production and the fanfare came later, predated by a need for expression, escapism and scrapbooking pages and sounds from the time.


Delve into the vaults of our back catalogue and discover some treats of your own.I recommend a few to get you going on the good foot.
Try some Run DMC for starters, or let the Beastie Boys set the root down. A great collection for beginners is Rappers Delight or throw your hands in the air with Anthems.
Dave Tucker


                          

SEE: The Other's Way Festival - Our Picks

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Early September will see The Other's Way festival taking over K Road, in their follow-up to last year's debut. Run by Flying Out and 95bfm, the festival is becoming the NZ equivalent to traditional music industry-festivals such as CMJ or SXSW.

Along with classic NZ and Flying Nun associated acts such as The Phoenix Foundation and David Kilgour, there are appearances from hyped Aussie acts Twerps and Scott and Charlene's Wedding and many more. We've chosen our own stand-outs from the line-up below.

i.e. crazy


i.e. crazy is dark and powerful; she paints herself as the "deranged ex-lover who won’t leave you alone; the batty neighbour spying through the fence; the stranger at the bus stop who holds your gaze that fraction too long." Her live performances are immersive and intimate - drawing you in with quiet, nervous banter between crushing vocal and guitar deliveries. Currently she only has a couple of  songs on bandcamp, stream-able below, but you can also watch this milky video for her single 'You're a stranger to me now'.




Grayson Gilmour





Grayson has been making dense, textured pop music for about a decade now. Though recently his focus has been soundtracks (producing some incredible work for the feature films The Most Fun You Can Have Dying and Shopping, among others). Always a joy to watch. We have a few of his albums here.


Shocking Pinks




The Shocking Pinks are the ever-evolving project of Nick Harte. 2014/2015 saw the formation of a new lineup and completion of an approximately 60-date world tour. One of the best live acts in NZ at present, and who knows if you'll get another chance to see this particular (my favourite) lineup.

PS. The festival isn't all live music, Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd will also be doing a reading from his recent memoir of the label In Love With These Times.

Tickets are available from undertheradar.co.nz and Flying Out

PPS. (i.e. crazy is also a regular performer around Auckland if you're not interested in the festival atmosphere, watch for shows on their facebook page)

-  James


Listen - The History of Lawrence Arabia in Five Songs

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Absolute Truth cover art


Lawrence Arabia is the creative outlet for multi-instrumentalist musician, James Milne, one of New Zealand's most well-known indie musicians. His trajectory is somewhat similar to that of Don McGlashan - another musician who is known for the strength of his songwriting and willingness to try new things. In Lawrence Arabia's case, his drive to break new ground has meant playing in unusual venues such as art galleries and libraries or writing/performing music that was played live alongside a silent film (as he did at last year's film festival) or for live plays.

This month Lawrence Arabia has released a new album - Absolute Truth (out now through Flying Nun and available via bandcamp) and his first album fronting the band, The Reduction Agents, is being re-released on vinyl along with a tribute album with each track covered by other artists. Therefore it seems like a good time to take a look back through his career and have a listen to some of his finest tunes.

Before he became Lawrence Arabia, James Milne was the guitarist/keyboardist/bassist in indie pop group, The Brunettes. During this time, he wrote one track for the band, 'You Beautiful Militant', which was sung by their singer Heather Mansfield on The Brunettes' second album, Mars Loves Venus (2004). However, the original demo of this tune has recently appeared on Lawrence Arabia's soundcloud page and gives an early indication of his skill at writing a hooky chorus melody...



Next up, Milne decided to form his own band, The Reduction Agents, drawing in the Brunettes' drummer, Ryan McPhun (who has his own group, The Ruby Suns) along with Jol Mulholland (Gasoline Cowboy, Mulholland) and Ben Eldridge (from Heavy Jones). The band produced only one album, The Dance Reduction Agents (2006). However they also featured on the soundtrack of the Taika Waititi movie, Eagle Versus Shark - the film used both "80s Celebration" and the catchy rock number, "The Pool." The latter also happens to have a great video of Milne swimming at Pt Erin Pools at night...




Simultaneous with the release of the Reduction Agents album, Milne also released the first self-titled Lawrence Arabia (2006) album. This album lacked the raw energy and drive of the Reduction Agents, but made up for it with some quirky production and super sharp lyrics. His new approach is most apparent on the track, "Talk About Good Times", which features this witty run of lines: “You’d always condescend to take us back to your boxy-shaped apartment/ you showed us that we’re poorer than you are/ and you’re an undiscovered star/ but now you’re at the bottom of the ocean you’re forgiven and we talk about the good times..."


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Read- Let’s go to bed – Under the covers with The Cure.

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This week, for those sickening for a long awaited post-gothic pop performance from Robert Smith and his un-merry men, The Cure return to our shores to deliver a sentimental skip around the padded cells at Vector Arena on Thursday evening. Strangers on our beaches since their circus-like concert experience under the big top at Mt Smart way back in the nineties, I can’t wait to be fascinated and frolic amongst 37 years’ worth of heavenly pop hits.

My ticket purchase and a lovingly labelled vinyl collection is my way of paying homage to my teenage obsession, but many, far more talented souls than myself, have decided to revisit the band’s extensive catalogue, uncovering their own brand of gothic medicine.  

Now taking on an idol’s work is sometimes an extremely brave endeavour and one would hope that these kind gestures of fandom would serve to add to the merits and memories of a particular tune, rather than permanently stain any artistic archives. I have decided to delve deep into the timeless tomb of days gone by and those delicate days in between, to unravel the way we listened and recall pictures of them from our 80’s scrapbook.

Starting with my personal favourite, ‘Just like Heaven’, checked out by alt-rock gurus Dinosaur Jr  way back in 1989, unveiling their broody trip to church, via a compilation of sorts ‘Fossils’.  Closing in on the Seattle grunge scene that I lovingly worshipped from NZ, the boogie down- beat estates of Bristol bore witness to the juxtaposition of vaudeville beat-smith Tricky, Picked from the same wild bunch as Neneh Cheery and Massive Attack, Tricky turned the milk sour with his creepy but wonderfully wicked stroke on the ‘Love Cats’.
From the Brit stadium songstress Adele, there has been her personally stylised belted ballad ‘Love Song’, Billy Corgan made a poppy pulp from his smashed stewed and messy ‘A Night Like This’, whilst the deafening Deftones dutifully destroyed the epic anthem ‘If Only Tonight we could Sleep’.

Opinions are open and divided as to whether tackling tunes of such sentimental stature is warranted, with many a recovering goth unfriended from pale Facebook or snubbed at the black coat reunion.
My thoughts are well placed within the artistic canvas of freedom of expression and letting core values and threads be re-sewn and remixed to new and exciting effect. If you don’t like hearing your memories and moments revived, stay hooked in the past where the mist only rises only in the forgotten forest, but leave your tissues at home, because boys don’t cry!            

My regular grabs from Robert Smith’s original medicine cabinet, include the ethereal Seventeen Seconds, the fabulously low-end classic Faith and the more than decent Disintegration.  

Dave Tucker

READ- HAMILTON UNDERGROUND PRESS

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Hamilton Underground Press is a regular music zine being published out of Hamilton. Born initially from the frustration of cool bands skipping the Waikato town from their tours, the non-profit group (led by Welsh expat Rob Shirlow) are dedicated to re-cultivating the once lively indie music scene of Hamilton by putting on shows, producing podcasts and a zine, and for the first time next year, a festival.

With three issues out already, and another due in about a month, HUP aren’t messing around. The zine records and is simultaneously a part of increasing activity in the local music scene. The bulk of it consists of interviews with local and visiting artists, and the impressive photography of Ngamihi Pawa. The latest issue features Auckland bands ‘The Naenae Express’ and ‘Hospital Sports’, while Issue Two chronicles the history behind hometown favourites ‘Inchworm’, including a detailed musical family tree. 

But the zine is just one part of a larger holistic project. By providing print and podcast coverage, bringing out- of- town bands through and curating friendly and regular local shows, HUP is essentially a structure designed to bring together a community. Let’s hope it fosters some more incredible bands as Hamilton has in the past (see for example ‘Damsels’, ‘Yokel Ono’).

Overall, HUP is a well- produced, handy resource about an often-confusing musical destination, and a valuable record of mid-2010’s Hamilton music in years to come I expect.

Want to know more about zines?

Auckland Zinefest runs 15th-30th July, with workshops and performances happening around the city, including lots of free events at Central City Library. Hope to see you there!

-James


READ: MAKING MUSIC FOR FILM AND TV

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Photo: Paul Taylor
Have you ever muted the sound while watching a scary movie because the scene was getting way too intense? And because you just can't look away, the scene becomes way more bearable? Music for film and T.V has a huge impact on your viewing experience: it can change the mood quite rapidly, from not much happening to all of a sudden feeling tense or from feeling overwhelmed with sadness to really happy in a few short bars of music.

Karl Steven has created soundtracks for many documentaries and commercials, and composed original music for such T.V series as The Blue Rose' and 'Harry' (a finalist for best original music in a T.V series - APRA Silver Scrolls 2014). This week, I talk to Karl a bit about making music for film and T.V.

How did you get into making music for film and TV? Was it a career that you had in mind when you started making music or was it something you fell into?
I was super keen to do movie music as a youngster but I didn't know anything about it and just focused on music by itself. Then when I was 16, my uncle was working at an ad agency and asked whether I could make him a cheap jingle for a cat food ad. I borrowed an ancient sequencer from the music shop I used to vacuum in the weekends, hooked it up to my synthesizer, and took the first step along the road of music to picture.

What's the process? Is it collaborative between you and the director? Does the director have something in mind or is the director like RUN FREE?
It depends on the job how it works, but yes it's very much a collaborative thing...people come to me with a story and lots of hard work already done, so then my job is helping them to realize that project from a musical perspective. That's part of what I like about screen composing; it's about telling the story, not about individual egos, so we all only get to run as free as will be of benefit to the big collaborative story we've embarked upon trying to tell.

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Listen - Five Paul McCartney Deep Cuts

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This year has seen the passing of quite a few rock greats - David Bowie, Prince, Lemmy - but why wait until a loved musician passes away before we celebrate their work? And who better for recognition than Paul McCartney who has written some of the most loved songs on the planet and is still releasing new material - including: the track, 'Cut Me Some Slack,' that he penned with the remaining members of Nirvana and which won a Grammy in 2014 (available on the Sound City soundtrack); and the hit song he wrote released with Rihanna and Kanye West (his second collab with the latter).

I find that there's always some fun to be had in unearthing some usually overlooked tracks by a well-loved artist, so let's take the opportunity to dig for some gold in Paul McCartney's solo career. Hopefully this will provide some further listening for all of you who've listened to all those Beatles tracks far too many times.

Fortunately, a new compilation - Pure McCartney - has just been released which re-examines McCartney's solo career with the intention of digging out a few different tracks that were missed on previous "Best Of" compilations (such as Wingspan). The standout track for me is 'Coming Up', which is one of Macca's solo efforts that John Lennon also admitted having some admiration for (some have even suggested that hearing it might've spurred him out of retirement).

The song originally featured on McCartney II (1980), which is a slightly patchy album, but does have a few other fun tracks like the weirdly synth-heavy, 'Temporary Secretary' (which shows how McCartney sounds when he's trying to embrace new wave!).

It also happens to have a wonderful video, in which McCartney and his wife/bandmate Linda dress up as other musicals stereotypes. Seeing Paul in 1980 portraying himself as a young Beatle is particularly entertaining.


The next album worth checking out, once you've got past the greatest hits is Band on the Run (1973). By this stage, McCartney had his own band - Wings - with Linda and Denny Laine. This album was a serious hit at the time and featured a number of his best solo tracks including 'Band On The Run,' 'Jet,' and 'Let Me Roll It.'

However, let's dig up one of the tracks that didn't make the hits compilation and yet which showcases some great piano and bluesy singing from Macca. Here's Paul playing it all on his lonesome back in 1974.



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Read- 'Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting' by Eilon Paz.

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If you are anything like me, digging in the crates, foraging for rare white labels, first pressings, and picture cover sleeves took up weekends, lunch breaks and any spare moment that presented itself. Record collecting, selecting those cherished platters that mattered, requires a dedication for dusty covers, musty vinyl bins and solo excursions to the far reaches of long corridor second-hand stores. You will be on first name basis at Real Groovy and sport their orange signature bags with the pride of a giddy kid, eager to eliminate the return trip home to take your turn on your ever tempting turntable.

As noted by vinyl vixen Sheila Burgel “The joy of listening far exceeds my need to have it on record. The song is the cake, the original vinyl record is the cherry on top.”

Vinyl junkies rejoice, if you can find room on your carefully catalogued coffee table, have I got the perfect companion piece to compliment your collection. ‘Dust & Grooves’ signals a sublime sonic souvenir for all purveyors of the plastic persuasion, from the vinyl vaults of passionate people hooked on classical, cult cuts and 12inch circular journeys into sound.

With a foreword from the Wu-Tang;s RZA, a self-confessed album grabbing freak, ‘D & G’ cut and pastes a slide show of masterful mountains of records, lavished with lyrical waxings' on the haunts, hidden display hobby rooms and endless shelves of gems that fellow groove grabbers have created. 

Coming in at around 436 pages, this homage to honouring the record, masses more than obsessive odes to musical hoarding, uniquely undressing the tales of taking the time to search, sound-check and select personal pieces of rounded love. From dirty drum’n’bass dub plates  to crisp classical pressings, the community of collectors and aural appreciation society that sits in amongst us all, is as varied and vibrant as the undercover characteristics of their dutiful day job. A means to an end, working to be able to play those tunes, takes funds, fans and friends to share treasures with, and this beautifully presented scrapbook of sound peels back all the best examples of extreme adoration. Get collecting.


For this fine record resource, 'Dust & Grooves'  and more, dust off a few of these additional referenced reflections from your local library. Girls grabbing vinyl, serious addictsand the classics essentials.

Dave Tucker
         

New! Music and Performing Arts Channel

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Auckland Libraries is now providing access for library members to the exciting database Music and Performing Arts Channel  through the Digital Library. This database is a diverse collection of music and dance content that serves students, researchers, and music lovers alike. It includes hundreds of genres from alternative rock to zydeco and from alternative dance to operatic arias, and encompasses a wide range of materials including videos of live performances, audio recordings, instructional films, and previously unpublished works from acclaimed playwrights, performance posters, video interviews, and choreography.

The database includes the following collections:
  • African American Music Reference
  • American Song
  • Classical Music in Video
  • Classical Music Library
  • Classical Music Reference Library
  • Classical Scores Library: Volumes I, II, III and IV
  • Contemporary World Music
  • Dance in Video: Volumes I and II
  • The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music
  • Jazz Music Library
  • Opera in Video
  • Popular Music Library
  • Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries.  

With Music and Performing Arts Channel you can do amazing things:
  • Watch searchable transcripts that run alongside almost all titles
  • Search and browse by title, instrument, performers, composers, publishers, time periods, genres, people and playlists
  • Watch videos on-the-go with most handheld devices 
  • Create, annotate, and organize clips and playlists
  • Cross-search other Alexander Street music products
  • Export citations. 

Explore and enjoy this amazing resource!


A FEW LIVE UNDERGROUND NZ ACTS THAT YOU SHOULD PROBABLY GO OUT AND SEE!

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It's May, which means its New Zealand music month! And what better way to celebrate New Zealand music month then going out and watching some of the awesome local live acts playing around Auckland this month.

HEX

Wellington trio Hex are releasing their debut EP- 'CALLING TO THE UNIVERSE' this week and are playing their release show up in Auckland at the Golden Dawn Tavern. I've never been much of a fan of labelling bands and putting them into genre's, but on their facebook they describe their genre as pagan folk metal, which after much listening I think it sounds like exactly that. HEX play May 13th Friday at the Golden Dawn Tavern with Civil Union and DJ Kiran Dass, show starts at 8PM.





CIVIL UNION

Auckland band Civil Union who describe their music as stadium/death rock/shore core/slob goth, are releasing their debut album 'SEASICK LOVEDRUNK' this month. Their shows are always awesomely loud with heavy bass, mad drums and a guitar that cuts through all of it like a chainsaw, so good! Civil Union are having their LP release at Whammy Bar on May 19th Thursday with Peach Milk and Guardian Singles.




CENTRE NEGATIVE

Centre Negative are one of my favourites! I've seen them play twice now and each time was a hoot with lots and lots and lots of dancing. Two synths, heavy bass and some awesome guitar playing and then Michael McClelland, who fronts the band, is a force to be reckoned with. Centre Negative play at Audio Foundation on May 14th Saturday, with a swarm of awesome local bands. Show starts at 4PM.





I.E. CRAZY


Claire Duncan aka Maggie Magee is the absolutely mesmerising i.e. crazy. Hauntingly beautiful lyrics and singing, backed by a drum machine, and her electric guitar, is an act not to be missed. i.e crazy plays May 13th Friday at The Crown Hotel in Dunedin with Seth Frightening and Terrified.








Five acts to watch in 2016

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It's New Zealand Music Month, so it seems like a good time to run through some of the acts that seems likely to make a big splash in the local scene this year. There's everything from folk to garage rock to rap/EDM on this list, so hopefully there's something that'll strike your interest, though do feel free to add more recommendations in the comments if you wish.

Aldous Harding


Last year, it was the turn of Marlon Williams to be hyped as the latest, greatest artist out of the Lyttleton folk scene. Though this year it seems likely that the spotlight will return to his partner, Aldous Harding. She has a new album coming out later this year, which seems like it might add a gothic edge to the dark-folk sound of her debut self-titled album. It certainly sounds like there is a bit of PJ Harvey in the delivery of this live recording of new track, 'Horizon,' and the result is creepy and beautiful!





Lawrence Arabia


Lawrence Arabia has released very little new material since his last album, The Sparrow, came out in 2012. However he's been very busy on the live scene - playing at unusual venues such as art galleries and libraries, as well as scoring a silent film for the NZFF last year. Now there are stirrings that his new album is not too far away and a new single has emerged, which has all the playful lyricism we've come to expect from this sharp songwriter. I notice that the Youtube description mentions Flying Nun, which shows more signs of a slow return to prominence of the label over the past few years (they released Princess Chelsea's album, The great cybernetic depression, in the US and UK last year so they may again become synonymous overseas with great music from our shores).





Tiny Ruins


Hollie Fulbrook (the singer/songwriter behind Tiny Ruins) has been very busy since the release of her last full-length album, Brightly Painted One. She's currently touring through the UK and Europe as I write this, but has also been busy on the home front, mainly through her collaborations with an impressive list of highly-respected local musicians. She has toured with Bic Runga, which saw them forming a super-group from their two backing bands and playing a spread of covers and originals. She also contributed vocals to a song by Robert Scott (from The Clean) and recorded a whole EP with former Clean-drummer, Hamish Kilgour - Hurtling through. If that wasn't enough, she started this year by releasing a song that was produced by cult filmmaker, David Lynch (after Lorde recommended her music to him). Who knows what is coming next, but it's sure to be impressive. Here's the Lynch-produced track for you to check out...





Raw Nerves


The Raw Nerves are part of a recent revival of Auckland garage rock that has been instigated by the arrival of a new, vinyl-only record label, 1:12 Records. Others on the roster include: The Conjurors, Roy Irwin, and The Cavemen. Another band on the label, The Situations, will be known to many for acting as the backing band for Wanda Jackson on a recent visit to our shores, as well as working with Shaft and Ray Columbus in previous years. Nick Bollinger spoke at length about 1:12 Records on one of his recent sessions on National Radio and Grant Smithies was equally enthusiastic in his recent review of Roy Irwin - he's about to go overseas to tour from July-December, so no doubt he'll be known as NZ's answer to Kurt Vile by the end of the year (we have Irwin's first album if you want to hear how he got started).

However, my favourite among the label's band is The Raw Nerves, who seem to be bubbly with catchy hooks and gritty guitar sounds. This video also shows you how to make gourmet sausages, so hopefully that adds a bit of value for some viewers too!





Young tapz


The local hip hop scene has been bursting with talent over the last year, with Loui the Zu re-emerging as Mzwetwo and Tom Scott (from Homebrew/@Peace) starting a new group, Average Rap Band, whose focus on tongue twisting verbal dexterity has put his skills into true focus. Arriving hot on their heels has been Raiza Biza, a rapper from Hamilton who burst into the scene in 2014 with the fast-paced release of his first two albums. However the artist we're focusing on today - Young tapz - is even newer to the scene and is already looking to push out front.

Young Tapz works regularly along Mzwetwo as part of the Gallantino crew and their early achievements (along with those of Raiza Biza) led to an article on the Australian Vice website about the sudden emergence of NZ rappers originally born in Africa (and/or the Middle East). Their work is definitely worth searching out if you're interested, though be ready for some serious coarse language! (don't say I didn't warn you...)

So let's rewind the clock back slightly and look at the biggest breakthrough that Young Tapz has managed so far - dropping rhymes for "Buzz" by Aussie group, Hermitude (off their album Dark night sweet light), and thereby ending up in the Top Twenty of the Australian charts! Here's Young Tapz performing alongside Hermititude at the Australian Music Awards last year. He's sure got a lot of swagga for a twenty-year old!