Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Summer's coming

Signs that summer is on the way are not limited to the recent unnervingly early Spring weather: we're into festival reveal season and there are some things to discuss.

Auckland's New Year's Eve party Wondergarden takes a big step up with its first international artists: Dām Funk, a Nightmares on Wax DJ set, and UK clubbers Kllo, along with Cut Off Your Hands, Australians Fortunes and Tina Turntables, with more to come.

Those first two play the night before at Rhythm and Alps, which in turn shares the likes of LTJ Bukem with Northern Bass, which is headlined by Action Bronson and Shapeshifter.

The chart radio-oriented Bay Dreams has now become two festivals, with a second round in Nelson added to the Mount Maunganui show. Home Brew play both those shows and also turn up later in January at Soundsplash in Raglan.

Splore has made its first lineup announcement, which is almost entirely acts that were here this year or last year (or both, in Courtesy's case) – I'm told there's a big headliner being announced soon.

But there's a show at Tapapakanga Regional Park before that: Donald Glover's mysterious Pharos festival on November 23, 24 and 25. Tickets are only available via the Pharos app – and the Friday and Saturday are already sold out, with just 400 tickets left for Sunday.

Laneway promoter Mark Kneebone confirmed to me that his show will be back for a third year in Albert Park, with the first announcement due mid-next month. He notes that it's the 10th anniversary of Laneway in New Zealand "so it's a bit of a birthday celebration for us". 

And I can reveal that there will be an Auckland City Limits at Western Springs next year – but not next summer. The promoters are instead looking at a date in late November 2019. I think this make sense for them – it gets them in front of the summer rather than being stuck at the end when everyone's spent their money. I'd like to see this festival find its place and this might be it.

What there is at Western Springs this summer is a Fat Freddy's Drop mini-festival on January 19, featuring Norman Jay MBE, Ladi6, Troy Kingi, Silva MC and Logg Cabin alongside Wellington's finest, with more to come. It's part of a summer national tour which includes another big show in Hagley Park. (UK friends note: the Freddies play two nights with Ladi6 in support at the Brixton Academy in November.)


Closer to now, there's quite a lot on. Arch Hill goes wild with tours by Jonathan Bree and Princess Chelsea in November, both of them coming off European dates and both taking in special shows at the Hollywood in Avondale.

The Beths, featured in Rolling Stone this week, tour next month in support of their utterly winning debut album Future Me Hates Me (out now on the streaming services and here on Bandcamp later today when the Americans wake up).

Tiny Ruins has a short tour in November.

And ... Sticky Filth are back!

And finally, if you've like some nice vibes to end your working week, whanau, friends and fans of the late, great Duncan Campbell are all welcomed to the Thirsty Dog Tavern on K Road later today for some righteous music and good company in his memory. There is, fittingly, a DJ lineup:

5 - 6pm: The Jazz Hour with Blind Mango Chutney
6 - 7: Stinky Jim
7 - 7.30: Slowdeck
7.30 - 8: Russ B
8 - 9: Dubhead
9 - 10: Danny Lemon
10 - 11: Benny Staples
11 - 12: Miss Dom & Mark E.


Big week for local music videos. This one for Avantdale Bowling Club's 'Years Gone By' was supposed to go up last Friday, but Tom Scott had an art attack, decided it needed changing at the last moment and sent to back to director Arty Papageorgiou for a recut (while emphasising that Arty had done exactly what he was asked to do in the first place). Thing is, he was right; the darker imagery and the tragicomic ending now do better reflect the song and it the man who wrote it.

The venue is the St James and that's Tom dad Peter on the bass:

Note further that a Tom Scott-curated exhibition launches the Avantdale Bowling Club album from next Friday to next Sunday.

Also, more magic from Princess Chelsea:

And from Tiny Ruins, whose new song 'How Much' is a tantalising taster for her forthcoming third album (love that outro!):


I've long felt that one way to get people along to niche films is to make an event of the whole evening. And that's what's happening around two special screenings of The Man from Mo' Wax. It's the story of James Lavelle, the founder of the Mo' Wax label whose sensibility brought us DJ Shadow, DJ Krush, Air, Innerzone Orchestra, Rob D, Money Mark, Tommy Guerrero and Blackalicious.

Each of the screenings, at the Roxy cinema in Wellington on Saturday September 8 and at the Hollywood in Avondale on Septemer 15, will become a club night after the film shows,  with DJs B.Lo, Marek, Cian and Vee in Wellington and a serious lineup of Manuel Bundy, Stinky Jim, Dylan C and Cian in Auckland.

Strictly limited $25 tickets are here for the Roxy and here for the Hollywood.


Amid the recent (and totally warranted) fanfare around Flying Nun's master tape donation to the Turnbull, it's worth noting that there's archive action elsewhere.

The former members of Alms for Children and This Sporting Life – two basically identical bands from early 80s Auckland – have teamed up with Rob Mayes at Failsafe Records to restore and remaster their original recordings and various live tapes and re-release them on CD, and it's a really nice little project.

The CD cover is an adaptation of the original Alms for Children 7" single on Harry Ratbag's REM Records and comes wrapped in a nice hand-printed cardboard outer.

Inside, there's a good-natured account of the bands' story, which is also an account of the Auckland indie music scene of the time: from everyone starting a band, to no one being able to play a gig without boot-boy violence, to just playing gigs with their mates in Children's Hour and Nocturnal Projections until things "ground to a final halt" and they went their separate ways in 1984. Some of them even got respectable jobs!

They also played tour support for The Fall's famous visit, and, it turns out, had more in common with The Gordons than I recall. 

It's music of its post-punk time, and none the worse for that. AFC's 'Danny Boy' was the hit (it charted!), but my favourite of the songs here remains this one, from the Show Me to the Bellrope EP on Flying Nun:

There's no pretension here – it's just a nicely-produced document of what they did and who they were; a claiming of ownership. More people should do this. You can buy the record in digital or CD form here at Bandcamp (but note that the CD is $4 cheaper direct from the Failsafe website).


While we're remembering, RIP Mike Fomison, a longtime name in the Wellington music community and buddy of The Spines' Jon McCleary, who recalls him in this tale featuring a fight between Mike and his brother Tony, a ruinous drinking session and Sam Hunt; and this one involving a chimney fire. Mike also recorded work by Madeleine Lane.



Auckland's DiCE crew is back, this time with an edit of Odyssey (free download):

From the forthcoming Left Ear label collection, Antipodean Anomalies, a trawl through forgotten catalogues in Australia and New Zealand, this early electronic waiata:

A super-funky Brand New Heavies edit (free download):

Kelis's 'Milkshake' as relentless house banger (free download):

And a half hour of niceness from High Hoops, with a track listing and interview here (free download):


PS: While they're not officially a sponsor of this post, I would like to draw your attention to the Southbound Records banner ad at the top of this page. That thing in the picture is a Spin Clean record washer. I have one, they're affordable and I basically couldn't do without mine. Just sayin'.


Dilemmas: the drug-driving ad that isn't

Public service advisories about drinking and driving – and road safety in general – have been with us for many years. For a long time, they had a common theme: to scare some sense into the public with, if necessary, the most horrifying imagery.

But it turns out that, because they're human and it's been a long day, people mentally switch off from horrifying imagery. So in recent years, we've seen the rise of the advisory you might actually want to watch. The NZTA "ghost chips" ad in 2011, part of the long-running "Legend" campaign, underlined the value of such an approach by effectively becoming part of the culture.

It also emphasised anticipation, agency and "what if?". The more recent "Legends" (guy goes to car, but after the good life he stands to lose flashes through his mind, thinks the better of it) did the same, a bit less successfully. NZTA's new ad, "Dilemmas", officially billed as a continuation of the Legends campaign, does the same thing, but places the agency and the "what if?" with the potential driver's mates.

The story is is that the two guys get set off by an offhand comment about what if their mate, currently tottering away from the party and towards his car, "karks it on the road". The immediate thought is that there'd be no one to get them through Mad Mick's farm to their favourite surfing spot. And then things get surreal.

The truth is that these two guys aren't drunk. Or, rather, they're not just drunk: they're wasted. These aren't the waking dreams of merely drunk people, they're the visions and thoughts of people who've been enjoying the bong (or something else, it doesn't really matter). The ad doesn't need to point out that being drunk and high is a particularly risky state for driving. It says that even when you're absolutely flying you can still think it through and stop your mate doing something really stupid, for everyone's sake.

In that sense, I think it's actually the best drug-driving advisory NZTA has produced, in large part because it's not identifying as a drug-driving ad. We've had a few: Taika Waititi's "Blazed" (gorgeous to look at and wonderfully acted, but a bit too subtle), the hidden-camera series capturing "a real-life drug driving experience" that was rendered completely unreal by the hammy acting of the drivers, the "Shopkeepers" ad, which was pretty much a string of stoner cliches your parents might come up with, the somewhat oblique "High crashes" print campaign – and "Thoughts" the one with the two idiots who crash into a traffic island, which is probably the best of them.

Or rather, it was, until "Dilemmas". I'm not even sure this was what NZTA and its longtime gency Clemenger BBDO were shooting for – officially, it's just another ad targeted at young men in the regions who drive drunk because there's no Uber – but they've hit the mark regardless.


On joining the international troll circuit

Speaking shortly after the event at the Powerstation in Auckland was cancelled on Friday, Caolan Robertson, the self-styled agent for Canadian race grifter Lauren Southern declared that "powerful forces" were behind the venue's decision to dump the booking for Southern and her associate Stefan Molyneux. The reality was more prosaic.

I don't credit Powerstation co-owner Peter Campbell's claim that when the Canadian pair's promoter Axiomatic Events came to him seeking a booking the evening before (the timing does suggest that the company had had trouble getting a booking anywhere in the city) he had no idea who they were. (Peter has been known to say random things to journalists when under pressure.) Nor Southern's own claim that the cancellation was the work of a "scary and violent minority".

What happened was that from the minute the venue was revealed to ticketholders at 1pm on Friday, the people who use the Powerstation, both artists and fans, revolted. Music venues serve a community and the Powerstation's community swiftly made its unhappiness apparent, on social media, by email and, quite probably, by telephone.

That's reflected in the account of Campbell's co-owner in the venue, fashion designer Gabrielle Mullins.

Powerstation co-owner Gabrielle Mullins told the NZ Herald yesterday that after receiving complaints from the community, they decided to cancel.

Ms Mullins said she was "not comfortable at all" to have the speakers at the venue.

"Certainly freedom of speech is fine but there are also humanitarian issues.

"They can say whatever they want but personally I don't want it in my venue."

Update: I'm told Gabrielle attended the anti-fascist rally herself on Friday evening.

At heart, it's a similar problem to that faced by the Canadians' original venue, the Bruce Mason Centre, but in the Powerstation's case, the reputational risk was even greater. Hosting this show would potentially be very bad for business. Not because the "far left" would exact punishment, but because the usually-not-terribly-political community the Powerstation relies on for business would feel betrayed.

And yet, what the Powerstation owners did was potentially a breach of the Human Rights Act. You can say "You can't play here because your band sucks" – venues do that all the time – but saying "You can't play here because your Nazi band sucks," is discrimination on grounds of political opinion, which is a breach of the Act. Of course, on the face of it, that's what every other venue in Auckland had already done.

I don't expect it to end up in court on those grounds. But while the Canadians, deprived of a paying audience, went on an interview jag, Robertson, not so much an angry manchild as an angry child, was threatening retribution:

"We're going to go after the venue, we're going to go after the media, we're going to go after all the people who've decided to slander it," he told Newshub.

He said this about two hours after an email from the promoters to ticketholders lamented the way venues were "bullied", and continued:

"It's basically the whole media in this country who have written hit pieces constantly saying that Lauren's racist and a white supremacist."

In truth, most news organisations have avoided bluntly describing the Candians as racists, and some prominent columnists (most notably John Roughan in the Herald) seemed keen to minimise the awfulness of their ideas. That became a more challenging rhetorical job after Simon Copland's shocking live-tweeting of their Sydney event, in which he transcribed Molyneux regaling his audience with vile and explicitly racist pseudohistories of indigenous Australians.

That followed the "free speech" protest in Aotea Square, which emerged as more of a fan rally for the British racist and serial criminal Tommy Robinson. Certainly, it was still possible to defend the Canadians' speech as vile but nonetheless worthy of protection. But it was hardly viable to crack on like they were just some oddball intellectuals with interesting ideas. As if to make the point, a group protesting against the cancellation back in Aotea Square on Saturday was literally displaying swastikas.

And now we're left with the mess. There was some strong criticism of TVNZ's Sunday programme for giving the Canadians a "platform" last night. But it's a fact that it was the resistance to their speaking visit that made it a news story – that was the point of the resistance – and I thought reporter Tania Page and producer Paul Deady did a pretty good job.

Their description of Elliot Ikilei, who was presented as a supporter of the Canadians' message, should, however, have been better. He was described as a "youth worker" – but the context of his youth work bears noting.

Before he went to Statistics NZ to train census field teams last year, he was the community liaison manager at Villa Education Trust's South Auckland Middle School, and last year he stood for the Conservative Party in Manurewa (he is now deputy leader of the New Conservative Party). In the past week on his Facebook page, he has celebrated being "honoured" by Whaleoil, championed Donald Trump, shared a Dinesh D'Souza video slating multiculturalism and ceaselessly backed the two Canadians. I'd have been interested in asking him how he squares touting his Tongan-Niuean-Māori whakapapa to his electorate with championing Western culture and vilifying multiculturalism. (The answer possibly lies in his background with the Pentecostal Horizon Church.)

But, he exists and he is not alone. There will remain a market in New Zealand for ideas like those of Molyneux and Southern. And it will be messy, because the international troll circuit is in the nature of a shitshow.

In June, the Canadians' Aussie promoter Dave Pellowe was the subject of a threatening visit from notorious neo-Nazi Neil Erikson and some biker muscle, who believed Pellowe had sabotaged a rival's attempt to tour Milo Yiannopoulos in Australia. (A week later, Erikson and some other neo-Nazis were in court facing assault and other charges subsequent to Yiannopoulos's gig in Melbourne last year. He has also been convicted of stalking a rabbi.)

It's just who these people are and what their world is like. Caolan Robertson, for example, is a close and keen associate of Tommy Robinson, who has a long criminal record, including convictions for fraud  and for violently assaulting an off-duty policeman who tried to stop him assaulting his girlfriend. There's a lot of crime and violence in this world.

So the bear has been poked now. Supporters of Southern and Molyneux on local social media have been both profoundly butthurt and notably emboldened by recent events. Then there are the troll/bot accounts with single-figure followings who have appeared suddenly to harange "leftists". That's a little unnerving. Some of these people are fond of depicting cultures other than theirs as a pestilence, but really, it's their own ideas that most resemble an infestation. And sadly, they're probably not going away.


A cannabis moment in the Parliament

One of the issues on Jacinda Ardern's first-day-back desk today is medicinal cannabis – and specifically, the issue of how to respond to pressure to compromise and incorporate key elements of National MP Shane Reti's private members bill into its own proposed law.

Both bills are flawed, but Reti's goes further than the government's in some key respects. The Greens' Chloe Swarbrick – who, part by fate and part through aptitude, has done more in her first year than some MPs manage in a Parliamentary career – has been meeting with both Reti and the office of Health minister David Clark in search of an outcome. And the Prime Minister has been watching.

I've looked at that in my story for the Herald today – and at how on earth Reti, a quiet, relatively conservative backbencher, has taken a caucus that merrily governed on never, ever changing the Misuse of Drugs Act into endorsing a proposal for perhaps the most consequential change to the law since it was passed in 1975.

The answer, I think, lies in a line from Reti's maiden speech: "It's cool to be a geek." Within days of the government bill being published, he got interested in the detail in a way that no Labour MP has, and he used the Parliamentary recess to pursue that detail. Is he right about everything? No. But he's trying. Labour, implicitly positioned as the party that might finally do reform, has been complacent in government. And I think Health minister David Clark – who took responsibility for the medicinal cannabis issue over his Green associate Julie Anne Genter – has to shoulder most of the blame there.

As I make clear in the story, I think it's a certainty that some of Reti's caucus colleagues saw backing his bill as simply a chance to get one over on the government. By the same token, the worst parts of his bill are essentially the price of getting it signed off by a National caucus. But it's also a wake-up call for Labour. And I think it might be a moment.

On Tuesday, the day I spoke to Reti, Simon Bridges declared that he would honour a vote for legalisation in the forthcoming cannabis referendum. Labour, absurdly, has manoeuvred itself into a position where it can't yet say the same – but hours after Bridges made his statement, David Clark declared that he personally favoured "more liberal drug laws because I think in the world when prohibition has been tried, it hasn't worked." These are not positions we're used to hearing from National Party leaders or Ministers of Health.

This is an unprecedented Parliamentary term for these issues. By the time the medicinal cannabis bill, in whatever shape, gets Royal Assent, we will be (or should be) into the process for the referendum on legalising  cannabis for adult use. And despite what various people have been keen to tell me on Twitter, that process will not be a simple or straightforward one for the government.

In a story out this week in Matters of Substance, I've looked at the road to the referendum question, with input from Helen Clark, Graeme Edgeler, Andrew Geddis, Khylee Quince and drug policy experts in the US and Britain, including the designers of the successful ballot initiatives in two US states. I strongly encourage you to have a read. This is, remember, the first national referendum on cannabis law reform. It would be good if we didn't screw it up.


I didn't have room in the Herald story for all of the Shane Reti interview, including some interesting parts that weren't necessarily suited to a mainstream audience story. I figure it's useful to include those parts here.

On why National didn't embrace the statutory defence in the government bill for terminally ill patients to possess and use cannabis.

Several things. First of all, the terminal exception has problems. We're permissioning an illegal act – no one disagrees about that. It's an illegal act but once that act has been committed, you're okay. That's really awkward. We had the Police say it was going to be awkward for them as well. Are you inducing a crime? That was going to be a challenging area anyway.

Secondly, the time to roll that out as a temporary scheme that was expected to last two to five years. We could have a scheme up and running almost as soon as that temporary scheme could be up and running. So let's to a fully-fledged scheme right and properly and then wouldn't need the temporary scheme and the problems we've got with that.

On the odious fit-and-proper-person elements of Reti's bill, which ban anyone with even the most minor historical drug conviction (and anyone who was even sought help for a drug problem) from working in a new medicinal cannabis industry:

The answer to that is yes, it's another area of flexibility we have. We needed to draw a line in the sand. The officials were telling us [prospective directors of medicinal cannabis companies] would fundamentally only need to meet what the Hemp Act 2006 says, which is not to have have previous convictions under the Misuse of Drugs Act or under the Crimes Act. And that was it.

So on a spectrum of fit and proper people, you'd have nothing, do-as-you-please all the way to the Australians, who I think are too restrictive. They've very, very tough. What officials were also telling us was that because we didn't do anything in the Hemp Act or the Psychoactive Substances Act, we probably won't here either. That's not a good enough reason.

I think, and still, think there need to be some criteria for staff. Not as much as the Australians, but something. And that something could be retrospective, some leeway on that, and current and prospective. For example, if you are an active patched gang member currently under drug addiction therapy, I would suggest that you are probably not wise and probably not suitable for the cannabis industry. But some flexibility on previous convictions, which may be prohibitive as I've written it, I have flexibility on that. That is something we can tak about.

On his meetings with American public health officials and politicians:

My Boston colleagues were able to get really challenging and hard appointments with high-level people. Kay Doyle, the Health Commissioner for Massachusetts was very helpful. Let's also remember that a large number of medicinal cannabis schemes come up from referenda – they're public-driven initiatives. So she was given a time-frame and within 18 months, she had to deploy. That's why I'm saying for the time it took to set up the temporary exceptions [in the Zealand government bill], we could potentially have a full-fledged scheme underneath that.

So Kay and the [Director of Government Affairs at the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission] David Lakeman, they were very, very helpful.

In New Hampshire, I spoke with Senator Jeff Woodburn. New Hampshire's fascinating, in as much as there are other things that no one's talking about that come in around medicinal cannabis. Senator Woodburn said to me, 'Shane, we as a state have the second-highest incidence of heroin addiction and overdose – after we introduced a medicinal cannabis scheme, that has been significantly reduced'.

It was a question I asked of the New York people too, because I'm interested in other benefits that might come from it. The thing I was really interested in was, do you have any evidence on the impact of medicinal cannabis schemes on P? And all of them said no, which I can understand– it's a different class of drug. I know there are clinics and specialists in San Francisco who do believe that medicinal cannabis can be a go-to drug to wean people off P.

And some people will say, Shane, that argument is that you improve heroin addiction, but all you do swap one addiction for a lesser addiction. Yes, absolutely correct. That's exactly what we do with methadone – we swap one very addictive and damaging drug for one less addictive and less damaging. And then we look for the next step after that.


Andrew Freedman, who was the previous director of marijuana coordination for the Colorado scheme, he was a really hard appointment to get, but my Boston team were able to secure that. He advises other states and jurisdictions on how they deploy medicinal cannabis. So speaking with him was absolutely fascinating.

I was able to explain what my thinking was and get their advice on it. And that then took me to New York, where I met with Dr Howard Zucker, who's the Commissioner of Health for New York state, and he brought together his whole medicinal cannabis team around the table. And again, they had excellent advice.

Because New York's one of about 15 states who prevent the smoking of loose-leaf. They actually do allow vaping, but they were similar to where I was heading. And so to get their advice, to find out what they did and the unexpected hurdles they encountered, that was really interesting.

Furthermore, all of the international experts have said 'however we can help'. In fact I've just got a question back to Commissioner Doyle in Massachusetts this afternoon, all of them have said 'we're happy to be available to you, however we can help, however we can transfer our learning, we'd love to do that.


Friday Music: The spaceman looks back at the sky

The first time I met Tom Scott, I dropped some borrowed wisdom on him.

We were conversing in the 'Talking Heads' format devised by Sam Wicks for the short-lived Herald offshoot Volume in 2011 and I happened to mention something Don McGlashan once said, about how parenthood was good for creative men, because it raised the stakes and obliged you to get your shit together and focus. Tom, 27 at the time, declared himself very interested in that idea.

Seven years on, on his new single as Avantdale Bowling Club, 'Years Gone By', from the album Avantdale Bowling Club due out in a couple of weeks' time, Tom is that guy:

He's back in Avondale, changing nappies, looking at his baby boy and taking stock:

Watch his eyes

Watch your mind

Watch your life on rewind

The song itself is a seven-minute jazz hip hop timeline, recounting his birth in 1984 and the family move from London to Avondale in 1986, through years of heroic partying, friends and lives lost, awards won, and eventually a kind of national infamy he didn't want. There's a familiar figure in there: the dissolute father he always wants to admire and yet despairs of. The dad he loves and wants to be better than.

In a kind of open letter sent out with previews of the album he explains further:

This record is about ... growing up. I think. It's about dealing with your own shit for once. Accepting responsibility, maybe. It's a self-help book addressed to myself. And just like every other piece of art made in the history of the hominid, I was going through some shit when I made it.

The same thing might be said about most of his art. And it's hardly the first time he's looked back: the Home Brew album traces an arc from the kid who wanted to "just wanted to be a spaceman" and back. He's always harking back to growing up in Avondale. Even the initial capitals of 'Years Gone By' are a play on those of Young, Gifted and Broke, his old arts collective. 

But it does feel different, not only in his perspective on the stories he's telling, but in the music he's telling them over. The jazz in 'Years Gone By', not sampled but played by Julien Dyne, Tom Dennison, Guy Harrison, Mara TK, Ben McNicoll, Jong-Yun Lee and tabla player Manjit Singh, isn't just a bunch of licks to rap to, but a composition in its own right.

He's also got himself into management by one of the safest pairs of hands in the local music industry: Lorraine Barry, Dave Dobbyn's manager. This week, he released the entire back catalogue of Home Brew, @Peace and Average Rap Band, including a new album of Home Brew b-sides and rarities and a similar @Peace collection, onto the streaming services. More than a hundred songs. It's a setting of things in order.

I've always thought Tom had enough to say that he could do it for the rest of his life, if he could make it through. I'm pleased to say he's made it through.


The lineup for The Others Way festival 2018 has been announced, and as ever it's just great. And it's the usual mix of vintage and fresh, with Bailterspace, Headless Chickens, Superette and 70s Aotearoa funk kings Collision(!) lining up alongside The Beths, Troy Kingi, Soaked Oats and Cool Tan, to name a few.

It all happens on Friday August 31. I will be there.


When Chelsea Jade played Wondergarden last New Year's Eve, I felt like I really got  an impression of what she'd been up to in Los Angeles. Her show – only the second time she'd performed it, according to this new interview with Sam Brooks at The Spinoff – seemed well-honed and its vision of the kind of artful pop music she wanted to play clearer than before.

That same feeling is all over her debut album, Personal Best. The singles of the past year and a bit are collected on it, and they gain from being set in the context of an album. Of the new songs, the closer, 'Speedboat' – her version of a banger – is my favourite. It has sometimes seemed like Chelsea has been still exploring exactly how to say what she wants to say. Personal Best feels like she worked out the answer.


If you fancy a bit of reggae talk, let me recommend Red Bull Radio's Fireside Chat with the Mad Professor. The prof recalls the way a childhood obsession with building radios in his native Guyana set him up for a life of producing music in London and elsewhere, working with Lee 'Scratch' Perry, the Beastie Boys and others. What I didn't know is that he's another artist who pays tribute to "this one guy" at the BBC who discovered and played his records – John Peel.

I tend to listen to Red Bull Radio content via the app. If you're interested in dance and reggae music and the people who make it, it's quite a resource.

I am indebted to the MP for Hutt South for alerting me to a new project on the internet: The McKenzie Tapes. It's “a collection of live audio recordings from some of the New York City-area’s most prominent music venues of the 1980s and 1990s," being progressively digitised this year. There are already recordings of The Replacments, R.E.M., Meat Puppets, Flaming Lips, Lou Reed, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Husker Du and more, a;; downloadable. In this Open Culture story about the project, there is also this period gig ad, appearing to show that The Chills cancelled and The Pixies got the date:


A couple of new videos. Latinaotearoa's 'Jazzy Samba', which does exactly what it says on the label:

And this from Cymbol, aka Aucklander Shivnesh Sumer. It's contemporary radio fare in the mould of Australia's Future Classic label:

But Sumer, another graduate of the SAE Institute music production course, has also made things like this, a version of a traditional Hindu devotional song released for Diwali last year:

He seems quite an interesting young man.


And finally, the Melbourne jazz-funk-reggae-disco label Left Ear Records is preparing to release Antipodean Anomalies, which is billed simply as a "compilation of Australian and New Zealand tunes made in the 1970s and 1980s." Quite a few people are waiting to see what they've come up with.



Dick Johnson and Anna Coddington, are back as Clicks with a new single, 'White Mail'. This is the 'Diss You Dub', a harder version of the nu-disco A-side:

And a really great Hober Mallow take on Hugh Masekela's 1985 track 'Ritual Dancer'. Free download!