Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Slow Burns

Before she finally got to make her solo record this year, Sandy Mill sang on a lot of other people's records. And two of those people, Dick Johnson and Steve Hewitt, formerly of Placebo (and now of Love Amongst Ruin), have returned the favour with remixes of my favourite song from A Piece of Me, 'Charade'.

What was a big Dusty-In-Memphis ballad has been reworked by Dick as a lush, moody, slow-motion groove. It's gorgeous and someone should make a dreamy video with it.

Meanwhile, Steve Hewitt pitches down Sandy's vocal and adds a big, burning (and somehow very British) synth line.

I really like both of these. You can listen to them on your streaming service or buy high-quality files for a couple of bucks at Sandy's Bandcamp

And I would also like you to know that Sandy will be joining us with her DJ hands on at Cupid bar (in the old Ambassador theatre) in Point Chev tonight. It's the bar's Christmas party, the music kicks off at 7pm and the other selectors are Apera and Dusty Crates from 95bFM's Swap Meet show and me. Sandy's swinging by en route to her late set at Dr Rudi's, so be there at 9.30 if you want to catch an an hour of her styles.


If you'll permit me one more rave about last week's Avantdale Bowling Club show at the Mercury, I want to talk about how it began. There was a video, set to 'Old Dogs' from the Avantdale album, and it was about this character who played basketball and talked about life. It looked beautiful, it was gently funny and it was a lovely way into the show, but I didn't write about it because I wasn't sure what it actually was.

Turns out the character was a guy called DownTown Langi Brown and he has lived in Kingsland since he arrived from Samoa in 1963. The short video is the work of Jake Munro, Tim Dee, Petra Leary and Tom Scott. They say "A big praise hands to NZ On Air for believing in the idea," and I agree. There's no sense of box-ticking or trying too hard to make a point here: it's just a visit with one of the many thousands of New Zealanders who came here from the Pacific to make their lives. It's really, really nice, basically.


A couple more things from what currently seems to be a healthy, sophisticated and diverse local hip hop scene.

Avondale boy (you can tell from the accent) Melodownz has released his "double EP" Melo & Blues.  You can hear a live session (with a band featuring Troy Kingi and Julien Dyne) an an interview with Alex Behan here in the Music 101 Pocket Edition.

Here's the single 'Peace Sign, Gang Signs'. He talks about the conflict at the heart of the song here.

From the same show on Saturday, an intriguing interview with Arab-Aotearoa rapper Meer, who talks, among other things, about squaring off making hip hop with her conservative mum. You can find her recent EP, Post Winter, here on Bandcamp.


Audioculture has a great Glen Moffatt article on "New Zealand's Shirley Bassey" and a true pioneer, Eliza Keil. You'll want to read it, but it's worth a click for the pictures alone.

Also, John Pain has the story of pop freaks Shaft.


And finally, I somehow missed this when I wrote about Ladi6 recently: her new single, 'Diagonals'. Cool video!

Have a good weekend, everybody.

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