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How Could I Have Known? – Into the East

How Could I Have Known? may become my favourite track of the year. Into the East have just been nominated for Country duo of the year, and it’s not hard to see why. Great voices that blend well and a stomping sing-a-long style.

Inside the Perfect Storm

Show 15 – Musical rollercoaster, or a bit of a mess

Show 15 was put together mighty quickly, so it’s a bit all over the place. It was fun though. Full posts coming in the next couple of days.

I played:

  • Unknown local band practising
  • Tex Morton – Letter Edged in Black
  • Tex Morris – Game of Love
  • Ipswich – Stoner Jam
  • The Wonderland That is South Dunedin – Louis Smith
  • Invercargill – Jet Jaguar
  • Living Life in Reverse – Rumpus Room
  • Friends are Fiction – Shunkan
  • Dear ____ – Death & the Maiden
  • Pink Frost – The Chills
  • Heavenly Pop Hit – The Chills
  • I Spy – Estére
  • Guaranteed Defective – Sheep, Dog & Wolf

Luke Hurley – the country’s best known busker

He’s particularly fond of playing on the streets, and he may be the country’s best known busker. He’s recorded several albums since the 80s, mostly outside the traditional music scene.

He was born in Zanzibar, grew up in Kenya and moved to New Zealand when he was 12. He’s a fantastic guitarist and a troubadour in that middle ages tradition of questioning and satirical songs, and making a living off what your talent brings you from the people who walk by …

I first saw him in concert in a venue that no longer exists, but it was an old church where music students used to sit their Trinity music exams. It was a cold night and we waited outside, past the start time. A car rocked up, this guy got out and used bolt cutters to get the lock of the heavy gothic door, and we went in and he played. I don’t know if it was a stunt or real, but I’ve never forgotten it.

Read More →

Who remembers Radio Fifeshire?

Found an interesting read today on Radio Fifeshire, first broadcast in January 1983. The original studio was in Richmond, before moving to Nelson the following year. It was AM of course, and you’ll need your best jock voice for the slogan:

Summer’s Alive with 855

I found Pete Dawson’s site, full of history and memories – as well as soundbites and various stickers and memorabilia.

Read more about the AM station history, on Pete’s website, then listen to what it sounded like when it was all go on double nine o – the beginning of the 1984/85 broadcast – the first song sounds like it was Start Me Up by the Rolling Stones …
FM arrived a bit later –
check out the FM history section.

There was a concert held to celebrate the FM launch at Trafalgar Park featuring Icehouse, Boom Crash Opera and Sharon O’Neill. Did anyone out there go to that concert?

Harley Williams – 3 Fish, 2 Hotdogs, 1 Meat Pattie, 1 Spring Roll, and 2 Scoops of Chips

I really like this song, which mixes a trip to the chippie with some great acoustic guitar. For the order to cost just $8.10 it must have been the cheapest chippie in the land – I’m getting peckish already!

3 Fish 2 Hot dogs 1 Meat Pat from Harley Williams on Myspace.

I used this song a couple of years back in one of the radio shows I made for Christchurch City Libraries. You’ll find the audio on the 150th anniversary site. Some of the editing was a little clunky, but looking back, I’m quite proud of that script…

Mini Fringe Festival, including Root Vegetable Opera

Since it’s the Nelson Arts Festival, I thought we could have our own little fringe festival right here …

The first of two pieces I found through a specialist music library that offers subscription lending of scores, and recordings

The first is called, and I am not making this up,

If Zack de la Rocha were a twelve-tone serialist composer

Zack de la Rocha is the lead singer of Rage against the Machine and this piece is by a fellow called Robbie Ellis. It’s a microscore, for 3 clarinet in B flat and bass clarinet and if you don’t understand what any of that means, don’t worry, you’ll understand everything in about 30 seconds or so …

Yep, that’s fringe festival material and now “a song about root vegetables in the style of opera”.

Yes, root vegetable opera

Root Vegetable Opera

Written by Robbie Ellis at Song Sale Dunedin, 25 June 2012, The Church (50 Dundas St). Recorded by Robbie Ellis (baritone) and Corwin Newall (piano) on 12 December 2012, Albany St Studios, University of Otago, Dunedin.

Buy the sheet music from SOUNZ.

Pressure to Be – 18 and Under

I featured couple of tracks from an album called Pressure to be – a compilation of bands that were all aged 18 or under when the songs were released in 2010.

First up was an artist called Lontalius and that’s the name of this track, although when he recorded it the band name he used was Shipwreck. Anyways, his real name’s Eddie Jones, and he’s from Wellington, and his music is wonderful.

The second was Chief, Sir, King by These Dancing Wolves.

Nature’s Worst – Volume 3

Here’s the main feature from Show 2 – a sampler of Nature’s Worst 3.

We start with Sexy Times at the Parachute Festival by Gold Medal Famous, a Wellington three-piece. They also do a series of songs called John Key is a dick and once, I am told, played in a pedestrian tunnel underneath a railway line in Tauranga. It’s pretty rock and roll..

The song comes from from a 2012 compilation album called Natures Worst 3. It’s part of a series, with the fourth currently being released track by track on facebook and bandcamp.

Put together by Dylan Parry, a guitarist and vocalist, who has lived in Hamilton, Wellington and is currently in Kuala Lumpur, the third compilation features 24 tracks of bands that mostly you’ve never heard of.

We played Dunedin outfit Brown’s track Our Love is like a David Bain Jersey last time – and that track is one of the many that feature a different take on our image of ourselves – You see Nature’s Worst focuses on the inane, boring, annoying and frustrating things that make this country as unique as all the other inane, boring, annoying and frustrating places that are out there…
Here’s another example

DiscJockey Joe Bloggs – this is Parry having fun as a bad beat poet –

This gives you a taste of a Tokoroa open mic night there. The idea of the album is part piss-take and part satire – and and all sorts of our sacred cultural cows come under the microscope – like rugby and housing and public service announcements, but our our obsession with pop idols cops a serve as well in tracks like Pop Idol Song

Take Aim. Feat Miss Priss – The Pop Idol Song ( Tomorrowpeople Mix)

Nature’s worst is an off-beat look at ourselves– and songs like the ballad of happy feet, the suicidal penguin will be gold for a social historian twenty or thirty years down the track. AS well as our attitudes, our small towns are in the spotlight too.

Hiro Peaceful karamea – 1.30

At the end of the road, at the edge of the world – its’s a wonderful line in the song called peaceful Karamea by Hiro – and when was the last time you heard a song about Karamea or Granity? That gives you a bit of a clue as to the other motivation of this compilation – Parry says he’s also trying to put together a musical geography of new Zealand. It’s an interesting idea – relating music to place, and again, one that will cause all kinds of debate for future arts or music students.

As well as Karamea and Tokoroa, there’s this classic southern anthem taking on the marketing slogan – I am Dunedin

I am Dunedin but if I try hard enough I might be Wellington by a band called Dick Jokes.

Nature’s Worst 3 has songs about social issues like freedom camping, but there are also quirky tracks about peanut butter toast, or that accidental battered sausage you got when you ordered a crabstick.

Among all that silliness though, there are real gems like this cover of Tom Wait’s Green Grass by the Weatherspoons – an off shoot of the Serious Ukulele Ensemble. And the big muffin serious band. Check out the beautifully moody Martha Weatherspoon – Debra Powell, on vocals.

As well as smooth performers There’s well known songwriter Robert Scott –from the Clean and the Bats – who features on a recording with some schoolchildren. And that’s the real appeal of this album – quirky, unpretentious snapshots of us – raw and unexpectedly fun. There’s melodic rant, swearing, noisy, shouty homages to Janet Frame – All in all it’s kind of like the solid gold records you used to get as a kid but for the off beat and out of tune dissenters of our musical spectrum – and that’s precisely what makes it so interesting.

The last track was a taste of the fourth compilation, My home town, being released track by track on facebook and bandcamp – this is Alexandra Stockbrokers Consortium by a band called gadget goose.

Show 2 – Nature’s Worst, Paul Williams and Fly My Pretties ticket giveaway

Lend me your ears next Wednesday at eight on Fresh FM and online, and you’ll hear some hilarious, honest and hard case Kiwi songs.

  • Selections from Nature’s Worst, an annual compilation of songs about New Zealand;
  • A track from the only South Island band in the rockquest finals – AashaWill&Cullen;
  • (Hopefully) An interview with Paul Williams – part-time rapper and Guy William’s brother;
  • Go in the draw to win four tickets to Fly My Pretties Westport Gig (if you aren’t a member already, join Club Fresh to be eligible);
  • Plus regular features:
    • downbeat upbeat – where a listener chooses the tracks;
    • track from the stack – blowing the cobwebs off Kiwi music history.

Join In

Find out how you can join in, and tune in on Wednesday at eight to listen live.

Tune your wireless


or to these FM frequencies:

  • Nelson-Tasman 104.8
  • Golden Bay 95.0
  • Blenheim 88.9

See you at eight on Wednesday!

Douglas Lilburn Explains

In about 1970 composer Douglas Lilburn had to make something he didn’t have – the sound of the huia. You can imagine him, moaning to his colleagues over morning tea at Victoria University – you’ll never guess what the boss wanted – bring the dead back to life … kind of thing. Luckily, he had a room full of kit at Victoria University to help him out. And as you’ll hear, the result was no frankensound, but something fascinating and believeable.

You can listen to him describe how he did it, with analog signal and a razor blade. These days it sounds retro and futuristic all at once. The piece was recorded for a performance at Expo 1970 in Osaka. Expo is a world trade fair which also had a large rock from the moon, a spherical concert hall which played three dimensional music from multi-track tape, plus early examples of mobile phones, local area networking, and hover train technology. Read more about Expo 1970.

From Youtube.

Blue Smoke

It was way back in the 1940s that the very first end-to-end New Zealand record was cut. And Just as the Clean felt out of place, looking for answers in empty doorways, this song was about staring out into the distance, missing home, yearning for something out of reach.

You might recognize it – Pikiteora Maude Emily Gertrude Edith Williams singing Blue Smoke. Recorded in 1949, written by Ruru Karaitiana. Pixie passed away in the last few weeks at the age of 85, and what a wonderful, sweetly scratchy sounding legacy she leaves.

Incidentally, the engineer for ‘Blue smoke’, Stanley Dallas, is credited with being one of the first engineers to record an electric guitar by connecting it directly to the recording equipment, rather than using a microphone. If you want to find out more about pixie – visit