Archive for August, 2008

An Area you might not know about

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008 | News | 1 Comment
An Area you might not know about

Know where your going to be in February 2009? No? me neither, but I can tell you about a party, well more like a music festival (to be exact) that will be going down at that time. A three day mash up of kiwi music from diverse parts of the musical spectrum. Sound like something you could get into? Well just to get your enthusiasm pumping I’ll add that it includes bands “world famous in New Zealand” like: Katchafire, Rhombus, KORA, Salmonella Dub, Cornerstone Roots , The Black Seeds and many many more! The official website describes ‘A.R.E.A 9′ as “a proud new Kiwi Music event set to rock the heart of the Mackenzie Country, in our beautiful South Canterbury.” As someone who has traveled around this area many times before I can guarantee picturesque views, laid back locals, and if your lucky , some of the best weather in the country! The 6th of February is a national holiday in New Zealand, a sometimes controversial one that commemorates the signing the country’s founding document, but I think this musical extravaganza will allow everyone from all creeds and cultures to get down and boogie!

‘A.R.E.A 9′ will be a good alternative for those that usually go to the Rippon music festival that occurs every second year (so not in 2009) in nearby Wanaka, or if you just want to sample a wide range of kiwi flavours. Best of all it’s all for a good cause as the event states it will “contribute to the preservation of New Zealand’s rarest bird, the Black Stilt, as well as promote New Zealand music and the New Zealand summer lifestyle.”

So here are the vital stats to help you plan:
When: Friday, 6 February 2009 – Sunday, 8 February 2009
Starts: 12:00pm
Ends: 12:00pm
Where: Ohau, McKenzie
Cost: $160
The event is R15 so sorry kids you must be this tall to enter

You can check out more on AREA 9 at:


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How open is your soul?

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008 | News | No Comments
How open is your soul?

It’s not always easy to be a funk/soul band in New Zealand, if you can’t get your songs onto the filthy commercial stations, you are likely be ignored by the mainstream. Then you either have to slum it playing as a backing band on a kids TV show, or alternatively do the hard yards touring to build up a fan base the old fashioned way. Many artists have to go overseas to be taken seriously at home. Some of the true pioneers and innovators make it through either by sheer luck or through dogged determination, but many others are never fully recognised for their musical talents. Hopefully NZ collective Opensouls is a band that can reach their full musical potential and get the recognition they deserve both domestically and internationally. As the band bio on their website states: “Opensouls have been steadily rising through the ranks of the New Zealand music scene since beginning their musical journey in 2001. Comprised of 2 vocalists, M.C. Bjorn and singer Tyra Hammond, and a live band including Jeremey Toy a.k.a Ota (guitar/MPC), Julien Dyne (drums), Chip Mathews (bass), Stephine Brown (keys), Scott Towers (saxophone), Issac Aesili (trumpet/vocals) and Harlin Davey a.k.a Buttafingers (turntables/mpc), the collective possesses an abundance of musical flair and experience which they have used to great effect on their critically acclaimed debut album.”

Rise Up

With that many members in the crew OpenSouls should once again be in the running for “New Zealand’s Most Populated Band ” award with the only real competition coming from Solaa , but as some of the artists are in both outfits (e.g the mulit-talented Isaac Aesili), special judicial deliberation may be necessary. All jokes aside though these guys are straight up musical bliss, and should appeal to fans of funk, soul and basically groovy as shit! Their song “Turn It Up” has been doing the rounds on NZ student radio for some time now, helping to spread the love and build a following for this original kiwi group. Also well worth checking out, their track “Rise Up”… If you haven’t heard them yet, you best check them out. Then go buy their album “Kaleidoscope”, sweet sounds with lyrics you can relate to.

You can check out more from Opensouls at:


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How much do you love Hip Hop – Rock The Bells kicks off

Monday, August 18th, 2008 | News | 2 Comments
How much do you love Hip Hop - Rock The Bells kicks off

CHECKITOUT!!!!!!!! Rock the Bells 2008 has kicked off in style in the USA and Canada with new additions to the already incredible line up including MF Doom, Sage Francis, Blue Scholars and B-Real. Considering the artists roster already consisted of A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Mos Def, Methodman & Redman, De LA Soul, Rakim, Immortal Technique, Dead Prez, Murs, Jedi Mind Tricks as well as a whole consortium of both new and old skool’s finest. With artists like these being added to the bill, it’s really no surprise that they have been able to draw the amazing crowds pictured above, with ticket sales still going as the mammoth tour continues.

Rock The Bells Toronto (Amateur cam – for the fans who can’t be there a.k.a. me)

So It might be time to bring Rock the Bells to Australia and New Zealand.

You can start the campaign for Rock The Bells coming to Australasia by posting whingeing comments at:

and maybe cross your fingers really hard

… bs

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Ya Heard? The Flobots

Thursday, August 14th, 2008 | Reviews | No Comments
Ya Heard? The Flobots

This weeks edition of Ya Heard? takes a look at an album from a fresh new live hip hop band with a message. The Flobots appeal is two-fold; firstly, theyare a live hip-hop band. Led by two skilled Emcees, Jonny B and Brer Rabbit, the band features live instrumentation not seen often enough in hip-hop these days, including lead violin, guitar, bass, drum and horns in virtually nearly every track. Having recently being introduced to True Live, it was pleasing to find another album utilising a similar sound. The second part of their appeal lies in the way in which the Emcees present the views and beliefs of the group within their music. I’m not usually enthused by the typical politically charged hip-hop that often comes across as preachy, angry or negative; but the Flobots come with an optimistic and often inspiring premise that makes you sit up and listen. Their approach is summed up perfectly with this from their website: “Armed with musicianship, intelligence, and an ingrained sense of rebellion, Flobots are looking to engage a new musical culture, one mind at a time.”

The group has seen recent success with their single “Handlebars”, a track that demonstrates the lyrical complexity and creativity of the group. The song subtly breaks down the competitive natures of man, comparing a child bragging about bike riding abilities to leaders bragging about military capabilities. “Handlebars” , along with other notable tracks, “AnnaeBraden” and the title track “Fight With Tools”, are so thought provoking that you’re bound to question yourself after you hear them. “Anne Braden” contemplates the concept of racism by revisiting the story of a famous fighter for racial equality.

The first musical track of the album, “Mayday!!!”, gives a good indication of whats to come, with a heavy guitar riff and sweet violin chords that are perfectly combined with well-placed trumpet and percussion parts. The tempo of the track rocks back and forth, relying on the guitar for the verses and the violin for the hook, providing the Emcees with a canvas for switching flows and background vocals. “Same Thing” and “Stand Up” follow, and ensure the album holds the listeners attention. With a funky bass line supported by a perfectly placed trumpet, “Same Thing” is a call to revolution. And “Stand Up” is the ideal introduction to the Flobots political and social stance with a powerful hook:
Stand up
We shall not be moved
Except by a child with no socks and shoes
Except by a woman dying from a loss of food
Except for a freedom fighter bleeding on a cross for you
Stand up
We shall not be moved
And we won’t fight a war for a fossil fuel
It’s times like this when you want to plot a coup
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

These tracks definately show the live potential of their music, as do”Combat” and “The Rhythm Method”; which no doubtedly rock shows on a regular basis. The album also features spoken word, which is used to great effect on the intro, and backed masterfully by the violin on “We Are Winning”, a punchy plea from Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit for society to become involved and active.

‘Fight With Tools’ is a welcome return to conscientious lyrics, supported with quality instrumentation from a live band. From the thought-provoking tracks to the ones that’ll have you nodding your head, this is an album that not just hip hop fans will enjoy. I’ll sign off for the week with the final lines of spoken word in “We Are Winning”, a nice summation of what you can expect to hear.
There is a war going on for your mind
If you are thinking you are winning
Resistance is victory
Defeat is impossible
Your weapons are already in hand
Reach within you and find the means by which to gain your freedom
Fight with tools
Your fate and that of everyone you know depends on it

For more on the Flobots you can check out:




Thursday, August 14th, 2008 | News, Reviews, VG News | 1 Comment

With few Australian artists entering the scene in underground hip hop as of late (at least of any quality), it’s all good when you happen to come across a group as interesting and talented as Pataphysics. Based in Melbourne, Patrick Marks, a.k.a. Brother Pat, The Brown Militant, Pat Malone is self described as an “Australian/Sri Lankan(Tamil/Singhalese). MC/Trumpet player, rhythmic soundshapa, revolutionary poet, multi-instrumentalist, producer, composer, arranger, teacher” – and I’m glad that he has put this together as it would be hard to describe what you experience when you are lucky enough to stumble across he, and his collective of musicians that are Pataphysics.

Finding a vocalist who can sound this good while delivering his own unique conscious thoughts is rare which was made pretty obvious by the crowds acceptance and involvement in the performance.

All too often when you are lucky enough to find a vocalist compelling, you find the musicians and P.A. aren’t up to the challenge… in this case, the P.A. was the only thing lacking with an incredible group of musicians in support. Pataphysics Avanipaala as a collective, deal with issues from local/international politics, Indigenous resistance, dreaming, eastern philosophy, life, existence and even spirituality, and the live show draws on elements of Sri Lankan Culture that bring a certain energy.

While The group are ever-changing they are currently based around the present line up of Rhymes, Beats, Percussion, Double Bass, Flute, and Guitar (with what I think was an electronic tabla) plus guest vocalists and a host of other friends from the Melbourne music community. The performance is captivating in a way that is not often seen live, on this particular night especially with a puppet show, random soliloquys, and freestyles incorporating all sorts of funky props. Tie these all in together and you have a truly enjoyable evening of awakening music, tie these all in together and you have… Pataphysics

You can check out more of Pataphysics at:

be sure to check him out during his residency at ‘The Evelyn’ in Melbourne, Australia in September…

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