RNZ NATIONAL. MUSIC 101 30/05/2020
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12:14 Neil Finn on his charity single in support of Auckland City Mission (12’23”)
Neil Finn has just released a brand new track - with the help of his Fleetwood Mac bandmates - to support the Auckland City Mission.
Speaking from LA, where he's living with his family and working on a new Crowded House album, Finn told Charlotte Ryan it was a daunting task writing a song for Auckland City Mission as he wanted it to serve its purpose.
"It is an honour to be asked to do something like that and I think the City Mission is almost unique in the Auckland environment because they are, I would say, universally appreciated by everybody and not just the people they're able to help," Finn said.
He spent two years working on the song 'Find Your Way Back Home', which he said turned out to be a blessing as it allowed Fleetwood Mac bandmates Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Mike Campbell to get involved.
"That wouldn't have happened had we been on a tight deadline. It was a slow process of them getting to know it and finding time...it was meant to be."
He said he had poured his "heart and soul" into the song, which was about "home and what it means to people".
His Fleetwood Mac band members were delighted to be involved and felt strongly about it being for charity, Finn said.
"All the money from my point of view that gets made from the song, and I hope it's lots, will end up at the City Mission.
"There might be a couple of bodies stamping the ticket that I don't know about, that we can't extract from the equation, but I can guarantee every single cent that comes my way will be directed toward the mission and I think almost every body that's contributing, including record companies, will be doing the same thing."
Home for Finn is in LA right now, where his family is, but he said he's an "Aucklander at heart" and home will always be New Zealand, both in a spiritual and pragmatic sense.
He's currently making the final touches to a new Crowded House album, which he's working on with founding member Nick Seymour, Mitchell Froom and his sons Liam and Elroy.
The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown had meant they had to put their concerts - lined up to start next month - on hold.
"We've been working away, on our own at home, toing and froing, playing with tapes. It's given me a focus and it's given us something to look forward to because really, ultimately we can't wait to get on stage, whenever that turns out to be."
It made sense for his sons to be involved as they grew up with the band, which was "deeply engrained in their psyches", Finn said.
And he'd recently played a couple of shows with Froom in LA.
"There was just a connection and a feeling that there was some valuable connection that we made years ago that could be reenergised, and it felt like time, and the idea of the five piece as it is now just felt like the ultimate line-up.
"It's got freshness and everyone's playing out of their skin, so I'm very excited about the way it's shaking up."
While it was not possible to plan a tour in New Zealand due to the pandemic, Finn said it would be "sooner rather than later".
All proceeds from ‘Find Your Way Back Home’ will go towards the Mission's purpose-built housing and social services facility HomeGround.
12:33 NZ Music Awards 2020: Country music winners announced
Best Country Music Artist went to Delaney Davidson & Barry Saunders, and Best Country Song went to Tami Neilson for ‘Hey Bus Driver!’.
With the 2020 Country Music Awards in Gore cancelled due to the Covid19 crisis, the winners were announced live on Radio New Zealand’s Music 101 this afternoon.
For their collaboration Word Gets Around, Delaney Davidson & Barry Saunders have received the 2020 Tui for Recorded Music NZ’s Best Country Artist.
After success in their respective solo careers and a significant number of collaborations with acclaimed Kiwi musicians, their joint venture is a tour de force of atmospheric, striking country music.
Taking out APRA’s Best Country Song, Tami Neilson has further cemented her spot as one of New Zealand’s most energetic and diverse country musicians.
Tami adds this year’s award to an increasingly populated mantel, having previously won Best Country Album four times (2009, 2010, 2012, and 2015) as part of the New Zealand Music Awards, Best Female Artist at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in 2010, 2011 and 2014, and Best Country Music Song in 2014 for ‘Whiskey and Kisses’ with Delaney Davidson.
Other finalists for the Recorded Music NZ Best Country Artist were Katie Thompson for her album Bittersweet, and Kendall Elise for her album Red Earth.
‘Any Fool With A Heart’ by Tami Neilson, ‘That Summer’ by Kaylee Bell and ‘West Coast’ by Katie Thompson were the other finalists for the APRA Best Country Music Song.
12:54 New Nick Cave
Nick Cave has covered Cosmic Dancer, originally by T Rex. AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T.Rex is out Sept 4th.
13:22 Anika Moa on winning the Tui for Best Children's Music Artist (9’48”)
Anika Moa has won Best Children’s Artist, Kath Bee and Doug Stenhouse have won Best Children’s Song for ‘I Love Life’ (feat. Joelle), and The Nukes have won Best Children’s video for ‘Worms’.
Charlotte talks to Anika about the win, and balancing music and motherhood.
The winners for the 2020 Children’s Music Awards are:
APRA Best Children's Song:
WINNER: Kath Bee - 'I Love Life' (feat. Joelle) written by Kath Bee and Doug Stenhouse
Aro - 'Korimako' written by Emily and Charles Looker
Ben Sinclair and Jeremy Dillon - 'Tony the Tiny Pony'
Te Kaipuoro Waiata Tamariki Toa / Best Children’s Music Artist
WINNER: Anika Moa
Captain Festus McBoyle
NZ On Air Best Children's Music Video:
WINNER: The Nukes - ‘Worms’, video by Parry Jones and Christian Tjandrawinata
Little Ripples - ‘Read To Me’, video by Emily Benge
Chris Sanders - ‘Tahi Tahi Tahi Ambulance Song’
Ben Sinclair and Jeremy Dillon - ‘Tony the Tiny Pony’, video by Ned Wenlock
The awards were held this afternoon on TV2 + 1 (Home Learning TV) and streamed via Kiwi Kids Music. Hosted by Suzy Cato, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern made a special appearance congratulating all those nominated for awards and commenting on the strong NZ music industry.
“I know from personal first-hand experience, just how much it is appreciated by young New Zealanders.”
Also presented was the inaugural Baysting Prize for Children’s Champion, named for the late children’s advocate and NZ music champion Arthur Baysting.
The award acknowledges outstanding contribution to the development and wellbeing of New Zealand tamariki, through music, TV, film, live shows, books, education, or advocacy.
The inaugural recipient was Baysting himself.
“Arthur was such an important part of the music community, and a particular advocate and guiding light in the children's music world,” APRA’s Anthony Healy said, “We miss him dearly, and are very happy to announce that the inaugural Baysting Prize has gone to Arthur's family, in his memory and to mark his legacy.”
13:33 NZ Music Month: Fresh Kiwi Covers
We’re celebrating 20 years of New Zealand Music Month with some brand new covers of classic Kiwi songs.
Louis Baker covers Fat Freddy’s Drop ‘Ten Feet Tall’
Wellington singer-songwriter Louis Baker had never produced anything with a dub flavour before he recorded this soulful version of Fat Freddy’s Drop's 'Ten Feet Tall'. Doing the cover allowed him to “tap into something new”.
Freddy’s have been a huge influence on Louis ever since he heard Based On A True Story. He chose to cover ‘Ten Feet Tall’ because “it has an uplifting kind of magic to it”.
“‘Ten Feet Tall’ really left me thinking that great songs say it for you. They echo the essence of what you're feeling, so that you don't have to articulate it yourself.”
Louis’ girlfriend shot the song’s video on her iPhone.
13:38 The Sampler: Ryan Fisherman
Nick Bollinger looks at a melancholy and atmospheric set from Lyttelton all-rounder Ryan Fisherman.
There’s something that seems to happen when anyone enters Ben Edwards’ Lyttelton studio The Sitting Room; wherever they came from and however they went in, they come out sounding as though they have just driven across the Texas Panhandle with the radio playing all the way, and soaked up every particle of sound.
This is the latest record to come out of The Sitting Room. It’s the debut of Ryan Fisherman. That’s the performing name of Christchurch singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Chin, and last time I heard of him he was playing drums in the band Doprah, whose electronic-based pop conjured all sorts of fantastical landscapes, but the plains of Texas weren’t among of them. Yet to be fair, any geography triggered by the sounds of pedal steel and twanging guitars, is mostly in my head; and the more I listen to the songs or voice of Ryan Fisherman the more I hear New Zealand. Take this first track, ‘Bailed’, for example. Fragile, hungover and tormented with self-doubt, it’s the confession of a lover who has just walked out on a relationship. He could be in any local town, and Paddy Long’s mournful steel guitar hovers above and around him like a conscience. There’s paddock-fulls of space between the notes, another thing that’s inclined to get one imagining Texan landscapes. But as this collection of songs unfolds, it becomes more and more apparent that the real location is this singer’s mind.
Chin’s songs are personal and frequently melancholy, and the sensitive group he’s assembled play beautifully to the mood. At the core is guitarist Simon Gregory, bassist Symon Palmer and drummer Joe McCallum, a stalwart of so many Sitting Room sessions. I’ve already noted Paddy Long’s steel, but there are other players who come and go, adding their own very personal touches. There’s Indira Force, former front woman of Doprah, who plays piano and sings harmony on ‘How Cool’. It’s a very different genre than any I’ve heard her in before, and yet there’s still some residue of the dreamscapes she creates in her own music.
And there’s a substantial contribution from Anita Clark, the violinist, singer and songwriter who performs as Motte. She sings as well as contributing some lush and gorgeous violin, and when Marlon Williams steps up to add a harmony vocal to ‘Old Man In Me’ it’s just the icing on an already mouthwatering biscuit.
Though the tempos are mostly slow, there are both sonic and rhythmic surprises, like ‘El Spicy’ which seems to morph into both psychedelia and reggae at the same time.
And there are moments when things change gear altogether. Counterintuitively, the track that rocks hardest is the one Chin has called ‘Down’. The tempo is definitely up, even if the subject is depression.
Though there are beautifully arranged instrumental passages and lots of detail in these well-crafted songs, Ryan, Ben Edwards and their cohorts have left room in this music for that intangible thing that can be neither crafted nor arranged. People have come up with various different names for that thing, but Ryan Fisherman has called his album Vibe - which it most certainly has.
14:04 VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Ria Hall performs 'Flow' live at The Surgery
Award-winning musician Ria Hall recently released her second album Manawa Wera, and to celebrate, she performed this powerful live version of her track ‘Flow' at Wellington's Surgery Studios.
'Flow' was co-written and produced by Laughton Kora, and has been influenced not only by the personal journey Hall has been on since the release of 2017’s Rules of Engagement, but also the current political climate across the globe.
"Flow' is a love letter to my first born son, Te Rongotoa," Ria says, "This waiata was conceived while his world was consumed by water. 'Flow' likens the relationship between the tides and the moon to when a māmā carries and nurtures her pēpi in her kōpū (womb).
"Te Rongotoa and I hope you are staying well and safe with your loved ones during this unprecedented time, and we send our aroha to you all."
For this special live recording of 'Flow' Ria is joined by an all-star band including Troy Kingi, James Coyle (The Nudge, Fly My Pretties), Zane Graham (Sons of Zion), and Miharo Gregory (L.A.B.).
The video is the fourth in a series that includes 'Cause & Effect' and 'Owner', which were also performed live at The Surgery, and 'Walk', which Ria performed with legendary Wellington supergroup Fly My Pretties at Wellington's Massey University.
Ria Hall’s new album, Manawa Wera is inspired by the classic reggae and soul records of the 1970s and intends to “uphold the mana of Aotearoa reggae”. The record is inspired by Indigenous uprising around the globe.
While drawing influence from the likes of Steel Pulse, Bob Marley, Sly and Robbie and The Herbs, Manawa Wera above all sounds like Ria Hall, the sound of a wahine Māori.
Collaboration has been crucial, with Laughton Kora co-writing and producing, as well as singing and playing on the album.
The album was recorded at Wellington’s Surgery Studios with ‘Dr’ Lee Prebble and features an all-star reggae band including Ara Adams-Tamatea (L.A.B.), Wiremu Barriball (Katchafire), & Zane Graham (Sons of Zion, The Wailers).
Guest horns were arranged and lead by Warren Maxwell (Trinity Roots, Little Bushman), with percussion by Riki Gooch (Trinity Roots, Eru Dangerspiel).
Backing vocals are gifted from Hall’s friends Troy Kingi & Rob Ruha.
“Manawa Wera is a collection of songs that speak to my views, vision and experiences” Ria says, “In these testing times, and with the current social and political climate, it’s essential we remain passionate and fervent of heart.
“To be steadfast, bold and brave irrespective of the storm. These stories are told through music that sounds like the Earth is heaving. That is the essence of this record.”
Ria Hall’s new album Manawa Wera is out now.
14:19 Live: Ria Hall at WOMAD 2019 (48’09”)
Ria Hall is a local singer and songwriter who adopted music at a young age after joining the church choir and local kapa haka group where she found her calling as a vocalist. Her motivation and her contribution to the music of Aotearoa is still growing, but already she has established herself as a songwriter of considerable mana.
Titles: 'Te Kawa O Te Kiri', 'Black Light', 'Forever, Tell Me', 'Te Ahi Kai Po', 'Sing Dance Dream', 'They Come Marching', 'Love Will Lead us Home'
After leaving school she moved to Auckland and then on to Queensland, where she spent two years developing her writing and vocal skills.
She later moved to Wellington, where she joined the ever-expanding cast of Fly My Pretties before she released her first solo EP, which went on to win Best Māori Album at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards in 2012.
Ria's original compositions touch on themes of love and war, revolution and change. Her richly layered vocals performed in English and Te Reo Māori have seen her described as creating an epic soundscape that embraces and challenges multiple genres.
Ria Hall’s 2017 debut album Rules of Engagement won Best Maori Female Solo Artist at the 2018 Waiata Maori Music Awards and confirmed her status as one of Aotearoa's most influential and non-compromising vocalists.
As Ria writes: "Rules of Engagement attempts to speak to such issues, engage in meaningful dialogue, and create an open forum to encourage understanding and forward movement. I believe in my heart that once we come to a place of understanding and compassion, we can achieve the impossible. This is my desire for our nation and indeed, the world."
Performing songs from her album Rules of Engagement and accompanied by Wellington band The Nudge, Ria Hall proved to be a magnetic performer at WOMAD Taranaki.
We were blessed with great songs, delivered with a charisma and heartfelt conviction. As one reviewer put it: "Hall’s vocal range is a spear soaring through high notes, and demanding higher goals for humanity."
Ria Hall performing live on the Dell stage in New Plymouth, was recorded live and mixed by Graham Kennedy for RNZ Music.
14:33 The Sampler: Moses Sumney
Nick discusses an exploration of identity from honey-voiced singer Moses Sumney.
Grae by Moses Sumney
It’s hard to forget where you first heard a voice like Moses Sumney’s. For me, it was back in 2013 on the Beck album Song Reader.
It was an all-star disc featuring everyone from Norah Jones to Jarvis Cocker, and to open it with an unknown and unsigned artist could only be heard as a strong endorsement. Moses Sumney has indeed gone on to great things, though the path he’s taken hasn’t been the obvious one. Seven years on from that debut, Moses Sumney isn’t a pop star. He’s an artist.
This is Moses Sumney’s second album, at least it’s the second part of it; the first portion arrived digitally in February and has just been completed by what could be heard as a 25-minute coda. Yet the album really demands to be taken as a whole, and it’s a demanding yet rewarding experience; both visceral and intellectual, held together by a strong and coherent theme.
The son of Ghanian immigrants, Moses was born in California, but had the dislocating experience of returning to Ghana between the ages of 10 and 16. Being an immigrant in two cultures is certainly part of the album’s theme, but there’s also much refection on his identity as a man - specifically a black man in America. To throw even more ingredients into the cocktail, Sumney identifies as ‘aromantic’. In fact, Aromantic was the title and underlying theme of his first album which came out three years ago.
The remarkable thing is that he makes it so listenable, which brings us back to that voice. In many ways it’s a classic soul singer’s voice; not just the falsetto, that brings to mind sweet black angels like Curtis Mayfield and Prince, but also the kind of bluesy melismas that pour from his throat like honey.
Ad yet it is a deconstructed soul music that Moses Sumney offers us. In ‘Cut Me’ - one of the more conventional tracks - he still does little more than gesture towards a bassline and a backbeat. There’s a trombone, abstract flurries of piano, and that voice, stacked in towering harmonies.
And when a beat really kicks in, in a song like ‘Virile’, it’s not so much a groove as a lurch, while the subject matter is a long way from any R&B song I’ve ever heard - or any song, for that matter. It’s nothing less than a reasoned rejection of masculine ideals.
The realisation that ‘none of this matters/‘cause I will return to dust and matter’ that he articulates so clearly in that song isn’t the only time Moses contemplates mortality; in fact mortality is another strand that is woven right though the album’s thematic fabric. And it returns starkly in the song ‘Two Dogs’ which opens the second half.
While Sumney is an exacting and articulate wordsmith, he sometimes collages in other people’s words to bolster his themes. And it is the voice of Nigerian-Ghanian writer Taiye Selasi you’ll hear speaking to the heart of Sumney’s disquiet in one of several brief but significant interludes when she says: “I insist upon my right to be multiple. Even more so, I insist upon the recognition of my multiplicity.”
In Moses’ case, that involves all kinds of multiplicities, hence the title: he’s called it Grae, which implies subtle shadings, the kinds you find at the margins, where nothing is either black or white. And the music is like that too, at times going to some unsettling sonic places. Yet it all revolves around the voice, and in those moments when he brings it back to just that voice and his guitar, you can almost forget that there are few bolder practitioners of sound art making records right now.
13:04 NZ Music Month: Fresh Kiwi Covers
We’re celebrating 20 years of New Zealand Music Month with some brand new covers of classic Kiwi songs.
Delaney Davidson covers Split Enz ‘One Step Ahead’
Lyttleton bluesman Delaney Davidson created this stunning cover version and its equally impressive video while in Level 4 lockdown.
Delaney is performing live online this Saturday, May 30!
Delaney has always been strangely fascinated with Split Enz 1981 hit ‘One Step Ahead’.
“The creepy feeling, the hooks in what is kind of the chorus and kind of not the chorus. The amazing synth lines that are almost invisible as the verses build. The organic way it works is compelling and hypnotic. It’s a really crafted song.
“I wanted to do it so I could see how it works and get a look under the hood so to speak.”
Delaney made the video at home “getting dressed up and prancing round” and really trying to get into the characters.
“I was often laughing at myself and trying to lighten up. It ended up with a lot of serious faces somehow. I also dragged in some old experimental footage.”
Delay felt the song’s original video had echoes of German expressionism, “So I went quite hard in that direction.”
15:15 Introducing: Border Patrol (5’20”)
Church & AP producer Dera Meelan introduces his debut single as Border Patrol, 'Temptation'.
15:29 The Sampler: X
Nick reviews the first album in three decades from L.A. punk originals X.
Alphabetland by X
One of the surprises of lockdown was a new album from one of my favourite bands. No one expected it. After all, it had been more than thirty years since their last one.
The buzzsaw guitar, whipcrack rhythm, and the he-and-she harmonies of Exene Cervenka and John Doe; it’s all here, just as it was on their startling debut Los Angeles, back in 1980.
It might be easier to write a prog-rock opus than a two minute three-chord rock’n’roll song that hasn’t been written before, yet X have done it; blistering blasts with all the wit and fury that defined them.
“There’s a heaven and a hell and an oh well…” has to be the rock’n’roll rhyme of the year, and with guitarist Billy Zoom matching Exene’s offhand nihilism in licks that casually combine Chuck Berry with Johnny Ramone, it’s an object lesson in the things that made this band great and unique. X might have had as much energy and volatility as any of their punk contemporaries, yet beneath the stripped-down exterior were some sophisticated undercurrents. Billy Zoom was already hitting thirty and had played with rock’n’roll pioneer Gene Vincent before seeing the Ramones and hearing his future. Exene was a 20-year-old beat poet from Florida when she met John Doe, a singing and bass-playing son of Baltimore librarians, while drummer D.J. Bonebrake didn’t let his training as an orchestral timpanist get in the way of a merciless backbeat. This was punk, with a complex system of cultural references just below the surface. On the face of it they sounded something like a collision between Jefferson Airplane and the Ramones. And they still do.
Putting a band back in the studio thirty-plus years after they last recorded together is no guarantee of success and though the four founding X members reunited in the late 90s and have been touring intermittently since, they have until now resisted the idea of recording again. Their wariness is understandable. Exene and John Doe are now an ex-married couple, while the 72-year-old Billy Zoom is a Republican and a Christian. But evidently such frictions work in their favour. They have reactivated the sound, and the new songs are good, though not all entirely new. ‘Cyrano De Berger’s Back’ first appeared on their mid-80s album See How We Are and had been written long before that. But this is somehow the way it was always meant to sound.
Clocking in at just on half an hour, X’s Alphabetland is the perfect punk length. But whether it represents a rebirth or a final hurrah is another thing. There’s a track right at the end that makes me suspect the latter. With Doors guitarist Robby Kreiger noodling over a three-in-the-morning piano, Exene returns to her beat-poet roots with a mordant monologue that might literally be the last word:
We are dust, it's true
And to dust we shall return, me and you
But it was fun while it lasted
All the time in the world
Turns out not to be that much
15:45 Auckland indie maestro Merk on life after lockdown
Online news and current affairs platform RE: News has a new video series called Sound Check. It features interviews with Kiwi musicians who were on the verge of breakthroughs, before Covid-19 got in the way.
Pre-lockdown, Merk was a week away from attending career-changing music festival South by Southwest. From his Karangahape Road flat, Merk shares how he's gutted but not wallowing, and how he hopes to carry on post-lockdown.
15:57 NZ Music Month: Fresh Music Daily
We're celebrating NZ Music Month with Fresh Music Daily - new music from a different Kiwi artist every day. Today it's Dunedin four-piece Marlin's Dreaming with 'Sink or Swim'.
16:04 The Mixtape: Rose Matafeo (55’44”)
Rose talks to Tony Stamp about her career in comedy, acting, and directing, and plays six songs that were introduced to her by her very cool mum.
Songs played on this show:
Solephonic - Jazzybizz
Neil Finn - Find Your Way Back Home
Crowded House - Don't Dream Its Over
Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders - Stolen River
Tami Neilson - Hey Bus Driver
Nick Cave - Cosmic Dancer
David Bowie - Let's Dance
Opossum - Blue Meanies
Tame Impala - Solitude Is Bliss
Anika Moa - Youthful
Louis Baker - 10 Ft Tall
Ryan Fisherman - Bailed, Observation, How Cool, Old Man In Me, El Spicy, Down, Rua
The Mutton Birds - Queen's English
The Flaming Lips - Flowers of Neptune 6
Ria Hall - Flow, Owner, Cause & Effect, Walk
Moses Sumney - Bless Me, Bystanders, Insula, Colourour, Cut Me, Virile, Two Dogs, Me in 20 Years, Also also also and and and, Keeps Me Alive
Mel Parsons - Isobel (Greg Johnson cover)
Lorde - The Louvre
Nadia Reid - Faster (Reb Fountain cover)
Bon Iver - PDLIF
Delaney Davidson - One Step Ahead (Split Enz cover)
Mild Orange - First Taste
Haim - Don't Wanna
Border Patrol - Temptation
The Beatles - Revolution
Jonathan Bree - In The Sunshine
X - I Gotta Fever, Delta 88 Nightmare, Water and Wine, Goodbye Year Goodbye, Cyrano De Berger’s Back, All the Time In the World
Orville Peck - No Glory In The West
Reb Fountain - Get The Devil Out (Nadia Reid cover)
Merk - Easy
Pavement - Cut Your Hair
Marlin's Dreaming - Sink Or Swim
The Cure - In Between Days
The Beegees - Nights on Broadway
Mel Torme - Walk On By
Kanye West - All Falls Down
Garageland - Come Back
Beck - Peaches and Cream
Reference number A301382
Media type AUDIO
Collection Sound Collection
Series Music 101