“Sometimes, you just know it’s the right thing to do.” – PEANUT BUTTER WOLF ON SIGNING MAYER HAWTHORNE TO STONES THROW LABEL (Stones Throw Biography.)

Mayer Hawthorne’s debut album released in 2009 titled “A Strange Arrangement” had me thinking  from a musical and cultural point of view. What constitutes ‘a strange arrangement’, or more to the point, what constitutes his strange arrangement? One can only assume having not heard the answer from the blue-eyed multi-instrumentalist, producer, singer/song writer, audio engineer and DJ himself. Is it the falsetto melody and harmonies far removed from the fixed paradigms of commercial radio appeal? Is it the much talked about white boy emulating the sounds of a bygone era dominated by a rich Black culture? Could it be the guileless, wide-eyed innocence of his lyrical content juxtaposed to the lyrical emptiness heard in generic radio culture we are submerged in? I may be thinking far too much into this, but his strange arrangement comes at a time when the likes of Mark Ronson, Janelle Monae, Cee-Lo, Duffy, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Jamie Lidell, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (to name but a few) are bringing back the Motown sound to a wider audience, deconstructing the soul sound and injecting their own adaptation of soul music into the industry.


Back in Australia to tour as part of Niche Productions next line of superb musical outfits, Mayer Hawthorne and the County will be gracing our shores on the 19th of February, 2011 at the Manning Bar in Sydney. Hawthorne is one of the most refreshing artists to come from the prestigious Stones Throw label and it’s no surprise when his production keeps in essence the spirit of soul music, paying respect to original mentors of this sound. His debut album ‘A Strange Arrangement’  is stripped back, uncomplicated, warm and infectious. Hawthorne has openly confessed original soul musicians such as Curtis Mayfield, Smokey Robinson, Barry White, Isaac Hayes as his strong influences which are apparent on this album, with a strong affinity and respect for the late great Hip Hop producer J DILLA.


I was privileged to attend last years Basement gig which saw Mayer Hawthorne and Theo Parrish on the same bill in January, 2010. The room peaked full capacity before Hawthorne entered the stage, and to my surprise, the crowd dissipated revealing a handful of Theo Parrish devotees. Sydney was in love with Mayer Hawthorne. His stage presence was cheeky, vocally on point and as a band, The County were incredibly tight! Hawthorne was but a whisper on people’s lips at that point in time only having heard of Mayer Hawthorne’s album at the tail end of 2009. There were heavy murmurs amongst many industry folks regarding this artist, and with the help of the internet buzz surrounding Hawthorne’s successful debut album, his first single “Just ain’t gonna work out/When I said Goodbye” seemed to pop up on facebook and music blogs around the world.

Mayer lives and breathes music producing and performing hip hop under the moniker HAIRCUT, is one third of LA experimental melody driven hip hop outfit NOW ON,  and a member ATHLETIC MIC LEAGUE – a hip hop crew of six Mc’s and one DJ. The task of creating his own album as ‘Mayer Hawthorne’ is not just an impressive feat amongst a busy schedule of DJ gigs and performances, but this blue -eyed crooner took on the task of playing most of the instruments on ‘A Strange Arrangement’.

This is going to be one VERY special night of nu soul music with support acts from Melbourne’s phenomenal soul act ELECTRIC EMPIRE, with DJ’s Mike Corbett and Miss Micah (inertia) spinning for the masses!

Tickets available through moshtix!!












I was introduced to ELECTRIC WIRE HUSTLE at the beginning of this year by a close mate of mine who had been the lead singer’s room mate back in Christchurch. I have been mesmerized by their sound ever since. How do you encapsulate in words EWH’s sound without sticky taping labels that don’t seem to have a firm hold on them? Their sound can be best described as psychedelic, off beat hip hop with soul as the epicenter of their muse, splash a bit of jazz and contemporary electronica, and you have a sound that cannot be contained. It needs to be heard. They seem to inherently resist labels not from their own doing, but it’s like a sin trying to pigeon hole this band. It’s just wrong! They don’t care to fit a mould, or to stick to a typical formulaic generic sound of beats and samples. It’s the finer details that seem to make more noise than the framework itself. They stand out because they take risks, they experiment with sounds, instrumentation, tempo, mood, and dive deep in the multi layers of musical freedom. Plus, they know to loiter in the moment, for us to wait it out and journey with them through the raw landscape of dreamy sounds. EWH take their time and sit with you.

Electric Wire Hustle hail from Wellington, New Zealand, a three piece band – Mara (vocals/bass/guitar), Taay Ninh (bass/keyboards/MPC) and Myele Manzanza (drums/percussion), signed to the label BBE and WONDERFUL NOISE (Jpn). 2007 saw the band unite for the first time playing shows around New Zealand with a large following that soon built momentum around their native land. Their strong stage presence and unique sound traveled across the seas affording them the privilege of support act for international artists the likes of UK’s soul singer Alice Russell, America’s left field hip hop outfit SA-RA Creative Partners, Japan’s DJ Krush and Grooveman Spot, Talib Kweli, Peanut Butterwolf, Jean Grae and DAM FUNK. Electric Wire Hustle have also had the remarkable privilege of collaborating with well respected musicians from Georgia Ann Muldrow, Declaime, Stacy Epps and Steve Spacek, with a special guest appearance by MARA TK’s father  – New Zealand’s blues luminary BILLY TK. Keep in mind they have still yet to take the world by storm. Not bad for three years of musical development!

Revered by Gilles Peterson, BBC’s Radio 1Xtra DJ Benj B, LA’s DJ JAMAD, NY’s Tyler Askew, it’s no wonder the well respected Revivalist blog has also taken to their sound with pure curiosity and open arms at the prestigious College Music Journal Festival (CMJ). Surrounding themselves with talented hip hop and jazz musicians in New York City for CMJ festival, EWH performed to an audience that were hard to impress due to the amount of new music the festival had hosted all day and night. EWH appeared on stage positively cementing their position amongst New York’s music hungry elitist crowd. They released this album in New Zealand at the tail end of 2009 through their own label Every Waking Hour, only to then get signed to BBE (worldwide) and Wonderful Noise (Japan). “Perception” was the first single to be released in New Zealand receiving critical acclaim world wide:

““Electric Wire Hustle are at the forefront of talented musicians dedicated to putting out superior music and it’s a damn shame that the airwaves aren’t flooded with what this album offers, because it would well be worth it.”

“A great blend of forward thinking hip hop, jazz and soul.”

Waajeed (Platinum Pied Pipers, Bling47, Ubiquity)

Niche Productions have hit the nail on the head again touring EWH down to Melbourne and Sydney for their long awaited album launch of the same name ‘Electric Wire Hustle’! EWH are to hit Sydney tomorrow night at TONE, Surry Hills.  You’ll find collaborations from the above mentioned, plus an interesting scope into what the future of soul music is developing into. This album holds hands with time and simplicity, layering smooth vocal tones provided by Mara TK, allowing the energy to shape the mood without rushing into a middle eight, or bridge to capture one’s attention. It’s live instrumentation so you know you’ll be in for a real treat to genuine musicianship! To me, DAM FUNK and ELECTRIC WIRE HUSTLE are two major players in the music industry that will (f not already) take the underground world by storm through strength in simplicity and sound escapism. Get to know Electric Wire Hustle, they’re staying. They’re staying for good!

Tickets available through moshtix or at the door! YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!! DJ Huwston from 2ser’s SOUL GLOW will be DJing on the night! No doubt you’ll be hearing something new, perhaps a new Jay Electronica track in celebration of being signed to Rocnation! That’s another blog there…














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REVIEW: Kon and The Transatlantics at The Basement [21.8.2010]

Thanks to Niche Productions, The Basement hosted a night of great live soul music from Adelaide band The Transatlantics on the 21st of August, later to boogie down to the disco sounds of Kon, one half of Brooklyn based highly esteemed internationally renowned vinyl connoisseurs Kon and Amir.

Adelaide 8 piece The Transatlantics

The night began with live music from the 10 piece band The Transatlantics who are essentially an 8 piece band. Visually, you would expect a thunderous sound with two guitarists, bass player, drummer, trumpeter, trombonist, a baritone saxophonist, vocalist and two backup singers. To my surprise, their sound was incredibly tight  and powerful in a self contained manner.  It wasn’t about ostentatious solo’s or belting out tunes, rather the finer details, accents and the subtle call-and-responses that could have easily  been dismissed as repetitive nuances. I couldn’t help but be transported into a different epoch – the late 50’s and 60’s.  Their sound not only transported me to a different era, but it was like soaking in southern American heat (I used to live in Texas), waiting for the cool change of breeze, when all you could do was play by the river till late in the evening without a damn care – youthful bliss . In other words, their dynamic sound makes you feel carefree!

No doubt you’ll be hearing more of this band leading into summer festivals. Keep a good ear out for them!

And then there was Kon…

The night follwed by a DJ set from Kon of  legendary duo Kon and Amir. Kon’s musical background is deep, knowledgable in multiple genres, with vast expertise in the world of vinyl ‘diggin’ and production. Some claim his DJ sets are an historical musical journey from beginning to present, seamless and rare. It was good to see a crowd had remained to hear Kon’s set albiet increasingly drunk the crowd came to be and not what I had expected Kon’s crowd to attract.  Kon started on shakey ground that evening playing tracks to a room full of music lovers set to hear the DJ play rare disco boogie/soul tracks, instead with difficulty mixing one track into the other, he started off with electro hip hop, to radio disco bangers, dropping tracks that you wouldn’t expect a man with such musical depth and knowledge to drop.

My eyebrows were slightly raised at his musical selection, nonetheless as the night advanced, so did his musical crate and skills. Let’s just say it was a smart move on my part to espouse patience and stay past 1am. It did take him a while to warm up to the crowd, dropping classic tracks like “Candy Girl” by New Edition,  De La Soul’s ‘Me, Myself and I’, Michael Jackson, Four Tops’ “Reach Out”, then flawlessly beat juggling a number of times throughout his set, scratching in between tracks, then finally sticking to rare ghetto disco, to soul and african boogie.

He eased into his role as the boucing musical conductor, orchestrating an unrivalled disco boogie set with a dash of rare soul. This was what I had been waiting for – the commanding conductor. His known reputation as a fierce crate diggin’ aficionado was well put to the test with grooves that took us all to –  yet again, another era. That evening proved that music can make you travel through time. I felt I had traveled through  4 decades of music to come back on the other end in of the present time scale, only wanting more of the nostalgia.

Music was better back then. With the help of DJ’s and producers such as Kon, it’s longevity will remain in the hands of those who have an insatiable hunger to protect it’s genre from becoming extinct, protecting it by means of playing the genre out to the masses, travelling oceans, hand-to-hand, fibre optics and cables to keep the genre alive.

Definitely worth the wait….

Off Track Vol III ” by Kon and Amir is out now through BBE records.

Click play below to give it a listen or find it on mixcloud.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Kon interview press image.

A Socceroo Fans Hip Hop Therapy: A Tribe Called Quest Featuring Faith Evans – Stressed Out (Raphael Saadiq Remix)

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This is some musical therapy were sending out to the Socceroo fans waking up disenchanted and perhaps a little hung-over today after watching last nights World Cup draw with Ghana.

The Faith Evans vocals and rework by Raphael Saadiq on this ATCQ classic should put you in a better mood.

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  1. Stressed Out (Raphael Saadiq’s Remix) download
  2. Stressed Out (Album Version)
  3. Stressed Out (Bjork’s Say Dip Mix) download
  4. Stressed Out (tribed out mix) download
  5. Stressed Out (Instrumental) download

Also, If you haven’t heard yet A Tribe Called Quest will be playing August 11th at Horden Pavillion, tickets and more info at Ticketek (Link).

Thanks to Niche Productions, Peace Music and TrentSlingshot or making that happen.

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Connect With Soul Of Sydney

DAM FUNK + Toni Toni Lee (Live), Gian Arpino & Japeye Bennett + Podcasts & Interview

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Niche Productions present:


Sat 15th @ The Basment

Supported by:

Toni Toni Lee (Live), Gian Arpino and Japeye Bennett



Niche Productions is proud to present the debut Australian tour of the ambassador of Boogie-Funk, Dâm-Funk (Stones Throw – Los Angeles, California). Bursting on to the scene in 08-09, Dâm (pronounced ‘Dame’, as in Damon) won over a slew of fans from Disco-Boogie aficionados, the Beat scene, hardcore Hip Hop heads and Hipsters alike with his debut 12″ ‘Burgundy City/Galactic Fun.’

In 2009, he was one of Stones Throw busiest artists, putting out so much material you’d think he was giving Madlib a run for his money, with the ‘Toeachizown’ album being released digitally in five instalments, all of which teased fans with different elements of his influences. During this time he also managed to put out a few mix CDs, a beat tape as part of Stones Throw’s  ‘Rhythm Trax’ series and turned in remixes for Red, Baron Zen and superstars Animal Collective. At the tail end of 2009, the album was released in 2CD and deluxe 5LP box set editions.

His Monday night Funkmosphere club night is the stuff made of legends. From record-dealer types with obscene collections to a heavily bearded Joaquim Phoenix and beyond, it’s the spot that everyone is trying to get in to. But Dâm’s roots go well back to a time before ‘Disco’ was a cool word.

Cutting his teeth as a session keyboard player for artists of the G-Funk era like Mack 10, MC Eight and Westside Connection, you can easily hear his hip-hop roots in songs like ‘Hood Pass Intact’, and even though he dresses the part, don’t expect Dâm to get all thugged out on us out here on his debut tour. Dâm-Funk promotes love, spirituality, astrology and good vibes with his music and his open and outward personality – if you’ve ever heard him be interviewed or seen live clips online, you will know he is very generous with his time.

Calling his sound ‘Modern Funk’,Dâm-Funk’s live show takes in both his impeccable DJ mixing style as well as a Live-PA style side which includes vocals and keyboards, showcasing both the original material he writes and records, and the records which have inspired him.

Join us for the show everyone will be talking about for the rest of the year.


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Check out the Dam Funk Interview today on Soul Glow radio

DJ Huwston interviews Dam Funk his show Soul Glow on 2ser 107.3

Soul Glow Radio 3pm every Tuesday,


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Mixes & Podcats

#1 Dam Funk, BBC’s Radio: Mary Anne Hobbs Experimental Show, May 1 09

  1. DâM-FunK – ‘Brookside Park’ (Stones Throw)
  2. DâM-FunK – ‘Spacecapades’ (Stones Throw)
  3. DâM-FunK – ‘This Time, Take It Out On the Groove’ (Stones Throw)
  4. DâM-FunK – ‘Flying V Ride’ (Stones Throw)
  5. DâM-FunK – ‘The Sky Is Ours’ (Stones Throw)
  6. DâM-FunK – ‘Sidewayz’ (Stones Throw)
  7. DâM-FunK – ‘Rollin’ (Stones Throw)
  8. L.S. Movement – ‘Move Everything You Got’ (LA/Veg)

or download

#2 Dam Funk 3hr Mix up on BBC Radio 25th Oct 09

Track listing

  • BaronZen – Burn Rubber (Dam-Funk Remix) (Stones Throw)
  • Dam-Funk – Burgundy City (Stones Throw)
  • Dam-Funk – Red (Stones Throw)
  • Dam-Funk – Special Dimensions (Stones Throw)
  • Dam-Funk – Killdatmutha***a (Stones Throw)
  • Dam-Funk – Galactic Fun (Stones Throw)
  • Dam-Funk – She Lights Me Up (Stones Throw)
  • Dam-Funk – 10 West (Stones Throw)
  • Dam-Funk – Chocolate (Stones Throw)
  • Dam-Funk – Indigo (Stones Throw)
  • Dam-Funk – Rollin’ (Stones Throw)
  • Dam-Funk – Purple (Stones Throw)
  • *Dam-Funk In The Mix*
  • Pyramid Plus – Comin At Ya (Lifeworld)
  • Del Richardson – Rainbows (Joy Spring)
  • Cliff Dawson – I Can Love You Better (Boardwalk)
  • Midnight Express – Dangerzone (Tri-Fire)
  • Rah Band – Messages From The Stars (TMT)
  • StarShine – All I Need Is You (Prelude)
  • Alfreda James & Billy Ray – Back To Love (Rappers Rapp Disco)

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Niche Presents: The Bamboos + Ray Mann Three, Fri 7th May @ Manning Bar Sydney Uni

Niche Productions, 2ser & 3rrr present:

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The Bamboos 4 Album Launch

Supported by Ray Mann Three

Friday 7 @ Manning Bar

Starting the new year off with a bang including performances at Falls Festival, Days Like This!,Womadelaide and headlining St Kilda Festival, Australian Funk & Soul royalty The Bamboos are hitting the road again to celebrate the launch of their fourth studio album – aptly titled ‘4’. 

Released on U.K’s prestigious Tru Thoughts’ imprint, ‘4’ is one of the most exciting, original, vibrant and downright addictive albums of the coming year, and could easily see The Bamboos catapulted beyond the confines of a niche genre to permeate the international mainstream musical consciousness…The Bamboos have arrived!  

There comes a time in every band when their sound crystallises, and with ‘4’ The Bamboos make a succinct musical statement that distills all their influences, nuances and idiosyncrasies and pushes them into a sonic world all their own. 

One of the hottest bands to come out of Melbourne, The Bamboos were included in The Age’s prestigious ‘Top 100’ list of influential people in Melbourne for 2008, as well as reaching number four in their ‘Australia’s best band poll’ Just behind ACDC in 2009. Their last album ‘Side-Stepper’ reached the Number One position on the Australian iTunes R&B/Soul Chart. Their music has been featured in Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty and in the million-selling Nintendo Wii game de Blob.  

The Bamboos have been making waves all over the world with their razor sharp live sets, resulting in several tours of Europe, U.K and throughout Australia.  The Bamboos have played the likes of Byron Bay Bluesfest, Parklife, Meredith Music Festival, Golden Plains, Sydney Festival and Tropfest. 

With lead singles ‘On The Sly’ & ‘You Ain’t No Good’ already receiving rotation on Triple J, ‘4’ will be hitting stores March 22. The Bamboos head to Europe and U.K for a month-long tour in June. 

Info & Links

What they said about The Bamboos

“No doubt in my mind this is the best thing they’ve done! There’s a big challenge facing a lot of Funk bands this year, and that is having explored most avenues of the late 60’s sound where do they go from there? This album in a lot of ways shows them the way to go” CRAIG CHARLES ‘THE FUNK & SOUL SHOW’ BBC6 (U.K)

“The new Bamboos is Huge!” – LAURENT GARNIER (FRANCE) 

“Beautiful examples of killer modern Funk.” – ASHLEY BEEDLE (U.K) 



Days Like This Festival Mix By Soulshaker DJ's + Set Times,Giveways & After Party

Tickets Available Here
Set Times Here

DLT Festival Mixup, BY Soul Shaker DJ’s

Download Here @ Soul Shaker DJ’s Blog & be sure to catch SoulShaker DJ’s playing the Garden Stage at 12:30 till 1:30

Track List
1. Jungle Juk (TSOP) – JamNowGen
2. The Drop – The Nextmen
3. Maybe So Maybe No – Mayer Hawthorne Continue reading

Days Like This Festival Mix By Soulshaker DJ’s + Set Times,Giveways & After Party

Tickets Available Here
Set Times Here

DLT Festival Mixup, BY Soul Shaker DJ’s

Download Here @ Soul Shaker DJ’s Blog & be sure to catch SoulShaker DJ’s playing the Garden Stage at 12:30 till 1:30

Track List
1. Jungle Juk (TSOP) – JamNowGen
2. The Drop – The Nextmen
3. Maybe So Maybe No – Mayer Hawthorne Continue reading