NEW YEAR'S EVE
The Checks/Rackets, Recorded Live at Roundhead Studios (95bFM, 11.00am and Friday, 2.00pm). Apparently there is a “Devonport sound” and the Checks are at the centre of it. Considerably hairier and more grown-up-looking than when they started in 2003 as callow 15-year-olds, the five lads released a new album, Deadly Summer Sway, on 11/11/11. It’s quite a lot more sophisticated than their first effort when, in a school rock band competition, “all we had was a guitar riff with a gap where I would shout anything I could think of into the microphone before repeating the cycle”, says lead singer Ed Knowles. Fellow Aucklanders, alt rock punk boys Jeremy, Vinnie and Oscar, formed Rackets in 2009 and are based “in Ellerslie and Panmure”, so presumably peddle the “Ellerslie/Panmure sound”. This is what Jeremy said when asked about their most memorable gig to date: “We played outside a warehouse surrounded by towers of crates in Mt Wellington to two drunk teenagers making out. Our amps were inside shopping trolleys.” There will be live streaming and podcasts on 95bfm.com.
Garrison Keillor's Radio Show (Radio New Zealand National, 11.04am). Fans of this American gentleman’s much-loved programme, A Prairie Home Companion, will be delighted a season of highlights begins today.
Music 101 – Summer Edition with Kirsten Johnstone (Radio New Zealand National, 12.12pm). An impressive five hours of Kiwi music, interviews and festival and tour reports to get you in the mood for partying like it’s 2012. Today’s New Year’s Eve line-up includes, The Secret Life of Skank (12.30pm), in which Nick Atkinson investigates how and why this beat is so essential to the New Zealand reggae sound; The Best Music of 2011 (1.15pm), Johnstone, Atkinson, Emma Smith and Trevor Reekie reveal their faves for the year; O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2.10pm), celebrating 10 years since the release of this sublime movie soundtrack of bluegrass and mountain music; Live: Shayne P Carter (3.10pm), the best bits of Carter’s Last Train to Brockville tour, recorded live at Auckland’s Kings Arms; and Mix Tape: James Milne, aka Lawrence Arabia (4.10pm), in which Milne trawls through his bin of top picks and explains which ones influenced his upcoming album.
Global Sounds (Radio New Zealand Concert, 2.00pm). Cries that classical music is élitist certainly don’t apply to this band. Rise & Shine – Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars is the moving story of a group of refugees who were forced to relocate to Guinea during their country’s civil war during the 1990s. Their debut album, Living Like a Refugee, described life in the camps, but their second offering, Rise & Shine, finds the eight-man group looking to the future, while always remembering what has gone before. “We always intend to write songs about peace and love because we always remember our past. We came from a war-torn country. That’s why we never cease to remind people in our music to always remain in peace,” they say in their CD booklet.
NEW YEAR'S DAY
Settling the Score (Radio New Zealand Concert, 8.00am). RNZ Concert does its marathon 12-hour countdown of classical music favourites for the 13th year running. Which work will prove the audience favourite? Will it be an old chestnut like Beethoven’s Ode to Joy or something completely out of left field, like … well, you’d better get voting if you haven’t already.
MONDAY JANUARY 2
Summer Sonic (Radio New Zealand Concert, noon). Steve Danby delves into musical fraud in a two-part programme called On the Fiddle today. (Part two plays tomorrow at the same time.) He uncovers possibly the first recorded case of lip-synching: the year was 1913, the place was Philadelphia and Andres de Segurola developed a frog in his throat during a performance of La Bohème. Onstage with him was Enrico Caruso, who suggested he face upstage and sing for the beleaguered baritone, as well as singing his own role. Shocking stuff, but it’s still sometimes done today when an understudy isn’t available – only the “voice” sings from the wings, not the stage! Summer Sonic continues during the week: on Wednesday, it’s Sounds of Taiwan with New Zealander Phillip Collins, and on Thursday and Friday, parts one and two of Paul Bushnell’s Backstage at the Met.
FRIDAY JANUARY 6
Flying Nun Records (Radio New Zealand National, 11.06pm). The Flying Nun story continues with part two of five tonight. In Getting Older, we’re up to the mid-80s and the small independent record label is growing like a weed. As the Chills, the Verlaines, Sneaky Feelings and other Nun bands are starting to grab the attention of the great unwashed, it occurs to these creative types that you can’t live on great reviews alone. Money – that’s what they want.