Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Who sells the most vinyl?

Amazon. Obviously.

But before we move on from the question, it's interesting to note who else sells vinyl in quantities in the US:

1. Amazon 12.3% of US retail vinyl market
2. Urban Outfitters 8.1%
3. Hastings Entertainment 2.8%
4. Hot Topic 2.4%
5. Trans World Entertainment 2.2%

Yes, there's two clothes shops on that list. (I know Hot Topic would claim they're some sort of alternative lifestyle shop, but they're a clothes shop with a record rack.)

Black Sabbath have one last album left in them

There's going to be one last Black Sabbath album, according to Ozzy:

"So we're going to do one more album, and a final tour. Once the dust settled after the last tour we started discussing the idea, because we were getting asked about it all the time. I said to Sharon 'What's going on? Because if there's no more Sabbath I want to get on with my own thing again' and she came back and said 'Let me look into it'.

"Three weeks later I asked her about it again, and she said 'Oh, I still have to talk to so and so...' and I said 'Sharon, I ain't f**king 21 any more, if we're going to do it I want to do it before I'm 70!'
As you can tell, this will be a vital work of art which is going to happen because of the creative impetus and not, in any way, just happening because Sharon Osborne wants to see if she can get all the members in the same place at the same time, like some sort of metal equivalent of one of these:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Thom Yorke on the internets

It's lovely of Thom Yorke to to release a new record, but the format is a little odd.

Bittorrent bundles? That feels no less hipster-friendly embrace of a shall-we-say-specialised technology than Cassette Store Day.

This was supposed to be the year that BitTorrent Bundles went mainstream, but - although there's some interesting things going on there - the platform still feels very much like a small pool, albeit one that now has a killer whale languishing there. The Yorke album is probably the one chance Bundles has to break through and become a mass product, although there's two challenges here.

The first is whether enough people care about Yorke's solo work to go to the trouble of installing the software and getting past their nerves about things they may have heard about torrenting. It's not entirely clear that Yorke has that heft.

Secondly, even if people do embrace the idea of torrents-you-pay-for, it's going to always be a hard sell to the major labels, who might not unreasonably think that encouraging the take-up and normalisation of torrenting might encourage experimentation beyond the licenced part of the service. Viewed from Sony HQ, selling records through Bittorrent might seem a bit like suggesting that drug dealers also carry aspirin and Calpol - you can see the advantages, but the risks might outweigh them.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mutya without money

Mutya Buena has been declared bankrupt, apparently due to unpaid taxes.

BBC News tries to cheer her up by suggesting that it's quite the thing these days:

Mutya Buena is the latest in a line of pop stars who have struggled financially.

Blue band members Duncan James, Simon Webbe, Antony Costa have all filed for bankruptcy as have Westlife singer Shane Filan, S Club 7 singers Jo O'Meara and Paul Cattermole and Fazer from N-Dubz.

Kerry Katona from Atomic Kitten has been declared bankrupt twice.
It's like a guest list from a Liberty X gig, isn't it?

This week just gone

Most-read September stories:

1. Apple dump U2 into your iTunes
2. Bono makes it worse
3. Paloma Faith doesn't quite grasp iCloud breach implications
4. RIP Throb
5. Bono inventing a new format to save the album
6. Robin Thicke too out of it to remember writing his rape song
7. RIP Peter Gutteridge
8. Nicki Minaj not welcome back at school
9. Neil McCormick, who knows Bono, on the U2 album
10. Tom Clarke isn't a hobbit

This week's interesting releases:

Laetitia Sadier - Something Shines

Download Something Shines

She Keeps Bees - Eight Houses

Download Eight Houses

St Christopher - Forevermore Starts Here

Download Forevermore Starts Here

Perfume Genius - Too Bright

Download Too Bright

The Drums - Encyclopedia

Download Encyclopedia

Aphex Twin - Syro

Download Syro

Erasure - The Violet Flame

Download The Violet Flame

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bookmarks: Lush

While the Manics busily rush to sneak in a 20th anniversary Holy Bible event before the 20th anniversary year passes by, there's some other albums turning 20 this year. Including Lush's Split. Marking the occasion, Ghost Life Ghost Life has spoken to the surviving members of the band. Yes, a Lush interview in 2014. I bloody love the internet. It's in depth:

MIKI ‘Split’ was a bit of a rite of passage, I suppose. The band’s three main supports – Howard Gough (manager), Ivo (head of 4AD) and Tim Carr (Warners A&R) – were each having their private crises, and we were left to navigate our way through choppy waters without their previously constant guidance. There were so many opinions and interferences, producers, mixers, UK record label, US record label, video directors, marketing strategies, etc. Expectations were high but every plan sounded as valid as the next and we didn’t know which direction to turn. I​ guess we survived, a bit battered and bruised, and ultimately became a much better band, both on record and live. It left its scars though, and we lost our innocence.
There's also praise for Loz, the drummer from Ride; a link with Nigella Lawson and some warm words for Steve.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mirror struggles with naked pictures not of Liam Payne

The picture of a bloke who might look a bit like Liam Payne if you squint a bit has confused the poor Daily Mirror.

First, they struggled with the idea that the picture wasn't of him:

If the photo is genuine, Liam will not be the first celebrity to have images leaked of him against his will.
That's not, to be fair, untrue, but you might as well observe that if Liam Payne gave up music and became a vicar, he wouldn't be the first celebrity to shun fame in favour of holy orders. True, but pretty irrelevant, having ascertained that the photo, clearly, isn't genuine.

They're still confused now:
The photos did not appear on 4chan or Reddit and are thought to be unrelated to the recent hacking scandal sweeping Hollywood and Britain.
Let's just leave a second to process that the Mirror appears to suggest that appearing on 4Chan and Reddit somehow proves the veracity of a nude photo.

And, yes, it would be thought that the existence of a grainy lookalike shot had nothing to do with people's Apple accounts being hacked, because it's a totally different thing entirely, apart from being connected to photos and computers.

On which basis, tomorrow, the Mirror will be speculating that there's no evidence that this event is in any way connected to Lolcats.

Ed Sheeran cuts prices

It goes against the very grain of every fibre of my existence to say something nice about Ed Sheeran, but... doing a tour of Australia where the ticket prices are designed to be affordable rather than gouging the fans is a Nice Thing To Do:

ED Sheeran has announced an Australian arena tour on his lonesome and on a budget.

Sheeran will charge only $99 for tickets for all concerts on his April/May tour next year, with none of the usual VIP packages or premium seating charges.
Although that is still the equivalent of fifty-three British pounds for a ticket, so it's a rather stretchy definition of "affordable" (roughly a full day's work at Australian minimum wage levels, for example).

And given that it's just him and a guitar and no band, the costs are pretty low to start with.

But - even with those points in mind, and somewhat grudgingly - the excising of 'even more expensive tickets' is a welcome move. Everyone's being a bit overcharged, but everyone's being a bit overcharged by the same amount.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Take That split, a bit

It's turned out that Jason Orange is leaving Take That, the tax-avoidance scheme created by Gary Barlow and some accountants.

Orange issued a statement earlier today revealing that he found out he didn't really exist, and that he was created by Barlow "in order to claim child benefit. In light of this discovery, I must leave the band."

Talking to the media, Barlow was effusive in his farewell to Orange, praising what he'd brought to the band - "without Jeremy... Jason, Jason, we'd have... uh... oh, yeah, when we did that advert for Marks And Spencers, we'd not have been able to show off quite so many suits at the same time. And... well, we'd not have been able to call our album The Eight Legged Groove Machine. Although that wasn't us. But if it had have been, that wouldn't have been possible without James. Jeremy. Jason." Barlow concluded the statement by getting all present to sign a form allowing him to recoup the cost of providing Luncheon Vouchers for all of them.

Here's the actual statements:

‘I want to start by saying how proud I am of what we have achieved together over the years. However, at a band meeting last week I confirmed to Mark, Gary and Howard that I do not wish to commit to recording and promoting a new album. I have spent some of the best years of my life with Take That and I’d like to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey, including my band mates, who I feel are like brothers to me. Most especially my gratitude goes to all of the good and kind, beautiful and ever-loyal fans of the band, without whom none of this could have been possible.Thank you.’

‘At the end of The Progress Tour I began to question whether it might be the right time for me to not continue on with Take That. At the start of this year and with my full knowledge and blessing the guys began writing new material. There have been no fallings out, only a decision on my part that I no longer wish to do this. I know how much Mark, Gary and Howard enjoy writing and making music, and they know that they have my full support and encouragement to continue on with what is to be another chapter for the band.’ - Jason Orange

‘This is a sad day for us. Jason leaving is a huge loss both professionally and even more so personally. We first became aware of Jason’s reservations a couple of years ago but had hoped that by giving him the desired time and space he may begin to feel differently. This has not been the case and we now have to accept and fully respect his decision which we know hasn’t been an easy one. Jason’s energy and belief in what this band could achieve has made it what it is today, and we’ll forever be grateful for his enthusiasm, dedication and inspiration over the years.’ - Mark, Gary and Howard
Before popping that in the fax machine, Gary rang Mark and asked "are we sure that we've got the right one who's going, and it's not meant to be Jason commenting on Howard's departure?"

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Full Bible. No apocrypha.

Joining the 'playing an album in full to celebrate its 20th anniversary, thereby making you feel both giddily excited and incredibly ancient' gang: the Manics, doing The Holy Bible.

Venuewatch: MelloMello

Bad news from Liverpool: MelloMello has been forced out of business as rents on Slater Street become untenable. Here's their farewell statement:

To our wonderful community,

It is with great sadness that we must announce that as of Monday 22nd September 2014, MelloMello CIC closes it’s doors and ceases to trade from it’s Slater Street home.

Despite our best efforts we have been unable to meet the huge increase in business rates imposed on us two years ago, and have battled the financial difficulties that several burglaries and the ever-evolving fabric of the city centre have incurred. We are deeply saddened to be closing our doors, but also truly proud of what has been achieved within these walls.

MelloMello began life in 2007 as a completely volunteer-led organisation, in a derelict space, and has grown organically through the hard work of it’s staff and the community into a catalytic creative hub, a grassroots cultural monument, and a welcoming and warm environment, brimming and buzzing with energy, passion, art, music, dance, comedy, food, drink, laughter and love.

We thank our amazing staff, for everything they do, their talents and eccentricities, the wonderful support network they have built up, and the welcoming environment they provide. We thank every single creative individual who has walked through our doors and given us beautiful, raucous and thought-provoking art and performances. And we thank you, the community of Liverpool, for whom we endeavoured to provide such a place, for your fantastic support, the contribution of your own creativity and many wonderful characters over the years. You have all helped to create something truly unique.

As for the future…… watch this space.

With all our love, MelloMello
The cycle of enthusiasts taking over a derelict space, improving it, sparking a revitalisation of the area, attracting other tenants, pushing up rents and getting pushed out by the new high rents is an over-familiar one in Liverpool.

There's a slate of planned gigs which, presumably, won't happen now; the optimistic "watch this space" (or, presumably, watch another space as the Slater Street site gets transformed into a generic bar or trouser shop) holds out some hope.

[In 2012, the council nearly sank the venture

Monday, September 22, 2014

The misfiring reappearance of Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill's trying a comeback, and started in Brixton.

Now, her live performances have sometimes been a bit mixed, but anyone who buys a ticket for Hill in 2014 is pricing in that the event could be erratic-bordering-on-inexplicable, right?

But a late start, angry tweets and poor reviews marred her first sell-out gig at the Brixton Academy in London.
The 39-year-old singer, famous for her 1998 album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill", arrived on stage with a five-piece band and three backing singers at 9:58 p.m. on Saturday.

The show, with tickets selling for 55 pounds ($90), had been advertised to start at 9 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.
Okay, so an hour late. That's not a good start, but it's a Saturday night. We're all okay staying up a bit late on a Saturday, right. Especially for a great gig.

It was great, right?
When she arrived, Hill spent 80 minutes performing a combination of re-worked hits from her debut album, the only solo studio album she has made, and delving into pop and rock territory.

Songs from "The Score", another award-winning album Hill recorded as part of the Fugees in 1996, were left largely untouched, along with a number of tracks from her 2002 MTV Unplugged 2.0 album.

Hill also performed covers of "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" by Nancy Sinatra, The Flamingos' "I Only Have Eyes for You" and a few Bob Marley classics, including "Soul Rebel", "Jammin'" and "Is This Love".
To me, that sounds okay - if I'm a big enough fan to go and see her, that she does some solo stuff and a few classic seems a good mix.
Yuichi Miyama, a 31-year-old paralegal from London, said on Twitter: "Lauryn Hill is the most disappointing concert I have ever been to. That's heart-breaking."

He explained to Reuters at the concert that he didn't recognize a lot of the songs Hill performed.

"The bottom line is Lauryn Hill is a singer and there are a lot of songs on that album that she sings certain things in such a beautiful way," he said.
Wow. You admire Lauryn Hill as a singer, and yet think that she has chosen to sing things in the wrong way. I can see why you might be disappointed. I can't see why you didn't know this would happen, and didn't choose instead to stay at home and listen to the album. Because the album always sounds like the album, and Lauryn Hill live - when she turns up - never sounds like the album.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This week just gone

Popular this week:

1. Video: Maud-Elisa Mandeau
2. U2 manager doesn't care about the charts, but they prove that album disaster wasn't a disaster
3. Robin Thicke says he was too drugged to know he was writing his rape song
4. Video: Breeders on MTV, NYE 1993 (now again with video)
5. Bono is going to invent a new format
6. RIP: Peter Gutteridge
7. Bono is very proud of that terrible album that everyone wants to delete
8. Yeah, this one is about the U2 album, too
9. Tony Hadley rushed to hospital (8 years ago)
10. What does SXSW do for Austin?

These were the interesting releases:

Shellac - Dude Incredible

Fripp & Eno - Live In Paris

My Brightest Diamond - This Is My Hand

Download This Is My Hand

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tatu still managing to upset gay people in 2014

For a very long time, one of the most-read pieces on No Rock And Roll Fun has been the one where Tatu broke off from filming videos of themselves snogging in the pouring rain to ask why everyone thought they were gay.

I think, nine years down the line, it's still puzzling Yulia, as she's now going to extraordinary lengths to distance herself a bit further from That Sort Of Thing, mainly by coming out as a flaming bigot:

Volkova has now revealed that her support for gay rights have since waned and says she would not accept her son if her were gay.

"Yes, I would condemn him, because I believe that a real man must be a real man," she said. "God created man for procreation, it is the nature. The man for me is the support, the strength of... I won't accept a gay son."
The idea of not accepting a gay son, in the way one might refuse to sign for a delivery of chipboard.

Obviously, we don't need to waste much time engaging with the substance of Yulia's homophobia, or her theology. Or her, much.

But you might be wondering 'hey, didn't Tatu at least try and salvage their image the last time round by making some token support for LGBT issues? Isn't this making her look not only like a terrible, terrible person, but one who is perhaps suggesting that was all less than genuine?'

And you'd be right.

But Yulia has a workaround. Let's hear it, Yulia:
She was quick to add that her views aren’t at odds with her previous work; lesbians are a more acceptable form of sexuality than gay men, she claims, because women are "aesthetically nicer".
Okay, when I said we don't need to spend much time engaging with Yulia's substance, I might have been wrong.

Because she seems to be implying that lesbianism is absolutely fine, because women are nice to look at, the logic appears to suggest that she's looked at some cocks and decided they're pretty poorly designed.

From this, she's rationalised that since nobody would want to engage with something so ridgy, and thrusting, and dribbly-when-enraged, and coloured with a purple that Dulux has never tried to recreate, the only possible reason you'd want to go near one would be, reluctantly, to make a baby. And if there's not going to be a baby coming out of the encounter, why would you bother?

Winningly, Yulia has managed to invert one of the stock pieces of lazy gay stereotyping - that they're all aesthetes - and turned it on its head to suggest that for two men to enjoy their company when they're naked, those men would have to have no sense of style or taste at all.

So is Yulia right that acts of same-sex activity can pervert society? Actually, yes, in one very specific way.

Because, although All The Things She Said was a cracking pop song, without the video it would probably have been overlooked, and by now Tatu would, as a band, be too obscure a reference for Pointless and probably only deployed during the latter stages of Only Connect, if at all. Ironically, we could all probably be moving on without having to worry about what a spiteful Russian woman thought about men who have sex with men if that woman hadn't spent time snogging another woman in the rain, in front of a camera, a decade ago.

That might be, uniquely, the one piece of same-sex activity we'd all have been better off without.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Formatwatch: Bono busy inventing something else nobody wants

You've got to hand it to Bono - just days after not realising nobody wanted his rump-reeking new record, even for free, he's coming up with another thing that people are neither seeking, nor requiring:

In a new Time magazine article, the singer has detailed the group's plans to help combat the illegal downloading of artists' music by creating a new file format which cannot be copied.
Unless there's some magic way it doesn't need to pass audio to an output, let me stop you right there Bono and say it doesn't work.

But do carry on.
The aim of the top secret project is to tempt fans to purchase full albums, not just individual tracks, once more so new material will once again become profitable for artists who aren't big on touring.
The problem here, Bono, is that 'bundling stuff into albums' is a thing that was convenient for labels and artists. It wasn't, ever, a thing that happened because music fans went to bed wishing that when they bought six songs they liked, they could get another four tracks they didn't like, and would never play.

Apple have already tried to resurrect the album format once - with the iTunesLP. That was meant to be an "immersive experience" with all sorts of extras which would make buying a bundle attractive again.

Nobody seems to have released one since last November's Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience.

But, still, good luck, Bono.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Conor Maynard gets a glimpse of the future

Conor Maynard is one of the "stars" doing that Channel 4 "Stars At Your Service" thing. They've made the poor guy go and work at a chip shop, which, given he's still described as a YouTube sensation is a bit like being made to confront your older self.

Saffron Stevens, 17, of Sneinton, said it was “crazy” to see a celebrity with 17 million Youtube hits turn up to batter and flog cod.
Yes, it's absolutely ridiculous that he's selling cod, which is a species under threat, he should be serving pollock or something a bit more responsible.

Oh, you think it's odd that he's doing that job with his 17 million YouTube hits. You know who else has 17 million YouTube hits?

These guys. Admittedly, it'd be surprising if box kitten turned up to work in a chip shop, but not because of the number of YouTube views.

Still, the people of Sneinton know what the real story is here:
Jodie Jarecki, 16, who also lives nearby, said she was excited to see her neighbourhood on the TV.

“I’m glad he came here because it’s the best chip shop in the area. given he’s a celebrity he had to come to a the premier chip shop around here.”

“I’m just here for the chips,” said friend Aaliyah Raffell.
They seem convinced the celebrity is the chips, and the task that's been set the chips is working with this guy off the internet.

I don't think they're wrong.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Robin Thicke out of it while Blurred Lines was created

Apparently Robin Thicke was on drugs while Blurred Lines was being made:

R&B singer Robin Thicke said he was high on painkillers and alcohol in 2013 when "Blurred Lines" became a hit, and he exaggerated his contribution to writing the song, according to court papers filed on Monday.

Thicke, 37, said in a deposition in April that he had been largely absent during the composition of "Blurred Lines," due to being under the influence of opioid painkiller Vicodin mixed with alcohol.
I can see why you might want to claim that you were too drunk to remember writing the rape song; what's questionable is just how off his face he must have been to think it was alright in the first place.

Related: Pharrell Williams, now being given more of the 'credit' for the song, doesn't have the excuse of being too drunk to know what he was doing.

You have to feel sorry for Kerry Katona

She can't even get married without being upstaged by one of the others from Atomic Kitten:

FORMER Atomic Kitten pop star Natasha Hamilton has thanked Bristol’s Southmead Hospital after she went into suspected labour at bandmate Kerry Katona’s wedding.
That's a way to upstage the bride.
Her baby’s dad is Ritchie Neville, 35, from boyband 5ive, so the baby, who they have already decided to call Ella, will be 90s pop royalty.
90s pop royalty being approximately equal to a pre-unification Germanic duchy, really, and even on that scale the baby is one of those royals a long way from the throne. Kind of King Ralph distance.
“It was a late wedding, so the speeches were going on at 9pm when Natasha started feeling a bit sick."
We can only imagine.

Everyone ended up alright, thanks to the NHS. Although Katona might be slightly less than thrilled at the stealing of thunder.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

U2 apparently on a mission to turn cold reception of new album into full-on pitchfork rage

Guy Oseary, current U2 manager, isn't brooking any criticism of the flopped U2 album stunt. He tells Mashabale:

"It’s a gift from Apple," Oseary said. "If someone doesn’t like the gift, they should delete it. ... There are people who are going to be thrilled to get a gift. There are people who are not going to care to have this gift. We knew all of that going in. No surprises here. If someone doesn’t like it, then great, that’s OK, delete it. ... We just want to share it with as many people as possible. If you don’t want it and you don’t need it, delete it."
If it was just as simple as deleting it, this would still grate - because why should it be incumbent upon a person to have to clean up the firm turd left on their living room carpet? True, you can just pick it up and throw it away, but it might have been nicer to be asked in the first place - 'Do you want a free U2 album' - so we could all say 'is it one from the early 80s?' before going 'no'.

But it's not just a case of simply deleting it. Because it's not a firm turd; it's a runny one, and you either can at best "hide" the thing, or have to go to Apple and use a special tool to get all the dribble off your carpet.

A gift you can refuse is one thing. A gift that you have to invest time and effort into just pushing out of sight is another.

Something else interesting from the Mashable Q&A. When asked about how the release had been received, Oseary has a bright side:
A lot of people, from the look of the iTunes chart, are clearly rediscovering the band’s catalog or discovering it for the first time.
But then, asked about if it was disappointing that the record wasn't yet eligible for Billboard:
It doesn’t bother me because I haven’t even wrapped my head around it yet. I’m not looking at the charts as high on my list of concerns.
I mean, who cares about charts, right, unless the information they're giving us is useful for the purposes of spinning the biggest backsplash PR disaster since someone wrote 'New' on a flipchart at the Coca-Cola Company?

What does SXSW do for Austin?

According to the organisers, this year's SXSW festival brought in USD315 million to the Austin economy - although that figure excludes things that take place outside the official banner of the festival. (I don't think they're just talking about the dealers here.)

It also generates getting on for USD80million worth of positive coverage about Austin:

In addition to injecting hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy, SXSW 2014 also provided Austin with extraordinarily valuable media coverage. Since its inception, SXSW has played a critical role in helping position Austin as a place where creativity and commerce are mutually valued, nurtured, and networked.
In other words, SXSW is pretty much responsible for the "well, except for Austin, I guess" rider people will add when they talk, shuddering, about What Texas Is Like.

U2: All that you can't leave behind

The triumphalist parping as U2 "made history" by foisting an unwanted record on people now has a historic counterblast: Songs Of Innocence is now the first record in history to have a special tool dedicated to its removal:

"Some customers asked for the ability to delete 'Songs of Innocence' from their library, so we set up itunes.com/soi-remove to let them easily do so. Any customer that needs additional help should contact AppleCare," spokesman Adam Howorth told the BBC.
Yeah. Apple didn't even stop to think before the release that some people might not want the bloody thing.

Apple did change things last week. Up until last Tuesday, someone in front of you tapping the front of their watch impatiently used to be a sign they wanted you to hurry up. Now, that gesture just means they're trying to wipe U2 off their devices.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hold on, Bono's found a way to make that unwanted album even worse

As if the whole distribution of the lumpen U2 album wasn't enough to make it as attractive as an open sore while swimming in the waters of Fukushima, Bono's found a way to make it even less attractive.

Talking about it in a self-satisfied manner:

"We wanted to make a very personal album," Bono told Rolling Stone's Gus Wenner the day before the press conference in an exclusive interview. "Let's try to figure out why we wanted to be in a band, the relationships around the band, our friendships, our lovers, our family. The whole album is first journeys — first journeys geographically, spiritually, sexually. And that's hard. But we went there."
Oh, that's so hard, going "there", to a place that has only ever been visited by almost every single writer, poet, songwriter, mime artist, penis puppeteers, copywriters, silver-sprayed statue people and rodeo clown that has ever existed.

Legendobit: Peter Gutteridge

Peter Gutteridge, a legend in New Zealand's underground music scene, has died.

Gutteridge was a founding member of The Clean, The Chills and Snapper, and also had a solo career.

Last year, Gutteridge spoke at length with Mess And Noise's Wes Holland:

Peter was in the kitchen. I could see him wiping out a mug and diluting a soup.

He walked into the lounge, sat down and asked, “So, do you make music?”

“I play in a couple of bands, one’s called The Sand Pebbles…”

“And what sort of music do The Sand Pebbles make?”

Anxious, I uttered a line I thought would get him on-side.

“I guess you could describe it as sounding like the trippiness of psychedelia and the…”

He interrupted. He didn’t like me saying that. “There’s that word! If I had a dollar for every band that I’ve heard in the last couple of years call themselves ‘psychedelic’. Bands think that using a bit of feedback and an effect pedal somehow makes them psychedelic. It’s bullshit.”
Flying Nun have issued a statement:
We are greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Peter Gutteridge today.

Peter was a Flying Nun original, a founding member of The Clean, The Chills and of course his own brilliant band Snapper. A great talent, he was also member of the Great Unwashed, involved in many Dunedin bands and went on to release beautiful solo material across the years.

All of us, and so many people around the world, have been touched and affected by his music, whether it be the swirling fuzz of the guitar or haunting piano melodies, Peter was a true hero of New Zealand music, and will be deeply missed.

Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends at this very sad time.

Thank you Peter for all the music, may you rest in peace.
Still very much an active musician, earlier this month, Pete had played his first ever show in the US.

The cause of death, and even his exact age, is currently unknown. He died earlier on September 15th.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nicki Minaj and her old school: There's a twist

In the comments area on yesterday's post about Nicki Minaj's old school turning her down, Curious Iguana pointed out there's a statement from the school.

No television crews in school. That seems fair enough, right? A clear policy. Can't argue with a clear policy.

The idea of turning down a visit from a camera crew to a school of performing arts sounds a bit like telling Stephen Hawking to keep away from a science academy so as to not distract the pupils. But it's a rule.

Although, oddly, there's a lot of footage of things shot inside the school knocking about the web.

Another quick shake, and the New York schools administration admits it's not so much TV itself, but the type of TV:
“We do not allow reality TV to be filmed on school property,” Feinberg wrote in a statement. “For documentaries, any visit to a public school must be educational in nature and cannot intrude on instruction, and the decision about whether we can accommodate visits from celebrities is entirely up to the principal who manages the property.”
Reality TV. Not TV. Which, again, is fair enough - any sort of rule which stops the idea 'why don't we get the Duck Dynasty guys to deliver commencement' is a good thing. But you wonder if there's a clear definition of what the Department of Education considers reality, and if there's a subsection rule on what counts as scripted reality. Or if all these policies are just being thrown together on the fly.

But you know what? What we really need is something inarguable to explain what's gone on here.

Given this is America, perhaps we could find someone to deliver a 'because of terrorism' explanation, with which nobody can argue. Then we can all go home.

Mom quoted in the New York Daily News, can you rise to the occasion?
One mom said it was a particularly bad week.

“The school would definitely want her, but it was very last-minute, and protocol in public schools is no joke, especially with the Sept. 11 anniversary,” mom Ilene Sofferman told The News.
Of course. If Nicki Minaj had spoken to some kids about working in the entertainment industry, then the terrorists would have won.

This week just gone

The most-read stories this week:

1. Why is there a U2 record in my collection, Apple?
2. RIP: Throb
3. Paloma Faith slightly misses the point of the naked photo theft
4. Watch: The New Pornographers at Letterman
5. Neil McCormick who knows Bono says stop whinging about the U2 album
6. Kate Bush is doing a video
7. Tom Clarke insists he isn't a hobbit
8. Simon Bates eased out by Smooth
9. RIP: Kwon Ri-Sae
10. Nicki Minaj can't go back to school

These were interesting, and released:

Karen O - Crush Songs

Download Crush Songs

Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

Download The Physical World

Simian Mobile Disco - Whorl

Download Whorl

Mazes - Wooden Aquarium

Download Wooden Aquarium

Interpol - El Pintor

Download El Pintor

Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

Download Ryan Adams

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Nicki Minaj's old school tie forever loosened

You know how schools love a former pupil who's made it. Any chance they have to wheel them in - no matter how slim their claim to fame - and once again that 1996 Olympic fourth-placed canoeist will be on the stage handing out prizes.

Which makes it all the more surprising that when Nicki Minaj offered to do an event at her old High School, the school school said no thanks.

Oh, and this isn't because the school might be thinking that a career in pop music is a bit beneath what they want for their pupils. Minaj went to Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School. The school that they based Fame on.

U2: Why that 'free' album is dangerous as well as turgid

There's a good piece on The Register about why pushing an unwanted U2 album into people's faces is more than just impertinence:

Some have said that the offer would have been more palatable if a band with more "street cred" had been promoted.

But that's not really the point. Days before the U2 push, crooks were spamming fake Apple emails accusing marks of buying the film Lane Splitter on a computer or device that hadn’t previously been linked to their Apple ID. In reality it's not an Apple purchase notification, it's an attempt to trick users into handing over their Apple ID usernames and passwords to a phishing site, as Symantec details. The scam messages are distributed by the Kelihos botnet.

With Apple randomly messing with the contents of people's iTunes cloud libraries, this sort of email alert looks plausible: I just got a free album, maybe I just got a free film, victims may wonder. Celebrities had their private nude images spilled from their Apple iCloud accounts – have I been hacked too, others will ask when faced with an email notifying them of an unexpected purchase.
Apple want to trust us with using their products as an electronic wallet. Proving they can't be trusted with your keys doesn't seem a great idea right now.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Neil McCormick (who knows Bono) says why the Apple U2 'gift' was OK

Neil McCormick, who knows Bono, just popped up on Today to explain why people who are annoyed that Apple has foisted an undeletable U2 album into their personal music collections are wrong.

Neil, who knows Bono, muttered something about how the people complaining were the same ones who let Google serve ads next to their emails. Then he came out with this:

[They're] whinging because the biggest band in the world has put a free album in their box
Firstly, Neil, who knows Bono, One Direction are completely innocent in all this so I don't know why you're suggesting they've done anything at all.

Oh, maybe you meant that U2 are the biggest band in the world, like you're sending a dispatch from the early 1990s.

This suggestion that, somehow, it's okay because U2 are (or rather, once were) popular is fascinating - 'why are you complaining? They've had number one albums'.

Neil then went on to say that it didn't matter any way because it was all somehow in the cloud which also makes it alright, but then I had to go and watch some magpies throwing a mouse corpse around in the street. This isn't a metaphor; it was something that actually happened.

Screamobit: Robert Young

So, no, then: as it became clear yesterday, Throb's death wasn't just a Twitter rumour.

The Primal's official statement, signed by Andrew Innes and Bobby Gillespie:

"We have lost our comrade and brother Robert Young.

"He was an irreplaceable talent, much admired amongst his peers.

"He was a true rock and roller. He had Heart & Soul tattooed on his arm and I'm sure on his heart too.

"He once said to me, 'When we go on stage it's a war between us and the audience'. He never let go of that attitude."

"Our love and thoughts are with his sons, Brandon and Miles, and their mother Jane, his wife Rachel, and his immediate family."
The Independent has marked Young's passing by publishing a large, glorious photo. Of, erm, someone else. And then slaps on a caption that references someone else again.

In other poorly considered tributes, Liam Gallagher tweeted "Live Forever" which, while understanding the sentiment, seems a poor choice of words. Andy Bell, the one who was in Ride and some other bands, managed a better way of saying the same thing:
"That big power chord in Loaded is ringing out on the other side now."
Robert Young was 49; his body was found Sunday in Hove. Sussex Police have said the death was not suspicious, but natural justice says it was way too soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


According to a scattering of tweets, Robert Young - original member of Primal Scream; 'Throb' to the band and its fans - has died, although there isn't anything approaching official confirmation. Let's hope its a bad Twitter rumour.