Saturday, March 08, 2003

HOW SPAMBANDS WORK: Again, we have to shake our heads over the Datsuns' behaviour. This is what their street team is being encouraged to do at the moment:
1.  MISSION: User Reviews
The Datsuns debut CD is in stores now and in honor of that, lets hit up, and/or and write and post a user review for the album. This is a really simple mission and will give you a chance to turn all those unfortunate souls onto The Datsuns. You can go to one or all of the links below and write up your own mini album review.

Obviously, prizes galore are on offer. Surely, if people are being bribed to write these reviews, they should at least be forced to declare their interest?

BAD VIBARTOS: It's not just classical music which could do with banning vibrato, as Roger Norrington has called for. While the whole dancing about the actual note being aimed for can sometimes be quite a nice effect both musically and vocally, it's become a fall-back position for people who can't quite hold a note. Whitney Houston, for example, is given all this praise for being a wonderful singer because she manages to trumpet up and down the scale three or four times on a short word like "all." Now, maybe she is the world's greatest singer and doing it to stop getting bored, but we suspect that she's actually wandering about looking for the correct note like a ten year old boy looking for his PE kit. We'd like to see all the artists who choose to use vibrato (normally on their ballads, because they have to sing properly there) being challenged to do the song without wobbling. We suspect, for example, Christina Aguilera would be hard put to make it through beautiful in one go. And if nelly Furtado ever comes back, she's going to find it tricky, too.

TIME TO CLEAN UP THE DEAD LEAVES: The picture might be a bit fuzzy, but it proves, nevertheless, that Discovery Home and Leisure are taking their cues this season from, erm, the White Stripes:

Friday, March 07, 2003

POSSIBLY THE MOST SHOCKING NEWS STORY OF THE DAY: No, not that Kerry Katona from Atomic Kitten used to be a lap dancer - although, to be honest, the thought of men paying hard earned cash to see that jiggling is a little tricky to cope with - but that she hasn't been forced back to it yet. Although, if you take lap dancing to mean "wearing scandalously little while mugging through a series of pre-written, though not entirely planned moves besides a man with whom you have no chemistry or connection, in a display of hamfisted pant-showing mistaken for being in some way 'sexy' or 'erotic'", her spell with Micahel Greco co-hosting Britain's Sexiest may count.

LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS. BUT ONLY IF THEY LISTEN TO IRON MAIDEN: Harsh verdicts in Morrocco, where heavy metal fans are being locked up for infringing morals with their hair and music and possible satan worshipping. We're not expecting a Darkness tour there anytime soon.

CALL US CYNICAL - OH,YOU HAVE - BUT: We can't help but wonder if the death-throe decision by the Radio Auhtority to create 32 new radio stations in 16 cities isn't being done to give a lastminute fillip to diversity before the deregulation of the radio industry lets Clear Channel come in and hoover up the whole damn FM waveband ("reduces the rules currently strangling the operation of a competitive market on the airwaves"). See, if CC buys one of Liverpool's two FM stations, people might get upset, especially if they're already operating a regional. If, however, they're buying one of four...

NOT SO MUCH COMPLICATED AS DISAPPOINTED: 'Avril Lavigne - is she for real?' trumpets a banner on the front page of this morning's Guardian. Sadly,it just turns out to be a lift of the Rolling Stone article (frustrating in itself - why would the arts pages take material from RS? It's not like the magazine has a reputation for anything other than PR-petting puff anymore. And even if the article was created without one eye on Future Access To The LA Reid Stable, are we supposed to buy the conclusion "she might be put together, but at least she isn't put together by Britney?" Why is the fact she's aping something credible meant to be better than if she was mainstream? Isn't that worse? Wouldn't it be more disturbing to have politicans being controlled by unseen hands than circus performers?

Thursday, March 06, 2003

GREAT, LET'S GET HAL TO DJ: The Guardian Online is quite excited by the prospect of computer software that can recommend music you'd like, in its opinion, based on what other people who quite like what you like also like - although we can't help but wonder if everyone chose to listen to stuff on the basis of audioscrobbler's recommendations, wouldn't the end result be more narrow-minded scene based music listening than the broader, glorious sweep of surprises they promise? After all, while there must be Oasis fans who also like Lolly, surely their influence is going to be swamped by the millions who like coldplay? Besides, if we wanted to be told what to listen to [can you hear that?] by a cold computer [it's the sound of the flag on the punchline waving in the wind] we'd tune in to Colin Murray.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: First Bistro edition:
From this week, WTPPS will be posted sometime during Wednesday evening...
It’s probably an indication of how little the Brits mean now that the magazine which showed the most interest in the awards wasn’t Smash Hits, or even Heat, but Now. Now, of course, the celeb magazine for people who get their hair done Mondays when your rinse is half price, not to be confused with Now, the fabled, failed attempt to create a British Newsweek, nor, indeed, New, Richard Desmond’s latest attempt to mop up every single slightly dim reader - following on from the back door Hello, OK and the vegan Heat that is Hot Stars. As a newsagent explains to a confused pensioner clutching a copy in a MediaWeek cartoon: “You asked for a copy of Now; that *is* a copy of Now.”

Gareth Gates is on half of the covers of the Radio Times, sitting in a bath of baked beans (inside credit: “thanks to Heinz”) in the name of charity. It’s a handy indication of how plastic and half-hearted Gates is in everything he does that even this bogstandard fund-raising stunt is screwed up - he keeps all his clothes on, for licky’s sake. He doesn’t even put his shoulders under the sauce. Lightweight. More impressive is Flog It’s Paul Martin. He might now be fronting the poor man’s Bargain Hunt, but he used to drum for the Quireboys and Dogs D’Amour, you know.

The Radio Times also proudly announces that, in its opinion, Reborn In The USA (failed Popstars get a second chance, trying to crack America) is probably going to be won by Mark Shaw, the devastatingly handsome former lead singer of Then Jericho. “Cobblers to it not being a competition” barracks Shaw “I want people off the bus as quick as possible.” The RT quotes odds of 7-1, and suggests you keep your eyes on him, as he might just win. Except, of course, before the RT had hit the streets, Shaw had left the show “by mutual consent” with the production team. He didn’t make it to the end of the first day.

Another listings magazine, another questionable decision - The Guardian Guide writes about Live Forever. David Stubbs - who, as a writer for the Melody Maker is still wanted by the Royal Commission investigating the footsoldiers of the Oasis years - thinks that it’s a bit rum trying to get excited about the period, but this doesn’t stop them putting it on the cover, which actually says more by accident than the article itself does - it’s a cartoon parody of the Vanity Fair ‘London Swings Again’ Liam and Patsy cover, only this time they’re split up. The caption says “how the britpop dream faded’, implying that we’re meant to view this as a picutre depciting the morning after. Except, of course, it sums up everything that was shit about the period - Liam, trophy wives, half-light Vanity Fair journalists deciding to write about a place and the place lapping it up. C’mon, would a really cool city get excited about being told by some American mag they were it? [Clue: would anyone like to see the cuttings showing how the local media on Merseyside purred with joy that the tatler - the bloody Tatler - decided Liverpool was, if you’ll forgive me, Livercool?]

Talking of cool - here’s the NME. Cool! Sexy! Drunk! Yes, its Karen O. Hurrah!

News: radiohead to play an ‘intimate’ UK tour, by which they mean places where you fewer than four car parks at the venue; Fatboy Slim is going to play Brighton racecourse - cut ‘im, Pinky; Steve-O took! his! trousers! off! He is hella crazy, isn’t he? One crazy guy. Why is it, if he came from Continental Europe, he’d be the figure of fun he should be (by which we mean laughing at, not with) but for some reason they think we’re interested as he’s American?; Robbie Williams now so desperate to crack America, he’s going to try and convince Linda Perry he’s a gay woman, too; Belle & sebastian are going to play a charity show, which seems a bit wrong - a jumble sale we could see, but a pop music gig?; BRMC’s next album to be “more raw and natural”, which suggests that they just can’t be arsed to work on it very much; Kelly Osbourne had to be rescued from a tongue lashing by - jesus - avril lavigne’s drummer (rock rating: zero, and falling) and then Pink made her cry. Seems Kelly hoped that she wouldn’t hold how she went gobbing off about the Pinkster [behind her back, of course] against her. Pink did. Kelly go sob sob sob. (rock rating: minus one, and falling); someone pretending to be Liam Howlett is ripping people off around the US; Jack White has posted a bemusing thing on the Stripes website that tsks tsks downloaders of the new album because, erm, they’re impatient and “we want you to have it when we want you to have it.” Apparently, there are six covers for the thing “so meg and I know where you got it from.” Because...? He doesn’t explain why it’s important. Maybe he could have saved the effort by looking at the country the person lives in.

My Morning Jacket choose the CD tracks - George Harrison, AC\DC and Bjork.

New act: Dizzee Rascal - “the future of UK garage” - “My attitude towards girls stinks” he says

There;s a handy get-to-know-The-Kills checklist - 3. Alison once didn’t eat for six months, surviving on a diet of lemon-flavoured drinks

Here’s little Evan Dando. He’s wearing a badly drawn boy hat. Keep walking, boy.

James Skelly from The Coral blags all about the next album - apparently the quirkiness is being phased out for a darker spell.

Karen O can look a bit like Bobby gillespie from the wrong angle, can’t she? Apparently, she’s quit New York and headed for rural New Jersey - it’ll be interesting to see what that does to her music in the next twelve months. Syd Barrett, of course, lives in the countryside; but then again, when Toyah moved to the sticks she started to campaign against foreign people being allowed to live near her. So you never know.

It’s apparently ten years since the NME staff voted Pet Sounds the best thing that’s ever been made in an album stylee. They did it all again this week - now, the greatest album ever is The Stone Roses. What this shows, more than anything, is the average age of an NME staffer. Doolittle (Pixies) is at 2; pet sounds 3; marquee moon - curiously - at 4; and revolver at five. Thats the Beatles album, not the shoegazing band;The Strokes Is This It at seven seems like an oddly over-enthusiastic measure in 2003; by 2013 it’s likely to provoke questions of “Is what it?” Oddest entry of them all would be Hejira by Joni Mitchell at 93. But, unbelievably, at 69 - I Get Wet. Sweetgwen, you lost with Andrew WK. Will you please give it up? We bet James Skelly is wishing he hadn’t decided to tell the paper his favourite album is Popped In, Souled Out by Wet Wet Wet, though. Emily ‘daughter of’ Eavis chooses The Clash’s London Calling because “they’re just so important.” It sounds to us like a “please like me” choice.

afi - sing the sorrow - “enormous sound and ambition”, 8
melanie c - reason - “called reason, otherwise there wouldn’t be one”, 4
the kills - keep on your mean side - “a glow to their dischord”, 8
junior senior - dddon’t stop the beat - “a mess, but a good mess”, 8
the sex maniacs - mean as hell - “best British punk rock album in ages”, 8

sotw - 50 cent - in da club - “makes thug life sound like the good life again”
ladytron - blue jeans - “no black mark against them”
jennifer lopez - all i have - “quality, high produced street soul”

nas - london astoria - “cranks up intensity with each passing song”
ex-models - cardiff barfly - “new yokr evolution at work”
jet - sydney annandale hotel - “disco sucks, rock and roll reigns supreme”

and that’s it. we’re going to turn back to the front page and stare again now.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

PUTTING A BRAVE - IF STUPID FACE - ON: Robbie Williams claims to be "uninterested in playing James Bond" as he's "too PC to be interesting." This is in exactly the same way that I'm totally uninterested in becoming director general of the BBC, of course.

NOW APPLE MOVES INTO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY PROPER: There's not quite a launch, but more than mulling, over at Infinite Loop as Apple prepares to flog music online. Older readers will remember that the first apple noise - sosumi - was so called because Apple Computers had promised Apple Records that they would never move into the recorded music field, so the shared name would not be a problem.
Apple aren't using MP3 for the downloads, which is a bit of a pity but you can imagine the cow the RIAA would have had if they'd tried that.
Talking of which, a whistleblower from the IPFI claims to have attempted to flood peer to peer networks with rubbish files in a bid to descredit the network. Mind you, he claims Mariah Carey was a talent forced into the wrong style for her, which suggests he might just be nuts.

'I THINK IT'S RUBBISH AND WHERE IS THE PRETTY ONE?' - G. Coxon (Mrs.): attempting to fill a few bytes in what seems to be a flagging time for music news by asking readers, fearlessly, "so, what do you think about the new Blurs single, then?"

Monday, March 03, 2003

THE OLD VIC MUST BE NUDGING EACH OTHER: Last month, it seemed such a coup having got kevin Spacey in to be creative director. Now that he's announced he's making the long awaited biopic on the life of, erm, Bobby Darin, they might be checking the small print of the contract...

MADONNA DESPERATELY SEEKING NICHE: Since even she must have worked out that, frankly, the best Actress oscar is going to elude her, she's turned her attention to writing books for children. Aimed at the over sixes, that at least means they'll be a bit more complex in terms of plot than her husband's movies.

FAKE DYKES REPLACED AT NUMBER ONE BY FAKE WHORE: Tatu knocked off by Christina, then

THE LIAR IN HIS LAIR LAID OUT: How shambling a sad case is Fred Durst looking? After having yakked away about Britney Spear's nipples to The Sun at the weekend, his response to Britney saying (basically) "yeah, he wishes, cockroach" is to bluster hey, let's talk about the album instead. Mind you, with his track record, there probably isn't an album anyway, is there? He's probably made that up too. You'll buy Bipolar (and has there been a more nauseating attempt to pass off the merely rubbish under the guise of 'hey, look at me, I'm interestingly mentally ill' since Elizabeth Wurtzel's apparent confusion of being a spoilt cow with being all head-wronged?) and it'll just wind up being the mantra "I plead the fifth" over and over...

Sunday, March 02, 2003

WHY? WHY? WHY?: Isn't there something cruel about making Gareth Gates cover Spirit In The Sky? It might be for charity, but it really demonstrates his weakness as a singer in every area - it's like plucking someone from a Sunday League and making them play for Arsenal, or getting Helen Brinton to try out as a cheerleader. It's a ridiculous song which can only work by a singer who can belt out a tune with absolute, but faked, conviction. Gates sings it like he's Aled Jones doing a hymn.

UH-OH... BAD NEWS, AVRIL: Avril Lavigne might be kicking herself for having dismissed the efforts of The Matrix as being little more than a gentle buffing of "her" songs - which, if true, makes their four percent on every sale of an Avril record seem incredibly generous, like the windowcleaner taking a cut from every sale in a supermarket. Now, The Matrix are working with Britney, which seems to us to be like a riposte - "You say we didn't do nothing for you? We'll work with your sworn enemy." It's gonna be RoboPop.

MAYBE HE IS LEARNING FROM DURST: Great White singer Jack Russellis looking for immunity from prosecution before he'll testify about the events which led to 96 people burning to death at one of his band's gigs. You'd think that he'd been willing to help in any way he could, regardless of covering his own skinny butt, especially since the Great White camp maintain they had the required permissions for the large fireworks in enclosed space display.
Perhaps he's afraid the Great White lyrics might be held against him in a court of law:
I think I might take a little ride,
and burn your love house down,
like a burnin' house of love, a burnin' house of love.
Seriously: Just testify, you knob.