Saturday, April 07, 2007

Great White knew nothing of fireworks

Some members of Great White are seeking to be released as co-defendents on the legal actions relating to the Atlanta nightclub fire:

Three of the band members - Mark Kendall, Eric Powers and David Filice - maintain in new court papers that they had no managerial duties with the group, had no contact with the owners of the club and did not participate in preparing or lighting the devices.

"They were at the nightclub that evening for one purpose - to perform music:, attorneys for the band members wrote in court papers filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Providence. "They had no other role in the band's performance at The Station."

Jack White isn't, at this stage, seeking to be let off.

Rhode Island fire coverage in full

Why CocoRosie are smarter than Joss Stone

It could just be because they've got a smarter mother.

Joss canned her ma, because she wanted a "proper" manager.

Sierra and Bianca Casaday, though, put their faith in their mother...:

"We recently hired our mom to manage us," Sierra announces. "She sent us a message today to tell us she got us our first contact in the record industry, a producer."

"Rick Rubin," Bianca says, questioningly. "What records did he do?"

Several multi-million-selling albums by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Bianca screws up her face. Beastie Boys. System of a Down. Johnny Cash. She looks rather nonplussed. "Did he do anything that's not rock?" she asks. Johnny Cash? Still no reaction. Johnny Cash is apparently not "not rock" enough.

"We don't like rock," she continues. "I think the electric guitar solo thing is... a little too macho. Dudes with guitars... not our thing."

Maybe they could pass their mother on to Joss Stone?

Coming attractions: The Young Playthings

Normally, bands with members travelling under comedy names make us narrow our eyes, but The Young Playthings can be forgiven including a Jørs Truly amongst their ranks, if only because they'll get their payback when people start asking him "so, after you were in the band with Marco, Merrick, Terry Lee and Gary Tibbs, what happened then?"

Also, their debut poppy-playful album Who Invented Love is rather good. The step from bedroom recordings to studio has allowed them to expand their range to muck about having a go at doo-wop and to move ever closer to making a David Lynch soundtrack for a film even he might be a little scared of. It's out at the start of next month; your time spent investigating might be rewarded.

Coming attractions: Green Pitch

It's not out until June, but worth making a note in your diaries, as Green Pitch's first single proper Reverse will be emerging on the 4th. From Denmark, they seem to be all wispy and ethereal until Rex Garfield's vocals kick in, when everything suddenly becomes sharper and little bit bitter. Pearly Peardrops Drops.

The album Ace of Hearts is released in July; if you can't wait until then, it's important enough to be imported already.

Groove is in the shark

It doesn't quite look like it's the future, but it does give a sense of what the shape of the future may be: GrooveShark, a legal music sharing service which rewards you for passing on details about the music you like, is taking sign-ups for its test version. Oh, imagine if this caught on and the RIAA had to pay people to upload music on its behalf.

Naturally, the music is DRM free, too.

No Blunt, No That for Diana

The Daily Mirror's list of acts playing the Diana memorial concert seems to have been a little awry: Neither James Blunt nor Take That are confirmed for the event:

"Contrary to the report in today's Daily Mirror, Take That and James Blunt are not confirmed to appear at Concert for Diana on July 1st."

Indeed, apparently only Elton and Joss Stone are definitely going. So it'll still be terrible enough.

I bet you look good with your pants on

For some reason, the Arctic Monkeys have been trying to keep Jamie Cook's relationship with Katie Downes quiet. Almost as if dating a glamour model didn't fit with the band's image or something.

This is the most safe for work picture we could findAccording to her MySpace page, Katie likes the Arctic Monkeys (although they come as a second to The Kooks - Luke Pritchard, take note). But then seh also lists her interests as "fetish photography and anything artistic", and yet her catalogue shows she seems to only appear in those hand-across-tits teenage-boy porn churned out for lower shelf magazines, so who knows what to believe?

It all pays well, though: apparently, she's made seven figures out of it all.

Britney needs Andrew Winter

This week we're in Malibu, with Britney. Britney's a newly single Mum, and keen to sell her Malibu mansion in order to downsize and settle some sizeable medical bills. But the house has been on the market since January, and even a cut in price of a million pounds, to six million, has failed to interest any serious buyers. I went to take a look...

- Britney, the first thing that strikes me as I come through the door is that you've got a great welcoming space here, but that's lost as there's what I can only describe as a stench. What is that smell?

- It's the bitter reek of disappointment, Andrew

- That really is the sort of thing that puts buyers off straight away. And does it go right through the house?

- No, not the whole house.

- But there are smell problems elsewhere?

- Yes, the living rooms have the whiff of failure, and I've been trying to get rid of the fog of desperation from the kitchen.

- And how have you been doing that?

- I tried burning some sage.

- That's really not going to do it. Modern buyers are finely attuned to what they want, and if a house is clouded with the death of hope, it's going to to take more than some herbs to put it right...

Glitter wants out

Apparently, Gary Glitter is planning to ask the Vietnamese president to let him out early to mark Vietnam's Victory Day.

Yes, how could victory over Western forces trying to control your nation be better marked than by giving a treat to a Briton who came to shag your children?

Robbie Williams is not afraid of a climbdown

Robbie Williams is going to rejoin Take That.

Well, no he's not, obviously, but The Sun has seized on something his Mum said and built it up a little:

Jan agrees. She said: “I don’t think Robert has a problem with that. He’s thrilled at how Take That have come back.

“On the question of him doing something with them, that will happen.

“It would be something he wanted to do.

“I’m thrilled that out of all the negative stuff that happened in the past there’s now something great happening.

“Take That were excellent when they were all together and they are excellent now.”

Now, the honest headline might be "Robbie's mam reckons there might be some sort of reunion", but instead, the Sun has gone with:
Robbie will sing with Take That

We love that Jan rates Take That as "excellent" before and now, with the implication that her son limping off hasn't really made that much of difference. As indeed, it hasn't, except giving all the lads a twnety-five per cent pay rise.

Meanwhile, Robbie's Dad Pete Conway is currently doing a TV advert for TJ Hughes, which is a bit like Matalan without the hope. And recommending bargains. The idea is that the store is showing its commitment to price cutting by using "non-celebs" - but they could have done that without using Robbie's Dad, Carol Vorderman's Mum, Wayne Rooney's brother and Paul Ross' Mum by using people not related to famous names. Because when I see Wayne Rooney's brother recommending a shop, I tend to think "oh, they must sell stuff that looks a bit like brand name products, only isn't quite as good..."

Friday, April 06, 2007

A little Iggy for the end of Good Friday

Something else to listen to, if you're sure you want to: NPR streaming Iggy and The Stooges from last night in Washington, sadly, rather than sometime in the past, but all Pop is some pop at some point. Or something.

A 4AD CD 4 3

Blonde Redhead's MySpace hole is currently pumpy-streaming the entire 23 album.

It also provides an interesting lesson in declining attention spans - track one has been played over 100,000 times; track two just 30,000. By the time you get to track 10, only 5,675 plays.

Iha: I have no part in it

James Iha has been pretty quiet while Billy Corgan has been running about trumpeting the Smashing Pumpkins reunion.

Up until now, anyway:

“No, I’m not part of the current Smashing Pumpkins album or tour, I haven’t spoken to Billy in years. I’m writing for a solo record, which I’m going to record this year, and working on my indie label Scratchie Records.”

In other words: not only is the band Corgan touting not (quite) the Pumpkins, but he didn't even make an effort to see if Iha wanted in on the trading of a name that was as much Iha's as it was Corgan. Doubtless Corgan sent a postcard or something to the last address he had and never heard back.

Fall Out Boy: The Oxo family of our time

As if having traded their video for Thanks For The Mmrs into a billboard wasn't enough, Fall Out Boy have continued to stuff their pockets with gold by signing up on a tour to promote the Honda Civic - indeed, so happy are they to sell themselves, they actually take second billing to the car.

Trouble is, "personal issues" have led to the dates being pulled and rescheduled, reports the website for HONDA CIVIC's Fall Out Boy tour:

Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz says, "Just wanted to give everyone a heads up, we are planning on this being the biggest and best Fall Out Boy show that we could possibly have. Unfortunately, because of some personal issues we had to delay the tour a few weeks. We want to put on the best possible show we can and know that this extra couple of weeks will give us the time to put ourselves in the right place to put on the best show we can. The shows from the earlier part of the tour will be rescheduled to the end but all tickets will be honored for all moved shows. Again we apologize. Our fans really mean the world to us and I promise the wait will be well worth it."

Presumably they're busy shooting endorsements for Tab or something.

But they didn't like you, Mutya

Somewhat confusingly, Mutya Buena seems surprised the rest of her former colleagues in the Sugababes haven't been in touch to wish her luck:

"I'm closer to George Michael than I am to them now.

I'm really upset none of the girls called me to wish me good luck.

We grew up together and have been through a lot."

But... they didn't like you, Mutya.


Kevin Costner is launching a legal action against Mahee Worldwide Ventures inc. Costner claims they promised to build him a career in music:

"Defendants made numerous promises regarding their capabilities to promote Mr Costner's music and (their) willingness to pay for the right to do so. "Instead of following through on their promises, defendants continued to make false promises and ultimately disappeared ..."

Of course, it could just be that Costner's not very good at music and they were being kind by saving him from making records and a fool of himself. It'll all come out in court now, of course.

Dunst defends doing Debbie

In perhaps a sign that prepublicity for the movie isn't going as smoothly as the studios would probably have hoped, Kirsten Dunst has started trying to defend her casting in the lead on the Deborah Harry biopic:

"Debbie chose me for this role so anyone who disputes this can take it up with her.

I'll work hard on this character because she is the coolest woman of all time."

Just as a general point, you probably shouldn't ask someone "who would you want to play you in the story of your life" - for example, in No Rock - The Movie, I'd cast John Simm to play me. The rest of the world, though, would be putting in a call to Danny DeVito.

Sgt Pepper Knew My Grandfather

In what we like to think of as an attempt to mark the 20th anniversary of the NME's Sgt Pepper Knew My Father album, a bunch of bands are going to record one track each from the Beatle's Sgt Pepper collection. Razorlight, James Morrison, The Fratellis, and Travis are all involved - no Frank Sidebottom or Wedding Present this time round - and the Kaiser Chiefs are on board. Despite them never having met John Lennon.

3AM Girls discover the truth

Startling revelations from the 3AM Girls this monring, as they discover that the video which Pete Doherty uploaded to his own website was uploaded by Pete Doherty to his own website. And not by accident, or anything.

Thanks for that, Girls.

Pete explains:

"People have been saying that Kate's annoyed at the video being posted but she said I should do it.

"It takes a long time to get signed these days and we thought we would post stuff on my website to speed things up a bit.

"That clip is about a month old and I've got a few more to post online as well. I would have done it sooner but I've only just got the hang of the technology."

Well, if you'd not keep flogging your laptop for ready cash, you might pick these things up more quickly, lad.

Laverne now ex-FM

After 18 months, during which time she's drawn down pretty much acclaim from all corners, Lauren Laverne has quit as presenter of what MediaGuardian helpfully points out is the "ninth most popular breakfast show in London."

The departure looks a little odd - she went on holiday, and then XFM announced she wouldn't be coming back:

"Lauren is leaving Xfm to concentrate on her TV work," said Xfm London programme director Adam Uytman.

"It has been fantastic to see her move up the schedule and host a great breakfast show for us. We wish her luck with her future projects."

We know all farewells should be sudden, but... there's abrupt and abrupt.

Moyles: You've got a point

Yesterday, when the Arctic Monkeys slagged off Radio One, Victoria Newton predicted it would go down badly with the DJs:

And I reckon the criticism won’t go down to well with the likes of DJs CHRIS MOYLES, JO WHILEY, ZANE LOWE and SCOTT MILLS.

So, odd, then, to see Newton reporting this morning that Chris Moyles had agreed with them on-air, even before most readers would have picked up their copy of the Sun:
Jamie said English radio is terrible. I agree. And Radio 1 plays a load of crap music!”

How does Victoria explain this huge gap between what she predicted and what actually happened?

Why, it's a conspiracy:
I’m sure he’d have had a go at the Monkeys if Radio 1 didn’t have a tribute day, Arctic Monday, on April 16.

Erm, yes. That would probably be why he agreed with them.

Moyles, meanwhile, issued a "clarification" of his views a few moments later (we do agree with Newton that this probably came following the intervention of management):
“I think Radio 1 does play a lot of crap, but I will explain my outrageous statement. We play a lot of new music, you’re not going to like everything. A lot of the stuff on the playlist I don’t like, it’s not my thing.

“If you only liked R&B and listened to a station that only plays R&B, there’s going to be some R&B you don’t like.”

The irony, of course, is that no matter how bad the music Moyles plays is, it does provide a spot of welcome relief from his talking.

Tony Snow prepares a "takes one to know one" response

Only a sister paper of Fox News like The Sun could think that calling George Bush an "arsehole and a cunt" could harm Lily Allen's chances of selling records in the US. Her target market, surely, is vaguely young, not-quite-sure-why-they're-disaffected young folk who will lap this sort of thing up mistaking it's political satire of some sort. It's not like she's going to be selling to the Texan country market anyway.

An eyewitness did see this assault on Bush:

“George Bush is an arsehole and a cunt.” She also called Tony Blair a “cunt’s bitch”.

Londoner Lily — who is dating DJ Seb Chew — went on to announce she was “probably bisexual” because she was tired of men with “little dicks”. One fan at the concert in San Diego, California, said: “Lily got really drunk on stage.

“She then started calling Bush names and the audience went a bit quiet.

“She also said that San Diego has the best crack whores she’d ever seen, and that she was thinking of becoming a lesbian.

“And she moaned she was tired of her own songs so did covers of Keane, Kaiser Chiefs and Blondie.”

We're a little lost as to what "probably bisexual" is - you dont know what you find sexually attractive by your age, Lily? Still, we're glad you're as bored of your songs as the rest of us.

Working through the permutations

If there is a god - or, perhaps, one bloke behind a desk arranging everything that happens for the celeb magazines - it's starting to look like he's got some sort of version of those flip-books where you can put a nurse's legs and a fireman's torso underneath the head of a farmer. Only he's mixing and matching partners.

Lindsay Lohan and Kevin Federline? Are they kidding us?

How long can it be before the Kevin Federline - Robbie Williams pairing comes up. Not like that, of course, that would be ridiculous. But maybe they could hang out playing soccer together, shirts and skins, something like that?

Sam Fox not taken seriously as an artist

Samantha Fox can never escape her past. There she was, thinking the good people of Cacak in Serbia wanted to build a statue in honour of her musical career, only to discover it was all a cheap ploy to see her breasts.

For Sam, it was horrific when the people who came to her gig started to chant "whack 'em out, love" in Serbian:

“The crowd made rude comments about my breasts.”

Goodness. We wonder where they could have got the idea that she was that sort of girl.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bookmarks: Somethings to read on the internet

David Bowie launches a "career as an online musical agony uncle" with the help of The Times and his memory:

It was at Furlongs that I got my first real taste of how things could be. Furlongs was owned and run by a man in his forties who was the perpetual jazzer/college type. New Orleans was his thing.

Furlongs was the record shop. For absolute integrity and a huge stock of jazz, R&B and pure blues, there was nowhere else like it until you reached London itself.

It was here that the power of recorded music struck home. I don’t mean it was where I discovered music (I had already discovered that power through Little Richard and Elvis) — no, it was more how those bits of black plastic could affect other people’s behaviour.

Stylus explores how the internet has made it possible to be indie again:

But it’s Cherry Red’s dalliances in the diverse multi-media market that have many regarding the label as a model for independents looking to make web-fueled modifications and survive in today’s industry. A book division opened in 1997, while the label began issuing DVDs in late 2006 (over 50 releases are slated for this year). Cherry Red’s site, which is updated daily, also features a download shop with over 17,000 songs.

“We still see ourselves as a ‘physical’ label,” McNay says, “but there’s no question we have embraced new products, and new ways to distribute and market old products. It’s a matter of adapting. If you look at many of the independent labels that formed around the time Cherry Red did, you’ll see many haven't survived. Adapting has involved making some radical changes, but without those changes we might not still be here.”

Lou Barlow tells Nashville Scene about being back with Dinosaur Jr, and crowd reactions:

You can’t hear people anyway, so it doesn’t matter. At a Dinosaur Jr. show, they can yell whatever they want, they’re not gonna be heard or responded to at all. Dinosaur is not about communicating with an audience on any level. As the reunion has kind of evolved, I’ve realized—not that I didn’t know it already—that the majority of Dinosaur fans came to Dinosaur long after I left. It’s similar to the Eric thing in Sebadoh.

Jack Marin posts to his LiveJournal about why he quit Cute Is What We Aim For:

At first when I joined the band everything was great and everyone seemed happy. But shortly after, I started having some personal issues with another member. I've tried to just ignore the problems, but the truth is, I'm just not happy at all.

This is a decision that I've been debating for weeks. Even as I was getting ready to tell the guys, I was still wondering if I was making the right decision. But I've finally decided that it's in my best interest to leave this band as soon as possible. It's a matter of principle and to me, being in the band just isn't worth what I have to deal with.

That must have called for judgement of Solomon

As a judge tidies up after the Houston-Brown divorce, the question of what to do with child came up on the to-do list.

Presumably a coin needed to be tossed to decide the lesser of two evils. Whitney's come out on top:

A tearful Houston told the court that her estranged husband is "unreliable".

Whereas, of course, you can rely on Whitney. Not entirely sure you'd trust her, but... boy, you can rely on her.

Sheila, take an encore

Memo to record companies: If you're hoping to sneak out a re-release of a single without anyone noticing (Sheila, by Jamie T, for example), it's probably not the smartest idea to film the video where you're going to have members of the NME staff wandering into shot.

Dead Letter Office

It's like a spin-off from Fluxblog: Matthew has embarked on Pop Songs 07, an attempt to provide a blog entry for every song REM ever made. We can't wait until he gets to the one that's just Michael Stipe reading out the liner notes from an album he found in the studio.

Joy Division Oven Gloves

We've stumbled about the web, really hoping that the Joy Division trainer would turn out to be an April Fool's joke.

It isn't. They're not on general sale, it looks more like a promo-special thing on the part of New Balance. But, oh god, is there no point where people go "maybe this is, you know, pissing all over the memory of music that means something to people?"

At least the Factory shoe seems like the sort of godawful idea Tony Wilson would have pursued to its bitter end.

A Factory plimsole - it'd come in a lovely box, but fall apart as soon as you slipped a foot into it, and you'd not be able to return them to the shop because you'd have messed up the artfully-scrunched tissue paper they were originally protected by.

[Many thanks to FeatherBoa for the link]

The possibly brave, slightly new world of digital radio

Most of the interest in the bids to run a second national DAB network has focused on Channel 4's efforts to get itself a slice of transmission pie. Even the MediaGuardian weekly podcast conceded the rival bid, from National Grid, sounded dull and workmanlike. You could see the sense in it: NG operate tall towers with electricity in them, so handing them the transmission network could make sense. More sense, possibly, than giving it Channel 4, with their television ways.

However, that dull, workmanlike bid has now transformed into something else: with Ofcom's approval, National Grid wireless has just been sucked up by the financial locusts of private equity. Macquarie have paid £2.5billion for the business; so if they win the bids, another chunk of the UK's communication infrastructure will pass into the hands of people who lack even the basic overview of shareholders. That's got to help the Channel 4 bid, surely?

Unless, of course, Ofcom is comprised of the sort of people impressed by cheap suits and the stink of too much money.

National Grid - back when they bidding and pretending they'd be part of an electricity and gas company instead of one owned by merchant bankers - told Ofcom that if they won, they'd be including some Channel 4's proposed radio stations in the deal. At this, Channel 4 reared up like Foghorn Leghorn and asked "Wha... I said what?"

Although it might have been better for NG to have asked them first, though, it seems unlikely that Channel 4 would refuse to join them if need be. They've done a lot of work on this radio thing.

Here, by the way, is the list of what Channel 4 is proposing if it and its consortium win the day:

E4 Radio will be a music service with an entirely fresh approach, aimed at a 15 to 29 year old audience. Driven by interactivity with its listeners, a commitment to new music and an ability to grow new comedy talent across the UK, E4 Radio will encourage its audience to shape the content and style of the programming, as well as respond to it.

It's a nice idea - we certainly don't find much to complain about with E4's music television service during the days, but we're not entirely sure the TV channel has demonstrated "an ability to grow new comedy talent" and why they think they'd have more luck on radio.

And stop talking about interactivity. Even Radio 3 lets its listeners text in; it's redundant to mention it (like saying "we will communicate with sounds") and to base your entire network on such a vague, all-encompassing idea (votes? user generated content? phone-ins about the binmen?) seems ill-advised.
Channel 4 Radio will be a speech-based service aimed at a 30 to 54 year old audience, with an emphasis on news, current affairs, comedy, drama, documentaries and debate. News and current affairs will be at its heart and it will build on Channel 4‘s distinctive public service contribution to intelligent and innovative programming.

We do love Channel 4 Radio's morning reports podcast, and could quite happily welcome a second intelligent speech station in the UK. We're a little puzzled as to what speech is left if you remove news, current affairs, comedy, drama, documentaries and debate - is this just a way of saying "we won't have any money to bid for sports rights?"
Pure4 will be a music and speech service targeting 30 to 49 year olds, with an eclectic range of music complemented by intelligent conversation about the arts and contemporary culture.

= "and now here's a new single from The Good, The Bad and The Queen."
All three services will have regular news throughout the day, and news will be particular feature of Channel 4 Radio, which will have an in-depth morning news and analysis programme. Channel 4 believes that by integrating its television, radio and online news services it can create a flexible format that will give listeners high-quality, challenging news and analysis whenever and however they want it.

In other words, they're hoping that it won't cost too much.

What about the partners, then? What do they promise?
UTV will re-introduce the original Talk Radio format, mixing studio discussion with phone-ins and chat about issues of the day.

The original Talk Radio format? Before it finally turned into TalkSport, that station changed its style and formats so many times, I don't believe there's a man alive who could tell you what it was originally like. It's not entirely clear why UTV would be rushing to re-establish a station that nearly went out of business and required a substantial makeover on a medium with a smaller potential audience, but we're sure they've thought it through. Let's just hope everyone's not busy interacting with E4 Radio, eh?
Emap will continue to innovate across media platforms by creating a new radio service with the same brand values and attributes of the UK’s best selling celebrity magazine, Closer, with the launch of a music and lifestyle station aimed at 30 to 44 year old women.

Since Closer seems to exist for no other reason than printing blurry shots of Victoria Beckham, we can't even begin to imagine what this means. Actually, we can: someone will nip in every morning, choose one of those "All Woman" compilation albums, stick it on, hit "replay" and head off for the day.
In a joint venture with Chrysalis Radio, and as its first venture into DAB digital radio, Sky will produce Sky News Radio, a rolling 24-hour news service-providing up-to-the minute news and information supported by the significant resources of the Sky News team.

In other words: Radio Five Live with the sport and the news taken out of it. If this ever makes it to air, we give it six months before out-of-peak hours recreates the heady days of ITN Radio (i.e. the audio feed from the TV channel rebroadcast on the radio.)
For the first time, commercial radio will offer a national service for the UK’s large Asian community, Sunrise Radio. This national service will contain bespoke programming, focusing on Asian music and Asian artists.

Probably wise to stick with the music - Sunrise's name often seems to crop up in the complaints bulletin from Ofcom; although the complaints aren't always upheld, it does seem to be something of a lightning rod for grumbling.
Virgin Radio Viva, from SMG, will be a presenter-led modern music service aimed at a younger audience of 15 to 29 year old women, which will deal with issues of particular importance to them.

It's yet to be convincingly explained to me why women need a different sort of radio to men - is it simply the unerwiring in bras causes interference so the programmes have to be broadcast differently? We can only assume the arbitrary age-range has been cooked up between Virgin and EMAP so that the two identical stations appear to be a range of services.
Buoyed by its recent tranche of successful analogue radio licence awards, CanWest will provide Original, an album-led music service targeting listeners above the age of 40.

All embittered divorcee radio, all the time.
Disney is set to provide the first national children’s radio service aimed at 8 to 12 year olds and featuring music and entertainment.

Not quite sure where this would leave CapitalDisney, the service on regional DAB - will it be left to shows presented by second-string cartoon characters (Minnie Mouse, Huey, Dewey and Louie, anything invented by Disney since 1978?) while Mickey and Donald rule the national airwaves? More to the point, couldn't they have found a British company to come up with a children's radio offering? Rupert and Noddy and Postman Pat rather than High School Musical and Goofy.

Still, parts of the Channel 4 offering are quite intriguing. We're sure Jon Snow won't mind the double shifts it all suggests.

RIAA asks "who gave you these things, boy?"

Nine Inch Nails came up with rather a neat idea for promoting their forthcoming record. To whet the world's appetite for some more songs about fucking, misery and whips, the band left some hard drives with music on at their recent gigs. Fans find the drives, share the music online, awareness is raised, gimps are sent down to the record shop to buy on day of release.

What could possibly go wrong?

The RIAA, that's what. They've started to send cease-and-desist letters to people for participating in a campaign created and orchestrated by one of their own members.

Besides suggesting once again that the RIAA are a segment of biomass still in search of a direction, that they sent out c-and-ds on behalf of a copyright holder without checking with the owner of the copyright reveals another piece of slackness underpinning the cartel's activities: they're apparently sending out threats before checking their facts. Sloppy, ill-advised and questionable behaviour again from this organisation that positions itself as some sort of moral force.
[Thanks to Nick S for the link]

My Favourite Records

In what's turning out to be an excellent year for old music, hot on the heels of the Wedding Present box set comes Twenty Years In Showbusiness, a two-album I Ludicrous greatest hits. Okay, "hits" might be a bit of a stretch.

All credit to the keeper
Take nothing away
It's go-oals that count
at the end of the day

It's out on Shakespeare's birthday; preorderage is possible right now.

After Microsoft, all is silence

Microsoft's inept approach to security - sometimes way too lenient, sometimes too heavy handed - has effectively scuppered Weedshare, an online music indie which hosted the work of 10,000 acts. An "upgrade" to Windows Media Player "improved security" to the extent where Weedshare's code (designed to allow three plays before the listener has to pay) is misinterpreted as an attempt to break into the system by an evil terrorist or something, so it refuses to play them.

Weedshare have struggled for six weeks to work around the problem, drawing a blank. So they're closing down for some months while they put a new system in place. Costing time, money and a slew of goodwill.
[Thanks to Franco for the link]

Geldof's daughter feels the shame

Poor old Peaches Geldof - there she is, trying to show how supercoolfabulous she is at her 18th birthday party. And then her dad turns up:

She looked mortified as doting dad Sir Bob turned up at her 18th birthday bash dressed as a CLOWN.

The grinning rocker arrived in a tartan costume, daft hat and clutching a bunch of flowers.

We're not sure that actually constitutes dressing up as a clown - isn't that what Bob wore through much of the 1970s?

It turns out, though, that the joke was on Peaches. According to 3AM (okay, we know this is a leap of faith) she had managed to remain unaware that her own party had a circus fancy dress theme.

Still, Peaches should know a thing or two about mortification: a few days ago, she was given a chance as a guest columnist for the Guardian. She turned in a piece about her Mypace, which might have been fascinating three years ago but now looks a little bit like someone telling a joke unaware we've all heard it:
What was MySpace? I looked it up. My mind boggled at the prospects: a place where you could post countless photos of yourself doing stupid, inane poses and write gushing blogs for others to read, where you could speak to close friends and, possibly, make new ones.

Goodness. And this is on this the internet, you say?
You could even "pimp" your profile, I found, with delight (I went for a tasteful black-and-white theme as opposed to Pixie's garish neon).

Did you? Fascinating. Could you speak up a little, please, I can't hear you above the sound of CP Snow rotating in his grave.
This was my dream come true - a place to sit procrastinating (my speciality) with other procrastinators, for hours on end.

Surely, Peaches, to procrastinate, one must have something more important to do that they're putting off?

Peaches then details a childish spat in the comments columns which would have been shameful for a ten year old to get involved in, never mind for a supposed adult to think worth printing in a newspaper. (Someone said something about her stupid dog, apparently.)

Then, having done a quick word count, she found there was still half a page left. So she started to bang on about her dog in more... well, not depth:
And it's always funny taking her to Subway and watching the stunned customers stare as I casually place her next to a same-size sandwich.

They're not stunned that you've got a little dog, you idiot, they're stunned that someone is stupid enough to take a dog into a food store and then put it on the table.

Maybe Peaches found it hard to see Bob dressed up as a clown; it's harder for the rest of us to see her pretending to be a writer.

G4 were still going?

Oh, how terrible when the dream is over, and all return to drab daylight and foul reality. G4 have split, because it turns out they hated G4 as much as all right-thinking people did:

"We'd row in the limo or backstage over the most niggling little things."

They're going to honour the dates they've got booked, so the rotten idea will finally come to an end at the end of August. We're sure their CDs will continue to haunt dump bins in Motorway service stations for years to come, though.

The dark eyes of addicition

In passing in this morning's Bizarre column, Victoria Newton has a horrific revelation:

KATE MOSS has a new addiction following her cocaine shame – pork scratchings.

An addiction to Mr. Porky's product? How does this addiction manifest itself? Do farmers wake to find her in the piggery with a cigarette lighter and a tub of salt?

Erm... no:
The model was spotted scoffing a bag of fried pig skin with her drink at a pub in Devon.

So, now we need to recalibrate. Eating one bag of = addicted to.

Ugly Betty

I'm sorry, but you had to see this with your own eyes. Vogue has slapped Johnny Borrell on its cover - apparently the seventh man in Mode, sorry Vogue, history to be on the front - although, to be honest, it looks like the cover is really Natalia Vodianova, and he's just there as a prop. A tool, you might even say.

After all, if Vogue is meant to be ahead of the fashion loop, why would they focus on a bloke who wears the same thing every time he goes out, and who has been wearing that (cheap white jeans, no shirt) for the last three years?

And the photo? Jesus, if this was America's Next Top Model and this was his best shot, they'd be sending him back to the model house to pack his little vanity case without even bothering with a critique. Nigel Barker would chase him out with a broom.

Arctic Monkeys attack daytime Radio One

We're a little bit surprised that the Arctic Monkeys are even bothering to have a pop at Radio 1, to be honest; we thought they were a bit above that. Mind you, the Victoria Newton thinks it's more than that - why, it's practically career suicide:

Radio 1 — the station who gave them a huge helping hand when they were mere marmosets — are the latest victims of a tongue lashing from the Sheffield scamps.

And I reckon the criticism won’t go down to well with the likes of DJs CHRIS MOYLES, JO WHILEY, ZANE LOWE and SCOTT MILLS.

Erm... Victoria, do you remember all those articles about how the Arctic Monkeys use computers and stuff? And how their fanbase existed before they started getting network coverage? This is more on a par with, say, Duran in the 80s attacking something like Radio Humberside - a little odd that the band would bother, but hardly going to ruin their lives.

What's more interesting is Jamie Cook's decision to have a go at something he admits he knows nothing about:
“English radio is terrible, and Radio 1 plays a lot of crap music.

“I realised that the other morning when I had the radio going.

“Even music I don’t usually listen to, like hip-hop, is obviously bad at the moment.

“There is no real hip-hop anymore.”

Judging the state of hip-hop from listening to Chris Moyles is like trying to follow the news by watching Fox. Tomorrow, we expect he'll be offering an opinion on the state of Austrian choral music.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Big Fleas got little fleas

Apparently, Flea is worried by someone pretending to be him online. Apparently, this person isn't really called Flea at all. Obviously, Flea isn't really called Flea, either, but this fake Flea is, well, a bloodsucker:

The bassist has written an email to the group's fans urging them not to pay attention to a cyber impersonator who has been sending out "racist and insulting and disgusting" messages using his identity.

Meanwhile, John Frusciante has been sending angry emails complaining that fans have been booing Chili Pepper opening act, Mickey Avalon. It's wrong to express displeasure in a public forum, you see. Unless you're John Frusciante writing emails to your fans, of course.

Who tips who here?

Doubtless it's meant to seem all very web 2.0, but when Bloc Party and Placebo simultaneously announce competitions inviting the audience to make their videos for them, with the prize being, erm, their video being used and some tickets to a gig and just the video being used respectively, it looks a little less like a bold embrace of User Generated Content, more like a bid to get promo material done on the cheap.

After all, this sort of thing has been done before - most notably, that Feeder video years ago; and less inspiringly for the ITV Brit Awards break bumpers. Since people can create videos and get them online, wouldn't they just go the whole hog and make their own music as well?

New New Pornographers stuff: Expected August

Talking to Pitchfork, Carl Newman has confirmed the seemingly impossible-to-organise New Pornographers fourth album is getting under way this month:

Yeah, we're about a week away from starting to mix our record. We're going to try and have it finished by the end of April, then it should come out at the end of August, something like that.

It's going to be called Challengers and, apparently, will be "quieter than they've ever been."

Dog tags for, erm, peace

We'd assumed that charities had thought better of using dog tags as a fundraiser - especially at a time when bereaved parents are being handed their kids' dog tags along with other final effects. War Child, though, seem to be able to think of the idea without getting the merest hint of inappropriateness, and are inviting Keane, Feeder and others to design celeb dog tags which will be sold through HMV.

Next year, then, it'll be body bags with designs painted by Tracy Emin, Jarvis Cocker and Rolf Harris.

View blocked again

Kyle Falconer's drug conviction looks set to sink any hopes The View might have had of cracking America; the band have been forced to pull a rescheduled US tour after America decided it had quite enough cokeheads of its own and didn't need to import any more.

Of course, it could just be diplomatic tit-for-tat moves after we banned Snoop. Should we ready the gunships, Ms Beckett?

Joss Stone pulls some art school tricks

What could be better than Joss Stone? How about Joss Stone and art students?

She's got some cheap videos made by ("given an exciting opprotunity to") students at the New York Art Institute; they've produced interpretations of her work which will end up on some sort of DVD release.

We suggest you open a window before reading the following extract from the press release. Even by usual PR standards, what follows is quite strong:

The students screened their work for Stone at the School. With cameras rolling, Joss described her inspiration as an artist and her desire to work with young people everywhere to make "cool, grass-roots, honest" music videos for this album.

“Each of the films was so different and they were all brilliant,” noted Stone to the audience of student filmmakers.

Stone was charmed by each film, and was excited to take the three final entries back to the Virgin executives to review; her favorites will appear on the upcoming DVD.

“The coolest thing, besides the fact that it might end up on her DVD, is that she’s 19; she looked like she could belong in our Fashion Design program,” said senior student, Justin Kramer.

She's young and cool and pretty and we're young and cool and pretty - oh, and honest. Musn't forget the honest.

Indie crime wave: Now it hits the UK

After one of The Dears had all his stuff pinched yesterday comes news that The Cribs have been relieved of a drum kit and a microphone at the Glasgow Admiral:

We don't care about the mic, although it's still not cool to nick stuff like that off a band touring on a really small budget, but we are really bummed out about the snare drum. It has a lot of sentimental value.

"We know that it went missing from inside the venue after the club checked the CCTV, and there was only 200 people in the club, so someone must know something about it."

Well, someone must know something about it on account of how they currently have a drumkit ("a Rogers vintage snare drum in a 2-tone blue burst finish") that doesn't belong to them. All information to ensure a happy reunion of band and kit to be dropped off at The Cribs MySpace page.

Keep 'em peeled.

Weren't asked, then, Ricky?

Ricky Wilson has swung a right hook at the bands lining up to play the Do You Recall Princess Diana Gig. He suggests they're in it for the money:

But Ricky said the Chiefs - who topped the charts recently with Ruby - will not be joining the line-up, adding: "A lot of them are doing it to sell more records.

"It's fine if you're doing something-like Live8, which is raising awareness or events that raise awareness over green issues. That's all right.

"But not just Diana. I'm not disrespecting her, but can you imagine someone like Kasabian playing at the concert?

"Elton John can do it - he knew her. I didn't know her. It would be hypocritical."

Phew! It's lucky playing Live8 is okay, isn't it, Ricky? We're a little puzzled by the logic here - after all, the line-up is meant to be a celebration of the life of Diana, a thanksgiving for her work, and to raise funds for charity. Now, we can see there's an argument that you might not want to play an event for a rich woman - even one who died in a horrible car accident - whose values are abhorrent to your own; even that you don't want to raise funds for the nominated charity - but to not do so because you "never met her" is a little lame.

It'd be like Bono turning down the Nobel Prize because he never met Alfred. And we all know how likely that is to happen.

Richards: I was joking

The Rolling Stones machine is desperately trying to hit recall to stop Keith Richards becoming known as the man who snorted his own dad:

However, Richard's manager JANE ROSE tells that the hellraiser's comments were "said in jest. Can't believe anyone took (it) seriously."

It's quite an elaborate jokey quote, and as for not being able to believe that anyone took it seriously, this is Keith Richards we're talking about here - it's not too hard to take a leap from "63 year-old man falls out a coconut tree" to "snorts his dad's ashes". In fact, we were more surprised he was cutting his coke than claiming to have snorted his pappy.

Thank god he died before Little Britain

Elvis Presley, it turns out, was one of those people who know really how to spoil a lovely evening: Linda Thompson says he used to do Monty Python sketches:

"He's be doing all the voices, which is mind-boggling. He'd even do the ladies voices."

Since most of the "ladies" on the Python were John Cleese or Eric Idle in a dress, that's not so very much of a stretch, is it?

We're not even sure it's true: If Elvis started chortling "Spam, spam, spam, eggs, chips and spam" how could you tell if he was quoting Monty Python, or simply ordering an early evening snack?

In what way has she inspired you, Blunt?

James Blunt reckons Cat Power is "part of his life":

"There's a singer/songwriter called CAT POWER who's really inspirational. I listen to her a lot. She's part of my life but I've never met her."

Yes, we can see how she's inspired you, James. She writes songs, so do you; her songs have music and words, so do many of yours.

Oh, and she's actually called Chan Marshall, but since she's such a part of your life, you'd know that, wouldn't you?

Good Riddance to bad rubbish

After nearly twenty years in the don't-call-it-a-business, Santa Cruz punks Good Riddance are calling it a day. There's a statement:

All of the members of GOOD RIDDANCE have become increasingly busy with other life interests (work, family, etc.) which has made it difficult for us to tour with the same frequency we (and our fans) have grown accustomed to. It has also become evident that the musical landscape has continued to change and the material we play has been, to some degree, left behind. We understand that we still have some of the most loyal and dedicated fans in the world and without all of you none of this would have been possible. However, we have seen bands burn out and we have seen bands slowly decline. It is our ultimate goal to be able to walk away from this with a degree of grace and dignity and be able to look back on our modest career with nothing but fond memories. We have no desire to limp along until some outside force has the good sense to put us out of our misery. We hope all of our fans will understand.

Of course, there's a limit to the level of dignity it's possible to have when you're playing punk songs and knocking forty, but we wish them well on their quest for it all the same. The band wrap with gigs at the end of May.

Take That in cash for honours scandal

Take That have admitted they're buying their Brit awards from the music prize organisers.

Well, replacement statues, anyway; the band are having to pay to get new ones made after they lost the original ones. Mark Owen explains:

"What we have had to do for all of us to have one is to get one each made which we've ordered from The Brits.

"We'll have to pay for it. We've won four in the past and I don't know where they went. The lads say they haven't got one so perhaps Robbie has four of ours sat in his house."

This award means a lot, says Mark, as he won it with dignity:
"Patience winning a Brit was fantastic and a proudmoment. People seem to like the songs this time around. I'm not sure in the old days if it was just about five guys with their clothes off in a magazine.

"The response to the songs has been really positive. I'm proud of that. We haven't had to get our bums out yet but there's always that old chestnut if we need it."

Actually, Mark, you know, if you wanted to, for old time's sake, I'm sur enobody would mind. (You keep your pants on, though, Barlow. There's a line, for god's sake.)

Owen then explains how they agonised over if they should have performed at the Brits or not - contradicting Gary Barlow's more eye-rolling dismissal of Williams' rehab as a publicity stunt:
"It was a hard one because when I first heard he'd gone into rehab I thought we maybe shouldn't go to the Brits.

"But then I felt that Robbie would have been more upset if we didn't go. He's pleased for us. He has said 'well done' on numerous occasions. Cancelling wouldn't have been the right thing because it feels like Rob's involved in the band. It's just a shame he couldn't be there with us.

"Before the last tour we talked to Robbie about whether we should do it and he told us to go for it.

"He has been kept informed of everything we've done along the way so it feels like he is here with us really."

"It's far more serious what Rob is going through," Mark said. "Emotions and feelings aren't something you can play around with. You can't say it's my birthday and they are going to win a Brit so I'll go into rehab.

"I don't think he'd do that. Robbie felt it was something he needed to do. We wish him the best. I haven't spoken to him since he went in but we are there for him."

It's true that you can't time a breakdown to fit in with the awards. But you can plan a holiday.

Watch with... oh, mother

Perhaps the most heartbreaking thing about the Kate Moss and Pete Doherty at home video on YouTube is the cutsey pie "KP Nuts" name for the song and the video. The cameraphone video of them doing drugs might have caused their careers to wobble; this video ought to bury the pair of 'em.

It seems to have originally turned up on French Dog Blues, where it has been interpreted as "a treat for the fans", and perhaps in that context it works. On YouTube, though, it looks like cloyingly self-aware, self-interested, self-indulgence. Some private moments are best kept private, Pete.

[Thanks to Gary for the link]

And the last chair on the panel...

Although Sinitta seems convinced she's a done deal, that hasn't stopped The Sun insisting yet more people will be crowded onto the ever-growing judging panel on The X-Factor when it returns.

First, who could they be talking about?

"She’s sexy and she’s been in the pop business for years so she knows what she’s talking about."

Dannii Minogue! Oh, she'd be perfect, with her knowledge of the pop industry: "Yeah, you can sing OK, but without a more talented and successful sister, I'm not sure you've got what it takes."

The other seat, reckons the paper, has also been allocated:

Brian Friedman.

Go on, you know Brian.

He's a "top US choreographer", apparently; he's going to be on ITV's rip-off of How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria, where they try to find people to appear in Grease.

But the paper isn't convinced by him, either, and throws yet another name into the mix:

Billy Bush.

Apparently the first cousin of the one-man US president. The very idea that someone with so little talent, a rotten track record and no charm could get a job like that seems absurd; it's even less likely George's cousin will appear on Saturday night ITV.

We wonder if the paper is trying to just mention the names of everyone in the world before the official announcement, so that whoever it is, they can go "told you."

Let's hope they didn't get the painting in the attic

It's not quite part of the indie crime wave, but sucks anyway: John Taylor (Duran, not Queen) has had a break-in. Apparently they made off with "personal items" and a safe.

Don't worry, LAPD are on the case:

LA police officer Mike Lopez said: “Fingerprints were found at the scene.”

Good news. Apparently they're looking for Simon LeBon.

Spice Girls finally benefit from Take That reunion

As soon as Take That recoagulated, it was predicted this would lead to a huge pay day for The Spice Girls. And now it has - or rather, it has for one of them. As soon as Take That recoagulated, it was predicted this would lead to a huge pay day for The Spice Girls. And now it has - or rather, it has for one of them. Mel C is going to support the boys:

I went to see them twice in their comeback concerts and thought they were amazing.

“I’d love to support them. ROBBIE WILLIAMS must be gutted seeing them do so well.

“I would be if the Spice Girls got back together without me.

“Take That used to be my guilty pleasure. I was a bit old to like them but did anyway.”

Yes... the woman who made Mama worrying that liking Take That wasn't quite cool. We can see that.

Apparently the boys really wanted Mika - but presumably he couldn't quite bring himself to say if he was on the tour, or not.

Mel C also dismisses Victoria Beckham's ridiculous jeans as overpriced tat. More or less:
“I find them a bit expensive."

And ugly as screw, of course.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Will Microsoft drop its DRM next?

There's an interesting take on Micosoft's response to the EMI/iTunes announcement over on Engadget. It looks like Microsoft, the perpetual "me too" guys, hint they will be trying to shake off the DRM they've spent the last ten years trying to flog to the music industry:

Microsoft's response, specifically regarding the Apple / EMI announcement:
"Consumers have indicated [having DRM free music] is important to them so Zune has been working with a variety of partners to head in this direction. [Emphasis ours {i.e. Engadget's}] This is a time of transition for the music industry and Microsoft is committed to striking a balance between delivering the best consumer experience while still protecting the rights of the content owners."

We're not sure that taking rights management off the music will help the Zune player find a market - after all, if people are shunning it in favour of iPods which are locked-in to one store, if people can use an iPod to play Zune Music Store stuff in a no-DRM future, even exclusive offers from the Zune store won't drive sales of the Microsoft player.

Napster: Light at the end of the tunnel?

Napster has suggested that it's doing slightly better than it expected - telling the markets to expect USD2million more in sales in the final quarter of its financial year than it had previously been predicting. No word, though, on what profits (or, rather, how deep the loss) will be on this - hithertoo, Napster has been spending much more than a dollar for each dollar's worth of revenue; if it hasn't sorted its costs out, those extra sales could be more of headache than a help.

We're sure it's wrong, but we're not quite sure which taboo he's broken

Keith Richards - in a rather loose interpretation of "it's what he would have wanted" - apparently snorted his Dad's remains:

"The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow."

It's not, strictly speaking, dishonouring your mother and father; nor is it quite cannibalism. But just as there are some lines you should never cross, there are also some lines you should never do - and "your Dad" is surely one of those lines.

We really would advise Keith's kids not to do their same when their pappy goes - his ashes are going to be so pure, they'd make Pete Doherty wince.

Krief grief

There's something of a crimewave hitting indie at the moment: Patrick Krief has been burglarized:

So, This afternoon, I get a phone call from Tim Fletcher (the stills singer/guitarist) he's standing outside my rehearsal space (he rehearses next door) telling my window is broken. I ask him to look in, and sure enough, I had been robbed blind! They took all my guitars , my keyboards, pedals, and they took a bunch of stuff from Mike Nash (the guy I share the space with) Including his computer and back up hard drives (just to make sure none of his work is salvaged). They took amps, our PA system, pedals, 5 guitars, a bass, They were kind enough to leave some cables though, but not all of them..
the list of stolen gear is below it's near 18 grand in value.

The thing they took that I really want back most is my White Fender Stratocaster. I cried for hours about losing it. It has extreme sentimental value, and I don't know how I'll go on with out it. 16 people (friends and family) pitched in to buy me that guitar (of which I had been dreaming about my whole life) on my 18th birthday. I'm on a serious hunt for that guitar, I'm trying to gather some reward money, but I'm pretty broke right now.. I can safely say that I'll give $1000 (my family has raised this ransom money) no questions asked to have it back. My main photo is a picture of me using it, there's also a picture of the SG in the photos

This stuff was pinched from studios in Montreal - we're assuming Pete Doherty wasn't in Canada at the time; follow the link above to the MySpace if you can help.

"... and Cannibal Corpse for the middle names..."

Michael and Karolina Tomaro are desperate to name their six month-old child Metallica. The Swedish authorities are trying to spare the child.

The Tomaros are fighting back. Apparently, the child has already been baptised Metallica - god, presumably alone, knows how they snuck that one past the priest - but the Swedish tax authorities are refusing to open records in the name. Her mother is determined:

"It suits her," Karolina Tomaro, 27, said Tuesday of the name. "She's decisive and she knows what she wants."

Actually, she's six months old, which makes it a little tricky to suggest she's "decisive" and, while she may know what she wants, it's going to be a combination of empty headed screeching, drinking, shitting and sleeping.

Oh. Metallica does suit her after all.

Slide, The Hold Steady, slide

Lots of Hold Steady news, coming from all angles: there's a new single (Stuck Between Stations) out on May 7th; then they're going to pop up on the new series of Later With Jools Holland. There's a mini-UK & Ireland tour been set up:

Mon 2nd July London Shepherds Bush Empire
Wed 4th July Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Thu 5th July Manchester Academy 2
Sat 7th July T In The Park Festival Scotland
Sun 8th July Oxygen Festival Ireland

And, on top of all this, Vagrant/Full Time Hobby will be releasing the band's first two albums. Previously only available in the UK through import or, more honestly, bittorrent, Almost Killed Me and Seperation Sunday are getting a May release.

And, on top of that, the band have recorded a version of Take Me Out To The Ball Game for the Minnesota Twins. Craig Finn was excited when Twins' musical director Kevin Dutcher approached him:

"He thought it would be cool for us to record 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game.' He was like, 'I'm gonna be playing your record, so it'd be cool if you guys could do this.' It was all unofficial, but we decided we should do it.

"I mean, the Hold Steady, we're all sort of sports guys. We're more likely to be drinking beer and eating wings and watching baseball rather than collecting some obscure 7-inch."

Something to do with rounders, we understand.

Get tape. Roll tape. Try.

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. - the horribly unattractively named band (from a punctuation point of view) - is going back into the studio to finish off demos and work them into a new album. It's all due for an autumn release - and although no actual work has been done, there's apparently a name: Searching For The How's And Why's. More ugly punctuation, then.

Ricky Martin asks you to show your hand

We're not entirely sure why he suddenly woke up and issued the statement - what the context was or, indeed, if there was any context at all - but Ricky Martin wants gays to come out:

The singer, who has often been the subject of gossip linked to his sexuality, has applauded Mexican pin-up CHRISTIAN CHAVEZ for 'coming out of the closet' recently - and insists all gay stars should feel good about telling fans the truth.

He says, "Life is too short to live closed up, guarding what you say."

Unless, of course, you live in a nation where homophobia is rife and hate murder commonplace, in which case life is too short unless you live closed up, guarding what you say.

Emily Eavis says "follow our lead"

Despite it having been a bit of a nightmare, Emily Eavis is convinced forcing people to preregister with a system that has only the scrappiest privacy policy, and then still spend hours struggling with fallen-over websites, is the way ahead:

"I really hope other promoters follow the lead," she explained. "There's nothing much in it for the promoters, because a lot of people think 'Well if we sell out, it doesn't really matter if it sells to touts.'

"But we really feel quite strongly that people are being ripped off, and we want to stop that."

You won't feel ripped off. You may still, however, feel pissed off if you spend all of Sunday staring at a blank internet explorer window and still came away without tickets. It's interesting that "beating the touts" has become the yardstick, instead of giving people a decent experience.

Good news for Terry Wogan

If podcasts and mp3s have meant to be strangling linear radio, then how come, when you ask people users what they'd really like in a new iPod, they ask for an FM tuner. People who have an iPod yearn for the ability to tune into radio even more than those who don't own one.

Because, yes, yes, storage is lovely, and video is great, but if you can't hear the shipping forecast on your iPod, it's never going to stop your yacht being swept out to sea, is it?

Sovereign runs out

For all her tough-talking stance, it seems that Lady Sovereign might be human after all - she's pulled gigs because she's tired, poor lamb.

Her management have explained why:

"Unfortunately Sovereign has to postpone her forthcoming shows at Glasgow King Tuts (April 10) and Birmingham's Academy 2 (April 11).

"(She) is bitterly disappointed as both shows meant a lot to her, but she is suffering from intense exhaustion following 18 months of non-stop touring and promotion. I urge all ticket holders to be patient and understanding and wait for further news on the postponement."

The good news, though, is she's not tired to turn up on Thursday to do some sort of PA in the middle of a Leeds Go-Kart track.

Alan McGee returns to clubland

Alan McGee has decided the time is right to open a new clubnight in London. So he has - it's called Kill Surf City and will be on some Thursdays at Punk club in Soho. So, as far from proper indie as, ooh, the last dozen Creation releases, in effect.

This return to running a club night should not, we stress, be interpreted as running out of ideas.

Oh, and it's seven quid in. Maybe I'm getting old, but that seems quite hefty.

Only John Lennon's piano can save us now

Martin Luther King's supreme sacrifice in the name of equality is set to be trivialised by a cheap stunt: the piano on which John Lennon wrote twee anthem Imagine is to be photographed on the site of King's murder.

Apparently the idea is to promote John Lennon albums ("promote peace") and is being done without the intention of pissing all over King's legacy and trampling his memory.

If the idea sounds a little drug-addled, you have to remember the idea and the piano belong to George Michael:

"The selection of this site evokes a deep sense of emotion for everyone," George Michael said.

"Capturing the image of this special piano on which a song of peace was composed is part of the heartbeat of this project."

It all gives off the same feeling that you get when you see parents getting their kids to stand next to war memorials (or that firefighters' bronze by the World Trade Center site) with big grins on their faces for happy holiday snaps. Trust Michael to raise this failure to understand the significance of place to a whole new level.

Baby for Scary

The slightly ominous Mel B pregnancy has ended with the birth of a child of some sort. Apparently B has a spokesperson:

"The baby is completely healthy with a good head of hair," she said. "No name has been decided on as yet, and she is purely known as Baby Brown."

Aah! After Aunty Emma, presumably.

The baby will be probed at some point in the future to determine if Eddie Murphy is a cuckold or a cad.

EU eye iTunes

We're surprised it's taken the European Union so long to get round to this one, to be honest: They're investigating why EU citizens are being prevented from buying from iTunes music stores outside of their home nation, when under EU law, they should be free to buy in any EU nation.

Apple respond that they didn't want to break EU law, but the record labels made them do it:

Apple said it had always wanted to offer a fully pan-European service but was restricted by the demands of its music partners.

"We were advised by the music labels and publishers that there were certain legal limits to the rights they could grant us," it said in a statement.

Could grant, or would grant?

Let's hope - for Apple's sake - that they're not forced to refund people who've bought from the UK ITMS at an illegally inflated price, eh?

It's the (second) most glittering event of the year

Although now somewhat eclipsed by Al Gore and his anti-Exxon Communist Music Event, the party being arranged by Princes William and Harry to mark something (25 years since the Falklands, isn't it?) is still going to try and glitter.

The line-up for The Concert For Diana, marking 300 years of the Act of Union, has been announced. It's an odd mix of fox-hunters, lords, faded glories and a couple of contemporary US acts in order to try and get an American network interested ("US acts Diana would have appreciated"):

Take That

Kanye West

Pharrell Williams

Elton John

Bryan Adams

James Blunt



Rod Stewart

Meatloaf (sic)

James Morrison

Duran Duran

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Bryan Ferry

Joss Stone

The English National Ballet

Here, then, is the most compelling argument for wearing a seatbelt and not getting into cars with drunk drivers: if you perish in a road accident, look at what will be done in your name.

My mother is my manager, and she's tupping the drummer

How many times did Cathy and Claire have to deal with that one, eh? Joss Stone took decisive action when she found out her mum, Wendy Stone, was in a relationship with drummer Jonathan Joseph:

“At that point, I just had to send my mum home.”

She added she never wanted her mum to be her manager anyway.

Joss said: “It’s ridiculous. I wanted a real manager, someone with 30 years in the business. Not my mum.”

So the drummer-thing was just a pretence, eh? It's lucky that Wendy isn't the sort of person to drag her daughter to an employment tribunal.

Joss, meanwhile, has turned here ire onto, oh, everyone else:
Joss also had a go at R&B singers, saying most are “just highly paid strippers.”

Yeah, R&B singers - flaunting themselves to sell a few records. Here's an example from a recent album review:
So Joss Stone, the 19-year-old British R&B singer, did what any girl who wants respect as an auteur would do. She stripped naked, got slathered with psychedelic body paint and straddled her producer for the liner art to her new CD.

Face to face with the past

Chris Martin has been going through some old school memories, having met someone who bullied him at school:

“I bumped into a guy who used to give me hell at school. He was a bully who always said I wouldn’t make anything of myself.

“I had great pleasure asking what he was up to now. He wasn’t up to much. Then I turned around and said, ‘This is my wife Gwyneth.’ His face dropped and he looked really embarrassed.

“It was a proud moment. I’m not one to get my own back and look for revenge — but that was pretty sweet.”

They reckon revenge is best served cold, but this is so icy you could keep vegetables in it for months. We're not even entirely sure we believe it - what sort of bully goes round telling their victims "you'll never make anything of your life" - either Chris went to a school where the bullies were very mild indeed, or else we're talking about an ineffectual careers master.

We can't help wondering if this "bully" was just a common-or-garden old school friend, and he's had to be recast as a tormentor of some sort because Martin realises that this "look at my Hollywood wife - what are you doing, do you have a Hollywood wife? Have you been in an amusing sketch with Ricky Gervais? Look, I've got Bob Geldof's phone number? What are you doing, is it as important as being in Coldplay, eh? How many times has your music been used for a goal montage on Match of the Day, eh?" business might reflect quite badly on him, making him look shallow and a little bit pathetic?

After all... there can't be many people who don't know Martin is married to Gwyneth Paltrow, so it's pretty unlikely this old school friend would be surprised by that, is it?

Junos: Canadian awards not given out quietly

This weekend, Canada's big music awards, the Junos, were distributed - not without controversy. Like, proper controv, not former-punk-band-turned-car-advertisters throwing water at former-socialists-turned... whatever the hell Prescott is these days.

One winner, Tomi Swick, attacked the organisers for arranging the award shows in a way which effectively excluded underage fans - although, of course, the Brits don't even bother to let the people who actually buy the artists in, except as a grudging few to dress the main TV event. And even then, they're wedged behind professional cheerleaders.

More interestingly, K-Os got the hump. The Canadian rapper had been persuaded to appear - the bait of five nominations helping here - only to discover he was going home empty handed. K-Os responded by changing the lyrics of his performance to call the show "propaganda" - although he didn't actually suggest what sort of propaganda it was.

In favour of Nelly Furtado, perhaps - she had also been nominated for five awards; she won them all. Curiously, she was also presenting the programme. If she'd been given a broom, she could have done the entire thing without the need for other people getting involved. (Only 917,000 Canadian viewers tuned in for the event; we're sure they could have been given the night off, too, without much effort.)

The winners in full, then:
Artist Nelly Furtado
Album Loose, Nelly Furtado
Single Promiscuous, Nelly Furtado
Group Billy Talent
New Group Mobile
New Artist Tomi Swick
Songwriter Gordie Sampson
Fan Choice Nelly Furtado
International Album Taking the Long Way, Dixie Chicks
Country Recording Somebody Wrote Love, George Canyon
Rap Recording Black Magic, Swollen Members
Adult Alternative Album The Light that Guides You Home, Jim Cuddy
Alternative Album Sometimes, City and Colour
Pop Album Loose, Nelly Furtado
Vocal Jazz Album From This Moment On, Diana Krall
Francophone Album Il était une fois dans l'est, Antoine Gratton
Classical Album: Vocal/Choral Mozart: Arie e Duetti, I. Bayrakdarian, M. Schade, R. Braun, Canadian Opera Company
Aboriginal Recording Sedzé, Leela Gilday
Blues Album House of Refuge, Jim Byrnes
World Music Album Kaba Horo, Lubo Alexandrov

Monday, April 02, 2007

Gerard does it Billie's way

Uneasy lays the head which wears the Hot Topic hairdye. Poor old Gerald ("Gerard") Way from My Chemical Romance finds it so hard being a role model. So who does he turn to? Billie Joe, apparently. (Wouldn't he be better off with a girlfriend or boyfriend?) Billie Joe understands:

Way admits he finds it difficult being a role model for youngsters, and is grateful to have found a friend in the AMERICAN IDIOT singer - although he doesn't want to trouble the star with all his problems.

He says, "The problem is, there aren't many people I can ask for advice. From time to time I've talked to Billie Joe from Green Day.

"He's the type of guy I can talk to all day, but he's having downtime at the minute so I don't want to bother him."

That sounds to me like he's trying to dump you, Gerald. Perhaps you could ask Robert Smith for Pete Wentz's number?

Avril Lavigne won't knee anyone any more

Earlier today, we learned that Avril can cope with fame, and take her drink. Now, we discover, she can also hold her tongue, too. Now. Wasn't ever thus, apparently:

"I remember being in Toronto and walking into a CD store, and some guy with spiky hair was all, 'Hey, Avril!' and then started lippin' at me.

"I was like, 'OK, this is embarrassing, I'm just going to leave.' So I'm walking down the street, and the guy comes out of the store, still yelling.

"I turn around, fuckin' grab him and go, 'What?' And I fuckin' knee him in the balls, throw him down, and his fuckin' punk girlfriend comes over and goes, 'What the fuck are you doing?'

"It was like they totally didn't expect me to do anything, because I'm just this girl on TV or whatever. I'm not proud of that. I think it's funny, but I wouldn't do it now.

"I don't fight people anymore, I'm more mature now, and I just don't think fighting is good."

Now, thank God, Avril is mature enough to know that fighting is not "good", but still, apparently, "funny".

She can't sing; he can't dance - it's the perfect pairing

Who knew there were more humiliating ways to earn a living than wanking for coins outside your old school? Robert Smith is working with Ashlee Simpson on a track for her next album.

Yes, there's a next Ashlee Simpson album, apart from anything else. What the hell is Smith doing? Does he need cash that badly?

1090 Club woz robbed

No, really robbed. The band are in the middle of a US tour at the moment, and someone decided that they needed the band's cash more than a struggling indie band does:

a bad turn of events for the 90. We unfortunately had our band fund stolen in Tacoma last nite at hells Kitchen. As suggested by our friends at, we added a "donate now" button to our myspace.....if you can help it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to everyone for all the support!!

You can help with cash, or sympathy, or suggestions or advice, at their MySpace page.

Band! Band for sale!

What do you do when your band runs out of... well, everything? You could just give up and move on, but if your band has been manufactured in the first place, why not just sell it on, like you would a TV which you no longer need?

That's what Rednex are doing - they're on the market:

Just when the world's high society is running out of football teams to buy, ideas for extravagant vehicles to build or available seats on space travel, luckily for them the music business comes to the rescue! It sets a bizarre milestone in terms of what its artistry can offer and what hobbies can be provided for the rich and hungry.

Buying a pop band opens up opportunities to make a hayload of money and peek behind the scenes of an exclusive branch. Rednex is touring around the world, making dozens of TV & Radio performances yearly, doing shows at galas, sport arenas and festivals, from city celebrations in front of 1 million people to orphanages, and even for royalty at their private palaces in front of 30 people.

That's a little vague, isn't it? A royal performance at Windsor is somewhat different from, say, doing a turn for ex-King Constantine of Greece.

The sting in the tale? They're flogging them on eBay, and the opening bid they're looking for is one and a half million dollars.

You don't have to be Kirstie and Phil to see that that is terribly overvalued, especially in a world where you can give a few thousand to Pete Wentz and own Fall Out Boy for the afternoon. One and a half million to own Rednex?

Unsurprisingly, there are no bids.

BBC seeks bloggers

If you've Glatonbury tickets and a blog, the BBC are quite keen to hear from you, as they want you to act as a kind of embedded media - they'll give you a smartphone and everything which you can swap for a bag of mushies and two fuel-cans full of scrumpy to upload stuff from the site.

This just in: EMI agree to drop DRM - for a price

The announcement that iTunes is to sell EMI tracks without any DRM has been trailed quite heavily through the morning; it's just been confirmed.

On first glance, the detail is interesting - the DRM versions will still be available at 79p; the unlocked (and superior quality) recordings will cost 99p. In other words, EMI is making some extra cash in return for providing us with a right they shouldn't really have been withholding in the first place.

The other notable thing is that, by creating a two-tier pricing structure, Apple have effectively abandoned the "all one price" model: maybe the carrot for the other labels will be offering additional price levels for, say, 'new releases'?

The announcement, then:

EMI has become the first major record label to ditch digital rights management and start selling music online in CD quality and without copy protection.
In a deal struck with Apple’s iTunes Music Store, announced in London this lunchtime - at a press conference which included a performance from The Good, The Bad & The Queen - EMI said it is making available "superior quality audio" across its entire digital catalogue.
The DRM-free tracks would be available first through iTunes but will subsequently be rolled out across other retail services.
As EMI became the first major label to embrace Jobs’ vision, Jobs today said, "Selling digital music DRM-free is the right step forward for the music industry. EMI has been a great partner for iTunes and is once again leading the industry as the first major music company to offer its entire digital catalogue DRM-free."

EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli said the deal represented "a major step in our quest to provide consumers with the best possible digital music experience".

He added, "Our goal is to give consumers the best possible digital music experience. By providing DRM-free downloads, we aim to address the lack of interoperability which is frustrating for many music fans. We believe that offering consumers the opportunity to buy higher quality tracks and listen to them on the device or platform of their choice will boost sales of digital music.

"Apple have been a true pioneer in digital music, and we are delighted that they share our vision of an interoperable market that provides consumers with greater choice, quality, convenience and value for money."

The tracks will be available for 99p in the UK, with tracks at the existing quality available for 79p. Consumers will be able to buy entire superior quality albums at the standard AAC price, and upgrade to superior qualitt tracks for 20p per track.

MIka makes a pukka cuppa

Apparently, when he goes off round the world in a plane, or perhaps a boat, Mika always takes his own tea with him.

I think we're meant to read this as being "quirky and particular" rather than putting him in the same bracket as those people who go abroad for holidays with PG Tips and Heinz Baked Beans in their cases because foreign food is "funny".

Mika, it seems, is a tea pedant:

"When you don't drink coffee, you've got to get your tea right."

Handy skill, making a perfect cup of tea - and one that guarantees Mika will continue to be in demand in the music industry for years to come. Two sugars, please.

Glasto fine? April Fool!

Just when we were congratulating ourselves for having made it through poisson d'avril without falling for any made-up news stories, it turns out we fell for the oldest one in the book: Glastonbury's annual claim that its ticketing sale had run smoothly.

This year, though, with a potential market of just 400,000 instead of the millions and millions, it did seem plausible when they cheered how well they'd done:

Michael Eavis, who owns the farm where the festival is based, said: "We had a quarter of a million of people queuing up to get through. It's probably the fastest time we have ever sold out.

"We had coach package tickets as well and people were forced to buy those at the tail end of the sale."

He was also pleased the system of registering and then using a reference number had worked well.

"Its a great system. It's the first time it's ever been done - it's just gone so well it's just unbelievable. The system has worked really, really well and it's a first.

"Unfortunately there will be a lot of people that will be disappointed. Only two in three get through, but such is the demand of the festival - but that is in itself great after 37 years of trying to get it right."

Except... it wasn't really like that.

Dennis emails us from California:
You posted a report today on Glastonbury 2007 that tickets had sold out “without any meltdown of the equipment.” Maybe you didn’t experience any, but in trying to get to or the specific Glastonbuy URL there, I tried from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. UK time and never got to the site once. I just got “can’t find this address” or “Service Unavailable” or other problem responses – and I kept testing other URLs, and was able to get to other Web addresses with no problem whatsoever, so it was the seetickets site, not my computer or browser. I’m in California USA right now on a business trip, so my trying was from 1:00 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. local time. Finally I went to bed, took a short nap, got up and tried again – and this time got directly through to – only to be told the concert was sold out.

So from my point of view, there was indeed a total meltdown of the equipment.

And Dennis wasn't alone - The BBC's Fiona Pryor managed to get tickets, but the system doesn't sound like one working properly. Although not quite the disasters of previous Glastonburys, it still didn't work as it should, surely?

There were always going to be disappointed people, but making people spend the first lovely Spring Saturday inside for four hours just to be disappointed seems cruel. Ninja-Badger is still reeling:
i can still hear that fuckgin engaged tone from spending 4+ hours trying ang failign to get Tickets for glastonbury on sunday morning. /wrists

The question, of course, is why - when someone held the details of the only 400,000 people who could have bought tickets - there was this system in place at all? Why not take those 400,000 names, put them into some sort of cyberhat, and then email 30,000 at random with an offer to purchase; say, within 48 hours? Then take any tickets unsold, and draw again. The system in place this year was just bemusing - like the Harrods sale giving everyone a ticket with a number on, and then opening the doors and starting the rush anyway.

Something to brighten a Monday

As if having a day off on Friday isn't enough to make the spirits a little brighter on this Monday morning, the lovely Daytrotter people have just posted their latest mp3 sessions, with Tilly and The Wall providing exclusive portions of glorious, back-to-work-defeating music.


Maybe she's holding their grandmas hostage or something? Whatever, 3AM still report every thought that flits through Jamelia's head as if either the thoughts, or Jamelia, are interesting:

SUPERSTAR singer Jamelia wants to follow in Madonna's footsteps - and write children's books.

Although they're likely to be short stories, as the 25-year-old says: "I've got such a short concentration span."

Mind you, it was quite shrewd of her to have recorded a song called "Superstar" rather than, say, "Almost forgotten" - otherwise it would have been "ALMOST FORGOTTEN singer Jamelia..."

Robbie Williams is not able to break wind without faxing a release to Heat

Why did Take That not mention Robbie during the Brit Awards? It seemed odd at the time, what with their old mucker going into rehab the day before. Turns out, says Gary Barlow, the timing made them smell a rat:

"If I was doing rehab, you'd never know. I'd be embarrassed. But a press release giving all the reasons why... What a coincidence!"

But if Robbie's "rehab" was a cynical move, why, wouldn't he have been out in a couple of weeks and headed straight back to the LA party sce... oh.

Kissing boys and girls, trying to decide which she prefers

No, Daily Mirror, Fergie has not "admitted to a series of lesbian flings", as if homosexuality was like shoplifting or kidnapping sailors.

Avril: No sympathy for Britney

Avril Lavigne - who was vageuly famous a few years ago - thinks Britney Spears' character is lacking:

“What’s happened to Britney is all down to who she is as a person. If you want a piece of this business you have to be able to deal with it.

“You can’t complain about the pressures, the paparazzi, the madness because that’s the job.”

Let's hope Avril never reaches Britney's level of fame, shall we? So, Avril's able to cope and takes the paparazzi as part of "the job" - although since when was "going to glitzy showbiz nightclubs" central to the job description of "musician" - or is Avril dropping the pretending-to-be-musican stance and admitting she's a celebrity now?

Still, she can take the "madness". So presumably that whole spitting-at-cameramen thing was a coping mechanism, was it?

Avril also has a go at Brit for not being able to hold her drink, too:
But Avril says while she too likes boozing, she can handle it and “no one really gets to know”.

Well, nobody "gets to know" unless you tell Arena:
"I had the most fun in the studio
making this record - we were getting drunk, scootering around, ordering junk
food and I think that comes across on the record."

I used to have a few drinks and yell, 'Woooo!' and take my top
off! But I haven't done that in a few years.

"I drink and have a good time, jump up on tables and wreck things but only
once in a while. To put things into perspective, I've only drunk twice in
the last three weeks. But when I do I AM the party!"

But, erm, nobody really gets to know.

Secrets, secrets

Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster are, apparently, planning to get married - it's all a big secret. In fact, says Victoria Newton:

are such a closely guarded secret, even family members don’t know where the ceremony will be.

Newton, of course, has no truck with surprises:
I can put them all out of their misery — it is going to be on an Italian island in mid-June and the smart money is on Capri.

Of course, people will note that she's semi-guessing, and we know Newton's track record with intuition.