Saturday, August 16, 2008

Echobelly weekend: Insomniac

This is probably the last post for Saturday, so what better way to put the blog to bed for the evening than Insomniac? No sleep at all, carry me home...

[Part of the Echobelly weekend]

Digitally clear Dischord

Dischord, the Fugazi-founded punk label, has just gone digital, opening an online store which offers pretty much the label's entire back catalogue in a mix of purchasing options:

This Dischord "digital" site offers a unique hybrid of the direct sale and subscription based download services (as well as the usual CDs, LPs, DVDs, etc). Customers have the option to download entire albums for a set price (usually $7), purchase Digital Credits (15 credits for $10) that can be used to download individual songs, or receive a free album download with the purchase of a 12" vinyl LP from our store.

There are plans to bring rarities to market, too, and an online streaming player. Punks not analogue.

Feeder leaves Chrysalis hungry

Under-performing albums from Feeder and Gnarls Barkley have shouldered the blame for Chrysalis issuing glum predictions about its performance this year:

The downbeat outlook came in spite of strong performances from releases by Portishead and Estelle, whose single American Boy reached the top of the UK chart. However, there have been higher write-offs for new artists and the Echo recording business had performed below expectations. The new Gnarls Barkley album “just didn’t do as well as we hoped”, said Andy Mollett, finance director.

“Some of the things we thought would be successful just haven’t come up trumps.

They're now hoping that Laura Marling will pull them out the hole. Now, we love Laura's music, but we wouldn't have thought her appeal was so broad as to make up the distance.

Echobelly weekend: King Of The Kerb

Echobelly never much troubled the singles charts - they didn't, I think I'm right in saying, ever crack the top ten. But they did get to see inside the Top Of The Pops studio - here they are doing King of the Kerb:

[Part of the Echobelly weekend]

That's a million dollars a second

Virgin Records are suing 30 Seconds To Mars, claiming that Jared Leto's side-project has broken the terms of its contract.

The band allegedly signed a three album deal in 1999 and have conspicuously failed to deliver on it, complains the label. Leto, of course, could drop off another record and then Virgin really would have something to moan on about it.

The business hopes to get thirty million dollars in return for the breach of contract - presumably much more money than they've invested in the band, though. And if they have been stupid enough to piss that much away on them, they deserved to lose it.

End of copyright

William Patry - who has been involved in copyright for 26 years, most recently with Google - has announced he's no longer going to blog.

One reason he gives is the way his personal views keep being protrayed as if he's speaking on Google's behalf; but he's equally annoyed by the current state of copyright law:

I regard myself as a centrist. I believe very much that in proper doses copyright is essential for certain classes of works, especially commercial movies, commercial sound recordings, and commercial books, the core copyright industries. I accept that the level of proper doses will vary from person to person and that my recommended dose may be lower (or higher) than others. But in my view, and that of my cherished brother Sir Hugh Laddie, we are well past the healthy dose stage and into the serious illness stage. Much like the U.S. economy, things are getting worse, not better. Copyright law has abandoned its reason for being: to encourage learning and the creation of new works. Instead, its principal functions now are to preserve existing failed business models, to suppress new business models and technologies, and to obtain, if possible, enormous windfall profits from activity that not only causes no harm, but which is beneficial to copyright owners. Like Humpty-Dumpty, the copyright law we used to know can never be put back together again: multilateral and trade agreements have ensured that, and quite deliberately.

For anyone who cares about fair use and creativity, the loss of sensible voices in the centre is upsetting; for the corporations who wish to control copyright, it's a positive boon.

Axl Rose has a sense of irony, it turns out

According to the latest informed rumours, Guns N Roses are thinking of bringing Chinese Democracy to the market through an exclusive deal with a retail chain.

Wal-Mart are leading the bidding for the role - fitting, of course, since most of their stuff is made in China and their approach to their staff and customers pretty much apes that of the Chinese government to democrats.

Best Buy are also taking part in the talks, but WalMart makes more sense - people could pick up their free Dr Peppers while they're there.

... and I never liked Kevin Shields anyway

Alan McGee takes to his MySpace blog for what presumably was meant to be an enthuse over Mogwai, but which crashes into being another one of his tiresome railings against former friends:

Finally got time to listen to it and it's even better than the last two Mogwai albums which to me have both been wonderful.I'm Jim Morrison,I'm Dead/Danphe and the brain/Local Authority/Kings Meadow/Thank you space expert are all beautiful Mogwai music.Their is a beautiful irony that the ''nostalgic cabaret'' that is my bloody valentine are throwing at people in 2008 gets critical acclaim in the easily pleased UK press with MBV still playing the exact same set they did 20 years ago and the only trick Kevin Shields has anymore in 2008 is actual volume and double extra pa to numb you and zero new songs.

Hear the new Mogwai record it's beautiful.Mogwai are 2008 My bloody valentine were a joke signing in 1991 maybe they got better...

This, of course, from a man who would be sleeping under the arches but for Oasis' tired old slogging.

Niall, who emailed us to bring the post to our attention, also offered a little context:
From the man who in 1996 took out a full-page ad in NME to rave about a gig the reformed Sex Pistols had played at Shepherds Bush Empire...

Also he seems to have trouble with "there" and "their".

Echobelly weekend: Great Things

This, from the Albarn-fronted Britpop Now Late Show spin-off: Great Things:

[Part of Echobelly weekend]

Gordon in the morning: Look the other way

With Noel Gallagher making a knob of himself on Chris Moyles' show yesterday, obviously the Sun can't ignore the story. But if Bizarre points this out, how can Gordon hope to hang out with Liam backstage, perhaps as he comes off stage, all sweaty, with his shirt clinging to his body?

Solution: run the story, but put a "MusicBiz" banner on it, rather than the banner with Gordon's name on it.

He never stops believing, Noel. He never stops believing.

More bemusing is the prominence Gordon gives to a "gay icon" chart drawn up by an obscure gay dating site - even putting a hyperlink straight to the sign-up page. Especially since the chart - save for Ronaldo at number one - is reminiscent of that Laura Solon sketch where she attempts to bond with a gay waiter by listing gay things that she likes:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo
2. Kylie Minogue
3. Judy Garland
4. Elton John
5. Liza Minnelli
6. The Village People
7. David Beckham
8. George Michael
9. John Barrowman
10. Paul O’Grady

Number eleven would have been "you know what else is brilliant? Gay rights... for gays..."

Embed and breakfast man: Echobelly weekend

A couple of weekends ago, we did Sleeper, and one of the names mentioned in the comments was Echobelly. Sonya Aurora Madan's lot had the same 'sleeperbloke' jibe thrown at them, too - although Curve's Debbie Smith was also part of the classic line-up - but outlived the Britpop boom that brought them to chart success. The "pretty frontwoman" syndrome was as frustrating for Aurora Madan as it was for Wener, as she told designer magazine:

I just had an opinion! We came out at a time when lad culture was very much orientated towards Loaded and Oasis and for a girl to speak her mind it was seen as such a big deal. Even though supposedly rock & roll it wasn't meant to be like that, but it still was. A lot of journalists can't handle it if you actually say "No actually I don't think that's true". Woah, she's got a brain!

(Just in passing, you can tell the vintage of some bands when most of the fan sites for them are on Tripod or Geocities.)

It's notable that Sonya was one of the only non-white faces in all the Britpop bands, which is something usually forgotten when choosing to point to the genre as somehow being representative of 1990s British youth. Her "and the drummer from the Boo Radleys" didn't quite capture the diversity of modern British society, does it?

Sonya was inspired by Morrissey - at one point sleeping on his lawn; and, indeed, Morrissey is the #1 Echobelly fan on their official MySpace - but quickly moved on from being Smiths wannabes. There was some suggestion that the band's playful perversity was down to Glenn Johansson, the guitarist, whose previous job had been editing a Swedish porn magazine, but that, we suspect, is simply because "writing about sex" is one of those things that some people didn't really think young women should do. It's amusing to think that Sonya was escaping a strict Indian family atmosphere only to find herself living under the even tighter strictures of the classic indie fan.

The band released three albums in their original burst, then returned briefly in 2001 with People Are Expensive and in 2004 with Gravity Pulls. The latter album had no singles released in support. Their official website reported work on new demos in 2006, but these never saw a formal release and, earlier this year, the site was retitled A Retrospective Website.

So, for this weekend, then, Echobelly live again.

This is their clarion call, I Can't Imagine The World Without Me and Go Away, from the Phoenix Festival (the short-lived petulant response to the struggles over the ownership of the Reading Festival):

Best of - Released this year
Everyone's Got One - one of the few albums whose title was intentionally an acrostic. You don't get that with Oasis.
On - probably the definitive Echobelly studio album
Gravity Pulls - only available on a twenty quid import at Amazon; you might want to try iTunes instead

More to come across the weekend
Great Things live on Britpop Now
King of the Kerb on Top Of The Pops
Insomniac promo
Natural Animal live on JBTV and some links to unembeddable video
The World Is Flat live on TFI Friday
Dark Therapy

UPDATE: Original video had vanished, so have found a different version of it - 08-13

Who to turn to? How about Kelly Osbourne?

With Pixie Geldof having been the first to offer advice to people struggling to cope with disappointing exam results, you'd have thought that young people would, by now, all be fine.

But apparently Pixie wasn't enough on her own to solve the problems, so the Sun have drafted in Kelly Osbourne, who brings her own advice about coping with adversity:

I’LL be honest, I’m not a huge fan of exams and the stress they put on people.

Thank you, Kelly, for your brutal honesty. Thank god someone is prepared to stand up to exams.
I make no secret of the fact that I didn’t sit mine.

Given that you grew up in public and had your every motion explored by MTV, you'd find it difficult if you wanted to, surely?

But you know what Kelly's found? It turns out, hey, these exam things - they could be quite, you know, important:
But since joining Radio 1 for my Sunday Surgery show and taking calls from worried teenagers, as well as speaking to experts, I can understand why so many of you think exams are important and what the best ways are of dealing with the stress they cause.

You'll note that this is since she took a job on Radio One talking to listeners about their problems. Somehow, the BBC had managed to take on an advisor who didn't understand that exams mean a lot to teenagers.

Somewhere in the Sunday Surgery office is a large flipchart, a line down the middle, and lists of 'good' and 'bad': vegetables, work, condoms, sleep - good; stress, unemployment, chlamydia - bad.

Kelly then goes on to churn through some vaguely-worded advice:
You’ve always got options — and lots of them. Doing your exams again is something lots of students do.

Bear in mind she's meant to be offering advice to A-level students, and yet she's writing as if for someone who has just failed to identify three out of five flashcards.

As she turns to suggesting getting a job, I was going to do a "why not speak to your mummy or daddy and see if they can find you a job with a friend who owes them a big, big favour?" parody, but I don't think I can top what Kelly actually wrote:
But what about getting a job doing something that’s your passion?

It may not be for everyone but you’ll get paid and learn from the best people already doing it.

It could be great fun.

And, let's face it, you never really wanted to be a doctor anyway. Does Kelly really not think that, perhaps, people were doing the exams because they wanted to follow their passion but needed some exam passes to get to the starting point? "I've failed my a-levels, so I'll just go and become a barrister straight away, then instead."

Kelly wraps up:
Talking to your family — and not comparing yourself with your friends — is so important.

You’ve got to remember that, whatever you decide, you’ve got to make sure you’re happy.

Life is so much more than making the right grade.

Curse the demands of space - she didn't have room for "it's always darkest before the dawn" and "chin up."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Execobit: Jerry Wexler

Music journalist, executive and producer Jerry Wexler died earlier today.

Born in 1917, to an emigre Pole, Wexler had initially adopted journalism as a career after his mandated spell in the US Army. He joined Billboard in 1947, staying for four years - during this time coining the phrase "rhythm and blues" - before turning gamekeeper and joining a promotions company. Within a year, Ahmet Ertegun was sounding him out for a role at Atlantic Records; Wexler refused, holding out for a partnership. By 1953, Ertegun had come round to Wexler's way of thinking and sold him a share.

With a management style he described as that of a despot with problems delegating, he played a role in building up Atlantic's reputation and sales. He took charge of everything he could - doing production duties, for example, on Aretha Franklin's version of Respect.

An attempt to establish a powerbase in Nashville proved to be his undoing at Atlantic; following its failure he parted company with the label.

In 1977 he joined Warner Brothers as its East Coast man - a role which led him to sign Dire Straits and the B-52s, shaping the FM sound for the early 1980s. The assocation, though, didn't last long, and Wexler would quickly cut ties with the majors, carving out a freelance niche working with Bob Dylan, Dire Straits, Etta James, Allen Toussaint, the Staple Singers, George Michael and others.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame made space for him in 1987, leading him to sum up his career:

"We were making rhythm and blues music — black music by black musicians for black adult buyers perpetrated by white Jewish and Turkish entrepreneurs."

Signalling his retirement, when Wexler moved to Florida towards the end of the last decade, he also canceled his Billboard subscription. He enjoyed a period offering contributions to a stream of documentaries about the music industry during its glory years, and a small glittery portrayal of his life in the Ray Charles biopic Ray.

Wexler is survived by his wife, Jean Alexander and his children Paul and Lisa. He was 91.

RIAA ordered to pay costs; may have to pay more

Tanya Andersen - the mother who was wrongly accused of illegal filesharing but had the courage to stand up to the RIAA - is to have her legal costs paid in full as the courts instruct the RIAA to dig deep.

But that's just settling the case the music industry had brought against her. Now, she's going after the majors seeking compensation for malicious prosecution. Oh, yes - and it's a class action. Potentially expensive for the majors, and certainly embarrassing. No wonder the BPI meekly agreed to the tut-tut letter strategy in the end.

We do wonder, though: when will the shareholders in the majors start asking the boards why they keep pouring subscription fees into such a poor industry body?

Noel Gallagher has more to share

Noel Gallagher has pretty much damned the British mainstream music scene lock, stock and Mark Ronson guest appearances, apparently without realising how much he has done to create it:

He described Scouting For Girls as "Scouting For Idiots" and compared Winehouse to a "destitute horse".

Of Brit-winner Ronson, he said: "He wants to write his own tunes instead of ruining everyone else's.

"Mark Ronson needs to learn three chords on the guitar and write a tune."

Gallagher also had a pop at Kaiser Chiefs, he said: "The Monkees haven't split up, they're just going under the name of the Kaiser Chiefs.

"I did drugs for 18 years and I never got that bad as to say, 'You know what? I think the Kaiser Chiefs are brilliant.'"

Didn't someone on one of the comedy shows do a gag last weekend about Amy Winehouse looking like a horse? Mock The Week, I think. Presumably anyone buying a ticket to the Oasis tour should avoid watching Would I Lie To You lest it spoils the planned onstage banter for the shows.

Mind you, it would have been great if Noel had come up with an opinion on the Kaiser Chiefs eighteen years ago - that would have actually been some impressive drugs. It might have saved him from sounding twenty years out of date back then, even... but perhaps he did predict the Kaisers when he was drugged... could that be... be... no... watching Kaisers... watching...

Alice Cooper: The song remains the same

After all that fuss over the suggestion that Slayer songs pretty much all sound like Slayer songs, how refreshing to find someone making rock music to a formula who admits that, yes, it's a formula designed to soothe rather than surprise. Step forward, Alice Cooper:

I really kind of do my albums for my fans. I realize I'm not breaking any new ground out there. I don't think OZZY is, or AEROSMITH is, either. We have our fans. We've had them for a long time. We are getting new fans because kids that like MARILYN MANSON immediately go, "Who's this ALICE COOPER that they're always talking about?" Then they bring up my website on the Internet and go, "Wait a minute…I like this guy even better… and he's got 25 albums out!" So, they rediscover me…but honestly, when I do an album, I'm not thinking about, "Boy, I really got to get the FOO FIGHTERS' audience." [laughs] I'm thinking that I've got to satisfy my audience."

It might be wishful thinking to picture Manson fans going "hey... this stuff is even better", although if they like the pantomime when the pantomime knows it pantomime, there's no reason why they shouldn't.

Singerobit: Lita Roza

Lita Roza - the first Liverpudlian, and first female singer, to have a number one single - has died.

Roza's number one was a novelty single - How Much Is That Doggy In The Window? - and, like many who find fame with a novelty hit, it dogged her (no pun intended) for the rest of her days:

"I sang it once - just one take - and vowed I would never sing it again. It just wasn't my style."

Rosa was much more than that single. She won Top British Female Singer in the NME readers' polls every year between 1951 and 1955, and sang with many of the great dance bands, including Harry Roy's and Ted Heath's.

She was a GI Bride, quitting Liverpool at the end of World War Two for Miami; the marriage didn't last and it was on returning to Liverpool that she took up professional singing seriously - out of need as much as artistic desire.

Lita worked round the planet - TV work in New Zealand; Singapore to entertain the troops; South Africa supporting Matt Monro. She even briefly had her own series, Lita Roza sings, on ITV in the mid 1950s. In 1981, a comeback tour with the Ted Heath band was to continue for nineteen years. A 2002 performance for Radio Merseyside's birthday was enough, Lita decided. At the age of 78, she had no desire to continue treading the boards, and withdrew from showbiz.

Roza died on the 14th August.

A few days later...

I don't want to make it look like I'm picking on this afternoon, but how come it's just now running the Britney to star in Faster Pussycat Kill, Kill story - not only four days after everyone else, but four days after everyone else ran stories pointing out that the idea was just a fanciful creation and based on no facts at all?

The report offers its source:

According to The Telegraph, Spears is set to play the role of lesbian dancer Varla in the film.

And, yes, the Daily Telegraph did report that. In a story published on the 6th August.

Perhaps they've been fact-checking for the last nine days?

Mind you, even if it was a new story, you'd hope that NME wouldn't take the Telegraph's word as gospel on pop culture.
There are clues that it might not be that newspaper's field of expertise.

Morrissey tells fans not to put their hands in their pockets

Morrissey's habit of criticising stuff released under his name is going to get him into trouble - surely he knows how much Morrissey hates even fair critcism?

His latest gripe is over the release of a DVD:

"The slapdash release of 'Morrissey Live At The Hollywood Bowl' is done by Warner without any consultation to me whatsoever, and is in breach of their terms as laid out by themselves in an agreement made for the film between Warner and my ex-manager.

"Being Warner, predictably the sleeve art is appalling. It is the work of cash-hounds, and I urge people NOT to buy it. I am not signed to Warner, and no royalties from this DVD will come to me. Please spend your money elsewhere. Thank you, MORRISSEY."

No royalties will come to him? Surely if that was the case, rather than issuing statements tutting at the choice of cover art, he should be getting on the phone and asking how come?

NME breaking news: Michael Jackson album "to be marketed"

Unless I'm missing something, seems to have devoted a page to a breathless report about how they intend to market the latest Michael Jackson best of.

The headline, admittedly, did catch my attention:

Michael Jackson starts battle between Facebook, MySpace, Bebo users

Images were conjured up of some sort of final conflict to decide who controls web 2.0, but instead it turns out the headline should have read "amongst" rather than "between", as its about a widget you can use on those web 2.0 sites to have a competition at 'who is the best at dancing like Michael Jackson in some way'.

Even the PR team who have succeeded in getting this story on the NME site are going to be less than delighted, though, as it turns out the bloody thing isn't even available yet:
The Michael Jackson applications will be available from August 22, and will allow users from the rival networks to compete against each other.

Who actually sends out messages about their hoped-for viral campaigns which haven't even started yet? It's like running a story "Man shoots material for YouTube video; edit planned for sometime after the Olympics". Apart from anything, having shared the idea, it's likely there's going to be sixteen thousand knock-off Dance Like Jacko apps launched before the official one gets distributed.

iTunes "too expensive"

Laurence Trifon is covering the Bandwidth digital music conference for Hypebot; they launched today by inviting four young people to talk about the way they collect music. Obviously, there's no reason to assume the four people they found are typical, but there's two interesting points:

# Several panelists admitted to downloading a lot of free music… but they don’t actually listen to much of repeatedly, if at all.
# All of the panelists have iPods, but none of them buy music from iTunes – they said it’s too expensive. A few said they occasionally buy CDs, and would be even more willing to buy CDs at shows where they might be able to get it signed by the artist, or find an exclusive release they couldn’t buy anywhere else.

I'm using the word interesting to mean 'stuff that reflects things I keep banging on about', of course.

Nacho cheese

Noel Gallagher has made it clear that Oasis won't be playing the O2. He went onto the Chris Moyles Show to condemn the place as being a bit tacky and rubbishy and aimed at the lowest common denominator. Yes, he said that on the Chris Moyles Show:

"You'll see the O2 isn't in there," he pointed out to Chris Moyles on Radio 1. "The O2, it's too corporate! I went there for Led Zeppelin - it was good, but there were people walking around with nachos, it's not rock 'n' roll!"

Oh, god forbid that you should be able to get something to eat during four hours at a venue - it might stop you getting so drunk you decide to chant along with Champagne Supernova. And does Noel only intend to play venues without catering? Or that only sell stale pies? Is he scared of chips and salsa? Could that be it... scared...
... scared of chips and salsa...

How can McCain hope to lead when the GOP don't even know you shouldn't piss off Jackson Browne?

John McCain's people's attempts to mock Barack Obama - and in particular, Obama's claims that proper tyres and regular tune-ups are better for the planet than drilling out more oil - have run into trouble. His team decided to stick Jackson Browne's Running On Empty on the advert.

Yes. Jackson Browne.

Browne first made them pull the ad; now, he's taking legal action. And the McCain campaign are rushing backwards to try and disassociate themselves from the mess:

Robert Bennett, chairman of the Ohio party, said the ad was pulled when Browne objected. He called the lawsuit a "big to-do about nothing."

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers disavowed the ad, saying it wasn't a product of the Republican presidential candidate's campaign.

Just remember that - misuse of copyright material isn't of any interest to the Republicans. Unless, you know, the complaint has made campaign donations to them.

"Detroit will not be ready to rock until the catering crew tell it it's ready to rock"

David Draiman of Disturbed suggests that some people backstage at Ozzfest might be a little too in love with themselves:

. Ozzfest had kind of grown into this very "separated" thing for a while. It didn't start out that way, but it grew ... maybe there were too many egos running around, and I'm not even talking about the bands. And I'm not talking about Sharon (Osbourne), either. It always seemed to me that the people who thought they were rock stars were, like, the people running the tour — not the people who were actually playing. It was like, "Remember, you're working for us. You get paid because we fill seats." So if I ask you to let people come up and watch us, and if I (tell you that) we don't care, and if I let you know we want everyone to be there, then just let it happen and stop being a **** about it.

Perhaps it's a side-effect of standing near Sharon Osbourne. Maybe ego is contagious.

DMX caught

The ever-fascinating world of DMX turns another corner: having failed to turn up to one of his many court dates (this one for drug-related charges in Arizona), DMX got arrested in a WalMart car park. In Miami Beach.

Gordon in the morning: Sniggers with attitude

Fair's fair: we did have a little smile at the story on Gordon's page this morning:

Doherty's 8hr visit to dealer

Antiques, you see. It's not Stephen Fry witty, but it's mildly amusing. Especially since the story has nothing to it and was clearly only there because of the headline.

No, really nothing to it:
The BABYSHAMBLES star, 29, called in at Fanny’s Antiques at 10am and didn’t leave until 6pm.

He bought relics including a Union Flag, picture frames and old clothes in Reading, Berks.

Doherty loaded the haul into his battered Jag — which needed a jump start.

Local Jo Cannon, 29, said: “Most people have a snigger at the name of the shop but Pete was far more interested in the stuff inside.”

They needed a local to point out that the name might make people snigger? And they found a local who used the word "snigger"?

Gordon also has the story about the holidaymaker who taped the new U2 album when he heard it coming out of one of Bono's villas. Up it went onto YouTube.

Curiously, rather than embedding the YouTube video, The Sun have copied the thing over to their own servers, which you would have thought violated two different sets of copyright. And if U2 did agree to the paper republishing the music, then that would suggest this isn't quite the "leak" it's being made out to be.

However, since the videos on YouTube are now mute - meaning there are four videos which consist of nothing more than silent still of the outside of a house - suggests that Rupert Murdoch is currently violating Bono's copyright. Let's hope the BPI don't send a van round or anything.

Gordon, anyway, is quite excited:
Most families have a bit of Club Tropicana by WHAM! rattling out of a tinpot stereo on their hols.

But the music idol is quite rightly proud of his abilities and was playing tracks from the Oirish band’s eagerly awaited new release.

Oirish? Oh, dear.

They've also mocked up a - hold your sides now, a U2Tube logo.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fanzine distro

And, while we're at it: Caramel Distro is a small UK based fanzine distro house, for all your fanzine needs. It's not all about computers, you know.

Glasgow: a million twees bloom

Earlier, news about one of Marine Research. Now, news of an indie club opening in Glasgow. This is only going to confirm the suspicions of those Slayer and Iron Maiden fans, isn't it?

Anyway, Glasgwegians and those prepared to travel, prepare yourself for Half My Heart Beats, on the second Saturday of every month. The team behind it are affiliated with the indie-mp3 blog in some way, which is a guarantee of the quality of what you'll be hearing. And dancing your pretty little asses off to.

Radiohead... and others... to Choke

I don't often just dump entire press releases straight into the stream, but the news of the forthcoming not-written-by-Radiohead Choke soundtrack contains the following track-by-track guide to the album, with commentary by director/screenwriter Clark Gregg, which is that odd thing - press blurb that's worth reading:

Ben Kweller - "The Rules"

Ben Kweller kicks ass. These lyrics feel like Victor Mancini's rowdy, pissed-off subtext. I love that it starts off the soundtrack with some slamming indie rock and that it comes in during the colonial village while we're looking at all the puffy shirts and bonnets.

The Natural History - "Don't You Ever" (rare)

I only found this band recently, but I listened to them all through post. Max Tepper's vocals are superb. I actually prefer this version to the one by Spoon and I'm a huge Spoon fan. The band broke up a few years ago. I'm going to picket their houses until they get back together.

Fiery Furnaces - "Navy Nurse"

This groove just takes your breath away.

Radiohead - "Reckoner"

Like most people, I am a huge Radiohead fan. The adaptation took me years to write so I wrote it first to Kid A, then Amnesiac and then Hail to the Thief. Later, I learned from Chuck Palahniuk that he had written the novel while listening to their song, "Creep." In Rainbows came out while we were editing and I used almost every track in my early temp cuts of the movie. They all fit really well, but I particularly loved "Reckoner." The tension between Thom Yorke's keening vocals and Phil Selway's brilliant, driving drum track fit so perfectly that it worked almost like score. I was truly dreading the day when we'd have to take it out. Somehow ATO Pictures producer, Johnathan Dorfman persuaded their manager to show the band some footage and to our shock they were generous enough to let us use the song. It's a monumental addition to the movie.

Alap Momin - "Sin Terror"

I love this jam. We needed music for the strip-club scenes and music supervisors Lyle Hysen and Ken Weinstein knew Alap Momin from the band Dälek and he was kind enough to cook this up just for the movie. He even tailored the tracks to the scenes. The driving discordant build they layered into this piece feels like it's feeding the tension between Denny and Victor.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "Satan Said Dance"

I loved their first album and we needed something dark but not too heavy for Victor's sudden rollercoaster ride back to the dark side. Hysen and Weinstein pitched this song and when we saw it over the scene it was just right.

Buzzcocks - "Orgasm Addict" (rare)

This is the anthem. I sort of grew up loving The Buzzcocks, moshing my way through their songs in the East Village. I must have played it every day I was writing "Choke." I always thought we'd open the movie with it, but it didn't work out. In any case here is a cool alternate version with a more deadpan feel and at least it made it on to our soundtrack.

Death Cab For Cutie - "No Sunlight"

What can you say, they're just really, really good.

Blitzen Trapper - "Wicked" (unreleased)

We listened to a lot of Blitzen Trapper during the crazed five-week summer shoot. It just seemed to fit with spending your 18-hour days in a sweltering mental hospital. They've got some excellent chaos going on.

Ms. Tyree Sugar Jones - "If You Feel It"

This plays in another tricky scene where everything we tried felt wrong. And then I got turned on to the soulful sexy stylings of Ms. Tyree "Sugar" Jones. You put this on and you know some clothes are coming off.

My Morning Jacket - "Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt 1"

We're all big Jacket fans. Listened to them constantly during the shoot. Very proud to have them on here.

Shout Out Louds - "Bicycle" (rare)

Nothing like a little kick ass Swedish indie rock. They're like The Shins' attitudinal Scandinavian cousins.

Twilight Singers - "There's Been An Accident"

One of the producers, Contrafilm's Beau Flynn, and I have been Greg Dulli fans for years. I listened to The Twilight Singers a lot when I was writing the script. The song is really moving in a haunting, portentous way that really works for the movie.

Nicole Atkins - "Crystal Ship" (unreleased)

Brilliant. She's got a great torchy, Peggy Lee sound with just enough tongue in cheek to feel like a perfect citizen of the Palahniuk world.

Northern Soul: The movie (may not contain actual Northern Soul)

You'd have thought that it would be hard to balls up a Northern Soul movie. Well, okay, casting Alfie Allen in it was probably a sign that Souled Out was going to struggle a little, but at least the soundtrack would be spot-on, right?


Paul Weller, Duffy and Mark Ronson's studio-band The Dap-Kings are working on the soundtrack for a new independent film about Britain's 1970's Northern Soul phenomenon.

Right. So it's a film about a youth movement where the music was absolutely everything, and they're instead wheeling in a couple of twenty-first century acts to do the music instead?

Left on the shelf: Struggling for shelfspace

Latest ABC figures for magazine circulation have been published - and although no music magazine has suffered quite as badly as Maxim, which has lost nearly six out of every ten sales, it's grim news all round.

NME has dropped to just 56,284 in the last six months, down from 64,033 in the six months in the second half of last year and, presumably, weighing up the prospect of a drop below the psychologically important 50,000 level. Arch-rival Kerrang is still outstripping it, but also slipped badly - 76,937 down to 60,290. The NME will probably take a little comfort that Kerrang is dropping two sales for every one lost by the NME; nobody will be very happy at the total market shrinking so rapidly.

Q is still ahead of the pack - down to 113,174, though.

Only Mojo will be ordering a round of harmless fizzy drinks this month - they've seen a slight increase since the last set of six months figures. Only 149 copies, but it's still an increase.

If only they could get some more cats involved

Cats and Cats and Cats are brilliant. If only they had a few more cats, though. Still, the current outfit are going to be touring:

2 Dublin Lower Deck
3 Limerick Bakers Place
4 Kilkenny Cleeres Theatre
5 County Wicklow Greystones Skate Park
6 Galway venue TBC
7 Cork The Whiskey
8 Belfast venue TBC
12 Preston Mad Ferret
14 Leeds Library
15 Norwich Queen Charlotte
17 Kingston Fighting Cocks
19 Staines Hobgoblin
21 Sheffield The Grapes
22 Derby Victoria Inn
23 Newport Meze Longue
24 Cheltenham Subtone
25 London Brixton Windmill (all-dayer - details below)
26 Tunbridge Wells Forum
28 Ashford Downtown Diner
29 Brighton Freebutt
30 Guildford Boileroom
31 Southampton Soul Cellar

1 Chichester Chichester Inn

This is sort of what to expect:

Doherty turns up in Liverpool again

Waving his Scouse credentials, Pete Doherty turns up in Liverpool for the second time in a week. There's a lovely review of the night on Liverpool Confidential, which sums up the 'but why?'-ness of it all:

This is not the first time the Babyshambles frontman has left his band mates behind. Yet as the set list unfolds, you begin to wonder why he does it. Apart from the odd quirk, Doherty stuck with crowd-pleasing Libertines classics - Time For Heroes, Music When The Lights Go Out- and Babyshambles favourites like Killamangiro and Fuck Forever, which, to be honest, sound a lot better with a full band belting them out.

The organisers of the club night which brought him up are keen for Doherty to hang around a lot more:
"He loves it in Liverpool and we are trying to get him a regular DJ set somewhere here as he wants to come back soon and more often," organiser Jayne Miller told [Liverpool Echo] Insider.

"The night went very well indeed and Pete loved performing in Liverpool so was very excited to be here. I know people had doubts but he made it and the crowd loved him.

"He is a pure gentleman, very charismatic, polite and friendly."

What Miller forgot to mention, of course, is that the crowd had each paid twenty-two quid to watch - no wonder they want to get him up as often as they can.

We're sure it's only coincidence that that think-tank created by Michael Gove yesterday issued its report suggesting people who live in Liverpool would be better off moving down south.

[Thanks to James M for the story]

Where are some of the members of Marine Research now?

Welcome to our occasional feature, 'where are some of the members of Marine Research now?'. Today, we hear news of Cathy Rogers.

Of course, she had been busying herself presenting Scrapyard Challenge, but now, she's doing this. Where "this" is nudo. Nudo. With an O.

It's an adopt-an-olive-tree scheme: you adopt the tree, and it sends you letters detailing how well it's doing in school, and photos of it looking happy. Actually, you just get sent all its produce for the year you adopt it, which is quite nice. And not how adoptions usually work, we're patiently but firmly informed by social services.

Prodigy: Not going, not our fault

The Prodigy have pulled out of a Korean festival - the Summer Breeze - but can't stress enough that it isn't their fault:

"The band were very much looking forward to going there," they wrote, "but the organisers could not fulfil their obligations and as a result they have cancelled our show. This is in no way due to any fault of the band."

The Prodigy will, however, be turning up at the V Festivals this weekend. That, unfortunately, they will have to take the blame for.

Did anyone know Pearce was still there?

The news that Dave Pearce is leaving Radio One has come like a sudden rain during a drought. Dave Pearce? Is he still there?

Apparently - and doing shows, too; it's not like he got lost in the passageways and was too shy to ask his way out. Thirteen years he's been there. Thirteen years. He joined when John Major was prime minister, and stuck it out ever since.

Eddie Halliwell is also leaving the station - he says he's just had to let it go to concentrate on all his other work, which is lucky.

The changes are part of an overhaul of the evening schedules, which are vaguely described on the press office website:

* Kissy Sell Out ("jump up rock n rave") to host Thursday nights, midnight-2.00am.

* Kutski ("hard dance and hardcore") to host Friday nights, 1.00-3.00am. Judge Jules will move to the 11.00pm-1.00am slot on Friday nights.

* MistaJam to host the new 1Xtra Mixtape show Saturday nights, 3.00-5.00am, shining a light on a wide range of black music genres

* Heidi Van den Amstel ("techno") and Jaymo & Andy George ("electro mash up") join the rotating In New DJs We Trust line-up (Thursday night, 2.00-4.00am).

In further news, Tim Westwood's Saturday show will be extended by one hour (9.00pm-1.00am) and include reggae dancehall DJ Goldfinger.

Now, the funny thing about that last bit is that, at the moment, Westwood ends at midnight before DJ Goldfinger does an hour of reggae dancehall. So, unless Goldfinger is getting afraid of the night and needs Westwood to keep him company, he's basically had his show more or less annexed.

Pixie offers help

I have a lot of time for the Samaritans, a charity which does a lot of valuable work. But did they really think it through before inviting Pixie Geldof to front their 'don't worry if your exam results are bad' message this year?

Pixie, the daughter of Live Aid organiser, Bob Geldof and sister to A-lister Peaches, said: "Samaritans is important if you don't have anybody to talk to. If you are worried about exam results, stressed or feeling low, it's always nice to have someone on the outside of everything who doesn't know you and can't judge you.

"I do relaxation exercises and I talk to my friends and get lots of hugs. I like to be around people when I am feeling stressed."

It's good advice - and, seriously, if you're feeling stressed by your results, it is a great idea to talk to someone.

But is Pixie really the person you want to have sharing that message? "Gosh, sometimes I get so stressed, like when the papers put Peaches in and not me, and so I know what it's like. I mean, gosh, if I fail my exam I really don't know what I'd do... I mean, obviously, I'm going to have Daddy sorting me out with a cosy job in the media but it means that any chances of appearing on the front of the Daily Telegraph punching the air with delight would be... you know... gone or something..."

That Pixie starts burbling on about how she gets hugs from her friends to cheer herself up shows, in itself, she might not be the ideal person to reach out to those who feel totally isolated.

You! Them! More dancing!

Los Campesinos are heading out on tour in support of the We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed album:

Brighton Komedia (14 October)
Liverpool Carling Academy 2 (15)
Leeds Irish Centre (16)
Dublin Whelans (17)
Glasgow School of Arts (18)
London Electric Ballroom (20)
Bristol Fleece (21)
Manchester Academy 3 (22)

Avril Lavigne watch

You'll recall, of course, Avril Lavigne's solemn pledge as to how she'd never pose in a sexually titillating manner -"I won't wear skanky clothes that show off my booty, my belly or boobs", as she put it. Here's the cover of the current Italian edition of Maxim, showing that she's a woman of her word.

Bring me the head of Bill O'Reilly (but not with the face looking at me)

Fox News chief honker Bill O'Reilly has a habit of upsetting people - a side effect of having a mouth designed to spout out barely-considered cant. Last year, he got into a battle of wits with Nas - imagine two rhinos charging at each other, but without the political sophistication.

Now, the East Coast Avengers have released a record calling for O'Reilly to be murdered.

However, you don't perhaps need to be a Fox News contributor to feel a little uneasy at the call to Kill Bill O'Reilly. Isn't that rather playing into his hands?

Hello, hello, I'm back again

So, it's official, then: Gary Glitter is coming home:

"Police booked his ticket from Ho Chi Minh City to London and I have already paid for the ticket on his behalf," his lawyer Le Thanh Kinh told The Associated Press by telephone Thursday.

Glitter is said to be unkeen on returning home - presumably as he was reported to have left the country without signing the sex offenders' register as part of his earlier conviction and can probably expect a fairly swift re-arrest.

Gordon in the morning: The ex-factor

The return of Leon Jackson, who won Deal Or No DealThe X Factor, excites Gordon Smart:

LAST time I saw LEON JACKSON, we were sharing a glass of Irn Bru after his X Factor win.

It wasn’t the most formidable interrogation I’ve ever conducted — but it seems to have scared the poor boy into hiding for eight months.

You have to wonder what Gordon considers his "most formidable interrogation" to be, then - perhaps it was "so, when can we expect a great new album, then, Madonna's publicist?", or maybe "would you like me to buy another beer, Serge?"

Still, Leon Jackson is back, and Gordon isn't impressed:
Unfortunately, it was the most boring five minutes of pop promotion I have ever seen.

Boring - and yet Gordon does get 500-odd words out of it. Presumably, had Jackson had anything interesting to say, Smart would have been looking at getting pagination from the Sun's Olympic coverage.

To be fair, though, Jackson does appear to have had nothing to say at all:
“Photo shoots have started to take place. There are definitely a couple of looks. You’ve got the smart suits and shirts and ties and dressy shoes.

“And on the other hand I’m younger and edgier, so we’re trying to keep it trendier.

“So we’ve got jeans and T-shirts. We’re trying to mix and match the looks. It’s cool.”

Edgier? Edgier than what, exactly? Given that Jeremy Clarkson is probably the most famous jeans wearer these days, it sounds like Jackson is going for the 'edgier than Huw Edwards' look.

But still, Gordon has more important matters to deal with - Liam Gallagher's got a new haircut:
HERE’S LIAM GALLAGHER yesterday after finally sorting out his rubbish haircut.

Oooh, Liam, why don't you cut your hair? You'd look really pretty with shorter hair, you would. Go on, then... go on.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Kanye West will be peeling the potatoes

In a bid to diversify the size of his bank balance, it looks like Kanye West is getting into the fast food business. He's got plans to launch ten Fatburger franchises in Chicago. He'll be overseeing most of the frying himself.

Maybe calling yourself Holy Fuck isn't quite so clever after all

Canada's Conservative Government has announced that it's pulling funding from two programmes which helped local bands sell their music internationally. One of the reasons given is that some of the bands using the funding are rude:

"the money was going to fringe arts groups that, in many cases, would be at best, unrepresentative, and at worst, offensive"

Yes, it turns out that funding Holy Fuck was all the excuse the government needed to axe the money for everyone: why should tax money be used to fling Canadian filth at the world's pop kids, ran the justification. Holy Fuck, though, are reluctant to carry the can:
"I guess more than anything it's a little bit annoying that we've been made the scapegoat when you consider how much money we receive relative to the budget for the entire program," [bassist Matt] McQuaid said.

"So all of these other larger groups who need money more than we do to travel abroad - like ballet and symphonies - we become the scapegoat for the cutting in their funding."

Well, yes, it's clearly a trumped-up excuse - if the real worry was that the music being promoted through the scheme was profane, you could just introduce a box on the application form which asked "will you have the f-word, or the c-word, or the k-word on your records?". But on the other hand, you don't call your band Holy Fuck because you think it's a quiet name that will let people focus on your music instead. It's a childish, look-at-us name; in this case, it's clearly worked in attracting attention. It's a bit much to moan that an attempt to be outrageous has wound up with people being outraged.

The yawning gap in Western Culutre identified; J-Lo to fill

No, no, it's not the long-afeared news of Legally Blonde: The Series, but the next "best" thing: Jennifer Lopez is going to executive produce a TV series spun out of Maid In Manhattan.

"Executive produce" is a technical term used in American television to indicate a person who receives a large cheque in return for their name appearing in the credits.

Obviously, the central story in the original Maid In Manhattan - something to do with an unconvincing maid having an unconvincing relationship with an actor planning to fire his agent - was resolved, and so the TV series will have to be different:

"The show is a different maid in a different Manhattan," pilot-writer Chad Hodge told the Hollywood Reporter.

A different Manhattan? Like the one in Montana, perhaps? Or does Hodge mean a different different, like with Spooks Code Nine, set in the same place, but one psychologically different - in Spooks' case, due to a disaster survived only by refugees from Hollyoaks.
Hodge says Lopez has contributed “a fountain of ideas” to the pilot and series.

We're given to understand he actually meant she'd contributed an idea about a fountain, and how it would be great if the cast could all dance about in one during the opening titles.

What is the collective term for rock and roll halls of fame?

If I was the city of Cleveland, having poured public support - both goodwill and cash - into the building of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I'd be less than delighted to discover that they've now decided to open a branch in New York, followed by others, around the globe.

Come to that, you have to wonder if there's much point in opening branches - what is a fairly broad collection of pop-related stuff in one central location might look a little thin spread out through a dozen or so sites. In fact, isn't this just going to be the Hard Rock Cafe without the overpriced burgers?

[You might enjoy No Rock's day trip to the Cleveland Hall of Fame]

Napster drops more users

What's perhaps surprising is not that Napster has dropped 52,000 subscribers over the quarter; more that, somehow, it's still managing to pull revenues of USD30.3million in that time. You have to hope they're investing that cash carefully - i.e. not by buying stock in clumsy music subscription businesses.

Hello: Where seldom is heard a discouraging word

You can always rely on Hello to put on a brave face. Presumably delighted that Peaches and whatwashisname didn't flog the shaky pictures of their wedding to Okay, Hello! is delighted to report the news:

Peaches ties the knot in Vegas after whirlwind romance with US rocker

"Whirlwind romance" being Helloese for "two bottles of peach schnapps and a game of truth or dare", of course.
Their nuptials took place at the Little White Wedding Chapel, a popular site for celebrity marriages. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore exchanged their vows there, while Britney Spears and Joan Collins also chose the world-famous venue for their wedding.

Hello don't, of course, bother to mention that Britney "chose" the venue in the sense of "it was the only place open at the time, being as she was off her cakes", nor that the wedding itself was annulled in less time than Peaches' engagement.

So I murdered your family, because I hate the Rocky Horror Picture Show

They're going to remake the Rocky Horror Picture Show. No, really:

Lou Adler, executive producer on the original film, will return in the same role.

"The Rocky Horror phenomenon has a life of its own that has reincarnated itself in numerous ways since its birth," he said.

He said the original film would continue to be enjoyed "by new fans and old alike".

Jim Sharman, who co-wrote the original screenplay and directed the film, said: "The original has some qualities that can't be reproduced but a remake could have its own very different strengths and qualities."

Apparently, they have no choice but to actually remake the movie, because their original plan - of just taking the money straight from the gullible - was ruled a no-no by the legal department.

The original movie still remains popular, with screenings often sold out to audiences consisting of people who thought it was the one with the singing venus fly trap, and men who blurted out "I'm taking you to Rocky Horror" when their partners arrived home early and wanted to know why they were wearing a mini skirt and stockings.

Jacko poll results revealed

That big public vote to decide what should go on the Michael Jackson best of? Looks like they've decided to ignore it, judging by some of the clunkers that are lined up for it:

'Billie Jean'
'Smooth Criminal'
'Black Or White'
'Beat It'
'Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’'
'Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough'
'The Way You Make Me Feel'
'Rock With You'
'You Are Not Alone'
'Man In The Mirror'
'Remember The Time'
'You Rock My World'
'They Don’t Care About Us'
'Earth Song'

You don't have to be an expert in Florida chads to know that a public vote which claims that They Don't Care About Us and Earth Song are held in public affection - even amongst the sort of public who'd vote for a Michael Jackson tracklist - isn't quite right.

iForward Russia! go into reverse

Forward Russia have - by way of announcing a date on the 17th October - confirmed that that's more or less it:

Hello there, how are you? Hope you are doing well.

Sorry for not writing for so long, I think we've mostly been getting on with non-¡Forward, Russia! 'stuff.' We played the Moor Music Festival this weekend, and that was loads of fun and we had a great time apart from the mood, it was pretty rainy there. Now that's done, we can tell you about another gig we've been asked to play later in the year:

Brainwash Fesitval @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Now Some More News:

Unfortunately this will be our only gig for the rest of the year, and in fact for the foreseeable future.

Firstly, you may have seen tickets available for other ¡Forward, Russia! gigs around mid-October - unfortunately there has been constant miscommunication over these dates, and we are not playing them I'm afraid.

We have decided to take a break from doing ¡Forward, Russia! - for a lot of different reasons. The idea of doing another tour with nothing new to offer was something that enthused none of us, and the idea of re-booting on a productive strand is something we're not quite ready to face just yet.

Added to which, the last few months of inactivity has led us all on paths away from the band. I know that sounds odd, having released an album only a few months ago, but I don't think any of us were connected to the mechanics of its release. I don't know how it happened, but I want to thank all our management, the guys and gals at Cooking Vinyl and all the other people who worked on the record for putting all their efforts into the release of Life Processes and apologise for our complete failure to engage in the release of it.

So to reach the present. Katie is moving to Nottingham in a few weeks, having taken the opportunity to do an art course there (she's in need of a new 'posse' apparently, so get in touch if you can help) - so it's unlikely we'll do anything serious again till we're a bit more geographically centralised.

Tom will be keeping busy producing some of the hottest young talent in the country, he's been doing a lot of work with a band called Minaars - you can check it out here.

From now until October? We did talk about releasing a Gravity & Heat EP, which may or may not now go ahead - certainly not in a physical format unfortunately. As mentioned it wouldn't have anything new from us, but we did ask a few people to do some remixes.

Apart from that, we have been trying to get together as many live bootlegs, session tracks and 'rarities' as we can, with the thought of putting as many as possible on our website for people to enjoy. This depends on £ and webspace, but we'll work on it and let you know how we do - hopefully we can do something by the time of the gig in October.

Ticket details for Brainwash Festival will be available soon, keep checking the websites above, as well as our own website, forum and MySpace - we'll be lurking on the forum for a while yet I suspect.

Till later then, take care.

Bugger. We really liked Forward Russia.

Watch with Mogwai

Here's a video slice of a new Mogwai track, Batcat. Which is named after a really, really rubbish superhero. Possibly.

Isaac Hayes: cause of death announced

Although based on his doctor's death certificate rather than a post mortem, Isaac Hayes' spokespeople have announced that he died as the result of a stroke.

Joss Stone campaign hymnal

Almost nobody outside of the British press seems to be taking the Stone/Obama story seriously - and even then, the "doing the campaign theme song for" has been nervously marked down to "writing a song for".

Well, we say "almost nobody". Some right-wing bloggers are treating it like it's real.

CrushLiberalism is angry:

Obama hires young white woman singer to do his campaign song

Presumably a black presidential candidate should restrict himself to wizened, black, male singers. Some sort of blues, perhaps.

The American Pundit is angry:
Obama’s Young, White Female Songwriter

Not only is she white, but she's also not black. Thank heavens there are sharp eyed bloggers who spot these details.

But it's not just that she's white - she's not even a native American. Well, not not a Native American... oh, you know what they mean:
could Obama not find an American singer? I’ve got nothing against our British friends, but he’s exporting his theme song development while complaining about the exporting of other jobs? Not the greatest photo op there.

Yes. Writing a theme song - that's a good thirty-five quid Obama has outsourced there. Would have outsourced there.

Hilariously, the Pundit even notices that it should treat a Gordon Smart story with caution:
I was surprised to learn that Stone is a “huge star in the USA”, but maybe that’s just me.

... however, having spotted one major flaw in the story, they still take the rest of it completely at face value.

Surely by now someone should be saying that Ronson/Winehouse have been approached instead?

Chanting at the charts

This morning's Telegraph website is offering a free mp3 from the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz.

They share a label with Amy Winehouse, and the paper's Peter Culshaw asked Father Carl to have a listen to her record:

"For 10 minutes I liked it, but when I read the lyrics I thought it was sad. I would like to invite her here - I feel sympathetic to people like her. She could stay a week or two and discuss the big questions of life - faith might be an answer for her."

They do make their own wine, so it's not impossible.

Gordon in the morning: Peaches gets her man, or a man

Peaches Geldof's quick ceremony in Las Vegas - she popped into a wedding chapel and came out, officially and legally, as a pisspoor parody of Britney Spears - gets a full three-byline coverage from The Sun, leaving Gordon with nothing to do but supply an opinion piece.

But, really, what is there to say?

GETTING married at the ripe old age of 19 strikes me as yet another cry for attention from Peaches.

Does it? And yet, if so, why are you giving her the attention?

More interestingly is the way that Smart thinks it's the age rather than the nature of the marriage which is the demand to be looked at. Quite a few people get married at 19 and have long and successful marriages, surely, Gordon?
Nor would I like to be in her new hubby’s shoes, not least because he is now married to an immature teenager.

Not least. Mind you, it's probably no less terrible than being in Chester French.

Still, we've seen Little House On The Prairie, and we know how this one goes - the dad makes the judge un-marry them at gun point, doesn't he?

Meanwhile, Gordon claims that Madonna is about to lets call it "adopt" another Malawian, who nobody at all is pretending to be an orphan this time round, at least. Smart, though, runs a photo of the child - Mercy. Perhaps he believes that the PCC rules on invading the privacy of children don't apply if they're not British.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

MySpace friend requests repeatedly deleted

Trouble over at MySpace, as it gears up for another relaunch attempting to turn it from music promo tool to cash-generating music retail site: The Deal reports that it's having trouble tempting someone to take the CEO chair at MySpace Music (we're given to understand the large ejector button next to the chair itself might be the problem.)

Making things worse, the technical team pulling together the site is - again, according to The Deal - starting to smell a little burny as it rushes to meet a September deadline for launch; they're not keen on the idea of a CEO turning up right now, full of ideas, demanding changes and generally earning their living by making the tech team's life even more miserable.

I've not seen an official denial from MySpace that any such strains are appearing, but I guess we can imagine exactly the sort of statement doing the denying and take that as read, yes?

From a mush in Shepherd's Bush

In some sort of survey, Shepherd's Bush has been named the centre of British Rock And Roll on the grounds that if you count up all the rock stars who born there, and divide them by all the people including rock stars who came from there, the number is higher than anywhere else.

But it turns out you have to treat Shepherd's Bush as a place in its own right, as London fares quite badly:

However, despite producing the highest number of rock stars overall (89), London as a whole does not top the list for the UK's capital city of rock 'n' roll.

In fact, the study found that Coventry, Newcastle and Cardiff all fared better than the capital when rock star birthplaces were calculated by proportion to population.

Manchester - home to the likes of Oasis' Gallagher brothers, The Smiths' Morrissey and Johnny Marr plus Happy Mondays' Sean Ryder - topped that list, having produced one rocker to every 17,850 of the population.

Liverpool will be slowly grinding its corporate teeth, because their favoured method of measurement - diving the number ones earned by the city's children by the total population - usually puts them at the top of the list. And, to be fair, at least number one singles is a measure that has some scientific rigour to it, rather than a vague list of "rock stars".

Some scientific rigour, although not very much. Of course, this whole survey exists only to promote something or other, and so the rigour probably isn't all that important.

They want it Allman - or at least $13m

The Allman Brothers have launched a legal action against their record label, UMG for $13million.

They claim that UMG has diddled them out of their fair share of digital royalties. Even so, thirteen million seems to be an enormous sum of cash - where on earth would someone have got the idea for demanding ridiculous amounts in return for small sums of potential lost earnings due to downloading, eh?

[Thanks to Michael M]

Wogan berates the BBC. Again.

In the tent/pissing metaphor, Terry Wogan is one of those guys who you might consider better off having inside the tent pissing out, rather than being outside pissing in, only to discover that he's actually still pissing in from inside.

Now that Michael Parkinson has retired, Wogan has the field of 'grumpy old sod undermining everyone he works with' to himself, and marks his 70th birthday by moaning about the BBC which gives him a job in the BBC's Radio Times magazine. Standards, it seems, are slipping:

"When I sent my first tape to the head of gramophone programmes at the BBC, I had made the fatal mistake of forgetting to rewind it to the start," he said.

"Yet that gentleman took the time to wind it all the way back, and once he'd listened to it, things went from there," Wogan added.

"I can tell you, if I was a young chap coming over from Ireland today, they probably wouldn't even listen to my tape, let alone rewind it.

"Somehow, that old-fashioned thoroughness and commitment have disappeared. I suppose no one has the time for it anymore."

So: the most important tape he ever sent off in his career, and he 'forgot' to rewind it - and yet Wogan complains nobody else has any old-fashioned thoroughness.

You have to enjoy his implication, though, that if the bloke hadn't taken the time to wind the tape back, there'd have been forever a deep hole at the heart of BBC schedules, rather than someone else equally able having got their chance instead.

He also takes the chance to bang on about Eurovision:
Wogan said he did not want to front Eurovision any more following the increase in political voting which saw Russia win in Serbia this year after gaining the votes of former Soviet states.

"I was considering giving up before Belgrade and now I have to say I'm very doubtful about ever wanting to do Eurovision again," he added. "I've had so much fun, but I think it's time for someone else to take over."

Yes, Terry. You're absolutely right here. Let's hope you're not expecting to see petitions and demands in parliament for you to keep the job.

Darkness at 3AM: Half-baked

Given that Madonna's brother has been rotating wildly around the edges of celeburbia, slagging off his sister's marriage, her adoptions and her general control-freakery, it's interesting that the 3AM Girls focus in on a slightly more mundane claim:

Christopher Ciccone has told Heat that Madge is a disaster in the kitchen, adding: "The only thing she can make is rice crispie cakes."

And a claim, at that, they read in the magazine that all their readers would read anyway.

So, the only logical reason for running the story would be because they've got a killer punchline, right?
It all sounds a bit flakey to us...


Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

Two lists [via Largehearted Boy].

First, New York details why I Kissed A Girl isn't the song of the summer:

5. Actually, everyone seems to hate it. "I Kissed a Girl" hasn't gotten a decent rap remix, but it sure has been parodied and ironically covered. Among the more notable were Max Vernon's version that left all pronouns intact, "I Kissed a Squirrel," and another parody with fart jokes. The Song of the Summer should be the coolest kid in class, not the awkward one that everyone picks on.

Then, the Guardian lists the ten best uniforms in music. Or nine best, and this:
8 Bay City Rollers
Three-quarter length jump suits (see below) with signature tartan trim, sir? Pop-perfect mix of Scotland's '74 World Cup squad and Kubrick's Droogs.

Gordon in the morning: Stone me

Gordon Smart - and, to be fair, The Times both claim that Joss Stone has been asked to record the theme song for Barack Obama's campaign - although, curiously, the story doesn't appear in any American media.

The Times, at least, manages to keep fairly sober in its report, but Gordon gets a bit over-excited:

Democrat candidate Mr Obama approached her personally because he was impressed by her appeal to both black and white voters in America.

Really? He approached her personally, did he?
Joss is a household name in the US, where she spends up to nine months a year.

A household name? Really, Gordon? Do we need to go through the difference between "a household name" and "slightly well known" again?

It might sound ludicrous, but as Gordon points out, Stone has done endorsements before:
Earlier this year Cadbury chose her to front new adverts for Flake chocolate bars.

And what a great job she did with those toe-curling adverts, huh.

What really makes Stone an unlikely choice is the way that Obama gets constantly beaten-up on the un-American/ un-Patriotic excuse. If he orders a salad with French dressing, the right-wing blogs report it as a slight to Lady Liberty. Is he really going to lead out his campaign under a track which draws the "he can't even find an American to sing a song for him" jibes?

Meanwhile, Smart is still trying to construct a Lily Allen - Katy Perry battle from the thinnest of material:
But Lily has now postponed new album Stuck On The Naughty Step until next year in what is shaping up to be the best chart battle straddling the pond for years.

Although if Allen has rescheduled her album release, then it's not much of a battle, is it? I never read Hotspur much when I was a kid, but the few times I did, I remember the story where the German soldiers turned up for the battle six months after the British troops had gone home were always heartwarming from a humanitarian point of view, but somewhat lacking as a battle narrative.

Anyway, today's attempt to try and stoke a fire is the surprise that:
I can tell you Katy’s boyfriend TRAVIS McCOY, from emo band GYM CLASS HEROES, had a thing for Lily before he met the US pop sensation.

Oh yes?
When asked last year if he had any celeb crushes, he confessed: “Lily Allen. I met her before very briefly. She’s cute. Yeah. . . I’d like to see her again.”

The key words here, of course, is "last year" - before he was dating Katy, in other words. Not that stops Gordon extrapolating:
Oh dear.

Oh dear?
That’s the kind of historical comment that is perfect ammunition for a girlfriend.

That rather presupposes that she would be looking for ammunition.
I feel for Travis the next time he doesn’t pick up a wet towel after having a shower.

The old “I bet you wouldn’t do that if you were with Lily” trump card will be reeled out again and again.

Yes. Assuming, of course, Perry spends her days Googling to find throwaway comments to goad her boyfriend with. I can't escape the feeling that this might tell us nothing about life in the Perry-McCoy household, and more about someone else's day-to-day life.

I bet you wouldn't leave wet towels all over the floor if you were with Liam...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Managerobit: David Lander

David Lander, who managed Kittie (and, indeed, was father to Morgan and Mercedes from the band) suffered a fatal heart attack last week.

Morgan has issued a statement:

"We wanted to extend our appreciation for all of the support and kind words we have received in the days since my father's passing . He was an amazing man who lived and breathed KITTIE, and he will be missed by many. [KITTIE's August 20 show at the Key club in Hollywood, California] is the last one he booked, so it is very important to us. We all owe it to him to make it a good one, regardless of how hard it is going to be. Please come out, pay your respects and help support us!"

Lander was reportedly in his early fifties; consensus amongst music and metal industry message boards is that, while his decisions might not have been ones everyone would agree with, his commitment to his daughters' band was unquestionable.

SNFU all over again

Canadian we-mean-it punks SNFU are reactivating after three years with a tour of their homeland. We say SNFU - it's not quite a classic line-up, as they now consist of Mr. Chi Pig, Ken "Goonie" Flemming, Just Denis and Chad Mareels, which makes it more of a Dog Eat Dogma reunion than an SNFU one.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

Drowned In Sound have had a first listen to the new TV On The Radio album, Dear Science:

High, jangly guitars, bouncy bass and a relentless snare-heavy beat whisk you swiftly from stillness into a heady, sinister danse macabre. There are dark allusions to “the ploughshare and the sword” and an invitation, or maybe a demand, to “come pay witness to the whore of Babylon”. Horns, marimbas, cowbells and all manner of jungly squawks and clatters fill the air like mosquitoes, only to be cleared away by a kick-ass cymbal clash straight out of Kool & the Gang.

Morrissey explains the delay

People who care about such things might have noted last week that the new album from Morrissey has slipped back to 2009. The reason is a delay in deciding who'll be releasing it in the US:

At the wish of Universal Music, Years of refusal has been put back to a February 2nd release. There is also, at this stage, still no US label for the album since Morrissey withdrew from Decca US after their poor promotion for the Greatest hits release. There are no further live dates planned for the remainder of 2008.

The decision on which Universal imprint is going to release the record in the US is taking a hell of a long time, doesn't it?

Mozzer also took the chance to moan a little bit about a new Smiths compilation:
It is understood that Warner Music in London are releasing a Smiths Greatest Hits album in the final quarter of 2008. This release is without Morrissey's approval or involvement.

To be fair, it's not entirely clear what effect Morrissey thinks the lack of his involvement is going to have on a cheap Christmas cash-in. Nobody who would boycott the record because he disapproves is likely to need yet another singles collection anyway.

Being praised by Gordon Smart has gone to Liam's head

Knowing that Gordon Smart is thinking about how well his jeans fits has obviously turned Liam Gallagher's head more than a little:

“I don't hate them. I don't wish they had accidents. I think their fans are boring and ugly and they don't look like they're having a good time,” he added.

Liam, of course, is the very model of an engaged and engaging modern sort:
"I play The Beatles, The (Rolling) Stones, The Kinks, Neil Young, the (Sex) Pistols. Maybe a bit of The (Stone) Roses. Don't like modern bands. Topman music, innit?"

So, pretty much everything released in the last 20 years is totally without value or interest to Liam. Everything. Someone in Oasis is damning everything as sounding like the sort of music played in the sort of shop where Oasis fans buy their clothes.

U2 destruction: Not far enough?

We got slightly thrilled to discover that a judge had ordered the destruction of U2's back catalogue, but then it turned out to only be one person's collection, not all of their records in existence.

Belfast Telegraph journalists spoil Snow Patrol's surprises

It's a harsh world. As if knifings, territorial wars, Piers Morgan and disease aren't bad enough, Snow Patrol are now having the name of their new album revealed against their wills. Lost In The Showbiz publishes a letter from their PR team - or, rather, a statement from Gary:

"Hello everyone
Well, in this world of instant coffee, news, messaging and everything else
is was bound to happen. In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph we let slip the working title of the album then said not to print it until we had finalised it with each other (and put it on this very site). Those words were not heeded and they printed it anyway.

We’re sorry you didn’t hear it from us first but the album is indeed called 'a hundred million suns’. We will endeavour to make you guys the first to hear about everything else. It’s becoming increasingly hard but we’ll do our best.

Lots of apologetic love to you all. Gary.x"

Oh, my. How heartbreaking to think that the news of what the new Snow Patrol album will be called should slip out, rather than being subject to a proper announcement. We're given to understand that the band had planned to reveal the title in a remake of that time Thatcher flogged off BP and they had the abseilers uncover a massive board with the share price on. Clearly, Gary wanted to be able to see the slightly underwhelmed reaction when the world - as a whole - gathered to discover the name of the follow-up to whatever the last one was called.

And all because, erm, they told a journalist. Who probably wrote it down in a book. You just can't trust 'em, can you?

Pete Burns: The homecoming:

Pete Burns is going to Liverpool - the first time since 1992 - at the request of Julian Cope. He's going to play a night celebrating Erics, but he stresses that he wouldn't normally do this sort of thing:

“It seems I’m part of the Liverpool scene after all these years. It was a shame that wasn’t the case when I was there.” Pete pauses for a second, and reflects a little sadly. “I suppose things are always different in hindsight.

“It’s difficult for me to feel anything about it. It’s all so long ago.

“I don’t sit glued to the internet looking back at the old days. That’s not my thing.

“I’m looking forward to doing the gig. I’m probably either going to do a dance set or an acoustic set. Three or four songs.”

Why choose now to come back?

“Julian asked me to do it,” he shrugs. “I’ve always liked him. Out of them all, he treated me well. He always thought about things. He had something going on underneath the surface. I think that’s why we were friends.

“I haven’t spoken to him in a long time, so I’m looking forward to seeing him.”

Burns is amused at having been recast as a favourite son:
“I’ve always felt on the margins. I’ve never been part of anything. I’m not particularly social. I don’t seek people out.

“So it makes me laugh that all these years on I’m being included in this rewritten history of Liverpool. I wasn’t included at the time.

“I was told the other day that I’m in this play about Eric’s. I don’t know what that’s about.

“My ex-wife Lynne and I were the social outcasts of the city. We were ostracised by everyone. We didn’t fit in. Well, it was us and (Frankie Goes to Hollywood keyboard player) Paul Rutherford. The three of us stuck together because no-one else would speak to us.”

One of the amusing things about the Capital Of Culture year is the way the official history has started to absorb the city's counter-culture, blithely unaware that the Erics and Planet X scenes were a reaction to, not a product of, the city they called home. It's true that Burns wouldn't have been Pete Burns without something to react against, but stimulating creativity through rejection is hardly a trait to celebrate.

NME surprised to find Joe Lean album online

With an air of bewildered surprise, reports that the cancelled Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong album has "found its way" onto file-sharing sites.

Commenters on our post about the cancellation had pointed out that it was in the wild before the record company had decided it wasn't good enough.

Rock: the iTunes hold-out

It's not so long ago - yesterday, in fact - that selling well "on downloads alone" was considered noteworthy. Today, though, it's commentworthy that Kid Rock's All Summer Long single (a summer anthem which makes Una Paloma Blanca seem like a considered work of genius) has managed to sell without being available on iTunes.

Kid has his reasons:

Rock points out a particularly ironic twist to his logic in holding out from iTunes. "It's funny, I have a shitload of stock in Apple — I think it's one of the greatest companies in America," he says. "But it's just not very American to me when Apple tells you how they want to sell your product and tell you what it's worth."

Bless his little confused head - does Mr. Rock really think that he has control over the pricing and displays in WalMart? Or Target? If musicians could tell stores how much to charge for records, CDs would cost about thirty quid by now, wouldn't they?

I'm also not sure if Rock has really grasped the idea that retailers are normally the people who set prices - does he think when King Soopers knocks thirty cents off a box of Coke that that is, somehow, "unAmerican"? "Buy one, get one free - what are you - some sort of Communist?"

Still, let's just bask for a moment in the man and his own self-build hypocrisy: he's decided that Apple's business practices are contrary to the demands of his patriotism, and yet is quite happy to take the dividends this apparent flag-burning activity can deliver. Except when it's his bottom line. A flexible, profit-maximising patriotism, then.

[Thanks to Michael M for the link]

Rolling Stone: Smaller than before

The large, floppy Rolling Stone is to be no more: From mid-October, it's swapping from its classic format into something a bit more normal magazine sized.

It's basically given in to the rules of economics: it's easier for advertisers if they don't have to resize their ads for one magazine; it'll fit on the racks alongside other magazines; and, of course, smaller pages are easier and cheaper to make and distribute.

The new Rolling Stone is going to be glued, which means that the title will have a spine. Something it's lacked for a good couple of decades now.

They're hoping it will increase sales:

Gary Armstrong, chief marketing officer for Wenner Media, pointed to Vanity Fair, which has lower overall circulation than Rolling Stone, but nearly three times the single-copy sales. With a standard format, he said, it should be possible to raise newsstand sales significantly.

“The consumer we want to reach watches ‘Lost’ on a big TV screen, on a computer screen and on an iPhone,” he said. “They’re agnostic on format.”

Yes. A smaller magazine is like watching Lost on an iPhone in, erm, some way.

The assumption, of course, is that people don't buy RS on an impulse because they don't find it with the others when they're looking for magazines. The risk, though, has to be that its sales are currently higher because it tends to get racked on its own, away from its competitors, and thus stands out.

Gordon in the morning: So scared she hid for a full quarter

Gordon Smart outdoes himself this morning, claiming that Lily Allen has run away from a head-to-head:

A TRANSATLANTIC chart battle has kicked off between LILY ALLEN and KATY PERRY.

Yank newcomer Katy’s first UK-released album, One Of The Boys, is out next month.

And it’s put the wind up Lily so badly that she has shelved her own album launch.

Stuck On The Naughty Step – the follow-up to Lil’s hit 2006 debut Alright, Still – had been expected out this month but will now be held back until next year.

Really? Who, exactly, had been expecting the album this month? The lead single isn't even planned until September. And if the worry is Katy Perry's album, is it really such a behemoth that it will cast a shadow over not only the last two weeks in August - backwards, apparently - but also over the last three months of the year?

Gordon also has a look at the cover of the new Oasis single. It's not, sadly, Liam in a pair of tight jeans, but Smart puts a brave face on it:
Oasis artwork is simply electric

Apocalypse new ... Oasis' single sleeve artwork

It's not any good, of course; it looks like some sort of horrible collage done by a child with access to only one magazine to raid for pictures. It's hard to say for sure, though, because despite trumpeting about it being "a world exclusive", Smart manages to run the picture with the top and bottom sliced off. Perhaps the Gallaghers had given another website a world exclusive first not-like-looking-through-a-letterbox look.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Isaac Hayes: dead at 65

CNN is reporting that police have discovered Isaac Hayes unconscious "next to a still-running treadmill". He was taken to hospital, but pronounced dead at 2pm.

Hayes was born into a sharecropping family in rural Tennessee. Raised by his grandparents after being orphaned, a move to Memphis at first showed Hayes the possibilities of life, but turned sour when his grandfather died. Poverty forced Hayes to seek work; he wound up as a short order chef. He tried to drop out of school, only to be more-or-less ordered back by the teachers who saw talent in the young man. It was also a teacher who persuaded Hayes to enter a talent contest, his first public performance since puberty had shattered his voice and his confidence. Victory was his; but it was the interest of the girls that the victory brought which persuaded him his future might not be in the kitchens.

When he graduated High School, Isaac had the choice of several scholarships to colleges keen to develop his vocal talents, but instead threw his lot in with a local record label. That label was Stax. Hayes debut was on Frog Stomp, which he co-wrote for Floyd Newman. He played keyboards and soon picked up regular work playing session keyboards for the label's artists and collaborating with David Porter on songwriting and producing.

It was the murder of Martin Luther King on the streets of Memphis which really drove Hayes, though, as he once explained:

"I could not create properly. I was so bitter and so angry. I thought, What can I do? Well, I can't do a thing about it so let me become successful and powerful enough where I can have a voice to make a difference. So I went back to work and started writing again."

It was to be the start of his golden period as a recording artist - from his double-a-side crossover number one, Walk On By/By The Time I Get To Memphis, through a run of twenty albums which hit the top 20. Perhaps the peak of this period was the truly iconic theme from Shaft, one of those rare pieces of musical score which guarantees their host movie a far greater position in the pantheon than it would have had without it.

By 1974, Hayes had fallen out with Stax and Enterprise, the subsidiary for whom he had been doing his solo work, and trying his hand acting - he had a recurring role in the Rockford Files. A deal with HBS records kept him in the charts, but he never quite thrived in the post Saturday Night Fever disco era in the way he had in the early 70s. By 1981, Hayes decided he needed a rest and took a break.

It was the siren call of The A-Team that tempted him back to the public eye, and with it a string of not-very-good movies followed - Paul Hogan's remake of Flipper perhaps being the lowest of a number of low points. His role as Chef in South Park, though, did manage to score him a number one in the UK, albeit with a song about salty balls.

Hayes stropped off South Park when the series - having lampooned every actual religion - dared to have a joke at Scientology's expense. Hayes - one of the members of the cult - decided this was stepping over the line and quit the programme.

Away from grumbling about misrepresentations of his cult, Hayes was generous, working to promote literacy, fighting inner-city crack problems before the mainstream media even realised there was crack, and doing a lot of aid work in Ghana. He continued to record, too, with critical acclaim if not outstanding commercial success.

But this, this will always be remembered as the track which best showed his genius: