Saturday, September 20, 2008

Krist to the trouble at t'mill?

It looks like Krist Novoselic has quit Flipper and sparked the axing of their entire tour.

Saint Etienne weekend: Jungle Pulse

I've long held a suspicion that the decision to work with Etienna Daho was taken with the hope that at some point Daho might undertake a miracle, bringing recognition from the Catholic church and allowing the songs to be rebilled as By The Two Saint Etiennes.

While the world is still waiting for him to resurrect some dead nuns or something, let's watch the one Saint Etienne and the one non-saint Etienne working together:

[Part of Saint Etienne Weekend]

Travis Barker 'seriously burnt' in fatal plane crash

Travis Barker and his partner in TRVSDJAM, Adam Goldstein, have been seriously injured in a plane crash following a gig in Columbia, South Carolina.

The pair, relatively, were lucky: The other four people on board died in the accident. Their private lear jet overshot a runway on take-off, hitting the airport's communication aerials, before bursting into flames on the neighbouring highway.

CNN firther reports:

Lexington County Coroner Harry O. Harman said all the dead in Friday's crash were Californians.

He identified them as pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills; co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad; Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City; and Charles Still, 25, of Los Angeles

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

The Register praises the oft-overlooked baby of the iPod family, the shuffle:

The colour scheme has been changed again, but in essence a Shuffle bought, say, September 2006 will do exactly what one bought in September 2008.

Vegan food: very expensive

David Hepworth points out that Heather Mills' million dollars of vegan food turns out to be a single cook-out for a thousand people.

Perhaps she's had to build a massive kitchen to hold them all. Otherwise, that's going to be a bloody big meal.

Saint Etienne weekend: Pale Movie

Although by rights Saint Etienne's natural home should have been Top of the Pops, they didn't turn up there anything like often enough. Here's one of their visits, though, with Pale Movie. Yes, the big number 28 smash from February 2004:

[Part of Saint Etienne weekend]

Drummerobit: Earl Palmer

The death has been announced of Earl Palmer, session drummer.

Although not a well-known name, you'll be familiar with his work: he played on The Righteous Brother's You've Lost That Loving Feeling, Ike and Tina's River Deep, Mountain High and Tutti Frutti by Little Richard. The percussive beats that drive I Hear You Knocking? That would be Palmer. Later work included Elvis Costello's King Of America album in a career that stretched from the culty (The Monkees' Head) through to the populist (contributing to the sessions for the Flintstones soundtracks).

Palmer originally started out in the entertainment industry as a tap dancer; his big break as a drummer came when he relocated from New Orleans to Hollywood, taking a reputation forged alongside the early giants of rock and roll into a rapidly expanding market.

During the 80s he took another largely unsung but important role, taking a treasurer's role in a musicians' union. In 2000, Palmer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Four times married, the 84 year-old is survived by seven children. His spokesperson says he had been ill for some time before his death on Friday.

Gordon in the morning: Rock sensation

It's not an exclusive - oh, no: it's a Rock Sensation, as Gordon breathlessly reports a story that I'm betting has very little basis to it at all:

LED ZEPPELIN frontman ROBERT PLANT is to be given an ultimatum by his bandmates – join us on tour or we’ll replace you.

Zep guitarist JIMMY PAGE, bassist JOHN PAUL JONES and drummer JASON BONHAM have been busy recently rehearsing in West London’s Ritz Studio and using stand-in vocalists.

And one American singer has been so impressive the other band members are confident they could hit the road next year WITHOUT their iconic frontman.

Did Gordon read that back before publishing it, do you think? The idea that a band could tour without the iconic frontman and somehow it would be worth doing?

Smart spends some time blustering through the idea that Page and not-actually-the-drummer-but-his-son are hurling ultimatums at Plant, before suddenly conceding that:
If he does not take part it remains unclear whether the group will be allowed to use the name Led Zeppelin.

So, they're threatening Plant that if he doesn't join a Led Zep reunion, they'll, erm, do something else.

Embed and breakfast man: Saint Etienne

One 't', two 'n's.

Really, if you were looking for an example of British Pop to label Britpop, you'd be better off slapping the label on Saint Etienne than Oasis, wouldn't you?

To celebrate the new single, Burnt Out Car, which is one of those 'new tracks' that get flung onto compilations; and next month's compilation, London Conversations, which features the track Burnt Out Car, we're going to spend a weekend rustling about in the Saint Etienne video box.

And how better to start videos, than with Action?

Official site - tube-themed thrills
Wikipedia - Saint edit'em
Last FM
Airport - [note to self: check this is actually run by the band]

London Conversations - out October 13th
Tales From Turnpike House - London-centric concept album
Finisterre - it is the end of the world

More videos across the weekend
Pale Movie - Top of The Pops performance
Jungle Pulse with Etienne Daho
Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Cola Boy: Seven Ways To Love
Sarah Cracknell featuring (and not featuring) Mark Brown - The Journey Continues
Nothing Can Stop Us Now - live at Bestival

Heather Mills: Where's the beef

It would be wrong, of course, to condemn a woman for an act of charity too harshly, but in this instance, it's difficult to say where the condemnation might start to reach the point of too harsh.

It's undeniable that the Bronx suffers from pockets of terrible poverty; and that children there often have bad diets and relatively high levels of obesity. Heather Mills response?

She has - very, very publicly - donated a million dollars worth of soy burgers and soy chicken cutlets to the borough.

Clearly, she's forgotten the old adage 'give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he will eat for life; give a room full of kids a soyburger and you'll find an awful lot of soyburgers shoved into the flowerpots round the edge of the room.

It's well-meaning - if you can get past the suspicion that it's more about Mills than the obese kids of the Brox - but completely misses the point; a million dollars would be better spent helping create the conditions in which better nutrition is a choice, rather than swamping the area with a brief pulse of food made from pulses.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Something to listen to: Beat Radio

More music to share and enjoy: Beat Radio are offering their Sunday Matinee ep as a free, downloadable ep.

Stuff like this, Teenage Anthem For The Drunken Boat.

Won't you come home, Bill Bailey?

Bill Bailey has had enough, and given up his chair on Never Mind The Buzzcocks. He's been a captain since 2002, except for that season where he wasn't and Noel Fielding did it some of the time.

This time, Bailey is going to be replaced by an ever-changing stream of people. This means Phil Jupitus - the only survivor from the original line-up - is starting to look like he needs a word or two with his agent.

Of course, Bill saw it coming:

Joy Division Oven Gloves: Magnetic Fields shoes

Shoegazers will gaze on jealously: for while they could only gaze at shoes, The Magnetic Fields have inspired shoes.

Yes, Stephin Merritt has somehow inspired a range of loafers from a French company. The same company also makes shoes called James, but it's unclear if they're inspired by Hymn From A Village.

Hey! It's a Jay Yay Day

October 11th would have been Matthew Jay's 30th birthday; marking the day and mourning the loss is a special event at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, Further Than Tomorrow. Taking part are a load of Jay admirers and associates, including his backing band, Good Shoes, James 'Starsailor' Walsh and at least one half of Squeeze.

Something to listen to: Uninhabitable Mansions

A splash of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, a dash of Au Revoir Simone, and you've gotten yourself an indie supergroup. WFMU had them in session and they're sharing the whole lot with you.

Gordon in the morning: The unchanging world

While banks crumble and stocks tumble, Gordon Smart is a rock. Unchanging, unchanging: Mischa Barton nip slips and a none-more-fourteen-year-old 'you could see their nipples and everything' report on the Vivienne Westwood London Fashion Week show.

There is one for the ladies, though: Justin Gaston in skimpy white pants in the section that's oddly titled "Gordon Smart's Bizarre USA" even although he doesn't actually write any of it - or, if he does, he's made Beci Wood write the text to go with the photo. Perhaps Gordon just chose the photo.

Live Music Awards: Prepare to be surprised; shocked, even

By one of those absolutely amazing coincidences that you could almost imagine proves an unseen hand shapes everything that happens in the universe, Primal Scream were the biggest winners at the Vodafone Live Music Awards last night - the very same event they'd been booked to provide a three-song closing performance for. The Primals picked up Best Live Act - yes, really - and outstanding contribution.

The Ting Tings - who entertained the crowd - won the breakthrough award; and even Emma Bunton admitted she was surprised the Spice Girls had beaten Led Zep to the comeback prize - how fortunate none of the Zep were there to see her pick up the award; that could have been awkward.

As seems to be the case with most of the b-list awards ceremonies, nobody has bothered to update the official website with a full list of winners - indeed, the site this morning claims they're still going to announce the bands who will be playing last night "soon", which suggests even the organisers don't really take it seriously. If I were Vodafone, I'd be wondering if it was worth sponsoring an event that can't even be arsed to update the site properly.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I know what you look like, so don't ever come near Stroud

Pitchfork, it's fair to say, isn't fond of the Airbourne Toxic Event and their self-titled album. It's not that that the site couldn't find any value in it; only that it found 1.6 marks' worth of value.

In a bid to try and look like they're taking it in good part, TATE sent an open letter in response.

It tries to adopt a "couldn't care less" attitude:

Thanks for your review of our record. It’s clear that you are a good writer and it’s clear that you took a lot of time giving us a thorough slagging on the site. We are fans of Pitchfork. And it’s fun to slag off bands. It’s like a sport — kind of part of the deal when you decide to be in a rock band. (That review of Jet where the monkey pees in his own mouth was about the funniest piece of band-slagging we’ve ever seen.)

We decided a long time ago not to take reviews too seriously. For one, they tend to involve a whole lot of projection, generally saying more about the writer than the band. Sort of a musical Rorschach test. And for another, reading them makes you too damned self-conscious, like the world is looking over your shoulder when the truth is you’re not a genius or a moron. You’re just a person in a band.

They forget, though, that "water off a duck's back" wouldn't have become a metaphor if the water splashed noisily into the pond chuntering away about how bloody brilliant it is to roll off a back and how, really, it's more about the duck than about the water.
We love indie rock and we know full well that Pitchfork doesn’t so much critique bands as critique a band’s ability to match a certain indie rock aesthetic. We don’t match it.

If this is meant to be a shrugging off, it misfires - it's like watching someone try to shrug off a rubber minidress.
It’s also true that the record isn’t ironic or quirky or fey or disinterested or buried beneath mountains of guitar noodling.

If 'Pitchfork bands' are so genre-bound (and, indeed, they may well be) and TATE aren't that sort of band, one might wonder why they're taking so much time to object to the review. Would, say, Miley Cyrus spend much time crying over a cold shoulder from Mojo?

Nobody likes to be slagged off (except for that small subset who find a sexual thrill) but, really, the way to change people's minds - if you want to - is probably to record a better record next time round.

RIAA: Critics are vexatious

It turns out that the RIAA does manage to make its rotten image find some new level of tarnish to add to itself. They've now attempted to have Ray Beckerman branded a vexatious litigator. Beckerman blogs at the Recording Industry Versus The People site, which records the progress of defences against RIAA lawsuits:

The RIAA said Beckerman, one of the nation's few attorneys who defends accused file sharers, "has maintained an anti-recording industry blog during the course of this case and has consistently posted virtually every one of his baseless motions on his blog seeking to bolster his public relations campaign and embarrass plaintiffs," the RIAA wrote (.pdf) in court briefs. "Such vexatious conduct demeans the integrity of these judicial proceedings and warrants this imposition of sanctions."

In other words, because Beckerman criticises the RIAA, that means he can't be trusted to bring actions against the RIAA. In the RIAA's ideal world, then, only people who agreed with them would be allowed to take them to court.

It's fair enough - providing the "filesharers" the labels pursue can use the same rules and thus have the RIAA barred from bringing actions.

[Thanks to Gareth J]

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Foos: On a break

Dave Grohl appeared on the Chris Moyles show this morning and announced that the Foo Fighters were going to be taking a long, long break.

What prompted the decision to pull back from having to make and promote albums?

The clue could be in that Dave Grohl was having to talk to Chris Moyles early in the morning.

Something to listen to: Lucinda Williams

Five tracks from the forthcoming Lucinda Williams album, Little Honey, are pouring themselves from servers for you to stream into your ears.

Songwriterobit: Norman Whitfield

Motown songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield has died.

Co-writing with Barrett Strong, Whitfield provided a rockier counterpoint to the songs provided by the label's other in-house team, Holland-Dozier-Holland and often took a political stance - Edwin Starr's War and The Temptation's Ball Of Confusion, as examples.

Whitfield and Strong shared a Grammy in 1972 (Best Song for Papa Was A Rolling Stone); Norman won in his own right four years later when his score for Car Wash pleased the judges.

More than a songwriter, Whitfield also produced many of the songs he wrote or co-wrote: he was behind the desk when Marvin Gaye sang I Heard It Through The Grapevine.

Whitfield died at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles yesterday. The 76 year-old had been in poor health for a while. In a sad twist, Barrett Strong is also hospitalised at the moment, recovering from a stroke in Detroit.

Want free Zune tunes? You might want to order a Supersize Meal

Paid Content has tried that free McDonalds/Zune tie-up. The verdict? It's very, very simple, but very, very slow.

Macca: Calm down, calm down

The uproar at the slightly-unpopular decision of Paul McCartney to nip over to Tel Aviv to play a gig has finally prompted McCartney to issue a "hey, folks, can't we all get along" style statement:

“Me and the band are really looking forward to this one. It’s the first time I have ever been to Israel, or really that part of the world so I am very interested to look around and look at the situation, just personally. I am going to be interested as a tourist just to look around and meet the people.”

Although, of course, he won't be going on a tourist visa. He's going to be earning cash, but carry on, Paul:
“Music can help people to just calm them down. I also think it can be very interesting for change,” McCartney says. “I always cite a John (Lennon) song ‘Give Peace A Chance’; if you watch the footage from back then, about a million people outside the White House chanting that song to Nixon inside the White House, I think that had an effect."

Sorry - did I suggest he was going to earn cash? No, no, he's going to make the "people" "calm down". Interestingly, in this he actually seems to be siding with the Palestinians - after all, if the idea is to play tunes to those who need to, you know, take a deep breath and count to ten, and he's not going to play a gig on the West Bank, that would imply it's only the Israelis that need to be becalmed by hearing Band On The Run played love.

Where his defence breaks down is that the chanting at Nixon didn't have an effect so much as the grinding daily images of dead American soldiers being flown back to the US and the escalating costs of fighting a doomed war; and even if the chanting had had an effect, it would have been because it was a targeted chant with a simple message. It's hard to see how getting people to hum along with Press To Play is going to bring about an end to hostilities.

Gordon in the morning: He doesn't know, either

A pointless piece - to which Gordon adds his own byline as well as the Gordon In The Borrowed Suit branding - this morning: An unnamed friend of Ron Wood's wife Jo says that she's given up on him after an unnamed friend of her son said that he'd been seen drinking neat vodka. An unnamed friend (sorry, a "close chum") of Ron denies he's drinking - albeit offering the shakiest of evidence:

“Ronnie O’Sullivan scored a 145 break and everyone left with a smile on their face. It was all good, clean fun.”

The closest thing to an on-the-record fact?
A spokesman for the star last night refused to comment on whether he was boozing.

Gordon's awful headline kind of underlines the point:
Rolling drunk or still Ron the wagon?

He doesn't know.

Still, elsewhere, there's e-commerce in action, as a piece about, erm, The Cheeky Girls sunbathing has a sales message stuck at the foot of the text:
Find your own cheeky girls with a 72-hour FREE trial at our top dating website

Perhaps this is going to be commonplace on future Bizarre articles - making Gordon make some money. Amy Winehouse pieces rounded off with "would you like love that's so strong even being thrown in the big house for GBH can't dim the passion? Try Sun Singles", that sort of thing?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Daily Mail tries to cope with digital world

The Daily Mail, it's only fair to point out, doesn't have a weekly technology supplement so perhaps it's unsurprising that its coverage of 7Digital's signing up of the last of the majors to its DRM-free service leaves it overstating and a little confused:

A music download revolution - making tracks available from the world's big four record companies without a digital lock - has been unveiled.

The new upgraded service from the web music giant is the biggest challenge ever faced by Apple and its iTunes store.

But as the Mail eventually admits, 7digital has been selling stuff from the other majors DRM free for a while, so it's actually an old challenge to Apple getting a little sharper, rather than a new challenge. And even if it is seen as a new challenge, 7digital selling a few tracks in the UK surely is less of a challenge than the Amazon mp3 store?

Still, let's allow the Mail its excitement. Although it's not excitement which accounts for this:
In the past, Apple and other official download sites have sold music with a digital lock which meant it could only be played on a single device and could not be copied.

Let's leave aside the official download sites which sold music sans locks - eMusic, for example - and the DRM free tracks which Apple has been selling from some sources, and just look at the second half of that sentence? Only played on a single device? Then how are you able to play the same tune on your Mac or PC and your iPod? And a second iPod? Or another Mac?

And can't be copied? But what is burning the tracks to CD if it's not copying?

I'm no fan of DRM and love the 7digital propostion. But the worry here is that the Mail clearly doesn't know what it's talking about. Fair enough, these are details in a story about music files. But if you can't trust the paper's description of what DRM does, what does that say when it reports on stories where the science is even more complicated - say, when it's talking about the causes of autism, for example?

MTV frees up valuable programming space for more shows about people having parties

MTV is axing its remaining flagship music show in the US: the mighty TRL is coming off after ten years this November.

AC/DC kicks out the punks

A press release - which, if it had hands, we just know would be making cutsey little devil horns - arrives, trumpeting US satellite radio's embrace of AC/DC:

AC/DC Radio will air AC/DC music 24/7, including classic rock recordings such as “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You),” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and “Back in Black” as well as new songs from their Brendan O’Brien produced album, Black Ice (Columbia). The channel will also feature AC/DC band members Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams, Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd describing their singular rock & roll career spanning more than 30 years and sharing their personal insights into their music.

All good, harmless fun?

Well, perhaps - except the bandwidth has only been freed up for this service by XM and Sirius axing their punk stations. So AC/DC - who, let us not forget, are now endorsed by department store fashion departments - are helping to make satellite a more conservative place than ever before.

Sirius is suggesting that punk fans tune to the Extreme Sports network instead, where they might hear the occasional tune that would be considered punk by the sort of people who consider snowboarding extreme.

Metallica: New album sounds bloody awful

Not the songs themselves - that's a matter of taste (they do sound bloody awful, though) - but the audio quality on the record. Indeed, analysis of Death Magnetic by Chris Vinnecombe suggests the fidelity on the CD is so poor, you'd be better off buying the USD18 download of the tracks for Guitar Hero and recording that.

As is often the way, there's an online petition appeared calling for the album to be given a fresh mix but a cynic might wonder if the release of a fairly duff version of the record is part of a policy allowing for a "fully remastered" album in a couple of years?

Retuning to the Global name massacre

We've had an email from James P which adds some further commentary to the renaming of most Global stations as Heart:

After dropping local daytime presenters, Global have decided to rename 29 of the local stations they bought. In a move which I believe is known as 'Breaking out the turd-polish', the stations will all be given the 'Heart' brand. This includes Chiltern Radio, which itself had only just been rebranded a few months ago (it was 'Chiltern FM' before that 'Haven't You Heard' campaign was rolled out and every station's logo was redesigned to look like a German alcopop). I remember when Channel 5 came along and a team of engineers toured certain regions, retuning people's TV sets. Presumably a similar team will soon be on hand to replace car-stickers and fuzzy bugs in the areas affected.

The article also mentions "The new Heart network of stations will retain their own breakfast and drivetime shows, but much of the rest of the content will be syndicated" - What it doesn't mention is that in some cases (including my local station's), the 'Drivetime' show has now been stretched to fill five long hours from 2-7pm. It's making for disturbing listening, with the young chap presenting clearly struggling to find enough to say. The other day I tuned in to hear him giving a running commentary of his eating of a Twix. I tuned back out on hearing the line "Ooh, there's a bit of chocolate stuck to the roof of my mouth..."

My favourite part of the [MediaGuardian] article is the bit that refers to 'the two-strong Xfm network'. I suppose technically it's a network...

Zune served up with Happy Meals

The perception of the Zune as being like an eighteen month old iPod might be unfair, but isn't entirely helped when Microsoft ape last year's Apple moves.

For example, just as in 2007 Apple came up with a headline deal which allowed iPod owners to suck music down for free while they were in a Starbucks, Zune owners will be able to download tracks to their Zunes in particpating branches of US McDonalds:

“Wayport is pleased to be working with Microsoft to make it easier for Zune users to access music on the go,” said Dan Lowden, vice president of business development and marketing for Wayport. “Our ability to enable and manage applications and devices over converged networks creates exciting new opportunities for our clients to attract new customers whose digital lifestyle extends beyond their home and office.”

"Their digital lifestyle extends beyond their home and office" meaning "they take their mp3 player to the burger bar."

It's a smart move for Microsoft in terms of reach - it's going to have access to customers in about 10,000 stores - but given that most McDonalds are designed to get customers out as quickly as possible, it's interesting they've signed a deal that would encourage people to buy a small coffee and hang about for hours. It's almost like they're not exactly expecting that many people to take them up on it.

Eminem scraps Hillary gags, thinks of rhymes for Palin

Eminem - who, despite having retired, is, for some reason, back in the studio, has dumped most of the work he's done so far because it isn't "current" enough.

Given that much of his recent work has been about how he loves or hates his wife, we're left to conclude either he's fallen back in love with her and has dumped more songs about burying her alive, or else he's got the hump with her even more deeply and is currently bulk-erasing the 'I still love you' raps.

Robert Smith says 'keep off the iTunes'

There was a bit of a cock-up with the pricing of the new Cure ep on iTunes, with the system getting confused and thinking it was an album, offering a £7-99 single-pop. Terribly embarrassing, of course, but it got picked up quickly and the price fixed.

Unfortunately, not before Robert Smith - or, actually, it might have been Arthur Smith off Grumpy Old Men bounced on to the internet to warn his fans:

"This is absurd," Smith wrote. "TMU [shorthand for 'The Men Upstairs'] have managed to fuck this up to another level."

He also posted an email he sent to the label, where he claimed the pricing was "totally fucking wrong".

"I fucking despair," he added.

Smith instructed his fans not to buy the ep off iTunes - although if he was that bothered, he could have just suggested they buy it in individual chunks at 79p a go.

Of course, someone who - not for the first time - is flogging off his back catalogue in yet another remixed form might want to think a little before accusing anyone else of ripping off fans.

Global slaughters local radio in the UK

It's been confirmed that the key result of the GCap-Global merger is the loss of most semblance of localness in local radio across vast swathes of the country - out goes Southern, Invicta, Fox and GWR along with loads of others. They're going to be rebranded Heart on the grounds that... well, there's probably a business case. It might be savings on the headed notepaper.

BRMB will be saved, as it's being flogged off.

Gordon in the morning: Hi-de-hi, campers. Noel can't hear you. Hi-de-hi.

Gordon gets excited this morning, rushing to tell us that Noel Gallagher and Russell Brand are working on a sitcom together:

when NOEL GALLAGHER, the man who penned the theme tune to the brilliant Royle Family, retires from writing lyrics he’s going to turn his attention to rib-tickling sitcoms.

The OASIS axeman plans to team up with best pal RUSSELL BRAND to make shows for the small screen.

I love the way he's using the theme to the Royle Family as some sort of evidence that it's a natural progression for Gallagher to write a sitcom - he didn't even write the song as a theme tune, did he? It was just a song that they put on over the credits.

Even more interestingly, when Gordon gets to Noel's quote, it turns out there are no plans, and no agreement with Brand to do anything:
He said: "I’d like to be part of a team of scriptwriters. I think I’d be good. Russell has been trying to rope me into something but at the moment I can’t commit to anything outside Oasis. But, one day. Who knows?"

"Who knows?" is hardly the same as "I am in talks with Russell Brand to write a sitcom", is it?

Our eye was caught by Gordon's introduction:
THERE have been some really classic British sitcoms written by true greats.

Terry & June, The Likely Lads, Only Fools And Horses, Fawlty Towers — the list goes on.

Which 'true great' does Gordon think wrote Terry and June? It's actually surprising to see the programme on the list - it was a classic sitcom, but it doesn't usually get to appear on lists of the pantheon like this - either Gordon has more depth and a love of early 1980s studio bound 'the boss is coming to tea with Arabs/Japanese businessmen' gags, or else he meant The Good Life, which would seem to fit better on his slightly dull list of sitcoms everyone says when asked 'what's your favourite sitcom?'

Working breakfast

Given Steve Penk's incredible takeover of indie - sorry, former indie - station The Revolution in Oldham, you'd expect him to be announcing a major presenter line-up change.

Well, he's put himself on at breakfast. So no surprises there, then.

It's unclear if he thinks that he best represents the style of programming demanded by the station's new target audience, or if it's just a way of keeping down the wage bill.

[Thanks to James P]

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ted Leo rushes a benefit ep

Ted Leo has recorded a four-track digital ep to raise money to cover legal fees of those arrested for daring to protest outside the Republican National Convention. Other slices of the raised funds will go to Food Not Bombs Minneapolis and Democracy Now; anything left over will be sent to Sarah Palin who seems to be very fond of money.

Marx flogs Ros tix

If I'm reading this story correctly, Richard Marx is a big Sigur Ros fan and is auctioning off - for charity - Ros tickets he can't now use.

What on earth could Richard Marx have to do that beats going to a Sigur Ros gig? Is it a two-for-one night at the Olive Garden or something?

Progobit: Richard Wright

The death has been announced of Richard Wright, Pink Floyd's keyboardist.

A founder member of Pink Floyd - and, indeed, a member of the pre-Syd version of the band, Sigma 6 - Wright initially shared vocals with Barrett and contributed a more than generous share of the songs. Wright contributed The Great Gig In The Sky to Dark Side Of The Moon, but got caught in the crossfire of band politics. Roger Waters had him fired during the session for The Wall, shamefully reducing Wright's credits to that of "session musician".

After his cashiering, Wright teamed up with Fashion's Dave Harris for the short lived Zee band - one album, Identity, eventually seeing the light of day; then, the Pink Floyd wheel turned once more and, with Roger Waters out of the band, Wright returned. It wasn't an entirely equal-footed return, though - for what are usually described as "legal reasons", on A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Wright's face was banished from the sleeves and his name appeared in smaller letters than the other members'. Presumably to satisfy lawyers who had temporarily misplaced their reading glasses.

The paperwork was sorted out, and so by 1994's The Division Bell the Floyd were again recording Wright's songs. A peace, of a sort, was even made with Roger Waters, when the four non-Syd-but-still-classic members came together for whatever charity gig it was - Live8.

Meanwhile, Wright finally got around to following up his 1978 solo album with a second record, Broken China.

Wright died of cancer earlier today. He was 65. Dave Gilmour led the tributes, blogging:

"I really don't know what to say other than that he was such a lovely, gentle, genuine man and will be missed terribly by so many who loved him. And that's a lot of people. Did he not get the loudest, longest round of applause at the end of every show [when they toured together] in 2006?"

Hope Is Important; Warnings And Promises is for Saturday

The 'playing an entire album through start to finish gig' has become slightly flat-cappedly old fashioned in recent years. Idlewild have decided to raise the stakes, though, by deciding to play their entire back catalogue, start to finish, over a series of gigs at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut this December:

'Hope Is Important' and others (December 17)
'100 Broken Windows' (18)
'The Remote Part' (19)
'Warnings/Promises' and acoustic set (20)
'Captain' and 'Make Another World' (21)

You can get a season ticket for all five shows, although nobody will think badly of you if skip the disappointing one.

Estelle move almost cost Warners even more

Besides being an embarrassing episode, costing the artist hundreds of sales, and suggesting that Warners bosses don't have a clue what they're doing, pulling Estelle off iTunes nearly had another consequence for Warner Music Group: Idolater quotes the Hits Daily Double claims that Apple warned Warners that if it wanted to play games like that, iTunes would drop all promo slots of WMG product. This is probably an experiment that Warners won't be rushing to repeat.

Napster finds buyer. No, really

The long search for a buyer for Napster - or "search for a mark", as I understand it's known - has reached an end, with US electrical chain Best Buy shoveling about USD125million for the ex-con music download site which has struggled to make a go of it since going straight.

Business analysts are using words like "intriguing":

Morgan Keegan & Co. analyst Tavis McCourt called the offer a "potentially intriguing acquisition."

See? What that basically translates as is "I can't think of a single reason why they would throw their money away on this, but just in case they have a plan, I'm not going to point and laugh in public".

The stock market knew how to react, though: Napster's share price shot up, like someone had suddenly found a place where you could sell five dollar bills for a tenner; Best Buy's sank.

[Thanks to Michael M]

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Trash Can Sinatras weekend: Cooking

As we approach the end of the Trash Can Sinatras weekend, here's a glorious clip from a Scottish TV programme, Square Meals, which sees the band getting made a square meal. It dates from 1995, but we are assured they have had proper food since then:

[Part of The Trash Can Sinatras weekend]

Albert Memorial Still There

Since when was Cliff Richard doesn't have a number one hit single news?

You know he is, he really is

I rubbed my eyes twice to make sure it wasn't a dream, but no: Frank Sidebottom is following in the footsteps of Cannon and Ball and Reg Holdsworth, and advertising Safestyle UK replacement windows.

The things that moulded Mould

Something for the Christmas list in 2010: Bob Mould is working on an autobiography. The ghosting part is going to be handled by Michael Azerrad, writer of Our Band Could Be Your Life.

Trash Can Sinatras weekend: Tonight You Belong To Me

Recorded live in Brel, Glasgow in 2003, with Francis' sister popping up to offer supporting vocals:

[Part of Trash Can Sinatras weekend]

Rav can no longer be arsed as minions file Oasis stories

He's not finished up yet, but clearly Rav Singh has taken off his hat - two of the top four stories on his kind-of blog aren't even by him today.

He - or rather someone else - has got an "exclusive" new video of the moment Noel Gallagher reaped what he's been sowing all these years. The video doesn't really add much to the story, and nor does the Rav-lite Guy Basnett commentary. The video, we're told is "shocking" - although since we've all seen Noel going over, it's not that shocking:

THE News of the World today reveals unseen video footage of the moment a crazed drunk stormed the stage at an Oasis gig – attacking Noel and lunging for Liam.

A crazed drunk, huh? Not just a drunk, then?
Our exclusive footage – shot from the side of the stage – shows the full violent attack, and chaotic aftermath, as security desperately tried to restrain the attacker.

Again, while Noel should be allowed to ply his limited trade unmolested, the attack wasn't actually "violent". Painful, undeniably. Stupid, certainly. But "violent"?

And four security guys on one drunk? That's hardly "desperately struggling", is it?

Still, if Basnett is reporting on a serious violent assault, you'd expect him to cut the lame gags, wouldn't you?
And it shows the assailant being bundled roughly off stage by at least four burly officials, who perhaps did look back in anger, as they struggle to subdue him.

Or maybe not, then.

Basnett also gives the impression he's spoken to Noel about the assault, by virtue of quoting Gallagher's blog without actually bothering to source where the quote came from.

This week just gone

The ten most popular individual stories this week:

1. R Kelly: The sex video was evidence
2. Video: Noel Gallagher pushed over on stage
3. McFly flirt with full-frontal male nudity
4. Apple launch underwhelming new iPods
5. RIAA dances on the grave of Muxtape
6. Bestival floats away
7. Fabrizio Strokes co-opts girlfriend for side project
8. P Diddy doesn't have a plane after all
9. James Morrison surprised Madonna doesn't fawn over him
10. Warrant issued for Andy Kershaw's arrest

These would be the interesting releases:

Manda Rin - My DNA

Emiliana Torrini - Me And Armini

Calexico - Carried To Dust

David Holmes - The Holy Pictures

Fiery Furnaces - Remember [Live]

Neil Halstead - Oh, Mighty Engine

Glasvegas - Glasvegas

Killing Joke - The Peel Sessions

Rokia Traore - Tchamantche

Kevin Ayers - Song For Insane Times [Box set]

Swing Out Sister - Beautiful Mess
Brand-new album from reactivated stylish Tube favourites

Blow Monkeys - Devil's Tavern
Brand-new album from reactivated stylish Tube favourites

Polysics - We Ate The Machine