Saturday, December 19, 2009

Idlewild: Tour dates

Idlewild - who, by now, have gone past the 'terribly undervalued' stage to 'hoofing national treasures' - have just posted some tour dates for 2010:

Bristol Thekla (March 3)
Gloucester Guildhall (4)
Reading Sub89 (8)
Brighton Concorde 2 (9)
Liverpool Masque (11)
Preston 53 Degrees (12)

Woomble's hair is worth the entry fee in its own right.

Village People are trying to shake down Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver's amusing promo for his American Road Trip series has upset The Village People. The trail featured Oliver dressed up in the same fancy dress used by the band, and this, they reckon, is a copyright infringement:

Anyone who thinks the Village People are little more than a fun-at-the-time 1970s disco band with hits including YMCA and In The Navy needs to think again. According to John Giacobbi, the British lawyer pursuing Channel 4 on their behalf, "the Village People are still a huge, multimillion-dollar global business."

The name and costumes are trademarked in the US, and hundreds of commercial requests are dealt with every year, said Giacobbi. There was, he said, no such request from Channel 4.

How on earth did 'dressing like a policeman or builder' ever get a trademark approval? It's fancy dress. I know 'copyright, trademark and patent law in the US is fundamentally broken' is hardly a new insight, but even so...

Channel 4 don't seem overly worried by the threats, anyway. Presumably they're happy that there's always the defence of parody to fall back on.

Zapsmart: Music on TV and Radio today

In what might be a regular Christmas week feature, if I can be arsed, some of the musical highlights from across radio and TV today:

2.30 Sky Arts 1 Donovan
"A definitve life of the troubled troubadour" it says here. Hopefully the programme will be slightly better constructed.

3.00 Radio 2 Dermot O'Leary
Dermot's "choir of angels" is promised - "three indie female stars", according to the Radio Times. I'm not betting this is going to be Frischmann/Wener/Madan.

4.50 Watch Top Of The Pops
It says "Christmas 2007", but it's presented by Steve Wright and features Roy Wood, so has the stench of being a Top Of The Pops 2 Christmas special. Mind you, who'd want to see the number one from Christmas 2007 anyway?

6.00 Sky Arts 1 Songbook - Midge Ure
Billed as the "man who co-organised Live Aid", which seems a curious way to try and interest people in his songwriting skills. Like pushing a biography of Churchill on the strength of his wall building.

6.30 ITV Take That: The Circus Live
Trying to plug the X Factor gap, ITV fling out the circus-themed That gig from last summer. Note to Gary Barlow: nothing is improved by adding jugglers.

8.00 ITV Stars On The Street
We've barely cracked open the Radio Times double issue before ITV give it up for the holidays. This is an hour's worth of people famous elsewhere turning up in Corrie, which means we'll get the awful Status Quo cameos, and the puzzling time Noddy Holder appeared in the 40th anniversary live special to bellow "it's Chriiiiistmas" even although he was (a) playing a delivery man and (b) it was actually the start of December. Keith Duffy is going to be featured, too, although since he was regular post-Boyzone, does he actually count?

8.00 ITV2 Take That: Backstage At The Circus
You would not believe what's going on backstage... - ITV2 continues to provide a stalker's edit for the senior channel.

9.00 ITV2 The Xtra Factor: Winner's story
It says here that "Holly Willoughby catches up with this year's winner" to find out what he's been up to. In the last seven days. Which has been in all the papers.

9.55 BBC3 Move Like Michael Jackson
Lie very, very, still indeed

10.00 Radio 2 Even Better Than The Real Thing
Noddy Holder pays tribute to those pisspoor covers albums that ruined many a Christmas morning in the pre-Now That's What I Call Music era. The prepublicity is making much of Tina Charles having helped record the knock-off versions, but not a word that Elton John used to pop up on them before he was able to afford fresh flowers every day. Perhaps they're holding that back as the surprise.

10.05 C4 Wife Swap
Having decided that Wife Swap has run out of steam, Channel 4 have decided to, erm, spend the entire bloody evening running episodes of Wife Swap. This episode brings together Sam Fox and Freddie Starr. Fox famously became a successful pop star overseas after it started getting too chilly to be taking her top off all the time; Starr was in a band managed by Brian Epstein. They even had a single produced by Joe Meek. We very nearly were spared thirty years of a man dressing up as Hitler in order to try and make Des O'Connor laugh.

10.20 Sky Arts 1 Thin Lizzy Live And Dangerous
More of a danger to themselves, as it turned out, but given this was filmed in 1978, at least it's one programme featuring Phil Lynott that won't mention Leslie Crowther.

10.40 BBC HD A Little Later
As befits a programme lobbed on to stop the schedule falling to pieces, Radio Times don't bother to tell you who's on. Good luck, HD viewers.

12.15am C4 Live From Abbey Road
There's Michael Buble, so plenty of opportunity to visit the bathroom between the mighty Little Boots and the Temper Trap.

1.00am BBC4 The Roxy Music Story
Or you could watch Velvet Goldmine.

1.00 6Music BBC Introducing...
Sweet Baboo

Gordon in the morning: Joe steps up

Joe McElderberry - winner of last week's Mickie Most showdown - has somehow put a brave face on his being bullied by the internets to pop in and "edit" Gordon's column for him. Obviously, it's a task he's fantastically under-prepared for, but that hasn't stopped Gordon for the last few years.

It gives Joe a chance to continue churning the marketing pitch talking about Rage Against The Machine. He says he hadn't heard it before - which is believable, he comes across so musically naive you could believe that he had to Google Robbie Williams before the final. He's heard Killing In The Name now, though:

"I wouldn't buy it. It's a nought out of ten from me. Simon Cowell wouldn't like it. They wouldn't get through to boot camp on The X Factor - they're just shouting."

Psst... Joe? I think the whole "it doesn't sound like an X Factor song" is probably the reason why it was chosen.

But Joe is worried about the prospect of this record doing well. Won't someone think of the, erm, elderly?
"They can't be serious! I had no idea what it sounded like. It's dreadful and I hate it. How could anyone enjoy this? Can you imagine the grandmas hearing this over Christmas lunch?

Well, frankly, no. Why would anyone play it over Christmas lunch? Does Joe think that's how the Christmas number one is decided - by the number of times a song is played over the sprouts?

Gordon steps in to remind us all of the Cowell line:
It turns out Joe is a sensitive lad and is really upset by the Facebook campaign urging people to download RATM's track to stop him getting to No1.

Is he, though? What does Joe actually say?
He said: "I think people are jumping on this to have a go at Simon and The X Factor rather than me. But Simon gives people a shot."

So, even Joe understands that the campaign isn't a personal attack, and aimed more at the man who is making money off him rather than himself.

But, like the rest of the corporation, Joe seems to have confused the Christmas number one with the prizes for the series:
Joe added: "I will be really disappointed if it doesn't go to No1 after all the effort I've put in to this and winning the show."

I'd be less worried about the prospect of being number two this Christmas, and more about trying to sort out a role for panto next year, son.

Earlier in the year, the united users of Twitter were outraged that Jan Moir could take the death of Stephen Gately, filter it through her worldview and use it to push a hugely partisan line of belief. Isn't that, though, what Shane Lynch has just done?
Shane, also 33, said: "I've got faith and respect for God - God doesn't make mistakes. So therefore, I've got to understand that it's all for a reason. If I don't understand why then one day I'll be told - but not right now."

Friday, December 18, 2009

MTV applauds man for dying

Who is MTV's man of the year? Why, that would be Michael Jackson.

Because what finer achievement could there be than, erm, dropping down dead from a body full of god-knows-what? Hey, MTV, you should nip up to Glasgow and watch the effects of the anthrax-heroin; you'll be picking up new heroes like an Underground train picks up passengers at Kings Cross.

[More updates on end of the year polls updated regular, like]

BPI lament rise in unlicensed downloading

The BPI has just unveiled a big survey which - let's be honest - is just intended to try and push the case for ISPs being made to police copyright law in the UK.

They claim the nation is pretty much planning to download more and more unlicensed tunes, until even Simon Cowell is forced to get a proper job:

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said the findings were "disappointing" and expressed concern at a rise in illegal downloads from blogs and newsgroups.

More than 3,000 people aged between 16 and 54 took part in the online poll.

When questioned about their future plans, current users of unauthorised services reported that they actually intended to increase their illegal activities in the coming six months.

Really? That's how people phrased it, was it? "I intend to increase my illegal activities, at least until the summer"?

Given that the BPI have found that the law isn't working, and people don't actually consider what they're doing to be wrong, the labels have thrown in the towel and said they're going to concentrate their efforts on building the myriad of new revenue streams that exist in the new reality.

No, of course they haven't:
Mr Taylor said: "There are now more than 35 legal digital music services in the UK, offering music fans a great choice of ways to get music legally.

"It's disappointing that levels of illegal peer-to-peer use remain high despite this and the publicity surrounding imminent measures to address the problem. It's vital that those measures come into force as quickly as possible.

"The growth in other, non-peer-to-peer methods of downloading music illegally is a concern, and highlights the importance of including a mechanism in the Digital Economy Bill to deal with threats other than peer-to-peer."

"Our failure to stop the water flowing in through the floorboards and cascading through the ceiling doesn't mean that it's time to abandon the house; instead, it is a signal that we must buy larger pails and bail faster and faster."

You wouldn't believe how unbelievable Slipknot are

Blabbermouth can barely save themselves from puking up their office festive pies with excitement at how astonishingly astonishing Slipknot are now:

Grammy-award winning hard rock iconoclasts SLIPKNOT have once again defied expectation. While no strangers to radio success, SLIPKNOT are climbing the charts again, but this time with an introspective track that challenges what some would expect from a hard rock radio song. This genre-bending new single, "Snuff", is currently Top 5 at Active Rock and Top 20 at Modern Rock and is climbing steadily.

When the time came to create a visual for "Snuff", once again the band did the unexpected. The band has unveiled a short film (see below), co-directed by SLIPKNOT's own M. Shawn Crahan and renowned photographer/director P.R. Brown, to accompany the track.

Cling, cling, to the crust of the Earth, for doesn't the very idea of a hard rock band knocking out a ballad with an accompanying video with pretensions threaten to almost disprove the very idea of gravity?

Let's hope Blabbermouth never buy an easy-listening collection by a nice, well-scrubbed young man. When they get to the lame cover of the rock song, their very heads might pop.

The end of the Final Fantasy

Yes, yes, it's era-end days for your Wogan and your O'Grady and your More4News. (Don't you hope Catherine Tate will pop in to the More4News studios to run through a best-of bits as she did for O'Grady?)

But another era is also being wound up, as Owen Pallett is no longer going to be trading as Final Fantasy. At legal gunpoint:


I began playing solo violin shows in 2004. Although it was essentially a solo project, I named the band Final Fantasy, as the experience-- and the tone of the material-- was reminiscent of the hours and hours I had spent as an adolescent playing those epic JRPGs.

But the laws of trademark infringement exist for good reason, and so I am voluntarily retiring my band name. In the new year, my record Heartland is coming out, and it is my first to be released in many territories, including Japan. With this in mind, I feel it is in my own best interests to definitively distinguish my music from Square/Enix's games.

So, I am no longer playing shows as Final Fantasy. Subsequent releases, including Heartland, will be issued under my own name, Owen Pallett. Prior releases will sometime soon be re-packaged and re-issued.

I thank Square/Enix their kindness and support, and I thank you all for your understanding.



Yes. We can see how people might get confused between a one-man band and a slightly sexy computer game. Well, I say "people", I mean "lawyers". And I say "get confused", but I mean "try to make some sort of case that people get confused".

Apparently, we were all still pretending the Jackson tribute concert was on

Nothing is more surprising than the revelation that people were still busily beavering away on that Michael Jackson tribute gig. Or at least were, as once against, something Jackson is connected to goes to slush. The promotion company, World Awards Media, has wound itself up.

I suspect hardly anyone is keeping the date clear now.

Gordon in the morning: Running edicts direct from Simon Cowell's desk

The further suspicion that the Rage Against The Machine for Christmas campaign is the best thing to happen to the X Factor continues with Gordon running angry statements from Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole, apparently without any sense of irony:

SIMON COWELL has blasted the campaign to get RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE to the festive top spot - branding its supporters "a hate mob".

Really, Simon? You think a little bit of festive fun is on a par with a hate mob, do you?

Still, it's lucky that Joe's already been through a much worse ordeal, when you made all the auditioning types on your programme do so in front of a baying crowd. That wasn't a mob, though, was it? Just good telly, right?
Music mogul Simon is so angry he interrupted his hols in Barbados to ring me yesterday.

Good lord - he's so annoyed he's spending a couple of minutes on the phone? This is serious.
He raged:

... against the machine?
"All these musical snobs have ganged up against Joe."

Well, hardly, sweetcakes. No musical snob worth their disdain glands would suggest that putting Rage Against The Machine's grumpy teenage thumpbox to number one, now, would they?

And since the campaign actually started before Joe won the X Factor, it's clearly aimed at the corporation, not the individual.
"If you take me out of the equation, you have a teenager with his first single being attacked by a huge hate mob on Facebook."

Actually, Cowell, if you are taken out the equation, Joe would still be earning his Christmas money passing packages to a man pretending to be Santa. And had Joe somehow managed to get a single out into the Christmas market without the X Factor, and if it had somehow been in with a chance of being the Christmas number one, most people would probably wish him well.
"It almost feels like a little kid being bullied."

And bullying is only funny if it's done by a man in an open-necked shirt on ITV at teatime.
It feels like a spiteful campaign aimed at an 18-year-old who won a talent competition.

No it doesn't, it feels like a misguided campaign aimed at a couple of large media companies which dominate the chart landscape.

After all, it's not like the X Factor is anything like a talent show, is it?
"It's David versus Goliath and it's not fair on Joe. It's getting out of hand."

David versus Goliath? What do you actually mean by that? Are you suggesting that Joe is a plucky little David taking on the Goliaths of a few people on Facebook?

But that can't be - what with Joe having had hours of TV exposure in front of millions and millions of people, and the full marketing might of Cowell, ITV and Sony behind him. And being the bookie's favourite by quite a distance.

Although David did have God on his side, so maybe Cowell is suggesting that parallel.

Mind you, Goliath was the most famous Philistine in history. So perhaps that's what Simon means. Though you can't, surely, simultaneously be a musical snob and a Philistine, can you?

But it's not just Cowell who is pretending to be angry, is it, Gordon?
Mild-mannered CHERYL COLE, Joe's mentor on the ITV show, is none to pleased either.

Mild-mannered? She's got a conviction for assault.
Chezza thundered: "I would be devastated to see Joe lose out. He put his heart and soul into every single week of The X Factor.

"I cannot bear to see him lose to a mean campaign that has nothing to do with his efforts.

"If that song, or should I say campaign, by an American group is our Christmas No1 I'll be gutted for him and our charts."

What's that, Cheryl - you're suggesting that there's something wrong with an American act being number one in the UK? Like it's somehow unpatriotic? In which case, shouldn't you hand yourself in as some sort of collaborator for trying to get WillIAm to number one last year?

The bottom line is this strange assumption that being number one at Christmas is part of the prize for the X Factor, like some sort of divine right.

The Rage campaign is silly. But, frankly, in the face of this nasty marketing push from ITV & Cowell trying to make it sound like bullying - which is unfair on the organisers and belittling of people who actually are bullied - you can't help but wish them well.

Oh, and the profits from Rage are going to help Shelter, which is a good thing.
[UPDATE: To clarify and correct: The Rage campaign are asking people to make a separate donation to Shelter; Tom Morello is donating his profit to charity, but that will be a different one.]

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sorry, America

Press releases can sometimes make you feel so sorry for those less fortunate, can't they?


Poor, poor America.

On the other hand, it does leave us free of him for a while. Do you think we could persuade him to take Parky with him?

Advice to Americans: Aim low. And if you let him get on top of the piano, you're lost.

Downloadable: Mixhell, Soulwax and Crookers

People are giving stuff away like it's Christmas, or at least economically worthwhile to provide free things in the hope of getting some business later. People like Mixhell, Soulwax and Crookers. This is the link to get the track, but before you do, you'd best read the writing on the back of the package:

Mixhell collaborating with Soulwax and Crookers on a sort of audio
exquisite corpse. It goes like this: Soulwax put down a synth track,
Mixhell laid down some electronic and acoustic drums, a cute kid says
crookers coco (crookers shit), Crookers and Soulwax take turns
mixing. Get that?

Embed and breakfast man: Pixies

This, I would suggest, might be considered NSFW in the sense that to enjoy the lot of it, you'll have to hope nobody sees what you're doing. Pixies, pushing their Minotaur box sets, have released a 33 minute promo splurge:

Courtney Love: Yes, that'll help

Having lost custody of Frances Bean Cobain, Courtney Love has done her best to prove how fitting she is as a nurturing, supportive parent by, erm, sticking a rambling, vindictive attack on her daughter on the Facebooks:

"I hate to sound cold but any kid of mine who pulls this shit has lost her position... she was deceptive, she lied and she's lying to herself."

Still, at least it's shut Courtney up about money for once... hasn't it?
"Frances is clearly deluded that can buy her grandmother a small house in LA. I'd love to see how that works. She thinks she has all this money. The point is I have all the money she has."

Hang about Courtney - didn't you say that you didn't have all the money she should have had, because people have bought sixty-squillion houses in Kurt's name and the rest got creamed off by Ryan Adams or something?

Streaming now: Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend are burning through Murdochian cash by streaming new song White Sky over on MySpace. Go have a listen.

[via You Ain't No Picasso]

Gordon in the morning: Butter man attacks modern world

The pointlessness of John Lydon's attack on something modern is underlined by his bemusing treating of Coldplay and Radiohead as if they were interchangeable, but let's let himtry some of the clodhopping iconoclasm that he feels we expect of him:

He said: "Coldplay and Radiohead bug the hell out of me because it's so soulless. It just seems pointless. It's nice, but it's tosh. They don't care about you. They care about lining their coffers."

Because there was nothing cynical in the sudden decision to reform Public Image just as the bottom fell out of the Florida property market, of course.

Maybe I'm being unfair. Perhaps this railing against bands shaking down their audience is heartfelt, and it's just a shame that Lydon had to wait until he had an interview to promote the slightly repackaged collection of an old album to sell into the Christmas market before he had a chance to raise the issue.

Lord, even Gordon sees through him:
This from the man who has starred in an advert for butter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kelis: The rest is gravy

Apologies if cornflower: Kelis is thinking about launching her own range of sauces. Apparently, she's just completed a course at a cookery school and now has a certificate which allows her to make her own sauces.

I know what you're thinking. But even I'm not that desperate for a cheap punchline.

Lil Wayne schedules prison time

It's yet to be convincingly explained to me how Americans get given prison dates the way the British get hospital appointments - an invitation to come over some time in the future.

Lil Wayne, American justice has decided, must spend time in prison to make society safer (he was waggling a gun round.)

Fair enough. But if prison is vital in turning him from a gun-toting threat to society into a good and honest man, why does he not have to go until February? Isn't it a bit dangerous having him wandering round over Christmas, potentially shooting at Santa as he flies overhead?

Or... are the authorities really saying that prison has such little effect, it doesn't really matter when you go?

Gennaro Castaldo Watch meets Gordon in the Morning: It's a special Christmas episode

It's like David Bowie turning up on the Bing Crosby show, as the two titans of filling media space come together to mark the most magical time of the year. Even Gordon Smart knows that if you need an inarguable but unilluminating quote about record sales, it's a call to HMV you need:

Gennaro Castaldo, of music chain HMV, said: "Rage has taken a slight lead, as you'd expect given the size of the Facebook campaign.

"But we believe Joe's cover of The Climb will come storming back over the next few days.

"Chances are that the best part of half a million copies of the X Factor single will be sold over the rest of this week."

Gordon has headlined his piece about the Rage v X Factor sales drive "exclusive", despite consisting of nothing more than mentioning Joe is behind at the moment but expected to catch up tomorrow, quoting Castaldo, and giving the latest odds. All of which everyone was reading yesterday. Apart from the Castaldo quote. Perhaps Gennaro has now become a celebrity who The Sun is buying up.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Downloadable: Animal Collective

Animal Collective have guest-edited issue 65 of Fader, and - in the spirit of the season - the results of their efforts are available for free download.

Embed and breakfast man: Victorian English Gentlemen's Club

Due next year, continued: The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club. Their new single Bored In Belguim is due on January 25th. In the meantime, to get us through the festive season, here's an acoustic version of the song:

Chris Brown's problem isn't short stocking

Last night, we heard how Chris Brown was angry that shops weren't stocking his record.

He should have kept his mouth shut, as his whining has just led to throwing a bright light on how many unwanted copies of his album are floating around: 400,000 copies of the record have been released to stores. Despite the best expectations being 175,000 copies.

And, erm, despite him only managing to sell 100,000. Perhaps he's now going to turn up complaining that people don't have copies of his record in their homes.

Bettie Serveert: New service

Bettie Serveert haven't delivered a new album since 2006. They're not going to manage one this year, either.

But next year? Next year they've got plans: New album Pharmacy of Love is due in March, and leading off, there's an EP, Deny All. That's out on January 26th. Be looking at Deny All now:

Tom Morello makes web stunt look tacky/tackier

There was something to be said for the Rage Against The Machine Christmas campaign - it felt like a genuine, grassroots attempt to organise people into a 'none of the above' vote for a Christmas number one.

Sure, it was utterly pointless and contained a nub of self-defeat about its very existence, but anything that was making people hyperventilate and send emails saying it makes you seem "like a grouchy spoil sport" couldn't be all bad.

But today, Tom Morello has joined in, squishing the last specks of joy out of the campaign:

Morello has lent his support to the campaign, using Twitter to voice his approval.

"Rage's 'Killing In The Name' & The X Factor's goofy Christmas single are neck and neck for num one spot on UK chart," he wrote. "England! Now is your time."

Oh, for god's sake, Tom, it's not about you. The point was meant to be it's 'anything else', not your specific song. On the same label as the goofy Christmas single.

There are a few moments joy to be wrung from wondering how Fearne and Reggie on the Christams Top Of The Pops would cope with the awkward gear change from the Christmas number one to warming up audiences just switching on for the Queen's Christmas Message, but that's about as far as the joy goes.

Meanwhile, in a room somewhere in London...
- You mean our plan worked?
- It worked.
- People really are talking about it as a battle?
- They really are.
- And buying loads of copies of Rage...
- In similar quantities to the number of copies of Joe, thereby doubling Sony's Christmas sales? Yes.
- And it looks like a real race?
- It does, yes.
- Well, it's true. Just a couple of weeks after we were putting articles in the paper bemoaning how nobody voted on the Christmas number one any more, this has totally changed things. People are rushing through our doors to make wagers.
- We're selling double singles, when Joe wins the number one he'll look like someone winning a battle rather than a gameshow contestant who's won a prize... and...
- ... we're making millions on wagers.
- Everyone's a winner. All for something I got one of my interns to knock up on Facebook in a lunchtime, and a couple of calls to the press
- You, sir, are a genius, Mr. Cowell.
- And, you, sir, are a pleasure to do business with, Mr. Ladbrokes.

[awkward pause]

- You know that I'm not actually called Mr Ladbrokes, don't you?

Billy Corgan dismisses his best work

Possibly his greatest gift to the musical world, Billy Corgan now says he regrets breaking up The Smashing Pumpkins:

"Breaking up the band was a mistake because I think it broke trust with the audience." Corgan told Spinner "You had an audience that was very invested in that idea - whether they were invested in the people or the idea or the songs, I don't know. Like a relationship that you break off from and then try to pick back up, it's never quite the same."

Although he talks of relationships, he sounds more like a brand consultant, doesn't he?

Gordon in the morning: Yes, we know, you like Guy

Another day of Gordon spuming over Guy Ritchie this morning, I'm afraid, as the only man in the world excited about Sherlock Holmes delivers another advert for the movie:

Over a whisky at the London bar, Guy was bursting with excitement as he told me about the new-look Sherlock.

And it wasn't just alcohol fuelling his enthusiasm, the new blockbuster version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's super-sleuth is a roaring success.

Still, Gordon's not so foolish as to offer a hostage-to-fortune in his piece, is he?
I saw it before last night's premiere and it's a belter, sure to be one of the biggest box office hits of the year following its UK release on Boxing Day.

Still, Gordon does at least get an awkward photo and a hoyhoy caption out of it:

Courtney Love loses custody

More misery from the heart of Courtneyworld this morning: Love has lost custody of Frances Bean. Again.

Given that Frances Bean is now 17, this might be the last time her guardianship is swapped out by the legal system. Let's hope.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Axl Rose issues dull statement denying issuing earlier dull statement

I admit it. I snickered a little at the Axl Rose statement about nothing much happening at LAX airport.

Now, though, Axl is even more angry than he says he wasn't, issuing a statement which says he never issued any statement:

"Axl Rose denies releasing press statement regarding rumored LAX incident," read the new statement on the band's official MySpace blog. "I did not release any statement or authorize either any statement or anyone to release a statement regarding anything at any airport anywhere," Rose explained, apparently referring to a statement issued on Thursday by a Los Angeles-based publicity firm that blamed the LAX scuffle on an "unruly group of paparazzi." A spokesperson for that firm could not be reached for comment at press time, and though the original statement is still on the band's MySpace, the name of the firm has been removed from it.

"We had recently began working with newer individuals in management in relation to our current Asian tour in support of our Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy in addition to [manager] Irving Azoff's though as it happens we are once again touring Asia without management of any kind," the new blog entry says. "Imo this nonsense may be some type of manufactured or publicity stunt."

We're expecting a press conference around 3pm EDT on Wednesday when Axl Rose announces his sudden discovery that nobody actually gives a hoot about any of this. He's due to appear on Letterman shortly after Christmas plugging his new book 'Does All Of This Make Me Seem Ever More Faintly Ridiculous?'

Norma Desmond is 72.

Chris Brown takes break from beating women to beat record shops

Apparently considering he has some sort of divine right to have his dull music stocked by all good retailers, domestic abuser Chris Brown is wailing that some shops won't stock his record:

"Just was at Walmart in Wallingford CT, 844 north colony," Brown tweetedon Saturday night. "The[y] didn't even have my album in the back ... not on shelves, saw for myself." Brown said he talked to the store's managers and "they didn't even know anything. Wow!!! But they had Alicia Keys album ready for release for this Tuesday comin ... the manager told me that when there are new releases it's mandatory to put em on the shelves ... BUT NO SIGN OF #GRAFFITI. BS."

Good lord, leaving aside the unpleasantness of both his criminal and musical records, what sort of sadsack goes sneaking round WalMarts looking to see if they have his record on the shelf?

He's been wailing for quite a while - this was him at the start of the weekend:
"I'm tired of this s---," Brown tweeted on Friday. "Major stores are blackballing my CD. Not stockin the shelves and lying to customers. What the f--- do I gotta do..." Brown later said he would not be retracting the comments after they quickly spread online, adding, "I'm not biting my tongue about s--- else ... the industry can kiss my ass." He also lashed out at "people who r constantly tweeting me wit bulls---," but did quickly apologize to his young fans for "all the cursing."

What the fuck do I gotta do, indeed, Chris Brown? How about not smashing women's faces in in car parks? Or perhaps learning a little humility?

Chili Peppers turn out to have split

John Frusciante has officially been unofficially described as out the Red Hot Chili Peppers, says someone who knows, supposedly, but doesn't want to say who they are.

"Josh Klinghoffer has been playing with the group for a couple of months now," says the source. "Optimistically, the Peppers are trying to lock down a replacement for John, who has apparently quit.

"Mentally, John checked out a long time ago. He's interested in doing his own thing, his own albums - the whole big rock band machinery just doesn't appeal to him anymore."

To be honest, anyone whose departure would be leaked with the words "mentally he checked out long ago" is probably doing the right thing by stepping down.

News Corp screws musicians as Imeem debts dumped

Rupert Murdoch is fond of lecturing on morality - The Sun, John Gaunt, Fox News, it's all about telling people about what they believe to be right. And wrong.

How about deliberately cutting lose thousands of musicians from their payments? Where does that sit on the morality wheel? Because that's what the News Corp MySpace takeover of Imeem, as Hypebot reports:

MySpace only bought some of imeem's assets and assumed none of its mounting debts. Included in those unpaid debts were money owed to the 110,000 artists who used imeem owned SnoCap to sell there music on the web on a number of sites including imeem and MySpace itself.

Classy - not just dumping people who thought they'd made a few dollars through Imeem, but people who'd used MySpace official sales platform to sell songs, only for MySpace to diddle them out the money they'd earned.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Joe McElderry: Quick, before he melts

Steve Brookstein ("Joe McElderly"), the winner of the latest X Factor, is enjoying his moment while journalists around the nation write his name on their hands in a desperate bid to try and remember it. Joe has been talking to Telegraph:

The 18-year-old from Tyne and Wear said: "Oh, who doesn't fancy Cheryl Cole? Come on!"

He hailed her as the "best mentor" a boy could have and said she was like a big sister to him throughout the competition.

So she's like a sister who you fancy? Isn't that... you know, a little wrong?

Actually, Joe is very confused indeed:
X Factor's Joe McElderry: I fancy Cheryl Cole and I want to be George Michael

Very, very confused.

Actually, the George Michael reference is his plans for the musical direction he wants his career to be moving in - and why not? George Michael started taking himself way too seriously, neglected to make any good records and wound up as little more than a perpetual punchline. You're well on your way, young McElderly.

Meanwhile, Joe's offering good wishes to Rage Against The Machine:
His debut single, The Climb, is favourite for the Christmas number one but is threatened by an internet campaign urging people to spoil Simon Cowell' Christmas by sending Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine to the top of the chart.

A diplomatic McElderry said: "I haven't heard the song yet, but I just think it's healthy competition. Everyone's obviously battling for the top spot, so I'd just say good luck to them.

"That's like a dream come true, if I could get a Christmas number one. I'm crossing my fingers that it's giong to happen but whether or not it will, we'll see. It's a massive deal."

Bless him, it's like he doesn't really have any understanding of what's going on, does he? Does he think that this band have written a song and are challenging him? Are the people who are managing his career just not telling him about the groundswell of public opinion?

Leona Lewis attacker detained under Mental Health Act

The Leona Lewis fan who hit her during a book signing has been detained after pleading guilty to common assault. Peter Kowalczyk is a man with schizophrenia; he has been detained for an indeterminate period of time.

Gordon in the morning: Won't someone sign Simon off?

As we come to terms with the apparent paradox that, the duller the X Factor blood-sausages are, the more people watch them straining to grab at a tune, what news this morning of Simon Cowell?

Leigh Holmwood has news, and it's not pretty:

SIMON Cowell has admitted he can feel so overloaded with work that he suffers dark moods and feels "trapped" by his fame.

The X Factor boss, 50, claimed his job was sometimes like a "tidal wave" due to all his responsibilities - and it can "get too much".

I imagine this includes quite a lot of sitting round with his head in his hands, sobbing "what have I done? What have I done?" while the ghost of Gareth Gates rattles at him.

Oh, but it gets so much worse:
He said: "I get to a point where I get overloaded, where you can have a week or a month where you're responsible for so many things. You have to deal with so many people.

"This can go on from leaving the office until five or six in the morning.

"You just have enough and it's just too much information and at that point I will go on my own somewhere and work it out in my head.

"Sometimes you feel it's like a tidal wave of stuff that continues to come."

Good news, Simon - we've checked, and - on all current projections - if you didn't turn up at work for a period of all the years you have left on the Earth, nobody at all will die. There would also be positive results: the supply of low-cost childrens' entertainers would increase, and the entire world would be happier. There are even suggestions that people might start to wonder what the point of Piers Morgan is.

So, please, feel free to take some time to yourself. Perhaps a hunting holiday with Dick Cheney?

The source of this story is interesting, by the way:
In an interview on BBC2's Newsnight to be shown tonight, presenter Kirsty Wark asked if he ever suffered "dark moods". Simon replied: "Yeah, don't you?"

So, the Sun has, in effect, lifted an entire interview from the BBC.

I don't know why, but I have the strange urge to post this from earlier in the year:
In an interview with Australia's Sky News, of which News Corp. is a partial owner, [Rupert Murdoch] was asked why he expects Internet users to accept his plan to charge readers to access his newspapers' stories online when they can read the news for free on other Web sites such as the BBC's.

"But we're better," he said in the interview broadcast Saturday. "And anyway, if you look at them, most of their stuff is stolen from the newspapers now, and we'll be suing them for copyright. They'll have to spend a lot more money on a lot more reporters to cover the world when they can't steal from newspapers."

But he said he didn't think the matter would end up in a courtroom.

"They know the law," he said. "They will adapt."

You know, I bet Newsnight runs pretty much the same interview Bizarre have today. Feel Rupe's flexible-morality wrath, BBC.

Elsewhere, Elton John is hot again:
ELTON JOHN is back at the centre of a record company bidding war - 40 years on from when he first became a star.

Given that Gordon backs this up with a nameless, vague quote, you'll be surprised that even the back-up fails to stack-up the headline:
A source said: "Elton says he's writing his most exciting new stuff for years - possibly decades.

"Working with P'Nau has got the creative juices flowing again.

"They have got a load of big companies sniffing around."

"Sniffing around" is a little different from "engaging in a bidding war" - this sounds more like Elton's team trying to talk up the price of a deal from where I'm sitting.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Peter Andre's payday

Who knew that bankers' earnings could end up looking quite reasonable in comparison? It turns out that Peter Andre - a man who doesn't actually possess a box to keep a talent in, much less have anything to put in such a box - is expecting to earn five million quid next year.

Who can make sense of such a bemusing situation? Step forward HMV Vacuous Sack expert, Gennaro Castaldo:

HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo ­added: “His star appears very much in the ascendancy again while sales of Katie Price merchandise would appear to be down.”

Yeah. Even Gennaro can't really explain why, can he?

Polka News Network: Bev Rambough abdicates

A dark day for Polka in Minnesota: their local Polka Queen, Bev Rambough.

She's quitting her cable polka show to build a comedy career, but she's left disappointed people behind:

"I've gone to polka events with her, and she's a rock star to all the octogenarians," said Rambough's lifelong friend Dina Rogalla. "I went to the Medina Ballroom with her once, and she was rushed -- by elderly people with walkers. They come up to her and want to touch her, pet her. They love her so much. She's got stalkers."

The Grammy committee will tell you nobody loves polka. They don't know.

Buju Banton locked up in Miami

It must be frustrating for Buju Banton - all that time shaking hands with gays, trying to convince people that he's not really as homophobic as his gay-hating music makes him seem, and what happens when he finally turns up in America to play some gigs?

He's arrested on drugs charges and thrown in the slammer.

The Floridian authorities are linking him to five kilos of cocaine, with intent to supply. Let's hope Buju has a plausible explanation, or he might be finding more time to explore how he feels about close personal contact with other men.

Jay Reatard beaten in Austin

On Wednesday night, Jay Reatard was playing Emos in Austin when the set went a little awry, as the Austin Statesman reports:

While the set had all the makings of a fun night of pop-punk, it was sadly abridged at only 40 minutes — less than the opening performance by Austin’s own Harlem — after two rowdy fans attacked Reatard on-stage shortly after he announced he was playing the night’s final song. He retaliated by swinging his microphone stand and departed mid-song, giving the at-times rambunctious audience the finger as he exited the stage. There was to be no encore — the lights went up and the PA music kicked in as the two intruding fans were arrested by police outside the club’s Sixth Street entrance.

There's an official statement:
“Jay was attacked, totally unprovoked, by two different people, both of whom were later arrested. One guy bolted onstage and came swinging at Jay, but security took him away pretty quickly. Soon after (the band hadn’t stopped playing, by the way), another guy sprinted onstage and hit Jay. Unlike the first guy, Jay didn’t even see this guy coming. So Jay defended himself with the mic stand until security took that guy away, too. Jay is safe and unhurt, and the cops were there for about an hour afterwards.”

And there have been two arrests as a result of the scufflage. Neither were of Reatard, it's worth mentioning.

Terra Firma looking for someone to blame

While they're desperately trying to find someone willing to invest in their business, Terra Firma are trying to shift the blame for their ridiculous investment in EMI. They're suing Citigroup for fraud.

Oh, yes:

British equity firm Terra Firma Investments has sued Citigroup Inc., claiming it paid a "fraudulently inflated price" of 4 billion pounds for EMI's label and music publishing interests in 2007 as a result of misrepresentations made by the lender. In the action, filed Friday in New York Supreme Court, Terra Firma claims to have lost equity in the billions of dollars as a result of its heavily leveraged purchase of the struggling music company.

The suit adds that Citi has "sought to wrest control of EMI by pushing it into, or to the brink of bankruptcy."

I'm sure that everyone was saying how clever Terra Firma were back when they were buying up EMI, detailing the wisdom of Hands and the shrewd investment choices they were known for making. Now, it seems, Terra Firma are trying to convince us they were like country schmoes, turning up and being duped by a naughty bank.

Sure, everyone hates banks and bankers, Terra Firma. But they also hate private equity groups. And a private equity group trying to claim it was bamboozled by a bank elicts very little sympathy in the real world, as your claim seems to consist of whining there weren't enough people to sack and assets to flog off to keep your profit levels aloft.

Still, good luck with seeking someone to put a billion quid into a business you're simultaneously claiming in court is fundamentally flawed. Let us know how that works out for you.

Downloadable: Deerhunter

The always-generous Bradford Cox makes available more quality free Deerhunter stuff: an album's worth of 2005 rare stuff.

Lott on the backlot: Pixie goes to Hollywood

What next, after the talent-stretching pointless album? Why, how about a small role in an equally pointless movie?

Yes, Pixie Lott is heading towards Hollywood:

In an exclusive interview, the 18-year-old Essex girl told the News of the World: "It's really exciting - it's great that my first film is a big American one. Music is my priority, but I love acting and I'd like to get some more experience in that."

The movie - Fred - is so big it doesn't even have an IMDB entry yet and actually turns out to be a lumbering attempt to cash-in on a fleeting YouTube moment. Which, culturally speaking, makes that Super Mario Brothers Movie look like inspired.

Still, if it stops her making another insipid record for a few months, let's wish her well.

EMI nervously casts about for cash

Hey, there's no problem at EMI, right? It's just that Terra Firma are desperately trying to find a billion quid to prop the company up.

But, hey, right now it's able to cope with being £2.6billion in debt, it's just worried that if something bad happens, it might have to hand the whole thing over to Citibank.

Citibank - can you imagine them trying to run a record label? They can barely cope with running a bank.

EMI are trying to sound upbeat, but the disappointing performance of the Beatles remasters and the general yawn which met the return of Robbie Williams can't be helping steal nerves at Terra Firma.

The real question, though, is if you had a billion quid, why would you throw it in the debt hole? Wouldn't you wait for the collapse and use it to buy the decent bits of EMI in a fire sale?

This week just gone

The most popular posts from five years ago this year:

1. Amy Lee plots to strangle Britney Spears with her corset
2. Liveblog: The last Mark and Lard show of all
3. RIP John Peel
4. Is there no end to the Bedingfield clan?
5. Remembering the old Radio Five
6. 2004 Best-of lists
7. Don't try to rip off Cliff Richard fans
8. Oasis when they were still fab-ish
9. RIP Jan Berry
10. Atlantic Records propose cheapo and luxury versions of CDs

Back in 2009, these were the interesting releases this week:

Ray Davies - Kinks Choral Selection

download Kinks Choral Selection

The Get-Up Kids - On A Wire

download On A Wire

Deus - Worst-Case Scenario [Deluxe Edition]

download Worst Case Scenario

The Silkie - You've Got To Hide Your Love Away

The Cute Lepers - Smart Accessories

download Smart Accessories