Saturday, February 27, 2010

Embed and breakfast man: Nite Nite

There's not so much a debt to Siouxsie and Banshees here as a large, secured borrowing item on the balance sheet, but this is not a Bad Thing.

In fact, none of this is a Bad Thing. What this is is Nite Nite, doing a track called Black Noise. Even if you don't like the song - in which case, by the way, you're wrong - you'll love the boots:

Nite Nite are on MySpace, and they're currently repromoting album How To Touch The Moon.

Dubstar: This is the sort of thing that gets me over-excited

You might not have had much cause to visit the Dubstar website of late. But perhaps you should.

For right now, there's a gorgeous black and white photo of the band, and the words "I'm In Love With A German Filmstar 12.04.10".


Friday, February 26, 2010

6Music back on death row

Just a few days after the BBC Trust said it thought 6Music was a good thing and should be preserved comes a nasty rumour that it's going to be axed anyway.

The Times is widely being credited with uncovering the story that 6Music, along with the Asian Network, Switch, Blast and half of future web activity is to be axed - although the death of 6 was first re-rumoured in last Friday's New Statesman radio column. The Staggers reported that:

. At a meeting in early February, the channel's controller, Bob Shennan, told the gathered staff that they had three weeks to wait before the wet towel was officially removed from its bucket to be wrung. (One imagines his gestures while speaking - fingers unusually honed from writing redundancy cheques.)

The idea is that the BBC will shrink to allow "commercial rivals" room to thrive, although it's not entirely clear which company is planning to create an advertising-supported programme along the lines of Marc Riley's, or the Freakzone. Or the music programmes on the Asian Network, come to that.

It's a bit like having Radio Five axed all over again, but this time with actual listeners to disappoint. (The loss of Five, taking with it virtually all BBC children's radio, proves the fallacy of believing if the BBC stops doing stuff, commercial radio will delight at having a space to work with - advertisers want markets, not gaps in them.)

Obviously, I love 6Music and don't want a station I enjoy to be switched off for no real reason, but there is a wider policy question here, too. There is an interest in shifting radio from analogue signals to digital, but most of the digital commercial stations have struggled precisely because it's very hard to fund interesting new services from the money you make selling commercials around it. If the BBC cuts back its digital-only radio offerings, and the commercial sector can't afford to offer much, why would anyone bother to buy a digital radio? Killing 6Music isn't just killing off a station enjoyed by half a million happy licence payers; it's effectively the end of the DAB dream.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

NME Awards 2010: Next year, sponsored by Kleenex

Let's try this post again with some actual words in it, shall we?

The NME Awards happened out of their box last night, and in a surprise, The Stone Roses won every category.

Alright, nothing that interesting happened. Although, tucked inside the play-it-safe, alt-by-template prizes to Paramore and Muse and Arctic Monkeys and - so help us God - Kasabian, there were a couple of signs of individual thought. Jamie T winning best solo artist (take that, Welch) and The Big Pink picking up track of the year are probably both decisions which would justify the NME claiming to be a voice outside the mainstream.

Pity about the rest of the winners:

Godlike Genius
Paul Weller

Outstanding Contribution To Music
The Specials

Best British Band (sponsored by Shockwaves)
Winner: Muse
Nominated: Arctic Monkeys, Biffy Clyro, Kasabian, Oasis

Best International Band (sponsored by 4music/T4)
Winner: Paramore
Nominated: Green Day, Kings Of Leon, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Best Solo Artist
Winner: Jamie T
Nominated: Dizzee Rascal, Florence And The Machine, Julian Casablancas, Lady Gaga

Best New Band (sponsored by USC)
Winner: Bombay Bicycle Club
Nominated: The Big Pink, Mumford & Sons, The xx, La Roux

Best Live Band (sponsored by Tuborg)
Winner: Arctic Monkeys
Nominated: Kasabian, Muse, Radiohead, Them Crooked Vultures

Best Album (sponsored by HMV)
Winner: Kasabian – 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum'
Nominated: Arctic Monkeys – 'Humbug', Muse – 'The Resistance', The Cribs – 'Ignore The Ignorant', The Horrors – 'Primary Colours'

Best Track (sponsored by NME Radio)
Winner: The Big Pink – 'Dominos'
Nominated: Animal Collective – 'My Girls', Arctic Monkeys – 'Crying Lightning', Florence And The Machine – 'Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)', Jamie T – 'Sticks N' Stones'

Best Video (sponsored by NME TV)
Winner: Biffy Clyro – 'The Captain'
Nominated: Arctic Monkeys – 'Cornerstone ', Kasabian – 'Fire', The Maccabees – 'Can You Give It', Oasis – 'Falling Down'

Best Live Event
Winner: Blur at Hyde Park
Nominated: Jay-Z at Alexandra Palace, Muse at Teignmouth, Oasis at Heaton Park, The Dead Weather at Shoreditch Church

Best Festival
Winner: Glastonbury
Nominated: Download, Reading And Leeds Festivals, T In The Park, V Festival

Best Dancefloor Filler
Winner: La Roux – 'In For The Kill' (Skream Remix)
Nominated: Dizzee Rascal And Armand Van Helden – 'Bonkers', Florence And The Machine – 'You've Got The Love', Lady Gaga – 'Poker Face', Yeah Yeah Yeahs – 'Zero'

Best TV Show
Winner: The Inbetweeners
Nominated: Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Peep Show, Skins, True Blood

Best Film
Winner: Inglourious Basterds
Nominated: (500) Days Of Summer, In The Loop, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Where The Wild Things Are

Best DVD
Winner: The Mighty Boosh – Future Sailors
Nominated: Kings Of Leon – Live At The The O2 Arena, Flight Of The Conchords – Complete HBO Second Season, The Killers – Live From The Royal Albert Hall, Nirvana – Live At Reading

Giving It Back Fan Award
Winner: Lily Allen for her Twitter ticket treasure hunt
Nominated: Kasabian and Noel Fielding for free 'Vlad The Impaler' video, Danger Mouse for leaking 'Dark Night Of The Soul', Arctic Monkeys for their Oxfam golden tickets, Vampire Weekend for giving away 'Horchata' from the album 'Contra'

Hero Of The Year
Winner: Rage Against The Machine
Nominated: Beyoncé Knowles, Noel Gallagher, Matt Bellamy, Alex Turner

Villain Of The Year
Winner: Kanye West
Nominated: Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher, Simon Cowell, Lady Gaga

Best Dressed
Winner: Lady Gaga
Nominated: Liam Gallagher, Noel Fielding, Florence Welch, Karen O

Worst Dressed
Winner: Lady Gaga
Nominated: Matt Bellamy, Katy Perry, Liam Gallagher, Elly Jackson (La Roux)

Worst Album
Winner: The Jonas Brothers – 'Lines Vines Trying Times'
Nominated: Green Day – '21st Century Breakdown', Lady Gaga – 'The Fame', U2 – 'No Line On The Horizon', Arctic Monkeys – 'Humbug'

Worst Band
Winner: Jonas Brothers
Nominated: Green Day, Oasis, Paramore

Hottest Man
Winner: Matt Bellamy (Muse)

Hottest Woman
Winner: Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

Best Website (excluding NME.COM)
Nominated: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter,

Best Album Artwork
Winner: Kasabian – 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum'
Nominated: Muse – 'The Resistance', Green Day – '21st Century Breakdown', The Cribs – 'Ignore The Ignorant', Manic Street Preachers – 'Journal For Plague Lovers '

Best Band Blog
Winner: Radiohead (
Nominated: Muse ( and, Noel Gallagher (, Los Campesinos! (, Paramore (

The real worry is that the more these awards suggest NME readers love Kasabian, the more the NME will write about them, and the more they're lose readers who actually like music, leaving an even higher proportion of Kasabian fans for next year and... oh, it doesn't bear thinking about.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Akon flees the capital

Did you realise dry-humping accident magnet Akon was working for Capital Radio? No, I didn't either. I'd somehow missed his glorious arrival:

The multiplatinum-selling and Grammy nominated singer joined Capital earlier this month, with the station's group programme director, Paul Jackson, promising "London is going to love him!".

And now it's too late, after turning in just 120 minutes' work, he's quit. Apparently there was a scheduling conflict:
"Due to Akon's commitments, including working on a brand new album, we won't be broadcasting a regular show on 95.8 Capital FM for the time being," added the spokesman. "Our conversations about future shows are ongoing as we explore other opportunities that may work for both of us."

"Oh... hang on a moment, I've just remembered I got some other stuff to do on Sundays... that's when I rinse out my socks and make a packed lunch to take to work. Sheesh, sorry, guys. And I'd somehow completely forgotten all my other commitments when I signed up. I guess I ought to buy a diary or something."

Yes, that's plausible. Nothing at all odd about that. No.

Gordon in the morning: Praying for Cheryl

Things keep looking grimmer and grimmer for Cheryl Cole. How grim?

SINITTA has declared that she's "praying" for her X Factor pal Cheryl Cole after The Sun exposed her husband Ashley's cheating.

Her X Factor Pal? Did they go to fight in the trenches together?

Even with the troubles with her husband character, I think that if anyone was going to pop a patronising word in with God on someone's behalf, shouldn't it be the other way round?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sponsor Camper Van Beethoven

Camper Van Beethoven hope to get to SXSW this year. In order to make this dream come true, they're inviting fans to sponsor a song in their set:

How it works:

"CVB will draw up two setlists, one for each show: approximately 35 songs.

The first 35 people to donate $100 dollars will get to choose a song.

The first person gets the first choice from the setlist, the second person gets the second choice etc etc. Sorry but you will have to choose from the setlists that we create. We once tried a a fan generated setlist and it was really weird - unfortunately, not weird in a good way, or we'd probably be doing that more often!"

What you get:

*A Santa Cruz Roller Derby Girl will walk/skate across the stage carrying a placard announcing your sponsorship of the song, within full view of the audience or cameras, to have the moment captured on film or video for all of eternity!
*You can have up to 4 names or one business on each placard.

*We will contact you later for details how your sponsorship placard will read.

We reserve the right to arbitrarily refuse sponsorship from anyone or any organization. (For instance we probably won't be letting Mr. Hugh Jass and Ms. Ann Al-Aksam sponsor any songs. Probably.)"

It's a fair bet there's going to be a scramble for Take The Skinheads Bowling.

Chapterhouse in Brooklyn

The revived Chapterhouse have just announced a date in Brooklyn. Wooo-oooh, wooooo-oooh, and so on.

Government dumps plans to cut internet from file sharers

Almost as if every single vote counted, the government has announced that it won't be bringing forward plans to disconnect filesharers found to be using unlicensed files:

In a response to a petition on the Number 10 website that petitioned Gordon Brown "to abandon Lord Mandelson's plans to ban individuals from the internet based on their use of 'peer to peer' file sharing", the government says: "We will not terminate the accounts of infringers – it is very hard to see how this could be deemed proportionate except in the most extreme – and therefore probably criminal – cases."

It's not totally withdrawn the threat, though:
"We added account suspension to the list of possible technical measures which might be considered if our measures to tackle unlawful file-sharing through notifications and legal action are not as successful as we hope. This is but one of a number of possible options on which we would seek advice from Ofcom – and others – if we decided to consider a third obligation on technical measures. However what is clear is that we would need a rapid and robust route of appeal available to all consumers if we decided technical measures were needed."

So they're saying they won't buy the big dog, but might still visit the kennel if Ofcom says they should.

It's not like Brown wants to come off like some sort of bully.

Oxford Radio station attempts to shake youth, go older

FM107.9 in Oxford won its licence to broadcast on the promise of being a station aimed at the city's young and student population. It's decided that's a hiding to nothing.

At the moment, it promises to do this:


Of course it's in ALLCAPS. It does phone-ins.

Now, though, they want to do this:

Management at the station suggest this would be a cosmetic change, just swapping one pile of CDs for another.

Ofcom isn't having that, pointing out that swapping from playing The Courteeners to Jim Reeves is a "stark" one. They're inviting responses from the public.

Kerrang will pay you for your reckonings

I've often said that I'd want paying to listen to Kerrang Radio. And soon, that might happen.

They've come up with a scheme where listeners who rate unsigned bands (supplied by Slicethepie) will, indeed, get paid cash in return for their ears.

A music industry model where everyone gets paid is not to be sniffed at. You do wonder if you're offering cash for rating bands, are the raters fans getting rewarded for their insight, or farmers being paid to hit buttons?

Gordon in the morning: Predictive text

You'd have thought that News International might want to make it not sound quite so much like they're eavesdropping on phone calls, what with their track record and all.

Sean Hamilton, writing for Gordon, nevertheless seems surprisingly intimate with the calls of the Coles:

BETRAYED Cheryl Cole has ended her marriage by TEXT - telling love-rat husband Ashley: "Move out. It's over."

She did a pay a solicitor £115 an hour to write that text for her, though. Probably.

Meanwhile, Ashley has been on the phone to "pretty Ann", who is somehow involved in the sorry tale:
He sobbed down the phone, telling her: "I can't lose my wife over this. If I lose my wife, I don't want to live."

"... I don't want to live in a bedsit in Tulse Hill, which I understand is what happens to newly-divorced men."

It must be handy for the Coles having all their communications stored and searched and shared around like this - ordinary people have to sign up with Google to get that sort of service.

It all means The Sun can go back into the 'told you so' mode it was enjoying so much the last time this happened:
We first exposed Cole in January 2008, after he bedded hairdresser Aimee Walton, 22.

Two weeks ago we told how he sent raunchy snaps of himself to glamour girl Sonia Wild, 28.

Of course, we were happy to run stories saying it was all happiness again between these times, but let's forget that bit, shall we?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Too hot for Spotify

Last night, Spotify vanished from the internet. Why? It was gettin' hot in there, so it took out all its nodes:

Saturday evening there was a power outage at a large data site in London where we host some of our servers. The backup power kicked in as planned, however, one of the big air conditioners in the data centre did not start properly. Heat is a major issue in large data centres and without this cooling unit the temperature rose very quickly and our servers shut down to protect themselves from over heating. Once we discovered the source of the problem we started work on bringing the servers back online but because of the large number of servers and the complexity of the system it took a few hours to get everything up and running again.

Yes, tonight they're pouring quarts of Ben And Jerrys into the computers. That'll stop things getting too hot, that's for sure.

EMI deny Abbey Road sale

After all the fun of 'save Abbey Road' for a week and a half, it turns out there's nothing to save. EMI deny they're even planning to sell it.

Or, as seems more likely from the the various well-placed stories, they would have sold it like a shot if they'd been able to offload it but with the current market and the likelihood of not getting change of use permission, they're not going to.

Still, there's an official denial:

"In response to recent press speculation, EMI confirms that it is holding preliminary discussions for the revitalisation of Abbey Road with interested and appropriate third parties," the company said.

"Abbey Road studios had, for a number of years, been losing money and we have developed plans to revitalise the studios.

"These plans would involve a substantial injection of new capital."

A famous and venerable studio like Abbey Road being allowed to lose money year after year after year? If I were EMI, as owner of the studios, I'd be having a word with the managing company to ask what the hell they're doing. Although as EMI also manage the place, that would require a certain degree of self-harming.

I made Lady GaGa

No, not me. I didn't. But it seems like I'm the only person in the world who isn't claiming responsibility for her existence. In just the last week, with varying degrees of credibility, The Sun, Akon and Cat Deeley all tried to suggest that, without them, she'd just be a crazy woman with a glitterball sellotaped to her head.

The Sunday Mirror has a stronger 'I made her' claim, from "her friend and mentor" Lady Starlight:

"I was the one who told her to take her trousers off because I rarely wore any myself."

If telling women to take their trousers is now mentoring, there's several people living under court orders who should instead be hailed as motivational speakers.

It's nice to see Starlight getting her position in the star, erm, limelight. But isn't the real answer to 'who made GaGa' whoever looked at Peaches and calibrated how far down her shtick would have to be toned in order to work for a mass audience? Or possibly a flipchart somewhere with the words "Bjork PLUS Madonna = $$$" on it?

This week just gone

One of our more geeky rummages in the analytics today - the top-ten browsers used by No Rock visitors this year (you make me proud, by the way):

1. Firefox [in order of popularity, 3.5.7; 3.5.6; 3.0.17; 3.6; 3.0.16] 38.92%
2. Internet Explorer [7.0; 8.0; 6.0; 5.5] 33.25%
3. Safari [531.21.10; 528.16; 531.9; 530.17; 525.20.1] 14.83%
4. Chrome [;] 7.89%
5. Opera 2.16%
6. Mozilla 1.37%
7. Mozilla Compatible Agent 0.44%
8. Opera Mini 0.38%
9. Playstation3 0.28%
10. NetFront 0.12%

These were the interesting releases:

Built To Spill - There Is No Enemy

Download There Is No Enemy

Field Music - Field Music (Measure)

Download (Measure)

Nitzer Ebb - Industrial Complex

Download Industrial Complex

Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago

Download The Golden Archipelago

Blueboy - Unisex

Download Unisex

Pet Shop Boys - Pandemonium Live

Download Pandemomium

Lightspeed Champion - Life Is Sweet...

Download Life Is Sweet...

Blur - No Distance Left To Run on DVD

Buggles - Adventures In Modern Recording

Download The Age Of Plastic