Saturday, May 15, 2010

Badly drawn Lady

When I was a kid, pop success meant, if you were lucky, you'd get a comic strip in Look-In, in which your pop persona was bashed into delivering a couple of set pieces and a punchline.

Nowadays, though, we fawn a little more heavily, so Lady GaGa's getting a 'my struggle' comic book which runs through her 'story' with some very, very bad drawings.

The extract shown on Pedestrian suggests that GaGa's story is actually being boiled down to a ho-hum-High-school-outsider affair ("The Nuns didn't like me") which makes it sound less like the real story of someone's past and more like Degrassi Junior High having a crack at doing Don't Let Me Get Me in drama class.

Sophie Ellis Bextor clears it up

Rushing to Twitter, Fab Sophie corrects the wrong impression a BBC interview might have given:

i forgot to say I HAVEN'T COLLECTED STAMPS SINCE I WAS 8. just to clear that up

That's a night spent steaming definitives off envelopes wasted, then.

Daily Mail welcomes our new Ginger overlord

Nice email from James P as the new Rajar figures come in:

Thought you might be interested to read the Daily Mail's ReverseFerretMungous piece on how, actually, it turns out Chris Evans isn't a demonic egotistical megalomaniac dancing on Terry Wogan's grave (except on Fridays) after all:

To be fair to the Mail (who, after all, are all about the fairness), they've resisted the temptation to pretend their last six months' coverage never happened, and have instead printed a piece from a former critic admitting Evans has proved his fears wrong.

Being a Daily Mail piece about the BBC though, the article does crowbar in the obligatory reference to Jonathan Ross's 'vile call'. And, in an epic display of irony, this reminder of Andrew Sachs' existence takes the form of a quote from Evans; "Andrew Sachs doesn't want to be remembered for this. He wants to be remembered for what he's done brilliantly"

Words, of course, the Mail will remember. I'll bet they've already got the 'Hounded to death by the BBC: Sachs of Sachsgate dead' frontpage ready to roll.

Ian Astbury: Everyone is a robot EXCEPT ME If destroyed still true

Bloody hell, Ian Astbury's pissed off. If he's not raging at people not letting him do stuff, he's shaking his bony little fist at people who do let him do stuff.

Right now, he's angry that nobody stopped him from having a go at being in "The Doors":

"There wasn't a single American singer who stepped up to the plate and said: 'I want to do this. I'm an American artist – I demand to do this," He tells the HeraldSun. "Not Eddie Vedder, not Dave Grohl, not Trent Reznor, not Perry Farrell. Not Scott Weiland. Not one of them stepped up and fought for it. When The Doors needed that generation to surround them and support them, the cupboard was bare."

Trent Reznor turned down the chance to lead the freshly disinterred corpse of what was left of The Doors? Hard to believe, isn't it?

It doesn't, of course, occur to Astbury that there's a possibility some singers might have loved The Doors so much they felt that pretending to be Jim Morrison would be a bad thing to do. Or that Vedder, Grohl, Reznor and Farrell are from the generation-two-along from Jim and thus don't really have any sense that they 'owe' a few older guys anything when they started up their nostalgia trip pension fund.

Or perhaps they could just spot a shitty stick when they're being handed it.

Gordon in the morning: Liam Gallagher with the begging bowl

Gordon is excited that Liam Gallagher has shuffled down to Cannes to try and raise cash for yetanotherbloodyBeatlesfilm:

Liam also promoted his clothes range on the trip. He was top to toe in Pretty Green clobber.

Personally, if I'd been asking rich people to underwrite my pet project, I'd have tried to dress a bit smartly. But each to their own.

Bret Michaels: Too soon?

Bret Michaels is still in the 'just had a massive brain flump' period, but planning on getting back to work. He's told People that he's going to do a show at the end of the month. Must be hard to stop playing hard and loose with your health when it's all you know...

VirginMedia's Rapidshare blockage cock-up, not copyright

A ripple of panic ran round the internet yesterday as customers of VirginMedia suddenly discovered they were unable to access Rapidshare or Megaupload. Surely, ran the logic, the ISP is blocking these services because some users don't pay proper attention to licensing when they use them.

Calm down, says Virgin, it's just a bungle at our end:

"We are aware of an issue whereby certain file upload sites were unavailable for Virgin Media customers from late evening Thursday 13th May. Virgin Media did not block these sites and we are investigating the root cause. In the meantime we have implemented a workaround, and customers should be able to now access these sites again. We apologise for any inconvenience."

ISP Review offers a handy guide to getting round such 'problems' should they happen again.

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Peter Serafinowicz

Peter Serafinowicz - off the internet's popular Twitter - contributes to Gawker to explain why he "steals" movies - even the ones he's in:

Frank Zappa once said that Communism could never work because people like to own stuff. I felt a similar way about CDs when music began to arrive in MP3 form. Now, my music happily resides in my iTunes library, spread over various computers and iPods.

Music's purpose is to be heard. It doesn't need to live on discs in boxes on a groaning shelf any more. When I go into a Virgin Megastore or HMV (a rare occurrence now, a vestigial habit) I just see a huge room filled with redundant plastic. Now with Spotify and other streaming services I'm even starting to begrudge the space taken up on my hard drive.

I recently directed the music video for Hot Chip's "I Feel Better." Contractually, the video had to be hosted on EMI's official YouTube channel, which disabled non-UK users from viewing it, limiting its audience by around 80%. Frustrated, I put it up on my own YouTube channel with no region restrictions, and at time of writing is just shy of a million views. EMI then remotely disabled embedding on my version, thereby limiting its audience again. If you're in the business of promoting a band, why would you want to stop people watching their promotional video?

[Thanks to Michael M for the link]

Friday, May 14, 2010

Katy Perry's tribute to Big Star

Well, not her tribute so much as her manager's, but a tribute nevertheless:

"My manager, Bradford, he's from Mississippi, and he's a huge Big Star fan," Perry told EW. "And with the death of one of their members, I had just written that song, and he's like, 'Katy, just for me, will you please title it 'California Gurls,' with a 'u'? People won't even know!' I don't know the whole catalog of Big Star, but I did it because Bradford is one of my best friends, and I thought it was cool, and you know, the kids like those variations."

It was all lovely until she got to "the kids like those variations."

Embed and breakfast man: Los Campesinos

From Carson Daly - kind of like the Talkshow Marc Riley:

Streaming now: Tame Impala

Over on Tame Impala's MySpace page, at the moment, it's Innerspeaker, streaming in full.

[via Gorilla Vs Bear]

Sick City Sometimes: Bomb scare at The Buzzcocks gig

New York's quite a jumpy place at the moment, with every odd car getting a second look. And sometimes a controlled explosion.

Last night, terrorism-jumpiness met punk-revivalism as a Buzzcocks gig was locked down after a 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera was spotted outside, possibly with gas canisters in the back.

It was alarming for fans at the gig for a while - there was a genuine fear that if people weren't allowed to leave for a couple of hours, The Buzzcocks would be forced to play some of their new songs - but eventually people were allowed to leave by a back door.

Gordon in the morning: Vickers in a twist

Well, that's Diana Vickers growing in most people's estimation, then:

FOR a second day running DIANA VICKERS has broken a rule of Bizarre's renowned school of celebrity

Yesterday, it turned out she was dating someone from Big Brother - apparently there's some sort of rule against reality show also-rans cross-dating with people from other shows.

So what she's done today? Signed up to record an album with Lembit Opik? Oh, no, it's much, much worse:
Now, she's snubbing my staff.

Gordon seems convinced this story reflects badly on Vickers, and it doesn't seem to have occurred to him that it might be his face upon which there is the egg.
[S]he lost Brownie points at the afterparty. While I had a 20-minute audience across town with WESTLIFE - who have sold millions of records worldwide - Diana didn't stop and shoot the breeze for more than a minute with my team-mate LIA NICHOLLS.

That's not cool.

Holy Jesus in a bucket - you were talking for twenty minutes with Westlife? No wonder right-thinking people were skirting your column like it was ticking.

Given that yesterday morning you cleared half your page to mock her for having Billy Bhatti as a friend, Vickers actually comes out of this reeking of dignity. While a man who runs a story saying 'even a minor pop star won't talk to me and it isn't cool'... perhaps less so.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

6Music: Here come the listeners

The couple of Sonys might not have done much to protect 6Music from the long journey at sunrise, but the latest listening figures might. 6Music has broken the million listeners barrier for the first time, reports MediaGuardian:

6 Music had an average weekly reach of 1.02 million listeners in the first three months of this year, up from 695,000 in the final three months of last year, according to official Rajar figures published today.

It turns out the plans to close the network were more effective than any marketing campaign the BBC has tried so far.

In other RAJARs news, Chris Evans remains safely ahead of Chris Moyles at breakfast - both saw their audiences grow. So fears that Evans would lose Wogan's listeners were misplaced; nor, apparently, has Evans brought in a younger crowd. The average age of a Radio 2 listener is still 51.

Evan's figures, 9.53 million, gives him the largest radio audience since the current RAJAR methodology came in back in 1999.

Gordon in the morning: The black sheep of the family

I'm sure the news that her brother was arrested by police investigating a firearms offence will have caused many competing emotions in Cheryl Cole. Given his track record, though, 'shock' seems unlikely. Maybe resignation, or a sense of 'here we go again'. But shock?

In other clunking Cheryl Cole news, Gordon claims that she is - ahem - "gagging for it". No, no, he has a source and everything:

"Sex was the last thing on her mind when she was coming to terms with her relationship ending.

"But now she's over it, she wants a smile back on her face."

I think we can all make up our own punchlines here, yes?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Penthouse and Pavement hits the streets

It's 30 years since Heaven 17 released Penthouse And Pavement. While you absorb that thought, and wonder where the years have gone, and feel the breath of the reaper on your shoulder, and sob for your lost youth and crushed dreams and... sorry, where was I? Oh, yes, you might want to book tickets for the celebratory tour:

Edinburgh Picture House (Nov 22)
Glasgow ABC (Nov 23)
Manchester Ritz (Nov 25)
Birmingham Institute (Nov 26)
London Forum (Nov 28)
Oxford Academy (Nov 29)
Brighton Corn Exchange (Nov 30)
Bristol Academy (Dec 1)

"We've checked, and apparently there is no exit which allows you to leave with dignity"

Even though nobody really likes Louis Walsh, you do have to wonder why someone didn't step in to tell him to not do this.

[With thanks to Michael M]

Peter Andre: The downward spiral

Excitement from Thorpe Park in an announcement less than a month ago:

Thorpe Park have announced that Peter Andre will be performing LIVE at Thorpe Park on 23rd May 2010, he will be joined by 'X Factor sensation Lucie Jones' and Flawless will be heading back to the park to show off more of their legendary dance moves!

Tickets are available from £28 on the Thorpe Park Website by Clicking Here, along with seeing your favourite stars perform, ticket holders will get 1 hour ERT (Extended Ride Time) on the parks most thrilling attractions, Saw - The Ride, Stealth, Colossus and Nemesis Inferno!

Even more excitement this morning:
Peter Andre tickets now just £12

That's some quite serious deep discounting. Peter Andre seems to be caught in his own personal nemesis inferno.

Sonys for 6 and Asian Network

The idea that Frankie from The Saturdays presented Jarvis Cocker with a rising star award is no more strange than the suggestion that it is, somehow, in the national interest for George Osborne to be in the Treasury with a booster seat and a talking calculator.

Yes, it's the Sony Awards, and although there are prizes for Adam And Joe (comedy) and Jarvis (aforementioned rising star), there wasn't very much applause for 6Music, and doesn't really conjure an image of Mark Thompson putting his head in his hands and asking "what have I done?" Good at comedy and giving Jarvis a show - while both good things - aren't quite what 6Music is primarily designed for, and not really the focus of the save the network campaigns.

Nihal's prize for the Asian Network - best speech programming - has a bit more heft to it, because it treats AN as really having a bit of breadth and influence.

Mind you, the whole awards ceremony is suspect, given that the Bono Elvis poem thing won a prize - despite everyone in the entire world having had their ears removed in shame after hearing it.

Zane Lowe won two prizes, and not for the first time, and Scott Mills is apparently better than Chris Moyles.

Winners in full over on the Sony site.

He hasn't got Atari Teenage Riot on his Apple iPod...

Missed this during the election week: Apple have apparently turned down an Atari Teenage Riot app lest it be used to create riots. Alongside the songs there was sounds of an actual riot, which, apparently, could be bad:

According to a press release, those sounds include "very low sub basses, square waves, noise sounds which trigger hysteria and panic within the audience." So your iPhone could make a whole lot of people very uncomfortable, if hooked up to big speakers-- which ATR encourages, via press release.

It's not that Apple are worried about the social implications, but 'making a horrible noise which gives people the willies' is covered by a patent that Justin Beiber holds.

Gordon in the morning: Uncle festering

While the Liberals and Labour and the Tories are busy having meetings, other great minds are coming together:

FORGET live gigs - MARVIN HUMES has the scariest moment of his life fast approaching.

The JLS star is steeling himself to meet ROCHELLE WISEMAN's uncle - former Manchester United hardman PAUL INCE.

Oh yes. Impressing your girlfriend's uncle is the most important thing you ever do. (Thank God the Uncle was fairly famous, otherwise Who Do You Think You Are researchers would have been deployed to find someone, anyone, who Sun readers might have heard of, to power-up the pedal-power couple.)

Also, I know you'll have been worrying about this:
[Chanelle Hayes] insisted that she won't sleep with her new fella Jack Tweed until after the baby is born, out of respect for her ex Matthew Bates - the father of her unborn child who she split from last year.

Now we can all breathe again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

You Keep Me Hanging On: 1974 Revisited - The new bands

1974. While the UK was thrashing about trying to decide who was in charge - last time round - these bands were coming together:

The Nits - Dutch Beatle-influenced pop briefly intersecting with Golden Earring. Actually, given The Beatles had recently been having a go at everything they could think of, it must have been hard for anyone to launch a record without someone spotting some Beatles influence.

[Buy: In The Dutch Mountain]

Poised to somehow pass off pub-rock and strippers as being punk, The Stranglers had their first rehearsal while Wilson chewed his nails.

[Buy: Decades Apart]

Hey, ho, let's go... The Ramones came together at a school in Forest Hill. Which is odd, considering they're all related, right?

[Buy Anthology]

Across New York...

Working for the time being under the name Angel And The Snake, the band who would become Blondie were wrestling themselves out of The Stilettos.

[Buy: Parallel Lines]

But while punk was coalescing, something else was stirring - a band who wouldn't release a record for four years, but would be a leap forward:

Japan. They'd be along to save us during the early Thatcher years.

[Buy: The Collection]

Part of You Keep Me Hanging On: 1974 revisited]

EMI decision day

Today's the day when Terra Firma will ask its investors to pour more cash into the mismanaged black hole of EMI in order to persuade Citi to let them keep going.

Citi will decide on Friday if they're going to call in the loans; Guy Hands and his team believe that investors have, in principle, agreed to let him spend more of their money while hoping that Robbie Williams might do something to save them all. This week, it's about getting written confirmation of that.

Meanwhile, Sony are rumoured to be tying a bib round their neck and getting ready to feast upon EMI's carcass:

Head of Sony Music Rolf Schmidt-Holz said: “We are in a position that allows us to seize every opportunity in the market – including EMI.”

Not good news for Hands, as Citigroup have already indicated they might reject Terra Firma's plans if they don't feel they're in the best interests of EMI. And a cash-rich alternative owner might tip the balance.

Singerobit: Lena Horne

"The black singer Lena Horne has died", announced Radio 4, mentioning how she fought to overcome racial prejudice. Not so successfully, it turned out, that she wouldn't be described as a "black singer" upon her death.

Horne's background was different to that of many of her generation of artists - she was from a very well-to-do family, with an uncle who was an advisor to FDR, and a grandfather, Samuel R. Scottron, who made a fortune from inventing better curtain rods and was a senior figure in the Republican Party.

Lena herself, though, started to head in a different direction - dropping out of High School without a diploma and joining a chorus line at The Cotton Club. She developed a movie career alongside a musical one, working with MGM in roles which could be cut from the Southern releases of movies.

It was a 20th Century Fox movie which would create the iconic Horne moment - singing the theme to 1943's Stormy Weather, while on loan from MGM.

The difficulty of getting good roles led Horne to be increasingly disenchanted with Hollywood - losing the lead in Show Boat to placate rules on interracial relationships was a major blow - and by the 1950s she was concentrating on music. She recorded for RCA-Victor, got "nightclub" residencies of a Waldrof-Astoria sort, and became a staple for high-end TV variety shows. She even got the ultimate accolade: a guest slot with The Muppets.

She retired from live performing in the 1980s, but still released the odd studio collection - her last appearance being on 2000's Classic Ellington album.

Lena Horne died Sunday night; she was 92.


Exciting times for Interpol, as they finish up the new album and get ready to take the thing out on tour. What could possibly fling a cloud into this sky?

Besides, erm, Carlos D quitting:

Dear fans,

As some of you have surely heard, Interpol has completed it's new album.

It was recorded at Electric Lady Studios, New York, and mixed with Alan Moulder at Assault and Battery, London.

The four of us poured our collective heart into this music and we are very proud and excited to share it.

It's a heavy record. But we're feeling limber; and we're going to carry it all around the world for you.

Touring begins this summer, so check here soon for announcements and show dates.

There is more:
Sadly, Carlos will not be joining us.

After the completion of the album, Carlos informed the rest of us that he would be leaving the band. He has decided to follow another path, and to pursue new goals. This separation is amicable, and we whole-heartedly wish him great happiness and success. We will remain, as always, deeply respectful fans of this blazingly talented individual.

We can tell you that we have some very exciting new recruits joining us on the road. So stay tuned - we will promptly be revealing the identities of these illustrious players.

We eagerly await the opportunity to reconvene with you all
- the greatest fans known to Rock.

Thank you.

The use of the word "recruits" kind of implies they're going for a Have I Got News For You rotating guest Carlos, which would be brilliant.

Gordon in the morning: Kylie arse

It's great to see a showbiz duo reunited, isn't it?

KYLIE MINOGUE proves her bottom is still tops - bringing it out of retirement in a raunchy new video.

Who knew that Kylie's butt had retired? I hadn't been paying much attention, but it turns out it had left showbusiness a few years back, to pursue a dream of running a small bar in Spain.

Kylie, meanwhile, spent some time using Stuart Price to work in the role previously performed by her bottom, although on some appearances she went solo. Even though that made sitting down difficult.

Her original bottom has been tempted back from retirement, though, as the Spanish bar business has been quite badly hit by the recession and the ash cloud.

Oh... it turns out that all that's really happened is Kylie has worn a pair of hotpants again for the new video. Not that she's run out of ideas or anything.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

You Keep Me Hanging On: 1974 Revisited - the albums

While Wilson, Thorpe and Wilson struggled over whether the grand piano would remain in Downing Street, the album chart saw a monster battle being fought between The Carpenters, and a collection of singles, and Slade, with Old, New, Borrowed And Blue.

My Friend Stan, off the Slade album:

Ah, Top Of The Pops. How will bloggers of the future fling together a lookback at these strange days without a Top Of The Pops archive to dig into?

You never turn down the chance for a spot of the Carpenters:

Slade won out briefly, knocking Carpenter and Carpenter from the top slot, only for the compilation of singles to reasset itself at number one.

[Part of You Keep Me Hanging On: 1974 revisited

Teenage Fanclub dates for your diary or iCal or whatever it is you use

Three Teenage Fanclub sessions coming up later this month:

# May 26th – Live in session with Radcliffe and Maconie on BBC Radio 2
# May 27th – Live in session with Marc Riley on BBC Radio 6 Music
# June 9th – Live in session with Lauren Laverne on BBC Radio 6 Music

Henry and Glenn sitting in a tree

There's somethings which, however intriguing they might sound, you really don't want to look directly at. A comic depicting a gay romance between Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig is probably one of them.

I mean, where would they even live, LA Weekly West Coast Sound blog?

Oh, their neighbors are Hall & Oates, who are just your average neighborhood Satanists with a penchant for D&D.

Actually, that makes sense.

You Keep Me Hanging On: 1974 Revisited

So we're dumped back in the late Winter of 1974, as Jeremy Thorpe took time off from plotting murders to try and thrash out some sort of Liberal-Tory coalition.

And what was the music like as the country spent the last weekend not knowing who was really going to be in charge?

For a start, this was the number one single:

[Buy: Suzy Quatro's greatest hits]

It's worth mentioning that the week of the next election, the public had moved on from spirited women in leather jumpsuits beating the crap out of guitars and were buying this, instead:

(Kung Fu Fighting had been the number one as the polls opened, but John Denver was what was selling in the week of the election.)

[Buy: John Denver's Finest Songs]

The period of Wilson's hung parliament actually had some brilliant number one singles. The Rubettes:

[Buy: The Best Of The Rubettes]

And The Three Degrees:

[Buy: The Best Of The Three Degrees]

Mind you, The Streak and Always Yours - which manages to be one of the less forgivable things Gary Glitter has every done - also bubbled to the surface while Wilson struggled. So perhaps it's not such a great omen.

Some other 1974 bits to follow
The albums
The new bands

Chris Moyles forgets he's been on television

There's two things about Chris Moyles channeling Les Dawson for a pop at Beth Ditto on Radio One.

The first is the really weak way Fearne Cotton "dealt" with it, which perhaps isn't surprising.

The second is the whole idea of doing fat jokes about Beth Ditto. Doing fat jokes about anyone is a bit weak and very cheap, but given that Moyles is a man who could benefit from a little more anaerobic exercise, and Ditto is very upfront about her size, what was the point? All Moyles will have done is legitimise in his audience's mind the idea that being rude to larger people is okay - and their targets might find it harder to feel positive in the face of the yahoos than Ditto does.

Radio One could do a lot more for kids' self-esteem by shutting down Sunday's Surgery and just putting Moyles out to grass.

Downloadable: UNKLE

As a way of interesting you in new album Where Did The Night Fall, UNKLE and Amazon are doing a free download of the track Natural Selection.

No bobs, your UNKLE. If you like.

This week just gone

A good dead in a bad world: Support CHSL's bid for cash to improve children's self-confidence through literacy.

As the politicians jostle for position, here's where the leaders turn up in No Rock Searches, in order of popularity:

1. gordon brown
2. bad things about gordon brown
3. david cameron 11 years old flying concorde
4. david cameron bpi
5. gordon brown arctic monkeys
6. "david cameron", paul revere and the raiders
7. "one legged lithuanian" lesbians and david cameron
8. david cameron modest mouse
9. david cameron salford lads club
10. "gordon brown" "golden brown"

Nobody has ever come to No Rock looking for Nick Clegg.

These were this week's interesting new ideas:

Nada Surf - If I Had A Hi-Fi

Download If I Had A Hi-Fi

The New Pornographers - Together

Download Together

Cocorosie - Grey Oceans

Download Grey Oceans

The Hold Steady - Heaven Is Whenever

Download Heaven Is Whenever

Alabama 3 - Revolver Soul

Download Revolver Soul

"Hole" - Nobody's Daughter

Download Nobody's Daughter

John Foxx - Metatronic

Placebo - Covers

Download Covers

Patsy Cline - The Complete Decca Masters

Download Decca Masters

A Fine Frenzy - Bomb In A Birdcage

Download Bomb In A Birdcage