Saturday, September 10, 2011

Gordon in the morning: Kasabian are packing

A couple of paragraphs about what Kasabian eat on tour. It might make something to pad out a fanzine, if it was a very large one. Or - if you're Gordon - it's a news story:

Serge Pizzorno said: "We've got Uncle Ben's fried rice, stir-fried rice, noodles and baked beans. It's like a tuck shop.

"It's 2am, we're starving, so we'll knock on Marty, our security guy's door and he just goes 'Come in' and you sit around the microwave. It's pretty special."
Mmm. That is so interesting.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Eddie Vedder crowdsources DCMA takedowns

You know what's hard? Keeping an eye on everywhere on the internet, to see if someone is breaching your precious, precious copyrights.

What, though, if you could unleash the power of your superfans? That's what Pearl Jam appear to be doing, with The Ten Club issuing takedowns against someone who stuck up a snatch of Vedder playing live.

What a great scam - you charge people $20 to join a fan club, which then gets deployed as a private copyright police force. Dave Cameron should speak to Ed and see if he can bring some of that magic to community support officers.

Guy Hands tries to grab EMI back

Given his strategy when in charge of EMI was throwing money away down pointless black holes, it's not surprising that Guy Hands is intending to doggedly fight on to regain the corpse of the label.

He's now chasing a bee that thinks that maybe all the outstanding debts that Citi were calling in had, in fact, been properly serviced:

Hands believes that all payments on debt had been maintained up until Citi took control in February, although EMI was expected to break a test of its banking covenants at the end of the first quarter.
That seems like the sort of detail that Hands should (a) be certain about and (b) have been certain about back during the first test. If you're relying on EMI to flog your records or pay your royalties, you're going to have to hope that Hands just pisses his cash away on lawyers.

Alan McGee laughs as the world burns

Long-term friend of this blog Alan McGee has been sharing the benefit of his insight into the modern world of music with The Australian.

Shall we listen in?

“I don’t really like music,” he said, adding that considering that people in the industry were “drug-addled” and he’d grown tired of them. “With music it’s never enough for anybody… everyone wants to be Jagger or McCartney. As you grow older, it’s bullshit, you’re not that.”
Alan McGee was thirty six when he helped bring Be Here Now into the world. So clearly he must mean you have to quite a bit older before you realise that shouting drug-doused donkeys isn't that interesting. Thank god he's reached 50 and finally worked that one out.
He explained that in his time away from the industry not much has caught his attention. In fact, outside Glasvegas and The Libertines he wasn’t fussed on much these days.
Yeah, if you want an example of band that doesn't have any sense of a singer with a drug-addled Jagger complex, The Libertines would be exactly the sort of thing you should go for.

Still, McGee knows the struggles of being a small label owner, so perhaps he'll drop his grumpy old sod persona when asked about the PIAS fire?
“I read that the Sony PIAS Building burnt down. I’m probably the only person who thought that was funny. I call that a result. Got rid of all the shit music. And you get paid for it, the stuff you couldn’t sell.”

What a contrarian, right?

Indeed, when asked about the comments later, McGee even trotted out a defence which even included that last refuge of the boring old fart, the "I'm not afraid of being politically correct" line:
I hate Sony, if the Sony building burnt to the ground again as it did, I’d say that was a result, I think it's funny. Loads of shit music getting burned, I think it's great, and I'm sorry if that’s not popular and if that's not PC, but fuck PC, that’s what’s ruined England, not being able to say what you think; sorry, but I do, and if you don’t like it go fuck yourself.
Let's just try and stop our eyes rolling for a couple of minutes to squeeze in one last quote - because as well as standing by his oh-so-brave assault on PC, he also claims all the other things he said were just ignored:
The British media have tried to ignore what I think. They took the statement, they weren't even there; come down here and basically take what I said out of context, which was basically taken from 5 or 10 seconds from a 30-minute chat, but I don't back off it, there’s loads of shit music and if it gets burned so what?
Perhaps they only took those few seconds because everything else was boring, confused garbage like how all music is rubbish apart from The Libertines?

[Thanks to Michael M]

J unaware of PJ

There's been a bit of a fluster over Jessie J's revelation she doesn't know the work of Polly Jean:

When asked to comment on PJ Harvey’s win, the ‘Price Tag’ and ‘Do It Like A Dude’ star confessed that she’d never heard of her, but vowed to explore her back catalogue after the interview, asking, “Is she good then?”
Is it really so surprising that a 23 year-old didn't spend a lot of time listening to classic era John Peel? I'll bet she doesn't know who Silverfish were, either.

Wasn't the point of the Mercury when it launched - alongside promoting the now-defunct Cable And Wireless domestic telephony service - to introduce people to music they might not otherwise have come across? Isn't that job done?

Nick Lowe responds to a point on BBC Breakfast

"Simon Cowell says that the X factor is about the only place you can see music on television"
"Did he say that? That's delusional, really."

Gordon in the morning: We were only being boring

To be fair, trying to make something out of anything Leona Lewis has to say is always tricky. Trying to do something enticing with an interview where Lewis talks about how dull she is is a real tall order.

But how did Gordon attempt to spark some life into this unappealing mixture?

Over the years Leona Lewis has carved out a reputation as the Steve Davis of music with her not-so-interesting interviews.

But she's not fussed people consider her less entertaining than a John Virgo trick shot.
Oh, yes. An extended, ten years out of date snooker metaphor. That brings it to life.

Gordon better watch out: his bosses are recruiting new showbiz blood for online activities. I'm not sure hacking out a gag about Joe Davis is going to cut it in this new world.

Horrifying news to wake up to

You log in to Twitter, and read this:

Nickelback announce new album 'Here And Now'
Why would you tell someone that first thing in the morning, NME? Why?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Gordon in the morning: man dresses casually

Oh, the horror. Gordon publishes photos today of Ray Davies which might shock you.

KINKS star Ray Davies looks a long way from his Sixties heyday — wearing jogging bottoms that are too short and white socks.
Perhaps if the shitty London Media pap who took the long lens shot of him had called him in advance and warned him that he was going to be photographed for no apparent reason in the street, he might have worn a suit. Or perhaps he might have thought "I'm having a quiet day off, going for coffee, why the hell should I lob on a suit just because I once wrote a song about a third party who was a dedicated follower of fashion? After all, there'd be no earthly reason for a national newspaper to run a story about me wearing jogging bottoms, is there?"

It was thirty years ago today...

Some of you will feel very, very old indeed on the news that Just Can't Get Enough by Depeche Mode is thirty years old today:

This is the song that effectively split Depeche Mode - Dave Gahan told an anecdote about how they realised they didn't realise what Vince Clarke was going on about when they were followed by a gaggle of teenage girls singing the lyrics at them. Those teenage girls grew up to be The Saturdays. Possibly.

The band promoted the record with a Look-In Colour Centre where, for reasons that were never entirely clear, they dressed up as cricketers. The headline? "Some people think you're cute; others that you're slightly vile." There wasn't even a cricketing pun in there.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Popjustice £20 Music Prize

You know, it's interesting that the big fuss that they used to make about the Mercury being worth twenty grand has been quietly dropped over the last few years; presumably a sign that the honour is worth it for itself and they don't need to wave a cheque to drag people along to play a song off the record.

It was the PopJustice £20 Music Prize which reminds me of how they used to make a fuss about the cash.

This year's PJ prize for single-minded single making has gone to The Saturdays, by the way. For this:

In case you're wondering...

What criteria was used to decide U2 would win the GQ Award for band of the year at last night's prize-giving?

The age-old "are they prepared to turn up" criterion, of course.

Shopwatch: Criminal Records

Criminal Records has been in Atlanta for 20 years; its owner, Eric Levin, is the president of the Alliance Of Independent Media Stores. And, unless Eric can clear a $150,000 debt by November 1st, it's likely it'll go out of business.

Levin is optimistic that he can make it:

Criminal is reminding people its end is not certain. "OK, y'all, please hold off on the RIPs and farewells," they wrote at the Criminal Records Twitter page. We're not dead and gone yet."

"It's up to the public and Atlanta now," says Levin. "We've done our part."
And bands are rallying round - Manchester Orchestra is offering to do an in-store. But it's clearly touch and go. It's not often you'd wish Criminals good luck, but these deserve everybody's support.

Mercury Prize 2011: Very little to add

So, now we've got a second truth to add to "winning the Mercury curses your career": PJ Harvey always wins in a year which ends in a 1.

It was a bit of an odd show on BBC Two. Not least, there was Jools Holland twice confusing "album" and "envelope", which isn't great for an album award prizegiving. Maybe he was nipping up the road to do the Stationery Suppliers Awards afterwards.

Polly's acceptance speech reference to September 11th 2001 seemed surprisingly ill-judged; like a thought that truncated itself for fear of accidentally turning into a funny anecdote about mass murder.

But: in a strong field Let England Shake is a worthy winner. See you at the 2021 awards, Polly.

Gordon in the morning: Gordon goes to the GQ awards

The superclash - Booker Shortlist, Mercury and GQ Awards all happening around the same time - was going to create a loser. And that would be the GQ Awards. Guess which one Gordon went to?

He did manage to get a scoop, though:

YOU might imagine a summer holiday for Bono involves sleeping in an oxygen tent at Cannes or counting his collection of hats.

But at the GQ Awards last night the U2 frontman confessed to a far less glamorous activity — walking his new pet dog around Dublin.
Yes, in return for the hire of an ill-fitting dinner jacket, Gordon got a story that Bono has a bought a doggy.

Here's the painful list of winners for the prize, awarded by a magazine that some of you might remember from the 1980s:
International Man – Bradley Cooper
Lifetime Achievement – Duran Duran
Woman – Lara Stone
Band – U2
Sportsman – Rory McIlroy
Politician – George Osborne
Designer – Tommy Hilfiger
Actor – Benedict Cumberbatch
Solo Artist – Tinie Tempah
Music – Hugh Laurie
Writer – Keith Richards
TV Personality – Professor Brian Cox
Comedian – Rob Brydon
Chef – Heston Blumenthal
Editor's Special – Bill Nighy
Tanqueray Most Stylish Man – Matt Smith
Help for Heroes – The Armed Forces
Inspiration – Mario Testino
Surprise Award: Man of Next Year – Lord Sebastian Coe
You would have to agree; George Osborne is every bit as good a politician as Keith Richards is a writer.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Madonna: gratitude personified

Given that most people are queuing up to empty large buckets of derisive vomit over Madonna's latest film WE, you'd think that anyone showing her a kindness would be welcome, right?

Good lord, didn't he read the instructions? Acceptable gifts included oscars, Malawian children, or expensive pieces of red string.

If ever an event didn't need celebrities...

Sure, the 9/11 "What will you do to remember" campaign has its heart in the right place, but if ever an event didn't need Lady GaGa bouncing about to draw attention to it, surely the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks are it?

Beginning on Tuesday (September 6) through Sunday, Viacom's networks will air specially produced "I Will" public service announcements featuring artists and actors, including Gaga, Fran Drescher, Pauly D, Nas, Hough and Bell, along with Viacom employees.

"We were in disbelief," Lady Gaga says in the promo, remembering how she as a New Yorker witnessed the attacks. "We all watched the second tower fall together."
I'm not sure that actually answers the 'what will you do to remember' question, come to that.

Gordon in the morning: Worst chart battle ever

In his tireless bid to create some sort of chart throwdown, today Gordon is trying to suggest Example's Playing In The Shadows is wrestling with 1.

1. Yes, because one of the most rotten Beatles compilations has been re-released, Smart is convinced there's a fight on. He's been helped in this by Example sending a jokey text claiming it was only The Beatles who could stop him getting to number one.

Did Gordon bother to do any research for this? Even on iTunes, where the collection hasn't been available before, 1 is at 3; over on Amazon, 1 currently sits at, erm, number 49 in the sales chart.

I bet Example can feel the breath of the two that are still breathing on the nape of his neck with sales that close.

Ex isn't keen on the idea of old records gumming up the charts:

"It would be pretty ridiculous if songs released 30 to 40 years ago were beating me."
Gordon's response?
He should take it as a compliment to be in a chart beside them.
Really, Gordon? The acts who are in the chart alongside you reflect on you in some way? How does that work? "I want to send Example a message that I like his records. Therefore I shall buy two Beatles records at the same time. It's the ultimate compliment."

Monday, September 05, 2011

Gordon in the morning: What exactly is he suggesting?

If I'm reading Gordon's writing underneath a Pixie Lott photo correctly, he seems to be suggesting that Lott charges people to look at her tits:

PIXIE Lott will have to give pyjamas like this a miss now her brother has moved in to be near his new job.
Before observing that her boyfriend spends time at the house as well, Gordon ends:
She could make a fortune if she started charging rent.
It might be that he just saying that she should charge her boyfriend and brother rent, but given that the focus of the piece is a massive cleavage shot, there's certainly an implication that the rental income might be tied to something other than the square footage of the spare room.

If you haven't done so yet...

On Freddie Mercury's birthday, Google have produced a - naturally - flamboyant Google doodle to mark the day.

Why do people bother with Bing?

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Pixie Lott is real, and cannot stress that often enough

Injection-moulded popstar Pixie Lott has been given some lines about how she's the real deal:

"The biggest misconception about me is that I'm a manufactured pop puppet," she told The Mail On Sunday. "I'm my own creation and I march to my own beat.

"I've been writing my own songs since I was 13 and I've accumulated hundreds of them. I've been working obsessively in the studio since my mid-teens."
In fact, to prove her point, she then repeated herself while her manager drank from a glass of milk. Enough to convince anybody.

The key point, obviously, isn't whether she is or isn't a construct - nearly all pop music is constructed - but if what results is worthwhile.

Let's not be cruel by carrying that point through, eh?

Pixie has more to say:
"One by one, my childhood dreams are coming true," she gushed. "As a kid I'd watch MTV and think how great it would be to have my own music videos on those shows. Now I turn on MTV and, along the bottom of the screen, it often reads, 'Coming next… Pixie Lott.' That's so strange that I can't even begin to make sense of it."
Yes, it is strange if they're trailing you as coming next on MTV. I had no idea that you were Sixteen And Pregnant.

My Chemical Romance dump their drummer

Apparently, My Chemical Romance are keen for people to not speculate over this:

Some shit happened last night and before the blogosphere gets all crazy with false statements and ridiculous opinions we want the true story to come from us... But please listen close because this is the only time we are ever going to talk about this. The relationship between My Chemical Romance and Michael Pedicone is over.

He was caught red handed stealing from the band and confessed to police after our show last night in Auburn, Washington. We are heartbroken and sick to our stomachs over this entire situation.

The band has no intention of pressing charges or taking this matter any further than we have to. We just want him out of our lives. The people who play in this band are a family, and family should not take advantage of each other like he did. We are currently moving forward, and hope to have a new drummer in place for our show in Salt Lake City, Utah. The show must go on.
Yes, that's not a statement which leaves any questions hanging in the air - like what was it he could possibly have "stolen" that was bad enough to demand a sacking, but not talking to the police? And is it entirely fair to dismiss an employee, brand him a thief, but not allow him either right of reply or the dignity of a proper investigation of the claims by the police?

Mary Margaret O'Hara weekend: When You Know Why You're Happy

From a cable show called Night Music, Mary and a house band:

[Part of Mary Margaret O'Hara weekend]

Leona Lewis comments on current events

Talking to The Guardian Guide, Leona Lewis struggled to explain the riots.

Fair enough: it's going to be quite a while before anyone will actually really understand the causes of the riots, and by then the world will have moved on and will be rioting elsewhere, for different reasons. So perhaps it's a bit much to expect Leona to have something coherent to offer.

"It was just hoodrats getting totally out of control," she froths, with an indignant swish of her newly dark, single-plaited hair. "I don't think there was any motivation behind it other than to cause trouble cos they're bored and want free stuff. Total, total hoodrats. Little shits!"
If we take this as a thought-through position, doesn't Leona think that 'boredom' is a motivation of itself? And that 'boredom' has its own causes and impulses?

And, given that Lewis is effectively trilling Cameron's "criminality pure and simple" line, albeit while wearing slightly nicer underwear, surely there's a question why these pure, simple criminals acted out on those three or four days last month, and not at any time before or since? Didn't something cause those "hoodrats" to suddenly swarm like hoodrats over branches of 3?
"I don't care how poor you are," she scoffs, "there's no excuse for setting fire to people's property. I was, 'This is our community and you're setting fire to your neighbour's house? You could kill someone!' They weren't even thinking about it."
That's true; there wasn't a lot of analytical thinking going on. And, indeed, there won't be any if Lewis has anything to do with it, not while people confuse 'understanding the causes' with 'making excuses for'.
"My dad was saying, 'It's been a long time coming,'" she notes. "He was, 'We have so many laws and regulations against us that we can't discipline the kids. There is no discipline.' It's a lack of discipline and respect. Yeah, some were opportunists just taking stuff but the ones setting light to stuff? When I was young there were always troublemakers but it's changed so much."
I've tried to pick this apart to work out what Lewis actually means here - is she saying that the looters had understandable motivations if they weren't also arsonists? Or just the opportunist looters? How does an opportunist looter differ from a hoodrat?

The suggestion that troublemakers have got out of hand is fascinating, given what Lewis is in the paper to promote:
Most intriguingly, there's the stunning trip-hop of Trouble ("It's very London,"), as if Kate Bush in 1979 was transported through a pop Tardis to front Massive Attack in 1991. Her spectral vocal imploring "I'm a whole lot of trouble."

"It's definitely true," she smiles. "I am a whole lot of trouble."
So, presumably, in Lewis' moral kingdom, troublemaking is a finely-graded thing - some troublemaking is fine; some, even desirable. But there's a point at which troublemaking turns into hoodratting, and then it becomes a thing that's bad.

But let's just turn back to her views on a lack of respect. Leona Lewis owes her fame to a television programme whose premise is inviting people to come and have a go at achieving fame and fortune without the need to demonstrate much in the way of talent or work to achieve that end, and which, especially in its early stages, consists of very rich people sitting in judgement on the have-nots, alternating between pissing on their dreams and deriding their deficiencies. Perhaps Lewis doesn't want to look too closely at the culture that has rioted, because it might be close to home in ways that aren't solely geographic?

Mary Margaret O'Hara weekend: Peanuts

Another slice of supporting vocals from Mary - here, helping out the Tindersticks. There is another version of this video where, rather than a still of the cover, the song is laid over the top of footage from the TV adaptation of Charles Schulz, which feels like it's missed the point a little bit.

[Buy: Falling Down A Mountain
[Part of Mary Magaret O'Hara weekend]

King B-Fine fine with homosexuality

Towards the end of last year, King B-Fine's Jah No Dead generated a rage-whorl in the Australian queer community. The run-out of the track called for killing of chi-chi men; when cornered, B-Fine claimed that he was using the term to mean bad people generally, and not gay men:

“Greetings in the name of Jah Rastafari, I would like to make myself clear; in this new video clip, at the end of the video I sing burn down (Chi Chi Man) and I want to make myself clear in that what I mean is to burn down all the bad people, (child molesters, gangsters, rapist, people who destroy the life of another), please everyone am sorry if what you understand was wrong, but I have nothing against same sex, please don’t get me wrong. I believe that everyone is equal. One love.”
Not everyone was convinced by this - it seemed as unlikely as any of Morrissey's desperate attempts to explain how he was being misunderstood, but since then Fine has appeared pretty genuine in his attempts to prove that, even if he meant killing gays at the time, he's over that now:

He's convinced Peter Tatchell that his recanting is genuine. And if you can convice Peter Tatchell, you're either lying incredibly well or genuine.

Mary Margaret O'Hara weekend: November Spawned A Monster

Yes, it's a Morrissey single, but the interesting background noises? That's yer actual Mary Margaret O'Hara:

Morrissey - November Spawned A Monster by EMI_Music

[Part of Mary Magaret O'Hara weekend]

This week just gone

The most-read August stories were:

1. Gary Numan flees the UK
2. The PIAS/Sony fire wasn't part of the riots
3. Morrissey responds to the riots
4. That post where I said the Sony/PIAS fire didn't look like it was part of the riots
5. Will Young rails against parking tickets
6. Not that sorry: Fox News apologises to Chris Brown
7. RIP: Conrad Schnitzler
8. Mutya takes back the Sugababes brand
9. Linda Perry says Katy Perry is what's wrong with pop music
10. Vampire Weekend settle with Contra cover model

 These were new releases (from the week before last, actually)

The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient

Download Slave Ambient

CSS - La Liberación

Download La Liberación

X - Original Albums Box Set

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Mirror Traffic

Download Mirror Traffic

Hard-Fi - Killer Sounds

Download Killer Sounds

I Break Horses - Hearts

Download Hearts

Various (including Airborne Toxic Event, Rachael Yamagata) - Muppets: The Green Album

Download The Green Album