Slightly longer than our usual slap-and-run embeds, this. It's a 33 minute, narration-free examination of Ennio Morricone's music, curated by The Sadnesses:
[Originally from Network Awesome]
Saturday, March 03, 2012
Slightly longer than our usual slap-and-run embeds, this. It's a 33 minute, narration-free examination of Ennio Morricone's music, curated by The Sadnesses:
Every so often, there's an international jolly where a couple of Liverpool bands and a few "figures" from "the scene" cross over to New York to checks business plan boost cultural connections between the two cities.
There's one coming up, which has run into a snag: it had a gig by The Las at the heart of things, but now The Las have pulled out.
I'm not sure that placing Lee Mavers as the cornerstone of your plans is ever a good idea, is it?
They are putting on a brave face:
Today, a Sound City spokesman said: “We can confirm that The La’s will now not be performing.I love Dutch Uncles, but I'm not sure they're quite the same draw. And, erm, aren't they from Stockport?
“New York Sound City goes on though with Dutch Uncles and Paula and Karol performing and with a fantastic convention programme taking place at The Hudson Hotel."
Pixie Lott? HahahahahahwhatisshelikeissheonDRUGS?
The 'All About Tonight' singer says she has no desire to experiment with illegal substances and just wants to concentrate on having fun when she goes out with her friends.Of course, the minute heroin is legalised, it'll be different matter. But while it's illegal, it's out.
Now, I'm not a big fan of drugs, but am a bit bemused by the suggestion that they might interfere with your ability to "concentrate on having fun" - sure, a full-on heroin habit might be difficult to work around on a night out, but given that "recreational drug use" is a thing, it's not a universal truth. And I'm given to understand that at some pubs and clubs, it's actually easier to get drugs, which tend to be delivered to the table, than the more legal alcohol, for which one must schlepp across to a bar and queue.
Still, I think we know what she means.
Not so sure about this bit, though:
''I'm not going to pretend I'm some crazy reckless person. I'm just a normal 21-year-old, who likes to go out and have fun.So she claims that it's not easy to get into drugs in the music industry - a claim that it would be easy to accept if you have never been backstage at any musical event for more than two minutes, or read anything about the music industry, or sniffed a chair that Pete Doherty has ever sat in.
People say it's easy to get into drugs in this industry, but I don't think that's the case. Every kid sees it growing up but I think if I was going to do it, I would have by now. All my friends are the same as me.''
The music industry isn't a place you'll find drugs sloshing about.
But apparently - "every kid sees it" - everywhere else is knee-deep in drugs.
So, by entering the musicv business, Pixie Lott has cut herself off from the risk of being given a cocaine quesadilla every time she leaves the house.
But as if we weren't already through the looking glass (upon which someone has chopped out a line), she then reveals that she's "a normal 21 year-old".
Which means, surely, that she's not like someone from the record business, where it's difficult to even find a bottle of Tipp-ex for a cheeky sniff, but like someone outside. Where everyone sees drugs all the time.
It's a good job she doesn't do drugs; god alone knows what she'd come up with if she was on the other side of the doors of perception.
You know, I might have been a bit tough on the old police-bribing, army-compromising, phone-hacking, murder-interfering team over at News International this last... well, this last forever.
But people like, say, Joanne Cash are adamant that the papers that ooze out of the edifice are vital to the health of our democracy.
It's true, of course. Today, Gordon starts a story with this paragraph:
PUFFY-FACED Lindsay Lohan draws a picture of a burger during a game of Pictionary on a US chat showCan you imagine a world in which such a story didn't get published?
Friday, March 02, 2012
There's a class of band who you didn't really notice had gone until you get a PR email announcing their comeback; and then you go 'oh... they were alright, they were'.
Into which category falls this lot:
Yes, Easy. A terrible name back in the early 1990s; effectively the same as not having a name when you need it to be plugged into search engines. Surprisingly for a band who attracted a fair bit of attention and were bought onto some plum tours not so long ago, they don't even appear to exist on Wikipedia. Well, not the English language version.
Still: back back and so on; there's a single, For Beauty; an album, Popcorn Graffiti is due in April. I wish them luck; I think the name is going to be a very real problem for them. (Mind you, they changed their name to Fly briefly, which would have been even worse.)
Given the way The Sun treated Amy Winehouse as a kick-toy when she was alive, an announcement from Gordon Smart that he's teamed up with Winehouse's family to find a new Amy is a bit scary.
What criteria will they use to judge that one?
Although there seems to be some confusion about what, exactly, they're trying to do.
Gordon says they're looking for a new Amy:
Sylvia said: "We loved Amy and we are thrilled and honoured the Amy Winehouse Foundation is setting up this scholarship in her name.The Sun sponsoring a prize in the name of someone whose decline they helped precipitate. Presumably applications must be accompanied by a long-lens photo.
"It would be wonderful to find another Amy but there was only one of her. We would be happy to find a singer, dancer or actor who has a special talent."
To be honest, though, when I first heard we were entering Engelbert for Eurovision, I was hoping it was this:
I'm a little lost as to why choosing someone who can deliver a song well to represent the UK in the Eurovision song contest is causing such a blind panic.
Tony Christie for 2013, anyone?
Thursday, March 01, 2012
This week's Music Week catches up with Ed Parkinson. Ed is UK director of Viagogo, who last week Channel 4 made one of the focuses of their Dispatches investigation into the secondary ticket market.
Ed is keen to reassure the world that everything is fine and above board.
But what of that massive pile of credit cards sitting about in your offices, Ed, asks Music Week. He can explain that:
"That practice was really misrepresented by the programme," he said. "We have historically purchased a number of tickets [this way].Is that clear, then?
"Predominantly, we offer customers a guarantee that if a seller [fails to] get them a ticket, we'll give them their money back or provide a replacement.
"Having a small number of tickets in stock helps us fulfil that guarantee. If they're not used they do get sold on - sometimes at a profit, sometimes at a discount."
It's not that ViaGoGo pretends to be individual buyers in order to purchase tickets which they can then sell on at a hefty mark-up.
It's simply that ViaGoGo pretend to be individual buyers in order to purchase tickets which they will then seel on at a hefty mark-up if nobody else provides them with tickets to sell on at a hefty mark-up.
And how can that be in any way questionable, because the company have done this "historically". And, besides, they have a "guarantee" which they have to fulfil. Which makes it okay, yeah?
[Cheers to @Pedro_Dee for the tip]
There is one wonderful moment in the Sun's coverage of the NME awards.
There's a photo of Carl Barat wearing a jacket.
And the caption?
Rocking the leather look ... Carl BaratReally? "Rocking the leather look"? Presumably the massive party thrown to celebrate the withdrawal of James Murdoch from their boss class must have left the subs bench off their game.
The consensus seems to be that it was Florence And The Machine's night at the NME awards last night. She only won two prizes, but if you stare very hard at those, you can try and pretend that this never happened:
Best British Band: KasabianYes. Really.
There are some signs that this year, although it might not be exactly alternative, the NME awards haven't just gone to winners who would have been in with a chance of getting the same prize at The Brits. Florence's best track and best solo is still quite a timid choice, but The Horrors best album would never have been echoed at the O2. And whle The Vaccines were shortlisted for equivalent of best new band on both lists, at the Brits they were clearly making up the numbers while at the NME they took home the prize.
If Muse won the Most Dedicated Fans category, how come they lost their traditional Best Live Act to the Arctic Monkeys, eh?
It's not a list that suggests rude health for either the music world or the magazine, but it's probably the least worst winners in full for a while:
Best British Band: KasabianStill, it appears the people who still buy the NME believe Kasabian to be the best band in the world.
Best International Band: Foo Fighters
Best Solo Artist: Florence + The Machine
Best New Band: The Vaccines
Best Live Band (supported by Carling)
Winner: Arctic Monkeys
Best Album (supported by HMV)
Winner: The Horrors - 'Skying'
Best Track (supported by Fender)
Winner: Florence + The Machine - 'Shake It Out'
Dancefloor Anthem (supported by NME Radio)
Winner: Katy B - 'Broken Record'
Best Video (supported by NMEVideo.com)
Winner: Hurts - 'Sunday'
Best TV Show
Winner: 'Fresh Meat'
Best Music Film
Winner: 'Back And Forth' - Foo Fighters
Greatest Music Moment Of The Year
Winner: The Stone Roses reunite
Winner: The Smiths - 'Complete Reissues'
Winner: Noel Fielding - 'The Scribblings Of A Madcap Shambleton'
Hero Of The Year
Winner: Matt Bellamy
Villain Of The Year
Winner: Justin Bieber
Winner: Justin Bieber - 'Under The Mistletoe'
Winner: One Direction
Best Album Artwork
Winner: Friendly Fires - 'Pala'
Best Band Blog Or Twitter
Best Small Festival
Most Dedicated Fans
Winner: Jared Leto, 30 Seconds To Mars
Winner: Hayley Williams, Paramore
There's also an example of the structural problems the brand is facing. At the foot of the winner page is this:
To read all about the awards and all the shenanigans from the night, pick up next week's issue of NME, which is on UK newsstands next Wednesday (March 7) or available digitally.How does that help anyone, never mind the NME? It means that the day this week's issue came out, effectively it became outdated (it's a Sex Pistols front cover, so it's decades out of date, but you get my point.) Online visitors don't get any coverage, save for a slight blog, when they'd expect it, and instead are told to wait an entire week, then switch off their computer and go to the shops. And meanwhile, anyone interested in the "shenanigans" will find other newspapers and websites more than happy to fill them in. (Gordon Smart has done a page, for example.)
So, in effect, the NME has spent a fortune filling up other people's gossip pages, rendered this week's issue redundant and next week's dedicated to an event which will have been so far in the past it might just as well be an interview with John Lydon. Even if you're not going to embrace digital first, shouldn't you at least hold the prizes the day before you go to press to close the gap a little?
On the other hand, if Kasabian win best band, why would you be in any rush to tell people?
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
After The Observer's rather generous 60th birthday coverage, the Guardian is a little more cool towards the NME. (Bless, it's like the NME and Melody Maker taking different tacks on a band, isn't it?)
Krissi Murison gets to deny a few high-profile rumours - she says it's "categorically untrue" that there was an issue before Christmas which only scraped 12,000 sales; denies they're dumping guitar bands (unless Noel goes ragga, it would seem unlikely) and rules out the title going free.
She also points to the seven million unique visitors to nme.com as evidence of the title being in rude health. Except that figure is boosted by the addition of a lot of film and TV content which isn't really what people think of as being the NME; and it's questionable how many of those seven million even know there's a magazine, and a heritage, behind the site.
And the fixation on the past that is currently choking the life out the magazine? It's brilliant, apparently:
She talks enthusiastically of the magazine's embrace of the past over the last year, when it ran a number of retrospective cover stories.The very mention of focus groups suggests part of the problem, doesn't it? Sit a bunch of kids around, give them biscuits and ask them what they think of the idea of putting John Lennon on the front page, and you'll get lots of applause. But are they going to go out and buy the magazine?
"Young fans really love these covers," she says. "Our focus groups get really excited when it's the Smiths or John Lennon. You used to be really limited in what you could listen to, but now you have access to everything – young readers don't think chronologically about music."
(Consults ABC figures.)
No. No, they're not.
I know we're living in different days now, but the idea of NME covers being dictated by focus group feedback seems to miss the point of what it should be doing. What you'd hope it should be doing.
BBC news is reporting the death of Davy Jones, former Monkee and, for one episode, the grandson of Ena Sharples.
Manchester-born, he'd meant to be a jockey. But instead, he became an actor; and that lead to being in a sort-of-answer-to-The-Beatles-in-a-sitcom role in the Monkees.
Perhaps, though, his biggest influence on modern music was by virtue of having nabbed the name David Jones. Without which, David Bowie might never have had to change his name.
You'll recall Jessica Michalik, the young woman crushed to death at The Big Day Out while Limp Bizkit were playing.
Fred Durst certainly does, and is now using her as set-dressing:
Unveiling a giant pink backdrop with Michalik's name on it, Durst revealed that he had not wanted to perform, but organisers had told him that the crowd would riot if he refused to go on. He then performed 'My Way' to an audience which included Michalik's father George.Hmm. So it wasn't Fred's fault.
That's odd, though, because while the coroner handed much of the blame to the promoters, she also condemned Durst quite strongly, too:
Ms Milledge saying Fred Durst could have taken the situation more seriously and reacted, stopping his "anti-authoritarian act." She said his comments on stage during the attempt to rescue Jessica were "alarming and inflammatory".Perhaps the organisers also forced him to make the comments he did while people were trying to help Jessica.
Durst, of course, refused to attend the inquest and only gave evidence by video link - too busy, you understand, not afraid of not being allowed to leave the country.
There's also the strange question of the hospital visit that we heard all about, but which never happened.
Even without the unanswered questions, the use of someone crushed during one of your sets as a stage prop would be distasteful. Without Durst being honest, it's sickening.
I can think of at least one person who will be going "squeeeee" with delight - albeit in a dreamy sort of way - at the unveiling of Dead Can Dance European tour dates:
September 2012This sort of thing, but if you get tickets sooner you might be a smidge closer:
19th - HCTAT, Istanbul, Turkey
21st - Earth Theatre, Thessaloniki, Greece
23rd - Lycabetus Theatre, Athens, Greece
25th - MCV, Utrecht, Holland
27th - Grand Rex, Paris, France
29th - Cirque Royal, Brussels, Belgium
1st - Alte Oper, Frankfurt, Germany
3rd - Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany
5th - CCH, Hamburg, Germany
7th - Philharmonie, Munich, Germany
8th - Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany
10th - KCP, Prague, Czech Republic
12th - Bkz Oktyabrsky, St. Petersburg, Russia
13th - Crocus City Hall, Moscow, Russia
15th - Sala Kongresowa, Warsaw, Poland
17th - Papp Laszlo Arena, Budapest, Hungary
19th - Teatro Degli Arcimboldi, Milan, Italy
20th - Batiment Des Forces Motrices, Geneva, Switzerland
22nd - Auditori, Barcelona, Spain
24th - Casa Da Musica, Porto, Portugal
26th - Royal Albert Hall, London, United Kingdom
28th - Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
There's a long lens shot of Johnny Marr in Gordon's column today, which claims to be of Marr leaving a tanning salon. Although it's actually of Marr stood outside a tanning salon, which is slightly different.
Not entirely sure why Gordon thinks there's either any defence of the photo, nor any need to run it. He tries what might be the most pathetic attempt I've ever seen to pretend there's a "story" at the heart of it:
He was snapped head-to-toe in the latest Nike gear last year on one of his fitness workouts. He looked like Mr Motivator.Actually, any Smiths fan has no hope other than there never being a reunion to ruin their memories. But even if they were "hoping" for a reunion, what fan of the band would assume a photo of a man wearing a tracksuit, followed a few months later with that man walking outside a tanning salon, have anything to do with the band at all?
Smiths fans will hope all this clean-living might be geared towards a reunion.
Show us Mike Joyce and Morrissey coming out the same building, you might have a justification. Other than that, this is just a seedy photo of a bloke outside a shop.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
TV-biz, which seems to be half-in and half-out of Gordon's kingdom, lifts a story from The Radio Times:
FORMER Oasis star Noel Gallagher has joked he would be an X Factor judge for £1MILLION.Now Noel saying things and then changing his mind later isn't unusual. But to run a splash and a headline that are based on a claim that is revealed to be a joke with the very next breath is a bit shabby.
Naming his price, Noel, 44, said: "It's about six months' work, innit? I reckon it would have to be a million pounds after tax."
But he backtracked after realising the ITV show's boss Simon Cowell might take him up on his offer.
He told Radio Times: "I say that tongue-in-cheek."
I know, as we learn more of what a corrupt hole The Sun is, this is a bit like complaining that it's cold in a sewer, but couldn't they at least pretend they're better than the world thinks they are?
Monday, February 27, 2012
Frank Skinner wasn't impressed with the Brits:
"The Brits used to be this massively controversial thing with people taking trousers down and someone throwing water over John Prescott," he told That Sunday Night Show. "It has gone really downhill now."Yes, it used to be massively controversial. When exactly did the rot set in?
Some might say 2002 was a key point in the turning of the event into a prepackaged drudgeathon. That year Dido won prizes; Sting performed and Travis was lauded. And who was presenting the show that night?
Erm... that would be the same Frank Skinner.
Uncut gets relaunched tomorrow, with a greater emphasis on cheaper content ("classic interviews from the NME and Melody Maker archive").
It's an interesting idea, relying on the NME's past to help fill up a magazine. It's a pity that seems to also be what the NME is doing as well.
Interesting thing over on Boing Boing: Danish band Qu'est-ce Que Fuck had been going to play a gig protesting against ACTA. Only KODA, the royalty-collection organisation, put a bunch of stupid hurdles in their way, including an insane demand for over-the-top payments from the organisers.
Just to reassure you, it IS 2012:
Punk rock band The Sex Pistols have signed a record deal with Universal, it has been announced.Why? Seriously: what is point new Sex Pistols deal?
An "expanded and repackaged edition" of the band's Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols album will be released later this year.Repackaged? Isn't the original packaging kind-of the bit that's stood the test of time?
"To be given the opportunity to re-evaluate the Sex Pistols catalogue is every music lover's dream," said Universal's Karen Simmonds.Really, Universal's Karen Simmonds? You think that not just anybody who believes that there's anything left to re-evaluate, but that every music lover is dreaming of doing it?
Record labels. They're really their own worst enemies, aren't they?
Everyone seems pretty clear that last night's headline from the Oscars was The Artist won. It was The Artist's night. Well done the French.
That's unless you're relying on Gordon for your Oscars coverage, where the plum top left position goes to...
Apparently, Cricket's US mobile-music-bundle Muve service is thriving in the US. The Guardian reports the words of John Bolton, "senior director of product":
"[O]ne year in, we have 600,000 paying subscribers, making us the second largest digital subscription service in the US."Well, I guess if you compare your mobile phone service with, erm, digital music subscriptions - being second to Rhapsody might sound impressive. Even if you're still about half a million behind, and Rhpasody doesn't come with unlimited talk, text and data.
But how does Muve compare with products that it actually competes with? Tolerably well; it seems to be the thing that's working well for Cricket, offering lower churn rates than their traditional no-contract phone contracts. But the US has over 325 million mobile phones, so however well Muve is doing, it's still a minnow.
Cricket are proud of Muve, though - it looks like every tenth subscriber sign-up triggers a press release. So proud, in fact, it's doing most of their heavy lifting when talking up results. Given that AT&T are looking for a new target after being shut out of a T-Mobile takeover, it's probably that Cricket parent company Leap are hoping that Muve will be successful enough to fatten up a takeover offer.
Will the labels be thrilled by Muve's success, though?
Perhaps not so much. Back to Mr Bolton:
"What's powerful about this offering is that the music feels free," says John Bolton.Isn't the idea that music is free one that runs contrary to the message the RIAA labels - all of whom are part of Muve - have been fighting against for years?
Again, though, Bolton has hit the nail on the head: the music feels free because what's driving Muve is the unlimited offering of connectivity. The music feels free because it's not what people are buying it for. Nobody will say no to Britney Spears for nothing, but you suspect Muve sign-ups wouldn't be so far off without the music element.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Olly Murs - imagine Gary Barlow crafted by the makers of Fireman Sam - appears to overestimate his brand recognition:
Asked whether he is as well-known as the queen, he said: ''Maybe in the UK, but the queen is known across the world and I definitely don't think I have got to that status.The Queen was reported to be "fuming" at the suggestion: "Sixty bloody years on the notes and stamps, sixty state openings, sixty Christmas day messages. Can he compete with that? I've got a fucking bridge named after me. Where is the Olly Murs bridge, if he's so famous? Can he show me a single pillar box with his initials on? I'm tempted to have him thrown in prison. I've got prisons. They're my majesty's prisons. Murs hasn't even got a lock-up garage. Tosspot."
Nevertheless, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson did reveal, on condition of anonymity, that the Queen's advisors are considering an offer for her to mentor the girl band on next year's X Factor "to help with brand recognition in the 16-30 age bracket."
There's a nice piece in The Observer today looking at the sixty years history of the now-defunct NME through editor's favourite covers.
I say sixty years; there isn't anything from before 1979. And, somewhat oddly, there's no contribution from Conor McNicholas. They don't quite have the current editor, either:
It was certainly a provocative choice for an NME front, but to be honest, what else would she have gone with? The last couple of years of fronts of the NME have felt like a constant rotation of Noel Gallagher/long dead pop star/list issue/Liam Gallagher.
In fact, just how out of sorts the NME front page has become is shown by the choices of the other editors of what was 'of their time'. All the previous decade's choices have featured in the last quarter of the magazine as well.
So, Alan Lewis picks The Stone Roses cover from November 1989; They got two front pages in October 2011 (and, I suspect, will be on there again before the year is out.)
Steve Sutherland picks the Blur v Oasis battle, a clash that still rumbles on with Noel having last shown up on the front page last week and Blur, erm, this.
Neil Spencer has picked a punk cover; next week, unbelievably, the NME is putting the Sex Pistols on the cover. (Spencer's choice, incidentally, is the Slits nude-mud cover, which was genuinely challenging and part of a debate, rather than Lydon banging on like a pantomime dame again.)
Murison, whose editorship started well and has spiralled down noticeably over the last year or so, ending up with a Beatles front page at the turn of the year, attempts to sum up the current editorial stance of the paper but unfortunately ends up sounding like a letter to Smash Hits, circa 1986:
I started just as dubstep had gone from underground to overground and artists in whatever genre were generally being more experimental. People always say to me that such-and-such is an NME band but that doesn't mean much to me. There are two types of music, good and bad, and genre doesn't come into that.Looking at the list of acts who have appeared on the front pages, or in the lists of best albums, that starts to ring a bit hollow. A magazine that genuinely believed that would be something to behold - jazz rubbing against interesting noise against folk.
But that's not what the NME is - in fact, what seems to be the definition of an NME band in 2012 is 'was it an NME band in the last century'?
So, with the relaunch of the News Of The World, Gordon starts a seven-day working pattern. Let's hope Kasabian can play enough golf to fill the new acres.
With the first edition of the paper, promises that despite being run by the same executives who have been busily deleting emails and trying to hush-up stinking journalistic practices, you can trust The Sun On Sunday Of The World:
Our journalists must abide by the Press Complaints Commission's Editors' Code, the industry standard for ethical behaviour, and the News Corporation Standards of Business Conduct. We will hold our journalists to the standards we expect of them.Well, that's quite a promise.
After all, a newspaper which holds the powerful to account must do the same with itself.
You will be able to trust our journalists to abide by the values of decency as they gather news.
So, at least we can be sure that if we turn to Gordon Smart's column, we won't find the medical details of a member of the public being shared simply because of a connection to a celebrity; nor that those details seem to have been passed to Smart by a vaguely-descibed "pal", right? Because nobody would launch a newspaper pledging to be held to the highest standards of conduct while doing something shady like that, right?
Adele’s Brit pain over nan's heart scarePresumably Adele only "hid her pain" to create an exclusive for The Sun On Sunday. I'd love to know how the trustworthy Sun On Sunday came by this story. Clearly, not from someone who wanted their name to be linked to the story.
EXCLUSIVE By JOHN COLES and GORDON SMART
The shattered chart queen, 23, staged a vigil at the bedside of 68-year-old Rose — who helped raise her — before hiding her anguish to go on TV.
A close pal of the songbird revealed she cancelled all her engagements after the widow's collapse in a South Wales supermarket.
The most-read stories during February have been:
1. Noel Gallagher shares his love of Thatcher
2. Is MySpace coming back
3. Brits 2012: The liveblog
4. Whitney Houston: some parting thoughts
5. Kylie stretches her knicker range
6. RIP: Christopher Reimer
7. Tatu puzzled that the world thinks they're gay
8. What do you do if Bono tells you no?
9. AC/DC remain off iTunes for some sort of reason
10. Sony ratchet up cover price of Whitney Houston album
These were this week's interesting releases:
Tindersticks - The Something Rain
Download The Something Rain
Nanci Griffith - Intersection
Sleigh Bells - Reign Of Terror
Download Riot Rhythm
Lambchop - Mr M
Download Mr M
Julie London - Whatever Julie Wants
Download Whatever Julie Wants
More from No Rock on this week just gone