Saturday, May 05, 2012

Adam Yauch: A round-up

As you might imagine, there's a lot of Adam Yauch memories being shared online today. Here's a quick dip into some of them. points out that he was a Beastie Boys multitasker:

With Adam Yauch's passing, the Beastie Boys have lost not one, but two members. Under the name (lederhosen, and fake-beard) of Nathanial Hornblower, the erstwhile MCA shaped the band's visual legacy from the '80s up to the present day. Yauch directed many of the Beasties' best videos -- though his alter-ego wasn't necessarily relegated to behind the camera. (In 1994, for instance, Hornblower crashed the stage at the MTV VMAs, stealing the mic from R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe -- who wasn't as acquainted with the "Swiss" director as the kids at home.)
Spinner shook Twitter for responses:
"In times of doubt I can think on the dharma and the enlightened ones who graduated samsara" #RIPMCA -- Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend

The Beastie Boys basically invented the concept of the cool white person. #RIPMCA -- Chromeo

Such sad news about Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. A fellow Buddhist and part of hip hop history!! R.I.P! -- Boy George

RIP Adam Yauch. You made my teenage years more fun and your art made it easier for me to do what I do. For a Beastie, you sure were a beaut. -- Kevin Smith, filmmaker
Rolling Stone reprints their 1998 Beasties cover story:
Adam "MCA" YAUCH – the spiritual seeker – what of him? He registers under the name I. Clouseau, as in Inspector Clouseau, for he is a huge Peter Sellers fan. His favorite Sellers movie is The Party. "He plays an Indian actor," Yauch says, "and the movie was banned in India because he is playing this bumbling idiot in the middle of all these white people, and some Indian people were insulted by it. But the irony is that he's really the only intelligent person there – all the other people are morons. So it has a cool theme."

Cool, yes, and you are free to interpret it as you wish: as an anti-racist parable related by a white rapper; as a parable about the Beasties themselves, who started out acting the idiot and worked hard to convince the world that they are, in fact, intelligent people; or, more simply, as the plot of a fairly funny movie from the Sixties.
Wired's Underwired music column salutes Yauch's role in remix culture:
Specifically, he was the thoughtful one when it came to the Beasties’ ethos on sampling, telling Wired in 2004 how the group approached sampling and how he felt about other artists borrowing from Beastie Boys’ cuts.

“It’s totally context. And it depends on how much of our song they’re using and how much of a part it plays in their song,” he said. “We might take a tiny little insignificant sound from a record and then slow it way down and put it deep in the mix with, like, 30 other sounds on top of it. It’s not even a recognizable sample at that point. Which is a lot different than taking a huge, obvious piece from some hit song that everyone knows and saying whatever you want to on top of that loop.”
On Matthew Horton captures the way the band's early activities might have left them frozen in some parts of the public's mind:
In the consciousness of your mums, dads and Daily Express readers, the Beastie Boys will always be those snotty-nosed frat boys winching a colossal phallus, but through Yauch's vision they changed hip-hop's mindset and as a collective with a ridiculous lack of inhibitions they influenced everyone from A Tribe Called Quest to Eminem, Guru to Gorillaz, Beck to blimmin' Limp Bizkit. Yauch, you were the funkiest of bosses and you'll be missed.
As you might expect, it's the New York Times Artsbeat blog which records the facts:
Mr. Yauch’s mother said he died at 9 a.m. on Friday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan with his parents, his in-laws, his wife, Dechen Wangdu, and his 13-year-old daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch, at his bedside. He had been admitted to the hospital on April 14 after a three-year battle with cancer of the salivary gland. He was conscious until the end.

“He was a very courageous person,” his mother, Frances Yauch, said. “He fought a long battle with cancer. He was hopeful to the very end.”

Gordon in the morning: Fool's gold

Gordon will, of course, have fact-checked this claim to within an inch of its life:

[Brad Pitt is] getting into the spirit of living over here by planning a trip to Manchester to watch The Stone Roses

Brad has requested a bunch of tickets for their Heaton Park gigs at the end of July.

A source said: “Brad’s a big fan of the band and will be at a loose end while Angelina is filming in the UK. He’s asked for four tickets and thinks it will be the ideal way to spend a June weekend.”
I'm going to accept that Angelina is filming in the UK. But the rest of it? I suppose there's a possibility that Pitt might show up in the backstage area, but I struggle to believe that he owns a copy of The Second Coming.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Rapobit: Adam Yauch

Just hearing that the Beastie Boy's Adam Yauch has died. He'd been living with a cancer diagnosis for three years; he was 47.

[UPDATE: There's a round-up of reactions in this post]

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Beyonce: Crazy in print

Here's a headline to make you swell with pride:

Beyonce Wins Journalism Award
I guess it's balancing things out after Peter Oborne won Best Album at this year's Brits.

Still, let's not be too quick to assume this is a tiresome prize designed to attract attention to the gifting organisation even while undermining the people they're actually supposed to represent. What was this sequel to Watergate for which Beyonce has won?
The Crazy In Love hitmaker took a nine-month extended vacation in 2010 to spend time with her family, visit museums, attend concerts and learn how to cook.

She documented her experiences for Essence magazine in a 2011 article titled "Eat, Play, Love" - a play on the title of the book Eat, Pray, Love, which became a movie starring Julia Roberts.

The piece impressed officials at the New York Association of Black Journalists, who have now honoured the star with a writing prize for her efforts.
Yes, the New York Association Of Black Journalists has given Beyonce a prize for a superannuated "what I did on my holidays".

Courtney Love loses Kurt Cobain's face

Courtney Love has left the management of End Of Music, which controls the exploitation of Kurt Cobain's image, in return for a massive loan from Frances Bean Cobain's trust fund.

You know, this sort of seven-figure deal over who signs-off the crappy tshirt designs was probably what Kurt was hoping would be the final outcome when he went off to the conservatory that day.

Gordon in the morning: The remake

Interestingly, Gordon Smart's Bizarre is no longer the home of showbizzyness on The Sun website, but a subsection.

I suspect this happened at the start of the week, but it looks like nobody else really noticed as they've had to stick a big button on the Bizarre page (which is now explicitly the home of Smart's column):

On the Showbiz page, there's a clickyback box:
All a little odd. Is it trying to raise the profile of Bizarre, or bury it? Is Gordon trying to distance himself from the bits he doesn't write (but would still be responsible for, as editor) or gather the pieces he's proud of?

Or is there another reason for taking the bits from the paper into a separate area, around which one could, say, throw up some sort of wall?

Or - and this is a real possibility - could it just be a poorly thought-out tweak to a website which already has some strange navigation issues?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Tulisa wins a prize

Tulisa has won the annual title of Most Famous Woman Prepared To Do An FHM Photoshoot ("FHM sexiest woman in the world") and has been telling the Daily Mail all about it:

Speaking of her win, Tulisa told the MailOnline it was 'the most self-indulgent award she's ever won.'
What does that actually mean? That she voted for herself? That there was some way in which she had to allow the prize to be given to her?

Or does she simply mean that the award was voted for by an electorate most well-known for their love of self-indulgence?

[Thanks to Michael M]

Venuewatch: Fox Boulder

The bad news: Boulder's Fox Theatre is closing.

The good news: it's only going to be shut for the summer, as it rebuilds itself. But not too much:

As many of the University of Colorado students vacate Boulder during the summer, this time offers the best opportunity to replace the aging roof, said Emily Kessler, marketing assistant for the Fox and the Boulder Theater.

“It's not a remodel. The Fox isn't going to be a new venue,” Kessler said. “Our roof just leaks when it rains. It's just really old and the summer time is a little bit slower and CU is gone.”
At the moment, the planned reopening is August 19th with Sharon Von Etten - who is an artist who demands a new roof, don't you think?

The British music industry discovers what victory tastes like

How has the battle against The Pirate Bay gone? The BPI's expensive legal blockade might not be a roaring success, according to TorrentFreak:

Yesterday, The Pirate Bay had 12 million more visitors than it has ever had, providing a golden opportunity to educate users on how to circumvent blocks. “We should write a thank you letter to the BPI,” a site insider told TorrentFreak.
Great news, then: in effect, the BPI have spent a small fortune on giving the Pirate Bay a luxurious advertising campaign.

I was amused to spot on Saturday that the BPI share a doorway with the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial fund - the charity which lost a fortune pursuing a pointless battle against a manufacturer of tacky plates. You have to wonder if the two organisations swap legal advice when they bump into each other in the corridors.

Viagogo head behind the Toblerone Curtain

Viagogo, the closest you can get to touting without being a tout company, have fled the UK to set up shop in the more relaxed legal atmosphere of Switzerland. Music Week discovered this:

Speaking to Music Week, a Viagogo representative said that although the firm was now not bound by British law, it would stick to its customer guarantee which "goes far beyond any UK trading regulations".

According to filings with Companies House, Viagogo UK changed its name to Consolidated Information Services Ltd. last month, before liquidating its assets.

Meanwhile, it set up a new company in mainland Europe - Viagogo AG, based in Switzerland.

The company would now appear to be bound by Swiss law and EU law, but not regulations in the UK.
But, hey, if Viagogo say you don't need to worry about any silly laws guaranteeing your rights, why would you worry, eh? It's not like they're the sort of company that would suddenly vanish from the UK and turn up wearing lederhosen claiming there's always been a cuckoo clock element to their business, is it?

Music Week suggests the move might be more about swerving the ban on selling Olympic tickets at a massive mark-up; personally, I'd avoid them unless you're after tickets for something in Lucerne.

[Thanks to @pedrodee]

Kerrang Awards: The shortlist

You've got to love the Kerrang Awards - the shortlist is packed with eyeliner and studded metal, but still manages to find space for The Muppets.

And, wonderfully, there's room on the villain of the year shortlist for Lou Reed. Clearly, Kerrang readers are not big fans of Welsh rugby. (Unless they're all still angry about the Lou Reed/Metallica collaboration, but surely not?)

We're wishing Enter Shikari luck in the best album category, and then going off to snicker that things are so bad in international heavy pop that 30 Seconds To Mars are not just treated seriously, but acclaimed.

The shortlist in full:

While She Sleeps
Fearless Vampire Killers
Don Broco
Hawk Eyes

Motionless In White
Tonight Alive
Falling In Reverse
Of Mice & Men
Reckless Love

You Me At Six (featuring Oli Sykes) - Bite My Tongue
You Me At Six - No One Does It Better
Young Guns - Bones
Black Veil Brides - Rebel Love Song
Falling In Reverse - The Drug In Me Is You

Falling In Reverse - The Drug In Me Is You
Mastodon - Curl Of The Burl
Motionless In White - Immaculate Misconception
Paramore - Monster
Bring Me The Horizon - Alligator Blood

You Me At Six - Sinners Never Sleep
Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood Of Colour
Young Guns - Bones
Black Veil Brides - Set The World On Fire
Mastodon - The Hunter

BEST LIVE BAND presented by Rock Of Ages
You Me At Six
Black Veil Brides
Asking Alexandria
Enter Shikari
My Chemical Romance

BEST BRITISH BAND presented by Fender
You Me At Six
Bullet For My Valentine
Asking Alexandria
Iron Maiden

30 Seconds To Mars
My Chemical Romance
A Day To Remember

Announced on the day but not presented at the Awards ceremony:

The Big Bang Theory
The Walking Dead
Game Of Thrones
American Horror Story

Mass Effect 3
Gears Of War 3
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

The Hunger Games
The Woman In Black
The Inbetweeners
The Muppets
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Greg Davies
Russell Howard
Tim Minchin
Noel Fielding
Bill Bailey

Danny Worsnop, Asking Alexandria
Jono Yates, Blitz Kids
Sean Smith, The Blackout
Hayley Williams, Paramore
Mark Hoppus, Blink-182

Hayley Williams, Paramore
Tay Jardine, We Are The In Crowd
Amy Lee, Evanescence
Lzzy Hale, Halestorm
Jenna McDougall, Tonight Alive

Ben Bruce, Asking Alexandria
Andy Biersack, Black Veil Brides
Ashley Purdy, Black Veil Brides
Alex Gaskarth, All Time Low
Matt Bellamy, Muse

Justin Bieber
Simon Cowell
Ronnie Radke, Falling In Reverse
Lou Reed
One Direction

Ronnie Radke - Falling In Reverse
M. Shadows - Avenged Sevenfold
Jared Leto - 30 Seconds To Mars
Mario Balotelli - Manchester City
Rou Reynolds - Enter Shikari

Hevy Music Festival
Reading and Leeds
Slam Dunk
Hit The Deck

Gordon in the morning: He shoots, he scores

There's a strange, stumpy review of the Rufus Wainwright gig at the Lyceum today:

RUFUS Wainwright’s new album is called Out Of The Game.
Is this going to be a tortuous football reference?
Appropriate then that while the rest of Britain was glued to the Manchester derby, fans at London’s Lyceum were watching an artist who’s nearly as flamboyant as Mario Balotelli himself.
Psst, Gordon: Rufus isn't in the closet. You don't have to use "flamboyant" as code.
Rufus belted out the Mark Ronson-produced album’s best tracks, including Montauk – a song for his daughter.
Hold on - did he only do the best tracks that Mark Ronson had produced on the album, or had Ronson produced the album from which Rufus performed the best tracks? And is Montauk a song for Wainwright's daughter, or Ronson's?

Perhaps the review was written with one eye on the football.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Bookmarks: My Bloody Valentine

From Vox, via Rock's Back Pages and Guardian Music, enjoy again Stephen Dalton's 1992 meeting with My Bloody Valentine:

Fixing a price tag upwards of £250,000 on the long-overdue Loveless, the music press predicted bankruptcy for MBV's label, Creation, and hot water for Kevin if he didn't deliver something with platinum potential. Judging by the album's critical reception, the future of both band and label seems assured.

When the buzzing hordes of acolytes from post-Valentines bands Ride, Lush, Chapterhouse and Slowdive dissipate from the dressing room in Reading, Kevin is finally willing to nail those rumours.

"Creation are no closer than any other label to going bankrupt," he offers ambivalently, confirming the astronomical figure quoted above but stressing this also covered two expensive EPs, three videos and the band's living costs over three years. "They paid for everything bit by bit so they'd eaten up the cost as they went along. They felt strained, but nothing special: they would spend easily as much on two or three smaller bands."

Gordon in the morning: Mythic creature


TOPLESS Kate Moss is a dishy fish in a pair of shimmering golden trousers which make her look like a mermaid.
How would a mermaid wear trousers, exactly, Gordon?

The Four Nations

The grim attempts to force us to have fun connected to the Olympics grind on. (I've checked, by the way, it really is the Olympics we're hosting and, sadly, not the Laffalympics - the hope that we might get to see Yogi Bear and Muttley racing each other to climb to the top of Big Ben was the one piece of hope to which I was clinging.)

So, as part of the kick-off, there's going to be big concert with a band representing each of the home nations. The line-up has just been announced:

The gig will feature acts from all four nations of the UK, with Duran Duran representing England and Snow Patrol appearing for Northern Ireland.

Stereophonics will represent Wales and Paolo Nutini will play for Scotland.
Holy plodding ponies; if Damian Green's two-hour waits at Heathrow don't put people off coming to the UK, this is going to.

Three of the grimmest acts ever to find their way into the back of a Transit Van and Duran, who are great but hardly a shining example of 21st Century English music.

Let's hope the sportspeople aren't being picked on the same basis, otherwise Team GB is going to consistent solely of badminton players and Daley Thompson.

Pirates repelled

The BPI has won a historic High Court judgement forcing UK ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay.

This isn't great news - the idea of access to any website being blocked on the say-so of a cartel run by three-and-a-half multinational organisations would always be an affront to natural justice - but, obviously, the BPI are delighted:

BPI's chief executive Geoff Taylor said: "The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale.

"Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them.

"This is wrong - musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else."
Geoff Taylor must know, in his heart, that this isn't a win, though. It's not even locking a stable door after the horses have bolted; it's turning up at stables that have long since been turned into holiday homes and putting up a 'No bolting' sign.

Not a single extra penny will find its way to a sound engineer as a result of this; the only people making money are lawyers. So much effort still being poured into a policy that failed in the early days of the century.

Monday, April 30, 2012

My Bloody Valentine: New album this year

This is actually exciting: Kevin Shields has told Uncut there's going to be an LP and a couple of EPs from My Bloody Valentine.

This year.

For definite.

It's not exactly totally new material - just stuff that Shields found while remastering the albums we all know and treat like pieces of the true cross. He's finished them - or will finish them - and they'll get a proper release.

Unless he changes his mind.

Gordon in the morning: Mark Owen gets the electricians in

Apparently, Mark Owen is taking a new direction for his solo career. Gordon insists it will "surprise" fans.

Really? It's not just that he's looked around, found out what sells and is going to try and pour himself into an uncomfortable modish mould, is it?

A source said: “Mark’s excited about his new sound, it has a modern edge. People might not even think it’s him."
Ah, yes, "a source" - but don't worry, we know Gordon will have diligently worked behind the scenes to make sure this secret source was correct and not just made up a quote to fit the story.

You might wonder what value there is in a man whose main selling point is who he is making a record that people won't know it's him (he's working with Starsmith, by the way).

But then it turns out his main selling point isn't who he is, says "the source":
“His label are keen to get the stuff out – especially as Gary being on X Factor will shift the focus back on Take That.”
Good god, that's grim: "Mark, one of the people you work with is going to be on television; we really need to rush out a song in which you sound like Ellie Goulding to take advantage of that."

Still, Gordon's excited, as he sniffs a hint of one of his beloved chart battles:
With Robbie Williams working on solo material, too, there could be a TT chart battle.
So, that's a chart battle being predicted although at the moment, there's no release dates, not even a hint of anything near ready for release.
Both singers are expecting nippers so might not strike up a cash wager.

Maybe the winner could take ownership of a game of Hungry Hippos.
What? Is that a barbed comment about the pair of them putting on weight? Or is it just as random as it sounds?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Brazil might have a better idea for collecting royalties

Cory Doctrow, writing on Boing Boing, has welcomed the news that the Brazilian Senate is proposing an overhaul on how royalties are collected and distributed.

It's following on from a six month investigation into the affairs of the local copyright collection societies which found 15 directors suspected of fraud and crime. Now, naturally, nobody would suggest that similar misdeeds are taking place at ASCAP or PRS, but the organisations do share a lot of similarities in their organisations and ways of sharing up the royalty cake.

Doctrow hopes that this might be a first step to inventing a better way of using the acres of data to ensure that everyone gets their fair share.

Bookmarks - Poly Styrene

Louder Than War is marking the first anniversary of the loss of Poly Styrene with a tribute from John Robb:

Not only have we been robbed of a great talent but also of personal friend whose phone calls would cover everything from music, punk rock, spirituality, Hare Krishna, politics and life with the perceptive smarts that were ingrained in her wonderful lyrics and songs.

The Lives of the Saint Etienne

To build their Facebook timeline into a full-on history, Saint Etienne are inviting fans to email them with photos, memorabilia, memories, cuttings and stuff like that:

Would you like to contribute your memories of seeing, listening or reading about the group to the Timeline, and share your experiences with other fans? These could be photos of Saint Etienne shows, ticket stubs, early vinyl, magazine cuttings, or memorabilia - absolutely anything to do with the group. The more unique, the more other fans will appreciate it.

We'll pick our favourites and put them into the Timeline, giving you full accreditation and telling the story on your behalf. If you submit something that really makes us smile, there are a few prizes that Sarah, Pete and Bob have been keeping in their lock-up.

Please email all content (photos, clippings, videos, stories) you'd like submitted to the timeline to
If the prizes are really good, you could then submit those again to the timeline, and might win more prizes, in an ever-growing circle until you get to keep Bob Stanley in your spare bedroom. [NB: This might not form part of the actual terms and conditions.]

The Wanted seem surprised that celebrities aren't interested

Christina Aguilera is far, far too grand to talk backstage to The Wanted.

This has surprised and upset The Wanted:

Speaking on Now FM, Max George said that she refused to talk to them backstage after the show.
He said: 'She was a bit scary to be honest.'
Bandmate Tom Parker then said: 'She's a total b****!
'She might not be a b**** in real life but to us she was a b****. She just sat there and didn't speak to us. Wouldn't even look at us.'
To be fair to Aguilera, this was backstage at a taping of the American version of The Voice, where the backstage area must be crawling with ordinary-looking singers on the edges of the tolerably good.

It's hugely unlikely she would have recognised them; chances are she just thought they were contestants trying to influence her.

More depressing, though, is the way the band fawned over Chris Brown:
The Wanted also met Chris Brown on the show and said they hoped to go into the studio with him too.
Siva added: 'We've talked to Chris Brown as well, which would be really good. We talked to Chris actually when we were on The Voice and he said he was down as well.'
Perhaps Aguilera saw you getting on so well with a man who beats up women and decided she didn't want to rub shoulders with people whose standards are so low?

George Martin pinpoints "the worst thing music has ever faced"

Music has faced some terrible things in its time.

The second act of Peter Andre's career.

Paul Weller chumming up with Noel Gallagher.

The invention of the banjo.

But now, according to George Martin, it is facing its biggest challenge yet.

Er, the takeover of EMI:

Sir George has claimed the deals will hand both Sony and Universal a “virtual monopoly”.

“I am saddened that great companies have been swallowed up by the giants, and the domination of the recording and music publishing industry by Sony and Universal can only lead to a virtual monopoly in the European market. Is this what the people want?” he asked. “I always thought that democracy ensured a level playing field for our music industry, but I am wrong.”
Given that the majors act as a cartel anyway, and that there's precious little difference between having three clown cars drive over your foot, compared with having four, it's hard to see what difference it makes.

If Martin had piped up years ago - earlier on in the consolidation process - maybe he'd be a voice worth listening to; perhaps when Sony swallowed BMG, or more usefully when Polygram and MCA became one.

If Martin really wanted to "democracy" to save EMI, perhaps he should have been a little less quiet as the music industry started to be dominated by global conglomerates whose power and reach tended to go beyond or around that of nation states.

Or he could have suggested that the IFPI and RIAA appeared to be little more than a large company's club which forced the music industry to be run for their convenience rather than the good of the artists or the music fan.

But it looks almost as if Martin's worry is that democracy is taking away EMI, rather than any genuine concerns about plurality in the record business.

But it couldn't be that, could it?

[Tahnks to Michael M]

This week just gone

The most-read stories published in April 2012:

1. The illustrated Friends
2. Joni Mitchell retires and fights the nano-bugs
3. The illustrated Friends: Charles Hawtrey
4. Capital Radio still pouting over One Direction
5. Krissi Murison quits NME
6. Courtney Love apologises. A bit
7. John Lydon would like you to look at this single, but not buy it
8. Man stabbed at Jessie J/Blackberry aftershow
9. Gordon Smart warns George Michael his house is full of vampire ghosts
10. RIP: Dick Clark

The interesting releases:

Death Grip - The Money Store

Download The Money Store

Actress - RIP

Download RIP

Frames - In Via

Download In Via

Rufus Wainwright - Out Of The Game

Download Out Of The Game

Billy Bragg & Wilco - Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions

Download Mermaid Avenue

Feeder - Generation Freakshow

Download Generation Freakshow