Saturday, December 26, 2015

15 Step: July

The government put 65daysofstatic on a press release. 65daysofstatic pwnd the government on a press release.

Ariana Grande licked some doughnuts because she hates America, or something and Katy Perry tried to make some nuns homeless, or something.

Michael Jackson had really, really, really wanted to play Jar Jar Binks.

Under pressure, Taylor Swift tweaked her photographer's contract

Someone finally plucked up the courage to drag Damon Albarn off stage but the Phillipines were reluctant to let Chris Brown go.

Three Doors Down stopped a gig to eject a bully while Ryan Jarman stuck up for Courtney Love.

The NME tried to make giving up sound like a good thing.

The BPI started to suggest streaming music might lead to people buying music, in the way they said wouldn't work during the Napster wars.

Part of 15 Step

Friday, December 25, 2015

15 Step: June

Mark Kozelek tried on some shit with Laura Snapes. Laura Snapes wasn't having that. Meanwhile, Roger Helmer tried to patronise Charlotte Church.

For the first time thirty years, the NME had UK female-led rock acts on the cover two weeks running.

The moving of new release day meant the end for the Sunday teatime chart show.

Archive delights: Shampoo reviewing Heavenly in the NME; Andy Taylor's Rio wine bar and Lady GaGa's career in gay porn tattoos.

Bono might not like paying taxes, but he does like telling people how to spend them.

The High Court recriminalised ripping CDs for personal use.

Shirley Manson isn't keen on the economics of streaming. To make it worse, Apple launched one. Although they were forced to change the terms by Taylor Swift publicly shaming them. Which led to photographers asking Taylor about their rights.

Ten Walls made a bunch of homophobic comments, but then hoped they wouldn't "lead to thoughts".

Taylor Swift walked backwards. In heels. Although that's nothing compared with Dave Grohl playing on with a broken leg. Having said which, he drew the line at Glastonbury.

It's terrible, you know, looking like Rihanna or having people think you support Donald Trump.

Who cares about rabies, eh? Ariana Grande wasn't happy with animal import rules. If she really wants a fight with the man, though, she should ask about Leicestershire Police scanning Download attendee faces in secret.

Morrissey threw his weight behind #blacklivesmatter while Paul "trouser" Staines used his quasi-anonymous Guido Fawkes blog to suggest Charlotte Church having an accountant made her a hypocrite.

Noel Gallagher was negotiating a comeback nobody wants while Justin Bieber's manager tried to position him as the new Bob Dylan.

Akon will power Africa and Ed Sheeran plays golf.

Smashmouth got pelted with baked goods.

Returning: TFI Friday

Part of 15 Step

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Apparently even Octopus are listening to The Beatles

With The Beatles coming to streaming, like a Santa arriving on December 28th, there's a thing on their website which shows where people are taking advantage of the new streams.

The Daily Mail explains how it works:

Although official streaming figures are yet to be announced - and Google and Spotify said they likely won't be released until next week - the official The Beatles site features a globe that 'glows yellow' in the regions where people are streaming right now.
Well, there's a thing. Here's a grab:
Goodness, even the oceans are glowing yellow. Presumably that's all the music pirates, then.

Stephen Fry intersects with modern music

Newsbeat got Stephen Fry in to listen to some pop music and say what he thought.

He was, reliably, all high-court-judge-what-is-beatles about his task:

“I could lie, but I couldn't even say what it is. I don't know the names of anybody. I'm not interested,” he admitted. “There's someone called Adelia? Adalia?”

“Adele,” replied the interviewer. “Adele. I've heard of her,” he said.
They played him some Little Mix:
As the English popsters sang the ‘sha-la-la-la, woo-ooo chorus’, the 58 year old asked: “Oh, they're not still singing ‘sha-la-la-la’ are they? It's got bits of Phil Spector right at the background through '70s bubblegum pop into a sort of modern version and it's a hideous, toxic compound. It's basically the musical equivalent of Haribo Starmix.”
Actually, Stephen, that's not really an insult.

The Beagles come to Spotify

A band that wasn't on Spotify is now on Spotify. Experts say this event is culturally significant, as it means that the digitally savvy ones in the family are now going to have to spend most of tomorrow explaining why Apple Music isn't iTunes.

15 Step: May

Eurovision happened and we went to the punk exhibition in Seattle.

A Russian politician described U2's 'free' album as gay pornography, which suggests Alexander Starovoitov is using some awful porn. Meanwhile, Bono tried to make us think that his tax avoidance is business rather than greed.

Someone threw sugar at Adam Levine while Brandon Flowers demanded respect.

For Taylor Swift, being a pop star is as great as we've always suspected. That still doesn't excuse Katie Price having another go at it.

Charlotte Church was on the barricades after the Tories got back in as Andy Burnham hoped Morrissey was the key to the Labour leadership.

Dolores O'Riordan was facing charges following a fracas with an air steward and Rihanna went to war with Batman.

Spotify got obsessed with running.

Neverland was back on the market, presumably after a deep clean.

Absolute Radio was kicked off a farm and Sarah Brightman remained on Earth.

Jack White wrote a song called Music Is Sacred.

Going solo: Bob Collins

Closing: Grooveshark

Axed: Never Mind The Buzzcocks; American Idol

Part of 15 Step

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Justin Bieber: Strange things happen at Christmas

The time of year so magical that you find yourself applauding Justin Bieber:

When Justin Bieber is, effectively, standing next to you to tell Jeremy Hunt to go screw himself, you can only applaud Bieber.

Whoever saw that coming, though?

(Apparently, bookies have now stopped taking bets on the number one, as they think Justin's tweet will have swung it.)

15 Step: April

April 9th was officially Riot Grrl Day.

Hey kids, going to Coachella? Leave everything at home. This might be why Charli XCX pondered sleeping in a bin.

Morrisons overhauled their in-store playlist.

For a price, Don Mclean was prepared to reveal the meaning of American Pie.

The remaining members of GWAR found themselves at war with Dave Brockie's family and Justin Bieber can never go to Argentina again. Or to school proms.

Mumford And Sons can't stand the name of their own band.

Rita Ora changed her hair a bit and MTV literally couldn't recognise her, but Paloma Faith's snake was quite a big deal.

Pink issued a big fuck off to people snitching about her weight and Lauren Mayberry did the same to rape theats.

Labour lost the support of Mick Hucknall which was less surprising than the Rifles coming out for UKIP.

Joni Mitchell was unwell, but not as ill as some thought.

Steve Albini wasn't buying in to Tidal and Courtney Love had trouble with publishing.

Brandon Flowers was concerned at what a bad Moromon Mitt Romney is and Cumbrians were worried Sandi Thom was tardy paying bills.

Returning: Kate Jackson; some watered down version of Crystal Castles

Splitting: Noah And The Whale
Going solo: Tom Chaplin

Part of 15 Step

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Joss Stone acclaimed as... wait, what now?

It's that time of the year when magazines, websites, podcasts, television shows, groups, bloggers and Facebook Marketing Entities hand out 'best of the year' accolades.

Billboard has done a list, and amongst the winners this year is Joss Stone.

Joss, it appears, is the Reggae Artist of the Year.

You're surprised. How do you think the Jamaican Observer feels?

Puzzled, the paper has dug into the Billboard archive to see if it had somehow missed Stone being hailed as the greatest modern reggae act. It hadn't:

The album did not impress Billboard magazine writer Steven Horowitz who described Stone’s ‘reggae experiment’ as “unconvincing”.

He added: “For more than a decade, Joss Stone has been a serial genre-hopper. Switching from R&B to blues, funk to rock, the 28-year-old Brit has powered six albums with soulful vocals beyond her years. The songs are technically impressive, as expected from Stone, but unconvincing.”
Makes you wonder what the guy at number two must be like. Some chap called Bobby Marley.

Bookmarks: Throwing Muses

If you're anything like me, you'll have been hoping for a comprehensive guide to Throwing Muses' discography to reveal itself. It looks like there's been a great one on the web for a while:

CAD 2013 _Red Heaven_ produced by Throwing Muses with Stuart Boyer
1992 furious / firepile / dio / dirty water / stroll / pearl //
summer st / vic / backroad / the visit / dovey / rosetta stone
/ carnival wig

Leslie Langston plays bass. Bob Mould (ex Husker Du) sings on
"Dio". A bit less stunning on the songwriting front, but at least
it still proved that the band were still alive. Initial UK CDs
(CAD D 2013) came with...

15 Step: March

The one thing that might have been interesting about Five Seconds Of Summer isn't, while Justin Bieber wanted to cling to purity.

Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith had a weight loss contest, like they work in a office or something. But that wasn't the dullest pop story of the month. This was.

Noel Gallagher did the I don't want my kids talking like Ali G thing again; got a free pass on that again.

Shirley Manson didn't call Kanye West "the loudest clown in town", but Us magazine couldn't quite come to believe that and The Independent struggled with how memes work thinking Britney was writing them herself.

Armani insisted that Madonna didn't know how to use a cape safely. Britney, meanwhile, couldn't even cope with hair extensions.

A court decided that rape anthem Blurred Lines was ripped off Marvin Gaye, apart from the rape bits. Didn't stop Thicke from being invited to an HIV fundraiser.

James Bay is just a hat.

Conor McNicholas is getting Barclays to tweak its comms department a little. He might want to help out Toyota, who aren't that good at social.

Indiana legalised homophobia; Wilco shunned Indiana.

Someone out of Nuclear Hellfrost did something to Dimebag Darrell's grave, for no obvious reason.

ElectroVelvet were chosen to lose at Eurovision.

You know what was rare at Reading/Leeds? Women on stage, that's what. Some people thought that Glastobury's bill had too many Kanye Wests in it. And everyone except the council and promoters knew that T in the Park was in the wrong place.

Taylor Swift bought the perfect domain for hosting hardcore Taylor Swift porn, but won't be using it.

Madonna thought that it was unfair she was missing from Radio 1, but with less live music on the station, maybe her records will be needed to plug the gaps.

The World Health Organisation suggested, to protect your ears, you should only spend 28 seconds at any gig. Fewer, if it's Coldplay.

Closing: Holy Moly; Manchester Roadhouse

Launching: Tidal, the "artist owned" streaming service

Merging: Sparks and Franz Ferdinand

Quitting: Zayn Malik, and Iggy Azalea quits social media. For about ten seconds.

Resurrected: New Wave version Ministry

Returning: Daphne And Celeste

Monday, December 21, 2015

15 Step: February

Sam Smith might have won Grammys, but Shirley Manson and Taylor Swift won the Grammys. While Kasabian opened the BAFTAS like a broken sewer enhances a river.

Paloma Faith was prepared to beg to land the 007 soundtrack. She didn't beg enough.

If he didn't take medication, Noel Gallagher would drop dead. Really, or are you just trying to cheer us up, Noel? Or have you gone and spoiled it all by putting a price on an Oasis reunion?

Tyler The Creator launched a TV network which turned out to be a website.

Sly Stone was awarded five million in back royalties.

Yahoo adding a simple 'download audio' button to Tumblr caused nightmares for some users.

Zane Lowe heard Apple Music calling and quit Radio One. Fearne Cotton followed him out the door to spend more time making panel shows for ITV2, probably. More fundamentally, the shift of release days to Friday meant the end of the Sunday teatime chart show.

Jack White's rider included a recipe for guacamole. When people found out, they giggled a bit. Jack White doesn't like being laughed at.

The Tories had a silent auction for a photo of Suggs, which seems odd with him being very anti-Tory.

Streaming data was added to the album charts, which wasn't as unexpected as Australia being added to Eurovision 2015.

The Liverpool Lomax closed in a druggy haze.

It's okay; Azealia Banks can't possible be a homophobe as she has a vagina, and All That Remains don't understand why people are upset with the word "faggot", cause it's just a word, right?

Who could explain Parental Advisory stickers and the vinyl resurgence? Step forward, Gennaro Castaldo.

NME sales were now half what they were for the Melody Maker when it closed; they carried on doing their doings, though, giving Suede a godlike genius award and then undoing the goodwill by giving everything else to Kasabian. People started to suggest the NME was heading for freesheet status.

Madonna falling over at the Brits was the talking point of the evening. Unless you read The Times.

Slayer fans got so out of control, Tony Araya told them to back the fuck off.

Katy Perry shocked to discover the music industry isn't like she thought it would be when she was nine.

Splitting: Steve Forrest leaves Placebo

Reuniting: Blur

Part of 15 Step

Sunday, December 20, 2015

15 Step: January

Starting our annual month-by-month review of the year...

Madonna attempted to use Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela in a promo campaign for her new record. Her explanations made it all worse. Meanwhile, Isreali police found time to investigate leaks of Madge tracks.

Dears forced Deers to become Hinds.

James Blunt had a hissy fit when Chris Bryant suggested he might have found it easy being a musician having come from a family wiht a few quid behind it; in US politics, John Boehner tried Taylor Swift gifs to communicate with the public.

Brian Harvey announced he was carrying out his own investigation into child abuse. It's unclear if he started with the Sia video.

Wes out of Puddle of Mudd got "confused" rode a luggage carousel at Denver airport.

Tesco flogged Blinkbox to TalkTalk, and they double-pinky swore it wasn't cursed in any way. Sony finally admitted that Omnifone had been a dead end.

Sarah Brightman planned to go into space, and Michelle Keegan planned to go into pop.

Sam Smith turned up to work for SeaWorld. Australian seaworld, which, as Smith pointed out, doesn't have Orcas. It just imprisons dolphins and polar bears. Didn't hurt him when the Brits shortlist came out. Nor did ripping off Tom Petty, come to that.

The Canadian copyright police turned out to be helping themselves to other people's content.

Together at, um, shall we say last? Rita Ora and Charli XCX.

Splitting: The Black Crowes, Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore

Reforming: Babes In Toyland

Part of 15 Step

How Shane MacGowan got his bite back

Normally, when you hear from a doctor to a pop star, they'll be sat in a wood-panelled room, sweating a bit and trying to explain why the signature on the barbiturate prescription does, indeed, look like theirs.

So it's nice to hear a positive story for a change. In fact, "positive story" is probably underselling this one. It's more like a Christmas Miracle wrapped in a tale of human endurance.

It's the story of Darragh Mulrooney, the dentist who gave Shane MacGowan back a mouth full of teeth. The Independent has saluted this extraordinary work:

Shane recorded most of his great works when he had some teeth to work with,” Dr Mulrooney says. “The question on everyone’s lips is how it will affect his voice. The tongue is a finely attuned muscle and it makes precise movements. We’ve effectively retuned his instrument and that will be an ongoing process.”

MacGowan’s new teeth make at least one concession to his notorious reputation. A single gold tooth was added to his smile at the singer’s request. Asked what he thinks, MacGowan, a man of few words, says: “I’m getting used to them … it’s good to have teeth again. I feel better about the way I look.”
(Does MacGowan have a reputation for having gold teeth?)

It's a bit harsh, though, being offered a full set of realistic choppers and asking for an old-school one in the mix. Like being given a robotic prosthetic arm and demanding that one of the fingers is just a hook.