Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Kerrang find a new home

Mixmag media, who own, erm, Mixmag, have bought Kerrang! from Bauer and have big plans for the UK's last rock weekly (No, the NME no longer counts). The plan involves it ceasing to be a rock weekly.

Campaing Live reports:

Jerry Perkins, who runs Mixmag Media, plans to turn Kerrang! from a print weekly to a monthly in the UK and focus on building its global, digital audience.

"Mixmag and Kerrang! are quite similar – they’re ‘f*** it’ audiences," Perkins said. "They like what they like and don’t care about what anyone else thinks."
I think this is a polite way of saying "they're clinging to their unfashionable music tastes, and prepared to pay".

Bauer keeps the Kerrang brand for TV and radio - which isn't going to be easy; the K! radio playlist has drifted quite a way from the K! paper worldview even under the same roof. (Kerrang Radio is less 'fuck it' and more 'gosh, if we must'.)

As part of the deal, Mixmag have also bought the Face brand, with plans to revive it online, and maybe in print. At the time it closed in 2004, The Face had managed to slot itself into self-mythologised irrelevance, so it'll be interesting to see how that works online.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Noel Gallagher is worse than his brother at fashion

To be honest, we'd assumed that Pretty Green set the bar so high for 'terrible Oasis related fashion activity' that it was a record which would never be beaten. Like Seb Coe's 800 metres in 1981, it looked like we'd found a marker in human endeavour that would endure.

But like Seb Coe's record, nothing lasts forever.

There's something worse just round the corner:

Noel Gallagher has partnered with Adidas for a new signature shoe.

The former Oasis guitarist has designed his version of the Garwen SPZL trainers as part of Adidas’ 2017 spring SPEZIAL range.
Hang on a moment, though. It's not just Noel Gallagher Has Designed A Plimsole. Because that would be worthy of being terrible in its own right. But it's the design he's come up with that really lifts this to 'world-beatingly godawful':
The shoe comes in indigo leather and is said to be 70s-inspired, featuring a picture of Noel on the shoe’s tongue and his date of birth inside.
Ninety Nine Pounds. For a shoe that only really functions as a way that Liam can remember when he's meant to send Noel a birthday card.

Some of the Adidas celeb tie-ups now are so bad, I suspect they're just an elaborate trolling activity on the part of a company which has frankly grown bored of fiddling with the sleeve length on football jerseys.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Liveblog: Brits 2017

You can't keep a good blog down. You're equally unable, it appears, to keep a terrible blog down, and into that latter category falls the 2017 No Rock & Roll Fun Brits liveblog. Hello, everybody.

This year, we're back at the cavernous, soulless O2, but there's been a change onstage. Out goes Ant n Dec - let's hope they took the Brits Head of Antics with them too. In their place comes Dermot O'Leary. Dermot is a surprising choice of host for the Brits, in that he's a good presenter, charming company and - although he's going to be made to do a bit of business during the show - he'll be able to carry it off.

Oh, and Emma Willis is there too.

(Actually, although Emma Willis isn't the greatest presenter, at least someone at Brits HQ has remembered that women are capable of holding a microphone - there hasn't been a female presenter since Kylie in 2009.)

It wasn't meant to be Dermot though, with or without Emma. The original plan had been for Michael Buble to host. Buble cancelled because his son is seriously ill, which cramps the opportunity to be snarky about it.

Buble could have worked as a host - like James Blunt and Josh Groban, regardless of what you think about their ability to clear a room with their music - they're entertaining when being themselves. But two and a half hours of warm self-deprecation might have been pushing it.

The "Red carpet" is just starting on ITV2 - which is the sort of phrase that drains the soul, isn't it?

There's an hour of red carpet, so they're going to have to hassle them down the pathway.

ITV2 show a lot of adverts, don't they?

They're showing a look back at last year's Brits, "in case you've forgotten". In the way it's possible some people have forgotten the Blitz.

They nearly cut Ant & Dec out of it entirely.

Ed Sheeran is being grilled about what's going to be in store for his performance. "I've got a few things up my sleeve" he says, not especially mysteriously.

Ed's looking forward to seeing Skepta. This is as dull an interview as you'd expect.

On another part of the carpet, James Arthur is also being dull. He'd never have thought it would have been possible. And something or other is "one million per cent".

It's Little Mix. They can't believe how many nominations they've got. It's mental, apparently.

The Mix are promising "a completely different thing we've never done before". Singing in tune, maybe.

Are the dance routines going to be "quite saucy"?

They won't say.

This is illuminating stuff.

It's odd that the Brits have stuck with ITV, isn't it? ITV isn't really the home of Top Quality Awards any more - they've never had the Oscars; gave up on the BAFTAs and even the British Comedy Awards has gone elsehwere. The Brits now sits alongside that one where Carol Vorderman gives prizes to sick kiddies and what feels like a dozen events sponsored by third-tier TV listings mags which exist to give an excuse for Kym Marsh to squeeze into a couture boob tube, and for Helen Flanagan to fall out of similar.

Crisps, says an ad, are a big deal at Asda. That's the biggest newsline so far this evening.

They're talking about the Zaha Hadid Brits statues now, because you know how an ITV2 audience loves architectural talk.

Ellie Goulding's turned up and actually is trying to talk about music.

Along the corridor, Craig David is showing off his trainers. It's been sixteen years since he was last nominated and he hasn't really come up with anything to say in the meantime. "It's a prestigious award - as a kid growing up you always dreamed of the awards." Really? Kids dreaming of playing a poorly laid-out cave full of elderly men eating beef wellington? That's the dream?

Rag N Bone man now - "I don't usually wear a whistle, normally". Yeah, judging by the state of the jacket, that's a safe bet.

This, though, is a suit:

Rag N Bone is now talking about Ian Beale. That's how magic this evening is.

Next up, Blossoms - who look like The Wonder Stuff have just been released from six weeks being held hostage. They look a bit awkward.

More ads.

Christine And The Queens - "I'm expecting a great show" she says. Clearly they've never shown this in France, then.

"I'm just happy to be nominated" she says, "it's already winning to be amongst the category of powerful ladies."

The Category Of Powerful Ladies is a Alan Moore book waiting to be written.

Rita Ora trots up, four times nominated and never a win. She says her outfit is "emerald queen of the forest" but it looks like a Vajazzled ill-fitting camo jacket.

Emeli Sande, like all the other performers, is refusing to reveal the secret for her performance this evening. It's a parade of wait and see.

A note on diversity: this year's shortlist seems a little more adventurous than in previous years, but still less diverse than, for example, the Top 40 is. You can see they've tried, though. Sadly, it's like when Donald Trump finally manages to denounce anti-Semitism - knowing how hard the world had to push to get them there rather undermines the power of the message.

Stormzy actually looks really good in his suit. If you're going to do a suit, people, do a suit. Don't do it apologetically or ironically. That's the rule.

He's been challenged to get a selfie with Little Mix, which is a bit like challenging someone shoeless in the Arctic to get frostbite.

For fucks sake, the 1975 have turned up cosplaying Interview With The Vampire.

I'm frying eggs while Whiley is being very excited about being on TV - he's the first person who seems genuniely thrilled to be here.

Katy Perry is a consumate professional - she says as little as most of the other guests, but is able to disguise it.

She's into a rambling story about snot and Natalie Imbruglia.

Somehow the Red Carpet programme has managed to over run. Lets shoot over to ITV...

Robbie's star has sunk so low he's reduced to doing the Mastercard break bumpers this year.

Dermot O'Leary (and Emma Willis) is stood on top of the O2 to start the programme. With Williams, Mars and Sande in the line-up, you might choose to stay there, mate.

Little Mix are being carried onto the stage by what looks like those people who paint themselves silver and stand around at Covent Garden. The band themselves are wearing what would happen if Kwik Fit tried to make Beyonce's outfits out of used tyres.

This is Shout Out My Ex, which is one of the last year's best pop songs, to be fair.

And it's not The Saturdays.

Dermot's doing that thing where he sucks his finger and looks puzzled. And Emma's reading an autocue.

All everyone's love is being sent to Michael Buble - there was some genuine applause but in the cavernous O2 it sounded a little underwhelming.

Dermot's doing that thing where he shoves his fist into his mouth.

They're doing the social voting thing for best artist again this year, which is touching faith in democracy in the year we've just had.

David Tennant. Swoon. He's doing the female solo artist. Not like that.

Nom list:
Ellie Goulding
Emeli Sandé
Lianne La Havas

Emeli Sande has won, which suggests we're in for a night of the dullest lack of surprises ever.

That's a long walk to the stage for everyone tonight. Lots of coverage of walking.

Emeli mumbles something about the journey. She's brought her sister on stage with her, and thanks the rest of the family for good measure.

Actually maybe everyone else is getting thanked.

Oh. Already on to the adverts.

God, I despise that #fooddancing thing - you just know the phrase "the Great British Public" was uttered while it was being thought-swamped out of an advertising meeting

They're trailing The Voice during this. The words "are you a glutton for punishment" are implied.

Dermot just said the O2 is one of the great music venues, except it's not, is it? Apart from being the only place that size with a roof, it's not got much going for it.

Bruno Mars is dressed as New Edition tonight. We've got it if we want it, he tells us. Actually we're lumbered with it whether we like it or not.

Is "that's not showy" a compliment? If it is, that's the nicest thing I can say about this.

Mars is now telling the ladies he's going to break it down, because it's that part of the song.

Emma Willis loves Bruno Mars.

Maisie Williams and Romesh Ranganathan are here for the best band. Maisie has apparently come from touching up the paint in the bathrooms.

The 1975
Biffy Clyro
Little Mix

Little Mix versus Thom Yorke.

It's hard to say who'll win out the two bands playing tonight.

The 1975 win it.

This is, it turns out, mental. "The reason we're here is because of our album." Well, yes, that's how it works.

It's been fifteen minutes since the adverts. So lets have some more, then.

Samsung are showing the quality assurance process their phones go through. Even the ones which catch fire, presumably.

Just two hours left, everyone. Just two hours. Just...

Dermot is in the crowd of (probably) Brits School kids

Oh, yes, that is who they are.

Emma's been left on the stage to cue up Zane Lowe doing male solo artist. Zane Lowe!

David Bowie
Craig David
Michael Kiwanuka

David Bowie has won it. He hasn't turned up. "If David Bowie was here tonight, he wouldn't be here tonight" says Michael C Hall, picking up the prize.

"Lovely stuff" says Dermot, uncertain how to segue into Emeli Sande playing live.

They keep insisting that Emeli Sande has been away for four years, but she seems to have been everywhere all the time, and this song seems to be the same one she was doing during the Olympics, so how does that work?

Sande has dressed her dancers in the frumpiest outfits I have ever seen anyone dance in, and that includes that time one of Queen dressed up as Ena Sharples.

The clock says it was four minutes, but that felt a lot more like half of my remaining life dripping away during it.

"She is a firecracker" says Emma Willis, confusing competence with incandescence.

Oh, another break.

Breakthrough Award time. Rita Ora is doing the honours for this one, accompanied by The Sliding Rajar himself, Nick Grimshaw.

Rag'n'Bone Man

It should either be Skepta or Stormzy, but the dunderheads at the Brits are going to give it to Raggedy Boneman, aren't they?

Yes. Inevitably they do.

Apparently Ragged Bowman spent ten weeks at number one in Germany, which probably isn't going to help us with the Brexit negotiations.

He's unable to busk a thank you speech.

Back on the floor, Dermot is sitting at Ed Sheeran's table for a little chitty-chat.

And now The 1975 are taking to the stage to literally earn the award they've been given. They've brought a large gospel choir with them to... well, really, just to make the sides of stage seem a lot less empty as they're not really high enough in the mix to do anything much else. They could have done pot plants and lamps for a third of the budget.

They're flashing up some critical messages on a disgusting salmon pink background - I suspect it's intended as a 'ha! fuck you' to anyone who's criticised them in the past, but it actually comes across a little needy. "Trying too hard" reads one of the cards - and, yeah, that's actually valid criticism here.

A couple might have been wry, but spending so much time throwing them on the screen felt a little... well... like this:
"And now we move onto the liars..."

"It's time for a break." Of course it is.

The Brits, traditionally, doesn't have a 'those we have lost' section - presumably because back in the early days, pop star death was still quite rare and it was still a (relatively) young person's game, so there simply weren't enough stiffs to populate a three minute montage over Annie Lennox doing 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone'.

The movie industry - and the more classic-inclusive Grammys - have always had enough losses to justify a special departure gate.

This year, with Bowie and Leonard Cohen amongst the nominees, should be the one that makes the organisers realise it's time for a pause to remember those who died during the year. At the moment, we get the odd splash for very big names, but many significant figures are allowed to slip away without even a mention. It's right to give thanks for George Michael, but there should be room for Rick Parfitt, too.

If you must celebrate a rag & bone man... try this:

And they have done a full memorial section. Although the names are crowded on the screen so it's more like a video game than a moment of reflection.

Ridgeley, Pepsi and Shirley have come on stage to pay tribute to George. Andrew looks more like Philip Green these days, it turns out.

It's nice to see all three of them on stage together again. It's easy to forget there was a time that Wham were presented as a four-piece....

Shirley talking about how a label gave the young band a chance, although the way Michael was screwed over by the labels probably not the best of memories.

Shirley's breaking down a bit.

This is quite a long talky bit.

They're bringing on Chris Martin to do A Different Corner, which is a bit like a tribute to Red Rum ending with the pantomime horse from Rentaghost running about the stage.

Martin is murdering this.

Chris Martin is pouring All The Emotions(TM) into this, like a man who bought a big tub of Emotions at Costco and is prepared to use it in one go.

"If I could, I would, I swear" says Chris Martin. But you can't, so you shouldn't, I'm afraid.

Ghostly bit of Prince saying "George Michael" on the big screen.

And then it's off to more adverts.

Meanwhile, it turns out that The 1975 might not have the smartest fans:

Yeah. Not hacked. Not really that edgy, either, come to that.

British single time...

Here's the noms:
Alan Walker – "Faded"
Calum Scott - "Dancing On My Own"
Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna – "This Is What You Came For"
Clean Bandit featuring Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – "Rockabye"
Coldplay – "Hymn for the Weekend"
James Arthur – "Say You Won't Let Go"
Jonas Blue featuring Dakota – "Fast Car"
Little Mix – "Shout Out to My Ex"
Tinie Tempah featuring Zara Larsson – "Girls Like"
ZAYN – "Pillowtalk"

Holly and Fearne are on ("both named after plants" says Emma helpfully) to do the honours.

Little Mix have won it. I suspect based on the options available, that's as good as it could be.

They manage to get lost heading from the audience to the stage, which is quite a feat.

A shot of Cowell sitting in the gloom, chewing and nodding.

Katy Perry being thrown on to stop people turning over at the 9pm programme junction. She appears to have got trapped in Bekconscot Model Village.

The houses are dancing with her which is at least better than just throwing human dancers at the stage in a bid to fill the space. Visually, it works pretty well.

Pretty the song is like half a No Doubt b-side masquerading as Romania's Eurovision entry.

There's two enormous dancing skeletons on the stage with her now. And Skip Marley, who isn't a giant skeleton.

Now the houses have legs.

Jonathan Ross - remember him? - has come on to give the Special Prize Allowing Us To Give A Prize To Someone We Like Award.

(Adele, and Global Success.)

Adele picks up the prize on video because she's a global success and doesn't need to turn up to shit like this.

Emma Willis is down at the table with Rog n Bowlmen. Dermot is also there. Remember the name - Rag n Bone Man will be the subject of 2022 Where Are The Now pieces.

Skepta is taking to the stage. No dancing houses. Oh, and ITV are muting the swearing which kind of misses the point of showing the programme.

They are putting 'Audio muted' on the screen, though, so 1975 fans don't think its ITV being hacked again.

So far, he's responding to the massive stage by moving around it and being good.

No dancing houses. No choir. Just lights and charisma.

British video vote is now closed. Your chance to shape destiny is over, unless the House Of Lords can slip something into the Article 50 Bill before it returns to the Commons.

Oh... the skeletons with Katy Perry were meant to be Trump and May? Missed that little bit of politics there; I assumed it was some sort of oblique reference to Pink Floyd.

It's international male awards time - Clara Amfo, Alice Levine & Laura Jackson, who had been doing the red carpet earlier. "You're doing a great job" they tell Dermot and Emma. Like being applauded by the B-team.

Bon Iver
Bruno Mars
Leonard Cohen
The Weeknd

Drake has won it. Not Bruno Mars. Not Mars, who turned up and did a song. Drake isn't even in the O2. He's not even in Greenwich. This is the closest thing we have to an upset.

The same trio do international female and international group - they don't even bother to read the nominations out.

Christine and the Queens

and then

A Tribe Called Quest
Drake and Future
Kings of Leon
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Twenty One Pilots

Beyonce and Tribe win. Not even a VT of them pretending to be delighted.

And before you can even go 'A Tribe Called...', it's the big reveal of the secret collaboration.

Coldplay and Chainsmokers. "We had to sign the official secrets act" trills Emma, apparently unaware that Stereogum announced the collaboration an hour ago.

Chris Martin gets mobbed by the crowd. But they let him go to finish the song.

This is as dull as you'd expect it to be.

Let's just focus on how they gave an award to Beyonce and didn't play a single fucking note of her music, shall we? Why the hell did the Best International Male get their nominations treated like a proper award and the female shortlist didn't even have their names read out?

Did Christine And The Queens know that was going to happen when she suffered the foolish Red Carpet interview earlier?


When you see it like that, it makes sense.

Video award time. Remember, it was our votes that counted. If we voted.

Simon Cowell and Nicole out the yoghurt ads are presenting this one. Neither of them really seem to know what they're meant to be doing.

Here's the shortlist:
Adele – "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)"
Coldplay – "Hymn for the Weekend"
James Arthur – "Say You Won't Let Go"
Little Mix featuring Sean Paul – "Hair"
One Direction – "History"
ZAYN – "Pillowtalk"
Clean Bandit featuring Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – "Rockabye"
Jonas Blue featuring Dakota – "Fast Car"
Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna – "This Is What You Came For"
Tinie Tempah featuring Zara Larsson – "Girls Like"

The winner is... One Direction. Of course. It might be a surprise for those of us who assumed they'd already been broken up for parts.

Simon Cowell starts bellowing thank yous over the top, forgetting that he's meant to be awarding, not accepting. How did ITV get him to present in a category where there was a chance one of his puppety figures would win?

Ed Sheeran's here to sing us all a song now. As usual, he's so bland he's making James Blunt sound like Little Richard.

Stormzy's joined him. It's not really helped. Like putting horseradish sauce on a bit of luncheon meat.

There doesn't really feel like there's any forward motion to this show - it's not just they're building to Robbie Williams as if that was a big finish, but there's not really any energy. Even when one of the acts manages to spark life into the O2, it vanishes before they make it to the next ad break.


This is as credible as his claim he was making love by Wednesday.

Well, we're in the final stretch. Lets hold it together.

Last award is for Album of the year...

The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It
David Bowie – Blackstar
Kano – Made in the Manor
Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
Skepta – Konnichiwa

Oh, just when you thought it couldn't get worse, Noel Gallagher (a "stick it to the man rockstar" according to Emma) shuffles on to do the prize giving bit.

David Bowie wins it, and Duncan Jones comes to pick up his Dad's prize.

"He's always been there for people who think they're a little bit strange" says Duncan of his Dad. (And there for Craig David,too)

It's Emma's turn to fumble the switch from a heartfelt tribute to next award.

We're now moving to hearing why Robbie Williams won the third-ever Icon award. It would be a stretch at any time, but straight after a prize for an album fizzling with ideas which David Bowie recorded while he was dying, it's a hollow joke.

Look at him, sauntering along the catwalk with a smug grin, like British Music's own Nigel Farage.

"It's nearly over, you can nearly go home" says Williams, although the smarter attendees will already be halfway down the North Greenwich Station stairs by now.

"I love my life - I am powerful; I am beautiful; I am free" honks Williams. Half expecting him to end with "dial this number and ask me how".

Robbie Williams' last single peaked at 22. That's not really icon-esque.

His performance fizzles out and, oddly - for the first time in living memory - the Brits has under-run. So they're playing Shout Out To My Ex for the 16,223rd time this evening.

The standout moment, I think, was Duncan Jones tribute to his dad. The Wham bit was heartfelt, and a bit rough around the edges, and it's not often you see something so genuine at the Brits.

The lowlights are too numerous to revisit, but a double dose of Chris Martin stands out as inexplicably cruel.

But the worst thing is the shoddy treatment of the International Women prize. I know giving an award to Beyonce just throws shade over many of the other prize winners - like a glass of brandy surrounded by a table of shandies - but couldn't they at least have made a little more of it?

Thanks for reading. Back for Eurovision, if not before.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Bono praises Pence and presumably not for a bet

No Rock And Roll Fun isn't - you might have noticed - as busy as it has been traditionally, mainly because who the hell has the energy to write about an ecosystem that has somehow evolved Rag N Bone Man and everyone takes him seriously?

But the blog remains open, and from time to time I'll be posting here when there's something that warrants it. And something that warrants it is... well, this:

Yes, that's long-time friend of the unpleasant Bono shaking warmly the hand of Mike Pence, enabler-in-chief to Donald Trump. This was during a meeting yesterday in Munich.

Bono also took the chance to praise Pence. He lauded Pence for "hitting the ground running", which is a bit like applauding bird flu for being especially virulent. Then tried to find a reason for touching the man that would play well to the liberal audience Bono believes still values him:
According to a pool report, the two men shared an exchange about the 2003 passage of the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief and its 2008 renewal, which Pence advocated for as an Indiana congressman.

"Twice on the House floor you defended that. That’s how we know you," Bono, who has been a vocal proponent of the fight against AIDS, told Pence.

"And we really appreciate it," he added.
It's true, Pence DID support the Emergency Plan back in 2008. However, this was the same Pence who - in 2000 - tried to derail the Ryan White Care Act:
“Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus,” read an LGBT section of Pence’s website, called Strengthening the American Family.
So had he changed his mind since then, and is he helping the fight against AIDS?

Well, no. He's making it worse, and singlehandedly helped create an HIV crisis in Indiana:
Pence first laid the groundwork for Indiana’s HIV outbreak as a congressman back in 2011, when the House passed his amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. Then in 2013, Pence’s first year as governor of Indiana, Scott County’s one Planned Parenthood closed in the wake of public health spending cuts. Since that particular Planned Parenthood was also the county’s only HIV testing center, there was no longer a place for the county’s 24,000 residents to get tested.

Nearly 20 percent of Scott County residents live below the poverty line. Injection drug use there is a major problem, increasing the risk of HIV outbreak.

Fast-forward to 2015. Local health officials began to report HIV cases linked to intravenous prescription opioid use in Scott County. Scott County residents were sharing needles to inject their opioids, and nobody was getting tested.

The situation quickly spiraled out of control. At the height of the outbreak, 20 new cases of HIV were being diagnosed each week, reaching a total of nearly 200 cases by the time the outbreak was finally under control.
Maybe if Bono had a spine, or perhaps didn't need to be loved so much, he might have mentioned this.

Maybe if Bono had a spine, he'd have drawn the link between the defunding of sexual health providers in Indiana, and the Trump-Pence White House's first executive order. That's the one which pulls funding from any organisation working overseas which mentions abortions as an option.

The executive order was restoring an older, Bush-era rule. And how did that work out?
Implementation of the global gag rule went well beyond abortion to effectively limit all discussions of family planning, including condom use to prevent HIV infection and multiyear spacing of pregnancies to avoid maternal deaths. Organizations as diverse as the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund and Family Health International lost millions of dollars in support from the US government during the years the gag rule was enforced.
Bono - who is such a useful idiot he's more the Swiss Army Knife of Idiots - is shaking the hand of a man who has created an HIV crisis in his home state, and is part of a White House that's making rules that will stop condom use and education overseas, and praising him as a great warrior in the fight against HIV.

After this meeting, Bono moved on to take a selfie with Famine, noting that the famous Horseman had really "cut through and found a way to persuade people to eat up their leftovers."

Monday, January 09, 2017

Hammer won't fall: Team Rock saved

Before Christmas, it looked like Metal Hammer and stablemates Classic Rock and Prog had published their last.

Good news for the new year, though, because Future Publishing, the previous owners of the titles, has stepped in to acquire Team Rock, the magazines and the websites:

“The acquisition of these classic rock brands with their associated magazines, events and websites marks a further step in our buy and build strategy,” said Zillah Byng-Thorne, chief executive of Future.

“It further reinforces our creation of a leading global specialist media platform with data at its heart, which we are monetising through diversified revenue streams. We look forward to developing further these iconic and much-loved brands and to continuing to serve their communities of dedicated enthusiasts around the world.”
Future has scooped the lot - including a radio licence - for just £800,000. Back in 2013, Future had sold just the magazines for £10.2million.

So, not perhaps a totally happy ending, as the business clearly isn't in a great shape - but there's hope, and in 2017, we need all the hope we can get.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Boy George giggles his way through biphobia

When it comes to attitudes to bi people, some gay people can be the worst.

Boy George has performed a public service by reminding us of this.

That tweet - that saying "I'm bisexual" is a lie - is bad enough.

The way George has dealt with being called on this is worse.

He's fallen back on a "how can I be biphobic when I'm so fabulous defence" and to chunter on about "steaming white rice" when anyone tries to call him on it.

Anyone who nods along with George, though, gets a thumbs up:

Oh, gee, thanks, Mr Boy, for allowing that some people might not be lying about being bi - although perhaps even that is undermined by doing it while agreeing with this:

This, it seems, was "George's point" all along. Some people might identify as bi as their sexual identity pulses through towards something else; but the reverse can be true - back in the 80s, the lack of bi role models and dismissiveness of bisexuality made it easier to identify as gay as a halfway house to being able to identify as bi. I know this from experience, not as a theory.

I understand that George thought he was making a joke; I also think when George insists he doesn't believe he's biphobic that he's probably genuine. Like a lot of gay people, he thinks that simply allowing bi people on his bus is enough.

But it's not. If you're first thought when someone tells you they're bi is that they're only half-baked, a person whose souffle has yet to rise, you've got a problem.

We wouldn't let someone telling gay-attacking jokes get away by calling "bantz." We shouldn't let Boy George off with the same defence, no matter how much glitter he throws behind it.

They're Justified, and they're Modern

New news of Mu Mu, according to posters all around London:

2017: What The Fuck Is Going On?

It is almost 23 years since the Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu announced a self imposed and self important 23 year moratorium. The reasons for the moratorium have now been lost in time, space, and a rusting shipping container somewhere near Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station.

What is known is:

The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu have zero involvement with any video clips, films, recorded music, documentary productions, biographies, West End musicals or social media chatter relating to the letters K L or F, now or at any other time over the previous 23 years.


The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu have no interest in anything that seeks to comment on, bounce off, glorify, debunk or resurrect their historical work.

The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu are currently at work in their light industrial unit. This work will not be made public until the 23rd August 2017.

For more information contact the K2 Plant Hire Ltd.
"self-imposed and self-important". Nice touch.

Welcome back. I'm sure there's lawyers on standby in record labels around the nation.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Twittergem: Spector

Spector released a single last year called Born In The EU.

Go on, admit it, you hadn't thought about Spector for a long time, had you?

Funnily enough, they've just had a minor role to play in politics in 2017 already. Or at least political journalism:

Friday, December 23, 2016

Won't somebody think of the Nickelback?

At this time of year, it's good that someone is prepared to make a stand for a cause that they believe in. Even if that person is Avril Lavigne, and the cause is fucking awful.

A few days ago, Mark Zuckerburg - The Riddler of the Information Age - made a funny video in which, in part, he made a joke at the expense of Nickelback. Avril Lavigne wasn't having that:

The first paragraph isn't even coherent, and I suspect a whole sentence got forgotten to try and link 'people not liking Facebook' with 'Zuckerberg not liking Nickelback'.

At the other end of the notelet, why is Lavigne putting hashtags into something she's going to share as a screenshot?

In the middle... in the middle, that's where it's really rough. If 'selling lots of records' makes someone worthwhile or significant, based on the wheezy figures achieved globally by Avril Lavigne's most recent album, Lavigne has effectively been invisible since about 2011. Selling lots of a thing doesn't mean you're doing anything worthwhile; not selling lots of a thing doesn't make you worthless.

But if that crude dollar-equivalent basis of cultural value is the one Lavigne's going for, then Zuckerberg - having persuaded millions upon millions to seal their online experience inside his unlovely scroll-jail - would be in a position to pass judgement on nearly every artist or musician in known history.

Let's set that aside, though, and just focus on the core claim that Lavigne is making - that criticism of a musician is akin to bullying.

The joke was Zuckerberg asked his AI to play a good Nickelback song; the AI replied that there were no good Nickelback songs.

Lavigne has done a lot of really good work to promote anti-bullying charities online, and it's sweet that she's defending her ex-husband in this way. But it undermines real victims of bullying to try and conflate a weak gag about a band's music with bullying. Music is immensely personal and music fans are incredibly tribal and - clearly - it's not unknown for that to boil over into actual bullying. But Zuckerberg's joke is no more than the equivalent of giving an album one star in a review and, really, if you don't want to be told that some people don't like what you make, you probably are in the wrong business.

My Mum used to say 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all', but she never let that stop her having a go at Cliff Richard whenever he appeared on the radio.

Presumably the royalty cheques help soothe the pain a little, but what really should count isn't the people who don't like Nickelback, but the people who do. If you're making something that you care about and want to make a connection, you'll understand that sometimes it's a passionate connection, and sometimes it's going to be a firm rejection. That's the whole point of artistry.

Unless of course you don't really care about your music and just value the number of units shifted.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Folding magazines: Classic Rock & Metal Hammer

This would be grim news at any time, but just before Christmas amplifies the grimness: Team Rock have Team Rock, who publish Classic Rock and Metal Hammer magazines, have called in the administrators:

Thomas Campbell MacLennan, Alexander Iain Fraser and Jason Daniel Baker of FRP Advisory LLP were appointed as Joint Administrators of Team Rock Limited (“the Company”) on 19 December 2016.

The affairs, business and property of the Company are being managed by the Joint Administrators, who act as agents of the Company and without personal liability.

The Company is being managed on a care and maintenance basis only whilst a buyer for the assets is sought. Accordingly, the TeamRock website will be unavailable for the foreseeable future.

The administrators are assessing the position regarding publication of magazines. If you are a subscriber to the Company’s publications the administrators can be contacted via email at teamrock.subscribers@frpadvisory.com.
27 people in Scotland and 46 in London have lost their jobs. According to the BBC report, Team Rock had been losing money for quite a while; they're hopeful the brands will find a buyer - and so hopefully some of those staff will be rehired.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Marie Nixon takes on Next

Next have decided they could flog young girls tshirts based on their interest in music.

Next didn't make a great choice, though. They came up with this:

Yep. Rather than 'bassist' or 'singer' or even 'drummer', they went with 'groupie'.

Marie Nixon has been talking to the Newcastle Chronicle about how awful this is:
“It made me absolutely furious, it is a T-shirt little girls aged three to 16 and by the time I was 15 I was in a band.

“Emma reminded me that when we often used to turn up to gigs guys used to say ‘are you with the band’, it used to really annoy us that girls often get treated like accessories and that people can’t see them in fact as the creative ones.

“Some people might say it is just a T-shirt but it is an important issue, there is a drip drip drip of negativity that undermines a woman’s self belief.”

Marie also pointed out that ‘I’m with the band’ is the title of a famous 2005 novel by Pamela Des Barres - a former rock ‘n’ roll groupie.

She added: “The term Next have used on the T-shirt is synonymous with groupiesism which is arguably a culture of sexual explotation.

“I know there has been some suggestion that the phrase could mean they are managing the band or are producing the band but when I managed bands that would never be a phrase used by me or about me so I don’t accept that.”
Yep, there has been a weak attempt at 'perhaps the phrase means the person is part of the structure of support underpinning the band from a business point of view'. Because band accountants would definitely wear a glitter 'with the band' tshirt.

I can't think of a single manager I've ever met who would wear describe themselves as being "with the band". Quite a few might say "the band's with me", but not the other way round.

Next's response is a shrug:
A series of tweets sent from the company’s official account read: “The T-shirt will remain on sale as there are only a few weeks left till the end of the season.

“But we will take on board your comments for future designs.”

A spokesman added: “It certainly wasn’t our intention to produce something that might be perceived as sexist, so we apologise for any offence caused.”
Good to know that Next don't have a whiteboard with the words 'sexist tees' written at the top, I suppose.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Chairlift will leave us dangling

Chairlift doing their bit to make Christmas a little less jolly:

Monday, December 05, 2016

Unfolding magazines: Paste is coming back

It's six years since Paste abandoned its print edition and became web-only.

Next year, though, crowdfunding permitting, it's coming back as a physical product:

With its large 12"-by-12"-inch format, thick paper and rich colors, it'll be unlike any magazine you've seen. We're sparing no expense from production quality to all the best writers, photographers and illustrators. We're bringing back the Paste Sampler, but this time it's a 150-gram colored vinyl album with exclusive tracks recorded at the Paste Studio in New York. We'll be working with our original designer, Jose Reyes, and his award-winning design team Metaleap Creative. And we're eschewing traditional distribution to deliver it directly to you.
(To be fair, a 12x12 magazine with a vinyl record isn't quite like 'any magazine you've seen', as there was that one in the 80s which was exactly like that - was it Debut?)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Beverley Martyn's having a tough time

A couple of years back, things were going quite well for Beverley Martyn - The Guardian caught up with her and celebrating her survival after the turbulence of her life with John Martyn, and excesses you might not always associate with the folk music scene:

Though she was shocked and distressed at the time, following John's death from pneumonia in January 2009 she felt "things opened up for me again. Something changed."

The Phoenix and the Turtle, recorded with former members of Los Lobos and Counting Crows, is an affirming testament to her survival instinct. "It's been the best thing for a long time," she says. "It's good to work, it's a great way of escaping your everyday troubles. I'm enjoying this time of my life. I just turned 67, I'm still here, and I think I know who I am now." She taps the album on the table between us. "This is what I do."
It's not clear what's happened since then, but it doesn't look like the last couple of years have been kind to her.

One of her friends has shared this message on Facebook:
Dear friends of Beverley Martyn. In case you were worried about what's going on with her, she has been Sectioned for 6 months and is currently in Millview hospital in Hove. Her physical health is being neglected and is worsening. Any help with arranging access to better care would be much appreciated. Happy to pass on your messages to her and do my best to arrange contact. Thank you. "Love and Peace. Bev"

#beverleymartyn #johnmartyn #nickdrake

Please retweet, reblog etc. She wants her friends to know what's going on. I don't know who her friends are so spreading this as far and wide as possible is essential.
If you can help, or just want to send a message of support, Beverley's friend Jessica can be contacted via that Facebook link.

Kate Bush: the darling's bad; for May

Kate Bush doesn't give a lot of interviews. After the last twenty-four hours, she might figure she'll do rather fewer in future.

As part of a wide-ranging discussion with Elio Iannacci for Macleans Magazine, the conversation turned to politics - and, in particular, Hillary Clinton's inability to seize the White House. It was here that Kate uttered the words which curdled many a morning yoghurt:

We have a female prime minister here in the UK. I actually really like her and think she’s wonderful. I think it’s the best thing that’s happened to us in a long time. She’s a very intelligent woman but I don’t see much to fear. I will say it is great to have a woman in charge of the country. She’s very sensible and I think that’s a good thing at this point in time.
Now, Kate Bush talking warmly about a Tory prime minister might be disappointing, but surely at a time when we've got actual fascists about to take office space in the White House, the small mercy that she wasn't bellowing "Brexit now" and bigging up the Farage must count for something.

More importantly, if you're going to quote the reply, you should probably look at the question, too:
A track called “Waking the Witch”—which was released in 1985—was performed for Before The Dawn. You once said that the song was about “the fear of women’s power.” With regards to Hillary Clinton’s recent defeat, do you think that this fear is stronger than ever?
So when Kate was talking about not having any reason to fear, she wasn't saying from May's policies, but fear of the idea of a woman leading a nation. Her comment was about temperament and gender, not policy and manifesto.

That's still disappointing - she seems to have confused May's caught in the headlights paralysis for a softly, softly caution - but reading Twitter over the last 24 hours you might have thought that Bush had been found negotiating the sale of NHS hospitals direct to Richard Branson.

And it's possible that Kate Bush does wholeheartedly embrace the Tory government, from the strange smell leaking out of Jeremy Hunt, through the slithering of Boris Johnson, to the chums of Liam Fox. And, let's face it, she's comfortably off and clearly had a lot of piano lessons as a small child, neither of which are signifiers of dyed-in-the-wool socialism.

But this interview doesn't really give much evidence one way or the other.

The really problematic bit of the interview was this exchange:
Q: Stephen Hawking recently said the Earth only has 1,000 years left. As someone who has written about environmental issues, does that alarm you?

A: Well, nobody really knows, do they? They told Stephen Hawking he only had a year left to live and how many years ago was that? You can’t know it all. If ever there’s been somebody to hold as an icon of sheer determination and willpower, it’s that guy, let alone any of the things he’s done scientifically. I’m sure that’s his driving force, but he’s a miracle and an aspiration.
For "someone who has written about environmental issues", giving an answer which ignores the environment and instead focuses on how Stephen Hawking didn't accept a diagnosis is heartbreaking. It seems to be implying that all we need to do abotu climate change is pop over to the burning fires of Siberia, stick up a couple of motivational posters, tell the planet to believe in itself and everything will be fine.

In all the coverage of Bush's interview yesterday, BBC News came up with the oddest angle:
Bush previously wrote a song for a sketch on a 1990 episode of TV series The Comic Strip, about the former Labour Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

The lyrics included: "Look to the left and to the right. We need help and there's nobody in sight. Where is the man that we all need? Well tell him he's to come and rescue me. Ken is the man that we all need. Ken is the leader of the GLC."
The track also describes Livingstone as "a sex machine".
This isn't wrong, but it doesn't really make much sense in the context of something she actually said about a politician - the Ken song was a soundtrack to an imaginary Hollywood movie about the GLC and part of that framing. If you really wanted to make something relevant out of it, you might have mentioned how both the movie and the satire gleefully cast Thatcher as the villain of the piece, and the gender politics around the last female Prime Minister. But I suppose 'has she written a song about a politician' was the only box they were looking to tick.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Twittergem: Unimpressed by Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire do Bruce Spingsteen:

Not everyone is impressed:

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Songwriterobit: Curly Putman

Curly Putman, songwriter, has died at the age of 85.

Yes, Green Green Grass of Home. Yes, DIVORCE. But, mostly, this is his masterwork:

Bobby Braddock remembered how Putnam breathed life into DIVORCE:

"I said, 'Curly, why is it that we don't have any takers on this song?' Nobody was jumping on board with it. He said, 'I think it seems a little bit too happy for such a sad song.' I said, 'Do you think it needs a new melody?' He said, Well, just in a couple of places. The last line of the verse and the last line of the chorus.' What I had, looking back, it sounded kind of like a soap commercial... I thought we should split the writer's share on the song, and he didn't want to take it, so we compromised. He took 25 percent, and we put his name on there. If we'd done it today, we probably would have split it right down the middle because the song had been sitting around and nothing had happened with it. Then, Curly made that little change and it made so much difference."

Putman, like the Waltons, spent his early years living on a mountain which bore the family name.

As if his own work wasn't immortality enough, he's also recorded in a Paul McCartney song, Junior's Farm - written after Putman had rented his farm to Paul and Linda for a period in the early 1970s.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Obitornotobit: Pete Burns

It looks pretty official, sadly:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

It's important to remember that Morrissey isn't racist

There have been few things more divisive in British public life this century than Brexit. And you know who can't hear the word "divisive" without deciding to share his view?

So, Morrissey. Tell us what you think about Brexit:

“As for Brexit, the result was magnificent, but it is not accepted by the BBC or Sky News because they object to a public that cannot be hypnotised by BBC or Sky nonsense. These news teams are exactly the same as Fox and CNN in that they all depend on public stupidity in order to create their own myth of reality. Watch them at your peril!”
Morrissey appears to be doing media studies at GCSE. I was half expecting him to add "you might say someone is a terrorist, but somebody else could call them a freedom fighter."

Morrissey, of course, doesn't live in Britain and when he visits he feels it's important to mention that he hears people speaking languages other than English, but obviously not in a racist way. In other words, he's pretty much prime UKIP material.

It's fascinating that he feels the most important thing about the result isn't anything to do with the EU, but merely proves something about the BBC. Naturally, living in America he'd be in the perfect position to judge the tenor of BBC News coverage of the referendum. In precisely the same way that a person living in Didsbury is able to tell you about the weather in Miami right now.

Pitchfork also reminds us that he's as addled and deluded about music as he is about, sadly, everything:
Later in the same interview, he discussed how his legacy as an artist is folded into the Smiths’ success. “The Smiths are listed as, for example, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees, because people generally think that the Smiths also covers Morrissey—which it doesn’t.” Though they were nominated for the Hall in recent years, the Smiths were not nominated this year.

Then, he said, “we have PJ Harvey as a Hall Of Fame nominee,” which also isn’t true (though this was the first year Harvey became eligible for nomination). He continued, “It can’t be argued that she has ever meant more than Morrissey in the USA, and needless to say I have never been a nominee.”
This is a man angry that someone who hasn't been nominated for something he hasn't been nominated for isn't, in his opinion, any fitter for the prize that they both aren't in the running for.

It's a bit like me getting angry that Nigel Farage's eligibility for the Nobel Peace Prize instead of me.

The claim that a Smiths nomination doesn't include Morrissey isn't right, either - individual members of the band are inducted, and I don't think you can be inducted more than once. And, let's be honest, Moz - your best chance is getting considered for Strangeways and The Queen Is Dead rather than Years Of Refusal and... your other solo albums. The one about the ring or something?

And as for meaning than PJ - admittedly, Viva Hate went gold in the US back in 1993, and Bona Drag managed to scrape gold after a decade on the racks. But PJ Harvey's records consistently enter the US charts - maybe not at such a level that Taylor Swift will be worried, but still enough to show she has a strong base of interest in the US. And she's still doing interesting work, rather than... well, just complaining about a lack of respect.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Radio 1: Still a country for old men

The Guardian has a fairly in-depth interview with Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper this morning, with a couple of interesting headlines.

The first is that Cooper wants Radio 1 to become "the Netflix of music radio":

“I want Radio 1 to be the Netflix of music radio,” he says, trundling out the catchy soundbite to back his latest plan: taking a leaf out of the hugely successful US streaming service’s book by making programmes available on demand.
But... the programmes already are available on demand, aren't they?

Turns out these are different programmes:
He is starting out with 25 hours of on-demand “phone-first” content, such as a weekly “Top 10 most-played tracks of the week” programme, but intends to seriously ramp up the hours next year. “In this job, you’ve got to keep across what young audiences are doing. They want content on whatever device they are using, increasingly the phone, when they want it, and that is the key for us to stay relevant and stay young.”
There's a few problems with this - if people aren't listening to Radio 1, why would they give a raspberry tuppence about listening to a programme which plays the 'most played' tracks? "Hey kids, those programmes you're ignoring? Want to listen to the sort of music they're playing that isn't encouraging you to listen to them?"

More importantly, if you were looking for a Netflix for music radio, you might think that's a space that Spotify are already in.

And Radio 1 as Netflix would only work if Netflix concerned itself solely with, say, romcoms and slasher flicks. If you're looking for something akin to Netflix, you'd need something that covers a range of styles and genres. Something like, ooh, iPlayer Radio.

To be fair, though, Cooper has had some degree of success at extending Radio 1 as a brand beyond radio - a large swathe of its audience never tune in on DAB or FM. On YouTube, Radio 1 is thriving, or at least doing as well as Zoella.

Then there's the Grimshaw question:
Meanwhile, shouldn’t he be more worried about Nick Grimshaw? Earlier this year, the station’s breakfast show audience reached its lowest level in more than 13 years. Grimshaw, who took over the coveted gig from Chris Moyles, is about to become older than the station’s average listener. After four years of trying, is his use-by date looming?

“I’m not operating Logan’s Run,” quips Cooper, referring to the 1976 sci-fi film where people get systematically vaporised when they turn 30. “Grimmy was asked to do a job and it was a difficult job. Chris’s job was to build the biggest audience he could, the most successful breakfast show Radio 1 ever had. The BBC Trust asked me to get Radio 1 younger so I brought in Nick to do that. Grimmy has come in and he is the No 1 youth presenter in the UK. He is knocking it out of the ballpark when it comes to connecting with young audiences on a daily basis.”
Is he the "number one youth presenter in the UK", though? If he is, why has he settled so comfortably into the X Factor Home for The Formerly Influential?

But then, the 46 year-old Cooper isn't going to willingly suggest the route to a younger audience is through a perpetually younger team, is he?

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Liam Gallagher calls for "mischief"

Liam Gallagher - or, since David Cameron's resignation honours, Baron Gallagher of Burnage - has called for more "mischief" from musicians:

Encouraging today's musicians to cause more mischief, Gallagher said: "There is no excuse for young bands to act like grown men. When you're older and have kids, cool it out a bit, but I get up to more mischief in my butcher’s than [they] do on their fucking tours. Maybe it's just where we're from."

He added: "I guess it goes back to the working-class thing. The shit-kickers aren’t breaking through. A lot of music these days is by middle-class kids."
That's right, a man who is so middle class he still visits a butchers is complaining about the lack of authentic working class voices.

He's doing this in a press junket to promote a film that dredges up the long-cold corpse of Oasis. You wonder, as you try to swim through all the attention this movie is getting, why young bands struggle to get their voices heard, don't you?

Sidenote: what fucking "mischief" does he get up to in his butcher's anyway? Asking how much the venison costs and then saying "that's quite dear?"

Producerobit: Kashif Saleem

The R&B producer Kashif Saleem has died.

Kashif was a multi-instrumentalist. He was a singer. He was a producer. And he was responsible for some great moments:

He wrote that. As a writer and producer, he sold over 70 million records in his own right. And then, through sampling, went on to provide the guts of millions more.

It's an unblemished record to be proud of.

Saxophonist Kenny G credits the multifaceted Kashif for launching his career.
Almost an unblemished record to be proud of.

Avril Lavigne is her generation's Paul McCartney

You know there are too many conspiracy theories when people are reduced to claiming that Avril Lavigne died and was replaced by an imposter in 2003:

A Brazilian blog post goes into an extreme amount of detail, looking at differences between 'old' Avril and 'new' Avril including height ("Avril was 1.58m in 2002 and now it's 1.55m - it's impossible!"), voice ("the double is soprano"), and even her nose and freckles.

"They are different physically, although they are almost identical," the conspiracy theorist wrote. "After all, they are lookalikes."

And apparently Avril changing autographs and fashion style is another piece of 'proof' that the Avril today is not the same as the one from more than 13 years ago.
You could just about see why The Beatles might have gone to the trouble of bringing in a ringer for Paul McCartney when he died at the age of 28, although nobody has ever explained why they'd have gone to all that subterfuge and then give the game away by effectively releasing an album sleeve with the words "THAT'S NOT THE REAL PAUL WE HAVE DONE A TRICK" all over it.

But had Avril needed to be replaced in 2003? Wouldn't you just have gone with someone else who could be a bit like Pink?

This week just gone

Most-read September stories:

1. 1Xtra's ticket sales fall apart
2. The Wolfhounds would like their publishing back
3. Pre-Coil Zos Kia music released
4. Bros come back… why?
5. Iron Maiden dump paper tickets

These were the new releases last week:

Warpaint - Heads Up

Download Heads Up

Billie Marten - Writing Of Blues And Yellows

Download Writing Of Blues And Yellows

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry - Shine A Light

Download Shine A Light

Heidi Talbot - Here We Go 1, 2, 3

Download Here We Go 1, 2, 3

Skylar Grey - Natural Causes

Download Natural Causes

Beach Slang - A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings

Download A Loud Bash...

Friday, September 30, 2016

Turn your roaming on: LoneLady & the LRM have hidden treasures

What could be better than a treasure hunt that doesn't involve you having to fight a pirate to get a map, or spend hours in a field with a metal detector discovering just how many Grolsch bottle tops have been scattered over East Anglia through the years?

And this hunt has treasure worth finding, too:

LoneLady has collaborated with The LRM (Loiterers Resistance Movement) and created a new track called The Street is Your Playground: A Psychogeographical Sat Nav.

Just 23 copies will be printed and 10 are prizes in our treasure hunt. Tokens have been hidden across Manchester and clues posted on The LRMs twitter feed @thelrm facebook page and website. So far only one has been found…

The free music is available until October 14th – coinciding with The LRMs 10th anniversary exhibition Loitering With Intent: The Art and Politics of Walking at People’s History Museum.
If you need any further inducement to get involved, you can listen to the prize over on Soundcloud. But it's LoneLady, so you know it's going to be wonderful.

Twenty-two remain. They're waiting for you. Go look.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Wolfhounds would like their publishing back

Back in 1987, young, fresh-faced band The Wolfhounds signed a deal with Working Music for their publishing. What happened next is a common story of young people being screwed over by a multinational:

By 1989, the company had gone bust and its property – the songs of its contracted artists – were subsumed into Warner Chappell, its parent company.

However, none of The Wolfhounds ever received any payment or statement from either Working Music or Warner Chappell, and instructed their solicitors at the time – Stevens Innocent – to give notice of termination for breach of contract, and to have their song copyrights returned to the authors. Through their own solicitors, Warner Chappell claimed that none of our songs had ever earned any money, despite the fact that we had received payments from the Performing Rights Society for the songs, been played on the radio numerous times and played hundreds of gigs, all of which meant that royalties were coming in. The band has irrefutable documentary proof of this.
As if that wasn't shitty enough, WC have also taken the songwriters' individual names off the copyright.

Because WC don't seem capable of doing the right thing - why would they want to hang so desperately on to publishing rights they claim have never earned a single brass tuppence anyway? - there's a petition calling on them to talk to the band.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Zos Kia: Pre-Coil uncoiled

You might have thought that everything that could have been re-released has already been re-released, and that we're now in an era where the reissue industry is just bringing things round for a second or third time.

But there are still gems waiting to be brought back to life:

Zos Kia was a group made up of Coil's John Balance, Mekon's John Gosling and Min, as well as occasional contributions from Throbbing Gristle's Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson. Their one and only album, Transparent, was released in cassette format in 1983 as the first released recordings of the group, even before any Coil music was released, by the now closed Austrian label Nekrophile.
As The Quietus reports, Transparent is about to get a reissue. Or, if you don't count tape-only releases, an issue.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

This week just gone

We've been on holiday - these were the recommendations before we went:

Slow Club - One Day All Of This Won't Matter

Download One Day...

The Oh Sees - A Weird Exits

Download A Weird Exits

Wild Beasts - Boy King

Download Boy King

Lisa Hannigan - At Swim

Download At Swim

Dinosaur Jr - Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not

Download Give A Glimpse

65daysofstatic - No Man's Sky

Download No Man's Sky

Saturday, September 24, 2016

They've been torn since Bros was cool

Your first instinct on hearing that Bros are reforming for a ten million quid tour is "ten million? Is it buggery going to be a ten million tour."

They've not even got Ken on board, right? (Craig Logan isn't coming back.)

But it's more an indication of how fucked the economy is - there's not going to be much profit in a Bros tour, but with interest rates now so low, they don't have to make much of a profit to make it worthwhile. Or at least a better investment than letting money sit in an account.

And, with the pound having been sunk by the Brexit vote, and much of the tour is in Europe, which ratchets up the relative costs in pounds.

So, the ten million pound comeback isn't suggesting that Bros are more popular than you thought. Just that ten million pounds is less than you'd hope.

Iron Maiden dump paper tickets

Iron Maiden have announced that their forthcoming tour is going to be "paperless":

Iron Maiden have announced their new UK tour will be their first in the country to use paperless tickets. Bruce Dickinson’s band are aiming to cut down the amount of tickets listed for “ludicrously inflated” prices on resale websites. Fans will not receive printed tickets for the group’s May arena tour, but will have to present photo ID and a credit card when they arrive at the show. “We do not want our fans being ripped off either by counterfeit tickets or through costly mark-ups on so-called secondary ticketing websites,” manager Rod Smallwood said in a statement.
It's the first UK paperless tour - although they did one in the US.

Not clear what happens if your change credit cards in the nine months between buying tickets and the gig, though. Or what happens if you plans change before the gig.