Saturday, April 18, 2015

Happy Record Store Day

When you were six:

Your dad: We've got to go visit Great Aunt Marylou
You: Don't wanna. She's not got anything to play with and it's boring.
Your dad: How about if I get you a special toy on the way?
You: Maybe...
Your dad: And we won't have to go again for a whole year


Your local record shop: Please come and see us
You: Don't wanna. You've got terrible stock and it's expensive.
Your local record shop: How about if I had a special Suede album?
You: Maybe...
Your local record shop: And... I suppose we won't see for a whole year afterwards

Alice Glass isn't happy

Alice Glass has been being upset on Twitter at the idea of Ethan Kath continuing Crystal Castles without her. NME storified the tweets:

Kath, for his part, describes Glass as "my former vocalist":
"I wish my former vocalist the best of luck in her future endeavors. I think it can be empowering for her to be in charge of her own project. It should be rewarding for her considering she didn't appear on Crystal Castles' best known songs, (she's not on 'Untrust Us'. 'Not In Love', 'Vanished', 'Crimewave', 'Vietnam', 'Magic Spells', 'Knights', 'Air War', 'Leni', 'Lovers Who Uncover', 'Violent Youth', 'Reckless', 'Year of Silence', 'Intimate', '1991', 'Good Time', 'Violent Dreams' etc.). People often gave her credit for my lyrics and that was fine, I didn't care."
Now, even though true, that's a pretty shitty statement. It reeks of someone in an atrophying domestic relationship listing petty items to try and prove something that doesn't matter: "when it rained that time and the bathroom leaked, I was the one who rigged the saucepans to catch the drips. And it was always me who had to ring the pizza place. And if it wasn't for me the cats would never have been wormed ever, would they?"

It seems like even Kath realised what he sounded like, because he later revised this statement:
"I wish my former vocalist the best of luck in her future endeavors. I think it can be empowering for her to be in charge of her own project. It should be rewarding for her."
You can still hear the muttering "last summer I was the only one who even seemed bothered about flea collars" underneath, but it's a lot less douchey.

Newjackswingobit: Johnny Kemp

1980s R&B star Johnny Kemp has died.

Born in the Bahamas, Kemp relocated to New York in the late 70s as a member of Kinky Foxx, but his breakthrough came after going solo. His career peak didn't last long - a brace of albums, the same number of Billboard hits - but he had recently been enjoying a lucrative spell on the nostalgia market. (That there is a New Jack Swing nostalgia market makes everyone feel incredibly old.)

His death is apparently unexplained; he had been due to perform on a cruise but his body was found floating in Montego Bay. He was 55.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Rifles "hacked"

The Rifles - who are apparently still going - tweeted support for UKIP yesterday:

It turns out, though, that they don't support UKIP. Or so they said after a backlash:
Please ignore the tweet regarding UKIP. Someone thinks their quite funny and hacked our twitter account #wankers

We've had an issue with our twitter account, why anyone would hack us is beyond on us. thanks to those showing us the vote of confidence X
I'm guessing that "hacked" here means "someone picked up a phone or used a computer where the account was logged in" rather than suggesting that Farage has someone sat in a room somewhere trying to break into the accounts of third-string guitar bands.

Embed and breakfast man: Garbage

Garbage have teamed up with Brian Aubert out of Silversun Pickups for their Record Store Day single. This is it:

Record Store Day is an annual event where rare records are hidden in shops for people to hunt down; the winners get to sell them on eBay at huge profits.

Steve Albini isn't impressed with Tidal

It's not just a damning-but-amusing comparison with another celeb-led endeavour from Steve Albini [via NME]:

Now, the Shellac and Big Black member has spoken to Vulture, raising doubts over the platform and calling it a "budget version of Pono", Neil Young's high-definition music player
Albini also shows his working:
"Historically, every time there’s been a new technological progression, there’s been a new convenience format [for listening to music]," Albini is quoted as saying. "So the question is, is it possible for something to be more convenient than streaming? And the answer is obviously yes. If you want your music to play at the push of a button, convenience is going to trump sound quality 100 percent of the time."

"It's for the same reason that if you had a screen that displayed paintings in your living room, very few serious art enthusiasts would care for such a screen despite the fact that it might show you very high-resolution images of artworks. They want to own a piece of art that is a direct connection to the person who made it. Having an HD screen in your house that would display artwork might have a market, but it’s not the same market as people who are interested in owning art."
Actually, he might have wanted to go with the idea that most people are quite happy to stick up a poster with a Matisse printed onto it, even though that might not be the real thing. But aside from a poorly worked through metaphor, his basic point (that there's no mass market for paying through the nose for a product where there's a perfectly good-enough, cheaper, free version) is sound.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tom Chaplin is going solo

Tom Chaplin, "the voice of Keane", is going solo, but cautiously:

A source shared: ''Tom didn't want to rush his first record. He wanted it to be perfect.

''He's taken his time and now feels he has the makings of an album that can withstand the comparisons to Keane's amazing back catalogue.''
Tom, sweetheart; I've heard foxes on heat screeching in the night who are capable of withstanding comparisons to Keanes - cough - amazing back catalogue.
''Tom isn't afraid to get personal on the album.

''His bandmate Tim Rice-oxley wrote the majority of Keane's tracks so Tom didn't always get the chance to explore his inner demons. Now it's his project he feels a lot more liberated.

''There will be more lyrics about his own struggle than ever heard on the band's records.''
Ah, who can wait until Christmas to hear "my struggle" from the boy who went to Tonbridge School (which is more costly than either Eton or Harrow)?

Legendobit: Percy Sledge

Sledge. Ledge.

Percy Sledge was 74. He'd had surgery for cancer at the start of last year, but had returned to touring.

Sidenote: Sledge wasn't credited as a writer on When A Man Loves A Woman. Which might be part of the reason why he returned to work after surgery at the age of 73.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pink extends the finger of screw you

The other night, Pink went to a benefit gig for the John Wayne Cancer Institute to support a friend being given an award.

There's a photo, look:

Some people looked at this photo and started muttering about Pink's weight.

Fortunately, Pink doesn't take this sort of thing sitting down.

(Side note: The Mirror was especially bad, banging on about how terrible she looked in the article where they published her retort.)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Argentina finds a great way to avoid future Bieber concerts

Justin Bieber might not want to visit Argentina any time soon:

An Argentine judge ordered the arrest of pop star Justin Bieber if he sets foot in the country after the Canadian singer failed to face questions about an alleged assault at a Buenos Aires nightclub in 2013, his court secretary said on Friday.
Now, I'm not saying that every nation should just adopt the idea that Bieber should have his collar felt if he turns up at immigration. Just every right thinking nation.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bookmarks: Empire Records

It's 20 years since Empire Records. Yes, 20 years. Yes, that does mean you're old.

Meanwhile, Rough Trade's New York outlet has been cosplaying as Empire Records to celebrate. Yes, that's a store cosplaying.

Brooklyn Vegan enjoyed the experience:

The Empire Records screening occurred inside the Rough Trade venue, which was also where the real treat for fans of the film happened. During an intermission, the metal band GWAR rushed out to recreate the dream-video scene where Mark is with them and eaten by a worm. This time though "Mark" was a raffle winner selected earlier in the evening. But moments after this Mark disappeared, actor Ethan Embry, Mark in the film, was pulled from the worm, and he, Johnny Whitworth, who played A.J., and GWAR selected the next two raffle winners, including a "Warren" shoplifting package. The proceeds were directed to Opening Act, a charity that supports arts education in NYC schools.

DJobit: Jess Marquis

Jess Marquis, who as DJ Jess founded Trash and was resident DJ at New York's Webster Hall, has died.

Three times winner of New York's The L Magazine Best DJ, there's a celebration of his life at Driven By Boredom:

I always told Jess how corny I thought he was. He was this drama kid turned nightlife icon who was so over the top about everything. I am so apathetic and Jess was the exact opposite and his love for burlesque and Morrissey made me roll my eyes. I blame him for the fact that I know all the lyrics to a dozen fucking Smiths songs. He was just so fucking silly and would make me take photo after photo of him and wouldn’t tell anyone he was probably 5 years older than they all thought he was. I gave him shit for all of it, but I would kill to care about anything as much as he did all of this shit.

How quickly can Zayn be photoshopped out of One Direction history

Tour posters? He's gone already. "Perfume" ads? Ironically still hanging about like a bad smell.

This week just gone

The most-read stories from April 2010:

1. RIP: Ann Vervoort
2. Adam Ant comes back. Before he's ready
3. Liverpool's Korova on fire
4. Michael Ancram's love for Bob Dylan
5. Bizarely, the 'ten most popular Jesus searches on No Rock & Roll Fun'
6. John Prine downloads (sadly long gone now)
7. Gordon Smart reports on a man wearing a hat
8. Last FM removes the ability to listen to any song you like
9. RIP: Peter Steele
10. Sony Awards shortlist

This week's interesting releases:

This Is The Kit - Bashed Out

Download Bashed Out

Say Lou Lou - Lucid Dreaming

Download Lucid Dreaming

Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp

Download Ivy Tripp

Drenge - Undertow

Download Undertow

The Lilac Time - No Sad Songs

Download No Sad Songs

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tumblrgem: Depeche Mode

Not pictured: Gennaro Castaldo.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Telegraph is terrible

David Hepworth has written a lovely clatter through Barry Manilow's career for the Telegraph, which is well worth a read.

The only problem is the headline the paper has stuck on the story:

Marrying a man isn't the most curious thing Barry Manilow has ever done
You're spot on, Daily Telegraph. Marrying the person he loves isn't the most curious thing a person has done. There's nothing curious or unusual about people of the same genders getting married.

Sandi Thom takes a while to settle a bill

Back in April 2014, Sandi Thom played Egremont Market Hall in Cumbria.

It's taken a while for the council to get the money for the hire of the venue:

Egremont councillor, Elaine Woodburn, said they tried to contact the singer but had no luck in getting a response about the money owed.

“We e-mailed her agent and messaged her on Facebook and Twitter but we never got anything back,” said Coun Woodburn.
It's all a terrible mistake, apparently.
hen The Whitehaven News contacted Sandi Thom about the unpaid bill she replied in an e-mail saying: “My colleague had posted the cheque to the council months ago and if the council has not received it, then it was simply a mistake and perhaps got lost in the post. I’d be more than happy to pay them if they haven’t received the cheque and I look forward to playing the Maryport festival in July when I return to that neck of the woods.”
The cheque got lost in the post - presumably sometime around 1973 when people used to pay bills by sending cheques through the post. And presumably the emails also got lost in the post. And then the Facebook and Twitter messages - why, you know what the Royal Mail's like for not getting those to the places on the envelopes.

Still, nice work for Sandi on turning a consumer journalism story into a chance to plug a forthcoming gig.

And has the bill been paid yet?
Geraldine Pritchard, Egremont Town Council’s financial officer, said: “Since being contacted by The Whitehaven News, Sandi Thom has contacted us asking for our bank details to pay the money. No cheque had been sent to us otherwise it would have been cashed but hopefully we will get the money soon.”
Not quite.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Listen with No Rock: Sharon Van Etten

That's the lead track from Sharon Van Etten's I Don't Want To Let You Down ep. You can buy it in *rubs eyes* June, apparently. June!

Happy Riot Grrl Day, everybody

The mayor of Boston has declared April 9th Riot Grrl Day:

Joyce Linehan, the mayor’s Chief of Policy and Hanna’s longtime friend, will present Hanna with the proclamation at the event. According to Linehan,“[Kathleen’s agent] called me to see if I would introduce Kathleen, probably based on the fact that Kathleen, back in the day, used to stay at my house when bands came through town…We knew each other from the indie rock world.”

The proclamation, signed by Walsh himself, says that it is in part a reference to Hanna’s “Riot Grrrl Manifesto.” A portion of the document also details why the 20 year old manifesto continues to be pertinent today, stating, “The riot grrrl philosophy has never felt more relevant, with misogyny still rampant in many cultural spaces…”
It's not just Boston that needs this. With the lead letter in this week's NME asking why women are being groped at gigs in 2015, we need a worldwide - or at least a musicworldwide - Riot Grrl Day. We need every day to be a Riot Grrl Day.

Black Sabbath say goodbye to farewell gig

Black Sabbath's supposed farewell gig at Ozzfest in Japan has been dropped amidst confusion about whether they were going to play their last gig there at all.

Instead of Sabbath, fans will now see Ozzy Osbourne and some different blokes. Which is pretty much the same thing.

Presumably there will be another farewell in a different place and time, but... nobody really seems to know what's going on. Probably as a tribute to Ozzy.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Artobit: Josie Jones

Josie Jones, Liverpool legend and erstwhile Big Hard Excellent Fish and Wah! has died.

Viewers of Snub TV will remember The Imperfect List - but might be unaware that there was a 2011 update, And The Question Remains:

John and Stipe come together for Ashley Diamond

Elton John and Michael Stipe have something important to say:

We applaud the US Department of Justice for supporting Ashley Diamond and the trans community in arguing that Georgia’s policy of denying transgender inmates their medically necessary hormone treatment is unconstitutional,' it read.

'But we must do more to end the culture of violence and discrimination surrounding gender identity and expression.

'We urge the state of Georgia to embrace desperately needed changes to their correctional system.'
The forced dehumanizing of Ashley Diamond was called "cruel and unusual punishment" by the DOJ last week; The New York Times wrote about her brutal treatment:
“During intake, I kept saying: ‘Hello? I’m trans? I’m a woman?’ ” Ms. Diamond recounted in a phone conversation from prison a few weeks ago. “But to them I was gay. I was what they called a ‘sissy.’ So finally I was like: ‘O.K., I’m a sissy. Do you have a place where sissies can go and be O.K.?’ ”

They did not provide one, she said. A first-time inmate at 33 whose major offense was burglary, Ms. Diamond was sent to a series of high-security lockups for violent male prisoners. She has been raped at least seven times by inmates, her lawsuit asserts, with a detailed accounting of each. She has been mocked by prison officials as a “he-she thing” and thrown into solitary confinement for “pretending to be a woman.” She has undergone drastic physical changes without hormones. And, in desperation, she has tried to castrate and to kill herself several times.
It's good that Stipe and John are working together for something more important than who controls the cents coming from music streaming; it's unconscionable that it should take pop stars to teach the state of Georgia how you treat people.

Soulobit: Billy Butler

Billy Butler - the Chicago soul singer rather than the Liverpudlian DJ - has died.

Inspired, and mentored by, Curtis Mayfield, Cabrini Green born Butler first hit with the Chanters; a solo hit, The Right Track, gave him an international breakthrough:

As the hits started to slow up, Butler turned his attention to gospel, songwriting, and playing in his brother's band.

Billy Butler died of cancer in Chicago on March 31st. He was 69.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Family at GWAR

Some unpleasant business over at GWAR, where the surviving band members are being sued by Dave Brockie's family:

"Immediately after Dave Brockie's death, the remaining active members of GWAR, led by [drummer] Brad Roberts [a.k.a. Jizmak Da Gusha], set out on a course of action to capitalize on the death of Dave Brockie.

"Mr. Roberts and-his cohorts took certain steps to attempt to wrongfully secure Dave Brockie's property and legacy — items that rightfully belonged to his Estate."
The family claim that Brad Roberts tried to seize control of the estate; they suggest that much of Brockie's art and property has been kept by the band. Oh, and Brockie's ashes:
"To date, Mr. Roberts and Slave Pit, Inc. have retained the vast majority of Dave Brockie's remains and failed to return the ashes of Dave Brockie to his grieving father.
There's a further claim of an unauthorised memorial fund.

No official response yet, apparently.

What does American Pie mean?

With Don Mclean auctioning off the meaning of American Pie, you just hope it's going to turn out to be a massive disappointment:

"Yeah, so this bit about the King and the Jester? Well, "the King" refers to an unelected male ruler of a State - kind of like the Queen, yeah, but a bloke? And a jester was a guy who'd dress up in a pointy hat and tell jokes and so on. Look, I was drunk and rushing to hit a deadline."

Monday, April 06, 2015

Those who also entertain: Paloma Faith's snake

Apparently, appearing on a Paloma Faith CD sleeve makes you something of a big deal in the snake world:

Milk snake, Stripey Won, moved into his new home at the farm last month and is a part of the reptile enclosure, which opened to the public on Monday.

But in a past life, Stripey Won was the cover star for pop singer Paloma Faith, featuring on the CD and inside booklet of double platinum selling album A Perfect Contradiction.

She also featured on the single cover for the singer's single, Ready For The Good Life.
There are many more snakes in the music industry; most of those, however, also have legs.

Keyboardobit: Ralph Sharon

Ralph Sharon, pianist, has died.

Born in Britain, Sharon spent time working with British band leaders including the legendary Ted Heath. He told the US National Jazz Archive:

My first professional job was with the Ted Heath orchestra and I always say: I worked my way down from there!
It would be America, though, which made his name. Sharon's mother was a US citizen; he travelled in the opposite direction because, of course, music:
My main thing in going to the States was a musical reason; I was so wrapped up in it that I just wanted to be at the source of it all. [...]

I went out there on spec, as you might say; I just took off, and landed there with a bag. And luckily Tony Scott, a very great clarinet player, who also played alto with Duke Ellington for a while, took me in. I just moved in with him until I managed to get a union card, so that I could start working. I’d had a couple of albums out over here, and I had those with me; so I was able to go to an agency.

A call from Tony Bennett led to a four decade partnership between the two:
“When I look back and review my recordings,” Bennett told the Hartford Courant in 2005, “I see that the best singing I do is when there’s a great jazz artist around, like Stan Getz or Bill Evans, or when Ralph Sharon was playing piano for me.”
It would be a successful partnership - everything from Grammys to an MTV Unplugged album. Which also won a Grammy.

And there was this:

After retiring as Bennett's musical director in 2002, Sharon settled in Colorado. He continued to gig up until the turn of the year.

Ralph Sharon was 91; he died March 31st in Boulder.

Tidal already trying to shore itself up as the, erm, tide goes out

I suppose Tidal's USP is that its incredibly wealthy owners make music, so it's probably no surprise that Beyonce has chosen Tidal to "surprise release" a new song.

(Are we still surprised at people releasing music without three months of run-up and hoopla before? Isn't that just how things are done nowadays?)

Rumours that the song goes "if you like it then you shoulda built a paywall round it" could not be confirmed at time of publication.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

TV times: All Shook Up

I don't know why the BBC aren't trumpeting about this from the top of their highest trumpeting towers: All Shook Up, a new (pilot) music series that's iPlayer only.

It's presented by Marc Riley (is this his first TV work since UK Play closed?) and episode one features Slug, Lonelady and The Wave Pictures. It suggests Nightingale-era Whistle Test styling that Later With Jools went for before the put out tables and invited James Nesbitt and Tomas Shafernaker in to watch.

Hugely recommended. And there's some extra offcuts on YouTube, too:

Apology and correction

On August 4th, 2004, I made a post to No Rock And Roll Fun in which I made reference to a McCains Oven Chips advert:

What's most ridiculous about this, of course, is the band don't even sing in the bloody advert - at least if it had been, say, the "alien invasion/ what on earth are we going to do" band from the KitKat ad, or the woman who used to trill that "I'm a McCains Oven Chips fan/better for the kids and the old man/better than chips from a chip pan/twenty per cent less fat", they had some sort of musical bit in their commercial.
It has recently been pointed out to me by Cumbrian Spaceman that McCains Oven Chips actually pledged forty per cent less fat.

Video confirmation of my error:

This was a regrettable mistake, and clearly the original post fell short of the high standards we hope to achieve. I apologise to the readers, and to McCains.