Monday, December 22, 2014

Grammyobit: Joe Cocker

Just heard that Joe Cocker has died at the age of 70; he'd been ill with lung cancer for quite a while.

Madonna sticks to the terrorism line, something something lizard people

Talking to The Guardian, Madonna has barely softened her claim that having her music leaked onto the internet was a form of terrorism:

Speaking to the Guardian on Sunday, the singer said she was “living in a state of terror” following the leak, adding that there was “a big possibility” they were the result of her personal computer being hacked.

“Obviously there is a person, or a group of people behind this that were essentially terrorising me. I don’t want to sound alarming, but certainly that’s how I felt. It’s one thing if someone comes into your house and steals a painting off your wall: that’s also a violation, but, your work, as an artist, that’s devastating.

“I’m an artistic person, I’m very expressive. I’m sorry if words alarm people, but that’s what it felt like. It was not a consensual agreement. I did not say ‘hey, here’s my music, and it’s finished.’ It was theft.”
Now, if she went simply with "theft", that'd be a fair description of what happened. But terrorism?

Talking at the end of a week when 140 people were killed for being at school, it would take an astonishing lack of understanding or compassion to try and make a case that simply having a few files lifted and dumped online was in any way comparable to that; would that all terrorism could be solved by simply bringing forward the presale date for an album, eh?

But having overbaked the leak, there's more grand claims lining up to be made:
Madonna unexpectedly released six tracks from Rebel Heart on iTunes, following the leak of the unfinished songs earlier in the week: the album itself is not due for release until March. She immediately reached No 1 in the iTunes chart in 36 countries, a situation she described as a miracle.
A miracle, no less. Not only do we have terrorism at one end of the scale, but the intercession of the almighty to make a popular artist able to sell music in quantities large enough to get to the top of a list of sales. Take that, Lazarus, if you thought you were the last word in miracles.

The only way this could get any more absurd would be if it turns out Madge is engaging with David Icke style conspiracy theories as well. But that'd be a step too far, right?
The six songs from Rebel Heart released thus far do not shy away from controversy: one, Illuminati, mocks the various conspiracy theories on the internet that implicate a variety of entertainers – including Jay-Z and Lady Gaga – in membership of a shadowy ruling elite.

“There’s a lot of talk in pop music right now about people saying, ‘Oh, this person’s a member of the Illuminati,’ or they’re Illuminati, or you’re Illuminati, and people’s idea that there’s a group of entertainers or very wealthy people, they’re referred to as the Illuminati, and they work behind the scenes and they control things and they’re very powerful, and there’s possibly a reference to something dark, or black magic, or something like that. And I have to say I laugh at all of those things.

“I think there are some people who don’t mind being referred to as that, but I know who the real Illuminati are, and where that word came from. The root of the word is “illuminate”, and that means “The enlightened ones”, and it came from the Age of Enlightenment, when a lot of arts and creativity flourished, from Shakespeare to Isaac Newton, to Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo: the philosophers, artists, scientists were all engaged in a kind of high level of consciousness through their work, and they were enlightening and inspiring people around the world. And those are the true Illuminati. So the purpose for writing that song was really in a way, ‘So, if you think I’m the Illuminati, then thank you very much, a compliment, because I would like very much to be part of that group, the real Illuminati, and this is what it’s not’”.
Yeah, it's like one of those magic eye pictures; if you stare at those comments for a minute or two, an actual lizard will leap out of the screen at you. "I'm delighted to be part of the Illumnait because it's actually being like Shakespeare" is very much the Masonic "I know what you are but what am I" of comebacks.

Odd, though, that Madonna doesn't seem to think that the Illuminati might be behind the terror/miracle of her leaks and sales. Wake up, Madonna. Clearly the goat lizards are pulling your strings more than you realise.

2014 Forever: March

With Ruslana on one side of the Russian invasion of Crimea, the Russians got their own pop star hero in the form of Oleg Gazmanov. Elsewhere, One Pound Fish man was arresyed for fraud.

50 Cent had some sort of app he promoted by streaming himself through it. Kiss were upset about something to do with them being induced into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

The VAT introduced to downloads kicked in. YouGov decided to find out who'd think Bez would make a good MP.

Paloma Faith lamented that the pop star was dead, while Bruno Mars went shopping for knock-off versions of his own CD.

The BBC chose someone who sang on a Sash track as this year's Eurovision hope. What could go wrong? Mind you, Armenia went with a homophobic, transphobic tosser.

Eliza Doolittle's label suggested she drop the Jesus reference when she went on Radio 2, and the BBC got it in the neck.

Lily Allen agreed that, yes, some of her output was docile pop rubbish; Amy Lee was thrilled to no longer be having to worry about a silly record deal.

Apparently the idea that Kylie Minogue has had sex is a shocking revelation. On the other hand, Kylie thought sexercise should be a thing.

Maximum Rock & Roll managed to restart a long-dormant battle over a thirty year old review.

Closing: The Fly; Twitter Music
Reviving: The Word podcast
Reuniting: Slowdive
Consciously uncoupling: That pair

[Part of 2014 Forver]
[Previously: February]

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ben Haenow is the Christmas Number One

A few minutes ago, Ben Haenow was named the Christmas Number One, just seven days after winning The X Factor and four days after slipping into obscurity.

Ben Whohe hit number one with a cover of a One Republic song, in a year when nobody could even summon up the energy to be that bothered about The X Factor taking the Christmas Number One slot.

It's believed the letter officially dropping him from Syco has been delayed in the Christmas mail.

2014 Forever: February

Kevin Cummins tried to stop you taking photos at gigs, and not because he makes his living doing that and you're making him obsolete. Oh, no. One Direction wanted you to stop you Tweeting, but not because they're tired of getting a million tweets every day. Oh, no.

Chris Moyles, confusingly, had been telling the tax people he made a living selling cars - he should have tried Abba's route, and glammed up to avoid tax.

It was the last Brits of the Corden era but apparently the year of Arctic Monkeys, still, at the NME Awards.

Skinny Puppy sent a bill to the US government for royalties from their use in Guantanamo torture. Panic At The Disco literally brought the house down in Atlanta.

Having made a speech about how young popstars are sometimes forced to do things they're not comfortable with, Charlotte Church then had to patiently explain that the things people were saying she did to prove she was somehow a hypocrite were the things she was thinking of when she was talking about doing things you're not comfortable with.

Even Radio 4 noticed that the NME's circulation is now parlous. Also at risk: George Michael, slightly inconvenieced in the winter floods.

Wayne Coyne and Beck had a spat, probably over who is the most quirky or whatever. Nicki Minaj managed to piss off Martin Luther King's family and friends.

Man who makes death metal music expresses surprise at low royalty rates from greeting cards and TV while Spotify seem to think they've invented radio djs.

Korn believe that Miley Cyrus is an Obama plot. Miley Cyrus asked people to not look at her bottom; Taylor Swift had to share the stage with a pair of arses.

Morrissey announced dates with Cliff and Tom Jones which nobody believed would ever happen. (They didn't.)

Bono admitted U2 were on the edge of irrelevance, but apparently didn't realise which side of it they're on.

Splitting: Aggi Doom
Coming back: Shirley Collins; Prince

[Part of 2014 Forever]
[Previously: January]
[Next: March]

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Madonna releases new music; the world tries to sound interested

Of course. Of course, Madonna's new stuff is working with Nicki Minaj. It fits the pattern of the last couple of decades where she appears to have a six-month old copy of Billboard delivered (perhaps she has them sent to her via Yodel) and she hooks up with whoever was hot back then.

She couldn't look more like a desperate tourist if she films the video using a selfie stick.

One of the songs is called Bitch I'm Madonna, which does at least manage to release Robbie William's She's Madonna from the long-held shame of 'the worst record with Madonna's name in the title'.

These songs are being released now because of the leak earlier in the week - you'll probably have heard her describe this act as "artistic rape" and being like "terrorism", showing that she's still got the power to be outrageous, just not in a positive way any more. It might seem odd back then these tracks were dismissed by Madge:

She dismissed the leaked versions as "unfinished demos stolen long ago" and thanked fans for their "loyalty" in "not listening" to the unfinished material.
... because now she's describing the same songs as a gift. Apparently they've been finished:
"I was hoping to release my new single 'Living For Love' on Valentine's Day with the rest of the album coming in the Spring. I would prefer my fans to hear completed versions of some of the songs instead of the incomplete tracks that are circulating. Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift."
They're not actually a gift, as to get them officially you have to preorder the album, so it's more of a fire sale. And if they're finished, it's puzzling how many of them don't even have a title.

2014 Forever: January

Starting a presumably twelve part look back over the last year in music.

MTV published a piece about how to pick up women at gigs, because, obviously, that's the only reason there'd be a woman at a gig, right?

Madonna got cross when people suggested kids and gin might not mix. Lady GaGa got cross when people suggested working with R Kelly might have been a mistake. Madonna got even crosser when she used the n-word and people objected.

Lorde told people not to come up with a pun-based nickname for her fans. She also spoke about how she felt having become a public commodity, which Telegraph readers used as an excuse to kick her around a bit.

Alex James attempted to register Britpop as a trademark. He was going to use the brand to sell lemonade. I'm afraid this is true.

The inevitable appearance on Madonna in Miley Cyrus's shadow happened. As did Robbie Williams Day in Stoke.

Tom Morello reckoned his new album is as good as Hendrix. James Arthur reckoned he's not a homophobe any more. Lily Allen reckoned someone offered her nearly all the Bitcoins in the world.

Duran Duran objected to their music being used in a yoghurt ad, but the track was pulled because of its links to a grisly murder anyway.

Ricky Wilson revealed that even he'd been bored shitless by the Kaiser Chiefs.

Brit Awards nominations included Bruno Mars, and that's all you really need to know. The NME Awards shortlist had Palma Violets on it. Daft Punk won all the Grammys. All of them.

Justin Bieber was going through a rough period. Luckily, massage-loving UKIP MEP Roger Helmer was on hand to stick up for him.

Last FM started to look for another business model

Somehow, Kym Marsh found herself having a music career relaunch masterminded by David Gest. Nobody noticed. Probably not even Kym.

Did the world really need a Beatles cover album with Mick Hucknall and The Stereophonics? Not as little as it needed a Hee Haw musical.

TripleJ killed Australian music, apparently.

Liam Payne sent a cheery tweet to the Duck Dynasty gun toting homophobes.

In something of a highlight this year, Alfie Boe fans piled in to explain why his humiliation of people whose phones go off isn't humiliating at all, despite both he and his manager revelling in the poor victims' embarrassment.

Splitting up: Vivian Girls
Launching: Beats streaming service

[Part of 2014 Forever]
[Next: February]

Friday, December 19, 2014

Parklife texts from beyond the grave attract huge fine

The organisers of Parklife Festival came up with a beezer markeing wheeze: why not send texts to people who went last year, warning them that this year's event was selling out fast?

And, hey, why not pretend that the text is coming not from Parklife, but from a trusted source like your mother?

What could possibly go wrong?:

The text was sent to 70,000 people who had bought tickets to last year’s event, and appeared on the recipients’ mobile phone to have been sent by “Mum”. It read:

“Some of the Parklife after parties have already sold out. If your (sic) going, make sure your (sic) home for breakfast! Xxx”.

Many of the 76 people who complained about the message which was sent three weeks before the 2014 festival, suffered substantial distress as a result of the marketing campaign.

One complainant said that their mother had recently passed away and they still had her number saved in the contacts, so to receive a text was extremely distressing – they described the message as “unprofessional and disgusting”.

Another person reported that they had recently lost their mum and were shocked when 'Mum' flashed up as a notification on the mobile screen. They felt so strongly about the situation they sold the tickets and refused to attend the festival.
Parklife have been fined £70,000 for the poorly-conceived stunt - although that's only a quid per text, which seems a little light. Especially since their original response to complaints was to double-down with an equally ill-conceived tweet:
”So this is what it feels like to be a jar of Marmite #LoveItOrHateIt”.
The difference between Parklife's campaign and Marmite being, of course, that some people actually do like Marmite and Marmite has never tried to send messages to people pretending to be a recently deceased relative.

Eventually, the company apologised. And managed to do it without pretending the apology came from your great-grandfather, or the ghost of your first pet, so they are getting better.

Pirate Bay hopes for a full flotilla

Possibly not the Christmas Present the copyright industry was hoping for: The Pirate Bay has released its source code into the open so anyone who fancies running a mini Pirate Bay can do so.

It's a response to Swedish police - acting on behalf of the private companies which control copyrights - closing the site down last week and, therefore, something like the 795th time the music and film industry have learned the lesson that file sharing isn't something you can just send policemen and lawyers to fix.

Listen with No Rock: Karla Adolphe

Here's a small, twinkly piece of Christmas beauty - Karla Adolphe's version of Do You Hear What I Hear. This is one of the Christmas songs that hasn't been done to death, probably because it's not an easy one to sing well. Which makes Karla's version even more brilliant:

If you like Karla Adolphe's voice, there's a whole album's worth of free download magic at her website.

SXSW: Not that America's overly litigious or anything

The death of a person you love because of a drunk driver is a terrible thing. And it's one of those rare occasions when it's easy to apportion blame - the person who got wasted and drove a car into a crowd, right?

Apparently not.

The family of one of the victims of the drunk driver at SXSW is suing, erm, the festival organisers for not making their festival dickwad-in-a-car proof:

Among several wrongful deaths lawsuits was one by the family of Steven Craenmehr, a Dutch music executive who was riding a bike when struck. His widow and mother allege that SXSW organizers skimped on traffic safeguards while packing people downtown to hear more than 2,000 bands.

"A festival organizer or traffic design consultant of ordinary intelligence would have anticipated the danger," the lawsuit says.
Oh, yeah, they're also suing the City Of Austin for not making its streets able to cope with tanked-up drivers.

The courts, naturally, will decide on the validity of this case, but... seriously? Somehow SXSW and the City Of Austin has to wrap the event in so much bubblewrap and prophylactic that they should be able to guarantee that nothing bad will happen there ever?

To lose a relative in awful circumstances is unimaginably horrible. Spitting out a bunch of lawsuits at anyone who happened to be vaguely connected to the death doesn't do much by way of legacy, though.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

On the streets with Bieber*

Apparently, Justin Bieber is to sleep rough to "raise awareness" of how badly his career is going. Although the claim started as a story in UKIP house rag the Daily Star, so probably isn't true.

According to the Daily Star, Biebs' manager Scotter Braun has persuaded him to spend the night outside in the California streets, in aid of homeless charities.

"[Scooter] has been trying to come up with a plan to give Justin's career some longevity," a source told the newspaper.
Aside from the toe-curling aspect of a rich person spending a few hours on a pavement knowing they have a soft, warm bed to return to in the morning - a stunt even pulled by Grant Shapps back when he was still sometimes called Michael Green - it's not entirely clear how 'doing some good work for charidee' is going to offset the erosion of Bieber's career. Unless seeing Bieber sleep under cardboard will somehow stop girls reaching puberty.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kasabian make some plans

For a moment, I thought there was at last a Kasabian statement I could agree with:

Kasabian: 'The next step for us is Wembley'
"They must be at Finchley Road", I thought. "Or possibly Neasden".

Then I read the line again, and realised it was step, not stop.

Ashanti gets cross-examined by her own stalker

In a 'oh, Justice, you have some explaining to do' event, somehow the New York courts allowed Ashanti to wind up being cross-examined by a man already convicted of stalking of her in a trial to see if he was violating the order of protection put in place after that conviction.

So: in order to get the courts to uphold the rules stopping another person from contacting you, the courts decide to give that person a chance to ask you questions under oath in an open court room.

Oh, Justice. You have some explaining to do.

Snapchat gets into music

So if I were to say to you that Snapchat was thinking about getting into the music business, you'd probably do what I did.

Nod your head, and think of something akin to its photo product, where the photo "disappears" after you've shared it. (Of course, it doesn't, because nothing digital leaves no trace, but in theory, anyway.) And you could picture that appealing to record labels, with their constant fear of pirates, pirates everywhere and limited understanding of the digital world.

But you'd be wrong. I was wrong. Snapchat's ambitions are more Empire-building than a mere app:

Mobile messaging service Snapchat could be formulating plans to launch its own music label, according to information in leaked Sony emails.

Reported correspondence between Sony's president of global digital business, Dennis Kooker, reveal that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has dreams of being a curator.

While a music service isn't on the cards, a record label "so [Spiegal] could focus on the artists that he wants to use the platform to promote," could well be.
Yeah. Snapchat don't want to launch a service, they want to launch a label.

What a terrible idea. But perhaps, at last, Spiegel has found a way to create something digital that will vanish almost instantly, leaving no trace at all.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Noel Gallagher: Class act

Noel Gallagher - you'll remember him, he used to appear in that glitzy gossipy Sunday Times column written by his then-wife Meg Matthews about their life in whatever part of London it was - is complaining that there aren't enough working class types in the charts these days. He blames other people:

"Music is very middle class, I’d have eaten Bastille alive in an afternoon in the '90s, one interview, destroyed, gone, never to be heard of again. Easy, had ‘em for breakfast. My bass player summed it up, we’re constantly saying, 'Where is the next band coming from?' and he rightly says, 'Never mind the band, where are the people?'

"When I first started I wanted to get in the charts and wreck it, like stamp Phil Collins out and Wet Wet Wet, they've got to go, and all that '80s gear, we don't need that anymore. I don't see anything from the working class, I just don’t see it."
Ah, yes. Gallagher's war on Wet Wet. So successful that was that, after just three Oasis albums and three years of Gallagher activity, Wet Wet Wet's 1997 album 10 only managed to limp to, erm, number two in the album charts spawning just two top ten singles. And the destroyed Phil Collins only managed to sell a million copies of 2002's Testify so much damage had been inflicted upon him by Gallagher's sharp tongue.

Apparently, this is all the Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian's fault:
"Well you only have to look at the charts, what happened at the end of the '90s, all those bands used to be in the Top Ten, like us, Manic, Pulp, The Verve, Suede and Blur, and I think bands like that have been marginalised and side-lined," he replied. "There's X Factor and all that kind of thing, can you name me the last great band that came out of this country? There's not really been any great bands in the last 10 years."

When it was put to him that One Direction might be considered great in terms of their global success and fame, Gallagher added: "They're not a band, they’re a group and good luck to those lads. Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian, that's ten years ago now and shame on those two bands for a start because they didn't inspire anybody else. The working classes have not got a voice anymore, there doesn't seem to be a noise coming from the council estates, you know what I mean?"
It doesn't seem to enter Noel's head for a moment that there are other possibilities - that for kids growing up now, making fifth-wave Beatles echoes might not be inspiring because there are other, better uses of their time; or that there's always been a talent-show-to-fame path that working class people have followed and the X Factor isn't really anything new in that respect; or there's actually a really vibrant music scene full of people of backgrounds less comfortable than Gallagher's which he doesn't think is there because it's neither about him, nor for him. (Clue, Noel: it's the latter.)

The saddest thing - and were he not such an anal chapstick you might even feel a bit sorry for Noel - is that he's sat on his comfy sofa, reliving the war on Phil Collins, blissfully unaware than for a a kid turning 16 this year, he's their Phil Collins.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Scott Stapp is very unwell indeed

It's a bit unfair that the headlines on the Scott Stapp story this morning focus on his threats to kill President Obama, which appear much more to be a symptom of some sort of mental illness rather than a genuine intention to take out the president. It's like hearing about someone with two broken legs and running a "Man refuses to go for a walk" headline on it.

Stapp appears to have developed a thing about Obama who he blames for pretty much everything:

"In 2012 I was doing a promotional tour for my book 'Sinner's Creed' and went on Fox News and expressed a little concern and disappointment with President Obama. Within two months of that public statement, that's when the IRS began to freeze my accounts," Stapp said. "I believe that the IRS situation is definitely a result of me expressing my dissatisfaction with President Obama. Absolutely, 100 percent."
If the IRS froze the accounts of every blowhard who went on Fox News to bitch about the president, they'd have to increase the workforce at Constitution Avenue to include the rest of the population of America. It's more likely - since Stapp also believes that someone else has been syphoning cash off his accounts - that the people who should have been looking after his tax affairs weren't.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Shazam try to shift from identification to playing

You know what you should do when you do one thing really, really well?

No, Shazam, it's not try to expand into doing things other people already do, but better:

That’s a trend that’s been underway for a while, but was emphasised yesterday with a relaunch of Shazam’s music features. They include even more focus on the app’s news feed, with music news and song recommendations based on each user’s past tagging habits, as well as exclusive live sessions and interviews.

The app’s dedicated music player also has more priority in the redesign, complete with the ability for users to sign in to Spotify to listen to tracks in full within Shazam’s iOS app, with Android to follow. This matches the existing integration with Rdio, incidentally.
What is the point of that? "Hmm, I wonder what this song I'm listening to is. Oh, it's Stiggy Bates and Never Touch Me There. Oh, and I could play it now, so I could actually listen to this song I'm already listening to, but pay for data on top of it. What a brilliant idea."

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Slayer rescue a kitten

You heard. Slayer rescued a kitten:

The band's publicist Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald explained: "Last night Kerry [King] and some of the crew went to dinner at Kerry's favourite steak house in Indy, St. Elmo's Steak House.

"Afterwards, the assistant tour manager, Jess [Cortese] saw a homeless man on the street who offered up this little kitten for a dollar. The kitten apparently was freezing so Jess took it, slept with her in her bunk on the bus and went to the venue with her today, hanging out.

"One of the runners knew someone who wanted a kitten, so the little guy now has a new home where he or she currently is."
The part where this story is a little less heartwarming is what happened to the homeless person, who also, presumably, would have been freezing.

Grooveshark is convinced it's coming back stronger

It's Groovesharknado. Or possibly Groovesharknado 2. Or maybe 3.

Yes, beleaguered music upload-file-sharing-streaming type site Grooveshark is going to be reborn next year as a legitimate, licenced streaming service. Americans who want a streaming service, but for some reason haven't signed up to a streaming service, will be able to sign on for ninety nine cents a month.

Ninety Nine Cents A Month. For unlimited music.

Given the complaints about the size of royalty cheques which come from Spotify, at that pricepoint Grooveshark will be needing to use standard form to issue payments.

Morrissey backs down from head-to-head with The Queen

Channel 4 still broadcasts an alternative Queen's Speech every Christmas Day, a hangover of the time before it was all Hollyoaks and upcycling. This year, they invited Morrissey to do the talk - presumably on the grounds that his last semblance of genuine radicalism vanished at about the same time Channel 4 lost theirs.

Still, Mozzer must be relishing the chance to finally go eye-to-eye with Her Maj, right? Look, he's just opened the invite and he's sitting right down to start his speech... hang on, no, this isn't a speech... it's a... no thanks letter:

My view that the monarchy should be quietly dismantled for the good of England is reasonably well-known, but I don't think Christmas Day is quite the time to be trading slaps. The Queen should be allowed the impassioned trance of her annual address to the British people, if only to once again prove that, in her frozen posture, she has nothing to offer and nothing to say, and she has no place in modern Britain except as a figure of repression; no independent thought required. The Queen very well might be the most powerful woman in England, but she lacks the power to make herself loved, and the phony inflation of her family attacks all rational intellect.

All over the world highly civilized peoples exist without the automatic condescension of a 'royal' family. England can do the same, and will find more respect for doing so.
So let's just get this straight, Morrissey: you reckon that The Queen is the manifestation of an abhorrent institution, but don't want to call her out because you don't want to spoil Christmas.

What a plastic revolutionary.

"Ooh, we could have them all in tumbrels by midnight, but it looks a bit chilly out."

"The Crown could be on its knees today, though having said that it is Thursday and we don't want to spoil EastEnders for them, so maybe tomorrow."

"I'd love to storm the place with you, but I've got a spa booked this afternoon."

But even while he was turning tail and showing us where his spine would have been, he still manages to overestimate his own importance. The idea that he'd been trading blows with Elizabeth would be amusing if he probably doesn't believe she'd have started her speech "Morrissey has a thing or two to say about me, but I won't be silenced..."

Monday, December 08, 2014

Band Aid 30: We let in light, and we banish Macca

Apparently, there are some people upset that Paul McCartney isn't on the new Band Aid single. (He wasn't on Band Aid II, either, but that wasn't, as far as I recall, a "thing").

Bob Geldof is trying to explain why, in what sounds more like a desperate bid to remain invited to McCartney's Boxing Day Cluedo party than any real concern about the spat:

Asked why McCartney wasn't involved by the Daily Mirror, he replied: "Because Macca's always done stuff. He was in the band in 2004 - him, Radiohead and Damon [Albarn].

"But look, on this we've got from the newest to the hippest to the oldest... and he hasn't made the cut, what can I tell you? The thing is, there's only so many lines, so what do you do?
Remember, this is a record which found space in the vocals for Zoella, a video blogger, and her brother, who is thatcher with a YouTube account.

Also: Seal. If you can find space in front of a microphone for Seal, the suggestion that there might not be room for McCartney starts to look a little odd.
…Then it's who's happening in America - that's really important as sales are quantifiably more over there. Ellie Goulding, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Coldplay, Sam Smith, U2... all these people are caning it in America."
Yeah, because The Beatles, famously, never had an American fanbase.

Still, you can't fault Bob's logic in packing the record with America-friendly stars, for how else would he have managed to get the record to, erm, number 63 in the US charts.

Sam Smith waves his fists at "critics"

The extraordinarily ordinary Sam Smith is seeing his success as one in the eye for "critics":

"I remember my first Shepherd's Bush Empire gig, and at that point I'd had two number-one singles, the Critics' Choice Award and the Sound poll, and critics were just waiting to pull me down. At first, that made me upset, but as I've been doing this for the past year, I've started to realise that you're never going to please critics because they're not Sam Smith fans. The only people you can really impress are those who really want to come and see you play. The majority of critics are being paid to watch you perform, they don't actually want to see you sing, so I can't expect them to like me."
Just re-read that quote. He won an award, from critics, called the Critics Choice award, and then says 'well, you're never going to please the critics'.

Smith's entire career is based on getting two awards, both voted for by nobody but music critics. Sure, there's plenty of reason there to lambast critics for their bland taste, but to suggest that somehow his sales have been in the face of staunch criticism is rewriting history a little.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

New artist alert: Molly Wilkinson

So there's a lot of music demanding your attention at the moment, and you might have missed Molly Wilkinson, who slid out a beautiful guitarry-with-smidge-of-electricity a short while ago. Oh, and the voice. The voice.

Look, you could listen to it here, but it's only a fiver so why not buy the thing, eh? It's excellent.

This week just gone

What people read this week:

1. Scott Stapp's wedding from 2006
2. Simon Bates dumped by Smooth
3. Ongoing collection of best of lists
4. Jo O'meara would do it again, where 'it' is being racist
5. Rolling Stone were impressed by that U2 record
6. RIP Gravenhurst
7. Robbie Williams launches a Christmas surprise
8. Indiegogo find way to upsell crowd funding
9. Scott Stapp's engagement from 2006
10. Madonna annoyed as new record spills online

This was interesting, all these records coming out:

Parquet Courts - Content Nausea

Download Content Nausea

Wilco - Alpha Mike Foxtrot

Download Alpha Mike Foxtrot

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - See The Fire

She & Him - Classics

Download Classics

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Rock Sick List: Bradford Cox

Deerhunter's Bradford Cox got hit by a car and is in both a bad way, and hospital:

Cox said he was hit by a car and was “still waiting for X-ray results or any real diagnoses” and that he “can’t move much” and is in “incredible pain.”

According to, Cox has been hospitalized at the Marcus Trauma Center in Grady Memorial Hospital.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Richie Hawtin kind-of embarrassed about pushing a monitor into a fan

It was an "unexpected turn" when Richie Hawtin pushed a heavy thing into a fan's face:

"Regarding the incident at Time Warp in New York this weekend which is being posted and talked about on the web, I would like to apologise here to the girl involved
It was not my intention that the speaker fell. Only to nudge the monitors in her direction and for her to understand that perhaps she had filmed enough. I was as surprised as I'm sure she was when it moved the way it did and the top speaker fell off of the stack. For that, I'm extremely sorry and embarrassed about what happened. This was never my intention. Sometimes being in the middle of the spotlight, continual cameras and glaring iPhone lights, things can get stressful and frustrating. I”m sorry that this frustration took an unexpected turn and took away from anyone's experience of Time Warp. I have tried to reach the girl to apologise personally but have not yet been able to track her down and will continue to try to contact her.”
It must be so frustrating to go onto a stage and discover that you've got a spotlight shining on you. Who wouldn't be surprised and confused under those circumstances?

Obit: Nick Talbot

It's hard to know how to describe Nick Talbot, whose death was confirmed yesterday. He was a musician, and a producer, ran a label, and wrote well about music, most notably for The Quietus.

As Gravenhurst, he provided an until then unnoticed missing link between Kevin Shields and James Taylor, eventually expanding his stage name into a full live band over a fifteen year period.

Warp Records, who released much of Talbot's work, issued a statement:

We are shocked and saddened to share the news that Nick Talbot aka Gravenhurst has passed away aged 37. An immensely talented singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and journalist, he will be hugely missed. Nick's family and friends request privacy at this difficult time.
Manager Michelle Hilborne added:
I am utterly devastated to confirm that Nick Talbot, also known under the performing name Gravenhurst, has passed away aged 37. The finest, most extraordinary and inspirational songwriter, singer and performer, and a remarkable producer and journalist, Nick's work has deeply affected so many people all over the world. Outstandingly intelligent, compassionate, fascinating and witty, Nick was the dearest friend and his absence brings indescribable sorrow.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Indiegogo find upsell for crowdfunded projects

Ah, crowdfunding. It's great, but where's the profit for the clearing houses?

Perhaps in selling insurance.

Yes, IndieGoGo is experimenting with allowing crowdfunders the chance to purchase a PPI/Extended Warranty style product that will allow cash to be claimed back if a funded project fails to deliver.

Apart from the upselling aspect, there is surely a worry that if people working on projects are able to think 'well, the people who believed in me will get their money back if I don't deliver' that's going to lead to more, not fewer, abandoned projects and undermine the whole point of crowdfunding in the first place?

Jeremih Fuddruckers fracas

Billings Police are trying to bring Jeremih to justice, after his entourage were involved in a scrap at a Fuddruckers.

Fuddruckers. What is wrong with celebrities today? What happened to keeping your fights to a Waffle House car park?

Restaurant staff reported that members of the group ordered food and then hassled a young female employee. When the manager addressed the group and asked them calm down and move, members accused him of being racist and one of the men grabbed a microphone used to order food and spoke into it, Billings Police Dept. Chief Rich St. John said in early November.
Jeremih has said that the "incident" should never have happened and suggested that it was because of racism. You'd think he'd want his day in court.

Oh, and the concert he was in town to do? Managed three songs before disappearing, leaving the promoter struggling to repay the audience.