Wednesday, July 24, 2002

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: LEO MCKERN MEMORIAL EDITION
the best of young britain is chosen by the New Statesman this week - the sort of thing you'd expect, really; so mark Thomas choses Shazia Mirza as the best young comic in the country, because she's a female muslim stand-up rather than because she's funny - which, sadly, she isn't, really. The realities of this sort of talentspotting are played out when the Staggers turns to 'whatever happened to other young prodigies' - it seems to suggest its selections are on a par with Andy Crane and Chesney Hawkes, which is sad and desperate. Oh, and Eddie The Eagle, of course...

jake shillingford's claim in new media guardian that his post-My Life Story project, Exile Inside are "the first internet band" might come as a shock to all the other internet bands...

music week is showing off the new-look ash - manga style cartoons to promote the new material. Charlotte actually looks better in real life...

ash also pop-up in the big take over (thanks to kellie, a wodge of americana pop paper has arrived at what, were we to take on a fanciful TV Cream style tone, we'd call Pop Papers Towers) with Tim and Rick discussing why they've made a pop record: "We wanted to make a pop record in contrast to all the Travis, Coldplay, all that kind of stuff" says Tim, while Rick reckons "No one else in the UK seems to be making guitar music these days. It seems like all these groups are about to slash their wrists." You might pause to notice that Ash, unlike Travis and Coldplay, not only talk to girls, but include girls in their ranks.

We always think of the Big take Over as Australian, even though it isn't, for some reason; it might be the title the team at Careless Talk Costs Lives had in mind when they were creating their baby. Certainly, it's unique in music magazines in being almost entirely about the music (man). Hence, the Breeders piece glances at heroin and hysteria, but sneaks out of Kim Deal the nugget tht Sinister Fox is based on pre-dinosaur rock act UFO ("chi-chung, chi-chung" she explains) and Neil Hannon (Divine Comedy and My Life Story in the same pop papers - who'd have thought?) is given space to talk about the real damage the Beatles did: "it's all about the Sgt Pepper, isn't it? It's pre- and post- Sergeant Pepper, because from there, the recorded song was more important than the song itself. How it sounded on record became everything." And Jason Pierce gets grilled about the spiritual references on the new Spiritualized album: "They're just words... 'Lord, can you hear me' is quite colloquial. Some of that meaning to some people is religious, and that's fine. It's like the language of rock and roll. I don't feel foolish using the word 'baby' in a song, but I don't go around calling a girl baby. For me, it's not like seeking redemption. They kind of get this idea that I'm slitting my wrists and taking these things as some sort of a cathartic porcess, and it's certainly not like that." More slitting wrists? It's the Big Bleed Over...

The latest Punk Planet is a special, an extended love letter to the city of Chicago (do not think of the nme Madchester special at this point, it'll queer your pitch.) In fact, more than love, as columnist Jessica Hooper observes "not unlike the hardware store, the fiction section at Myopic Books, and most Led Zeppelin songs, the downtown Chicago skyline makes me want to fuck." Amongst the Chicagites (or did we decide it was Chicagoans?) interviewed are The Mekons, who, of course, aren't native. John Langford says of his adopted home "Chicago is a lot like the north of England. It reminds me of somewhere like Manchester." And Sally Timms agrees: "I felt like I'd moved back to Leeds. They both have a town feel although they're really cities." The cover of PP features mayor Richard M Daley - the artwork is very PP, but the framing of the mayor is traditional. Compare with the only mayor to have made it to the front of a UK pop paper, when the nme put Ken on the cover while he was discjockeying. The irony is that Ken is pretty cool and in touch - goddammit, he has brawls and knocks people over walls; he is a rock & roll mayor - but making mayors look like rock stars doesn't work...

Theresa May is on the cover of this week's nme, astride a leather clad gimp boy. Okay, really, it's The Coral, but its touch and go which would be the less attractive option - one of the reasons the La's became smackheads rather than stars was the fact that the face of Lee Mavers could never be reconciled with the beautiful music he made. On this basis, we can only conclude that Liverpool's blood is more Ringo than it is George...

news: Nicky Wire warns that the manics haven't yet decided about their future. In 1990, this would have meant they were unsure if they'd explode in a mix of blood and eyeliner, or just disappear. In 2002, it means they're torn between a Stakeholder pension and a straight investment in government stocks. "We've written 14 songs" says Nicky "so there's plenty of Bsides." Many will probably be released as lead tracks anyway; Eminem is executing a model of Moby on stage every night - which must go down well with the fans ('who's that?' 'dunno... is it meant to be the baldy guy from ABC?' 'nah, it's mini-me, isn't it?'); does anyone care about the Oasis-Starsailor fight? A sniffer dog led to oasis being pulled over by Italian customs - probably on suspiscion of not having had a bath; they ask a load of rock stars if they believe cannabis should be decriminalised - the closest to a dissenting voice is Jimi from Doves saying 'I couldn't care less either way'; Joshua Todd has quit Buckcherry, causing no end of upset. Sorry, that should read: causing no torment"; Noel Gallagher is to play drums for Weller on his new album - hey, Noel, I know what I am - what are you?; the organisers of the Essential Festival reckon "twelve years of the festival have been shot in the foot" - the Alan Partridges of festival organisation at least realise at long last who it is who's buggered them up - and it wasn't the Badminton Horse Trials or the big Gay Festival; Craig Nicholls has zipped himself up to complain about the Vines' US label replacing his - um, idiosyncratic - artwork with a picture of the band. Which has then been scribbled over with a red pen. "Brighton was my Knebworth" says Norman Cook. Erm...shouldn't that be Altamont? Sorry, been believing the Evening Argus for a moment there. Impressivley, the traffic jam on the A23 stretched one-fifth of the way to London. Cream would kill to be able to create that sort of gridlock...

on bands: boniface - cheeky r&b extrovert who can fly, by the looks of things; and young heart attack, who are from Austin, Texas with all that that means...

"we're not a cilt" insist the Polyphonic Spree - although, to be honest, they remind me of Baby Amphetamine more than the Moonies...

out of the mouths of babes: the coral's james skelly reckons "The Coral (debut album) is better than the Who's first album or The Small Faces' - you've got aim for that, haven't you?" - well, yes, because otherwise the record company will drop you. He also says "I'd rather listen to S Club 7 [than Doves]. The Sex Pistols were just S Club 7 with acne." And no TV series, either. But Nick then says "watching MTV for two hours its like sucking on a sugar dummy." But, seriously: do you know how great it is to hear a Scouse band saying "we're not like fuckin' 60s heads." It's been too long a coming...

I still have a kind of dyslexic-amneisa that makes me see The Beatings and go "Hurrah - the Beatnigs... oh." So they're fighting a sense of disappointment all the time. But apparently they're part of a London scene that also includes the Libertines, The Black madonnas, The Kills, The Left Hand, The Toes (this is starting to sound like The Bits of Van Hoogstraten's enemies they found), The Banknotes and The Hells. Hurrah for London. Actually, this reminds us: A couple of weeks ago, the New Statesman had a London special which reminded us of TV Go Home's London regional listings, with a bunch of capital-felching writers saying things like "In London, society is multicultural - nowhere else in the country do people of all races mix so easily." Which still irritates us now to think of it. Grrr...

Jimi Goodwin pops back to complete a list of ten tracks he'd put on a CD if he was going to make one - the four seasons (valli, not vivaldi), sly & robbie and david bowie - but quicksand, of course, rather than One You Know...

"I'll fuckin say what I believe. If anyone's got a problem with that they can ask me to my face" pledges Bobby 'did I say anything about bombing the Pentagon?' Gillespie. However, as that face seems to have started caving in, that's not much of an offer. In fact, he claims about 'Bomb The Pentagon' that "the song was not all about dropping bombs in the Pentagon. That was one line in the song." Yeah, and Loaded wasn't about dropping drugs, Bob. Of course. Bobby seems a little confused, to be honest - on one hand comdemning the nme for not writing about stuff like RIPA and security crackdowns, then, when offered the chance to use the paper as a platform to discuss Palestinian-Israeli affairs backs down _ "I could sit here and talk about this shit all day, but its not going to change US and Israeli policy." Hmmm, maybe not, Bobby, but it might inspire some readers to find out more; it's hard to tell if he's feeling out of his league or just tired of fighting - "I don't think I can do it" suggests one conclusion; the general emptiness of "I think it would be beautiful to see the Palestinian people attain equal rights and independence" points heavily in the opposite direction. He certainly seems happier on ground like the age old Rock/Punk wars - "Kate Moss is more of a rock star than anybody in a band right now." Still, good work Roger Morton for an excellent interview...

back to the records, then: beth orton - daybreaker ("a blurred passport photograph seen from the window of a moving bus", 8); wire - read & burn ("punk may be middle aged... its vital signs have never shown more strongly", 8); linkin park - reanimatyion ("the summer holiday album", 6); charlatans - live it like you love it ("good memories in one cd-shaped place", 7)...

sotw: the polyphonic spree - soldier girl ("like grandaddy, except with god instead of beards"). Not sotw: britney spears - boys ("best single for ages") - and is it just us, or is the sleeve basically Britney taking all the slaggy, whorey, lapdancing insults and going "Yeah - but I'm so good at it?"...

live: big beach boutique ("If Brighton can take it, we'll see you again next year"); charlatans in manchester ("a tsunami of niceness. a bit dull."); monica in kings cross - brandy's love rival from The Boy Is Mine, you'll recall; The Bellrays in Brighton ("music spiked with attitude, but - just a simportantly - it's music to dance to"); the Move festival ("back catalogue rich pickings for New Order")...

and finally, Mixmag (or it might be Ministry - why do all dance mags start with M? It's certainly not Muzik) wonders on its cover why schooldisco.com [and don't you hate the childish dot com bit of that name?] is outperforming the Megaclubs. It's a bit like asking why the local newsagent is doing better than an antique shop, but we think we can help you. It's to do with the relative attractiveness of a night out to the slightly better off late twentysomethings who can afford frankly scary doorprices - the prospect (albeit usually dashed) of women dressed in short skirts and white shirts and pigtails, dancing to songs they know compared to being in a hall full of kids watching some bald guy in the distance play tracks they've never come across and couldn't holler along to in a drunken fashion even if they had heard them before. Next question?



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