Wednesday, October 29, 2003

What the pop papers say: Brody distilled edition

So, while we reel from the news that John Lydon is calling in the lawyers to stop a punk compilation using the phrase 'Do you ever get the feeling you've been cheated' for it album - based, of course, on the preposterous belief that he, and his chardonnay swilling LA lifestyle doesn't neagte his role as arbiter of punk - we turn to the Guardian Weekend and Zoe William's echoing of the phrase: how did the whole Blair Britain cease to be cool? This, of course, requires you to believe that the we all voted Blair in back in '97 because of his credentials and fell for his spiel about being in a young country and a Vanity Fair cover story; that when we saw Noel enjoying a joke with the Prime Minister that we thought "hey - there's a couple of cool guys" rather than "hmm... which is the bigger of those two cocks, then?"

"What would have become of River Phoenix?" - had he not died - worries the Friday review, to mark the tenth anniversary of his doing his last speedball. Everyone seems to think that he would have gone on to become one of the Hollywood greats. Yeah? We suspect had he not died from a speedball in the Viper Lounge that night, then... he'd have died a couple of nights later. Or a year later. Failing that, his drug use would have seen make worse and worse films, to the extent that if the drugs hadn't killed him, he'd probably about now be being Buena Vista to fund The Santa Clause III.

Elsewhere, Alexis Petredis counts down the top 40 American artists right now. He strikes some bum notes - Fannypack (40), for example, who must be brilliant if you never heard the Yeastie Girls, but are still running on a tank roughly the size of that of the Fast Food Rockers; Madonna at 15 - the list making equivalent of the fuck for old time's sake - but generally, it's a pretty sound list, acknowledging Bright Eyes(28), Calexico (25), Pink (18) and crowning the Flaming Lips as the Best Current American Band, which seems about right to us. But Christina instead of Britney?

The Sunday Times Style section knows better, sending the godlike Jane Bussman to meet Britney. She kicks down some rumours - she's not getting email from William "but would love to" (oh, yeah? ask Paul Burrell) and calculates how lucky she was to get away with sharing a stage with a tiger (in this post-Roy mauling age, 'never work with animals' is less a showbiz dictum, more an insurance stipulation.) Of course, Britney is (whisper it) a little bit thick, but she doesn't pretend to be anything else. She chats about her sex life, but doesn't treat it as an extension of her day job. There's no attmept to claim that her 'oops, I'm naked' photoshoots are any attempt to carry forward the flame of Sylvia Pankhurst.

In Music Week, Andy Peters - the man who is making Top of the Pops into The All-New Top of the Pops - claims that nobody under 24 remembers TOTP being on any day other than Friday. Oh, yeah? Obviously, I'm too old to hold this up to any sort of proof, but on a similar basis, I shouldn't be able to recall when Emmerdale Farm was on during the day, or when ITN's main lunchtime bulletin was presented by Leonard Parkin, or Peble Mill At One at all.

The NME has got Brody Dalle on the cover - we're not entirely sure about her yet, you know: she has a hanging air of a second crack at making a Kelly Osbourne. She's even got the same hair and stands in the same way. Hmm. The big news picture is , oddly enough, Kelly and Ozzy, who are for some reason sat in the White Lodge from Twin Peaks - maybe as an explanation for why Kelly sings like that dream sequence dwarf. Elliott Smith gets a coverline, which again goes to prove that for artists not on the purple list, there's only one way to get am mention in the paper these days. In the report, they manage to get quotes from Moby and E and, of course, usher in the Buckley/Drake comparisons.

Other news: Cooper Temple Clause going down well in New York (which, by the standards of most British acts in America probably means they didn't get turned around at immigration.)

The NME seems to have been cooling on the Darkness - after weeks of trying to get back in their good books, they seem to have to decided to cut straight to the backlash, giving platform to the (actually quite understandable) pissed-off Liverpool fans who spent an hour waiting after the support bands only for the band not to show up; and the less understandable Londoners who seem to be bearing a grudge that they're not AC/DC.

The Electric Soft Parade do the pretend CD - Edan, Actress Hands and The Customers.

Peter Robinson takes on Josh Homme - he asks him what he makes of American Idol; he replies "A bunch of people judging music. That sounds like The Press." Yeah, except the press are a bit more amusing than Simon Cowell.

Matt Davies from Funeral For A Friend loves Million Dead - "they're really, really good live" - and the radar band is Eastern Lane, from Berwick, a place where public urination makes the local papers.

The clearly made-up 'nme brain' letter this week is "I've heard of a music movement called C86. What is it, and what's it got to do with NME?" Meanwhile, the open letter from Tim Jonze to the Strokes ticks them off for not saying anything of any interest in their interviews. You might be better off, Mr. Jonze, sending a memo to your editor suggesting that the next time The Strokes don't have much to say, it might be better off not spreading the interview over two issues.

So, Brody Dalle, then. It's clear The Distillers is little more than the cart that she's riding (in the full page photo, she's in colour, the lumpen backing band are in black and white; Andy describes their role as "hired extras"); she has - oh, pass the smelling salts - a Fuck Off tattoo. But what really makes us wonder is the sense that Brody seems to be desperate to try and give a sense that she's somehow kicking against something - the tour is called The Most Hated Woman on Earth; she insists that "boys don't like it when you play with their toys, especially when you do it better"; Andy claims that everyone sees her as some sort of novelty - but it's just not true. Nobody is treating Brody as an oddity breaking out her gender; nobody is putting obstacles in the band's way; everyone is opening doors and writing enthusiastically. The lack of struggle matched with Brody's desperate desire to be treated like she's an outsider forcing her way in is hilarious - it recalls the Not The Nine O'Clock News Sketch where Mary and Joseph turn up in Bethlehem, fixated on giving birth in a stable, only for the innkeeper to offer them their choice of rooms, with the hot and cold and the full ensuite.

Dashboard Confessional get really snippy when itsd suggested there's something teenage relatinships breaking up about their music. "The median age at our gigs is around 24, 25... first year of college age" snaps Chris. Thus his weak spot is revealed - something to file away and use later.

There's an article on Friendster. How very now. Next week it'll probably be Ebay or something.

Why? Why? Kiss; Tom Baker; Jamie Reid; Bowie; Bruce Lee; Bobby Moore & Pele and Marc Bolan posters this week - it's the 70's, see. But they seem to have paniced that their readers might not know who these people are, so unlike last week, you get a little bit of text explaining them. Apparently Pele isn't just the guy who knows what he'd do in the event of erectile dysfunction - turns out he's a footballer.

the warlocks - king tuts (the third week running the first review has been from King Tuts) - "aloof to the point of boredom", 7
red hot chilli peppers, LA - "enough tunes to soak up the screams", 6
super furry animals, newport - "they do give a fuck", 8

coldplay - live 2003 - "he dances like a loon", 9
ryan adams - rock n roll - "one brilliant desperate failure", 7
bmx bandits - down at the hop - "as wet as a September shower", 6
liz phair - liz phair - "hot white wank", 3

sotw - desert sessions - crawl home - "dripping with sweat and psychodrama"
the hiss - back on the radio - "roll with it"

Stuart Braithwaite loves My Bloody Valentine - their records are "the dirtiest I own because all the songs are about shagging." Not totally true, that: quite a few were about death.

[UPDATE: Headings and tags added 20-09-08]

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