Sunday, September 05, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: despite Royal Mail's best attempts
It's funny, you know - we could have sworn a few months ago that Andy Gilchrist was saying he was going to take personal responsibility for making sure that the mail got through, on time. That the head of the Royal Mail thought that his job might not already require him so to do probably suggests why the British mail system is in such a poorly-addressed state. So it is that we've decided to give up on waiting for the this week's NME to arrive, and struck out to make other arrangements.

But first: Time. Apparently, Glasgow is the new Detroit, according to Time Magazine. All the bands, they mean, not because it's full of terrible drivers. And, knowing American readers might be slightly jaded at being told all over again that there's another crucial British town, like Liverpool or London or - what was the one with the people with the big trousers a few years back, Mudchaser or something - Time explains why this time, it's different. It's different because the bands in Glasgow don't all sound the same. Aaah.

In a frankly confusing two-way debate in Saturday's Guardian, Feargal Sharkey and former Pogue Jem Finer exchanged opinions about music in the age of MP3. The most astonishing part of this was, after Finer raved about ResonanceFM being an example of experimentation in music put to decent ends, Sharkey sniffed "unfortunately, not available outside of London, though." This would be a stupid thing to say for anyone, but considering until Ofcom took over last Christmas, Sharkey was one of the people at the Radio Authority ultimately responsible for the health and regulation of the UK radio industry, his lack of knowledge about one of the leading lights of independent online radio is truly shocking.

The Guardian Friday Review met up (in the form of Alexis Petridis) with Minnie Driver, giving her a chance to make a plea for the serious quality of her music. We can't help but wonder if she really wanted to be judged on being someone other than a Famous Movie Star making a record, she didn't just do it under some other banner than Minnie Driver. Amusingly, the EMI execs who signed her only went to see at her South By Southwest because they were expecting to see an indie band called "Minnie Driver" - which tells you a lot about how much prep work EMI A&R do before going to an event.

Also in the GFR: Howie Gelb of Giant Sand puzzling that, after a label had sniffed his album wasn't commercial, four years later a track from it was being used on a Coke commercial, which is about as commercial as you can get this side of the Aflac duck pimping the Pilsbury Dough boy. And a crushing review of Goldie Lookin' Chain's Greatest Hits, suggesting that at least Kenny Everett's Snot Rap had the saving grace of not really understanding the genre he was parodying.

So, finally, to the NME, which we've taken so long to get hold of, is looking dated - it's got Mozzer and Shaun Ryder on the cover... hang on... that's no Ryder, that's Carl Barat. Blimey. He's looking a bit rough.


The Music - remember them? - are about to release a new album, which is good news because as old country lore has it 'when a the music release in the schedule you find, the cooper temple clause cannot be far behind'. Anyway, Phil The Music has just realised - no, seriously, in his own words - "people listen to lyrics more than they do the music"; he thinks this is something new and wasn't like that when he was a kid, which is confusing what he was like as a kid with what everyone is like.

Melissa Auf Der Maur does the pretend CD: cat power, mary timony and mozart.

Jon Spencer is the latest challenger daring to take on the might of Peter Robinson and his giant hand. Jon chuckles that he cost of from Stockholm call to talk to Pete will burn up any profits the new album is likely to make.

The Radar band ("must see festival band of 2005") is Nine Black Alps, who, with a talk-up like that, might end up disappearing into nothingness before Christmas. On the other hand, they say they make noise and one of them looks a bit like Mark Gardener, so maybe not.

We're not sure if Eddie Smack actually did follow up the question "do you cry" to Dizzee Rascal by saying "what about when your friend was stabbed to death?", mainly because Rascal doesn't turn around and walk out but gives a measured response.

It seems so long ago now, but let's try and do justice to the Reading/Leeds pullout: It actually gets off to a cracking start, with Mark Beaumont reviewing The Darkness. It was Beaumont whose review of The Darkness a couple of years back is the reason you'll never see The Darkness interviewed in the NME (a questionable piece of nose-face slicing that might have seemed a good idea when Kerrang was selling so well). His verdict now? "the worst headline act I have ever seen at Reading... and I saw The Stone Roses."

Are the Suicide Girls entirely neccesary? Barry Nicolson is pretty sharp in the review - "any trace of the 21st century feminist agenda is suffocated under the weight of a tent full of lairy 17 year old virgins going 'Way-hey' at the first flash of nipple. He also points out that the 'girls' aren't even that pretty. But nearly half the page is taken up with photos illustrating both his points, really. That's more space than The Hives get.

"Even God's crying" is the genius bit of Alex Needham's review of The Streets; there are posters - Green Day and Goldie Lookin' Chain - like 'wacky' or what - and White Stripes and Razorlight. The Stripes, by the way, are "rock and roll's Mount Doom"; Morrissey "the Daddy", the Libertines "sound better musically than they ever have done" (yes, nobody much likes to admit it, but Pete Doherty actually doesn't add much to the act)and TV On The Radio are a "weird entity"

other reviews:
soulwax - kings cross scala - "the kind of perfect synthetic rock music that garbage managed a year ago"
the rakes - brighton - "part of britain's frontline militia"

kasabian - kasabian - "a siege mentality is alive and well in the badlands of Rutland Water", 7 (actually, we know Rutland Water really well, and apart from pubs that charge a tenner for a ploughman's lunch and only give you one pickled onion, there aren't any badlands)
oasis - definitely maybe DVD - "the British public may wish to disown Digsy's Dinner", 10
julian fane - special forces - "too unobtrusive for its own good", 3
pretty girls makes graves - good health - "the natural alternative to boring, pedestrian boyrock", 9
steve earle - the revolution starts now - "important... easily among his best", 6

sotw - mclusky - she will only bring you happiness - "rock as a gateway into a twisted reality"
johnny panic - burn your youth - "we might just have an indie Busted on our hands"
adem - ringing in my ears - "has glockenspiels and recorders on it"

Tim Wheeler loves Thin Lizzy. The girl.

And, finally, years and years ago the classifieds of the NME and Smash Hits would be full of adverts featuring tiny little images of band t-shirts (padded out with 'humorous' ones of an "I'm With Stupid"/"Reality is an illusion caused by lack of alcohol" nature). And you'd look and wonder who would be stupid enough to part with GBP2-99 for such toss, and then figure that there must be loads of people, for the adverts kept appearing, week after week. Then, suddenly, they stopped, and the nation appeared to have come to its collective senses. Nowadays, though, those adverts have got a generational equivalent: camels attempting to sell ringtones and "top quality colour wallpapers" for your mobile. And you wonder who on earth would pay money for their phone to utter a badly-voiced "You're a plonker, Rodney" instead of ringing. And yet, there must be many, for the adverts appear week after week...

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