Thursday, September 30, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Getting up to Slash
Yes, 24 hours late. Post Office again.

An unlikely contributor to the Labour Party Conference edition of the New Statesman is Heather Mills McCartney, suggesting that something must be done about landmines, they simply must. And it's hard to disagree with her, of course. But here's an interesting idea: why not spend some of millions swilling round your family buying up shares in arms manufacturers? Even if you couldn't afford to buy them out totally, you could become a seriously difficulty to them continuing to manufacture the weapons. Or why not buy up the companies they rely on for their supplies? How about that?

It's nice to see that the change of ownership in the Telegraph stable hasn't altered some of the fundamental - they're still happy to run stories of the lightest piecrust provided they can drape a picture of a pretty young lady on the top. So it is they're delighted with the return of Wendy James: even lapping up her tales of how she's been living in New York with people "in the slipstream of the arts; the freelancers of the world" - which we're translating as the sort of people who sit in coffee bars talking about the exhibitions they've not quite got round to making.

The Sunday Telegraph delved back even further, although the pictures on its Bob Dylan exclusive weren't quite as gorgeous. All designed to plug his autobiography, Bob's tales of how his life was made unbearable by fame at least has the benefit of something he's sat and considered these things with the benefit of age. Unlike Robbie Williams, who wakes up in the morning, feels a bit cheesed off and so knocks out a book about how bad it all is in time for the evening post.

Attitude has got a picture on the cover of Geri Halliwell, dressed as a "sexy" nurse, threatening to put fun back into pop. It's the prospect of the sort of fun which you get at Butlins - a lot of well meaning energy and a strong grasp of the theory, but just not executed in any sense.

Gareth McLean met the Scissor Sisters for Guardian Weekend, and suggested that the band get compared to the Village People for bad reasons: "partly due to rock nerds' outrage at the Comfortably Numb cover, as well as homophobia in the music press, where there's a suspicion of bands not consisting of angst-ridden, greasy-haired, guitar-wielding indie kids." Or it could just be because they're gay and American and make some bright, fluffy pop songs which is all that some people will need to make the link, do you think?

There's a free CD with the NME, part of the fruits of the NME-MTV-XFM link-up, offering tracks from X-FM live sessions (this time last year, of course, this would have been a covermount with X-Ray), It's a pretty nice line-up: Bloc Party, Stellastar* and Charlotte Hatherley making up for The Bees.

Razorlight are on it, and on the cover. And on the cover of the inner-NME, the one for overseas editions as well, making it a re-run of the Andrew WK cover. Although not quite as absurd, although it does feel pretty discombobulating.

The NME has somehow got hold of a copy of the new U2 album. The verdict is very mushy, almost as if it had been written as part of an agreement to be nice to the album in return for the exclusive: "For fans looking for that classic U2 sound, How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is well worth the wait. Some strong tracks - particularly on the early part of the album - guarantee this will be a massive-selling record and will set them up for some monster live shows next year. Will this do?" It actually makes the reviews in Tesco Magazine ("This new gem from Faithless marks a bit of a departure... a substantial body of work) seem like the work of Ken Tynan.

The Others make up some magic CD: Dylan, Joy Division and Curtis Mayfield.

He did Ryan Adams (we think), now it's Peter Robinson versus Bryan Adams: Adams announces - and we think its an exclusive - that there will be no bagpiping on his forthcoming world tour.

There's a handy report from the frontline of In The City, where bands still technically unsigned are wheeled out before turning over their schoolboy papers to become fully made up. The names we're probably going to be hearing over the next year are: Tom Vek, The Longcut, Towers of London, and Fear of Music.

"I'm going out there and not coming back until I'm King" - America, brace yourself for Johnny Borrell and Razorlight. The more cautious might mutter he'd be better off securing a minor earldom in his home country before setting his eyes on head of state for another, but you've got admit it's always better to have a singer who believes in his band than an "if other people like it, it's a bonus" chap. Unless we're talking about Bono, of course.

The Dead 60s' Matt claims to be out on their own, with a mix of "dub and ska", which on paper comes out curiously as if he's claiming to be the Bad Manners of our day.

Interpol whinge a little about having to make a record, but just a little whinge, which is actually even worse - "we are very humble and never feel comfortable pulling rock star diva attitude, but sometimes we do have to express irritation." Mmm. How much great art has been born of mild irritation? Are we to prepare ourselves for a Daily Mail letters page set to music?

The posters section is "classic band logos" - and the Kasabian and Goldie Lookin' Chain logos are in there as well for some reason.

As a tribute to Johnny Ramone, they re-run a 1977 Roy Carr Ramones piece, or as much of it as will fit in the 2004 layout.

reviews
live
It should be mentioned that in one of those pieces of unfortunate timing, the gigs are judged on a scale of Otis Ferry to P&O Ferry, which would have been funny had P&O not announced after the paper went to press that it's struggling so badly it's laying off loads of workers.
babyshambles - leeds blank canvas - "not a clean break, but not a car crash, either."
green day - los angeles henry fonda music box theatre - "nobody really knows what the story is"
the thrills - new york irving plaza - "they don't exactly put on a show"

albums
rem - around the sun - "too many of the songs slide past in a controlled daze", 6
the wonder stuff - escape from rubbish island - "they're back. or rather Hunt is", 4
marilyn manson - lest we forget - "perhaps he just lucked out and he really is as much of a dullard as the people he winds up", 6

singles
sotw - tv on the radio - new health rock - "as chilled as a cocaine heart attack"
the paddingtons - 21 - "essentially black rebel drowning in a bucket of custard"

And, finally, the Why I Love is genuinely surprising: Radiohead is the band chosen by... Slash. Yes, that Slash.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

the pictures on its Bob Dylan exclusive weren't quite as gorgeousI have to disagree. The enormous photo padding out the double-page spread convinced me to "buy" the Telegraph [put money in the WHS box] for my journey to Bristol Zoo on Saturday. Who can resist those curly-headed Jewish Boy '60s pics? Not I!

--Alan Connor

simon h b said...

All the girls I liked when I was eighteen were in love with that era of Bob Dylan; maybe I'm carrying a grudge. I couldn't even compete with him if I played them the tape of him squeaking his way through Farm Aid.

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