Saturday, September 11, 2004

GEORGE MICHAEL SWINGS ROUND: It happens a lot - people rush to come out, and then suddenly realise they actually like the opposite sex just as much as the same sex. George Michael has taken a GQ interview as a chance to clarify his position. He says he'd have sex with a "woman, no question", but offers Madonna as an example:

"I had a feeling [sex with madonna] would be sex of the same intensity as if I was with a man."

Of course, George is known for having sex with men in toilets, so he's really saying that shagging Madonna would be uncomfortable, a little draughty, and there'd be a faint smell of piss throughout the proceedings.

What we don't quite understand, though, is this bit:

George Michael says he fancies women and would sleep with one if he wasn't in a relationship.

But wasn't he doing a big press push a while back where he was telling us at great length about how he and Kenny Goss enjoy an open relationship? So why is it okay for him to stray to one side, but not the other of the fence?

ERM... OKAY: Charlotte Church is apparently fed up being called Voice of an Angel, because she's not thirteen any more. It's odd, actually, but let's hear Church out:

"I think it's pathetic after all this time. I just wish people would come up with something a bit more original. I saw a headline the other day saying, 'Choice of an Angel' and I just thought: "Can't people do any better? I mean, come on! It has been nearly six years since I was first called Voice of an Angel and I really think it would have been dropped by now. I suppose people are still interested in me because I was a child star and I'm at that age where former child stars go off the rails. They either go on drugs or become anorexic, well I'm not on drugs and anyone can see I haven't got an eating disorder."

What about the way some child stars sack their parents as managers, go on endless benders, try and re-invent themselves in a more populist image, turn up drunk all over the place, have relationships with inappropriate types, break their parent's hearts and so on? But, yes, you're almost certainly not on drugs. Well done. And just for the record, Charlotte, although the tabs do invoke "voice of an angel" in pieces about you, it almost always follows something along the line of "the teen tearaway, once known as the".

WASN'T THIS A THROWAWAY COLUMN IN THE GUARDIAN WEEKEND A FEW YEARS BACK?: Geri Halliwell's written a new song in which she details the shortcomings of her former lovers. Presumably she doesn't start with the one unifying weakness of them, in that they all had to have sex with Geri Halliwell, but it's no You're So Vain:

There was Peter, he was a cheater, who couldn't keep his hands to himself.
There was Ritchie, well he got bitchy, so I left him there on the shelf.
And there was David, when he got naked, he didn't have much up or downstairs.

She says she's changed the names - presumably because she can't come up with rhymes for "Chris" and "Robbie" - but she needn't have bothered to do so to protect the exes' blushes. After all, ripping the shit out of them on a Geri Halliwell song is hardly going to make a show of them in the way it would have done if she'd chosen a public forum.

THIS IS SOMETHING WE'RE CURIOUS ABOUT: We're really keen to hear Gwen Stefani's solo single - normally, you can make your mind up about tracks in advance; you may be proved right, you might be proved wrong, but it's rare that you don't quite know what to prepare yourself for. With Stefani's first post-No Doubt outing, What You Waiting For, could be either a steaming pile of mouldering compost, or something direct and funky and new. We just won't know until it arrives at the start of October. An album, still with no name, is due for November 23rd.

POSSIBLY THE SMALLEST TOURIST ATTRACTION IN THE WORLD: If you're in Northampton - perhaps on business, or maybe visiting a chiropractor - you might want to visit the famous Shoe Museum. We'd suggest leaving it until October, though, as September's Shoe of the month is one of Vernon Kay's stinky old trainers.

THAT'S A SHREWD BOOKING: Looking for someone to play your office party? Remember your choice of artist might reflect on you and your organisation, so choose wisely. For example, if you're the Congressional Black Caucus, you might want to think twice before booking someone facing trial over allegations he made tapes of himself fucking a thirteen year old. Someone like, say, R Kelly. Obviously Michael Jackson was too busy.

BUT TALKING OF SLIGHTLY LAME RE-RELEASES: As if on cue, Capitol turns up with a "new" version of John Lennon's Rock 'n' Roll, a Yoko-endorsed new version with four extra tracks on. Yoko's endorsement, of course, is signalled by her nodding with delight at the line marked "Projected total to estate of J. Lennon" on an Excel Spreadsheet and ordering some new extra-dark sunglasses.

There's also going to be another album, Acoustic, which has got some previously unheard stuff on; although, to be frank, if it's not actually been released by now, we're guessing there's a reason for that.

If you fancy using Lennon to flog something, drop Yoko a line with expected earnings.

FAR FROM CROOKED: We tend to get a bit pissed off with the concept of "new editions" of classic albums - the addition of a couple of b-sides and a glossy CD booklet written by Paolo Hewitt usually fails to justify the return of the piggy to the market and a re-purchase. However, Matador are doing a good job with the Pavement re-edition, as the probable tracklist for the new Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain demonstrates:


Back to the Gold Soundz

1. Silence Kit
2. Elevate Me Later
3. Stop Breathin
4. Cut Your Hair
5. Newark Wilder
6. Unfair
7. Gold Soundz
8. 5-4 = Unity
9. Range Life
10. Heaven Is a Truck
11. Hit the Plane Down
12. Fillmore Jive

======== end of original album =========

13. Camera
14. Stare
15. Raft
16. Cooling by Sound
17. Kneeling Bus
18. Strings of Nashville
19. Exit Theory
20. 5-4 Vocal
21. Jam Kids
22. Haunt You Down
23. Unseen Power of the Picket Fence
24. Nail Clinic

#1-12 from Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
#13-14 from "Cut Your Hair" released 1994
#15-16 from "Range Life" released 1994
#17-19 from "Gold Soundz" released 1994
#20 from "Gold Soundz" Australian tour ep released 1994
#21-22 from 7" included with Crooked Rain
#23 from "No Alternative" released 1993
#24 from "Hey Drag City" released 1993


After the Glow (Where Eagles Dare)

1. All My Friends
2. Soiled Little Filly
3. Range Life
4. Stop Breathing
5. Ell Ess Two
6. Flux = Rad
7. Bad Version of War
8. Same Way of Saying
9. Hands Off the Bayou
10. Heaven Is a Truck (Egg Shell)
11. Grounded
12. Kennel District
13. Pueblo (Beach Boys)
14. Fucking Righteous
15. Colorado
16. Dark Ages
17. Flood Victim
18. JMC Retro
19. Rug Rat
20. Strings of Nashville (instrumental)
21. Instrumental
22. Brink of the Clouds
23. Orange Black
24. Tartar Martyr
25. Pueblo

#1-21 previously unreleased
#22-25 from John Peel Session Feb 26, 2004


COUNT THE SPOONS, MA AND PA DOHERTY: In his latest attempt to sort his life out this time, promise, Pete Doherty has moved back in with his parents. Because yer mam can do what the experts at the Priory and the monastery have failed. Maybe Pa Doherty will lock Pete in the garage, like Jimmy Corkhill did when he was trying to get Little Jimmy off drucks.

BRIGHT BRIGHT EYES: Conor Oberst is cocking a snook at james brown's claims to be the hardest working man in showbiz.

Bright Eyes are knocking out two singles in November and two albums in the new year. Pens out, write these down in your diaries:

November 1st - Take It Easy
November 8th - Lua
Early 2005, on the same day [obviously Conor hasn't bought a new insert for his Daytimer yet, which is why they've not inked a date in] - Lua and I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

YOU'RE A FAKE: We're a little bit confused by the request from Michael Eavis for police to investigate 500 tickets from the Glastonbury Festival this year were forgeries or not - if the man who runs the festival can't tell, how are police supposed to be able to know?

Apparently, this is "after a BBC Watchdog investigation", but that was into a company called - who, according to Nicky Campbell, are selling tickets for Glastonbury 2005 - despite there not actually being a festival in place yet.

Friday, September 10, 2004

TRYING IT ON: The clothing company getting all fussy about Britney Spears using the phrase "In The Zone" has expanded the range of its case. Now, Lite Breeze reckons that the phrase appearing on her album is causing "marketplace confusion" - which would explain all those kids, naked except for CDs, walking down the street. We know that many Britney fans don't know their arse from their elbow, but for a company to believe it can persuade a court people get confused between a record and a tshirt is pushing it.

STAND DOWN, BEAT: An attempt to get The Beat back together (we presume by Bands Reunited) ran aground when Andy Cox and David Steel refused to join in. So, really, with Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger but no Cox or Steel, it's really a General Public reunion, really, isn't it? Although that's not quite such an attractive proposition for the viewers. ("Next week - The Redskins...")

LEON SEA: The Kings of Leon are set to play Brighton; they've got a date lined up at the Dome on November 2nd; They're also due to play the Kentish Town Forum on October 30th.

INSTRUMENTATIONOBIT: Ernie Ball, guitar string seller to the stars, has died. The 74 year-old built a company with annual sales of USD40 million out a guitar shop, mainly thanks to the success of his Slinkys, lightweight strings perfect for rock and roll. Everyone from BB King to the Stones, through to Metallica, used the strings, allowing Ball to build up a business that produced instruments and other accessories. He died in San Luis Obispo, California on Thursday, after a long illness.

ALL HAIL THE GUTLESS WONDERS: If there's a photo-opportunity with a downtrodden Native American, they'll be round in a flash. But ask Sting and Annie Lennox to actually throw their weight behind something like the anti-Bush campaign, and all of a sudden, they've got elsewheres to be. Not, of course, that they're thinking of the largely conservative, middle-aged audience who keep them in hand-made clogs and ecological detergents, of course: It would just be rude to get involved:

"It wouldn't be our place to do that [join the Vote for Change tour], we're guests in this country and we don't have a vote," Sting said in a recent phone interview. "Some of my friends are on that tour and I think it's laudable what they're doing."

Hmm... interesting that it's okay for Sting to campaign for a change in, say, Brazilian government policies in the Amazon basin, but when it comes to the US politics, he feels he has to stay out of it. To be fair, George W hasn't got a record of interfering in the politics of other countries, has he? And why Sting - supposedly the ecologically concerned wise man of rock - doesn't think that the choice of a President presiding over the most polluting country in the world is something he should at least be allowed to express an interest in - is a bit of a puzzler, too.

Lennox and Sting are doing a joint jaunt round the US at the moment, and Annie came close to expressing an opinion:

"Obviously I was very glad to see the back of Saddam Hussein," Lennox added in the same interview. "But the country is a terrible mess now and I don't see how they're going to be able to extricate themselves from it without tremendous cost of money and life."

- which is a nice piece of fence sitting; tutting that it's all too bad without actually expressing an opinion on the matter.

BOMBED OFF: And as we were expecting, the nATo gig has been canned, although Shapovalov claims that he's not been told anything about the venue axing the date.

ONE WEEK BOLAM WOULD APPEAR FIRST IN THE CREDITS, THE NEXT IT WOULD BE BEWES: Next Libertines single is going to be What Became Of The Likely Lads? Carl says that the release of the single doesn't mean he's not going to marry Thelma, not at all, not now.

IF EVER THE PHRASE 'IT'S NOT THE TIME' WAS APT: You would have thought that plans for holding a "terror concert" with a singing "suicide bomber" in Moscow right now would be something even Tatu's dirty old man Ivan Shapovalov would be reconsidering. But he's planning to push ahead with the debut of nATo tomorrow - September 11th, do you see? Shapovalov is playing dumb, of course:

But while he admits that his protegee is supposed to look like a suicide bomber, Shapovalov doesn’t see why people are upset. “If people are scared by a woman wearing a black headscarf, that means they are sick themselves,” Izvestia quoted him as saying.

Which is a quote which doesn't really make any sense at all - apart from anything, surely nobody's actually scared of Nato, more pissed off at the insensitivity?

LIFE IMITATES POP VIDEOS: Following the van crash which killed one of his security guys, Twista's new video has been pulled. Spookily, the video features a big van accident, so the record label has decided it would be tasteless to make it available right now.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

THEY DO DERON, RON, THEY DO DERON, RON: The House of Dereon (pronounced De-ron) is the name that Beyonce and her mum have decided to call their vanity clothing line. It's named after Beyonce's gran, which is a nice thought but "My grandmother's clothes" doesn't entirely inspire us to get our chequebook out...

POLLY - MORE FR' US: Interested in PJ Harvey's US tour dates? Here you go:


OOH, GET JET: Those naughty Australians say they want to get Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson on their next album:

"We want to get Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson to guest on the album — as many talentless people as possible. We want as many people who don't write their own songs as possible. That's the whole point. What the world needs are more talentless people."

The good news, of course, is that even if just the band turn up for the recording sessions, that'll be four talentless types right there for them.

DON'T BLAME US, SAY RAJAR: The increasingly beleagured official radio ratings company RAJAR is now getting pissy when people moan about it - snapping back at Virgin that it's not their fault Virgin's audience is tanking. They say that they've spent a quarter of a million pounds trying to track 15-24 years more effectively (because, of course, your average sixteen year old is really likely to be listening to Virgin) and they've done their best. Of course, the chances of getting teenagers to put down their cider and stop thinking about sex for long enough to play with the Rajar stickers are really slim anyway. Maybe it's time Rajar admitted that, without seventy thousand radio stations available in Chelmsford alone, they need to overhaul their system.

WHY, IT'S LIKE GOING INTO A SOFTWARE STORE AND JUST STEALING THE DISKS: This could be kind-of-awkward - it turns out that peer to peer experts Altnet are suing the RIAA for patent infringement, suggesting the Intellectual Property Police have themselves infringed IP rights by pinching their system for identifying files on a peer to peer network. Presumably the RIAA will try and argue that, without an advert with Britney Spears telling them it was wrong, how were they to know?

RACHELSTEVENS MAKES IT HARD FOR HERSELF: In a bid to enter the Guiness Book of Records (which, of course, isn't what it's called anymore, but frankly since only a half-wit would change the name of such a successful product we intend to call it that until they come to their senses) Rachel Stevens aims to play seven "gigs" in one day. In different venues.

"I've always wanted to break a world record and I am so excited about the thought of being in the Guinness Book of Records. It will be amazing to know I've left my mark on history for eternity."

Yes, that will be for eternity. Or, um, until someone plays eight gigs in one day, anyway.

BE NICE TO THE SMALL PEOPLE: So, there were angry scenes when Christina Aguilera gave a Foggy Dewhurst sized tip in a Miami restaurant. Her bill was GBP220, her tip? A staggering seven quid. (In the US, of course, waiting on staff don't get minimum wage and are reliant on tips; good form is at least fifteen percent. When staff pointed out the slight discrepancy between 'multi-millionaire' and '3.5 per cent tip' Aggy stormed out.

We suspect the problem is that - if we believe urban myth type tales - maybe this was the first meal Aggy has had in years that hasn't had a mix of spit and cum added to it by kitchen staff, and so she thought it tasted funny?

Wonder if she's as mean with the tips to the lap dancers she's so fond of pretending she might be slightly lesbiod with?

REMEMBER... SHE RECORDED WITH DAVID ESSEX: It's not often a headline on Yahoo News questions itself, but Zeta-Jones Fanatic Ruled Sane - even leaving aside the point that a fanatic, surely, is by defintion not sane, this is someone who is obsessed with Catherine Zeta Jones... what part of the world would that be considered to be sane in?

JUST SAY NO: Surely the problem with having Hugh Masekela tell kids to abstain is, despite his long life of womanising, drugs, jazz and hitting the sauce, he's still looking great for his age. Keith Richards, yes, is a warning from history. But Masekela? He's a poster boy for rough living, surely?

AT LAST - AN 'UGLY RUMOURS' FOR THE US: No wonder Blair is quietly hoping that Kerry wins the US elections this year - not only would that ease the problem of having to pretend to respect George Bush all the time, but if Kerry wins, he'll be able to have a jam session in the White House: Kerry's band, The Electras, actually made a record, too. Apparently it's "not very good" surf-influenced covers.

BRITAIN OFFICIALLY "RUBBISH AT MUSIC": If you were going to produce a hall of fame - indeed, a UK Music Hall of Fame - you might feel a little spoiled for choice as to who to put in. Bowie, obviously; Jagger and Richards would have to be in there, naturally. Rod Stewart would have to be seriously considered, and Morrissey, with or without Marr, would be shortlisted. Would Duran Duran make the cut? It's possible, and Pete Waterman might need to be in there if it was a serious attempt to measure those who have influenced the world of music. Ian Brown? Perhaps not, but Noel Gallagher- albeit through gritted teeth - would be expected to pop up, fighting for wall space alongside Sid Vicious, or Johnny Rotten, or Joe Strummer. It'd be quite a while before you needed to even think of any other country's artists to make up the numbers. And yet, Channel 4 and Initial TV have invented a UK Hall of Fame which contains just one British act - the Beatles - and Madonna, U2, Presley and Marley. Yes, there's room for Bono, but not for Bowie - and yet how much influence on music have U2 really had? The list of inductees has been drawn up by Paul Gambaccini (oddly, Limahl didn't make the final list, either), Trevor Nelson, Sir George Martin, Alex James, Dave Stewart, Tony Wilson (shame on you, sir) and - for no good reason - Emily Eavis. There's going to be some sort of phone-in polls when the programmes hit the screen but, really, if they can only think of The Beatles as being worthy of the Hall of Fame, they have no right to be making such a programme in the first place.

MAKING YOUR MIND UP: The ACME people have a nifty flow diagram to help you decide if burning a track to CD is morally justified. It's version 1.0 at the moment, so there is one small glitch, implying that indie labels won't spend the money you give them on cocaine, but other than that, it's the closest you'll get to a moral framework.

ANGRY SCENES AFTER DEATH: Who knew porno press lord Richard Desmond was a fan of The Move? Apparently, Desmond was so angry that the Daily Express didn't have an obituary of Carl Wayne he had a massive swearing fit at Ted Young, number three at the former newspaper. So fierce was Desmond's anger, Young hasn't set foot back in the office since and is rumoured to be mulling legal action.

BUT SOME OF US WANT TO BE ABUSED: Yes, yes, Alex Kapranos, we know some bands take advantage of groupies, but that's no reason for Franz Ferdinand to have an all-out ban on groupie action:

"We are really not into the whole sex thing with groupies.
For starters we've all got girlfriends and Paul (the drummer) is married, Nick (guitarist) has just got engaged.
We're all quite romantic guys and prefer real love rather than spending some time with someone we've never met before. I've seen a lot of guys in bands around young girls and I think all that stuff can get a bit ugly.
There are a lot of girls out there who get very starstruck and you see this horrible, cold manipulation going on. A lot of guys in bands completely take the piss out of young girls who are completely starstruck.
I see it as a form of abuse that I find absolutely repellent. We're not an unfriendly band - it's always nice to meet people after the shows.
I always think if someone has made all this effort to come to see you, you should meet them after the shows. But with that we try to avoid the gangs of sycophants you often find hanging around bands and everything that goes with it."

If we were cynical, we'd suggest this means 'why shag a scabby groupie when you can afford decent hookers' but... sigh, they're just incredibly mannered, aren't they?

BUT SOME OF US WANT TO BE ABUSED: Yes, yes, Alex Kapranos, we know some bands take advantage of groupies, but that's no reason for Franz Ferdinand to have an all-out ban on groupie action:

"We are really not into the whole sex thing with groupies.
For starters we've all got girlfriends and Paul (the drummer) is married, Nick (guitarist) has just got engaged.
We're all quite romantic guys and prefer real love rather than spending some time with someone we've never met before. I've seen a lot of guys in bands around young girls and I think all that stuff can get a bit ugly.
There are a lot of girls out there who get very starstruck and you see this horrible, cold manipulation going on. A lot of guys in bands completely take the piss out of young girls who are completely starstruck.
I see it as a form of abuse that I find absolutely repellent. We're not an unfriendly band - it's always nice to meet people after the shows.
I always think if someone has made all this effort to come to see you, you should meet them after the shows. But with that we try to avoid the gangs of sycophants you often find hanging around bands and everything that goes with it."

If we were cynical, we'd suggest this means 'why shag a scabby groupie when you can afford decent hookers' but... sigh, they're just incredibly mannered, aren't they?

DOWNLOAD UPDATE: Plans for a Japanese version of iTunes have hit a stumbling block - Japanese labels are worried that iTunes would be too cheap and that allowing music fans to burn the tracks they've paid for to CD would bring the Japanese music industry crashing to the ground. Apple's marketing head in Japan, Yoshiaki Sakito, isn't panicing yet - he expects the iPod effect to force the Japanese labels into line fairly soon.

Meanwhile, Woolworths is planning to enter the download market. Actually, it's already there, selling tracks through Streets Online (no, us, neither) but now it's going to bring the Woolworths brand to digital downloading, modelling its store on the experience in branches of Woolies - thus, when you try to log on to quickly buy the Rachel Steven's single, you'll find the checkout page is already being used by an old lady buying a toaster, three teenagers returning "faulty" Robbie Williams CDs and a man asking if there's a new Vince Hill album out. The tracks will only work in Windows Media Player 10, apparently.

Also meanwhile, Real are about to take down the luminous pink stars with 'SALE!' written on them and return their download prices to where they were only making a small loss. They claim they've sold three million downloads, and signed up "thousands and thousands" of new customers - not tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, you'll note. Now, since they were losing at least half a buck on each sale (compared with their usual price), and if we assume "thousands and thousands" does mean ten thousand, we make that each new customer has cost Real Networks thirty dollars at the very least. We don't know what the full-price Real profit margin is, but assuming that it's ten cents (and we think that's probably generous), that means they're going to need each of their new customers to buy another three hundred tracks before they even break even. They might have spent their money more wisely doing a hook-up with one of the fast food outlets still to offer free downloads with their processed meals - Taco Bell? Harry Ramsdens?

WE KNOW HOW SHE FEELS: Kirsten Dunst has made a small request for anyone thinking of inviting her to an awards do - Don't make her sit near Christina Aguilera. Apparently, Aggy ruined Dunst's VMA experience in 2003 by burbling away on her mobile phone the whole time - "Yes... yes, I'm in the awards..."

THE BOOK CLUB: Sickeningly multi-talented Vast frontgod Jon Crosby has written a novel, Turquoise and Crimson. Apparently, it's inspired by being in Vast and the internet. Did we mention it's a non-fiction novel?

WE EXPECT RACHEL STEVENS TO BE WORKING ON A COVER: What the world is waiting for: a musical re-enactment of the Waco siege. It's experimental rather than a straight musical, which we actually think is a bit of a shame - "I am Koresh/ For God I'm yearning/ What's that noise?/ Do you smell burning?" - and the idea is to try and recreate the psych ops against the Branch Davidians by the ATF in the ICA, using bright lights and loud music. We're not quite sure how this would be different from Cinderella Rockefella's in Bolton, but good luck anyway.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Blogger servers in distress edition
Well, surprisingly, the Post Office have managed to keep up their end of the bargain - but Blogger are down right now ("updating the servers", I'm informed) so this might well take until Sunday to appear anyway.

Jack White is on the front of the NME - he's grown back the stupid 'tache and got a shit soul patch to go with it. Still, even he looks good compared to the picture on page three, which is related to Selfish Cunt.

There's some splendid coverage of the Pete Doherty court case, which in years to come will appear in text books as an example of how to laugh at someone, while pretending to laugh with someone. Doherty claims he cried to avoid being sent to prison - something Jay Kay clearly didn't think of when he was trying to keep hold of his driving licence this week.

Who knew that the bottling of 50 Cent would be a touchstone issue? In a letter to the NME, Reading-Leeds booker Neil Pengelly tuts like the headmaster of a progressive school: "Should I be feeling angry, disappointed or disgusted at what happened... Reading has a great track record for having the least safe and conservative bills in the country... I believe this was perceived by some as a game. A game that was extraordinarily dangerous and put a downer on what was otherwise a trouble free and hugely enjoyable weekend." (Apparently, bottling The Rasmus doesn't count). There's also a small flurry of letters from equally disgusted readers. Pengelley concludes "a bit of tolerance and respect for acts and fellow festival-goers is the least we can expect at a festival." Hmm - to be honest, modern festivals, the best we can hope for is being fleeced like a bunch of old ladies with our savings in a teapot, herded like cattle, fleeced again, forced to prove who we are and lectured. Yeah, throwing bottles at 50 Cent is childish, but my, the organisers don't like any sign of disagreement with their work, do they?

There's a warning that The Strokes next album could take them five years to make - an early indication they're going to write some new songs for this one, then.

Peter Robinson takes on gospel singing Razorlight Johnny Borrell. In the Vice video, he poses as a rentboy. "Poses" being the keyword here.

Radar band is the Dears - which gives a nice handle to hang a list of "miserable canucks" on - they don't mention Avril Lavigne, though, who is, naturally, so full of angst.

You'll already have read the crux of the White Stripes piece in the other nooks of the internet - effectively, White says they're not splitting up, which means we're giving 'em nine months. The interesting point is when White is asked if the next album will be different: "The whole point of the band was never to evolve; it was always to box us in... the methods we use ...[have] always been ridiculously constrictive."

When would the last Cure interview have appeared in the NME. Probably it'll turn out to be, like, six weeks ago, but it feels like it would have been in the 1980s. It turns out that Robert Smith's Dad brews halluciogenic beer. Which explains a lot.

That it's ten years since Definitely Maybe means many things - not least that, fuck, we're getting old. It also means its time for a Britpop history lesson. Graham Coxon recalls trying ot sneak Americanisms into Blur albums. Oddly, we're told that "before Cool Britannia, [Blur] were just a fringe away from Ned's Atomic Dustbin, and not much hipper" - which is wrong on about every level - Blur were pegged as being baggy or shoey, but never part of the Stourbridge greebo scene; the number of kids you used to see in Neds tops would suggest that they were quite hip, actually; and Blur were the toasts of the Rollercoaster, the UK-Lollopallozalite. Something we'd forgotten, though, was The Holy Bible and Definitely Maybe came out on the same day.

Posters this week come from Reading and Leeds - Messers Barat and Borrell; pelle from The Hives looking like Alan Partridge; Mike Skinner looking like Robbie Williams; Jack and Meg get a poster each; Tom Meighan from Kasbian; Charlotte Hatherley out of Charlotte Hatherley, and the Franz Ferdinand boys.

"London's a liberal place" says Martin from Selfish Cunt. Clearly, he's never heard of Westminster City Council.

dkt/mc5 - glasgow garage - "do the MC5 still matter? Of course not"
the von bondies, astoria - "eight or nine songs that could only be told apart with DNA testing"

selfish cunt - no wicked heart shall prosper - "the rage is clearly genuine", 6
goldie lookin' chain - greatest hits - "one long dirty protest against the state of hip-hop", 8
giant sand - is all over... the map - "one of the most cosmopolitan albums to carry the sand seal", 8
beep beep - business casual - "like someone slightly taking the piss out The Rapture", 5

sotw - razorlight - vice - "in every second of nocturnal longing lurks the fear of the heartbreak"
ali mcqueen - red lights - "Nick Drake and Beck sharing roll-ups"

and finally, back to 50 Cent. They tested out how hard 50 might or might not be by throwing things at Tim Jonze. We like this feature, and would huimbly suggest that they try a similar one next week inspired by Robbie William's belief that people were shooting guns at his house.

WANT A DIRGE? GET TO BURGER KING: Following on from the "success" of the Sony Connect/McDonalds link-up [update, by the way: our local branch still advertising the special offer, still don't actually have any special boxes], AOL and Burger King have formed an alliance in the US. Every time you buy a whopper in the US, you get a free download from AOL Music. It's a great offer, the only downsides of which are you have to eat a Whopper and download music from AOL. But other than that...

YES, THAT'LL MAKE THEM FEEL BETTER: As if the hypocrisy rating on 'Imagine' hadn't been tested to the limit - written by Lennon, now being covered by Madonna on her current tour, she's now taken to dedicating the song to Russia following the Beslan massacre. Yes, that'll help, Madonna. Madonna flashed large pictures of "war and children" onto the screens behind her and urged gig-goers to think about "what happened in Russia and Lennon's lyrics." You might also want to think about a woman charging hundreds of quid for a gig ticket lecturing people about imagining no posessions, or the woman currently forcing la-la-Kabbalah down everyone's throats singing about imagining no heaven and no religion, too, or the woman who has had a large swathe of the British countryside ruled out of bounds to the common folk insisting we picture a brotherhood of man; or, indeed, if there is any spiritual message at all in Imagine which has been licensed to Peel Holdings to promote its airport on Merseyside.

NOW ALL SAMPLING IS STEALING: An odd decision by a federal appeals court has declared that all sampling has to be paid for, even if the sample is so brief that it's unrecognisable - if you pick a single note from a song, then you have to the pay person who played that single note. Observers are trying politely to suggest that the judge who declared this has lost his tiny little mind:

"It seems a little extreme to me," said James Van Hook, dean of Belmont University's Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business. "When something is identifiable, that is the key."

The case that has set this scary precedent is based on a two-second, pitch-lowered, looped and extended sample from George Clinton and Funkadelic used in NWA's 100 Miles and Runnin.

TWENTY QUID THE RICHER: The votes have been counted, probably twice just to make sure, and the winner of the Popjustice Twenty Quid Music Prize is Some Girls by Rachel Stevens and Richard X. Now, since this was the Sport Relief song, we're wondering the lucky winners will be donating their prize to charity...

NO PHOBES AT MOBO: After the protests of Outrage, and offering the chance for the disputed acts to offer written apologies, the Mobo Awards have withdrawn nominations for Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel. Interestingly, though, BBC News Online still suggests Beenie Man "issued a statement through his record company apologising for using homophobic lyrics" - despite his manager claiming that the apology was generated by the record label and had no connection at all with Mr. Man.

JAM AND LEWIS SELL UP: It's not that they're going out of business, just moving from Minneapolis-St Pauls to Los Angeles, but Jam and Lewis have sold their Edina studio to a property developer. Another piece of music history, in other words, about to be turned into luxury homes, you might think, but oddly, the real estate magnate Karl Bohn intends to keep using the studio to make music. Whether the new owner will be as successful as Jam and Lewis - only George Martin has produced more US number ones - time will tell. Actually, we don't need time; they won't be. But lets hope they have fun trying.

SURELY THEY'VE SUFFERED ENOUGH?: Actually, it's a pretty nice gesture: Van Halen are offering cheapo tickets to their Florida date for people caught in Hurricane Frances. Admittedly, it's Sammy Hagar Van Halen, but even so...

IT'S LIKE HE'S, I DUNNO, INSANIA OR SOMETHING: We're putting it down to raging against the dying of the limelight, for how else can you explain Peter Andre's extraordinary display at Brighton Magistrates Court?:

Then Andre, 31, spotted snapper Steve Lawrence - who helped bring the criminal charges - and reporter Gary Lucken.
The Aussie star branded the pair 'dogs' and warned: 'You'll pay - people know who you are and where you live.'
Gary, 33, from Sussex, said: 'He just went potty, got right in my face and challenged us to take him on two to one and prove we were manly.
'I told him he was being silly and that seemed to infuriate him even more. He said he knew who we were and that we'd pay. There was a lot of finger-pointing. We declined the offer of a punch-up.'

This really won't help with Andre's "girlfriend" Jordan's case, where she's denying criminal damage to Lawrence's camera. And let's hope that Andre's outburst wasn't actually on the court precincts, because, well, that could be trouble all by itself.

IT'S SO EASY TO HATE, IT TAKES GUTS TO BE GENTLE AND KIND: But then again, hating is so much more fun. So we take our hats off to Mike Seely, who has produced a list of the twenty most hated men in rock (betting, of course, without Sting). His chart:

1. Paul McCartney - "Michael Jackson... poor taste and idiocy..."some guy named Lawrence Hill"..."
2. Carlos Santana - "low rent pop-culture train... Black Eyed Peas..."
3. Jimmy Buffett - "petrified ape dung"
4. The Adams Family - (Ryan and Bryan) - "mounting Winona Ryder... paving the way for Phil Collins"
5. Elton John - "It-dead Princess of the moment"
6. Johnny Rzeznik - "Quick, name one Goo Goo Dolls song"
7. G. E. Smith - "every imaginable televised tribute concert"
8. Conor Oberst and Chris Carrabba - "critical fellatio"
9. Fred Durst - "Fortunately, it looks like Durst's career is over"
10. Bob Weir - "A frontman who needs a teleprompter to remember his own lyrics"

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

CONGRATULATIONS, THE FRANNIES: The Mercury judges have done the right thing and given this year's prize to Franz Ferdinand, and the skinny ones picked up their award from Dizee Rascal not an hour ago, live on BBC Four.

The coverage was slightly odd - Jo Whiley was wearing some sort of cap that matched her spangly top and Stuart Maconie appeared to be intoxicated by the presence of co-pundit Minnie Driver. Minnie, actually, was quite good value, chatty and funny and wearing some odd eye-shadow. And we're not sure if it was by accident or design, but every time they cut to Robert Wyatt, he was eating like a man who'd not had food since Suede won the Mercury.

[TECHNICAL DETAIL: For some reason, nothing we've posted since Midnight seems to have shown up... we're trying a fix to see if we can work round the problem...]

RAP SICK LIST: Twista has been injured in a van crash on a Pennsylvania motorway in the early hours of this morning. Arthur Dixon, a member of his security entourage was killed in the incident, when the van left the road during a night-time run from New York to Chciago.

A DESIGN FOR LIVES: Manics are off on a big UK tour up before Christmas - with support from Razorlight, plus an extra set from Hope of the States on the first night:

Brighton Centre - December 4
Belfast Waterfront - 6
Dublin Olympia - 7
London Wembley Arena - 9
Plymouth Pavilions - 10
Nottingham Arena - 11
Cardiff International Arena - 13
Glasgow SECC -14
Birmingham NEC - 16
Manchester MEN Arena – 17

Tickets on sale from tomorrow morning.

MORE CHRISTMAS STUFF: If the Dionne Warwick Christmas collection doesn't tickle your fancy, how about the Chris Isaak Christmas? You've got your Rudolph, your Have Yourself A Merry, your Santa Claus is Coming... you get the drift.

ELVIS? HUH, YOU CAN KEEPS YOUR ELVIS: Yeah, Elvis might be the "King", but there's only one non-Australian ever to have sold a million concert tickets in Australia, and his 2005 tour down under (or on top, if you have a map with that projection) sold out in minutes. Ladies and gentlemen - Mr. Neil Diamond.

THEY'RE GETTING OLD NOW, AREN'T THEY?: It's the 125th anniversary of Blackpool illuminations this year, so they had to work hard to find a celebrity who can remember the first time they were on. Luckily, Geri Halliwell was free that night. No, of course she's not really that old, but she was a good choice - she used to bring lots of pleasure to people in a simple way many years ago, but now does seem like a remnant of a happier time.

Mind you, the lights people should worry - BBC North West Tonight couldn't even scrape up an interview with Geri and had to make do with interviewing, erm, Corinne Drewery out of Swing Out Sister.

THAT MUST HAVE BEEN AN AWFUL CHOICE FOR POSH: Are you going to go out for something to eat or watch David playing football, Victoria? She chose the meal, but she must have flipped coins or something - neither, surely, are things she'd ever do through her own choice.

WE REALLY DO THINK WE'RE LENNON, DON'T WE?: So Robbie William's latest excuse for moving to LA is that he was afraid he was going to be kidnapped. Why, he had no idea there were any tax breaks at all, we're sure. Williams found two bullet holes - supposedly - in the side of his house (someone thinking sooner or later he'd be knobbing Jennifer Ellison, presumably, and getting in target practice?) and so - afraid of kidnap - he went to live in LA. Because there's no chance of a gun-toting crazy getting anywhere near a rock star in America, is there? That would be unheard of.

It's interesting Williams thinks the "bullet holes" are a sign that someone wanted to kidnap him - because firing randomly into a side of a building really is the way that kidnappers would creep up on a potential victim, isn't it? Perhaps shouting "yee-hah" as well?

We're wondering what a kidnapper would have got for Robbie - presumably only EMI would be bothered about ransoming, since he keeps telling us he's all lonely and alone and has nobody. And EMI might reckon that the sales of back catalogue for a star found in three different parts of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal might be better than the likely shifting of new, expensive to produce material...

SPEAK YOUR BRAINS: The NME is looking for people to meet up with them in central London later tonight. Yeah, we think it sounds like that online grooming, too, although they say it's about Glastonbury... yeah, right. We know exactly what those NME writers are like, with their cute tight butts and waggling asses. They're depraved. Say what you like about Danny Kelly, nobody ever wrote slash fiction about him.

NO, REALLY, HOW MUCH DID YOU GET FOR YOUR SOUL?: Fay Weldon was on Breakfast yesterday, so I know for a fact that the bile still rises at the knowledge that she took cash from the arriviste jewellers Bulgari to write a book which featured them and their product in a prominent role - there's nothing wrong with advertising, but let's not try and pretend the hooker is part of a long and loving relationship, eh? You'd think music would at least be above this sort of thing - indeed, in the UK, it would have been self-defeating to take cash for a mention in a song a few years back. The BBC's rules kept any songs off the air if they mentioned a brand name (hence the Kinks drank Cherry, not Coca-, Cola, as we've spoken of before); now, though, the rise of commercial radio seems to have changed the attitudes at Broadcasting House - after all, they played the Fast Food Rockers "McDonalds, McDonalds/Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut" refrain often enough. You'll recall we discussed this a while back in relation to the now-defunct Lucian James chart of brand names. At that time we wondered if there was a spot of product placement going on behind the scenes. It seems there is. For while we can believe that a chap like Busta Rhymes might have written a song praising Courvoisier out of love for the brand, we just can't believe that Angie Stone would have decided to write a song about the obscure mixer drink Remy Red before the Remy Martin company elected to sponsor her summer tour. Again, there's nothing wrong with taking cash for adverts - we're mulling signing up for Google Adwords ourselves - but it should be clear that that is what you're delivering. And people might be a little pissed off at shelling out hard earned cash for what is little more than a sponsor's message - it'd be like paying for spam email.

IT'S A LONG MENDOZA LINE...: Of course, you might feel that a combination of reminding you about 3Hive and a plug for the Mendoza Line is little more than teaching you to suck at eggs with which you're already familiar, but just in case: 3Hive are linking to some Mendoza Line mp3 downloads right now. Celebrate your broadband!

WHY ARTISTS SOMETIMES MIME: Clifford Allen, Tornto resident, got to sing both anthems at something called the Jays-As game at the weekend; and managed to foul up his own anthem, muddling the words of the Canadian song and then discovering that the words on the scoreboard weren't coming up fast enough to help him out his hole.

AT LEAST SHE WASN'T SINGING EYE OF THE BLOODY TIGER AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS: Celebrities really are just teenagers, aren't they? Burning through cash, snogging the wrong people, crashing cars and - like with Beyonce - having the police raid their party because it's too noisy. Boy, are her parents going to be mad when they get home...

BLIMEY - THEY DIDN'T KILL EACH OTHER THEN?: As if the report on this morning's Today that Ian Paisley is about to agree to share power with Sinn Fein wasn't enough, Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler have managed to make an album without seriously injuring one another[XFM: may crash some browsers]. No word yet on when we'll get to hear the stuff, but Brett reckons its everything you might hope from their pedigrees.

WATERS HAVE BROKEN: Depending on how you look at it, it's either just the right time, or completely the wrong time for Roger Waters to be releasing a song called To Kill The Child, but that's what he's done. This, and another song he's making available through his website, are Water's protests against the Iraq War.

SCISSORS CUT: It turns out that < ahref="">Kylie is dumping the stuff she's recorded with the scissor sisters - on the grounds that it's too personal. She's afraid that people might listen to the lyrics (like anyone does that with a Kylie song - "what does she mean by la-la-la? What does she mean?) and assume they know all about her relationship with Olivier Martinez, which hithertoo has been a secret known only to her, Olivier, and anyone who reads Heat or OK. We actually hadn't been in any way interested in these songs before - doing a song with Kylie is the band equivalent of rich teenage kids shoplifting; something they all have a go at if they get the chance, because it makes them feel naughty and special, but very rarely leading to any notable sort of record. But now, we really want to know what it could be on these tracks that would lead people to assume that they're about Oliver and Kylie rather than just some random pop words...

CHAKA DOES LULU: One of those things you never expect to find yourself saying: Chaka Khan covers Lulu on her new album. The set is a bunch of old standards - the fall-back of many artists from Bryan Ferry to Rod Stewart who've simply run out of ideas; in the midst of the bunch will be the theme from To Sir With Love, done for the movie by Lulu. I suppose, with Chaka's hefty vocals, we should be relieved she's not plumped for Shout.

THE COST OF TREACHERY: Bad news for Egyptian pop star Shireen Ahmad, who has just been ordered by a court to pay out a million pounds to her former producer Hamdi Ahmad.

Hamdi had discovered and nurtured Shireen, only for her to turn around and work with someone else when she'd reached a level of fame that allowed her to pick and choose. The one million egyptian pounds was to compensate for both the professional and emotional cost of the loss. (In English pounds, it sets the cost at about ninety grand.)

Last year, Shireen was at the centre of a row when she said in an interview that there were some "nice" Israelis, prompting her rival, Shireen Wadji, to fume "any singer who has something good to say about Israel, does not deserve the love or support of their fans and is considered to be a fake."

SOULOBIT: The death has been announced of Billy Davis, American soul legend. Davis co-wrote with Motown's Berry Gordy, producing many of Jackie Wilson's standards, inlcuding Reet Petite. In 1961he moved from Motown to Chess, turning the label into a soul powerhouse: Etta james, Billy Stewart, the Dells. It was from Davis' exit to become music director at an advertising agency thatn the decline of Chess is dated; his production, A&R and management skills had given the label a clear sense of cohesion and direction it never quite regained. Davis continued to work in the music industry until his death.

Billy Davis, 76, died after a long illness, in New York, on the 3rd of Spetember.

Monday, September 06, 2004

WE'D QUITE LIKE TO APOLOGISE: Phil Collins has issued an apology for his rubbish songs, although it's an apology with both tongue in cheek and cheque in bank:

'I'm sorry,'' he says, from his home near Geneva, Switzerland. ''I'm sorry. You know, the amount of people who have grown up hating me, and it's no fault of mine. I wrote the songs. I didn't ask the stations to play them so much. I remember they were advertising a guaranteed Phil Collins-free weekend in Milwaukee. People all over the world are sticking pins in effigies of me because they hate 'Another Day in Paradise' or 'Sussudio.'''

Actually, Phil, it's not your music that makes people hate you, you know.

BATTLECAT FIGHTS DOGG: Some more intellectual property wranglings; this time within the industry, as DJ Battlecat brings legal action against the Snoop Dogg/Warren g/Nate Dogg combo Group 213. Battlecat's beef is that three tracks on the Group 213 album filch a little too much from his own work.

IF ONLY THE NATIONAL MUSIC CENTRE HAD THOUGHT OF THIS: Take one planetarium, a mix tape (made, admittedly by Moby) with radiohead, eno, stereolab and, erm, Fischerspooner, and some lights and stuff, and you get SonicVision, a kind of lie-back and be sucked into the lights and shapes of music installation at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It's a little bit like how we imagine it'd feel being Jason Pierce.

GOTHS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN: Of course, people have long suspected that, a quick dye job to qualify apart, the only connection most of the suicide girls have with 'goth' is that's how their parents told them to pronounce the game they play at St Andrews. It seems to have been confirmed now that they've invented a new type of goth to accomodate their needs - Darkwave - or 'cheerful goth', if you will. Nixon Suicide, one of the "girls" who will jiggle their breasts for you, is trilling that goth "is definitely funner [sic] now." Obviously, there's been a gap in the market identified for people who want to dress in black but who aren't in mourning for their lives. And since the punks on Suicidegirls are allowed to miss the point of their chosen genre so spectacularly, why shouldn't the faux-Goths be allowed the same freedoms?

BUSH GETS BOONE: Andre 3000 might have been so horrified at being mistaken for a Republican that he issued a denial, but not all pop stars are recoiling from Bush like a slug at a salt lick - he can still rely on Pat Boone, now a spokesperson for the 60+ Association, as well as readying four new albums. If producing a quartet of albums seems a lot for a man past retirement age, you've got to remember the old of America have got to find the money for the massive hike in Medicare rates being brought in by his hero.

RIAA LAWSUITS FAIL TO OUTPACE SPREAD OF BROADBAND: Yep, some independent figures fresh out from IT Innovations and Concepts: the number of filesharers has jumped by 15 per cent since July 2004, and, as autumn brings early nights and reduce barbecue and ball game time, that's set to rise still further. The RIAA lawsuits aren't doing squat in terms of changing people's behaviour, meaning they're just a really expensive way of making the record companies look bad.

KAY FORCED INTO THE PARKING ZONE: After doing 100mph on the A9, Jay Kay has been banned from driving for six months. You'll recall that his original defence was that, since he wasn't driving a sports car, he had no choice but to speed. He also added, for good measure, that he he holds an advanced driving licence and does "take road safety seriously." We're not sure if he was implying that he's such an excellent driver he should be allowed to drive how he likes, but it cut no leeway with the judge. His solicitor tried to persuade the court not to take away Jay's licence:

"He has a house in Gairloch which is a hideaway from a very busy professional life. An international life. His ability to drive and to get away for respite from time to time, when he can, is very important to him. He deeply regrets having to appear here, but here he is."

Apart from the universal that "please take pity on him, with his jet-set star-studded lifestyle" is a lame thing to lay on a court - "he needs his car to jetset" is hardly on a par with "he needs it to drive his limbless sick child to hospickle" - the fact that Kay had picked up another three penalty points in July didn't help a great deal, either.

THEY CAN'T BRING THEMSELVES TO ADMIT THEY'VE GOT MOYLES ON: Although its 9 am, according to the Radio 1 website Wes is on air until 7pm. Incidently, when did Mr. Butters drop his surname? Is being known as Wes rather than Wes Butters meant to make him seem more "down"? Because, really, as names goes 'Wes' doesn't really have much more of a swagger... we'd go with The Butterman.

WHAT PARENTS WILL BE FIGHTING OVER AT CHRISTMAS: Yes, at long last, it's a Slash doll. We hope it'll work like our smoking monkey which has "real" fags it puffs its way through.

PHOWWWWOOOAR! Sting getting naked... hold on to your hats:

He's taking his shirt off to raise money for the rainforests. Noted environmentalist Sting was, of course, the spokesface for the wood-trimmed Jaguar S-Type, a car which manages to burn through a gallon of petrol every eighteen miles or so. So, that'll be balanced out by a shirt, then?

POWER CUTS: The Daily Mail, of all places, ran a rather gushing profile of Vince Power post-Reading festival, giving him a chance to slap away negative reports about Reading:

"The line-up was awesome. The weather never works to plan. I've seen worse."

We're not sure that any other British festival has had its car park swallowed by a river two days before, but to give credit to the MFers, they dealt with the challenge pretty effectively. The Mail also mentions the way Power came to control Reading in the first place:

Three years later, festival owner Howard Pendleton decided that he could run it himself and Power's services were no longer required. Power eventually bought the festival site after 'running around around like a headless chicken' for the best part of a year.

- which makes it sound like a benign, happy little deal rather than the dubious bit of action it really was. Or "ruthless business". Like the takeover of the Town & Country clubs, come to that:

"It was around the time with the fight over the Town & Country that people started painting me as a megalomaniac with an aggressive tone," [Power] says.

Meanwhile, it's clear that he's not going to give up on Glastonbury without a fight:

"Our contract runs until 2006 and who knows what will happen then. Needless to say, I strongly believe we will still have an involvement."

With the money behind the Mean Fiddler group, and Power's shrewd eye for the main chance, we wouldn't be surprised if they buy up all the houses in the village of Pilton...

IT'S LIKE TRACKING HURRICANE FRANCES: We've been watching the latest "lesbian" Christina Aguilera story building for a few days - what started out as a post-MTV VMA party where a couple of bored poledancers writhed within tabloid distance of Xtina has now become "lesbian kisses" between Christina and Paris Hilton. By teatime, we're expecting a strap-on to be involved.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

BLAME SATAN: The Mogwai BBC Sessions album has now been put on hold until after Christmas.

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...

ALL THAT PRESS COVERAGE... IT'S LIKE BEING IN THE ROYAL FAMILY: We chuckled quietly to ourselves as our regular mail-out from Girls Aloud warned us to be prepared for a press onslaught:

The Girls are all over the press in the coming weeks as they gear up for the release of Love Machineí on 13th September. Catch em in:

Company - 8th September
I Love Pop - 15th September

Erm, and that's it. Hardly all over the place, is it?

And yet: they seem to have neglected to mention a rather high-profile appearance: FHM have gone to the trouble of doing this:

It's possibly the sharpest example of attempts to segment the market - using the same band to sell into the young girls who read I Love Pop and the men who love the other sort of pop in FHM. It's a tricky route to walk.

DEFTONES LOVE THE CREATURES OF THE WORLD: Chi Cheng, the bassist of the Deftones, has recorded a PETA-sponsored public service announcement for US radio. The hope is that kids in baggy shorts who would have otherwise turned a blind eye to horses being forced to do high-dives and cats being made to behave in a most un-cat-like way will go the cops now that Chi has asked them to.