Saturday, May 31, 2008

Muse at work

Muse are in the studio making some new stuff up:

“About a week ago we just started on some new stuff and actually started playing some new tracks and writing some new songs. So we are just getting the ball rolling again,” [Dominic] told BBC 6Music.

“We’ve been off the kind of creative period for so long, being on tour, so once you get back together - you have to start thinking that kind of way. You have to kind of push that ball and get it rolling.

“And we did it and it sounded great so we got a few tracks together and it’s coming along so that’s what we’re doing right now.”

No word yet on what it sounds like, but reviewers have already announced plans to file the words "epic", "enormous" and "stadium" just as soon as they get a CD in the post.

Gordon at the half-year mark

Oh, dear. Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea for Gordon Smart to have launched his spell in charge of Bizarre by pointing out he was Scottish, called Gordon and launching a 'manifesto' and cabinet. Smart did stress that he was nothing like Brown, beyond the similarities listed and the slightly gurning appearance. And, of course, the mystery of how he's still in the job.

So, how's he doing with that manifesto, then? Well, on some pledges - the ones about running pictures of women's breasts (sorry, "little wrigglers [who] appear almost naked") and "actively encourag[ing celebrities] to get tanked up", despite the Sun's constant editorials about how binge drinking is bad.

Some of the others, though - maybe less-well:

Hear about new bands, comedians, actors and characters on Bizarre first. The next OASIS, PETER KAY and JAMES McAVOY will be unveiled by this new regime.

We've yet to see much evidence of this talent-spotting. Indeed, with so much space given over to Oasis and Kasabian and - ye gods, Madonna - there's hardly any room for new talent. Indeed, Gordon promised to keep the crinkly old pantheon alive:
Wrinkly rockers deserve respect – you are held in high esteem for your services to showbiz. The creases are a reward for riding life ’til the wheels came off. I will keep you legends alive . . .

Indeed, when faced with a "wrinkly rock star" taking on new talent (well, new-ish talent), Gordon came down clearly on the side of Robert Plant.

And what of Gordon's pledge to get Robbie Williams "off his backside"? His approach seemed to be running stories to make him seem a bit bonkers, mainly by claiming that he was hanging out with David Icke.

Robbie Williams hasn't been hanging out with David Icke. Gordon might want to add a note to the story.

And what of Gordon's opening day invite for people to show their support by joining his MySpace? Up to 233 friends now - and a full 17 comments since he became head of Bizarre. It's hard to believe he's quite that popular, isn't it?

The emobeast is angered

Today, the My Chemical Romance army is marching on the Daily Mail, to overthrow their stereotype by complaining how they're so misunderstood and it's not fair. ThrashHits is blogging the event as it happens.

Embed and breakfast man: Clinic live

This is Mary and Eddie, live earlier this week, from when Clinic played Chapel Hill:

The Bush presidency winds down

The last days of Empire: Having apparently decided to not bother with any sort of legacy, the people who've been running America for the last eight years are now clearly just goofing off - six months of bringing in games and surfing the net for cheap flights.

So it is that Condoleezza Rice is making time in her schedule to meet up with Kiss. In Sweden:

"It was really fun to meet Kiss and Gene Simmons," she told reporters, noting that they seemed well-informed about current events. The band had asked if she could stop by after she finished dinner with the Swedish foreign minister and Rice readily agreed, she said.

After all, she had some spare time as her planned date with Sammy Hagar had fallen through.

You can't say you weren't warned

"There's no lingua franca to this, except for the European lingua franca of irksome tweeting"

Kiss Me Quick hats off to Michael Moran's Sod Abroad, which - alongside exploring jetlag, ways to annoy an American and the wrongness of skiing - details the worst 11-and-a-half holiday songs of all time. This quote, clearly, refers to the Birdie Song, but the book is worth buying for the first ever-linking of Whigfield with Star Trek.

Don't just take our word for it - buy it and decide if it's worth buying for yourself. (Apparently it's very popular with people interested in Mary Seacole.)

Shiny new band: Slow Down Tallahassee

They're not from Tallahassee. They're from Sheffield. But they are rather fine.

Find out more about them over on the MySpaces.

Virgin Radio now brought to you by... the Times of India

You might not have expected that one, eh? SMG have flogged off Virgin Radio to The Times Of India Group. We think this is the first major UK media asset to be picked up by an Indian media organisation - although we're happy to be corrected on that one.

The real interest is in the amount that SMG are pocketing from the deal: £53.2 million. It paid £225 million when it bought it back in 2000. Which suggests that the station has been losing about twenty million quids' worth of value every year. Lets hope the new owners have some ideas, otherwise they've got about three years before all Virgin will be good for is swapping for two Kenny Dalglish stickers.

Winehouse: Back, late and underwhelming

To be fair, the audiences booing Winehouse's comeback gig at a Portuguese festival only booed her late arrival, but when she did turn up, they weren't exactly thrilled then, either, reports the Associated Press:

Winehouse, wearing a short dress, appeared distracted during her performance. She paused to talk to members of her band, fiddled at length with her microphone, sucked throat candy and at one point dashed offstage but quickly returned.

She had cuts on her left arm, and her right hand was bandaged.

There was no encore. Although as she was third on the bill, that's not that surprising.

50 Cent's house burns

Good lord, it's no fun being 50 Cent, is it? When he's not being shot at, his house is burning down to the ground. This particular house (we believe he has some more) has been at the heart of a battle between Mr. Cent and Shaniqua Tompkins, mother of Cent's kid Marquise; the arson squad have apparently been having a poke about to try and determine what caused the house to go up.

Cent has issued a statement:

"Informed this morning while filming a new motion picture on location in Louisiana, Curtis Jackson expressed deep concern over this fire at his property," a representative for 50 said in a statement. "He is extremely thankful that everyone including his son, Marquise, escaped the burning house safely. He is confident that authorities will be conducting a thorough investigation of the incident and is eager to review their findings."

"Deep concern". Goodness, that's almost a human reaction.

Darkness at 3AM: Pageturning

Here's a surprise: Noel Gallagher got a book for his birthday. Admittedly, only that Bond thing written by Sebastian Faulks, but it's still a surprise.

The 3AM Girls decide to try and push this revelation further:

"Noel's a big 007 fan," says our, er, spy.

...but don't quite pull it off.

Meanwhile, piling in on that story that Peaches Geldof is making some sort of 'lets ban plastic bags' programme, the 3AMies also 'reveal' that she's producing a bag all of her own:
"We need to be aware of the effects of our actions. I wanted to produce a bag that would go with this summer's looks."

Peaches Geldof promoting "awareness" that what we do has consequences, eh? Whoever would have thought.

Of course, she misses the point somewhat - that fashion and the concept of having to match a bag to a passing fad in trousers or blouses does more harm to the planet than carrier bags (when reused rather than discarded), but at least she's trying, eh?

Gordon in the morning: You read it here, eventually

As if it wasn't bad enough that Gordon is passing off something he read in Q as 'news', the nugget he's mined from the magazine is the revelation that, erm, Paul Weller doesn't like David Cameron claiming to be a fan, a story that John Harris reported in the Guardian back in March.

Still, Gordon does get a new story, all of his own, with the revelation that Ricky Wilson thinks the Kaiser Chiefs are better than Oasis. Which, of course, is like a food manufacturer setting their standards as being "a bit more tasty than something from the No Frills range." Still, Wilson at least shows his working:

“Oasis have disappeared up their own arse. They think they are LED ZEPPELIN. They’re not.

“Music has moved on and I think we are the band that most music fans would see as their successor.”

Well, that's certainly true - a band who had a couple of decent singles and then ran out of ideas but stayed around hoping that bombast alone would compensate for lack of invention.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Capital of Culture Update: McCartney tickets screwed-up

To the long-line of mistakes, errors and fluffs in the organisation of Liverpool's year as Capital of Culture, add another: irate early ticket buyers are angry that they paid £75 for tickets that are now being offered for as little as £35. The Culture Company is trying to put on a brave face:

Last night, Kris Donaldson, director of Liverpool Culture Company, said: ''As has been well publicised, the Liverpool Sound capacity has expanded by 11,000 since the ballot last September.

"In that time, stage specifications have also changed. Both of these developments will be of huge benefit to concert goers in terms of the overall experience.

"As a consequence, some event logistics have been modified, including reconfiguring the location of some of the seats for less than 10% of the audience.

"An initial poll to those affected has been very positive, and most are happy as their seats are in an excellent position. As an alternative, customers have been offered a refund."

A team of translators are trying to write a version of this statement in English. They're failing, though, as there is no positive way of "paying forty quid more than someone else for the same seat" in any language.

Of course, it's easy to offer refunds - after all, the tab is going to be picked up by Liverpool council tax payers.

Still, brave face, good people of Merseyside: Only another six months of dripping humiliation to endure.

Rain washes out sunrise

Yeovil's Sunrise festival has been axed: flash flooding in Somerset; 5,000 people had already been on site when the waters rushed through.

Barat: Looking miserable for Libertines fans

Carl Barat has told the Independent that the biggest challenge to Dirty Pretty Things was trying to not disturb Libertines fans:

"At the Isle of Wight," Barat recalls, "I felt I couldn't be seen to be having a good time, because I was dutifully carrying this cross. I thought that's what the fans of The Libertines wanted. A lot of them were in mourning for the band."

So, then... will there be a resurrection? Not unless there's a point, he insists. Even the friendship with Doherty can be a distraction:
"Once I've done what I'm doing now, it won't be hard at all. It may detract in the short term from what I'm trying to achieve. It's certainly a friendship I cherish. But I want to let it be for a while. A lot of my friends say you should only do reunion if you're going to write a new album. I agree. Otherwise it's just a cash-cow, a glory-milker. I've still got 'Libertine' tattooed on my arm. There were some kids outside who asked me to play some Libertines tonight. One of them was covered with blood, for some reason."

For some reason.

No word, no mention, of the supposed musical Barat and Doherty are meant to be busy writing, you'll note.

Brian May loses Planet Rock

Putting aside his worries about Wikipedia ("anyone is free to lie"), Brian May has posted a confirmation that his consortium has lost its bid to buy Planet Rock off GCap:

Our chaps have been pressing on with GCAP's lawyers, finalising the arrangements, the principles having been agreed a few weeks ago, but, out of the blue, we heard a rumour that someone else was involved, and this morning someone 'unofficially' confirmed that rumour.

MediaGuardian reckons that an official announcement is due. May worries that the buyer might not keep the station on-air, although it's hard to imagine what they'd be buying it for if they weren't going to - it's not for the slot on DAB, that's for certain.

Q radio signs 'that bloke off Loose Ends'

Tucked away in the corners of the Q radio launch schedule are a couple of interesting items, not least the promise of a regular slot for David Quantick. Even although they manage to make the prospect seem less than inviting by describing it as "a mix of music and the presenter's wry take on life." Which makes him sound like Terry Wogan.

The Q Radio programme director, Rik Blaxill, said the station will be "about delivering some welcome surprises with a broad palette of music, comedy and lifestyle programming and with new names finding a home next to established talent".

Lifestyle programming? Since the new-version Q Radio is meant to be more closely aligned with the magazine, does this mean we can expect recipes and interior design tips alongside the Coldplay interviews in the future?

EMI bloke hopes EMI has some value

Interesting - if slightly over-hopeful - comments from Jesse Kanner, Senior Director of Digital Strategy at Capitol/Virgin EMI Music, over on Hypebot about the value of label branding:

My position is: Label branding doesn’t matter to the consumer - until it does. Meaning - if you conduct yourself right, market well, understand your audiences and messaging, attend to the sonic and visual quality of your product, consumers will start to pay attention to your mark. It matters. People do need filters.

Well, yes they do - but record labels don't really mean anything by way of filter. Indie labels, perhaps, but with their marques, the value is limited to only a small sector of the market. But with the wide range of acts swilling about on the majors, how could you use that as a filter? EMI has released The Beatles, Maria Callas, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and the Sex Pistols - which suggests a lack of filtering ability on their side, never mind as a guide to customers.

Naturally, EMI people are keen to suggest that there's some value in those three letters beyond the ownership of a back catalogue. But it's not very convincing: nobody ever went into a shop and asked for "the latest thing on EMI".

Dave Matthews Band split, but not enough

We're still putting up bunting and shoving money behind the bar, even although it's only one member of the Dave Matthews Band who's quit the band. Keyboardist Butch Taylor has had enough on the night on the band's latest tour; they're not going to bother to replace him for this tour because, after all, it's not like anyone will notice.

Wentz and Mrs Wentz: The next generation

Having waited until after the wedding ("the first trimester"), Mr and Mrs Wentz have now announced publicly that Jennifer Jessica Simpson is to be an auntie:

"While many have speculated about this, we wanted to wait until after the first trimester to officially confirm that we are expecting our first child. This is truly the most joyous time in our lives and we are excited to share the happy news and start our family."

The baby is expected to have its mother's nose - although not until he or she old enough to consent to an operation.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Guy Hands tries to find people wanting debt

It's not the best of times to be trying to offload debt in a directionless company in a threatened industry. Indeed, Citigroup are finding it so difficult to come up with a chump - sorry, partner - to share its exposure to Terra Firma's EMI debt that Guy Hands is scrabbling around trying to find someone on Citigroup's behalf.

That would be people who weren't bothered about taking on debt to buy EMI before Terra Firma had had a year running it and who can't be persuaded by Citigroup that it's a good bet, then.

Stretching the definition of "supergroup"

Meet Chickenfoot, a sort-of-supergroup:

Sammy Hagar recently started a new "supergroup" with ex-VAN HALEN bassist Michael Anthony, guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS drummer Chad Smith. The band, tentatively called CHICKENFOOT, will enter the studio to begin recording its debut album this summer.

It's not so much supergroup as doing something interesting with leftovers, is it?

Still, Hagar is not without ambition for his bunch of pirate-types:
"We've written eight, nine songs...When people hear the music, it's LED ZEPPELIN. It's as good as that. I know that's a mighty bold statement...We could rival ZEP."

Well, yes, you could, potentially. Or Tin Machine. Maybe you should start by trying to best Tin Machine.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wentz and took his name

Ashlee Simpson is no longer going to be "the other Simpson." Now, having got married, she's going to be the other Wentz.

Naturally, she's thought through the political implications of this move:

"I think that that's something that a woman should do when they're marrying a man. It's a tradition that I think is a great tradition."

That's all she said; she had to go and remove her shoes in preparation for pregnancy. As that's another tradition.

Gordon in the morning: It's like the internet, printed out

We're not entirely sure if the latest Gordon stuff has been posted online, or we're looking at yesterday morning's "scoop", but when it's quality stuff like Ronaldo's girlfriend posting some stuff on the internet that someone appears to have read, and then passed on to Gordon, who can be sure?

Nereida, 24, used a webcam to talk to her internet “pals” — some of whom were total strangers.

Gasp! Imagine that. People who don't know each other communicating via the internet. Not, of course, like Gordon's readers - we're using that in the sense of people who look at the pictures - all of whom know him personally.
A fan who chatted with Nereida via the MSN Messenger web service said: “She was boasting they are getting married but haven’t set a date yet.

“She kept showing pictures of them together and going on about what a great wedding she is planning. She said she would make a beautiful bride.”

We're not sure of what the fan quoted is a fan - Ronaldo? Manchester United? "curvy model NEREIDA GALLARDO"? Perhaps Gordon himself. Indeed, it must be someone who knows Gordon, otherwise that would be him running a story sent to him by email from someone who was a total stranger.

Still, it's not all such high-powered investigation for Gordon. He's also looked at a photo of Victoria Beckham and identified her shoe colour. Pink, in case you were worrying.

Spilling again

Something to look forward to: a new Built To Spill album is due sometime in 2009; meanwhile, Americans - at least - can look forward to an autumn tour revisiting 1997's Perfect From Now On.

This is kind of how that'll start - first track, Randy Described Eternity, live in Lancaster, in 2006:

RIAA hang out the Mission Accomplished banner

The RIAA's Jonathan Lamy has told Bloomberg that, having crushed, they're dropping the lawsuit against the company:

``The site is now defunct and out of business, the result of a successful anti-piracy initiative,'' Jonathan Lamy, a spokesman for the trade group, said today in an e-mail.

The complaint, filed in December 2006, called the site ``a notorious black market'' that made $30 million a year by directing Internet users to music files available for download, without giving any money to the record labels. The other record labels joining the suit with Sony were Warner Music Group Corp., Vivendi SA and EMI Group Plc.

Well done, everybody.

Although the lawyers for the other side point out that, actually, the music industry never actually filed any correct lawsuit.

And the Allofmp3 team have merely changed the name of the service to MP3sparks and are still merrily trading away.

More to the point, of course, is the question of why the RIAA is dropping its legal action. Wasn't the point to recoup lost earnings - for the artists, you understand - and isn't dropping the lawsuit effectively closing the door on any chance of that? If the aim was merely to stop the company selling illegal mp3s, doesn't this raise an interesting question about the RIAA's skewed approach?

The mother of a child downloading a few songs is pursued for hundreds and hundreds of dollars, despite nobody having made a cent from the "crime", but a company makes millions and millions and is allowed to keep it. What sort of justice does the RIAA believe in?

Court tells Madonna: Keep the baby

After one of the easiest international adoption processes in history, a Malawian court has approved Madonna's adoption of David Banda.

Morrissey clears his throat

Launched with a splash of French and a "coming soon", Morrissey prepares to blog.

Tim Jonze not reported to be in hiding.

New Kids not grubbing for cash, say New Kids

If you'd hoped that George Bush's economic stimulus cheque (where he tried to reignite the US economy by giving everyone money to invest in Chinese and Vietnamese-made products) would have put off the NKOTB reunion by providing Jordan Knight with more money than he's seen in the last seven years, bad news: It's still going ahead.

The band see their reunion as something noble, as it's on their own terms, says Joey McIntyre. Not like other attempts to make them recoagulate:

"You know it was 'Backstreet's huge, 'NSYNC's huge ... why don't you guys reunite on the MTV Awards?' And that's what our old record company [Columbia Records] wanted. Well, why don't you just put us in the studio and finance an album and let's see if that'll work? As opposed to throwing us onstage and seeing if we get cheered or booed. You know what I mean? It was to serve their agenda. It didn't matter. If Chris Rock ripped us up and it turned into a disaster that we reunited on the MTV Awards, what was our record company gonna do the next morning? What would they do? They'd be like 'Bye, guys! Enjoy your flight home.' And I personally was not gonna put myself in that position, or us in that position."

This time, though, it's all about them. And, we guess, the outstanding payments on the cars they call home.

Wentz and never again

We don't know what's more distressing: That MTV (in the US) is thinking of launching a programme which, you know, plays music videos; that it's only going to be on for an hour a week; or that it is doing so in response to a call from Pete Wentz.

Put them away, Boyz

Having a name like a gay porn magazine is one thing. Running a sales campaign like one? Quite another. Boyzone have removed all their clothes in a bid to try and interest punters in tickets for their comeback tour.

We're put in mind of those attempts to interest the public at large in opera and ballet by sending out fliers with photos of naked, lithe bodies on them; small print at the bottom warning "actual show contains no nudity." They might put the same wording on the Boyzone ads, although as an encouragement rather than a warning.

Contactmusic stresses it's not quite full-frontal male nudity:

The five bandmates are all completely naked for the ad, but they cover their manhoods with hats.

The website doesn't say if we're talking nightcaps or fascinators.

Mind you, Contact is incredibly trusting:
the years away from the top of the charts has done nothing to dent the quintet's sex symbol status - they all sport sixpacks and Adonis-like bodies in the new pictures.

We don't know if it's more touching that Contact thinks Ronan Keating was a sex symbol - he never quite made it to mathematic symbol - or that it believes advertising pictures are depictions of reality. We picture their staffers on the phone, bellowing "but why won't the tiger talk to us? They're happy enough to advertise breakfast cereals..."

Revolver pulled

Velvet Revolver's plans to replace Scott Weiland with a reality TV show have been scrapped:

Drummer Matt Sorum reveals several TV producers pitched the band the idea for the show.

He says, "We felt that wasn't the right forum for us to do it, so we got some ideas and we should have that news in a couple weeks... and I think it's going to surprise everybody."

So, then, no network interested, we're assuming.

Williams, make sure you keep all four feet on the ground

Because nobody seems to be able to tell anyone working in hip-hop when their idea is a rubbish one, this chair - the Perspective chair - is going to go into production, a design on a cocktail napkin by Pharrell Williams. It represents the love between a man and a woman, you see, and isn't just the sort of thing your never-married uncle would have bought in the 1970s to furnish his one-room-with-folding-bed pad. Oh, no. This chair comes loaded with cod philosophy:

“I had often wondered what it’s like to truly be in love, not lust for once..So I decided not to ask what it was like in someone else’s shoes or what it was like to sit in their seat..I decided to sketch out my own experiment; the perspective chair.”

So, sitting on a bright red chair is like being in love. Next week: hatred expressed through the medium of toaster-ovens.

Re-Kerrs: Simple Minds coagulate again

We haven't checked our working on this one, but we think you could probably make a decent case for early Simple Minds (certainly no later than the pompous Live In The City Of Lights collection) being, you know, not entirely all bad. However, that doesn't mean that the prospect of the original line-up reuniting fills us with anything other than dread.

Jim, Jim: leave the frilly shirts at home.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Norman gives first refusal to New Years' fans

It's an excellent move by Norman Cook to reward those who made it through the grim, rain-lashed New Years Eve Brighton Beach Party first refusal for this year's late summer beach show:

"I want to say thank you to everyone who made it such a success in spite of everything the weather threw against us."

He suffered a series of electric shocks as strong winds drove the rain onto his record decks.

He said: "It was chaos but I had a lovely warm feeling from the crowd. It was like a Dunkirk spirit - "we will brave the elements and we will have fun."

Perhaps the comparison of a windswept beach party with the conditions during the evacuation of Dunkirk might be a little tactless while the event is still comfortably within living memory, mind, but it's encouraging that the Fatboy Slim beach parties seem to have now become a regular event in the Brighton calendar, given its difficult start.

Winehouse fans write the answers on their arms

Despite the observation by a spokesperson that Cambridge including a lyric by Amy Winehouse as part of a comparison question for English Literature students was "interesting, but not news", it's still made the BBC News.

Student newspaper The Cambridge Student said undergraduates were "surprised" to find Winehouse's words on the practical criticism paper.

Isn't the whole point of exam questions that they're meant to be a surprise for the students taking the paper - after all, if they'd gone "oh, yeah, that's the Amy Winehouse question", they might not be being tested very much on their ability to think on their feet.

That's the wonder of Woolworths

Much of our early record-buying experience was bent over in Woolworths, rustling through the singles 'out of chart' slush pile. Seventy nine pence, those singles used to cost me in my teenage years. But no new generations will know the joy of discovering Man2Man Meets Man Parrish for half price, as Woolworths is dropping the single.

Anyone who's been in a Woolworths recently might be surprised to discover they were still selling anything other than florid pink televisions and decorations overstocked for the last holidays - James P, who emailed us the news, described the relationship with singles as being

"like an ugly-yet-heartfelt wedding gift from a close relative that the shop has felt duty bound to accommodate for years now, shifting it around, leaving it untended for weeks, eventually squashing it into a tatty cardboard 'Top 20' display."

Now that floorspace can be used to push those bags which you vacuum the air out of, and microwave dishes that promise to cook like proper cooking but, erm, don't.

The store cites falling demand:
The group said that the format was in "terminal decline" and will be removed from the shelves from August.

Sales of CD singles have fallen sharply as the popularity of downloading music from the internet has increased.

However, it will continue to stock one-off releases, such as the X Factor winner, which the retailer says still sells hundreds of thousands of copies.

That's the sort of terminal decline which can still shift hundreds of thousands of copies, then. God, you have to hope that if ever someone has to decide when to switch off your lifesupport, it's not a Woolworths employee doing it:

- He is in a coma, but there's a chance of survival, even a recovery of most motor functions
- Right, so is this the plug we need to pull out, then?

Amusingly, Woolworths think they're going to be able to migrate their singles customers to their downloads site. Because when you're thinking music, is your first thought, right?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Teenage Suicide: Don't do it

You might have mistaken My Chemical Romance's failure to respond to press coverage blaming them for the death of a teenage suicide as maintaining a dignified silence.

The belated spurting out of a bland press release, though, makes it clear that there's just been a stream of record company lawyers and management PR staff taking their time putting together a brand-defence position:

"We have recently learned of the suicide and tragic loss of Hannah Bond. We'd like to send our condolences to her family during this time of mourning. Our hearts and thoughts are with them."

"My Chemical Romance are and always have been vocally anti-violence and anti-suicide. As a band, we have always made it one of our missions through our actions to provide comfort, support, and solace to our fans."

"The message and theme of our album 'The Black Parade' is hope and courage. Our lyrics are about finding the strength to keep living through pain and hard times. If you or anyone that you know have feelings of depression or suicide, we urge you to find your way and your voice to deal with these feelings positively."

Suicidal? Find your way. Presumably they don't mean Gerard Way, though.

It would have been better if they'd either released this statement back on May 8th, when the earliest reports of the coroner's comments were hitting the web, and an empty 'hearts and thoughts/suicide is bad' message might have looked like a wisely cautious response. But to do nothing for three weeks and then do nothing, but with press, shows just how hollow the band are.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

The Register has some fun with a history of the music industry getting digital wrong. Again and again:

So as the mud started to crack, flop went the recording industry into the next puddle, which in retrospect looks like an episode from TV's The Good Life. The record companies attempted self-sufficiency while their bemused technology neighbours looked over the fence.

So, in 2001 Universal was ready to announce Duet, its exclusive licensing partnership with Sony, to push its own aforementioned bluematter file format on as many unfortunate retailers as it could corral. And shortly after, RealNetworks put together a consortium of the other major labels and announced MusicNet, to do much the same.

Germany feels the cold wind of rejection

If Terry Wogan's toy-chuck wasn't over-reactive enough for you, Germany is treating its less-than-stellar performance in Eurovision as a national crisis:

"Why doesn't anyone like us?" asked Bild am Sonntag newspaper after Germany had yet another horrendous showing in the annual contest watched by more than 100 million viewers.

"Are we too stupid to win or is it simply we're not liked?" the Sunday newspaper said. "The fact is Germany's top recording artists have failed spectacularly in this contest. Do our singers simply have no chance abroad?"

Since being too stupid has never been a handicap in winning Eurovision, the Germans can at least take comfort in still being more popular than the United Kingdom.

Shiny new band: Hot Cha Cha

These are Hot Cha Cha, from Cleveland Ohio. We like. You should, too:

They live on Myspace; kudos to DoneWaiting for bringing them to our attention.

This act brought to you by the military-industrial complex

Here's an odd thing, tucked away in the list of sponsors for the New Orleans Essence Music Festival. Alongside McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart, the US Army is ponying up some dollars to bring Kanye West, Mary J Blige and Rhianna to Louisiana.

Now, regardless of what you feel about the military, is it really appropriate for defence budget to be spent sponsoring a musical entertainment?

Presumably the idea is to try and sign up some extra troops to help with the various jobs that the army is currently engaged in; we're not sure - and, genuinely, would love to know - if the US Army is only sponsoring music events aimed mainly at young, black audiences in financially deprived areas, or if they'll be chipping in to help bring, say, Ozfest to LA this year.

Some of the artists on the bill - Jill Scott, for example - make much of their commitment to peace and love. How come they're at a gig where some of the tab for their show will be underwritten by recruiting for war?

Chesney still repenting at leisure

Remember the Kenny Chesney - Renee Zellweger marriage? No, not many people do but Kenny Chesney does:

Calling the failed marriage a "life lesson", Chesney accepts, "You can't fall in love as hard and fast as we did and not have some residual effects."

We're not sure it's possible to fall hard and fast in love and then talk about it as if it was like eating pickles before going to bed. "Some residual effect"?

Gordon in the morning: Squeezing Peaches

It might be a holiday both sides of the Atlantic, but Gordon is still busily hammering away. You can tell it's him and not just someone doing a "William Hickey" because the clunking attempt at putting himself centre-stage for Kylie's birthday seems pretty authentic:

What do I have to do - for invite?

I dunno, Gordon. Perhaps stop spewing out half-arsed "stories", running soft porn in lieu of material and bitching about people you don't find attractive might be a start.

Elsewhere, Gordon suggests that Peaches Geldof is still behaving badly:
I’m afraid I have more news that will fill the former BOOMTOWN RAT with dread.

Because Peaches has been hanging around with the one man every parent would most want to keep his child away from — junkie PETE DOHERTY.

Surely - while Pete might be a bad role model - Bob would much rather keep her away from the drug dealer, wouldn't he?

Gordon makes up a quote - sorry, quotes an unnamed source:
“The pair were laughing and joking together for hours and getting on really well. They even went into a bedroom together for a while to be on their own.

“I’m not sure what they were doing in there, but whatever it was I’m sure her dad wouldn’t approve.”

So, this unnamed person doesn't know what they were doing, but assures us it would be bad. Why not go the whole hog and list some things they might have been up to?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

ContactMusic speculates after Roberts ends engagement

Sure, sure, we'll bet there's a good few slashfics written along these lines, but in reporting the ending of Nicola Roberts' engagement, ContactMusic seems to have assumed a little too much:

GIRLS ALOUD star NICOLA ROBERTS is seeking comfort in the arms of her bandmates after splitting from fiance CARL DAVIES.

Do they really mean "in the arms of", popular journalistic euphemism for 'shagging', or did they mean the slightly-less lesbian-orgy-esque "from"?

Unless they really are making her feel better with intimate touching, in which case we apologise wholeheartedly to ContactMusic.

Celine Dion: How wet is she?

Never mind John McCain's health records (old man sometimes sick; rich man gets good medical care - excuse me for not holding the front page), the really fascinating document we probably didn't need but now in the public domain is Celine Dion's water usage. She apparently gets through about sixty-five times the average amount of water used by people in her neck of the woods; her people chose not to comment which, I think, leaves us free to speculate just how many flushes she needs to chase the sausage away each morning.

That's why Mumm-Ra's gone on ice, then

There aren't many bands who come from Bexhill-On-Sea whose names get mentioned much beyond Bexhill-On-Sea, and now there's one less. Possibly none.

Mumm-Ra have called it a day, they've announced:

After 7 years, 11 months and 21 days of writing and playing music together us Mumm-ra boys have decided our journey as a band has come to an end. It has without doubt been the most fantastic adventure any of us could possibly have imagined all those years ago when the rather niave idea to form a band sprang from our young minds and led us to the nearest practise room.

Since then we have eaten in skyscrappers in tokyo, danced with tottenham fans in cologne, made a video in hollywood, posed with the playboy bunnies in barcelona, met real life rednecks in texas, had street fights with the view, played glastonbury, rocked the nme tour to pieces, supported the killers, the kooks and the kaiser chiefs around europe and generally just had the most incredible time along the way.

We would like to thank every single person who has supported us over the years whether it be through buying our album, coming to our gigs or just giving us a listen. No doubt various members will have new projects up and running in the near fututre. But until then......

Mumm-ra fur immer,


Hmmm. It probably says something of their inability to turn their ferociously loyal fanbase into something a little more substantial that having a meal in a tall building is one of the highpoints of their career. Still, those who miss them will miss them terribly, and miss this sort of thing - acoustic at Resident in Brighton:

"Surprising" in no real sense of the word

There was a big surprise at the Kaiser Chiefs Leeds United gig.

Really? A big surprise? Not just the too-be-expected clattering through of Mark Ronson, then?

Um... well, actually...

Because that's not really much of a surprise, is it? It's like Tony Blair being booked and Cherie coming along with him, isn't it?

Yes. Yes, that wouldn't be surprising at all.

So, what would your surprise then?


Solitaire Diamond

Neil Diamond. He's got some issues:

"Personal relationships? I have none," he said last week. "I have no friends and it is just impossible to have relationships. My closest friend is a fellow I went to school with, and I haven't seen him in four years. And he will always be my closest friend. I have people I love, but not friends in the usual way. My brother, who I adore, is surrounded by friends. I see it, and I want it - but I never have it. It's the price I pay and I have absolutely no complaints. I make this journey, for the most part, alone."

And that's with all those people who were coming to America for democ-ra-cy, too. Maybe he ought to take up some sort of hobby that'll let him meet new people - or perhaps when he plays Glastonbury he could try to check out the Green Field.

Wogan gets the huff

Curiously, since he's spent the last three decades commentating on Eurovision discussing dresses, hairstyles, body shape, national characteristics and fair dash of whimsy, Wogan's threatening to quit because erm, it's not a proper music contest "any more".

Somehow surprised that a duff song delivered by someone with no charisma came last - a song, let's not forget, that was chosen by his intervention - he's now talking about calling it a day:

Terry said his producer, Kevin Bishop, was stepping down after this year's contest.

"He and I have to decide whether we want to do this again," he said.

"Indeed, western European participants have to decide whether they want to take part from here on in because their prospects are poor."

Apparently, Wogan sees himself as some sort of showbiz Moses, about to lead his children to a brighter future where we're no longer at risk of block votes from the former Balkan nations. Or perhaps to split the union to give England the chance of a generous Celtic vote.

We could, on the other hand, try and enter a half-decent song.