Saturday, June 07, 2008

Alabama shake down their own drummer

Popular imagination insists the drummer is usually the weakest intellect in any given band. Alabama have just given lie to that myth, as the rest of the band have managed to overpay their drummer, Mark Herndon a fifth of a million bucks more than what they now think was his due. The rest of the band are now suing to get the cash back.

Their case is that he got his cut of the merchandising money from their 2003 before accountants realised that, erm, there wasn't any money made on merchandise. Given that the payment would have suggested that Alabama made $800,000 in profits on flogging tshirts and whatever other stuff they stuck their logo on, you'd have thought they might have had a pretty large clue about that at the time.

We're given to understand that the lawsuit is also looking to recoup, like, money for all the time they wasted hanging about while, you know, he spent time carrying his shit and shit out to the van.

Off the road: Pump prices hit touring bands

The saviour of the music industry, for about a year or so now, has largely been thought to be touring. If people won't pay for records, runs the logic, they'll pay for live shows. The logic of tours-to-promote-albums has been inverted.

Live music. That'll save us all.

Trouble is, though, the rise in the price of oil looks set to bugger that plan, too. Michelle Shocked has told Hypebot that she's feeling the pinch:

I always thought that commuting to work by airplane was excessive, but Southwest and JetBlue fares just made it too tempting...It's possible that summer traffic is responsible, but in general I'm assuming that when the fall comes around the prices won't go back down to their 'cheaper to fly than drive' rates...I thought about converting my tour bus to biodiesel, but in the end I just donated it to the church for a building fundraiser.

I've had to develop orbit rhythm sections for the regions of the country.

And that's Michelle Shocked. Imagine what the rapidly increasing price of diesel means for the economics of a multi-trailer, multi-winnebagoed tour across a continent.

And that's before you factor in fans having to decide if they're going to drive halfway across a state or a country to get to a massive venue to see a band, nevermind find the price of the tickets out of a squeezed pocket book. The big tours are going to have do some serious work with spreadsheets to make themselves retain profitability in the next few months.

No money shifting CDs

The physical music market has lost a major company this week, with the announcement that Handleman will handle CDs no longer. They're the US company whose main interest in the music industry was shipping products to WalMart stores. Their official announcement makes it clear that they don't see much profit in the business in future:

As to the timing of our decision, we took into consideration a number of factors, including indications from existing customers of their reluctance to maintain long-term relationships with multiple music distributors in a shrinking market, a growing question in our minds whether our key music suppliers would provide trade terms sufficient for us to support our customers for the peak holiday shipment season, and uncertainty whether our credit agreements would permit sufficient liquidity to operate normally through the upcoming Christmas season if our suppliers did not return to historical trade terms.

"Taking all these factors into consideration, we determined that exiting the North American music business now, in the transactions announced today, was in the best interest of our customers, vendors, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders. We regret the impact of this decision on many of our employees, and will do our best to assist them at this difficult time. We also will work with our valued customers and vendors to achieve a smooth, seamless and timely transition."

The bad news is for the 260 people who will be entering the US job market at a time when it's nowhere near its strongest.

The glimmer of hope, though, is Handleman's suggestion that the market isn't quite dead, but can no longer support "multiple" distributors.

The worry for the industry as whole, though, is the hint that the major labels are no longer in a position to offer stock on credit - even to its largest customers - in anything like enough quantities to allow it to function.

The conclusion is not that there is no market for records; but that the market is small, shrinking, and might become a specialist niche. After years of the big retailers crushing out the small, specialist stores, we could be about to see a major reverse.

Something new from Radiohead

We realise that probably every website, blog and game-and-watch is already featuring this, but just in case:

Radiohead, unveiling a new song Super Colider, live in Dublin last night.

Bob Dylan: He's in The Times, a-raging

In a bid to promote his London art show, Bob Dylan's been in town, talking to the Times.

He doesn't like the music industry:

"The music world's a made-up bunch of hypocritical rubbish. I know from publishing a memoir that the book people are a whole lot saner. And the art world? From the small steps I've taken in it, I'd say, yeah, the people are honest, upfront and deliver what they say. Basically, they are who they say they are. They don't pretend. And having been in the music world most of my life [he laughs again], I can tell you it's not that way. Let's just say it's less...dignified.”

Yes, publishing's much better, with the over-bidding for unsalebale memoirs, the ghost-written, disposable guff from X Factorites and sportocelebs, the sexing-up of covers and thinning out of considered works. Given that most of the big publishers are part of entertainment industry megaliths like most of the large record labels, why does Dylan think its any different there?

And the art world? If you're placing your faith in the honesty of people who sell art, you're setting yourself up for a major disappointment.

Darkness at 3AM: From the party frontline

The 3AM Girls seem more surprised that Pete Doherty didn't go to Carl Barat's birthday party than he blew out his own solo gig. Mind you, nobody would be surprised that Doherty was a no-show for a gig these days, would they?

They're also surprised at Peaches Geldof kissing a girl, seeing this as something interesting rather than a slightly desperate attempt to generate column inches:

It's bad news for Peaches Geldof's bloke, The Horrors star Farris Rotter.

She's been getting off with someone else - and it's another woman.

It might be bad news. On the other hand, Rotter has always struck us as the sort of bloke who probably thinks that might be his fantasy.

It turns out, by the way, that bisexuality has only just been invented. It's not anything to do with physical desire or ages-old sexuality, it's:
taking a leaf out of Lindsay Lohan's book

Which does make it sound a lot less sexy.

Gordon in the morning: Attacking the monarchy

Great excitement over at Bizarre this morning, with Gordon having a pop at Beatrice, daughter of the parasite and the scrounger ( © Socialist Worker 1986). While Smart might not have quite raised himself to such Republican levels as that, he isn't going to bend the knee before royalty:

IT’S not often you’ll hear me giving the clipboard-wielding idiots who stand at the front doors of nightclubs a pat on the back.

But for the first time I am saluting this vile species for dishing out a regal snub to spoiled royal PRINCESS BEATRICE.

God, these are confusing times, aren't they? On one side, The Sun and some bouncers; on the other, a minor member of the royal family. How would you choose who to side with?

Luckily, nobody comes out of it looking good. Gordon launches into some lazy royal-bashing (is Beatrice really "spoiled" or just privileged? And Smart calls her "ruddy-faced" which would be rude even if it was true.)

On the other hand, Beatrice herself - allegedly - did pull the gold-plated equivalent of 'don't you know who I am's?:
She declared: “Don’t you know who I am? Do you know I’m royalty?”

Oddly, though, while Smart acknowledges she's doing a job of a work right now, he's haughty about that:
Beatrice has had her first taste of the big wide world this summer, working as a personal shopper in Selfridges.

It’s hardly shovelling peas in a factory or waiting tables for £3-an-hour.

Yes, but it's the same job that your paper was suggesting somehow was beneath her the other day (working as "SHOP ASSISTANT", screeched the standfirst.) And Gordon then trips over himself by pointing out that "wages are no problem for Bea-list though." So, she doesn't need the money, but is working anyway. Gordon, you cant simulataneously decry someone for laying about doing nothing and doing a job that isn't hard enough, can you?

The other funny thing is Gordon's fuming when faced with someone who has inherited their position and wealth only finds an outlet for Bea. Paris Hilton, Peaches Geldof - and, we'd guess, James Murdoch - tend not to get a rough ride for making the most of the accidents of their birth. Funny that.

Meanwhile, Gordon is worried about Madonna, and how much flesh she shows:
I TUNED in to Channel 4 to see MADONNA’s new video on Thursday night.

And for the first time I felt a bit guilty watching a 49-year-old woman prancing around in her undercrackers.

We're assuming he's just written this badly, and didn't actually mean to give the impression that he frequently watches women just this side of fifty jumping about in their knickers, although we can't be sure of that.

Clearly, Madonna must have aged quite a bit in the last month, at the start of May, Gordon had no problems with it at all:
Madonna wows with sexy show

Or perhaps he felt dirty then, too, and just didn't want to mention it.

UPDATE: And, lest we forget, back in April, for the last Madonna video, Gordon was so priapic he could have been typing with his manhood:
POP royalty MADONNA has proved she’s still the Queen when it comes to getting tongues wagging.

Here are stills from the video for new single 4 Minutes, where Her Madgesty sports slinky knee-high leather boots for a series of raunchy dance routines with JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE.

In the vid, Madonna strips down to her bra and canoodles with Justin in the back of a car.

But of course, she wasn't quite so old two months ago.

Shiny new band: Dream Bitches

Not that new, perhaps - the press release uses the phrase "sophomore album", which would be a clue - but we've not come across them before. The press release also drops the names Breeders and Tegan and Sara. To be fair, they seem to be caught in something of a struggle between their rockier Breeders side and their poppier Tegan and Sara side - you might have hoped for a little more synthesis by the second album. But they're certainly worth a listen, especially on their cover of Belle and Sebastian's Me And The Major [mp3 link] which manages to inject, rather successfully, an element of Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire to proceedings.

You can find their doings over on their MySpace; there's an album, Coke and Spiriters (bad, bad pun) available on eMusic.

Further mp3 action: Bad Luck Bill and Mother's Day.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Scouts don't live up to promise

They're going to play the existing dates next month, but after that, the members of I Was A Cub Scout will be saying they were I Was A Cub Scout:

"Hello friends, here goes. Tonight (June 5) we have decided that I Was A Cub Scout has and must now come to a close. We have had countless problems over the past year or so and with yet more occurring we it best to end on what would seem like a decent note.

"We will be honouring all of our UK shows of which we have confirmed, with the iTunes festival at KOKO with Death Cab For Cutie on July 14 being our last.

"We will speak more of it all soon, but for now we must tour. It is a very sad day for us."

It's thought that there was some sort of an argument over a woggle.

Not Busted

Ki McPhail and Owen Doyle, the two members of the Busted who were dropped before the band found what we must call fame have had their claims for money for songs they say they co-wrote rejected by the High Court.

Busted are delighted:

In a statement after winning the case, ex-Busted members James Bourne and Matt Willis said: "This was an opportunistic attempt by Doyle and McPhail to cash in on our success.

"Their claims were a complete fabrication and we are delighted that the judge has seen through this and totally dismissed them.

"Our position has been completely vindicated and our achievements with Busted remain untarnished."

Well, assuming you can view what you did with Busted as an untarnished achievement in the first place. If a court rejects claims that you had help hitting someone over the head with a spade, it doesn't mean the attack makes you a humanitarian.

Also, we're not entirely sure that the Judge did quite go as far as their post-court statement seems to suggest, as Newsbeat points out:
He said who wrote the songs was irrelevant to his decision because there had never been any contract or partnership between the four.

He dismissed the claims for money; he didn't address their claims to have written the songs.

Luke Pritchard: Ladies' man, he bets

Yesterday, we had Michael Eavis sounding like a bad throwback to a 70s sitcom. Today, Luke Pritchard from The Kooks offers what sounds like a tribute to 1970s jazz mags:

"She didn't show up but I heard Carmen Electra was coming to our show," he said. "Can you imagine fucking Carmen Electra? How cool would that be?"

When asked if he would genuinely be interested in having sex with Electra, Pritchard said, "Of course, man! We all would have [hooked up with her on the night of the gig]! Anyone would have!

"When you're in a big band, you can go anywhere and do whatever you want. I'd like to fuck Carmen Electra!"

Doubtless his fans would rush to point out that his tongue was in his cheek as much as his cock was his hand, but we're not so sure. Not to mention that if his band was so big he can behave like he's Vladimir Putin, how come Carmen Electra didn't show up in the first place?

The attitude isn't, sadly, surprising, but the lack of understanding that some things that are greeted with rounds of applause in the van between gigs probably shouldn't be raised in interviews is.

[Thanks to Peter D for the tip]

Darkness at 3AM: Following Beth Ditto into Evans

We're trying to work out - once again - what goes on in Beth Ditto's head. Having had a strop at Top Shop for their "limited" fashion sizes, 3AM are now reporting that she's going to be working with Evans:

We're told: "She wants to show the world that big girls can have fun with fashion - and stick two fingers up to the size-zero brigade."

But isn't signing a deal with a shop that serves only larger sizes also working with a chain that does "limited" fashion sizes? And since they're part of a broader retail group, complicit in the attitude that people with smaller bodies and people with larger bodies really ought to be forced to shop in different places?

The 3AM Girls, of course, have nothing to offer on this ethical point, instead using one of their favourite final lines:
You go, girl!

It's awful when people say that - especially English people, who really don't take comfortably to pretending to be Tyra Banks. But it's even worse when it's used in print. What do they mean, exactly? It's a press equivalent of ending a sentence in conversation by making a honking noise and balancing a ball on your nose.
And - seriously - is this the best picture they could find to illustrate the story? Really?

The hidden subtext is 'just send money'

Pete Wentz has just turned 29 - thereby making him twice the age of his oldest fans - but doesn't like the gifting involved:

"The truth is I hate my birthday. I don't like it at all. It's because I realized I'm bad at receiving presents."

"I'm really bad at receiving presents so I get really nervous around my birthday and I really don't want people to give me presents."

He hates his birthday because he is nervous about getting gifts? What, is he so inept the idea of unwrapping a box of his sponsor's male grooming products sends him into a fit of the vapours?

Perhaps he just knows that his Mum will send him off to write thank you notes straight after.

He does seem to enjoy presents, though:
"My wife gave me a motorcycle for Christmas, and that was pretty awesome. I haven¹t learned how to ride it really that well. For our wedding she gave me a Mickey Mouse Rolex, which was really hard to track down. So that¹s pretty cool."

We imagine he hasn't learned how to use the watch really that well yet, either, but we love the idea of him and Ashlee, poring over the instruction book, trying to work out how you can tell if Spongebob Squarepants is on.

What's the big idea?

Given that the tempo of Nude hardly lent itself to remixing, and with a suspicion that Radiohead were doing the competition as a bit of a pisstake, James Houston set about making a remix that:

grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they're trying their best to do something that they're not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.

[Via Codepope on Twitter]

Gordon in the morning: Faustian pacts and angry lesbians

Perhaps its Euro 2008 or something, but today, again, the actually-kind-of-interesting story which leads Bizarre in the Sun has been pushed down the page of the online edition to make space for a bunch of stories about footballers - or, more accurately, photos of people who have sex with footballers wearing bikinis. Or, in the case of Wayne Rooney, a photoshopped image of what he'd look like in a mankini for a joke, like:

WAYNE ROONEY’s pals plan to make him wear a MANKINI as a stag party stunt.

The group think it will be the “right kind of gag” after fianceé COLEEN MCLOUGHLIN banned them from more saucy fun and games.

They will squeeze the Manchester United star into a £9.95 copy from cult comedy Borat at their villa in Ibiza.

Yes, if I'd not wanted sex-games, I'd be relieved that all his male friends are going to do is strip all his clothes off and then squeeze his cock and balls into a tight little swimsuit.

Incidentally, in what way was Borat a cult comedy? The comedy is debatable, but a movie which took getting on for three hundred million dollars at the cinema is hardly a cult, is it?

Still, while Gordon on the web is padded out with this sort of lame fare, the newspaper versions chooses to lead with the more obviously headline worthy regrets of Nick Godwyn. Who he? He's the bloke who signed up Amy Winehouse to Simon Fuller's management company in the first place:
“What is happening now is not very pleasant for anybody to watch. I feel she seems to be sad.

“People talk about wasted talent, but I don’t look at it like that. If Amy never made another record again it would be sad, but it’s less about the music for me and more about ‘this is a human being that maybe isn’t very happy’.”

On the other hand, had she not had such a high profile, she might have easily still developed a crack habit unsurrounded by those with an emotional or financial interest in trying to keep her alive. A lot of people don't even have massive talent to wager on the outcome of their addictions.

The story on Gordon's page is a little undermined, though, by halfway through deciding it's going to be about Stevie Wonder instead.

Finally, given that Kate Moss has happily done more photoshoots naked than with clothes on, why on earth is Smart so excited at getting a photo where you can almost make out her nipples through her top?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Rush off

Rush were due to be playing Red Rocks tonight - one the truly astounding global venues. Mind you, it'll be even better tonight, as nature has decided it doesn't want it cluttered up by Canadian rockers, and sent weather to intervene.

We're stealing the bread out of Bono's mouth

Oh, if only downloading a few shady mp3s were enough to ensure Bono and his chums were going to run out of cash. Sadly, it's not true, but to listen to U2 manager Paul McGuinness banging on, you'd assume that was the case:

Speaking at the Music Matters confab in Hong Kong, McGuinness likened ISPs to "shoplifters" and accused them of "turning their heads" away from the music industry's troubles and "rigging the market."

"The recorded music industry is in a crisis, and there is crucial help available but not being provided by companies who should be providing that help -- not just because it is morally right, but because it is in their commercial interest," McGuinness said.

Well, that's one in the eye for those of us who think that the music industry never moves on. They've stopped calling filesharers shoplifters, and started calling the ISPs shoplifters instead.

Not that it even makes sense - surely, since the ISPs don't end up with anything, they're more like the people who distract your attention so that a pickpocket can come round and steal your purse. If you accept they have a role at all.

We're not entirely sure why it's in ISP's "commercial interests" to bear the costs of enforcing other people's copyright, or, indeed, why they have a moral right to do so. It does seem that record labels only decided this ethical angle a couple of years ago at most, but if it was such a compellingly obvious point, wouldn't they have mentioned it back a decade ago?
McGuinness said ISPs were unwilling to act against piracy and had ignored music-industry proposals -- even though they were not being asked to police the Internet.

The stressing that they're not asking ISPs to "police" the internet is true, and a key part of the industry trying to pretend they're only making a reasonable request. Trouble is, they're expecting the ISPs to be the rest of the criminal justice system, from magistrate through to probation officer, and carry all the costs and risks of the operation.

R Kelly trial: PI claims witnesses solicited bribes

Jack Palladino, who is some sort of top-drawer celebrity private investigator - turned up in Chicago today for his part of the R Kelly trial. He'd had a meeting with prosecution witness Lisa Van Allen - last week, she told the court that he'd taken the opportunity to threaten her; today, he suggested that, actually, what happened was the she and her fiance had attempted to blackmail R Kelly using him as the go-between.

Although, apparently, not by actually directly asking for money. Because that would have been tacky, and this whole story is about class:

According to Palladino, Brown solicited the bribe by mentioning a $300,000 book deal Van Allen potentially had to tell the story of her life with Kelly.

"I didn't believe there was a book deal. The $300,000 was a coded way to get money from my client," Palladino said. The investigator said he unequivocally told Brown that Kelly would not pay them anything.

On cross-examination, prosecutor Bob Heilingoetter noted that neither Brown or Van Allen had ever explicity asked for money.

"I'm trying to figure out where this extortion is, except somewhere between your ears," Heilingoetter said.

But Palladino testified the two repeatedly said they wanted to do what was best for their family and urged the investigator to talk to Kelly.

Interesting note: Palladino got paid fifteen grand just for flying to Atlanta and having the conversation with the pair. It might have been cheaper for Kelly to have paid off the blackmailers. If that is what they were.

Well, yes, actually that would be pretty Rotten

It's only a legal complaint, and so might never have happened, but a lawsuit has been filed against John Lydon. The claim centres on an allegation that he punched a woman in the face when he discovered that his hotel room didn't have a connecting door to an assistant called Rambo.

Lydon hasn't made any comment - publicly, at least - on the allegations; it's fair to remember that rich men as often attract false charges on account of being rich. The complainant is also suing the company, claiming they'd been warned Rotten could be violent but had only warned their staff to not touch Rotten's hair.

All your promo CDs are belong to us

BBC News online has a considered piece on the court case brought by Universal against an eBay trader who sells promo copies of albums - old ones, like, not unreleased records:

In legal documents filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, UMG's lawyers allege that "[Mr] Augusto's unauthorised distribution of the UMG promo CDs violated UMG's exclusive right to distribute its copyrighted works".

Among the promotional items listed as sold by Mr Augusto, according to the legal brief, are titles of CD singles by Nelly Furtado and rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

We're alarmed by this case - not merely because the only reason music journalists eat is because they flog their unwanted promos down the second hand store, and the suggestion that promotional copies remain the property of record labels threatens that.

No, our concern is the wording of that complaint: Universal aren't objecting to the sale of promo CDs, they're objecting to the violation of its exclusive right to distribute its copyrighted works at all.

In other words, this case looks like something of a stalking horse to try and outlaw the sale of second hand records altogether - after all, if those little stickers saying "Promo copy only - not for resale" are upheld in court, then what about the small print on the CD case that forbids unauthorised sale? Wouldn't someone flogging their own copy of an album on eBay also be "violating UMG's exclusive right to distribute its copyrighted works"?

As large artists choose to seek contracts elsewhere, and new artists increasingly bypass the majors, the big four are going to come to rely more and more on catalogue. They've already moaned in the past about how second-hand sales stops them making any money - sorry, the artists, it's always the artists, making any money. Could they be gearing up for a wider action?

[Thanks to MC Glammer for the link]

Michael Eavis, the lovely kids and the black chap

Already firmly in his annual 'this year's Glastonbury was the best ever' mode - before a single drop of rain falls on a single tent - Michael Eavis has been justifying the bookings policy to the Associated Press. It might have been better if he hadn't:

"It's the best line-up we've ever had. It's absolute rubbish."

No, he wasn't suddenly changing his mind - he means that the criticism is rubbish. Although with the Kings of Leon as headliners, perhaps it was just a Freudian slip.

So, how can Michael know this is the best line-up ever? The kids, man, the kids:
"Everywhere I go kids come up to me in the street and say it's fantastic Jay-Z playing. Lovely kids in their teens. And I say 'Have you bought tickets?' and they say 'No, but we're all coming!'"

Now, this is the same Michael Eavis who has spent ten years of his life building fences and overseeing hideously complicated registration systems to keep out people without tickets suddenly gurgling with delight at the prospect of hordes of "lovely kids in their teens" turning up without tickets, lured in by Jay-Z.

But it gets worse:
"I was on the train and there was a fellow that was running the buffet car, a black chap, and he said 'We're so excited by the line-up this year. We're all coming down.' And it's fantastic to get more black people here. It'd be wonderful. That's more important than what Noel Gallagher says. These are the people that I meet out in the streets everyday, you know what I mean."

How fantastic to have black people like the chap on the buffet car coming, eh? While Eavis has a point that, Virgin rail employees' opinions probably outrank Noel Gallagher's, the whole tone of the quote demonstrates simultaneously how incredibly well-meaning Eavis, while being terribly, terribly wrong. It's like George Constanza trying to befriend his plumber so that he could claim some non-white pals.

Why would you need to make things up?

Given that the Osbourne's performance on this year's Brit awards was one of the most cheek-squishingly awful TV hosting exercises since Harold Wilson tried his hand at chartshows, it's incredible that the Daily Star felt the need to publish made-up stories about it. Their inventiveness has landed them in libel courts, and writing cheques out to Ozzy. They're giving the money to charity.

Mind you:

[Osbourne's solicitor, John] Kelly told the court the allegations were serious given that Osbourne had just completed a concert tour and he had "suffered considerable embarrassment and distress as a result of it".

Perhaps it was embarrassing, but given the level of embarrassment the programme itself generated ("PAUL MCCARTNEY... oh, no yet") it's hard to see how it could have been made any more distressing.

Joy over the Zune

The special-edition of the Zune, which comes preloaded with Unknown Pleasures is going to be limited to a run of just 500 and is coming with a bunch of self-congratulatory press flummery, captured by Listening Post:

Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Microsoft's Zune division, said the company's "involvement" (read: product tie-in) was "a way of saying 'Thank You' to the band for doing what they did" that was "not only a tribute to them but to an entire musical journey through Factory Records and the artists and movements it spawned."

In addition, he said, Microsoft meant the Joy Division Zune as "a tribute to deep respect (huh?) for graphic design that lives on through artists like Peter Saville, and to independent film-makers that believe in more than just commercial success" (which has also largely eluded the Zune). "Ultimately it's a tribute to the self-belief and self-expression that inspires true authentic art."

True authentic art. What better way to pay tribute to that than by throwing an advertising stunt for a multinational company's me-too audio product, eh?

Still, it's nice to know - in a very real way - this special Zune isn't just a thank you to the late Ian Curtis, but also to the Wendys and Northside. Maybe that was a hint that Redmond is preparing a Chicken Rhythms Zune for the Christmas market?

Darkness at 3AM: It's all about the hair

While Gordon's report from the Glamour awards noticed that Lily Allen was so drunk she was being, erm, helped by a bouncer, the 3AM Girls only seemed to spot that she had pink hair.

Perhaps the 3AM team missed the drunkeness as they were running round getting other "scoops" such as Kate Moss not turning up and the hilarious presentation of 'tv personality of the year' to Dannnii Minogue. No, really. It's not such an unusual prize, is it? After all, Dannii is on television, and does have... well, she is on television, anyway.

No Yes

The big Yes anniversary tour of America is off, as doctors have told Jon Anderson he needs to rest for six months following an asthma attack.

It was a huge asthma attack, to be fair; hence the big rest. Anderson issued a statement:

"I'd like everyone know how deeply disappointed I am by this turn of events," Anderson said. "I was looking forward to celebrating our music with the amazing family of Yes fans once again; but as we all know, health must come before anything else."

We do like that semi-reluctant sounding "as we all know..." No word on if the dates will be reorganised for the early part of next year.

Gordon in the morning: People get drunk

Once again, the story judged most important for the Gordon column in the Sun proper - that Lily Allen has got drunk and is guesting on the new Kaiser Chiefs album - has been shunted aside to make room for less interesting stories on the online version. Namely that that Nereida Gallardo woman is wearing a ring, Wayne Rooney had a lot to drink and Mel B pushing push-up bras.

The Allen-Chiefs story is quite fascinating - with Mark Ronson also on board, this new Kaisers album is either going to be a zeitgeist-summarising document of our age, or else like some sort of end-of-the-pier package of medium-talents propping each other up.

Nereida's ring is, supposedly, important:

SOCCER star CRISTIANO RONALDO’s stunning girlfriend NEREIDA GALLARDO flashes off a diamond ring on her engagement finger fuelling rumours they are about to wed.

By "engagement finger" we think Gordon means ring finger. Rather than implying she's got six fingers with an extra 'engagement' one. We can't explain what he means by "flashing off" a ring, though.

Mel B flogging bras is, suggests Gordon,
her perfect calling in life.

Which is funny, because this job - hanging about at bra advertising launches and writing about the Spice Girls like it's 1999 is Gordon's perfect calling, too.

Everyone's happy. Well, apart from the people who have to read an extended advert dressed up as a news story.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Something to listen to: Juliana Hatfield

The kind-to-kittens and charitable people over at Stereogum are currently offering for stream or email-swap download a brand new track from one of our stone-solid heroes, Juliana Hatfield. Hurrah!

Phishing alert

Handy rule of thumb, people who used to be in bands. Before you consider getting back together, why not try mentioning your band's name to people? If they look puzzled for a half-beat before going "oh... yes, I think I remember...", it might not be worth the cost of logistics to bring everyone back into the same room.

It's advice that looks like it's coming too late for Phish. Oh... yes... you remember them. Apparently Trey Anastasio is keen for the old gang to get back together - even before he's played his first post-unfortunate-run-in-with-cops solo gig.

MTV: Big cocks, homophobia and racism, and a massive fine

MTV has been hit by a quarter of a million pound fine by Ofcom for numerous breaches of broadcasting guidelines across its various UK-originated networks. Some of the breaches are listed over on MediaGuardian, but amongst the highlights:

MTV Hits carrying a long discussion of "spunkbelly" at 7.30; Lisa Scott-Lee's reality programming playing out at half ten in the morning stuffed full of fuckings; broadcasting a trailer for the Jodie Marsh programme with the phrase "I just don’t want you settling down with some fucking wanker from a modelling agency" seven times during the same day. And Totally Boyband:

A viewer complained that this programme, a reality show following the launch of a new band comprising ex-members of boy bands, featured extensive offensive language including “fuck”, “bollocks”, and “crap”.

Additionally, while Ofcom was investigating this broadcast, two viewers complained to Ofcom that on 23 October 2006, also at 16:30, another edition of Totally Boyband contained the following offensive language: “a big cock”, “shit”, “fucking boring”, “whore”, “fuck it up”, “fuck up tonight” and “good little fuckers”.

Now, to make a trailer with fucks and wanks in - and then to transmit it during the day takes a special kind of stupid - but to not even take care about a programme which was already being investigated seems to be the sort of clumsy mistake that even The Apprentice contestants would manage to avoid.

Most shocking, though, is the lapse on MTV France - which broadcasts from the UK and so is regulated by Ofcom. There, the supposedly aware and inclusive MTV managed to stick onscreen a number of text messages:
These text messages translated as "the white race will triumph", "death to all immigrants", "death to gays" and "immigrants are going to fuck your mother".

MTV further compounded the offence by not having any recordings of the programme being complained about.

SpiralFrog add EMI to service

SpiralFrog, the advertising-supported free music service, has signed up EMI and so will now be able to offer two major's catalogues to its audience.

However large that audience might be. Curiously, SF is now claiming:

they are now the third largest legal download site for music and video by registered users

- but that's rather an interesting metric. Given they've chosen to highlight the number of registered users, and you'll always pick your best-performing figure to push to the press, you have to wonder where they are if measured by unique visits, or actual downloads served, don't you?

Fuse tries again

Fuse, Cablevision's struggling attempt to take on MTV, is getting a fifteen million dollar push to try and at least ensure some Americans have heard of it. We suspect this will be the last time Cablevision will bother if they don't see results this time.

The signs aren't encouraging, though:

One of the print ads, “Music is rebellion,” shows a bright red cartoon fist clenching a microphone and was made by the artist Shepard Fairey, who is known for his “Obama Progress” poster. Another ad in the series, “Music is aphrodisiac,” is done in the style of the painter Marc Chagall and shows a floating man admiring a woman whose body forms the shape of a guitar.

A woman shaped like a string instument? Wow, that's a cutting-edge idea that wasn't first done by Man Ray in 1924, isn't it?

The problem is that, at a time when media is being driven in a direction of personalisation, nichedom and slapping a "My" on everything, Fuse seem to be trying to head in the opposite direction:
Guy Barnett, co-founder of the Brooklyn Brothers [Fuse's current advertising agency], said that the new campaign was meant to turn Fuse into a brand that everyone could relate to.

Isn't the idea of a music channel that everyone could watch missing the point more than a little?
“We wanted to create a lot of work, so that if rebellion wasn’t your thing, therapy might be,” he said. “We wanted something that would strike a chord with everyone, that’s why there is such a diversity of art.”

How the channel might be able to deliver that promise, though, isn't clear - perhaps a splitscreen with Steve Earle in one corner and Loudon Wainwright in the other?

Gordon in the morning: Court reporter

Given that Gordon has more-or-less written off the Winehouse-Fielder-Civil union as terminal, is it really so surprising that she didn't turn up at court for the second day of Blake's trial yesterday - or that she did on the first day? Gordon's readers - and let's just imagine such a creature, who relies on Bizarre for their nourishing non-news - would surely be wondering why, if Amy has moved on to other Blakes and other men, and Blake has moved on to a mystery blonde, the pair are supporting each other in court in the first place?

Meanwhile, Gordon's delighted that Christina Aguilera is planning to have more children. Not because he believes that they are our future, but - yes, inevitably - because boobies get bigger when you're pregnant:

FANS of CHRISTINA AGUILERA’S gargantuan post-pregnancy boobs need not fear shrinkage – she’s planning on having plenty more kids to keep them pumped up.

The Dirrty beauty’s breasts have maintained their eye-popping shape and size since the January birth of her son, MAX, with husband JORDAN BRATMAN.

It's like the first incarnation of Adrian Mole in charge of a newspaper column.

Capital of Culture Update: Liverpudlian complains about being left out

Strange times indeed: Yesterday's Guardian letters page included a complaint from Liverpool that the paper's guide to festivals omitted one:

What a comprehensive list of festivals were featured in your supplement on May 31. Yet you managed to omit Liverpool's Mathew Street music festival, on August bank holiday weekend, reputedly Europe's largest free music festival.

You'd have thought the writer, Lib Dem councillor Paul Clein, would have been well aware that last year's event was canceled at the last minute and so doesn't make much sense to be included in a long-term listings guide. Indeed, wasn't it the fall-out from last year's massive bungle that contributed to him quitting as council education tsar?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

Sweeping The Nation on Authenticity:

See also Alphabeat, a goodtime pop band straight from the early 80s mindset that saw no difference between populist and artistic merit but reactions to whom are so wildly split that you dare not mention that you don't mind them for fear of being assailed from both sides.

New format alert: Blu-Ray Audio

Although all attempts to try and interest the public in DVD-Audio came to nothing, that hasn't stopped Norway's 2L pushing ahead with Blu Ray Audio. They're releasing a classical album in the format, claiming a world first. And, we suspect, pretty much a last as well.

The McCartneys taste test the ready meals

We're now being asked to believe that the McCartney family sample every one of the ready meals which carry the branding of Linda McCartney:

Daughter Mary, 38, says, "It's really personal to us because it is carrying on mum's message. We know what she would and wouldn't have wanted."

The Yesterday singer adds, "Nothing goes through without the MCCartney say-so. It has to, because it's our name on the packet."

Of course, given Paul's recent taste in hair, music and wives, it'll probably be for the best if he's kept out the loop as his judgement seems cock-eyed. But then again, having tasted the Linda range, if it is getting sign-off from the family, it must be by someone who doesn't have much discrimination. Have you tried the Shepherd's Pie? How do you make vegetarian gristle? And why would you bother?

Tori self-help policy

Joining the long queue of recoupable artists leaving the majors as quickly as the expensive sliding doors can open to let them out: Tori Amos. Naturally, she's penned a message explaining her motives ("more money, more control") at length:

This is an exciting time. There will be many ways in the present and in the future for artists to cross what has become the new unchartered Music Frontier. Ways that may seem impossible today but in a month(')s time will seem probable. There are many ways to be involved in a structure. But what kind of structure will it be and what will be the make up of it's (sic) foundation?

These are important questions, so important that I've been observing many different working templates in the music business for years now. The key word here is the word "working." In some cases these structures do not work positively for some artists. Only for those who have designed the system to specifically "work" for the corporate few. Artists need not fear structure, we just have to design and partner with expansive ideas.

It is time for us as artists to stop being dependent, dependent on any system that has become undependable. Only then can we help to create a new system that propagates and secures independence for each creator.

"Partnering with expansive ideas", is ironically, exactly the sort of vacuous flipboard phrase that would go down well in a cosy boardroom of the sort that's being shunned these days. Still, good luck to her - although, to be fair, what with the albumsworth of stuff where she pretended to be lots of different people doing cover versions and the whole wetnursing a pig promo shots, it's not like Tori's been all that hemmed in by the corporate world, is it? Let's hope it doesn't turn out they've been saving her from herself.

Darkness at 3AM: Blame it on Rio

It's not just the clunking review of Rod Stewart's Portuguese festival appearance that's surprising about the 3AM page this morning, nor their excitement at seeing Rod:

A trim looking Rod then raced through classics such as Baby Jane and Forever Young where he couldn't stop grinning as the crowd sang along, albeit in slightly broken English.

(People in Portugal don't sing in proper English shocker.)

No, the real surprise is that someone's let a clunking 'related item' story appear that seems to link Stewart to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Gordon in the morning: Changing his mind

In today's Sun on the newsstand, Gordon leads with the decent story about Coldplay dropping their Kylie collaboration from their album because - heaven forbid - the track is "too sexy":

Chris said the track with Kylie was just “too sexy” this time round and he explained: “At this point we cannot be that sexy.

“It’s a song called Luna and Kylie is particularly brilliant on it.

“It will be on a record we will put out in 2009, some time at the end of next year. It will be track nine, I imagine.”

Now, this is pretty good stuff: if you must keep banging on about Coldplay's dull new album, finding a new angle is quite a surprise. Especially one which manages to unite Coldplay fans ("ooh! and another new album next year!") and people who actually like music ("snurkle! how could any track with their lumpen presence on it be 'too sexy'?").

So why is it that, by the time the column made it to the web, the lead story is instead that, erm, Jordan has read a book about Fred West?

Meanwhile, the power struggle between Gordon and his deputy, Pete Samson, seems to have developed into attempts at public humilation, judging by this piece on Abbey Clancy:
Bizarre Deputy Editor Pete Samson clocked these pictures yesterday and asked the office if we had seen Abbey’s “fun suit”.

A confusion of “funbags” and “play suit” had occurred as his mind frantically tried to process the images without letting his obvious excitement get out of control.

The end result was embarrassing and fair punishment for trying to impress the girls with his fashion knowledge.

Perhaps, in the office, this was an amusing moment. Why on earth would Gordon think that it was worth publishing, though, unless to make Samson look stupid? And "his obvious excitement" - does that mean what we think it means (and the mental image we're desperate to try and shake out of our heads?)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Putting up a Front

On June 15th, Front 242 is releasing a new track. That's good news in itself. Better news? It's yours for the cost of your email address. (Yes, you do have to put in your real addy, as the link gets mailed to you on the 15th.)

Streets to be blocked off

There are only to be two more The Streets albums, reckons Mike Skinner: the next one, Everything Is Borrowed, and the one after that, and then that's that:

"If you like The Streets you are about to experience the peaceful positive vibes that come after a disturbing work such as the last you heard.

"But the final Streets album (the fifth one) will be dark and futuristic. This could not be further from the album you're about to hear, but it's what is on my mind at the moment. I feel inspired by the synthesizer exhibition we just visited in Graz after the gig we just did."

Of course, there might be a sixth album if prices keep rising the way they do. You know, just to make ends meet.

MIA to become Mrs Brewer

MIA has told an audience that she's going to marry the son of the Warners boss. Benjamin Brewer is Edgar Bronfman Jr's junior, which makes for an enticing prospect when all the families get together for the wedding supper.

R Kelly trial: Thieves and fraudsters

It's been cross-examination time for Lisa Van Allen in the R Kelly trial, with the defence getting her to reveal she pinched Kelly's watch. That the watch was a stupidly expensive US20,000 is neither here nor there; as Van Allen left Kelly's room, it wasn't there, either.

The defence asked her why she'd not mentioned this theft before, which makes you wonder how long Sam Adam Senior has been studying law. Why do you think someone would not volunteer details of their own crime, Sam?

Adam also got Van Allen to admit she'd had relationships with two convicted fraudsters, although this might not have been such a smart move, either - one of those men, Damon Pryor, is a last-minute surprise witness sprung by the defence. Undermining the credibility of your own witness is an interesting approach.

Kelly denies charges related to child pornography; the case continues.

Kaiser Chiefs: the past is a foreign country, but bits of it are like the Empire

Last week, Ricky Wilson was complaining about how music has moved on since Oasis' day, and it's time for Noel to stop pretending he's relevant and that music has moved on.

Yesterday, though, Simon Rix was praising Paul McCartney for still being relevant and how music still owes him a lot. Of course, they were supporting the man live at Anfield:

"I've said this before that I think Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are up there, if not the most influential people who are still alive.

"I don't know who is more influential than those two really, because I think that the influence of The Beatles, the impact that they had on everything at the time, not just music, you know your shoes and clothes and your hair and moustaches, everything, furniture - if The Beatles had never happened then we'd be living in a parallel universe."

Let's leave aside the obvious truth that, if you were in a parallel universe without the Beatles, the Beatles wouldn't have existed for you to know they were missing and that what Rix means is it would be like living in a parallel universe, or living in a different world, we're still trying to work out while middle-aged guys should step aside but pensioners should remain active.

Legendobit: Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley has died from heart failure, it has been announced.

Otha Ellas Bates was born in Mississippi in 1928, and found his first taste of public performance - and his stage name - in the boxing ring rather than on a guitar stool. He had, however, performed in a high school band, The Hipsters, which had picked up paid gigs. Choosing music over pugilism, and with a healthy dose of influence drawn from Louis Jordan, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, Diddley built a following in Chicago blues clubs before landing a recording deal with the Checkers label, which would see him amass a collection of songs - the self-titled Bo Diddley, Mona, Pretty Thing - which would play a role in shaping the future direction of not just R&B, but also rock, for decades to follow.

He didn't just shape music; he also designed instruments - his 1958 'cigar-box' style guitar was somehow created in a five year period in which he recorded eleven albums for Checkers. In 1964, he released the Two Great Guitars collaboration with Chubby Checker and - never one to hide his light under a falsely modest bushel - in 1966 his The Originator collection declared his belief that he was responsible for the creation of rock.

Although the industry might have squeezed him - he spoke often about his belief that he'd been ripped off - other artists showed their respect for his work; in 1979, The Clash invited him to open on their US tour, seven years after playing with the Grateful Dead. There aren't many musicians who could comfortably unite the punks and the hippies like that.

Perhaps surprisingly, he also spent a couple of years working as deputy sheriff of Valencia County Citizens' Patrol (no, really).

Just over a year ago, Diddley suffered a massive heart attack and stroke which effectively brought an end to his live performances. He did, however, play once more in public, at the unveiling of a Memphis National Blues Trail Plaque.

Diddley pretty much did a clean sweep of awards: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987), Hollywood Walk Of Fame (1989), lifetime achievement at the Blues Awards (1996) and the Grammys lifetime achievement (1998). In 1989, he played at George Bush Senior's inauguration.

A 1994 court judgement helped ease some of his money worries, although not so much as to remove his sense of injustice at the way the suits treated him:

"I am owed. I've never got paid. A dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machine gun."

Bo is survived by a wife, Sylvia, and four children from his previous marriages.

Placebo: side projects and new albums

Big thanks to Mariya for the email tipping our attention in the direction of Stefan's update on what's happening in the Placebo world right now:

Just want to say I’ve got an album coming out in June with my side project Hotel Persona. This is something I’ve been doing in my free time from Placebo over the past couple of years with some friends in London. It’s basically a collection of tracks we wrote for fun to play at parties, nothing to take too seriously! It’s pop music with a dancefloor beat, and lyrics sometimes bordering on comedy. Kind of exploring the entertainment value of music and making something a little more light hearted than what I am used to, something people with a couple of drinks in them could understand and sing along to! Some of the tracks are a little more serious and some quite intimate and fragile, and we’ve also got a couple of guests to bring some flavour.

Placebo is currently writing the next record and will record it this year, so Placebo fans shouldn’t be worried that this project is taking away from that.

So, we figure that would peg a Placebo album (and tour) early 2009?

Hotel Persona are interesting - Mr. Molko turns up to keep an eye on what Stefan's up to; also involved is Brits-trashing breast-showing, union-busting, none-more-80s sex symbol Samantha Fox.

This is the kind of noise they make:

Great album due September

According the relevant MySpace blog, the Emmy The Great album is now getting post-production love, and will be shared with us all come Spetember. Under the title First Love which, as we know, never, ever dies.

To keep you going until then, this is City Song, live at Pure Groove last August:

Suzanne Shaw, the wholesome face of plastic people

Suzanne Shaw's hopes that going on Strictly Come Dancing On The Ice would revive her career are being handsomely rewarded. Well, we say "handsomely"; it's more kind-of-good-looking if you like that kind of thing. And ignore one side of the face.

She's been signed up to sing the title song for a Barbie DVD that comes out later this year.

Suzanne, of course, has a lot of knowledge of the specialist home video market, what with her name being linked to a porn video. The saleability of the clip seems to have improved more sharply than that of Shaw herself off the back of her renewed fame, although the video is just of someone who looks like her. Shaw has threatened to sue anyone who tries to pass off the footage as being of her, although to be honest, we'd rather have been in a porn flick than admit to having been in Hear'Say.

New Yazoo

The Yazoo reunion tour is going to spawn a new release, although nothing that's going to keep Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke locked away in a studio or anything. Well, not overmuch. Explains Vince to Sideline:

"There are indeed plans to record the London shows with Liveherenow, but they won't be released like we did with Erasure, instead it should be a finished product, well produced and all in a studio whilst taking the time to deliver a proper product that meets the standards we want."

The Sideline link will also offer you some meaty Yazoo remixes to download to the privacy of your personal devices, too.

Lydon: Rotten no longer

Needing some more coins, John Lydon and the boys have released a DVD of some Sex Pistols gig or other - it's always been about the money, hasn't it? So John Lydon is trotting round the press circuit again, trying to pretend he's still anti-establishment while the Sunday Telegraph pats him on the head. He trots through it all again - his hard early life, how terrible the Church is to him; the reason he quit I'm A Celebrity (the Lockerbie connection, of course) but not why he went on in the first place. There's a genuinely touching piece in the middle, when the interview mentions his late father, but it gets undermined by Lydon's insistence the piece doesn't mention him crying.

Oh, and he's sure he's going to get offered a gong:

'They're bound to offer me a knighthood. They can stuff it - those institutions are the Devil incarnate.'

Why are they bound to offer him one? There's surely very little room in the Venn diagram where 'ITV gameshow stooge' and 'knighthood' overlaps, and if they were going to dub him Sir Punk, wouldn't he already be trumpeting how he'd knocked back an MBE at least by now? It's typical of the empty noises - bragging about turning down something he's never going to be offered.

And the rotten teeth? Fixed, at the cost of ten thousand pounds. But not out of vanity, oh no no:
it wasn't vanity that sent me to the dentist after all those years. It was necessity. Ill health. All those rotten teeth were seriously beginning to corrupt my system. I was feeling incredibly ill. I was permanently poisoning myself with gum infections. And my gums were receding and I was starting to look seriously weird.

If it's not vanity, then why have such expensive work done, though? Come on, John, you've earned your money the hard way - comeback tours and real estate - at least don't feel shame in spending it.

Darkness at 3AM: Have you got a light?

Britney Spears - who may or may not be pregnant, but almost certainly isn't - has a cigarette after an early-morning work-out session.

So, if she's smoking a fag, why have 3AM headlined the 'story':

No morning cigness as Brit lights up

If you must go with the "cigness"/"sickness" pun, shouldn't you at least drop the "no" in order to make any sense at all?

Gordon in the morning: And pigs might fly

The trouble with Gordon Smart's Bizarre is that it's hard to believe anything that appears in it. Take today's big spalsh, which appears to claim that Dave Gilmour offered a Pink Floyd Glasto appearance to Michael Eavis, and that Eavis turned him down. Smart rails against this:

Wish you were there, Floyd
It truly beggars belief.
This year’s lineup has led to the fest not selling out, something unthinkable over the event’s recent history.

He’s dangerously out of touch with a public – youngsters and all – who would have delighted in some Floyd action.

But when you read the article again, it's apparent that Gilmour didn't offer Floyd - just his own, slightly less-thrilling, solo set. Which is less of a draw than Pink Floyd proper.

And while Gordon is happy to pad out the article by his raging and out-of-touch belief that "young people" would turn up for a Gilmour gig, he doesn't mention when the offer was made. Presumably fairly recently, otherwise Smart would have fumed earlier. Possibly too late for the headline act to be changed anyway, even if the offer was genuine.

Not to mention that, time and again, it's been clear that the failure of Glasto to sell out had nothing to do with the three names on the Pyramid stage, and everything to do with the miserable experience offered by an overcrowded site in a muddy field.

More festival running order squabbles as Gordon insists that, in the teaser, that
MIGHTY BOOSH star Noel Fielding forced to ban The Kills from performing at festival

Really? But both the Boosh and Kills sites still lists The Kills as appearing.

It turns out, though, that once again Gordon's story is slightly weaker than it might appear:
THE MIGHTY BOOSH star NOEL FIELDING has been forced to ban THE KILLS from performing at his festival’s finale – to placate his girlfriend.

The comic has developed an intense friendship with The Kills’ ALISON MOSSHART.

But Noel’s partner DEE PLUME was so furious at their inclusion in the July 5 bash at The Hop Farm in Kent that she threatened to pull her band ROBOTS IN DISGUISE from the gig.

Ah, so The Kills haven't been banned from performing, only the singalong at the end. God, fancy that, eh, not being allowed to hang around for everyone else to finish to go on and take part in a clunky, Live Aid style finale.

Although, having "revealed" that the Kills won't be allowed to take part in the finale, Gordon then seems to forget the point of his own story:
All the bands are due to sing together at the end. That will be interesting.

Only, surely, if Mosshart and Plume are on stage together. Which, erm, Gordon has just insisted they won't be.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Johnny Foreigner Sunday: Sometimes In The Bullring

About as close as you can get to the Bullring without a humourless security guard telling you to not take pictures "because the public is copyright", this is the band live at Birmingham's Flapper and Firkin:

[Part of Johnny Foreigner Sunday]

Foo swaps

The Raveonettes' Sharin Foo is preparing to bring forth a little Foo, and so, for the current US tour, her part is being played by her sister, Louise Foo.

We have been asked not to go with the 'this will prove if there's no Foo like an old Foo' joke, and have decided to oblige.

The Daily Mail responds

Although they've not exactly been shaken to their core, the management team at the Daily Mail have responded to the shuffling fly-by of emo fans with a statement:

"The Daily Mail’s coverage of the 'Emo' movement has been balanced, restrained and above all, in the public interest. Genuine concerns were raised at the inquest earlier this month on 13 year old emo follower Hannah Bond who had been self-harming and then tragically killed herself," they explained in the statement.

"In common with other newspapers we ran an accurate news story recording the Coroner's remarks and the parents' comments. We also published two other articles, one of which explained the background to the Hannah tragedy in calm and un-sensational language.

"The other was a first person opinion piece by a well-known writer, written from the perspective of a mother concerned for her children. We have also run two prominent page lead letters from an emo music fan and from a fan of My Chemical Romance defending their point of view.

"Our music critic admires the music of the band and publicised the band’s UK tour last year. Since this protest was announced a great deal of misinformation has appeared on the internet, much of which confuses what the Daily Mail has actually published with the comments of website readers and 'blogs' over which we have no control and which have stirred up emotions."

Goodness: the poor old Daily Mail being made to look bad by third parties quoting things it published and twisting the way it appears? Who'd ever have thought that could happen in the media, eh? Terrible, that.

Shiny new band: Casixo

They're called Casixo, they're from LA, and they're like HINRG hitting comedown.

Try the Noel Zancanella Remix of Seventeen, and then seek out the free four-track mp3 download.

Ricky Martin changes his colors

One of the big supporters of George Bush is now hoping we'll forget all that, as Ricky Martin throws his weight behind Hillary Clinton:

"These elections will have historic repercussions both in the United States and the world. Senator Clinton has always been consistent in her commitment with the needs of the Latino community," Martin said in a statement released by the Clinton campaign. The former First Lady stated in a press release she feels "honored to have Ricky Martin's support. He is a very important voice in the Latino community and together we will work to improve the lives of families and children across the country."

It might be unfair to suggest that Martin's sudden discovery of what a lot of good work the Democrats do is down to a sniffing of a change in the political wind. Let's just hope people don't keep mentioning that Martin played Bush's inauguration.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: He's also a bit of a Fopp

Since HMV snapped up a few Fopp stores, and the brand, Gennaro's empire extends to that chain, too, and he's on hand to outline HMV's cautious expansion plans:

Castaldo also revealed future plans for Fopp stores, of which there are two in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh.

"Just recently we opened a new Fopp store in Bristol, a city where Fopp had operated successfully in the past.

"As and when the appropriate sites in the appropriate locations become available we will consider opening new Fopp branches.

"We don't want to have a rapid expansion plan only to have it all fall down again.We would rather allow an organic growth to take place.

"That is how Fopp grew initially and became successful," he added.

The big idea, though, is - yes, really - digital download booths:
Gennaro Castaldo said: "We are looking to stay true to the original spirit of Fopp, but also keen to attract new customers.

"We are particularly mindful of what Fopp customers want and demand.

"If they tell us they would like to see download kiosks in stores then that would be something we would definitely consider for the future."

These were non-starters when they were competing with staying at home and downloading music; now that more and more people are able to download music onto their handhelds and mobiles while on the move, it's even harder to see why anyone would want to go to a shop to download music onto "a memory stick, which they can then transfer to a PC, mobile phone or MP3 player".

The Scotsman On Sunday adds:
The HMV Group hopes in the future to be able to provide facilities which would allow people to download music and films directly on to MP3 players.

There already is facilities to allow that to happen. It's called wi-fi. It's great to see HMV investing in Fopp, but why would they waste money building in obsolete technology?

Virgin no longer?

One of the side-effects of the Virgin radio sale to the Times of India is a probable name change.

Part of the write-down in price comes because the station can only use the Virgin brand for three months:

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group objected to the buyer’s use of the brand name because Bennett Coleman competes with the Hindustan Times group, with which Virgin has a joint venture in India.

So, they've bought a medium wave radio station without a name. Not, perhaps, the greatest of deals.

This means that most of the £15million quid the new owners are spending on the station isn't going to be "improving" it, but merely trying to push a new name.

Johnny Foreigner Sunday: Eyes Wide Terrified

Continuing with the JF day, this is the promo clip for Eyes Wide Terrified:

[Part of Johnny Foreigner Sunday]

Weller: 'reunion is cabaret'

Paul Weller isn't, he's reiterated, all that comfortable with the What Used To Be In The Jam reunion tour that the rest of the band is still pushing on with, not at all:

"I’m not mad about the idea, It’s a bit cabaret to me," he explained. "I thought we were against all that."

He's convinced splitting the Jam was the right thing to do:
"It was the right thing to do. It was an artistic decision, without sounding poncey. I didn’t want to be in the same set up for the rest of my life. I like to change and move on," Weller explained.

It's amusing to see Weller simultaneously praising his own ability to move on while, erm, dwelling on how clever he was all those years ago:
"Do I miss it? No, not particularly. I quite like what today is. It was a lot of pressure, being that kind of spokesman for a generation. Whether it was my own fault for setting myself up or not, I don’t know, but it was a lot of pressure for a young man. I certainly didn’t miss that"

He doesn't let on if he's equally proud of his decision to split the Style Council.

Doherty Kills bill

We're not sure that we're buying the story in the People which claims Pete Doherty made Benicassim organisers move Babyshambles so he wouldn't have to come on stage straight after The Kills (and, thus, Kate Moss' new boyfriend).

Surely Benicassim wouldn't have put Babyshambles higher up the bill than the Kills in the first place, would they?

Embed and breakfast man: Johnny Foreigner

Celebrating the release of Waited Up Until It Was Light, some JF video action.

First up, "cobbled together with sticky tape from footage taken by Johnny Foreigner and friends", Camp Kelly Calm:

More videos to come
Eyes Wide Terrified
Sometimes In The Bullring live

Johnny Foreigner on MySpace
Buy the new album

Rav Singh: Are you sure she hasn't just lost them?

A curious tale pops up in Rav Singh's blog on the News of the World today:

THE music world was In Bloom-in' shock last night after hearing that the ashes of grunge god KURT COBAIN have been PINCHED!

I can also reveal that the wife of the NIRVANA legend, COURTNEY LOVE, is said to be "suicidal" after finding Kurt's remains missing from her Hollywood home.

In Bloom-in shocked?
Courtney said: "I can't believe anyone would take Kurt's ashes from me.

"I find it disgusting and right now I'm suicidal.

"If I don't get them back I don't know what I'll do."

The sad news will sicken the millions of Cobain and Nirvana fans worldwide.

Will it? Really? Sicken? It might upset a few of them, and some might feel a slight queasiness at this latest in a long line of stories bouncing out of Courtneyworld. But sickened? Really?

Missing an 'L', surely?

Although her presence in the US has barely registered, beyond the odd side mention in the many gushing profiles of her husband, the News of the World's hilarious wannabe-glossy magazine Fabulous today attempts to create a "secret world" of celebrity centered around Victoria Beckham:


They, perhaps unsurprisingly, identify, erm, Victoria Beckham as the "president" of this, "La-la land's most exclusive club", although all it does is list people she's met. Even Scientologists look for a little more sign of commitment before subsuming people into their membership list.

This last few weeks just gone

Down in the longtail, these pages have been viewed just once in the last month:

1. Merz interviewed
2. RIP Carol Richards
3. All Saints reunion flops
4. Short stories inspired by The Fall
5. Ricky Wilson: People who don't like us are liars
6. Ex-Snow Patrol bloke launches band; unafraid of comparisons
7. Harpers' changes Joss Stone's hair colour
8. Cam'ron explains his 'no snitching' rule
9. Gareth Gates' GAY shower axed
10. Gerard Way idolises Billie Joe

We buggered off on holiday and left these recommendations up for three weeks:

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Sunday At Devil Dirt

Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours

They Came From The Stars, I Saw Them - We Are All In The Gutter, But...

The Left Outsides - And Colours In Between

Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs

Adem - Takes

Sparks - Exotic Creatures Of The Deep

The Charlatans - You Cross My Path Paid-for version of the free album

El Perro Del Mar - From The Valley To The Stars

Mudhoney - Superfuzz Bigmuff 20th anniversary retooling

Spiritualized - Songs In A&E