The YMG on Something Else - one of the first times the BBC would try its hand at making a youth programme in the sort of mould which has led, today, to Nick Grimshaw being the official face of the teenage nation - doing NITA:
[Part of Young Marble Giants weekend]
Saturday, September 06, 2008
The YMG on Something Else - one of the first times the BBC would try its hand at making a youth programme in the sort of mould which has led, today, to Nick Grimshaw being the official face of the teenage nation - doing NITA:
Bestival has been suffering an almost Glastonbury-like weather battering: the BBC Introducing stage has had to be axed in the face of storms.
Rob Da Bank is confident everything will turn out alright:
Bestival attempts to capture the original spirit of Glastonbury; Da Bank is even chanelling the insane optimism of Michael Eavis.
After YMG split, Alison went on to join Weekend. Here's a couple of tracks from the Old Grey Whistle Test, Looking Through A Woman's Eyes and Summerdays:
[Part of Young Marble Giants weekend]
The thought of shivering retired musicians suddenly receiving cash for their work in the 1950s and turning up the electric fire to, well, on. That was supposedly the driving force behind the EU's recommendation of extending copyright in recordings from the current half a century.
So, how much can these people look forward if the change is made?
Half a Euro a year. The Open Rights Group crunches the numbers in response to the UK government's submission for comments:
What’s more, performing artists will make no extra revenue from radio airplay and other income streams arising from so-called “secondary remuneration rights”, and may even make less. The Commission assumes that fees paid by users of recordings, e.g. broadcasters, will remain constant. That means the amount of earnings available to performers will not be any bigger - it will just be sliced more thinly and distributed longer to more rightsholders. Performers will not earn any more over their life time, and are likely to earn less, as money will be transferred from the living to the estates of the dead.
Brilliant! A move which will be great for the major labels while actually leaving older musicians worse off. Cliff Richard must be feeling proud today.
Here's some happy news: the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are going to be floating about the UK and Ireland making noises:
Dec. 2 - Colchester, UK - Arts Center*
Dec. 3 - Portsmouth, UK - Wedgewood Rooms*
Dec. 4 - Oxford, UK - Academy*
Dec. 5 - Leicester, UK - Princess Charlotte*
Dec. 6 - Manchester, UK - Academy*
Dec. 8 - Cork, IRL - Pavillion*
Dec. 9 - Dublin, IRL - Andrews Lane Theatre*
Dec. 10 - Belfast, UK - Limelight*
Dec. 12 -Glasgow, UK - Captains Rest
Dec. 13 - Leeds, UK - The Cockpit
Dec. 14 - Nottingham, UK - The Social
Dec. 16 - London, UK - “Twee as Fuck” @ Old Blue Last
Dec. 17 - London, UK - “Fortuna Pop”
Dec. 18 - London, UK - Forum*
The asterisk? Oh, that old thing * shows dates where they're supporting The Wedding Present.
Fawning piece on I'm Outta Time's an epic plea to be liked
GORDON SMART'S unfettered praise for LIAM GALLAGHER’s tribute to his idol JOHN LENNON is being hailed as brilliant by everyone who has read it — even by his usually critical nemesises THE 3AM GIRLS.
And no wonder the praise-filled but criticism-free puff for I’m Outta Time is so good — the SUN BIZARRE COLUMN frontman has spent almost ten minutes on it.
Gordon revealed: "That took me f*****g nine minutes to write. I only finished it just as the latest pile of pictures of Hollywood actors in bikinis came in"
Again this week, we're drawing inspiration from Marc Riley's Peel By Request slot; this week he featured a session from Young Marble Giants.
There's not much Young Marbles Giant stuff around - their existence from 1979 demo tape to 1981 split generated a single album (the mighty Colossal Youth) and a couple of eps; a one-song reunion for BBC Radio 4 and a 2007 reunion at Hay On Wye has been pretty much it since then.
But what there was was beautiful.
So here then are Stuart Moxham, Phil Moxham, and Alison Statton. Let's kick off with the video for Cakewalking from the GoFish website (no, us neither.)
Salad Days - singles compilation
Live At The Hurrah - live DVD
More videos across the weekend
Looking Through A Woman's Eyes and Summerdays by Weekend, Alison's next band
NITA live on Something Else
Final Day live in Boulogne
Choci Loni live at Hay-On-Wye
Simon Frith - the music writer and Mercury judge chair, not the one who writes for The Archers - has been given a gentle grilling at The Pop Cop. They ask him if, given that the album is now more than ever looking like a random construct, there's much future for the Mercury Prize. Unsurprisingly, Frith doesn't think so:
Is that really true, though? You don't have to be an indie-pop head to think of a large number of bands who saw their medium as the seven inch single; there was a period when the four track 12" ep was "the musical space" in which bands thrived.
And Frith surely wouldn't attempt to argue that there's something inherent in the musician's approach that means they create in chunks which magically happens to reflect the arbitrary length of a CD or two sides of a 12" disc rotating one hundred times ever three minutes?
It might be a sign of the decreasing relevance of an album prize, though, that the most interesting discussion revolves around the 2001 and 1997 prizes - 2001 because it took place on September 11th that year; 1997, because that was the time when Roni Size beat out OK Computer.
Frith maintains, eleven years later, that this was the correct decision:
I look back and still think Roni Size's record was a great record too. And I think Roni Size has a significant impact on the story of music in Britain - the whole set of sounds and approaches to music - which are just as significant as Radiohead's.
While that's true, isn't there something contradictory in suggesting that the record won purely because it was the best, but justifying the decision in hindsight by pointing to its influence?
You wonder: does Frith bother that the judging decision that people debate is from over a decade ago?
Friday, September 05, 2008
A church in Columbus, Ohio has taken the lyrics of Katy Perry's I Kissed A Girl and amusingly turned them into a wayside pulpit which condemns people to the fire-filled pits of hell for all eternity where their bodies might burn and they know pain and horrors forever.
This must seem pretty harsh to anyone passing by who doesn't know of the song. Especially if they're a bloke. "Goddammit, when did that become a sin? And does it matter that it was on the cheek?"
The preacher tries to make himself sound like a reasonable joe rather than some hateful old bigot by vaguely suggesting that God would approve of his spite:
Actually, I'm not so sure there is anything in the scriptures that unequivocally damns women for a quick snog, but then I've not made my career in trying to frighten people out of their sexuality so I can't be sure.
And it turns out that the sign is, actually, pretty ambiguous:
So, Katy Perry, having opened this cultural wound, is just the person we can turn to to provide some riposte, some sign that she was in control of the forces she was about to release, right?
Right, Katy Perry?
Erm... thanks for that, then.
She's no longer posting her ill-advised messages to MySpace; she's upgraded to posting messages talking about herself on Facebook instead.
She's expected to be Twittering about how wretched she feels within six months.
Oddly, the Mail seems convinced that she described herself as "dying inside" because Elton John had been rude to her earlier on in the evening rather than, say, having gone onstage and spoken publicly about a crime that the victim would have preferred her not to mention.
Just heard that Thea Gilmore's new single, which had been due this month, has been shunted back to November. But before you start scrabbling to misuse punctuation marks to communicate a sense of disappointment, the good news is that Come Up (With Me) is being held back to fit in with a November UK tour. So, turn that frown upside down, or rather delete the shift-9 and type a shift-0 instead.
Clearly there's nobody left at the Mirror who reads the copy - as the 3AM feed shows, the original copy suggested they weren't aware that even if a lesbian is called Sam, she would still be a she not a he.
Also: how embittered does the item make them sound anyway? God forbid that people who love each other should express emotions - after "hours" apart.
Corey Taylor - oh-so-scary-bemasked-man from Slipknot - doesn't like new music:
"People wanna blame the decline of album sales on downloading, I think it's actually the record companies' fault," he added. "I think it's the quality of the product. If record companies would stop giving any fucking mook on the street with a fringe a record deal or their own record label, maybe you would sell more fucking albums, dipshits."
Maybe he has a point. Perhaps there's some overarching symbol of the decline in quality of mainstream releases; some indication that anyone at all can get a record company and a huge marketing push, dominating the marketplace and driving down standards across the chart racks? Like, say, Slipknot being number one?
After all, if you're suggesting that the current state of chart music is terrible, and you're the leading brand in that market, what other conclusion would you reach?
Another survey purports to find a a link between the music you listen to and your personality:
It suggested classical music fans were shy, while heavy metal aficionados were gentle and at ease with themselves.
Professor North described the research as "significant" and "surprising".
But are they either? Aside from a discovery that heavy metal fans are "gentle" - only a surprise if you don't know large numbers of metal fans who still live with their Mums and assume that metal is closer to practicing satanism rather than playing cowboys and indians.
I'm also a little unsure about the methodology - the research that Professor North is releasing today seems to have adopted a different approach to the current survey, which shows you pairs of lyrics and asks which you prefer before then inviting you to say how much you share your worries with your partner, and so on.
The partner questions suggest if you don't have a partner, you should think about your relationship with your most recent ex, and if you don't have one of those, you should talk about the sort of relationship you'd like to have, which seems to be a bit pointless. One of the questions is 'how far do you agree you worry your partner might leave you' - surely if you're thinking about an ex, you'd have to answer 'completely' and if you're imagining a perfect partner, you'd say 'not at all'?
[Last Year's Girl has a good post on this, too]
Oh, we can all be Peter Yorkes now: new variant download store Popcuts.com is offering you the chance to earn money from buying music.
The idea seems to be that everyone who buys a particular mp3 earns cash when subsequent people buy that file. Any similarity with pyramid selling schemes is, I'm sure, entirely coincidental - because with those, you pay money upfront and make cash back if you're able to find other people to buy the same thing and have to make notices to attach to lampposts.
The skew is that you earn a larger proportion on subsequent sales the earlier you get in. Hence, if you pick up on it quick, not only can you say you were there, but you also get rewarded for being ahead of the pack.
It's an interesting idea, but the main drawback seems to be in the pricing. Tracks cost 99c - and by the time the site and the artist take their share, then there's not going to be much left over for sharing amongst the previous purchasers. And if the cashback is meant to be the lure to buy, if a track is already quite popular, you know you're only going to be looking at thin slivers of cents, which is probably going to reduce the attractiveness of the lure in the first place.
Perhaps Popcuts has missed a trick by making a futures market - they could, instead, have gone with a lottery model, where buying earns you an entry into a drawer. Instead of earning a future tiny royalty, you get the chance to win a pot of cash based on the sales of that track. You could still reward early adopters by giving them more entries, and more chance of winning, while making the inducement to purchase slightly more alluring.
Or, you know, you could just make the music any good.
"Listen, mate... a contract is a contract... and I'm having your sister as interest."
Politicians in the Americas are considering building some sort of safety railings around Akon, given his status as an accident blackspot.
He's learned he's going to wind up in court over the incident in which it's claimed he threw a fifteen year old kid on top of another. He maintains he did no such thing; a defence that might be harder to argue given that he then went out and got himself taped throwing teenage girls offstage in Guyana.
Good news from HMV: ripping the heart out of their shops and turning themselves into computer games stores has helped them, a bit, for now: like-for-like sales are up around 4% year-on-year. This will mean, I fear, more shops being tricked out like youth clubs.
There's a degree of irony in John McCain - a man who has helped the current administration dance to the whim of the copyright industries - choosing to pointedly ignore a cease-and-desist letter. The Wilson sisters from Heart made it clear they didn't want him using their music:
The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission.
"We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored."
So what came parping out of the speakers once McCain had got to the end of his "I'm not my own man" speech?
Copyright law is for other people. John McCain is a scofflaw.
Some people reckon that MTV has lost the touch of connecting with what should be its core audience. Not Gordon, though - he's thrilled with the VMA plans:
The pair battled for chart supremacy at the height of their fame, then fought over MADONNA’s tongue at the 2003 MTV bash.
But now Britney is to take on Christina again by fighting to steal the show in Los Angeles.
You've got to hand it to Gordon - he really is a maverick. The rest of the world might be going "isn't this a representation of pop music from ten years ago?", but Gordon is up on his feet, applauding as well as you can with one hand:
The News International porn filter must be locked down tightly if Gordon is resorting to that sort of fantasy.
Gordon also finds space for a piece by Rebecca Ley that is little more than a exercise in stone-throwing. Even before you get to the article, the rocks are flying:
Yeah - what is she, some kind of freak? Hang about, I've got some tar and feathers somewhere round here. She's plainly some kind of witch or something. If we don't run her out of town, our crops will fail.
In it she plays a Fatal Attraction-style stalker and, as our picture shows, her manic role involves her looking pained in what is a sad reflection of the turmoil in her own private life.
Ever the professional, though, Aniston manages to look hot while looking pained. It's like someone having an arm caught in a threshing machine while wearing a bikini.
Rachel Green from... what... Friends? Was that the one with Richard Briers where they kept goats in Audrey Fforbe-Hamilton's old holiday camp? I have a vague memory of the programme... oh, yes, it's the one that's on TV every fifteen minutes, isn't it?
Rebecca, honey: it's likely that Aniston isn't "swallowing her pride" playing a stalker - it's what's known as "playing against type". 30 Rock is one of the biggest comedy shows in America, accepting a cameo in it isn't a shameful begging for work like going bottom right on Hollywood Squares. And being single at 40 isn't, really, that unusual, is it? Especially as she's only been out of her relationship with John Mayer for about two minutes.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Out Magazine have asked a bunch of gay celebrities what they think the gayest albums of all time are. Rather than getting the responses and abandoning the project as a slightly daft idea, they've only gone and tabulated the results:
2. The Smiths - The Smiths
3. Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman
4. Indigo Girls - Indigo Girls
5. Judy Garland - Judy At Carnegie Hall
6. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
7. Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
8. Madonna - The Immaculate Collection
9. Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
10. Antony & The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
11.Various artists, Hedwig and the Angry Inch soundtrack
12.The Velvet Underground & Nico, The Velvet Underground & Nico
13.Ani DiFranco, Dilate
14.Erasure, The Innocents
15.George Michael, Faith
16.Queen, A Night at the Opera
17.Lou Reed, Transformer
18.George Michael, Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. I
19. The B-52s, The B-52's
20.Queen, A Day at the Races
It's funny, you know, because we could have sworn the whole point of The Smiths at the time was a studious asexual celibacy, but we guess Alan Bennett's 'it's like asking a man in the desert if he'd prefer Perrier or tap water' test would apply.
The 100 finds no space for Pansy Division, but does make room for Sgt Peppers - because you can't have a rock list that doesn't have The Beatles on it - it's known as the Gallagher Law.
It's nice to see Out - which generally is a pretty positive gay publication - has decided to collate a list which so firmly blows away the prejudice that gay people are show-tune loving George Michael fans.
When Oldham's The Revolution radio network suddenly swapped from playing northern indie to non-stop old chart cheese, people wondered if someone was winding the listeners up.
It now turns out that Steve Penk was behind the change, so perhaps it is all a joke. Penk has bought the station, as apparently even without the real Jeremy Beadle to compete with, there's not much future in being the poor man's Jeremy Beadle, and sees his future as some sort of media mogul. His idea is to build Revolution's audience up from its current 1.4% share, although since that entire 1.4% share is going to switch off at the massive change in format, he's starting by dropping it 100%
Wippit, the download store which was selling DRM-free mp3s back when the very concept of selling un-DRMed product could make a record company accountant actually catch fire from the pockets upwards, has folded.
A spokesperson, talking to Distorted Loop, explained the reason for the closure:
“Launching an all you can eat, legal P2P service before the iPod had even been announced as well as many other innovations (including a first with movie downloads) meant Wippit has been a great pioneer, but eventually a victim of our own vision and optimism."
It hurts to be a victim of your vision - I guess the opposite of that would be that the labels closing their eyes and keeping going.
Wippit's reputation took a bit of knock when it fell out very publicly with Danny Baker over the All-Day Breakfast Show last year; it had devised a method of charging for podcast subscriptions through iTunes for the show and, possibly, was sitting on a potential small-ish goldmine with that knowledge.
Slipknot have stolen the US album chart number one position from The Game.
The Game's LAX was ahead when the chart was first published, but only by a thin slither of a margin, so for some reason, they decided to count again. This time - somehow - All Hope Is Gone came out on top. So that's the number one.
Given that the data must have stayed the same, and presuming that they use a computer to do the adding up, how exactly did it get two different results from the same process on the same numbers? Or are the US album charts counted by hand, using huge ledgers and abacuses? Did Microsoft issue a patch halfway through to correct the "7+7=13" bug?
We might never know. We should, however, be delighted that the compilers of the American chart take their job of awarding the prize to the correct candidate so seriously. If only they could be put in charge of the presidential election results.
There's not been much heard of Andy Kershaw in the last couple of months - it turns out that he'd gone to ground after again breaking the terms of court orders to not have contact with his ex-partner.
Kershaw gives a trying-not-to-sound-too-bitter interview to today's Independent; it's not any less heartbreaking this time around and - with bungled attempts to hide from police, and periods of sleeping rough - it's got a little worse. And while you can understand his need to sound off, complaining about the BBC for not paying him while, erm, he hasn't been at work for six months, and having a pop at the Isle of Man police isn't really going to help make things better.
Worse, the detailing of what went wrong between him and his partner in a national paper isn't a sign that he's moving on, either. He should be on the radio, not sleeping on the streets, but instead of a route back he's traipsing over and over old ground.
Cliff Richard has sort-of, kind-of come out, publishing an autobiography My Life, My Way in which he talks about his relationship with Father John McElynn. He doesn't say he's a boyfriend, but calls him a blessing and "my companion". It's all quite sweet - there's no suggestion that it's a sexual relationship in any way, but Cliff does make it clear he's not one of those Christians who somehow read the Bible as instructing hate:
'Gone are the days when we assumed loving relationships would be solely between men and women.
'It seems to me that commitment is the issue and if anyone comes to me and says: "This is my partner - we are committed to each other" then I don't care what their sexuality is.'
It's no big issue at all. Unless you're talking about Cliff's life, of course:
Although, of course, if you don't want the media to start speculating about your private living arrangements, you might think twice before publishing an autobiography in which the big reveal is that you've got a companion who used to be a priest sharing your home. Just a thought, Cliff.
So, more from Noel Gallagher's exciting on-the-road blog. To kill time, Noel and his employees have been playing a game:
The list, as you'd expect, is topped by the Beatles and suggests that no good work has been done musically since Gallagher passed through puberty:
2. The Rolling Stones
3. The Who
4. The Sex Pistols
5. The Kinks
6. The La’s
7. Pink Floyd
8. The Bee Gees
9. The Specials
10. Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac
By a strange coincidence, this is actually the same list of bands that Gordon Brown has suggested for the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.
There's no surprise here: if you have ever listened to an Oasis record, you'd already be aware that Noel hasn't apparently forged any emotional attachment to anything much recorded after the miner's strike.
The insight, though, is in the ground rules:
Oh, yes - you just know Public Enemy would be at the number one slot if only the rules allowed it. But no female artists allowed? What is this - a treehouse full of ten year old boys? Are they afraid of getting CD cooties? And shouldn't Rhoda Dakar make The Specials ineligible for inclusion - you know, just in case someone thinks that Noel is listening to GURLS music for GURLS.
We also get Noel's insight into US politics:
Ooh... could it be because of America's massive bloody great influence over vast swathes of the planet, do you think Noel? Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have bothered to suggest what was so impressive - nay, spellbinding - about Obama's speech; nor why he wishes that Britain had the chance to elect a centre-right politician (haven't we got enough of them already?). It's almost as if, you know, just wanted to say something so we'd know he was engaged... in the house... race for the house...
... must go to the White House... must...
Following on from the Rage Against The Machine march on the Xcel Centre and the RNC, it looks like last night, the police were out for revenge.
The band were playing a proper, legal, ticketed gig at the Target Centre in Minneapolis (for now, let's leave aside the question of how they're playing a gig at a venue which is a marketing tool for a major Republican Party Contributor as that might just make my head pop). As Coldsnaplegal's Twitter feed witnessed, the cops were waiting for revenge:
Front of target center cleared. 7th & Hennepin blocked by riot cops. Pepper spray deployed.
folks from after show protest are being arrested and ordered on to city busses at 7th and marquette in minneapolis. arrest numbers unknown.
riot cops have left 7th st. and 2nd ave, 31 people confirmed arrested and taken.
On MnIndy's Twitter, there was a suggestion that media attention might have increased the tension:
Rage is not yet letting out. The crowd is mostly looky-loos anticipating violence and beating drums
But, clearly, even before the concert started the police were looking for confrontation:
Is the McCain - Mayor McCheese ticket really so petrified of Rage Against The Machine they need to send police out to pepper spray young people who actually show an interest in the political process?
[via Boing Boing]
In these times, news of the formerly rich in serious financial difficulties isn't published first in the London Gazette. Oh, no: the first sign of financial stress of the famous is signing up for a fly on the wall series on Living TV. Like what Boy George has done.
Also tucked into the winter schedule for the channel which has come far - oh, so far - since it used a nice cup of tea as its logo - is this:
Those last three words turn a bit of harmless fun into something a bit sinister. And we'd have thought for a couple of those bands - notably Bucks Fizz and Dollar - it'd be less about teeth whitening and more about relationship counselling wouldn't it.
Still, it'll be interesting to watch 911 trying to reclaim their glory days - although how Living will recreate that Thursday and Friday back in 1997 isn't clear. And making Cleopatra look like they did when they were successful - and about twelve years old - is going to be a challenge, too.
Yesterday's big kidnap splash which Gordon (and, to be fair, other media) ran is returned to this morning: it seems the victim isn't happy with Lily Allen for talking about it public:
But at the GQ magazine Men of the Year awards in London on Tuesday, 23-year-old Lily praised police for their incredible job.
The kidnapped pal was said to be “livid”.
Ex Scotland Yard Commander John O’Connor said: “It was outrageous.”
The appearance of yesterday's story led to Scotland Yard circulating a reminder about the ban on publicity, which makes it slightly surprising that Smart has decided to return to the tale, repeating everything he'd published the day before. It's also funny that, according to Smart, the alleged victim is raging at Allen alone, and not, say, the editor of a newspaper column who ran the story in front of millions of eyeballs yesterday.
Thank the lord he can get back on to safer ground with the news that Kate Moss has worn a hat.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Oklahoma is currently seeking an official state song through the always-prone-to-disaster medium of an online vote. This is shortlist:
“Heartbreak Hotel” Mae Boren Axton
“Oklahoma” The Call
“Never Been to Spain” Hoyt Axton
“Move Along” All-American Rejects
“Home Sweet Oklahoma” Leon Russell
“Endless Oklahoma Sky” John Moreland and the Black Gold Band
“Walk Don’t Run” The Ventures
“Do You Realize?” Flaming Lips
“Let’s Have a Party” Wanda Jackson
The appearance of All American Rejects is surprising - you can see why a well-meaning judge might include something of the moment to prove 'down with kids'-ness, but surely not something of the moment from three years ago.
More surprising is the inclusion of Do You Realize - it's a wonderful, wonderful song, yes. But does Oklahoma really want itself represented in song as being similar to withdrawing from smack?
If you're thinking the title song from Oklahoma - the musical - might make a more appropriate state song, you'd be right. It's been enshrined in state legislation as such since 1953; but this search is specifically open to rock songs. Hence no Okie From Muskogee, either. Which is a pity:
The deal cut for the music industry in the UK - whereby ISPs will reluctantly send out tut-tuts to people record companies believe are sucking down great piles of unpaid music from the internet, and in return ISPs get to build their own legitimate stores - hasn't gone down too well in some places. David Pakman of eMusic has suggested that the music industry has, effectively, created a system that could ruin itself:
One of Pakman's main concerns is that the ISPs are now not only distributors, but also potentially retailers, of online music, and that they could manipulate their position to divert customers to their stores. The ISPs are shocked at the very suggestion:
BSkyB said it was talking to several music companies, but had yet to launch its planned service: "It seems premature in the extreme to be warning of the consequences of something that doesn't even exist."
Exactly. You shouldn't object if your drunken neighbour applies for a gun licence - after all, his weapon, at this stage, doesn't even exist. Wait until he's shooting your car tyres out at three am in a few months.
And BT's reassurance isn't exactly reassuring: not a firm, clear, we would never do that, just a "we have no plans to" at the moment. And it's not just a case of making it harder to download a song from iTunes by throttling connections to the servers, as BT seem to be suggesting - many people, through inertia, are using browsers whose home page is that supplied by their ISP. A big, splashy, "buy Coldplay for sixpence" on launch pages could turn a young music lover's head and seize their pennies without the need to mess about with traffic to Apple or eMusic. It's like Tesco's new online cheat, where they don't actually restrict brands access to their website's customers, if you try and buy a branded product, it automatically suggests a replacement from own brand products instead. You can understand why eMusic might be concerned at the gatekeepers flogging their own produce by the gate.
In a bid to make the prospect of a new Snow Patrol album even more thrilling, Polydor and Apple are launching a superspecial iPhone app, reports Music Week:
If you think that sentence suggests a tenuous grasp on the technology underpinning the marketing idea, you might be right. Music Week continues:
You don't think, perhaps, the increasing popularity of apps "in recent months" might have more to do with, erm, the launch of the apps store on July 10th and them suddenly becoming available, then?
Meanwhile, Bruce Houghton at Hypebot has worked himself up into a state:
Apple had a pre-mp3 stranglehold on music sales? Back in 1997? Or does Houghton mean "before mp3 stores became widely available, because the music industry was too afraid to sell files that weren't wrapped up in DRM?
Apple weren't strangleholding the market while the music industry prayed for a more open standard - the industry deliberately chose to ignore an option that would have handed back a little more control to the customer; if Apple strangled them, it was consenual erotic asphyxiation.
Houghton does have a point - it would be much happier for everyone if this new stuff was available in an open format instead of being tied to a single brand or store, but for that to happen, the record labels would have to accept that their extra-value material would be published in a way that people could take it and use it and share it on without payment. It's hard to see why, given the current mindset of the big labels, they'd invest cash in developing stuff designed to persuade people to buy an official download only for the exclusivity to evaporate in the same way that of the original song had, too.
Still, Houghton is clearly alarmed, even appending a message to the foot of his blog post:
Yes! Email it to ten people, and instruct them to reply to you with details of the ten people they've emailed it to within the hour, or the music industry will DIE. It's a plan for a label to try a pilot scheme which basically involves tacking a couple of extra files onto a digital download. It doesn't quite require the caps lock urgency of a call to petition for a stay of execution for a prisoner to be killed at sun down.
Yesterday's planned "secret" gig outside the Minnesota State Capitol got closed down by police - whose handling of anything that might seem like dissent outside the Republican National Convention leans towards the 'my god, these people are enemies of the State and must be subdued before they murder my family in the bed and establish some sort of worldwide caliphate, whatever that might be' heavy-handedness.
The band instead embarked on a march towards the Xcel Center. It's not clear if the police who fired tear gas at the more determined members of the group were also sponsored by Xcel.
The 3AM Girls also went to the GQ awards and have Mani's "joke", but we suspect their hearts might not have actually been in it.
UPDATE: And I just notice that they reckon it was Gillespie, not Mani - but if there's something Gordon Smart is good on, it's identifying blokey rock blokes.
The photo is, unmistakably, of Lily Allen. The headline is unequivocal:
Blimey - what has been happening overnight, then?
It turns out it wasn't actually her terror, or her kidnap, but the kidnap of a friend. About six weeks ago. And most of Gordon's story underneath is not about kidnap - of Allen or her acquaintances - but, erm, about the GQ Awards. A glittering affair, it seems:
Collecting the Band Of The Year gong from ELLE MACPHERSON, he said: “Fucking hell, a giraffe in a dress. Nice one.”
And, yes, alongside Elton John's "Amy Winehouse can't be with us, but we must crack on" gag, "ooh there's a tall woman" probably did sound like sparkling wit.
Still, I'm sure GQ will be delighted that their expensive awards bash has generated, erm, acres of coverage about Lily Allen's mate being kidnapped.
Elsewhere, Kate Moss has had a small anchor tattooed on her wrist:
Or maybe it’s some sort of rhyming slang for ex PETE DOHERTY.
Yes. Maybe it is. I know when I've had a public, painful break-up, my first thought is "how can I scar myself in a random way to remember him by?"
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Lindsay Lohan has taken to her blog to air her worry that press obsession with Bristol Palin's pregnancy is taking attention from what's really important: Lindsay Lohan. Sorry, "the issues":
She continued, "I am concerned with the fact that Sarah Palin brought the attention to her daughter's pregnancy, rather than all world issues and what she believes she could possibly do to change them — if elected. I get Sarah Palin's views against abortion, but I would much prefer to hear more about what she can do for our country rather than how her daughter is going to have a child no matter what."
Lohan, of course, is known for her focus on public policy - hence her nickname Lindsay 'Medicare this, surge that' Lohan - and, I guess, it's this concentration on policy detail that has led her to get confused and apparently believe that Palin clambered onto a stage and bellowed "my daughter doesn't seem to offer my hope that my desperate belief in abstinence will work".
Still, let's hope Palin will heed Lohan's call and start to focus on the important questions, like, when will these Alaskans get off the gossip pages and leave them to those who work for it?
Next Monday - you might want to put this into some sort of computer based diary - the Daily Record is streaming the My DNA, Manda Rin's debut solo album.
Once again, John Lydon takes time to give his side of the claims that his entourage had a pop at Kele Okereke:
Lydon doesn't actually list exactly what he's done for the world - clearly, helping Dairy Crest sell Country Life butter will be part of it, but this particular gift has yet to be formally unwrapped. Public Image were wonderful, but we suspect that might not constitute a gift to the general populace.
It's also quite revealing that Lydon assumes that the motivation for the telling of the tale is simply to sell records - as ever, he assumes that everything's about the deal.
As the Times buys him lunch, he trots through the same old, same old - but things turn nasty when Andrew Billen tries to get a point clarified:
“You're playing games. There you are. Caught you! Gotcha!” He had lost me, I promise. “I'm going lose you very quickly. I've been nice enough to come here and talk to you, don't you fucking ever try and mug me off.”
Ah, yes - how sweet of Lydon to make time in busy schedule to promote his DVD and eat Rupert Murdoch's puddings.
There's then an attempt to strong arm Billen:
This at the end of an interview where Lydon attempts to claim he doesn't preach and that his mantra is respect. It's like a little pool of delusion, where only Lydon is trustworthy and everyone else is out to get him. Perhaps everyone else is wrong. Or at least if we tell him we believe that, he might go away.
At least until the next DVD he's flogging.
Tucked into a piece about Bauer in yesterday's MediaGuardian was a passing reference to some sort of "overhaul" planned for Q.
Not clear if this is going to involve a sudden change of musical direction, but if it is, it can't come a moment too soon, to judge by the nominations for the Q Music Awards ("sponsored by some sort of drink"):
Much as we like Bon Iver, in what way are they considered to have broken through? Broken through what? In fact, why don't they just call this the best new act?
Oh... hang on...
The Ting Tings
The Last Shadow Puppets
Haven't the Ting Tings broken through more solidly than any of the breakthrough acts? Can you break and be new at the same time?
Keane – Spiralling
Duffy – Mercy
Coldplay - Violet Hill
Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl
The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
Katy Perry? Since, presumably, that's an attempt to prove that they're not all stuffy and old. Because it's the sort of track you'd choose if you were a bit stuffy trying to prove you weren't.
Hot Chip - Ready To The Floor
Coldplay - Violet Hill
The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
Vampire Weekend - A-Punk
Goldfrapp - Happiness
I imagine this has something to do with the Q TV playlist.
Kings Of Leon
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against The Machine? Rage Against The Machine?
Coldplay - Viva La Vida Or Death; And All His Friends
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age Of The Understatement
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Nick Cave And The Band Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
The couple of solid choices here are fatally undermined when you remember they're being measured against Coldplay's album.
Kings Of Leon
Kings Of Leon's presence on this list is going to form the basis for a remake of Cool Runnings.
They're playing a proper gig tomorrow, but tonight, for free, The Breeders are doing a warm-up in London, in the Rough Trade East store. Stage time is 7.30, but we reckon to be sure of getting a space in the crowd, you'll want to be out flagging down a taxi about now.
Is Noel Gallagher really writing his own US tour blog, or is it someone from the Oasis organisation trying to make him look good?
Clearly, then, it's not a PR stunt. Unless they really do think that everyone loves a self-absorbed tosser who treats his biggest fans like hunks of shit, even on their wedding days.
What is a bit of a shame, though, is that Ryan Adams is also blogging the tour - he's doing the 'support' slots (much as a slim steel frame supports a much larger building) and had been doing a half-decent job of making Noel and Liam sound quite pleasant people to be around. Maybe he's not asking for photographs.
After Pete Doherty's hat, there's a second day of plane-related trauma as Noel loses a bag in transit:
Oh, how terrible to be so popular you can't buy pants without a fan serving you.
And if you keep telling mothers of the brides to get lost, it's not going to be long before you'll not have to worry... at all... cab for Mr Gallagher... out west, actually... he might need a horse... horseback... bareback... going, going...
Once again, you have to carve a sliver of sympathy for Britney Spears. Last year, the poor woman couldn't struggle her way out of a car without the world's press tutting and saying you could see her pants. Or no pants.
Now, she's started dressing a little more sedately - so here's the 3AM Girls to give her shit for that, as well:
We bet she was even wearing knickers. But while her family troubles are well known, being seen in such a mumsy outfit in a Las Vegas hotel won't help.
(Does that last line make any sense at all, or was it mere gratuitous spite?)
We're not quite sure what Britney is supposed to do when not wearing knickers is bad, and wearing knickers is bad. Perhaps the papers are hoping she'll adopt the compromise crotchless panties option?
Gordon is surprised to discover that the "illness" which caused Amy to pull out of that French festival was because she was in a state of Buddhist enlightenment. Luckily, there's a "source" to explain:
Who knew that watching a video of someone chanting on YouTube could wipe out the effects of the two overdoses Gordon's pages were reporting yesterday. She was a drug-ruined, borderline schizophrenic, so thin that doctors were afraid she could drop down dead. Now, watching a couple of videos, and in Gordon's words:
There seems to be some concern that Winehouse's alleged discovery of Buddhism might confuse Gordon's readers, in a "is that the one with Ramadan" type of manner. Luckily, Gordon is on hand to put the beliefs into context:
It's not known if this "fan of Buddhism" status extends to a deep commitment, like adding "I am a fan of Buddha" to their Facebook profiles. An earlier draft, where Gordon actually listed the hundreds of millions of other fans of Buddhism, had to be edited down for space.
Still, at least Gordon doesn't manage to be too offensive as he edges into the religious... oh, hang on:
It's not like Gordon doesn't understand investing your life following a charismatic figure. He's all over Guy Ritchie again this morning:
This is the second time that he's taken space to praise Rock N Rolla at some length. Here, we've mocked up Gordo as a Ritchie-worshiping figure to celebrate his good work promoting the movie.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Inspired by Kid Rock's success, his label decided - bemusingly - to pull Estelle's six month old album from Apple, too.
How did that work out, then?
Estelle's single plunged 26 places on the Billboard chart.
But the album - did that benefit?
Not really - that tanked over 100 places down the album chart.
Another smart move by the music industry, then. Well done, guys.
So, you'll have been wondering what bright idea The Times Of India, new owners of Virgin Radio, would come up for the enforced rebrand of their radio network.
Something sharp, memorable, and distinctive, you'd assume.
Wrongly, as it turns out: they've gone with Absolute.
Yes, it's a weak, meaningless bubble of a name, but there is an upside:
Why bother going to all that time and expense when they've already got a URL they could just shove the whole lot underneath. It should be pointed out, though, they only own absolute.co.uk - which is already forwarding on to the Virgin Radio site - but not absolute.com.
There's a new logo, too - yes, they really have gone with the 'fast forward button' idea. It's not clear which sixth form college communication studies class came up with this classy rebrand, but lets hope they can make up the loss ground on the coursework when they come to do the exams.
The other plan announced today is a cost-cutting move to share programming over the Virgin - sorry, Absolute - digital channels. They've attempted to spin this:
In addition, new Absolute Classic Rock and Absolute Xtreme shows will be hosted on the main station.
[Chief executive Donnach] Dickens said: "DAB is a big driver for us going forward and we have to put great live content on DAB. Our two digital stations are effectively like +1 TV channels and, by sharing key talent and programmes, it allows us to cross promote the digital channels on the main station, like TV channels already do."
In what way, exactly, are what were originally specialist niche stations like a TV channel broadcasting the same programming an hour later? And couldn't the networks cross-promote each other without large chunks of the programmes being the same? Indeed, isn't there more value in saying "over on Vir... Absolute Classic now, something different" rather than "you can hear this programme on two other networks, for some reason..."?
The mighty long way down rock and roll, it seems, no longer has any bottom. Motley Crue hang out with Larry King.
Pete Doherty - he's only human. Sometimes he cries. Admittedly over his hat, but still, it's tears:
'Turns out they are complete arseholes. Even when I fell over and badly creased my hat, I had no assistance.'
‘I was crying but I didn't want them to see.'
What's most telling, of course, is that assumption that his "kind of minor celebrity status" means he thinks he can turn up late for planes and expect special treatment. Does he even count as a minor celebrity any more, though? Or does his reign officially not end until Kate Moss moves on again and he loses his status as 'most recent ex'?
Still, happy to offer some advice to Pete: if you're going to be unable to avoid falling on your hat, why not consider swapping to a panama? They take that sort of scuffle more forgivingly.
[Thanks to Michael M]
Ross Tregenza and Alastair Power have reactivated Goteki after realising that Lamorna actually sounded like Goteki anyway so they might as well save on the domain names to register, or something. There's to be a new EP this winter.
This is what you've been missing - although they're not sure they can persuade the bouncing fist to rejoin them:
Universal catalogue has quietly appeared in 7Digital's European download stores, without any DRM encumbrance and a healthy 320kbps. The deal for the tracks to appear was announced back in March, but there's been no trumpeting about their arrival. We wouldn't have known if Hypebot hadn't mentioned it.
About a year after landing at Virgin, JK and Joel are moving on:
Is it just me, or does that sound laced with sarcasm, given that their TV work to date hasn't exactly sent IMDB scrabbling about to increase server capacity - Hider In The House, kids TV vaguely unsettling 'can you hide an adult in your bedroom' gameshow; Sing It Back's ITV karaoke one-off; an episode of Loose Women and - for one of them - a spot of B-List sweating for The Games. Yet more TV, eh? You can see why they need the space for that.
The 3AM Girls struggle with the concept of news:
But wait - there's more.
Person has cake at party - cakes eaten. Seriously, there's going to be firings at the FT that they missed breaking this story.
I know what you're thinking, though - the Daily Mirror wouldn't publish a story like this, not really, unless there was a real news angle. And, indeed, there is:
The 3AM Girls can't even be arsed to throw a "said a pal", or an "according to a shocked onlooker..." here. At the moment, it's unclear if the guests required hospitalisation for this face-covering of sugar, or if they merely wiped their chops with a napkin. We're waiting for CNN on this.
Naturally, though, you turn to the Mirror not just for this quality of reporting, but also the searing insight that the paper's commentary team can provide. The 3AM Girls don't let us down:
Really? The 3AM column's idea of a great party is mildly messy cake eating? We hear there's a kid called Charlie Spaniels who's having a party in McDonalds in Daventry today - you should get yourself there, 3AM. Not just cake - we're given to understand there was ice cream being spoken about as a serious possibility, too.
Wired's Listening Post celebrates the Che Cafe scene:
And enjoy the music being curated by the Che Underground blog.
Today's Bizarre online leads with a big splash trumpeting:
Oddly, given the space online dedicated to this story - bylined Virgina Wheeler - it doesn't make the print version of Bizarre and seems to be nowhere near the front of the paper, either. (The headline today is that the paper has helped nab a bloke who was trying to sell "sexy" snaps of William and Kate. These were pictures taken of them on holiday; frustratingly for the Sun, they were on a stolen camera and so the paper has had to do one of its 'how good are we, not getting involved' stories.
So, why the shyness over the Amy Overdose story - perhaps because it's really weak - sourced to a "pal" who somehow also seems to be a psychiatric expert:
And it's not really anything surprising or new. The surprise is not how downplayed the tale is in the paper, but how prominent it is online. It's almost like the Sun is just invading her privacy on this occasion to try and keep the right of way open.
Meanwhile, Bizarre proper is marked by a spot of lame photoshoppery inspired by the possibility of Russell Crowe playing Doctor Watson. Actually, I say photoshoppery - it's more like they've got Crowe to sit in one of those photobooths that superimposes cartoon hats and moutstaches on your face. It truly is a sight to see.
For downloading, and then unzipping, and then playing:
The Innervisions Orchestra of Hold My Hand
Why are they being so generous? Because next Monday, they're releasing Remix Stories (Volume One), and this is meant to tempt you.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Sunburned Hand Of Man's Adam Nobelman died suddenly and unexpectedly on Monday this week.
The Hand - who count Julian Cope as a fan - formed in 1997 from the collapsing parts of Shit Spangled Banner and, over the last decade, have seen many members come and go, with Nobelman joining relatively lately - in 2005, after a circuitous route through other groups that took in Motherhead Bug and Crash Worship. He combined his time in Hand with playing for Franklins Mint and Shitsweat - "the pioneer valley assault band".
There are plans for three memorials in the places where Adam worked as a musician - New York, Woodstock and Massachusetts - and the band are appealing for photos and video of Adam on stage - email them to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any.
Adam, who was 43, is survived by a wife and three daughters.
Of course, people who hadn't had the pleasure of Emmy The Great before might have just assumed that she was a two-legged cuss machine.
The Christian Science Monitor asks what the future holds for music criticism as a profession:
Music writers say that newspapers still have a role to play in reaching out to people in their 40s who are curious about their world – and what their teens are listening to.
But the future is still online, where a younger generation clusters around music blogs such as Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan and discovers artists such as Colbie Caillat, Ingrid Michaelson, and Sara Bareilles through MySpace rather than radio or reviews.
After last week's man who didn't know his birth family (in a kind of way), this week, it's someone who fulfills the X Factor rules of not having a management contract. Albeit only because Laura White's five year deal with Mike Aitken has expired. Oh, and she was on the little-watched E4 Performing Arts School X Factor lite last year.
If she doesn't win this, there's every chance she's going to appear on the next round of whatever musical they're casting for on the BBC next year.
The global attention, I suspect, might have helped here: the Cuban prosecutors targeting Gorki Aguila have dropped charges of social dangerousness; however, they did still force him to face trial on a face saving charge related to "playing music too loud", for which he's been fined fifteen quid.
We're certainly reaching out into the more obscure corners of embeddable video players this weekend. This is a 1975 Amon Duul II performance, of Surrounded By Stars:
[The embed seems slightly flaky - in case, here's a direct link]
[Part of Amon Duul II weekend]
The News of the World wants us to be angry and outraged at Gary Glitter's famous friend:
Pervert's hairdresser pal, vice madam and aunt who sold her niece for sex
Blimey - it's not Vidal, is it? Or Lee Stafford? Or even that bloke off the Salon?
Millionaire who? Gordon Buchanan? Does the News of the World really think we know who he is?
Even Google doesn't know who he is - most of the search results for his name return the wildlife photographer; the first result for the hairdresser is #18 - for the Screws own story. He's even trumped by a Gordon Buchanan who runs a garden centre in Trovit. Then, at #25, there's another appearance - in pretty much the same story which appeared in, erm, Yesterday's Mirror. Indeed, aside from the current stories about Glitter, there's no reference to Buchanan in the first 100 search results. So why is the NOTW writing about him like he's a public figure?
Of the stories published in August, these were the most-read:
1. RIP Alex McCulloch
2. RIP LeRoi Moore
3. Video: Radiohead play Nude live at All Points West
4. Metallica admit their new single sounds rubbish
5. Liveblog: Michael Stipe on the One Show
6. Michael Jackson pushes album with online gaming
7. Avril Lavigne pushes up breasts, lets younger self down
8. Amy Winehouse threatens to crash Dad's Radio London show
9. Slipknot hide behind mask of no comment after murder
10. Rolling Stone trims issue size, cuts costs
These were the interesting releases this week:
Juliana Hatfield - How To Walk Away
Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things
Squeeze - Complete BBC Sessions
Max Richter - 24 Postcards In Full Colour
Glenn Campbell - Meet Glen Campbell
Glasvegas - Daddy's Gone
Various - Tales From The Polydor Underground 1967 - 1974The Creation, Thunderclap Newman, The Who - so not that far underground...
John Foxx - Glimmer The Best Of John Foxx
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