There's been surprisingly little in the way of reviews of the Chapterhouse gig at La Scala on Thursday, but there is a smattering of YouTube videoage. So let's pretend we were at the gig, but squinting and with half-chewed Milky Ways in our ears.
First up, here's Pearl:
And then Falling Down:
Woooo-hooo, oooo, ooo...
[Buy: Whirlpool: The Original Recordings]
Saturday, March 20, 2010
There's been surprisingly little in the way of reviews of the Chapterhouse gig at La Scala on Thursday, but there is a smattering of YouTube videoage. So let's pretend we were at the gig, but squinting and with half-chewed Milky Ways in our ears.
Front Line Assembly have announced, sort of, their album plans - Improvised Electronic Device is going to turn up later this Spring. With a special guest:
l Jourgensen has collaborated with Front Line Assembly on the track "Stupidity" providing lyrics and vocals. Al Jourgensen also arranged and mixed the track in his studio
He also made the tea, and washed the antimacassars after the recording session.
Obviously, given that tomorrow is the first day of Spring, "later this Spring" could be any time in the next three months.
I'm a little surprised at the NME report from Austin this evening:
Muse win over industry crowd at SXSW
Do Muse - who are more established than the Church Of England - really need to "win over" an "industry audience"? If the "industry" still needs to be "convinced" by Muse, hasn't it gone beyond the point of no return?
Currently available on eBay: Pink's breath. In a bottle.
Handy, I guess, if you're pretty good at magic and want to use the breath, along with certain roots and the heart of a koala to create a Pink of your very own.
Even the seller admits that, you know, this might look a little odd:
PINK'S BREATH IN A BOTTLE
YES WEIRD BUT TRUE
To be fair, at no point does the seller imply it's Pink's entire breath. Just some of it.
This was captured by my 10 year old at her Melbourne concert .on the 14th of August 2009
My Daughter is such a huge Fan That she Thought of this on her own and got close enough for her to breath in the bottle ,
She has kept This bottle since the concert BUT She now wants to save any from this bottle money to try and meet Pink One Day So thats why she has decided to sell it.
If I was Pink, I'd be worried what this kid was planning to capture on the next meeting - kidneys? arms? Is she attempting to create Pink in kit form?
My Daughter Has asked that it go to someone that will Tresure it and Respect it for What it REALLY IS
Yeah, she doesn't want it to go to any old Joe who'd simply flog it on eBay for a... oh, hang on a minute.
So, how can we be sure that this bottle really contains Pink's breath, and isn't merely a bottle with ordinary air - air expired by non-famous people - collected within?
She has also Taken Pics with the Ticket So you Know she was really at the concert
Strictly speaking, having a ticket doesn't actually prove you were anywhere - I know a bloke who has a ticket for the maiden voyage of the Titanic, but I don't think that suggests he's over ninety and escaped a watery grave. And simply being at a concert doesn't mean the bottle was close enough to Pink's lungs on an expiration heave.
The bottle has never been opened since as there is no way in the world she would EVER allow it .
... because one whiff would tell you it's full of Corey Hart's butt and not Pink's lips.
The bids currently stand at $31. Think of it as an investment.
Suzy Norman, who blogs at Queen Margot And The Supperclub, suggested that Graham Coxon might not come over well in No Distance Left To Run:
I couldn't help thinking I was watching a plasticine plonker, with wire glasses trying to remember where he'd put his oversized duffle coat as he was running late for new Nick Park audition where he hopes to play Wallace's nephew who's just been cycling around Europe on a monocycle but now needs a place to stay for a week before he goes on spiritual retreat in Gumberland; a sort of autobiographical role, made specially for him.
Now, some people might be a little upset by that sort of criticism. Others might take it on the chin. A few might, however, respond to being called a pranny by... well, behaving like a pranny.
Disappointingly, Coxon falls into that last group. a comment on QM&TSC explains what happened next:
The worst thing about the whole Graham Coxon thing?
Graham Leslie Coxon posted your blog link on his own forum, Graham said you needed it up the arse and that you were a cunt. It’s all down to him. So you see, the poor kiddies in forum land were just taking his lead when they decided to harass you.
Graham goes by the name Tin Hat in his forum and everyone there knows its HIM and they hang off his every illegibly typed word.
It's all a bit of a shame - that Coxon overreacts to a bad review; that he'd suggest that anal sex is somehow a corrective for a bad review; that he'd call someone he's never met a cunt. Some celebrities are starting to complain about the acrid nature of comments they have to deal with online; if the sort of semi-famous types who you think would know better are pitching in, what hope is there?
Wrangling, tussling, duelling lawsuits flying between Lady GaGa and former producer Rob Fusari:
March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Lady Gaga sued her former music producer Rob Fusari saying he shouldn’t get any share of fees he says he’s entitled to after claiming he discovered her, dated her and helped develop her sound and style.
Hang about... did Bloomberg just say he's claiming fees in part for having dated Lady GaGa? Is this a normal transaction? "I must make it clear that I am taking you out for a pizza and will, later, twiddle your nipples for a couple of minutes before a moment of disappointing splooge, but it is on the strict understanding that should you become subsequently rich, I will issue a charge of fifty thousand dollars for the evening."
Admittedly, there'd be no reason why a clean-cut actor couldn't go on stage and make a convincing job of playing Kurt Cobain.
But Gary Lucy is hardly an actor, is he?
The star said: "Playing Kurt Cobain would be far removed from the glitz and glamour of doing Dancing On Ice."
You think, Gary?
To be honest, the bemused reaction of Stephin Merritt while being told that a snatch of 6Music had blasted out on Radio 4 probably sums up the event - it's one of those things that happens from time to time. Like the time the newsreader had a "migraine" and abandoned the 7pm bulletin a couple of sentences in between A Bit Of Fry And Laurie and The Archers.
Still, the official explanation of what happened is worth a closer look:
Diana Speed, the Radio 4 announcer on duty at the time of the takeover, apologised on-air for the interruption and has passed me this official account from her log of events:
R4 Network lost for 2'23" when 6MUSIC was transmitted on our six platforms on the Network Switcher. This was due to a mistake in monitoring when the Control Room did the switch for 6MUSIC from Western House to Manchester at 1900 and instead placed 6MUSIC on our output.I was unaware of loss of network because we monitor desk output in Con and that was going out as normal. Apology was made at the end of the programme.
Except... 6Music didn't crash Radio 4 at 7pm - which would have seen the pips and start of the news replaced with the 6Music running order and Marc Riley pretending to be somebody else. But the recording of the crash shows that both programmes were under way. Curious.
Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen marks the death of Alex Chilton on the floor of Congress:
Friday, March 19, 2010
Bob Geldof's furious attack on the quality of BBC journalism following the reports about how some Ethiopian famine relief might have found its way into the hands of civil war fighters gets a sharp slapdown from an unexpected source this morning. the Daily Mail must have decided they dislike Geldof even more than they hate the BBC:
Today, for the first time, the Band Aid man on the ground in Ethiopia speaks out exclusively to The Daily Mail, saying he believes it is possible that up to 20 per cent of donor's money went to fund the rebels.
Furthermore, he told me that he personally sympathised with the rebel cause he calls 'a liberating force', and travelled in convoys he suspected were transporting arms to them.
John James was Band Aid Field Director in Ethiopia from 1985-91 and was awarded an MBE for his charity work. He says: 'I would be surprised if it were any less than 10-20 per cent of funds were diverted to the rebels.
'Did I sympathise with the rebels? Yes. We would not have tolerated any direct assistance in the purchase of arms or condoned it, but just remember it was a highly complex situation.'
James, a farmer who is now 85 and living in Devon, adds: 'I think it is ridiculous for anybody to claim that not one penny of aid money was diverted.
'You couldn't help the hungry in the rebel-held areas without helping the rebels. You have to be realistic about that. It is probable that some money was diverted to buy arms. I believe a just use was made of the money. I think it fulfilled the interests of the donors.'
It's looking increasingly like Geldof's fixation on the one quote in the World Service programme that 95% of aid was misdirected in Tigray is the classic approach of finding one thing wrong, in an attempt to discredit the whole. The sort of tactic that people who don't believe in global warming use.
Vowel-free ecstasy, as RCRDLBL brings you MGMT. Flash Delirium's just turned up for downloading.
Whoever would have expected Dell to add to the quality of Friday morning? Their MotherboardTV has been out to give Vince Clarke the chance to enthuse over electrical things that make noise:
Perhaps aware that running a pointless JLS story every day is starting to make him look like a man with either a financial or recreational interest in their success, Gordon Smart gets a grip this morning.
and runs two non-stories about JLS instead.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
An email from Columbia records - sent to seemingly everybody in the world - comes with an attached pdf containing an apology from Neon Magazine:
We do have serious doubts in the truth of many statements of the interview of Ms Beyonce Knowles, published in Neon, issue January/2010.
The article was written by the freelancer Ingo Mocek. The editors-in-chief have confronted Ingo Mocek with these doubts. Ingo Mocek was not able to verify certain statements, particularly the statement regarding a marriage contract of Ms Knowles.
Therefore, we assume the interview did not take place as claimed by Ingo Mocek.
The interview claimed that Beyonce and Jay-Z had signed a prenuptial agreement worth 10 million dollars if the marriage lasted ten years, with an extra million added every twelve months after that. Oh, and that she'd not actually told Jay-Z she wanted kids - because that's the sort of thing you bring up during an interview with a German-language magazine - and that Jay-Z didn't realise women don't always wear make-up and high heels. "I want to sit around at home, sometimes in sweatpants" Beyonce "told" Mocek. None of this, apparently, struck the editors at Neon as in any way odd for a woman like Beyonce to be sharing in this way, through this channel.
Neon have apologised, and told Ingo that, perhaps, it might be better if he didn't turn up with any more things for them to print.
You'll recall our friend Lord Clement-Jones, who effectively attempted to cede law-making powers to a few record companies by pasting the BPI's choice of wording as an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill?
It turns out that along with offering Sony and Universal the chance to have a go at writing a law, he also neglected to mention that when he's not nipping into the Lords to tell us what to do, he works - sort-of - for a legal firm that isn't disinterested in the issue of copyright law:
Lord Clement-Jones is a partner at DLA Piper, which has worked closely with the FA Premier League to clamp down on websites offering live coverage of football games without the organisation's permission, and also advised Universal Music about its digital music plans. The amendment he moved could have resulted in YouTube being blocked.
It's not just the laws of common decency that suggests he might have mentioned that he had a financial interest in extending the boundaries of copyright law; it's also the rule of the Lords, too.
When The Guardian asked him how come he never mentioned this at the start of the debate, as he's supposed to, the noble Lord had a bit of a bluster:
Clement-Jones said it would be "completely ludicrous" for him to declare an interest before every debate which might touch upon the activities of DLA Piper's clients. "When did you ever see a partner in a law firm declare their partnership before the beginning of the debate?" he said.
"Do you know how many clients we have in DLA Piper? Thousands upon thousands. We have 70 offices across the world, we act for every side of the argument: for content providers, internet service providers, technical companies who provide the hardware, software, a massive range. It would be completely ludicrous.
"I am not particularly sympathetic to the idea that I have got to stand up and tell everybody that I am the partner in DLA Piper every time I open my mouth."
No, that might be a bit of a faff, I can see that. Here's an idea though: if you have thousands and thousands of reasons why your interventions in the Lords might intersect with one of your clients, why don't you remain sitting down and keep quiet? Better yet, how about turning in your furry collar and stop embarrassing the Liberal Democrats by being neither liberal nor democratic.
The Smiths' Mike Joyce, of The Smiths, has been remembering his time in The Smiths and reflecting on how, while it was great being in The Smiths, he doesn't need the ego-massage that comes of having been in The Smiths these days.
He said, "The buzz never really abated, even on the last tour for the last album, I remember the last tour we did of America, we played to about 15 to 20,000 people in Boston. We had come off stage and I had to do a quick wee and I remember hearing like just 'Smiths Smiths Smiths,' I thought 'f------ hell'."
These days, though, said The Smiths drummer, he's just as happy being someone who used to be in The Smiths as he was when he was actually in The Smiths:
"Of course I enjoy it. But I enjoy things like yesterday, the weather. I think that's what it's like -- being in my 40s now -- I thought to myself, 'what an absolutely gorgeous day,' I've got tulips in the garden and my poppies are coming up and I thought 'great.' It wasn't as euphoric, but it was a real kind of buzz I was getting. I want to do well but you can't have it all."
Mike Joyce used to be the drummer in The Smiths.
Justin Bieber - played by Chip off Kate And Allie - has been doing an online fan chat, punctuated only twice when he thought the person putting the questions was just grooming him.
It's a fascinating insight into the mind of a young boy, assuming you accept that the mind has been replaced with a box churning out instant focus-group results:
"My fans inspire me, as well as my mom inspires me and my dad and God inspires me. I've looked up to a lot of musicians, like Michael Jackson and Boyz II Men. ... I met Boyz II Men. I didn't get to meet Michal Jackson."
Funny thing is, you can bet that Jackson would have been thrilled to meet Bieber.
Asked what his three wishes of all time would be, he answered, "Well, the first wish would be for unlimited wishes because that just makes sense. And then the second wish would be for, I don't know ... to be able to fly ... just fly everywhere. And then the third would be to get rid of poverty."
That's well considered. If you're flying everywhere the last thing you'd want to do is look down and see poverty underneath you.
And when one viewer asked if he'd ever date a fan, he replied, "I think that it's whatever the situation is. If that happens, it happens."
Translation: That sounds so stalker-like, it scares the hell out of me. Not to mention girls - I mean, that's all cooties-and-stuff, right? But my PR dude says to pretend there's a chance I might date a fan one day. He reassures me there's electric stun-guns and cattle prods ready to stop it happening, but it doesn't hurt sales to just pretend.
Rihanna spends half a million dollars a year on her body, apparently:
The 22-year-old is reported to be spending £980 a day on a personal trainer and £520 on a chef.
For that sort of money, you could sit on the sofa eating chips and cake, and just have your brain stuck into a younger, fitter body each December. (Looking forward to seeing the contextual ads served around this paragraph.)
Seriously, though: a thousand dollars a day for a personal trainer? Boy, did she ever get stitched up when she went to the gym on Janaury 2nd.
Given that the Thriller video is basically about once-vibrant creatures crawling from the grave in a horrible, distorted, purposeless format, perhaps it's not inappropriate that they're thinking of turning it into a 3D feature:
[Director Jon] Landis also dropped the new that the owners of Jackson’s estate want to convert the music video into 3D. Landis is apparently fine with the idea even though he might not be a fan of the technology.
I imagine the way that 3D glasses make it look like someone's actually throwing money at you would help with Landis' coming to terms with the plan.
[Thanks to Michael M, who supplied the story with a one-word email - "why?"]
Who knew that anyone would have been waiting for Diana Vickers to release an album? And that, once it came within shouting distance, those people's reactions would not be one of stunned gratitude, but discontent?
James P takes up the story:
Diana Vickers, an X Factor reject from a couple of years back, is releasing an album soon. As is often the way, the record company thought that a good way to pique fan interest would be to tease them with a preview of the album cover artwork.
Unfortunately, the fans hated it.
The messageboards are awash with gripes. Some people hate the font, some hate the photo, some hate the colours. Interestingly though, RCA have taken these complaints on board and started to tweak the image. In what appears to be a depressing collision between pop music and focus groups, they've changed the colours used in the artwork and, as the fans are still grumbling, this may not be the last amendment they make.
It does make me grateful that the internet wasn't around forty years ago, album covers would've been rubbish. "The flowers are nice and I like the different-coloured suits, but it's too cluttered and I don't recognise most of the people. Couldn't they just use a photo of the band leaning over a bannister or something?" "What's a cake got to do with bleeding?" "Why isn't Paul wearing shoes? They should put some on him, otherwise people will think he's dead or something"
(It does make me wonder if it would be possible to organise a Facebook campaign demanding that the next Kasabian album features a photo of the band being mauled by bears, however)
It's interesting to see that RCA is responding to consumer demand so minutely. Almost as if they think they need every sale they can muster. Perhaps they should try a print-on-demand cover?
This morning, Gordon Smart claims P Diddy is about to become the latest rich American keen to have soccer fans yelling in his face about how much they hate him:
RAP star P DIDDY plans to put the Cristal into Crystal Palace with a shock bid for the struggling London footie team.
Last night his UK spokesman confirmed the multi-millionaire is in the market for Palace. He also added that the New Yorker has his eye on another big club.
A source said: "Diddy was in London meeting football fixers a couple of weeks ago. The finance is in place, he's just deciding who he thinks he'll make a bid for.
"Portsmouth were mentioned but he thought Palace were a better idea.
"He could cover their debt and bankroll a return to the Premier League. He liked the name as well."
It's not entirely clear why, if Diddy's spokesman has gone on the record, that Smart is running quotes from an unnamed source.
Still, you've got to look forward to the fans welcoming a man who has bought their club because of its name. You couldn't hope for a more committed chairman than that, could you?
If you're just waking up, I'm afraid it's to pretty grim news: Alex Chilton died overnight from a suspected heart attack.
Born William Alexandra Chilton in Memphis halfway through the 20th century, Chilton formed a small-time band with friends called The Devilles. A combination of line-up changes and (more pressingly) other bands with the same rotten name inspired a change to The Box Tops, with whom Chilton would go on to have a chain of hits. The first, The Letter, in 1967, kicked off a period of frantic activity. Members came, members wait, and by the time The Box Tops were done in 1970, they'd amassed a collection of ten singles and four albums.
Their success had tempted the band from Memphis, and at their end Chilton returned home. Here he joined a power trio, Ice Water. Again, there would be a name change before things really started rolling. The change of the name on the posters to Big Star wasn't, this time, quite the instant charm that the renaming of The Devilles had been, and the first two albums - #1 Record and Radio City struggled. Sure, with added hindsight, Rolling Stone could call them part of a "seminal body of work that never stopped inspiring succeeding generations". At the time, there was a slight sense of piles of unsold records stinking the place up.
Partly this was down to the label - Big Star had been a strange choice for Stax Records to sign in the first place, and they'd not really been that keen on promoting #1 Record. By the time Radio City came out, Stax had become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Columbia, leaving the band with an even better record and even less support.
The band shattered and Chilton was left pulling together the third album with a rotating, loose band - including his girlfriend Lesa Aldridge popping in to help out on vocals. Producer Jim Dickinson said:
[I was] nailed for indulging Alex on Big Star Third, but I think it is important that the artist is enabled to perform with integrity. What I did for Alex was literally remove the yoke of oppressive production that he had been under since the first time he ever uttered a word into a microphone, for good or ill.
It was a mixture of both - the good was the album, Third/Sister Lover, was a thing of great beauty. The bad was that Chilton and Dickinson struggled to find a label willing to release the thing.
In the end, as so often happens, it was British hipsters who came to the rescue. A 1978 re-release of the first two albums was instrumental in helping shift the perception of Big Star from being crazy idiots into genuine legends; the new fan base persuaded Ardent to actually release the third album.
Chilton visited London in 1979, where he recorded Bangkok, starting a period of interesting-but-wayward solo work and the half-vaudevillian Panter Burns with Gustav Falco. Depending on how far you want to buy in to the legend, The Cramps either borrowed, hired or stole a car to drive to Memphis in order to persuade him to produce their first album.
The 1980s saw Big Star's reputation grow - helped by the enthusiastic name-dropping of more successful alt-rock groups, and reaching a peak with The Replacements naming a song for Chilton. In 1993, affection having turned to a religion, Big Star reunited, bulked out by members of The Posies working on the side. Although focused on the classic 1970s stuff, there would be a new record, In Space, in 2005.
Having got the taste for reunions, Chilton also engineered a reunion of The Box Tops in 1996.
Big Star were due to play SXSW later this week. Chilton had been complaining about his health earlier yesterday. Jody Stephens of Big Star told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that “I don’t have a lot of particulars, but they kind of suspect that it was a heart attack.” Alex Chilton was 59.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Russell Lissack is taking some leave from Bloc Party in order to be the all-important fourth member of Ash on their UK tour.
There's a press-release gobbet of 'how we met and fell in love':
Russell - of Bloc Party and solo project Pin Me Down - is a life-long Ash fan, "I've always loved Ash, my first ever stage performance was part of an Ash covers band, so when they asked me to join them on their forthcoming tour I jumped at the chance!"
Ash's Tim Wheeler: "We first met at South By Southwest in 2005, we’d heard he and Kele Okereke met when Russell was playing Ash songs at a party, so we've always felt that connection with him. We've loved Bloc Party since their first single and have always really admired his guitar playing."
They haven't told Russell yet that he's going to have to try and squeeze into Charlotte Hatherley's old stage outfits.
As part of the intense desire to scan everything ever printed, Google Books has just put the entire back catalogue of Spin online. Look, here's their review of 1998 issue in a tiny box:
So that's Spin; Plan B was released as torrents and - ahem - IPC apparently nearing the end of a ten year plan to digitise Melody Maker. Can we have Select and ZigZag in full, too, please?
Sad news for fans of radio tonight, as we hear of the death of Charlie Gillett.
Born in Lancashire and growing up in Cleveland, Gillett was perhaps one of the first genuine rock and roll intellectuals - he wrote a thesis on the history of rock and roll during his time at Columbia University. Admittedly, this was in 1965 so there wasn't quite so much history of the genre, but he certainly kept his knowledge up to date and could have turned in a thesis at any time since then.
After he got back to the UK, he worked as a lecturer and a journalist, skimming through New Society and Anarchy before landing a spot with Record Mirror. A book, the Sound Of The City, confirmed that he was able to wear his rock learning lightly enough to appeal to a wider audience, and rock writing led to rock talking when Radio London offered him a weekly show. Honky Tonk would run for six years, introducing Londoners to Costello, Graham Parker and Dire Straits. You can't blame him for what Dire Straits went on to do. Nobody knew.
Working at a time when commercial radio actually behaved in the way the Tories seem to think that it still does, Gillett jumped from the BBC to Capital, where he would remain - literally due to public demand - until 1990. It was in 1983 that his show's focus spread to include what would be known as world music, but at the time was still just music. Then it was back to the BBC in London, which was going by the name of GLR at the time, along with shows on the World Service and Radio 3. He picked up the Lifetime Achievement at the Sonys in 1991 - when his radio career had only reached the half-way point, as it turned out.
He also found time to co-found a publishing company, Oval, and co-manage the pre-Blockheads Ian Dury. And, in his role as musical consultant to advertising agencies, played a role in helping Levis choose the tracks which briefly made them, and Nick Kamen, insanely popular.
Rocks Back Pages has a collection of Gillett's columns from Record Mirror.
Charlie Gillett had been suffering from a disease which had attacked his autoimmune system. He was 68.
It would be unfair to charcterise the Europe-wide survey being promoted in the UK by the Trades Union Congress as effectively a load of waffle-iron run-off, but it is:
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said the study stresses that "the growth of unauthorised filesharing, downloading and streaming of copyrighted works and recorded performances is a major threat to the creative industries in terms of loss of employment and revenues".
"The scale of the problem is truly frightening now – let alone in the future if no firm actions against illegal filesharing are taken. If there was ever the proof needed to demonstrate why the Digital Economy Bill is imperative for the protection of our creative industries, this report is it."
Except it's not "truly frightening now", is it? For an industry which isn't actually selling anything essential [not in the food and shelter sense] and whose stuff is so easy to get without paying, the music business is doing pretty well - especially what with the way the general economy has been. Sony Music is happy to spend millions on buying up the Michael Jackson back catalogue. There's money to fly Dappy to America. Admittedly, both those thoughts frighten me, but not in the way you mean.
Let's fling some figures around, though, shall we?
Across the EU, as many as 1.2m jobs are in jeopardy as piracy looks set to strip more than €240bn (£218bn) in revenues from the creative industries by 2015, unless regulators can stem the flow. In 2008, the creative industries contributed €860bn to the EU's GDP – almost 7% – and it employs 6.5% of the EU workforce, or 14 million people.
It's also expected that as many as sixty million kittens might be crushed under steamrollers driven by online pirates. "They'll be laughing as they roll forward" warned the TUC, "laughing as the kittens get squished."
Of course, there's not really any reason to assume that the lack of an ever-more-tightened copyright regime would lead to steamrollers heading out over kittens, but the contention is about as strong as the figures being offered here. No attempt is made to prove the vital contention that downloading a thing represents the loss of any revenue at all; no explanation of what would happen to that £218billion pounds if it isn't being spent on buying Dollshouse on DVD or Climie Fisher CDs.
In fact, even if the survey had any basis in fact, you might argue that it'd be better for our economy if people spent the money that would otherwise be jammed away in Simon Cowell's back pocket or servicing EMI's massive debt with an American bank on, say, solar panels or eating out. Imagine if that £218bn "lost" to the creative industries found its way into the manufacturing industry.
If only it wasn't a non-existent pile of cash. Imagine the stuff we could do with it.
Morrissey doesn't like Damien Hirst:
Discussing the artists work with artist Linder Sterling, he said: "I dislike the 'use' of animals in art, such as in the work of Damien Hirst. Do you agree that Hirst's head should be kept in a bag for the way he's utilized-and sold-dead animals?"
Charles Saatchi has already expressed interest in buying Morrissey's Hirst head in hessian sack should it ever come on the market.
Actually, that wouldn't please Morrissey, either:
Morrissey also claimed the wealth accrued by Damien - reputed to be the world's richest living artist, whose works have sold for over £10 million pounds - "reduces him to mere factory outlet".
Morrissey is famous for never charging for his gigs, and giving his records away for free.
The Mirror's gossip team whisks us back to the Brits:
Liam Gallagher has finally explained why he snubbed brother Noel in his Brits acceptance speech when Oasis walked off with Best Album.
There was a mystery about that? I thought we all knew he was a petulant, drunken cock?
The Oasis frontman turned fashion designer says: "I was fed up of it all being about me and Noel. I wanted to thank the other members of the band." And about time too.
Well, I suppose it's nice to see the grunts in the engine room sticking together.
In the continuing churning of non-stories about JLS, today Gordon reaches - well, yes, another new low:
ASTON MERRYGOLD has shocked fans by shaving off his carefully coiffered locks.
Man cuts hair.
There is something interesting about the story, though:
The JLS heart-throb gave a sneak peek of his new bonce
Bonce? Bonce? Surely this is a naked noggin, Gordon, not merely a new bonce?
I don't know what his female admirers make of it but I think it looks OK.
As long as Aston's taking his male admirers with him, that's half the battle.
In other "news", Amy Winehouse mucks about with a person taking a photo of her. We know she did this, because someone took a photo of her having her photo taken. If there's a photo of the paparazzo taking the photo of the photo, I think we'd be able to approach a gallery with a fibonaci sequence.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I'm not usually a big fan of 'making of' videos - if I wanted to have the daylight poured in on magic, I'd buy myself a periscope and a ladder, and most album-making is like most other album-making - but Solex have come up with something a bit beyond the norm to promote their Solex VS Cristina Martinez & Jon Spencer Amsterdam Throwdown King Street Showdown thing.
This, to be precise, is what they've come up with:
There's been such a gush of affection for Galaxie 500 been inspired by the re-release of their catalogue you do wonder how it is they managed to not be solidly at number one for months at the end of the 1980s.
Still, it's a good time for Damon and Naomi to be announcing a mini UK tour:
Friday 30 - Brighton - The Old Market £8. Doors: 7pm
Saturday 01 - London - The Luminaire £8. Doors: 7.30pm
Sunday 02 - Manchester - St. Philips Church as part of 'Sounds From The Other City Festival' £15. Doors 3pm
Monday 03 - Sheffield - The Harley £6. Doors 7pm
Tuesday 04 - Glasgow - Mono, price and doors tbc
Thursday 06 - Cardiff, - Arts Institute free. Doors 7pm
Friday 07 - Bristol - The Fleece & Firkin £8.50. Doors 8pm
Bat For Lashes might have missed out on the Brits, but Natasha has picked up a prize at the UK Asian Music Awards.
Which took place on Friday. First with the news as ever.
Still, with the Asian Network doing so much great work for the Anglo Asian music scene, these awards are timely, giving a chance for the tireless team in Birmingham to be given a pat on the back; a chance to demonstrate some love for the AN.
So who from the slate of Asian Network presenters won the best radio show category?
Nihal - Radio 1
The winners in full:
Jay Sean - All Or Nothing
Best Female Act
Best Male Act
Best Alternative Act
Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes)
Best Club DJ
Best International Act
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
Best Desi Act
Best Urban Act
Best Radio Show
Nihal - Radio 1
Jay Sean - Down
Best International Album
Miss Pooja - Romantic Jatt
Commitment to Scene
The supply of ass-kicking Japanese female-punked pop shows little sign of abating. Meet, as proof, The Suzan. To mark their appearance at SXSW, The Fader are hosting a free download of Home.
If you'd like to try before you... well, not buy, as The Fader are doing it for free, but this is roughly the sort of thing to expect:
Due 10th May: a new single from Nina Nistasia, Cry, Cry, Baby. Steve Albini is still producing for her.
Better than that: there's a promise of a UK tour - brief, but with a fuller programme to come this Autumn.
New-ish Placebo drummer Steve Forrest nearly set himself up for a sit com moment thanks to a scant knowledge of late 90s British androgopop:
Yes, he tells my paper from Sydney, Australia, where Placebo were touring recently, he even thought lead androgynous singer Brian Molko, 37, was a girl.
He recalls: "My tour manager played a Placebo CD and I said, 'This chick's cool. She has a really good voice'."
It was only later, when Forrest met Molko in person, that he realised Molko is a guy.
... and only then after two or three weeks, when he realised he peed standing up. It says here.
You'd have to think that Molko would probably be flattered and delighted if someone thought he was an actual girl. Providing it wasn't an ugly girl.
Well, given that people are less keen on buying albums these days, you do need to have a second string to your bow. Will Oldham has just launched a limited-edition bottle stopper:
Each bottle stopper was individually hand carved by the artist Scott Millar, so each one will be completely unique. Anyone ordering the bottle stopper from the mart will be sent an email to download all the album tracks on the release date, 29th March 2010.
The idea is that if you don't want to finish a bottle of wine, you can use this stopper to reseal it. No, apparently, there are people who don't feel compelled to polish off a bottle once it's been opened.
Here's a funny thing - Eddy Grant has accused Gorillaz of ripping off one of his tunes:
Grant says Gorillaz copied his 1977 song Time Warp on their new single.
"I am outraged that the Gorillaz have infringed the copyright of my song Time Warp, claiming their song Stylo to be an original composition," he said.
Breach of copyright, eh? Now, there's something the RIAA are always quick to have something to say about. You only have to try and remember what a song sounds like, and the BPI will hit you with a lawsuit for copying the music to your cerebal cortex without the correct licence. Clearly, Grant's publisher, EMI, will be fuming over one of its artists having his copyright abused, right?
[They] said it was "a private matter between Eddy Grant and Gorillaz".
Oh. Um... well, what about Gorillaz's publishers? They, surely, won't sit back and be accused of stealing copyright - that's like stealing hangbags, remember?
[They] said it was "a private matter between Eddy Grant and Gorillaz".
Oh, yes. It turns out that, at least, the publishing arm of EMI aren't actually that upset at the thought of copyright being abused at all. Indeed, it's nothing more than a "private matter". Perhaps they might like to have come to this conclusion before the BPI tried to write UK legislation in the Digital Economy Bill.
Here's something to put in your diary and/or laboriously one-finger type into some sort of Blackberry style phone:
May 12th 2010
The Electric Ballroom, London
184 Camden High Street, London, NW1 8QP
That there and then? That's the one-off Atari Teenage Riot reunion date, that is.
Did I mention a new single? Oh, yes. A new single. Activate. May 17th.
And, if you're already a little bit foaming, there's a free remix download to keep you going.
Atari Teenage Riot - Digital Hardcore (2010 Remix by The Builder) by Alec Empire
Reassuring news, everyone: his funeral director has confirmed that James Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave.
Perhaps to scrape together the cash to pay for the Jackson deal, Sony Records have dropped Jedward. After just the one single.
Which, to be fair to Sony, is probably one more Jedward single than most people would have bothered with.
A Sony source told The Sun: "We tried our best to make the lads credible recording artists but punters just weren't that bothered.
"They are great lads but haven't got the greatest voices, so they're something to see rather than listen to.
"Record companies are going through major upheaval so we have to be very careful what we throw our weight behind. I'm sure Jedward will be able to make a buck touring as a novelty act."
You hope that they actually said that to their faces: You're something to see rather than listen to, so perhaps go on the road as some sort of touring freak show. I hear Warners are letting their bearded lady go so, so why not think about a package tour?
Outrage over at the Mirror this morning, as Clemmie Moodie reports on an auction:
The syringe that administered the fatal drugs to Michael Jackson is set to be auctioned.
To be honest, you'd have thought the guy who tried to buy John Merrick's bones would have put a bid in himself for something like that. But it is, naturally, sick and wrong:
The needle is being touted around auction houses in Vegas with a price of up to $5million (£3.3million).
Psst, Clemmie: although eBay auctions have 'buy it now' prices, actual auctions don't have 'prices' - that's what the auction decides.
It was obtained secretly and could go under the hammer on June 25 - the first anniversary of the 50-year old singer's death in Los Angeles.
Well, it's either that, or a Janet and Mariah duet to mark the day. The syringe sounds a lot more attractive in that light.
Naturally, this isn't just idle speculation. There's an unnamed insider, too:
A source said: "This is one of the sickest lots ever put up. The syringe is no longer needed in the inquest or in murray's forthcoming trial but the moral implications don't bear thinking about.
What exactly does that mean - "the moral implications don't bear thinking about"? What, exactly, are the moral implications? I can see how it might be a bit grisly, and even immoral. But implications? Will you have to murder 200 heroin users in order to auction one Jackson syringe? Is there a suggestion that the selling of the item might lead to an act of good? Because without that, I don't think we're going to need to disinter Bertrand Russell to sort out the moral questions here.
Still, it's a good, solid story you've got there, Clemmie.
"The guy who has possession of the needle has been in meetings with his legal team, making sure it is legitimate and his to sell. The plan is to flog it for up to $5million in a big Vegas casino but he's been told he may have to sell it somewhere that doesn't have 'reciprocal legal agreements with the United States', such as Brazil or even Libya."
Oh. So 'sold for five million on the day of his death in LA' might be 'desperatly hawked around Libya's auction houses, even assuming it turns out that someone has got the right to sell it. Oh. And who wouldn't happily fork out five million bucks through an auction house chosen because precisely it's beyond the reach of American law, eh?
We often scoff at the claims of record labels when they say they invest millions in developing new artists, so hats off to Sony who've just announced a ten-album, quarter of a billion dollar deal with a bright young artists called... erm, Michael Jackson.
As if to prove that labels are happier having an artist who can't talk back, this is the biggest deal ever. Even counting artists who have a pulse. And he's not even going to turn up at gigs to promote them - although given that the living Jackson hardly ever turned up to play the gigs he'd been booked for, they might as well carry on announcing tours.
The ten albums - you can half-unclench your buttocks - only includes one album of totally new stuff. The other nine will be re-releases and best of collections.
Even if Sony haven't totally over-estimated the level of interest in the dead Michael Jackson - and they have - they've completely overpaid. How many exciting new records could have been made with just a quarter of the money being pumped into the Jackson hole?
Oh, sure, there's a non-story about JLS in Gordon's column this morning:
JLS didn't know where to look when presented with LILY ALLEN's gongs at the Brit Awards.
ASTON, MARVIN, JB and ORITSÉ met the Smile singer backstage at the ceremony and couldn't take their eyes off her 'pert' assets.
Now, you might have thought this really creepy story about peering at Lily Allen's tits would have been right up Gordon's street.
And yet how did he hear about it?
Marvin told new! magazine: "Lily Allen showed us her boobs.
"She had a top on but it was see-through and made out of net. Her boobs were so pert."
Marvin, man - Gordon's struggling to come up with a story a day about your "band" and yet you give a Sun-friendly titbit about behaving like a bunch of perverts to a different magazine? What else is Gordon going to have to find out when he pops to the corner shops? Will you be telling Grazia about stealing Duffy's stockings?
Download the Roberto Rodriguez mix of Richard Morel's Shoegazer Disco. Turn down the lights. Invite your friends round (entry only £2.50 with flier). Play tune. Stand in corner not making eye contact. Ask everyone to leave. Sob. Enjoy. Repeat.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Oh, and while we're reviving the 90s, Teenage Fanclub are off on tour:
May 1st – Koko, London
May 27th – The Academy 2, Manchester
May 28th – The Leadmill, Sheffield
May 30th – The Academy, Dublin
June 1st – The Warehouse, Aberdeen
June 2nd – ABC, Glasgow
June 3rd – The Liquid Room, Edinburgh
June 4th – The Cockpit, Leeds
June 6th – The Academy, Bristol
June 7th – The Academy 2, Birmingham
And that's probably all the excuse we need to post this:
Well, it's back for one night. Jo Whiley and Steve Lamacq are reuniting for a one-off revival of The Evening Session. On 6Music rather than Radio One, but in the old time slot.
If this is a success, 6Music promises that there are no plans at all to ask Goodier to do a similar exercise. (Although, in all seriousness, it'd be nice to have a week with Kid Jensen, Janice Long, Simon Mayo and Richard Skinner getting to revive Night-Time Radio One.)
The revived Evening Session must, by law, contain some or all of the following:
- Jo Whiley discovering an indie band likes Massive Attack and responding 'I'm really amazed at a band like you liking something like that'
- Pretending Oasis are still somehow important
- A track by The Wonderstuff
- Steve Lamacq smelling of a half of cider
- Tour dates for Five Thirty, including visits to Roadmenders, The Rathole and TJs.
- The last ten minutes being annexed for some well-meaning but ultimately ineffective factucation feature
- A trail for a Chris Evans breakfast show that encourages you to sleep in until ten
- The ghost of Simon Bates
- That song that goes "going down, down, down, DOWN like a Divebomb"
- Sugar in session
Great news from the PRS - although the amount of money coming in from royalties on physical sales is still in decline, the loss was more than made up by more cash coming from online sales. That must be cheering everyone up at the PRS:
Announcing the figures, PRS for Music chief executive Robert Ashcroft said: “2009 was the first year in which the growth in revenues from the legal digital market compensated for the decline in revenues from traditional CDs and DVDs, though we remain cautious as to whether this represents a true turning point”.
Turning to look out the window, Ashcroft then said 'yeah, it's nice and sunny today, but it wouldn't surprise me if it dropped really cold at the end of the week and kills off all the plants."
Popular with both ends of the Oxford Road studios - Radcliffe/Maconie and Riley - if you haven't yet soothed your ear muscles with Sara Lowes, now is your chance:
Explore her world in more depth at the official site, and buy some of her records.
You might have gaps in your Jon Spencer Blues Explosion collection. But not for much longer, as the entire back catalogue is getting a re-release over the next few months.
If your entire collection consists of a gap, there's going to be a best-of-start-here type collection, Dirty Shirt Rock & Roll: The First Ten Years. Ten years? Not quite sure that adds up.
Following on, the rereleases will appear as pairs:
Now I Got Worry, Controversial Negro in June
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (First Year), Extra Width + Mo Width in August
Orange + Remixes (2-disc) Acme + Xtra Acme (2-disc) in October.
That's the announcement.
That's the warning.
Gennaro Castaldo. He's normally to be found shedding light on the dark areas of music. Today, though, he's shedding light on why HMV in Oxford isn't shedding light.
An outraged Oxford Times wants to know why stores in the city keep leaving their lights on overnight:
Gennaro Castaldo, a spokesman for HMV which turned all its lights off, said: “Advertising and promotion is important, but the public at large value businesses managing their costs and reducing their impact on the environment more.”
It's good for the environment that HMV are flicking their lights off, certainly. But I think Gennaro might need to get out more if he thinks the public value "businesses managing their costs".
I know, I know, the 'bad hand at Scrabble' vowel-free name is a little bit behind the loop, but if you can get past that, investigating the work of Steve Borth can be rewarding. Here, for example, is the CHLLNGR remix of Islands by The XX. If you're about to object that remixing The XX is a very 2009 thing to do, I don't know what to tell you and don't think I can offer you any help.
Perhaps Murdoch could save the need to raise paywalls on his sites if he just charged JLS for the acres of unquestioning publicity the band get from Gordon Smart. Or maybe they're already charging, and not bothering to declare it. There's another one this morning:
Beautiful RIHANNA has confirmed she will record a single with the JLS lads before the end of the year - and she believes BEYONCE and KANYE WEST will follow.
There is an actual quote from someone allowed to make up Rihanna quotes:
Rihanna said: "Working with JLS is something that will happen this year.
"Jay [Z] will make stars out of them. He has been a great mentor to me.
"He has been around long enough to spot real talent and he knows who will become worldwide stars.
"They can sing, they can dance, they look good, actually they look very good.
"But more importantly they look like a group. It doesn't look like they have been put together. It looks like they are meant to be together."
Interestingly, Rihanna doesn't actually say she's going to record a single, just that "working" with them will happen this year.
Still, from this side of the Atlantic it's all looking positive. Let's hope they've remembered to get a US hack deeply in the tank for them.
Meanwhile, Amy Winehouse is back in Camden:
Amy, the bag lady in Camden
WINEHOUSE lugs around bags of food as she settles back in grungy North London.
"Lugs around bags of food"? You mean she's pictured coming home from Waitrose? Woman comes home from shops carrying shopping? Lord, no wonder Gordon's desperate to fill his column with JLS press releases if that's what he's reduced to running as hot gossips.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
More sad news via Everett True's blog: Carol Clerk, news editor at Melody Maker, died earlier today. True's words, and the warmth of the comments on the piece, say a lot about a woman who was able to keep herself held in high regard despite working at the interfaces of the music and journalism industries.
More recently her work had been appearing in Uncut and she published several books. A collection of her pieces is held at Rock's Back Pages.
John Sicolo, founder and owner of TJs in Newport, has died.
The venue originally started its life as a steak restaurant, operating under the name of Cedar's Rest. It then had a spell as an American-themed diner before John bought the building next door, knocked through and eventually rebranded the whole place TJ's Disco. The J was for John; the T was Trilby, John's late partner.
John was half Welsh, half Seychellian, and had learned to cook during his time in the merchant navy. The restaurant business was supposed to have been the plan when he came ashore, but somehow he ended up running one of the nation's best-loved, longest-running circuit venues.
Beloved by John Peel, Kurt Cobain and Richey Edwards, any band worth seeing live over the last thirty years has played there. Including Scarfo, even.
If you've never had the pleasure, there's a virtual tour of TJs on their website.
John had been in hospital earlier this week for a knee replacement; the cause of his death at 6am this morning is not yet known.
I can't quite remember where Orion, Ryan Adams po-mo/po-faced metal album is supposed to sit in the order of things (before the whore of Babylon, after the four horsemen - is that right?) but we're only days away.
ConsumerFocus published a survey this week which laid out its case in a rather blunt headline:
More must be done to make Consumers aware of legal options to buy music online before an enforcement approach is taken.
Which you'd have to give two cheers to, although, frankly, the problem with the Digital Economy Bill is not that people don't know what their legal options are, and more about the whole throwing-people-off-the-internet-because-a-Japanese-electronics-company-says-so approach.
The survey makes an eyecatching claim, as surveys tend to:
The research released today shows that four in ten people are unable to name a single online music service at all – despite there being over 20 services on the market.
If you twist that round, it actually says that 60% of the UK population are able to come up with the name of an online music service, which is quite good, I'd have thought.
The problem is that ConsumerFocus focus on these 40% who can't. They suggest if, in a room of ten people, four can't even come up with Amazon or iTunes, that's a pretty shabby state of affairs:
Jill Johnstone, International Director, Consumer Focus, said: “The music industry is shooting itself in the foot by not promoting legal online music services. If file sharing is causing the damage the music industry claims, why aren’t they putting more effort in to promoting the legal alternatives?
“Before we go down the enforcement road it is only fair to ask the music industry to do more to make people aware of the legal options.”
You'll know that I tend to not be a great fan of "the music industry", but this seems a little unfair on them. Why should you expect a wholesaler to pay for their customers to build their retail brand identity?
More to the point, is a 40% shrug rate actually bad? After all, is someone who, when asked to name an online music store, can't even think of iTunes really going to be then going home and searching for torrents? Not even the RIAA have suggested that the Pirate Bay has infected the files it tracks with a drug that makes users forget the name of legal services.
And while Consumer Focus doesn't bother to share much of its methodology in the press release, it does offer this:
The face to face omnibus survey was carried out by BMRB Omnibus Surveys from Thursday 18th – Wednesday 24th amongst 1995 adults aged 15+. The findings are representative of the GB population.
So they've asked everybody. In which case, amongst those four-out-of-ten who can't name a music service is quite likely to be the two out of ten who have never even been on the internet [according to the ONS].
So, that's ten people, six of whom do have knowledge of legal online brands, two who don't, and two who don't go near the internet at all. Surely not a major problem?
According to Hypebot, Apple have started to use their market share to - shall we call it bully? - to bully labels into not taking part in the Amazon Daily Deal.
Alarmed at the prospect of Amazon effectively underwriting the cost of spot promotions on albums, Apple warned labels to not do deals with its rival. Billboard quotes anonymous music industry insiders who claim to have been on the wrong end of Jobs' boys turning up with a "nice artist here, shame if something happened to their visibility on the largest online music store" friendly warning.
If that's true, Apple are running a little out of control.
And Hypebot reckons it has evidence:
But the proof of Apple's tactics and the labels' acquiescence can be found within the [Amazon] Daily Deals themselves.
Gone are most of the new hit makers. There are a fraction of the one day exclusives that there were just a month ago; and the label executives are back to complaining about iTunes instead of helping an alternative compete with them.
It's amusing, though, that the labels are so weak and unable to think things through that they're caving in to Apple and then moaning about Apple's dominance. Perhaps if they said "yeah? Well, how long do you think iTunes would keep market share if you did bury major label content that was being discounted over on Amazon?" then they wouldn't be sat at home wailing about how Apple treat 'em bad.
The positive thing in a dismal story is that if the majors are too frightened to get the subsidised promotion on Amazon, there are plenty of other, smaller labels - labels who could probably benefit from a bit of extra support from Amazon.
To mark mother's day, the top ten mum-related search terms that bring people to No Rock (ignoring people who want to see Samantha Mumba's tits):
1. Mums Gone To Iceland (and Iceland mum)
2. George Sampson mum
3. It's Just Porn, Mum
4. Eminem mum (and Eminem mum ill and Is Eminem's mum dead)
5. Jarvis Cocker's mum conservative
6. Mum rock
7. My Two Mums
8. Jane Russell dial-a-mum stylist
9. "johnny borrell" + "borrell's mum"
10. "that wasnt anthrax you moron that was cocaine for your mummy"
Two week's worth of interesting new stuff:
Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Download Have One On Me
Emma Pollock - The Law Of Large Numbers
Download The Law Of Large Numbers
New Young Pony Club - The Optimist
Download The Optimist
Tuung - And Then We Saw Land
Download And Then We Saw Land
Blood Red Shoes - Fire Like This
Download Fire Like This
Babybird - Ex-Maniac
The Kissaway Trail - Sleep Mountain
Download Sleep Mountain
Errors - Come Down With Me
Download Come Down With Me
Broken Bells - Broken Bells
Download Broken Bells
Liars - Sisterworld
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Download Plastic Beach
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