Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gordon in the morning: Cardle imagines having sex with Rihanna

Gordon has let Matt Cardle fill up the Bizarre space today. A slighty too-old cardigan-wearing man looking uncomfortable in his surroundings. And now he's been joined by Matt Cardle.

Matt churns through how fame won't change him:

"The thing is, you don't want to be a complete slag. I've never been a complete slag - I just thoroughly enjoyed myself."

Er, righto.

Then he reveals he'd take viagra to have sex with Rihanna:
Matt said: "You'd have to do a bluey with her. It's one of those situations you think, 'I'm not risking it'. With really good looking girls, the pressure's on."
What a gentleman, eh? "You're so beautiful, I'm going to have trouble sustaining my erection without pharmaceutical assistance."

Experimentalobit: Captain Beefheart

Sad news coming through this evening, as the death of Captain Beefheart has been confirmed.

There can't be anyone who ever listened to the Peel programmes on a regular basis who remained ignorant of the work of Don Van Vliet, even if not everyone was entirely convinced. Trout Mask Replica was the sort of album that boys who couldn't get girlfriends steadfastly but erroneously believed was a cure for, rather than a symptom of, their girlfriendless status; a testament to a time when both artist and audience put a bit of effort into records.

Beefheart was 69; he died from complications related to MS. His death was announced earlier this evening by one of the galleries that had exhibited his more recent work as a painter.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Your digital download may or may not work

The BPI and Sharkey's UKMusic claim they wants to develop legal music downloads, and they love a bit of campaigning for changes in the law.

Here's a cause they could actually usefully get behind: at the moment, if you buy a digital download, you've got no rights if it doesn't work. ConsumerFocus - about to be part of the Liberal Democrat Tory shuttering of useful and valuable public services - thinks that isn't right:

Philip Cullum, deputy chief executive of Consumer Focus, said: "It's crazy to have a situation where someone who buys music on a CD has the legal right to a refund if it doesn't work, but someone who downloads the same music does not. Consumer laws on buying digital goods, whether it is streaming films, or downloading music and software, need updating to reflect the reality of 21st-century life.

"The UK should be striving to be the best place in the world for digital consumers. Giving consumers better protection when they shop online and making it clear exactly what they are getting when they buy digital products will also help boost this growing market."
It's an obvious idea, a simple change, and hard to see any objections. It's also achievable, and would improve the experience for people buying stuff.

But, hey, let's throw away cash trying to catch pirates instead, eh?

[via @beltain35]

Aretha Franklin unravels her illness

Maybe it's just me, but I'm finding something a bit unsettling about Aretha Franklin's slow reveal of the details of her medical condition:

Music legend Aretha Franklin tells a national publication that she soon will reveal what prompted her recent surgery at a Detroit hospital.
Aretha, you don't have to tell us. If you want to tell us, fine. Just don't turn it into a freaking striptease.

What do we get in eight weeks? "My first is in throat, but not in groat..."?

Mind you, she does seem to be on strong painkillers:
Franklin told Jet magazine that friends know she is "a lot more than the girl in the pink Cadillac on the Freeway of Love who also sings about Respect" and that they have prayed for her "without ceasing."
She does seem to have abandoned talking for just stringing together songtitles, although the crowbaring in of one of the better songs at the end suggests she isn't entirely adept at it yet.

Gordon in the morning: The only thing better than a bra is a bra removed

It must be amazing if you're, like, twelve: Gordon is all excited by the two Lady GaGa gigs in London.

On Wednesday, it was almost too much:

The previous night she stunned gig-goers at the tiny O2 Academy2 Islington on Wednesday night by performing unannounced in her bra.
Clearly, the sight of a lady's bra rendered Smart incapable of shaping a sentence with any degree of elegance.

But imagine! Lady GaGa in a bra! Whatever could be better than that?
GaGa No Bra
Yes, the next night she wore an outfit which didn't have a bra underneath.

It should be stressed that Gordon isn't locked away in a small room remembering seeing a woman in a bra:
Many over-excitied female gig-goers stripped down to their underwear in tribute to the singer's first appearance as well, witnesses said.
Yes, there wasn't anyone from his team there.

Gordon was at the bigger, mainstream date. Look, here's most of the review:
Before the song she cheekily said: "I read the list of journalists earlier and I know you don't wanna review this show you just want to get drunk and have a good time."
That's so harsh, Mrs GaGa. They want to see some flesh too, you know. Those 'outrageous' headlines don't generate themselves.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Biffy Clyro react to being wrapped in Cardie cover

Biffy Clyro's drummer, Ben Johnston, has ruminated on Matt 'Warm Cardie' Cardle's cover of their song.

What deep thoughts has he had? What conclusion has he reached?

He called Cardle's cover "an X Factor version of the song".
Yes. Well spotted, Ben.

Gordon in the morning: The sycophantic slags all say 'I knew him first, and I knew him well'

Gordon Smart clutches the sides of his chair in shock as America turns its back on the rotten faux-Jacko album:

AN album of unreleased tracks by the King Of Pop would be expected to shift a huge number but MICHAEL JACKSON's new disc is struggling.

Michael has failed to make the Top Five in the US - the first time that's ever happened to one of the late star's albums.
Is it that unexpected, though? Jackson hadn't bothered to release a proper record since 2001, and while that still shifted, it was clear that interest in records that actually had Jackson on was dwindling; why would you expect people to be spending cash on a record that had dubious parentage?
Sony will be very disappointed. They signed a £128million deal with the Jackson family in March, giving them rights to his unfinished material.
Oddly, this sort of stupid decision is never mentioned when the BPI wails about how hard it is to turn a few quid in the music industry.

It's good news, though - perhaps now the songs that were never going to see the light of day can be left where they are.

Unlicensed filesharing unbothered by music industry efforts

The BPI have issued one of their panicked reports claiming that the roof is falling in:

Illegal downloading in the UK is growing, with around 7.7 million people choosing not to legitimately buy their music online, according to new figures.

A report suggests that more than 1.2bn tracks were illegally downloaded last year, costing the retail industry £1bn.
That's the BBC version of the report, straightfacedly accepting that a file downloaded without pay equals a lost sale.

It's worth thinking about this with last year's PRS report into how well and fast the UK music industry is growing as a background, and that it's an industry worth over £3bn. Does anyone really believe that without unlicensed filesharing, there'd be an extra billion quid in the industry?

Of course not.

While it's likely that the availability of free alternatives has meant some marginal customers have taken their money elsewhere, there's two things we've learned over the last decade and a half. The music industry can't stop the marginal cost of tracks dropping to near zero, and all their efforts so to do have probably cost the labels more than they would have lost if they'd just accepted their business had changed and dealt with it.

Instead, here we are, on the cusp of 2011 - nearly a decade since the Pyrrhic victory that closed down Napster - and we're still getting the BPI trying to find a way to return us to 1994:
"It is a parasite that threatens to deprive a generation of talented young people of their chance to make a career in music, and is holding back investment in the burgeoning digital entertainment sector," [BPI's Geoff] Taylor said.
So, Geoff, is the sector being ravaged by "three quarters" of all music being "stolen", or is it "burgeoning"? It can't be both.
Earlier this year the BPI reported that music sales in the UK had grown for the first time in six years.

It said that legal downloads had boosted sales, rising by more than 50% to earn £154 million, compared with £101.5 million in 2008.
And it looks like "burgeoning" is what it is.

More to the point, after fifteen years of consistent reports from BPI saying pretty much the same thing, shouldn't we by now be looking at a music scene completely empty of new bands, new songs, new thrills?

Taylor ends with a plea for more legislation. The BPI always think that what is needed is more unenforceable legislation. The trouble is, with the bunch of turnips sitting in Westminster at the moment, they might get their wish. More time, money and effort trying to buck the marketplace. It'll still fail, though.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Google wanted Spotify

Remember what Google did for YouTube? Now, imagine if it did that for Spotify. And it nearly did, says Business Insider, until internal strife meant the idea was dropped.

The Goog was also interested in buying the really-more-or-less-defunct Rhapsody service, too.

Instead, they're going to concentrate on their music locker service, which sounds a lot less exciting.

Embed and breakfast man: Joanna Newsom

From last night's Letterman - Joanna Newsom doing On A Good Day:

[Buy: Have One On Me]
[via The Audio Perv]

Gordon in the morning: Stars in their eyes

As you'll know, Simon Cowell is dragging the X Factor format to the US (or doing American Idol under a slightly different name so he can keep even more of the cash).

But who to have on the panel?

Gordon thinks he knows:

Simon wants a huge name
Well, yes. He doesn't want to go on American TV with the equivalent of Kylie's sister, a woman out of a hair advert and the bloke who seems to have grasped that it's pantomime but not that he's the dame.

So, who is he after?
He has already tapped up ROLLING STONES lord MICK JAGGER
Gordon then abandons any further mention of this approach, to focus on this bit:
...and is now after NOEL GALLAGHER.
Noel Gallagher is hardly "a huge name" in America, though, is he? One fairly large selling album in 1997 doesn't really make him well known beyond a few smartly-dressed young-ish people in the big cities. The sort of people who know his name will also steer clear of The X Factor.

If Cowell is chasing Gallagher, it's going to be on the same basis that he inflicted Piers Morgan on the Americans - nobody knows or cares who he is, but he has a funny face, a funny accent and can create comedy insults. Sure, they might be related to wit in the same way a clawhammer is related to fretsaw, but many Americans find it difficult to tell Are You Being Served from George Bernard Shaw.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Cardle'll go far

The Belfast Telegraph wants answers:

So what does the future hold for the Essex painter [That Cardle bloke who won the X Factor]? Will he be hung out to dry like McElderry, Brookstein and 2007 winner Leon Jackson, or will it be a smooth finish like Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke?
They could refer to this handy venn diagram to find out the answer to that question:
Instead, they turned to HMV's head of steadying the sinking ship, Gennaro Castaldo:
HMV’s Gennaro Castaldo doesn’t believe Cardle, who previously sang with indie rock band Seven Summers, will go the same way as Ward.

“With his distinctive voice and down-to-earth blokeiness, the key to his success is that he appeals to fans of all ages and backgrounds,” Gennaro said.

“Most importantly, he’s not seen as some kind of saccharine, manufactured pop star, but a credible performer who’s likely to go down just as well on a festival stage as he is on a television variety show.

“With good guidance and the right material, recording a Biffy Clyro track for the Christmas number one is an inspired choice, for example, Matt has every chance of becoming a really huge and established star, particularly as there’s a gap in the market for a successful male solo artist.”
The most interesting aspect is the way that Castaldo suggests that Cadle has recorded "the Christmas number one", but there's much else to muse on here. Isn't part of the reason there's a "gap" for a "successful male solo artist" because Brookstein, Elderberry and Jackson flopped like drunks wearing sandals running through a polished hallway of banana skins?

And the idea that the "unmanufactured" Cardle just needs "good guidance" is just bemusing - his strength lays in his not being part of the pop machine, so he just needs the machine to point him in the right direction?

Look, I know at the moment Castaldo's employers are so desperate to flog something - anything - they'd try and talk up the chances of a Su Pollard best-of, but clearly Cardle has the same X Factor as all the other solo male artists who have won the singing contest. That's X, where X = rapidly diminishing charm and a fast journey back to the late shift at Frisco Burger.

Gordon in the morning: Tinchy Stryder advertises mobile phone shop's range of tablet computers

It might look like it's an article in which a man says he might record a record on a iPad, but really, it's an advert for a store which sells iPads. No wonder The Sun isn't behind a paywall; they should be paying us to read their advertorials.

Monday, December 13, 2010

eMusic try to recast themselves "irreverent" outsiders

How better to mark a massive skewing of your catalogue towards the major labels than launching a counter-intuitive campaign stressing how non-mainstream you are.

Sure, there's nothing in itself wrong with The Roadshow, which films some bands playing live.

It's just the way they're talking about it, as Hypebot records:

Today [eMusic] launched a major branding and ad campaign designed to differentiate itself from iTunes by (take a deep breath...) "delivering irreverent and engaging experiences that capture the essence of music discovery".

Developed by flavor of the moment creative agency Sarkissian Mason and hot media firm TargetcastTCM, the campaign uses "humor, passion and knowledge" to appeal to "serious music fans".
Filming Best Coast doing a gig isn't especially irreverent, nor humorous. And it's not really a "discovery", as surely all right-thinking people already are a little bit in love with Best Coast?

It's a solid-enough campaign. 'We've got some artists who are well-liked but still early enough in their career to appreciate a few quid from our marketing budget, and we hope people will like to come and look at them'. Why pretend that this is somehow cocking a snook at convention?

Gordon in the morning: The shine is going off JLS

You know you're being overexposed when even Gordon's slavish coverage starts to get waspish. JLS might want to think about taking some time off:

Speaking at yet another Nintendo Wii Mario Kart promotion in central London, Aston said: [...]
The amount of promotion the lads have done for Wii, they've got to have shares...
Even the photo caption is yawning and saying 'you again?':
Yet another promo ... JLS
It might only be twelve months after everybody else, but finally The Sun is catching the general disenchantment with the slim talent-to-appearances ratio.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bye, Lyrebirds

Brighton's Lyrebirds have split. Or, more precisely:

We're sorry to say that we have decided not to carry on as a band anymore....
It's possible they might be carrying on as a crime-fighting gang, or a team running a cakeshop.

Megadeath visit the graveyard

This is so awful, it's compelling. Megadeath's David Ellefson "pays tribute" to Bon Scott by wandering round his grave like it's MTV Cribs, before losing interest and yakking on about Crocodile Dundee's hat instead.

Some by-the-numbers Australian cliches? That's what Bon would have wanted, right?

This week just gone

The ten most popular stories so far this month:

1. Johnny Marr bars Dave Cameron from liking The Smiths
2. Jack White creates scarce releases, puts them on eBay, blames fans for his profiteering
3. The charts are all posh now
4. Heather Mills claims iTunes work as her own
5. Shaun Ryder threatens to have critic murdered and raped
6. Hucknall apologises for not being able to keep it in his pants
7. Watch: Jolt videos
8. Grammys 2011 shortlist
9. Mute goes indie again
10. Gordon Smart wins 'best journalist' poll

These were the scanty new releases worth looking at:

Joy Division singles 7" vinyl box set

Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People

Download All Delighted People

Deadmau5 - 4x4=12

Download 4x4=12

Adam & Joe - Song Wars Volume II

Download Song Wars Volume II

Shugo Tokumaru - Port Entropy