Saturday, November 05, 2011

Beady Eye will change your life

Liam Gallagher is already making plans for a second Beady Eye album - so soon after the last one; we are truly spoiled.

And, oh, what plans:

Referring to the group's debut, he said: "It wasn't life-changing, but the next album - that'll be life-changing.
Life-changing. A phrase often followed by the word "injuries" and much crying.

Still, Liam. Do tell, how will you change people's lives while avoiding falling into big-budget, empty bombast?
It'll be a much grander affair too, with strings.

But at least this might give you a chance to finally slough off the claim that your entire output is fuelled solely by Beatle-envy, and to let you spread your musical horizon a little wider?
"I'm really into 'All Things Must Pass' by George Harrison at the moment, so I think we'll be going down that road a bit more."

Brian May gives sanctuary

This is a sad story, but with a happy ending: Brian May has given sanctuary to an abused hedgehog.

You could almost forgive him for playing-guitar-on-the-palace-roof business. What a lovely thing for someone to do.

Gordon in the morning: Bad teacher

Gordon Smart has had a bit of a chinwag with Gary Lightentertainment out of Snow Patrol:

Snow Patrol: U2 taught us to be rock stars
What exactly did those lessons cover? It can't have been how to be interesting on stage. Maybe it focused on arranging your tax affairs?
"When U2 took us on tour in 2005 and then the subsequent three years on the 360 Tour, they showed us the virtue of a show compared to a gig.

"Even when we were playing bigger gigs around Chasing Cars and Eyes Open, we were still turning up for gigs like we had just fallen out of the student's union at 3am.

"We didn't really think about stage presence. We would work out the set list five minutes before we went on stage in the same clothes we had been wearing in the pub.

"U2 showed us the approach we should be taking. There should be a show, a spectacle."
Really? I suppose you probably need something to lift your songs when they're taken from their natural home (being laid over Ellen Pompeo looking worried), but if you're plodding through Chasing Cars, no lasershow known to man is going to wake the audience up, is it?

Friday, November 04, 2011

In which Liam Gallagher is nearly right

Liam Gallagher: 'Noel’s got to realise he’s not that good without me’
If you'd have stopped two words sooner, you'd have been spot on, Liam.

Alex James: The big cheese is rotting

The Guardian's Lost In Showbiz returns to the flop of Alex James' cheese festival, which has gone bankrupt. And guess who's left out of pocket?

Erm, the local school. Marina Hyde explains:

But perhaps our greatest sympathy should be reserved for the local school, Kingham primary. The school organises its own annual music festival, and was asked to use its contacts to book performers for the Friday night at Harvest. It duly provided seven bands. (How quaint that the acts at Alex James's festival were being provided by the local primary. Does he not have a contacts book of his own?)

The school now feels unable to comment, but a couple of weeks ago, headteacher Ed Read told the Cotswold Journal that it was owed £7,000 for the entertainment it organised.
It's hard to believe that the idea of mixing music and cheese could produce a terrible festival. Perhaps it was the type of people the event attracted kept away larger numbers of punters?

Helpfully, Marina has a photo of the types who did show up:
Yes, that's a photo of Clarkson and David Cameron, enjoying themselves at the expense of a state school. An ordinary day for Dave, in other words.

Just when you think Alex James can't sink any lower:
He has also made several appearances to promote his Alex James Presents line of cheese at Asda. "It's generated something like £2m worth of publicity," he trilled recently. "It even made the New York Times! But I suppose that's what I set out to do."
Ah, hooking up with the not-entirely-cuddly WalMart organisation. Because we know what a great friend of the organic, local food movement WalMart are.

Rockobit: Cory Smoot (Flattus Maximus)

Cory Smoot, who since 2002 has been playing the GWAR character Flattus Maximus, has been found dead.

Smoot had been a fan of GWAR during his high school years and, according to the Baltimore Sun, had always dreamed of joining the band. He got his chance in 2002 when the band needed someone new to take on the part of the armoured, farting alien following the departure of Zach Blair.

Although both the character and band were well-established, Smoot quickly established himself as a major part of the group - material he'd intended for a solo side project was "promoted" to be an official GWAR release and his nine years in the costume gave him "true Smoot" status.

GWAR's Dave Brockie issued a statement about Smoot's death:

It is with a sense of profound loss and tragedy that the members of GWAR must announce the passing of their long time guitarist and beloved friend Cory Smoot, also known to thousands of metal fans worldwide as Flattus Maximus. Cory was found deceased this morning as the band prepared for a border crossing.

There is no word as to the cause of death and the members of GWAR are completely shocked and devastated that this has occurred. At this point there is no word on arrangements and the disposition of the remainder of GWAR’s current North American tour, nor are there any details regarding long term plans.

At this point we are just dealing with the loss of our dear friend and brother, one of the most talented guitar players in metal today.

We ask that our fans and the media be respectful of our request for privacy for those that have suffered this terrible loss. A full statement will be coming in the next day or so, in the meantime please give your thoughts and your prayers to Cory, his family, and all the people that love him.
Smoot had also played without elaborate costumage for Locus Factor - as a drummer - and Mensrea, in his usual guitar role.

Cory Smoot was 25 years old.

Gordon in the morning: Print this out, keep it in your wallet

I'm not sure that an interview with Gordon Smart can form a legally binding contract, but let's cling to the possibility:

THOSE wooden stools can now officially be turned into sawdust – DA LOIFE say they will never return as a band following their farewell tour.
Oh, by the way, the dodgy "Loife" isn't actually the worst of Smart's lapse into clumsy Irish stereotyping - Alan Smartridge, if you will:
The lads have ruled out doing a Take That-style comeback in years to come.

Even if they were offered all the potatoes in Ireland. That's it.
Let's just be thankful he managed to get through the piece without mentioning horses on council estates.

Being Smart, he doesn't actually have a quote which backs up his claim, instead offering this:
Kian Egan said: "We walked away from a multi-million-pound record deal that would have changed our lives for ever, secured our future beyond anything.

"It's not about the money. We'd have made far more on a new record than we ever would with a comeback tour."
That's not quite the same thing as saying there will never be a return, though, is it?

The real worry is that there's now going to be lots of them making records:
Shane said: "The first person to decide to do a solo record, the other three will all be there."
You do know that's not quite how "solo" works, don't you, Shane?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

EMI api

It's a pity Citibank are selling EMI on, as the label seems to be coming up with better visions of the future under the bank's custodianship than it ever did in the hands of Hands.

EMI has just opened up its catalogue to people who want to come up with interesting ideas. The Next Web has the details:

[A] new deal announced today between music group EMI Music and ‘music intelligence’ startup The Echo Nest is particularly intriguing.

The tie-up sees The Echo Nest host and manage a ‘sandbox’ for app developers. Through this portal, EMI Music will offer creative briefs and opportunities to collaborate on building apps for artists such as Gorillaz, The Pet Shop Boys and Tinie Tempah.

Once developers have successfully registered for an API key, they’re able to submit app concepts to EMI and The Echo Nest. Apps that are approved will then be released by EMI under a revenue sharing model that sees both developers and rightsholders paid, and the intellectual property for the technology retained by the developer. Both free-with-ads, and paid-for apps will be considered, across platforms such as the Web, iOS and Android.
Let's hope the plan remains in place when the new owners turn up. Perhaps if EMI had tried to collaborate with developers a decade and a half back, it wouldn't be part of a fire sale in the first place.

Gordon in the morning: Invasions of privacy

Remember back in June when Pink asked, politely, for the press to not take intrusive long-lens photos of her baby? No, neither does Gordon and his munchkin Matt Hinton, who runs a total non-story and large picture of Willow Sage this morning.

Gordon also splashes big on the supposed Justin Bieber paternity story, despite it reading like fanfic rather than a genuine claim.

And, with Hugh Grant having been so vocal about Murdoch's papers running intrusive stories about people's private lives, what a surprise to see Gordon's team running an intrusive story about Hugh Grant's private life. Funnily enough, the paper finds time to mention that Grant was at the Labour Party Conference the day his child was born, but doesn't have the space to say exactly why he was there.

The writer, Emily Nash, doesn't even seem to understand what the point of her story is, trying to scrape together something out of the house that Hugh's child and her mother are living in is owned by Grant's cousin. It's unclear who has decided that this is enough to try and justify mentioning the child for a second day, but if the idea is to try and undermine Grant's claims that Murdoch grubs about in people's lives for no reason other than to cause upset, it's backfiring spectacularly.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Odd Future not fond of photographers

Odd "they were the future once" Future have added actual misogynistic behaviour to the let's pretend misogyny of their lyrics, hitting a female photographer. Venues Today reports:

A Venues Today freelance photographer covering the Voodoo Experience in New Orleans said she was slapped in the head by a rapper from the group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All while taking photographs during the group’s daytime set.
[It was when] Tyler, The Creator came out that things apparently started to get ugly.

“He told the crowd that he hated photographers because the fans paid good money to see the band, and they should be up front,” she said.

His words seemed to rile a couple of rappers on stage, who walked over to the group of 30 to 40 photographers shooting the set. The rappers apparently started to try to pour water on the shooters' cameras and equipment. Photographers started leaving the pit, but [Amy] Harris stayed and kept snapping photos. That’s when rapper Left Brain, real name Vyron Turner, approached the photo pit and while standing on a stack of monitors, began hitting and kicking the photographers' equipment. Turner then turned his attention on Harris, slapping her in the head as she tried to take his picture, knocking the camera out of her hands.

"It literally knocked the lens out of the body of the camera," said Harris, who didn’t press criminal charges against the group, she said. “I had a mark on my face for a couple hours afterwards."
Other photographers in the pit have corroborated Harris' account, and the promoter of the event has issued a statement:
Marcee Rondan from the Mitch Schneider Organization has issued the following statement: "The Voodoo Experience does not in any way condone the behavior of Odd Future towards the approved media assembled in the photo pit during the band’s set yesterday. Festival organizers would like to apologize to their media guests who experienced and/or witnessed this abusive behavior."
Oddly, Tyler wasn't so anti-photographer when be snapped for the fawning NME cover story last year. Funny, that.

Gordon in the morning: The dream of blue collar workers

Beware, beware: Sting has written a musical, warns Gordon:

The musical is set in the 1980s in the North East's shipbuilding industry.

He said: "It's at the early stages.

"We had a big reading last week with 20 actors. I was very surprised about the emotional response.

"We're thinking about taking it up to Newcastle to workshop it.

"I'm really excited by it."
A musical about working-class men written by a man who uses "workshop" as a verb? Doesn't fill you full of hope, does it?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Juggalos a bug-a-boo for FBI

Tiresome fanbase of tiresome act, the Juggalos, have won official status as a gang. The FBI has upgraded the status of Insane Clown Posse fans from 'think of the children' to 'I think they're up to something':

Unfortunately for harmless fans of horrorcore rap, Juggalos are now officially "of concern to law enforcement," according to the FBI's 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report. Juggalos have been tied to a string of recent crimes, including a shooting in January and the assault of a homeless man last year. "Open source reporting suggests that a small number of Juggalos are forming more organised subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity," the report alleges. "Transient, criminal Juggalo groups pose a threat to communities due to the potential for violence, drug use/sales, and their general destructive and violent nature."
The Insane Clown Posse themselves have tried to distance themselves from people doing crimes under a Juggalo banner, and some Juggalos are even organising a petition to try and get the FBI to change their minds.

Although judging by how the state is reacting to Occupy Wall Street, organising yourself into a protest group to stand up to government isn't exactly going to win you many friends, either.

Global Radio wants BBC to hurry up spreading outdated technology

Ashley Tabor, who runs commercial radio effort Global, has been moaning to the Radio Festival that the BBC isn't pouring enough cash down the DAB drain:

BBC director general Mark Thompson recently confirmed that the corporation would fund the rollout of its national digital multiplex to reach 97% of the population.

But Tabor said the issue of local and regional DAB coverage was still unresolved, something he had spent "all year" raising with the BBC without conclusion.
I suspect there has been a conclusion - the BBC concluding that it's probably best to not take calls from Tabor any more.

Ten years ago, DAB had its crack at being the coming thing, and a speedy roll-out would have cemented its position as a distribution mechanism. But the commercially-funded plans were never fulfilled, and now: well, who would buy a DAB radio instead of one that uses IP radio instead? Is anyone really thinking the pisspoor commercial selection of channels on DAB is going to make a purchase of DAB a better bet? "Oh, why would I want thousands and thousands of audio channels when I could instead have three or four slightly different variants of Capital?"

If DAB had any sort of future, the commercial sector would be rushing to build it and enjoy the riches for itself. Instead, it expects the BBC to fund its distribution network for it.
"What has not been agreed yet is the local and regional layers which are not yet at FM equivalent. That is really important," Tabor told the Radio Festival in Salford on Tuesday.

"Does digital radio have a place in the broadcast ecology? Of course. Does radio have a place in digital? Of course. That's a very different thing to switchover.

"At the moment 68% of listening is still analogue, FM reaches every valley in the country. DAB doesn't. That's a key issue and the funding to build that out still hasn't been nailed yet."
Digital radio, absolutely. Radio as part of the digital world, certainly. But that it doesn't follow that DAB is the delivery mechanism for that. Given commercial radio isn't that interested in making programmes or networks for DAB, and people don't want to buy DAB radios, why try and bully the BBC into building transmitters to link up the two uninterested parties?

The John Peel Lecture: Technology is bad

I'm not sure that a lecture is the best way to memorialise John Peel - Radio One's short-lived Keeping It Peel day of music felt more in keeping than a bloke from a band Peel wouldn't have played for a good two decades standing behind a lectern, talking.

It's even more disappointing that Pete Townshend's debut lecture was little more than yet more banging on of the wailing that the music business has been disrupted by technology; the sort of thing that older musicians were chuntering on about years before Peel's death:

He also argued against unauthorised file-sharing, saying the internet was "destroying copyright as we know it".
"The word 'sharing' surely means giving away something you have earned, or made, or paid for?" he said.
Townshend, clearly, has never shared a joke he heard down the pub, or the name of a great curry house in Bridlington.

He works from the arguable starting point that "copyright as we know it" is a thing that we should weep tears for - and seems to have just completely ignored that alongside the growth of the internet, copyright has changed and grown and still manages to support a fleet of well-paid lawyers and lobbyists.

Still, if Townshend is upset at unlicensed filesharing, he must be delighted that a company like Apple has found a way to actually sell music online, and make money from everyone's labours, right?

"Is there really any good reason why, just because iTunes exists in the wild west internet land of Facebook and Twitter, it can't provide some aspect of these services to the artists whose work it bleeds like a digital vampire, like a digital Northern Rock, for its enormous commission?" he asked.

Apple should employ 20 talent scouts "from the dying record business" to give guidance to new acts and provide financial and marketing support to the best ones, he added.
To be fair, this is a new idea, albeit a potty one. Apple have some sort of moral duty to find work for displaced A&R men? But why only twenty of them? To cover the entire world?

The desperation to try and force the record label model onto digital music is a fallacy of old-school thinking: really, A&R in the sense of coked-up failed drummers travelling as far out as New Cross, trying to grope the lead singers of up-and-coming bands before comparing notes with other A&R men and recommending taking the most conservative route possible is a dying art.

The very digital changes Townshend complains means bands don't need to rely on the dumb luck of an A&R person turning up when they're having a good night, and liking them, and introducing them to a label any more. There isn't the need for that level of intermediaries; artists can go direct to the market and - because the level of investment required to get a recording onto iTunes is much, much lower than that needed to get records into Tescos - they're much more able to self-fund and find their own sales.

It must be scary if a business that you did very well out of has suddenly vanished. It's understandable that you might rail against it. But it's like radio acts suggesting that television broadcast without pictures for a few hours every day. Just because you don't like the new world isn't a good reason to stop it.

Bookmarks: Internet stuff - Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, Moby & Stephen Merritt

How did you spend Halloween? If you're one of Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, Moby or Stephen Merritt, you'd have been on the Craig Ferguson show doing a number from the Rocky Horror Show. The Audio Perv has got it for you to watch.

Gordon in the morning: Quick quiz

Here's a teaser item from the front page of Bizarre this morning. Read the words, and then answer the question: what part has Nicole Scherzinger landed?

Yes, that's right: Nicole Scherzinger is going to play Mary Magdalene out of the bible. In the remake of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Admittedly, the musical does swallow the Gregory The Great line on Mary having been a prostitute, but that was a claim made nearly 600 years after her death and 'getting the part of Mary Magdalene' is hardly the same thing as 'playing a hooker', surely?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Adele: Have a crack at diagnosis

You know what's the best thing to do if there's rumours circulating about a young woman suffering from cancer? Be like Spinner and ask people what they reckon about it:

Adele's throat surgery leads to cancer rumors. Do you buy it?
I think we'd be generous by describing that as "a little misjudged".

Gordon in the morning: Slip them into different sleeves

So the inevitable posthumous Amy Winehouse album bandwagon starts; Mitch and family inviting Gordon to private listen of the unreleased work:

The ex-cabbie could not hide his pride as he listened to the 12 songs, some of which even he had never previously heard.

I joined the family in a West London studio last week for the first listen to the surprise collection.
Not all the family, actually:
Amy's 56-year-old mum Janis listened separately to the collection of unheard material because the emotion of the occasion was too personal to share with others.
Especially the showbiz editor of a tabloid who gleefully recounted and chivvied and exposed and prodded their daughter when she was alive, you might assume.

What the "trove" turns out to be is a collection of covers, recorded across the last ten years or so, along with a few works-in-progress versions of familiar songs and one or two new tracks that sound as if they might be best left to the family:
Between The Cheats, was recorded as the star emerged from her turbulent marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil.
But it gets even more uncomfortable than that:
The most emotional track for the singer's family and fans is her cover of A Song For You, a Leon Russell tune made famous by Amy's favourite artist Donny Hathaway. The song, on which Amy plays guitar, was recorded in a single take at her London home in 2009 as she battled to overcome her addiction to Class A drugs.

Her voice can be heard quaking as she tearfully delivers the lyrics.
The really good news, though, is that this mix of the too personal and the previously discarded is going to be ready for release on December 5th - just in time for the Christmas market.

But it's not totally a cynical cash-in:
The posthumous album will be released on December 5 and £1 from every sale will go to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which is helping children's charities.
As much as a whole pound? That'll really stop it looking like a record rushed out to maximise the cash take, then.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Noel Gallagher comes with ringdings

I know we're not meant to really take Noel Gallagher's forgeyish disdain for modern life seriously, but even so...:

He said: “I just want a basic 1994 Nokia mobile. I can keep it in my back pocket and just do the basics with it – phone and text. What would I need a camera on it for? iPhones are for Cockneys and ****s. And they are far too big.”
How dull must Gallagher's life be if he can't think of any reason he might want to have a pretty good camera in his pocket?

But still, let's take him at his word. He doesn't want an iPhone because they're too big, and all he needs is a 1994 Nokia.

In 1994, Nokia announced the 2110 (it actually started shipping the following year). It weighed 236 grammes, and was 148 x 56 x 25 mm.

The iPhone4s weighs 140 grammes, and is 115 x 59 x 9 mm.

But, hey, if Noel would rather have a phone that does less, and is taller and thicker, and heavier, because it's somehow smaller, that's his choice.

Radiobit: Jimmy Savile

I think we've all, always, taken it on trust that Jimmy Savile - who died yesterday - really did invent twin-turntable DJing. It was certainly a story we heard often enough, normally from him, and like the yarns spun by favourite uncles, we were all happy to believe it might be true.

Mind you, Jimmy Savile could convince us of anything - that he actually had some sort of Old Record Club running in the corner of Radio One; that on days when he was noticeably elsewhere his show was live and in the hands of a hologram version of himself. He even managed to make trundling through the UK countryside on beige seats sipping undrinkable coffee sound exciting:

I think we all knew that Savile's actual technical talents weren't vast, and he benefited a great deal from being in the right place at the right time; his charm and enthusiasm helped carry his career long past the point where those with greater technical proficiency had spluttered to a halt. And his involvement in charitable endeavours never felt like cynical careerism - even during that period back at the start of the 1980s where it was almost impossible to buy a yoghurt without coming across a drawing of Sir Jimmy reminding us about spinal injuries seem motivated by a genuine desire to help.

That's not to say that he had a strong dose of creepy uncle alongside the favourite one: the Sunday Telegraph this morning claims he spent eleven straight New Years Eves with Maggie Thatcher and you'll all have heard the nastier rumours which clung to him. But it says much about how great the affection for Savile was that people could simultaneously believe some profoundly alarming "facts" about him, and be relaxed about him making kiddies' dreams come true on Saturday night TV, without feeling the slightest contradiction.

Even the Louis Theroux documentary, which Theroux seemed convinced showed Sir Jim to be a strange old stick, actually just looked like a man being bothered by a twit who was desperate to know why he didn't conform, dammit.

Jimmy Savile was rather odd, but also something rather wonderful. In another twenty years, we'll have a TV world full of Vernon Kayes and something called A Jeff Brazier who was in Milton Keynes yesterday. Aren't we better off with someone who sleeps in a caravan and spins yarns than an empty suit and an empty grin?

This week just gone

The most-read October stories:

1. Fred Durst lands sitcom; plays "Fred Durst"
2. Dan Treacy is seriously ill
3. Stone Roses have bills to pay, like anyone else
4. Starbucks brings iTunes freebies to the UK
5. Search the web with MC Hammer
6. Mikey Welsh: death foretold?
7. Noel Gallagher warns fans to not expect warmth, interest
8. Coldplay and U2 think being gay is hilarious
9. One Direction tickets sell out faster than you'd hope
10. Charity refuses to be bullied by Simon Cowell

These releases were interesting us this week:

Magazine - No Thyself

Download No Thyself

Deer Tick - Divine Providence

Download War Elephant

Justice - Audio Video Disco

Download Audio Video Disco

Various - Factory Dance remixes

Thomas Dolby - A Map Of The Floating City

Download A Map of The Floating City

John Prine - The Singing Mailman Delivers

Download The Singing Mailman Delivers

Darren Hayes - Secret Codes & Battleships

Download Secret Codes & Battleships