Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bookmarks: Jubilee

There's a great piece on WFMU's Beware Of The Blog about Derek Jarman's Jubilee; the ironic way that Vivienne Westwood complained about how it was a misuse of punk; why it took until 1986 that it started to hit its targets; and how Jarman probably knew more about the world than Westwood:

perhaps Jarman’s age and experience gave him a bit of perspective, since beyond incorporating all of the then-current punk buzzwords (“No Future!”), he also had the good sense to include elements of what had come before. The original score of the film is composed by Brian Eno, who, even though the first Roxy Music album had come out a scant six years before, was by then something of an elder statesman. Punk is traditionally thought of as a rejection of what rock had become in the early and mid-70s, but it didn’t come out of nowhere, and Eno’s groundbreaking avant-pop was a big influence (not that he ever stopped making waves; the same year Jubilee was released, he was producing Devo’s landmark debut, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!).

Gordon in the morning: Not with a bang, but with a Twitter

Oddly, Gordon has detailed Ian Garland for today's plum job, cutting a pasting tweets between former members of N-Dubz to pad out the 'they've split, then" piece:

Accusing Dappy of misleading his followers, [Tulisa] wrote: "@TheDappy u know my number mate..I dont know urs cus u aint gave it 2 me since u changed it... so dont gass the fans, u wana talk Im here."
I suppose at least they're still following each other on Twitter. Tulisa could DM him, couldn't she? Although perhaps Dappy can't work out how to access them in the new Twitter interface.

Still: N-Dubz officially dead. Scientists now working on a cure for JLS.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spotify insist they are the near-mythical iTunes killer

Spotify is going to outstrip iTunes. In a couple of years. According to Spotify:

Speaking at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Texas, on a music discussion panel, the Spotify and Facebook investor [Sean Parker] said: “If Spotify continues growing at its current rate in terms of subscribers and users, we will overtake iTunes in terms of the amount of revenue we contribute to the music labels in under two years.”
Well, yes. There is a rather large "if" there; there's also a secondary "if" that assumes that new subscribers and users will consume music at the same rate as earlier adopters. There's also a third "if", that this might rely on iTunes staying where it is.

Even so, this feels like the first time a potential iTunes killer out of the dozens that have danced in front of us over the years could actually provide a decent challenge. That has to be good news, right?

Gordon in the morning: Harry Styles is the John Lennon of our age

Yesterday, Gordon Smart tried to get us excited in the idea of some sort of battle for America between One Direction and The Wanted.

It looks like he's realised that they're barely on the same level, and so has cast around for a different trumped-up challenge.

So who does Gordo have lined up for the 'battle' today?

One Direction to beat Beatles

ONE DIRECTION could be on course to achieve something even The Beatles failed to do — land a US Billboard No1 with their debut album.
Apart from being a fatuous comparison because of the very different music markets the bands launch into, Smart's claim suggests a surprising lack of knowledge about The Beatles' early American history. Does Gordon really not know that The Beatles' debut album, Please Please Me, didn't get released in America until February 1987?

I'm not entirely sure if even forcing One Direction to delay the release of Up All Night until 2036 would give us an accurate comparison.

But maybe Gordon meant specifically debut American album release. But if he did, it would still suggest he doesn't really know anything about his supposedly specialised field. Sure, Introducing... The Beatles didn't make Billboard's number one, but it was released on a label, Vee-Jay, struggling under massive levels of debt and a battle royal with Capitol; a restraining order was thrown at the title less than a week after it went on sale and, ten days after the launch of Introducing, Capitol brought out the substantially identical Meet The Beatles, which did go to number one. And was unseated by, erm, The Beatles Second Album.

I guess, strictly speaking, this could mean that One Direction's debut will go to number one in the US while The Beatles didn't, but I think only someone with no understanding of history would think that somehow OD are "beating" The Beatles.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hotels broadcast, dentists don't - official

The European Court of Justice has offered a couple of rulings which helps firm up the rules on what constitutes broadcasting.

An Irish hotel has been told that it does need to pay for a royalties licence, as there are lots of people in its atrium at any one time; Italian dentists, though, no longer need to have a licence if they have music on in the background to drown out the screams of their patients, as the COJ reckons it's not like they're making a profit from the music and it's a private place.

Not clear if this applies to all of Europe; if it does, there might be a number of UK businesses looking to reclaim PRS licences unfairly foisted upon them.

Gennaro Castaldo watch: Game on

Given that HMV has the healthy prognosis of an asthmatic in a dust storm, you might think they'd show a bit of sympathy for rival GAME, which can't persuade suppliers to deliver stock. Not a bit of it:

HMV communications head Gennaro Castaldo added: “We are working hard on our own advertising, PR and promotional activities, including specially-built product zones on, to send a positive message out to consumers so they know we have these titles in stock, and to highlight special deals we may be offering.”
Given how badly HMV managed to fumble the advantage handed them by the closure of Woolworths, Borders and Virgin/Zavvi, you've got to wonder if they really should be so excited by GAME going bottom-up. Apart from anything, doesn't it suggest that flogging computer games from a special shop might be a shit business to be in?

Gordon in the morning: Fighting for America

There's nothing that Gordon Smart likes more than a chart battle. He sees them where nobody else does.

BRITISH music is littered with spectacular chart scraps.

Two of the best kicked off in the last couple of decades with Take That going toe-to-toe with East 17, then Blur battled with Oasis.

Now The Wanted and One Direction are starting to square up — the boybands are locked in a fight to crack the US first, and the war of words is hotting up.
"Cracking the States first" isn't really a chart battle. And it's not even a battle, anyway - One Direction have had a single which trickled in to the US charts at 28; The Wanted have gone platinum in the US and gone top five. Pretending there's still some sort of race to be first is a bit like wondering who'll be the first to get to the South Pole.

Blimey, though: Cameron, One Direction and The Wanted all turning up in America at the same time. America must think we hate them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

David Cameron: Stand and deliver

David Cameron is, it turns out, fond of Thin Lizzy:

David Cameron is, however, unlikely to provoke any cruel titters with his more believable choice: Whiskey in the Jar by Thin Lizzy.

“It has one of the best guitar riffs in the history of rock music,” the Prime Minister says, demonstrating some knowledge of the music in question. “I have it on i-tunes or play it when needing a lift.”
Ah, yes, whenever I need a lift, a jolly tale of a highway robbery and being betrayed by your partner is exactly what I'd choose.

You just know he does air guitar, don't you?

Gordon in the morning: Michael McIntyre asked to stop telling jokes

First, a warning: It looks like Gordon has undergone meiosis:


Anyway, today, the Gordons report on a sense of humour failure:
OFFICE Christmas parties wouldn't be the same if staff were banned from singing Fairytale Of New York half cut.

Michael McIntyre has a similar problem, as he's claimed The Pogues have stopped him using the festive anthem in his stand-up routine.
Actually, it's a Michael McIntyre comedy routine, so that's two sense of humour failures for the price of one.

As ever, the story isn't quite as Smarts pitches it; there's a vague allusion to "their [The Pogue's] people", and presumably only the publishers, not the band, could issue an edict to stop the lyrics being used. And possibly they could only do that successfully for a broadcast or DVD recorded at a gig. But the facts are cloudy.

And there's a good reason why they're cloudy:
Speaking at a recent warm-up gig at London's Soho Theatre ahead of his arena tour, which starts in August, he said: "Last year I was here trying out material before my Christmas show where I did a joke about that Pogues song.

"After that show I got a call from their people and I've been banned from doing that joke."
Yes, you read that correctly: speaking at a recent warm-up gig. Gordon and Gordon have run a news story that's based on part of a stand-up comedy routine.

Hold the front page for tomorrow's big story: Ronnie Barker struggles to buy spare parts for gardening tools.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Embed and breakfast man: Lisa Hannigan

With big thanks to iD magazine's i-N Session, here's Lisa Hannigan on a boat:

[Buy: Passenger]

Westboro Baptist Church take on Radiohead

Having fought successive battles against gays, the Devil, gay devils, devilish gays, people who like gays, people who like devils, Devils' Food, the army, the dead, happiness and their own dignity, perpetually confused hate-geese Westboro Baptist Church have now added Radiohead to their busy schedule of trying to make everyone as miserable as they are.

The Church turned up to protest against the band playing Kansas, on the grounds that they are:

freak monkey’s with mediocre tunes
I like the idea of a church turning up to protest against mediocre tunes. If Noel Gallagher ever goes back to the US, boy, are they going to be busy.

Boston bans the mosh pit

Boston Police seem to be setting out to recreate Footloose, only more messy. After a Flogging Molly gig at the House of Blues, the city has decided that there will be no more moshing in Boston:

According to police, 60 concertgoers engaged in an “aggressive mosh pit dance,” during which people were running and “colliding into each other,” including some who were “knocked to the ground.” No injuries were reported.
So that sounds like a pretty typical mosh pit. Sure, not to everyone's taste, but enter at your own risk, surely?

The cops, though, can't believe that security didn't intervene:
“Dancing is a First Amendment right, but the behavior itself is a violation, especially when it becomes dangerous and a public safety hazard,” Boston police spokeswoman Officer Nicole Grant said.

The city’s licensing board took the matter under advisement after a City Hall hearing yesterday, while the club was ordered to put up illuminated signs saying moshing is not allowed.
If they really want to get involved, couldn't they focus their energies on stopping people talking during the support band?

Gordon in the morning: Bending time and space

There's a textbook example of how Gordon Smart takes a photo and builds a totally made-up narrative this morning. He's got a shitty long lens photo of Matt Smith and Karen Gillan emerging from a Spanish Burger King.

This, then, is a sign that two people have popped in to a Burger King, right?

Er, no:

DOCTOR Who stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan snubbed the local cuisine while filming in Spain ... in favour of Burger King.
Going to BK once doesn't actually constitute "snubbing the local cuisine". It might be a quick meal in a busy day, but it doesn't say anything about what they eat the rest of the time. They might be eating paella for breakfast, dinner and supper. Eating at a burger bar does not mean anything is being 'snubbed'.

What makes it worse is that Smart creates a made-up quote to try and turn this from being a made-up story into being one of those fact-checked stories he told Leveson he publishes:
An insider said: "They might have been in Spain but it was fast food they were after."
An insider from where? That's about the level of a middle-ranking contestant on Catchphrase saying what they see, isn't it? Admittedly, it's Gordon showing that his "story" is barely stretches to fourteen words, but even so...

Of course, the real story is 'paparazzi fail to get any shots of stars doing something they shouldn't, story runs anyway'.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bookmarks: Django Reinhardt

Django Reinhardt spent the Second World War in Paris. Jazz saved his life, even as it cost others theirs, explains Sociological Images:

Reinhardt, then, survived because the Nazis loved jazz music, even as Hitler censored the music and, on his orders, people who dared to listen to, dance to, or play it were encamped and members of the groups who invented it were murdered. Irony indeed.

Gordon in the morning: Pushing the Panther

What, exactly, is the link between Gordon Smart and unbroadcast comedy pilot Walk Like A Panther? He seldom misses a chance to go on about it; yesterday he had Sean Pertwee on his XFM show and got him to talk about his role in the programme; this generated a story which has gone into the paper today:

KASABIAN frontman Tom Meighan was so nervous making his acting debut he was sick before filming.
Speaking on my Xfm show yesterday, Sean Pertwee, his co-star in new comedy drama Walk Like A Panther, said:

"You have to admire Tom. It was intimidating for him joining experienced actors on a film set. He was great though."
Smart gives an awful lot of time and space to a programme that hasn't even been picked up by a broadcaster, doesn't he?

The piece ends on this optimistic note:
To hear Smart On Sunday again, download the free podcast on iTunes.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A little Composure

It's a year to the day since the tsunami which destroyed so many lives in Japan.

Composure is an ambient techno album which is raising funds for Living Dreams, a charity helping those orphaned by the tsunami:

Mindgames reached out to artists who have played at the Labyrinth festival ― friends who have a deep love and respect for the country and people of Japan ― and asked them to contribute music in honor of the survivors and to help in the process of rebuilding. Their music has been compiled into this double-cd release simply titled “Composure”.

To help us all maintain calm and heal tired nerves, the music is all ambient in nature. Maintaining one’s composure in a time of crisis is not easy, but meditative music is one tool that we can all turn to for assistance.
If you have a few quid to spare, it's worth it musically and does some good in a bleak world, too.

Discobit: Jimmy Ellis

Astonishing to think that The Trammps - whose singer, Jimmy Ellis, has died - managed three R&B chart hits, and nothing at all in the mainstream top ten in the US.

But you can't argue with this:

Jimmy Ellis was 74; he died on Thursday in South Carolina.

6Music at 10: New schedule

First, I suppose I ought to acknowledge that having some quibbles with the 6Music schedule is a small matter; that we're lucky to have a station within whose schedules we can find fault.

But the arrival of Gilles Peterson on Sunday feels a bit curious. I suspect if he'd left Radio 1 a couple of years ago, he'd have moved to a late-night slot on Radio 2 rather than heading to 6, but with Bob Shennan on notice to stop Radio 2 getting younger, 6 it is.

I like Peterson's show, and it does feel like a boost to the line-up. But if the idea is about making it easier for 6Music listeners to find music beyond the guy-with-guitar stereotype of the nation, how does that square with the Sunday changes which see the Freakzone shunted further back into evening to make room for the good-but-hardly-challenging Tom Robinson programme?

Is 6Music wanting its audience to be discovering strange new things, which would suggest Peterson on Saturday afternoons is in the right place, or does it not, which is what the shoving off of the Freakzone implies?

Or do 6Music listeners have only a limited capacity for non-guitary music?

It's a puzzle, but not as puzzling as this line:

Liz Kershaw continues to front Saturday lunchtimes from 1-3pm

Downloadable: Lambchop

Also free, also from Amazon: Lambchop's Gone Tomorrow

Downloadable: Sharon Von Etten

You'll possibly already have this, but just in case: Amazon are giving away Sharon Von Etten's Leonard for no money at all.

This week just gone

The most-read stories about 6Music across the last ten years:

1. BBC Trust saves 6Music
2. The Economist embarrasses itself with 6Music/Absolute comparison
3. George Lamb finally chopped
4. Tim Montgomerie calls for 6Music to be closed so that 'everyone feels the pain'
5. The Freakzone gets cut again
6. Will the BBC axe 6Music anyway? (Spoiler: they didn't)
7. Planet Rock offers berth to Bruce Dickinson
8. Dave Pearce turns up on 6Music
9. Telegraph exclusive: 6Music to become Radio 2Extra
10. 6Music shares Sony nominations with rotten Bono poem about Elvis

These releases were interesting:

The Magnetic Fields - Love At The Bottom Of The Sea

Download Love At The Bottom Of The Sea

Julia Holter - Ekstasis

Download Ekstasis

The Jezabels - Prisoner

Download Prisoner

Sinead O'Connor - How About I Be Me And You Be You

Download How About...