Saturday, March 22, 2014

Internet hears death throes in corner; remembers Twitter Music

Twitter Music - which attempted to change the way we... which wanted to... well, which happened - is coming to an end.

Naturally, the death was announced through Twitter:

But don't worry, because this isn't an end, right? No, there's plans. All kinds of plans. They obviously can't tell you too much about them because they don't really amount to much ("only have 140 characters to describe them"):

This basically appears to be pulling together tweets that mention iTunes or Spotify. It's not quite the new world they were expecting, is it?

The Voice: A quick observation

Kylie quits The Voice is the new 'Brucie quits Strictly'.

Supplementary: Nobody seems keen on running 'Ricky Wilson quits Voice; delivers blow to the BBC' stories.

Orange Juice: Why Twitter is an amazing place to be

This alone would be worth excusing that bit yesterday where everyone was pushing a Vogue cover like it was worth looking at:

But the response is jaw-dropping:

You might want to compare and contrast this with the Stereophonics' Mr Writer; it'll allow you to measure the actual distance between an artist and a hack.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Amy Lee no longer encumbered by record deal

There's been a bit of a spat between Amy Lee and her label for the last few months - Lee mostly claiming she'd been shorted on Evanesence royalties. But now? She is free:

What's interesting is the attitude of Blabbermouth commenters under the line.

Some worry that she's not independent enough:
Joe Franklin · Top Commenter · Owner-Operator at Force Ten Productions
Fair enough, but unless she records and produces the music herself and sells CD's out of the trunk of her car, she'll never be truly free and independent.
What's that? She's going to drive around a car? Surely she should build a trolley from wood she grows herself and... oh, hang on, I'm trying to take the piss out of Joe's comment, but I think he's about to trump anything I can come up with. Because someone says this:
Conner O'Reilly · Top Commenter
Joe Franklin There's this thing called the internet nowadays where artists can sell their music directly to the fans, no car trunk required. Crazy concept, I know!
... and Joe responds thus:
Joe Franklin · Top Commenter · Owner-Operator at Force Ten Productions
Did she code the website herself?

"What's that? She did? Oh... but was she using a computer that she'd made herself from components? Yeah, but if she didn't power the electricity herself she's not independent, right," concluded Joe using a laptop he carved out of wood with his own teeth.

Still, the 'you're not really DIY' attacks were mild compared with some other opinions delightful Blabbermouthers chose to share. You might be able to spot a theme:
Fred Frenzel · Top Commenter · Works at Minnkota Enviroservices
You mean nobody wanted to sign a washed-up pregnant lady whose music isn't that good to begin with? I shan't believe it!

Charlie Meister · Top Commenter · University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Maybe this is good news. It really only makes a difference if they put out an album more than once every 5 years. That said, I suppose there's an allowance here for child rearing. Can't wait to hear what's next.

Loco Ono · Austin, Texas
"I'm free to do anything". Porn.

Brian Nallick · Top Commenter
If she's married to a therapist she really doesn't even need a job. Those dudes make the $$$

Brian Oswald · Top Commenter
More like, "Nobody wants to work with me, but I'm too conceited to blame myself." Without a record company, you would be playing state fairs and bars. Go shit out your kid and shut up.
Child rearing. Doing porn. Being a wife. Below the line on Blabbermouth, there are no limits to what a woman can achieve, are there?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kylie, we need to talk

Back when we were nine or ten, we thought it was bloody hilarious to say "sexercises" - we'd wiggle our fingers and chant "sexercises, sexercises, we are doing our sexercises".

We had no idea what it all meant, but it was bloody hilarious.

When you were ten.

Hang on, here's a press release from Warner Brothers:

In what can only be described as the hottest workout video ever, Kylie introduces her fans to the hot and steamy world of "Sexercize."
Oh. But it's not just twitching fingers, is it?
If one video isn't enough to satisfy your cravings for the world's raunchiest workout, let your fingers do the walking to...
Oh, Kylie.

Coming later this year: Kylie launches viral video for new single Milk, Milk, Lemonade, Round the corner chocolate's made.

John Mayer has a dodgy ticker

Terrible, terrible news from the world of people with more money than sense. It turns out when John Mayer was wasting his money buying expensive watches, he was really wasting his money as they weren't even the expensive watches they claimed to be.

Yes, they were two-faced watches. Forbes talks about it like it matters:

Yesterday, the news broke that pop star John Mayer, an avid watch collector, is suing a well-known watch dealer based in Los Angeles – a longtime “expert” in vintage and ultra-high-end timepieces – over seven very expensive timepieces sold to him, which Rolex confirmed as containing “non-authentic” components. Meaning the dials, which are the most important components of sought-after vintage timepieces. After months of trying to sort the situation out personally, Mayer now seeks to recover $656,000, the price of the seven watches allegedly containing non-original components.
You spent over half a million dollars on watches. That's probably the crux of the problem here, not whether one of the springs came from a Timex.

A surprised and baffled Mr Mayer said "hang on... look, there's the time on my phone. I don't really need a watch at all, do I?" before rushing off to finish the deal he's working on to buy Tower Bridge from a man in a trilby and car coat.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jesus dropped from Chris Evans show

Eliza Doolittle turned up to do a tune or two for Chris Evans, and ended up changing some of the words. The Christian Post is outraged:

Doolittle had to change her lyrics from "Sometimes I wish I was Jesus, I'd get my Air Max on and run across the sea for you" to 'Sometimes I wish it was easy to get my Air Max on and run across the sea for you."

"It was weird because I'm not being blasphemous, I just meant 'I wish I could run across water and see you,' but maybe wishing for the power of God was blasphemous enough for them," Doolittle told the Daily Mail in a recent interview over the issue.
It's not clear why this has suddenly become a thing - the show was on at the end of November last year, but never one to object to an unlikely resurrection, an ex-Archbish has piled in:
Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has spoken out against the radio network's decision, saying he is "totally appalled" over the incident. "I'm not surprised the BBC is behind this because their attitude tends to be to dumb down the Christian message."
Is it worth pointing out that the same programme featured - as Chris Evans' show does every day - a couple of minutes of spiritual reflection in the Pause For Thought slot? Probably not.

Is it even worth asking Carey to explain why removing a lyric that hooks one of the miracles held sacred by Christians to a pair of expensive plimsoles in the context of a weak love song is "dumbing down" a Christian message, while including that lyric in the song, presumably, isn't?

And, naturally, it turns out it was Doolittle's label which pushed for the lyric change. Perhaps Carey was just taking the Mail's story on faith alone?

(Side note: Interesting that the Christian Post seems to be unaware that Carey is no longer head of the Church off England.)

Alesha Dixon creates a stink

Alesha Dixon has released a perfume (surely we've used up all possible smells of toilet water by now?). Fair enough, but not sure about the Manchester Evening News claim here:

Pop star Alesha Dixon launches new perfume at Trafford Centre
The Trafford Centre bit is fair enough, but... is she a pop star?

Her last album was three and a half years ago, and got to the giddy heights of, erm, 84. She hasn't troubled the Top 10 singles list since Breathe Slow back in 2009.

Fair enough, she was a pop star once, but not for the best part of half a decade. And I doubt if even the most generous perfume company would be launching a brand off the back of The Boy Does Nothing so late on.

But then 'Game show judge launches perfume' isn't quite such a compelling headline, is it?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Garageobit: Gary Burger

Gary Burger, lead singer of The Monks, has died.

An American band who formed in Germany (all the members were GIs), they threw in "wacky" elements like banjos to keep themselves entertained as they slogged round the German toilet club circuit.

There was a look, too: vaguely Monkish robes and roughly Monkish haircuts:

“We didn’t like it that much, the haircut,” Burger chuckled [in an interview with The Current]. “You had to shave the thing almost every day, or else you’d get a stubble like a guy gets after a day of not shaving. So we all had electric razors—it was a funny sight, you’d see us all in our room shaving our heads.”

Here's the group on German TV in 1965:

The band only recorded one album, but were held in great affection; they'd started to reach a 'rediscovered' period in their story. Burger appeared on the fifth collection of the Minnesota Beatles Project, which uses covers of Fab Four songs to raise funds for local schools.

Gary Burger was 72; he'd had pancreatic cancer.

Journeys to the past when the future was the destination

I suppose, to be fair, the C86 movement were never likely to be confused with the Futurists, but even Bobby Gillespie in his most Byrds-drenched, pre-Bourbon incarnation would have raised a surprised eyebrow at the idea that C86 would get a three CD expanded reissue in 2014.

The extra tracks include some interesting stuff, including a supposedly never-previously-released North of Cornwallis track, but it seems to have stretched the defintion of C86.

But wouldn't you rather all this effort was put into making a C2014?

Roll forward a few years, or perhaps just don't roll back as far, and we find ourselves at a week-long return of The Evening Session, a show which has been revived more often than Beau Geste. This time (probably every time) it's to celebrate Britpop.

Oh, Britpop. It's like Jeremy Bentham's corpse - now that all the life has gone, you're just left with a weird artefact that serves little purpose other than to be occasionally kidnapped and paraded up and down the street, missing the vital pulse that interested everyone in the first place.

Lamacq added: For me, this is the week 20 years ago that the musical tectonic plates shifted. On the Tuesday, Oasis played live on Radio 1 for the first time and on the Friday morning we heard the news of Kurt Cobain's death. It was as if one scene had announced it had arrived, as another began to lose its way."
Steve, you're better than that. I don't think a single person, on hearing the news of Kurt's suicide, thought "that's kind of epochal, what with Oasis having been on the wireless a few days back."

Jo is actually more honest:
Jo Whiley said: "I will always jump at the chance to work with Steve. He is my radio 'other half' and we did fight the Britpop wars together after all. It was a great time to be a DJ on UK radio but, as ever, when you're in the eye of the storm, you are blissfully unaware. It's only in hindsight that you appreciate what a privilege it was to live and work through such an exciting time for British music."
Who'd have thought it was the more excitable one of the pair who remembered that a lot of Britpop shibboleths are coloured by red, white and blue tinted hindsight?

Steve and Jo will be trotting the 'half a pint of cider before the show' anecdote for the 1,000th time as part of a big Britpop disinterment across the BBC.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kiss unhappy at induction process

Next month, Kiss get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - they're told about the fire escape procedure, get to meet their line managers and get given a swipe card that lets them get into the stationery cupboard.

But they're not happy.

They're annoyed that only some Kiss people are being allowed in:

“We have continuing issues with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, starting with the fact that they chose to only induct the original lineup when that’s hardly the case with other bands,” [Paul Stanley] said from Los Angeles.

“In the Grateful Dead’s case, (they) also inducted a writer who never played an instrument,” said Stanley, referring to Robert Hunter’s inclusion when the band was inducted in 1994. “Or they’ve inducted rap artists, or they’ve inducted people who have been in the band for seven years as opposed to ... 25 years or 20 years — whatever their criteria of this week is.”
It does seem, on the face of it, to be unfair. But on the other hand, it's a pop museum and a band who are mostly known these days for squeezing every merchandise cent they can from their fanbase. I suspect the human rights agencies won't be taking many calls on this one.