Saturday, December 13, 2014

Scott Stapp is very unwell indeed

It's a bit unfair that the headlines on the Scott Stapp story this morning focus on his threats to kill President Obama, which appear much more to be a symptom of some sort of mental illness rather than a genuine intention to take out the president. It's like hearing about someone with two broken legs and running a "Man refuses to go for a walk" headline on it.

Stapp appears to have developed a thing about Obama who he blames for pretty much everything:

"In 2012 I was doing a promotional tour for my book 'Sinner's Creed' and went on Fox News and expressed a little concern and disappointment with President Obama. Within two months of that public statement, that's when the IRS began to freeze my accounts," Stapp said. "I believe that the IRS situation is definitely a result of me expressing my dissatisfaction with President Obama. Absolutely, 100 percent."
If the IRS froze the accounts of every blowhard who went on Fox News to bitch about the president, they'd have to increase the workforce at Constitution Avenue to include the rest of the population of America. It's more likely - since Stapp also believes that someone else has been syphoning cash off his accounts - that the people who should have been looking after his tax affairs weren't.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Shazam try to shift from identification to playing

You know what you should do when you do one thing really, really well?

No, Shazam, it's not try to expand into doing things other people already do, but better:

That’s a trend that’s been underway for a while, but was emphasised yesterday with a relaunch of Shazam’s music features. They include even more focus on the app’s news feed, with music news and song recommendations based on each user’s past tagging habits, as well as exclusive live sessions and interviews.

The app’s dedicated music player also has more priority in the redesign, complete with the ability for users to sign in to Spotify to listen to tracks in full within Shazam’s iOS app, with Android to follow. This matches the existing integration with Rdio, incidentally.
What is the point of that? "Hmm, I wonder what this song I'm listening to is. Oh, it's Stiggy Bates and Never Touch Me There. Oh, and I could play it now, so I could actually listen to this song I'm already listening to, but pay for data on top of it. What a brilliant idea."

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Slayer rescue a kitten

You heard. Slayer rescued a kitten:

The band's publicist Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald explained: "Last night Kerry [King] and some of the crew went to dinner at Kerry's favourite steak house in Indy, St. Elmo's Steak House.

"Afterwards, the assistant tour manager, Jess [Cortese] saw a homeless man on the street who offered up this little kitten for a dollar. The kitten apparently was freezing so Jess took it, slept with her in her bunk on the bus and went to the venue with her today, hanging out.

"One of the runners knew someone who wanted a kitten, so the little guy now has a new home where he or she currently is."
The part where this story is a little less heartwarming is what happened to the homeless person, who also, presumably, would have been freezing.

Grooveshark is convinced it's coming back stronger

It's Groovesharknado. Or possibly Groovesharknado 2. Or maybe 3.

Yes, beleaguered music upload-file-sharing-streaming type site Grooveshark is going to be reborn next year as a legitimate, licenced streaming service. Americans who want a streaming service, but for some reason haven't signed up to a streaming service, will be able to sign on for ninety nine cents a month.

Ninety Nine Cents A Month. For unlimited music.

Given the complaints about the size of royalty cheques which come from Spotify, at that pricepoint Grooveshark will be needing to use standard form to issue payments.

Morrissey backs down from head-to-head with The Queen

Channel 4 still broadcasts an alternative Queen's Speech every Christmas Day, a hangover of the time before it was all Hollyoaks and upcycling. This year, they invited Morrissey to do the talk - presumably on the grounds that his last semblance of genuine radicalism vanished at about the same time Channel 4 lost theirs.

Still, Mozzer must be relishing the chance to finally go eye-to-eye with Her Maj, right? Look, he's just opened the invite and he's sitting right down to start his speech... hang on, no, this isn't a speech... it's a... no thanks letter:

My view that the monarchy should be quietly dismantled for the good of England is reasonably well-known, but I don't think Christmas Day is quite the time to be trading slaps. The Queen should be allowed the impassioned trance of her annual address to the British people, if only to once again prove that, in her frozen posture, she has nothing to offer and nothing to say, and she has no place in modern Britain except as a figure of repression; no independent thought required. The Queen very well might be the most powerful woman in England, but she lacks the power to make herself loved, and the phony inflation of her family attacks all rational intellect.

All over the world highly civilized peoples exist without the automatic condescension of a 'royal' family. England can do the same, and will find more respect for doing so.
So let's just get this straight, Morrissey: you reckon that The Queen is the manifestation of an abhorrent institution, but don't want to call her out because you don't want to spoil Christmas.

What a plastic revolutionary.

"Ooh, we could have them all in tumbrels by midnight, but it looks a bit chilly out."

"The Crown could be on its knees today, though having said that it is Thursday and we don't want to spoil EastEnders for them, so maybe tomorrow."

"I'd love to storm the place with you, but I've got a spa booked this afternoon."

But even while he was turning tail and showing us where his spine would have been, he still manages to overestimate his own importance. The idea that he'd been trading blows with Elizabeth would be amusing if he probably doesn't believe she'd have started her speech "Morrissey has a thing or two to say about me, but I won't be silenced..."

Monday, December 08, 2014

Band Aid 30: We let in light, and we banish Macca

Apparently, there are some people upset that Paul McCartney isn't on the new Band Aid single. (He wasn't on Band Aid II, either, but that wasn't, as far as I recall, a "thing").

Bob Geldof is trying to explain why, in what sounds more like a desperate bid to remain invited to McCartney's Boxing Day Cluedo party than any real concern about the spat:

Asked why McCartney wasn't involved by the Daily Mirror, he replied: "Because Macca's always done stuff. He was in the band in 2004 - him, Radiohead and Damon [Albarn].

"But look, on this we've got from the newest to the hippest to the oldest... and he hasn't made the cut, what can I tell you? The thing is, there's only so many lines, so what do you do?
Remember, this is a record which found space in the vocals for Zoella, a video blogger, and her brother, who is thatcher with a YouTube account.

Also: Seal. If you can find space in front of a microphone for Seal, the suggestion that there might not be room for McCartney starts to look a little odd.
…Then it's who's happening in America - that's really important as sales are quantifiably more over there. Ellie Goulding, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Coldplay, Sam Smith, U2... all these people are caning it in America."
Yeah, because The Beatles, famously, never had an American fanbase.

Still, you can't fault Bob's logic in packing the record with America-friendly stars, for how else would he have managed to get the record to, erm, number 63 in the US charts.

Sam Smith waves his fists at "critics"

The extraordinarily ordinary Sam Smith is seeing his success as one in the eye for "critics":

"I remember my first Shepherd's Bush Empire gig, and at that point I'd had two number-one singles, the Critics' Choice Award and the Sound poll, and critics were just waiting to pull me down. At first, that made me upset, but as I've been doing this for the past year, I've started to realise that you're never going to please critics because they're not Sam Smith fans. The only people you can really impress are those who really want to come and see you play. The majority of critics are being paid to watch you perform, they don't actually want to see you sing, so I can't expect them to like me."
Just re-read that quote. He won an award, from critics, called the Critics Choice award, and then says 'well, you're never going to please the critics'.

Smith's entire career is based on getting two awards, both voted for by nobody but music critics. Sure, there's plenty of reason there to lambast critics for their bland taste, but to suggest that somehow his sales have been in the face of staunch criticism is rewriting history a little.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

New artist alert: Molly Wilkinson

So there's a lot of music demanding your attention at the moment, and you might have missed Molly Wilkinson, who slid out a beautiful guitarry-with-smidge-of-electricity a short while ago. Oh, and the voice. The voice.

Look, you could listen to it here, but it's only a fiver so why not buy the thing, eh? It's excellent.

This week just gone

What people read this week:

1. Scott Stapp's wedding from 2006
2. Simon Bates dumped by Smooth
3. Ongoing collection of best of lists
4. Jo O'meara would do it again, where 'it' is being racist
5. Rolling Stone were impressed by that U2 record
6. RIP Gravenhurst
7. Robbie Williams launches a Christmas surprise
8. Indiegogo find way to upsell crowd funding
9. Scott Stapp's engagement from 2006
10. Madonna annoyed as new record spills online

This was interesting, all these records coming out:

Parquet Courts - Content Nausea

Download Content Nausea

Wilco - Alpha Mike Foxtrot

Download Alpha Mike Foxtrot

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - See The Fire

She & Him - Classics

Download Classics