Wednesday, October 09, 2002

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Bono is God edition
Q magazine has drawn up a list of the most powerful people in the music biz, and reckons Bono is the most powerful. Now, of course, there's good reason for this nonesensical statement - "Fat Bald LA exec you've never heard of makes all the major decisions about what you'll hear" is going to be a difficult coverline to sell - but, really, do we need to feed Vox's monstrous ego any further?...

Talking of things we'd like to just stop, now, forever: Now - Mel B and Max, back together, apparently. Oh, god almighty, has she finally come to the conclusion that her grasp on fame has become so slight she can only get the oxygen of publicity by being locked in a destructive relationship? Remember all those think pieces about how positive the Spice Girls were as role models?...

Onto the nme, then, which has the Vines on the front. Just as the Manics have to have the comedy welsh references, so the Vines have to be headlined "Strewth"...

news: "This is the moment" reads the caption on a full page shot "when truancy reached new heights." Um, no, it isn't. That's a picture of two people on a roof - it doesn't really document New York coming to a halt (and haven't we had enough of that to last a lifetime?), but it does suggest that Meg might not be the only White to forego the attractions of support. And we find it hard to believe they were married - surely nobody would turn their back on *that*?. The nme reports that "many" of the 9,000 strong crowd found out about the gig on nme.com, extrapolated from one person who emailed them and said they did.

Isn't playing a gig on a roof a bit corny now, though? Like releasing a single for one day and then deleting it - are you listening, The Music, with your Getaway? Or Liam walking offstage - its bad enough having to go to an Oasis gig, but then to have it turned into a fucking Noel acoustic wank-off seems to be cruel and unusual; shamefully, the nme manages to find space for the trouble-on-boat Mobo story but not the nasty homophobic events outside; less shamefully, but still a bit rum is the apparent belief that Nothing Compares 2U is a Sinead O'Connor song (the clue, you dolts, is in the title); Trucks have dismissed the people who beat them up because of their 'Its Just Porn Mum' song as "five big lesbians" - erm, because lesbians don't like porn, we suppose? - although, more accurately, they were a bunch of schoolgirls. "It's about a kid who wants to watch porn" Mark from Trucks says, justifying himself, "it's not about hardcore anal or anything like that." More's the pity; Jarvis Cocker is given a "bad Monkey" for appearing in the BT advert; the paper tries to work up some sort of hypocrisy charge because the Pulp wouldn't let Nestle for a free CD - although we don't quite see the connection, what with Nestle being targetted by baby milk action and BT not, we think (as we've said before) Jarvis was probably endorsing broadband music downloading as a fuck-off to his former record label; Interpol have been threatened by an old lady weilding an axe - surely that's Courtney Love, isn't it?; Chuck D has called MTV Nazis because they wouldn't play the Public Enemy track calling for freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal - they were happy for the name to be mentioned, but wanted 'free' taken out as "we [MTV] are an unbiased company [and] we felt it was a personal and political position on an individual" - so, no Free Nelson Mandela, then; and presumably that song where Kelly tells Nelly she really loves him - which surely is a personal position on an individual - will be out too, will it?...

the coverage of the robbie deal focuses on his "make america like me, please" begging from Mr Williams. A bloek from Billboard points out that he's sold less than 700,000 albums in the whole of the US, and that all his desperate star-stalking in LA (Marilyn Manson, Ozzy, um, Rachel Hunter) hasn't caused a flicker on his recognition needle. It's no coincidence that Robbie's trying the fame-by-association tactic in the states, since his paling around with Oasis in the UK turned him from the cheeky one out of Take That into the irritating rich cunt he is today. But has he got anything to offer America? Let's hope he packs some humility...

on bands: electric 6 - detroit disco punk and longview - manc shoegazers. (They don't say shoegazers, but you just can tell)...

Erol Alkan is the man who saved the indie club, apparently. Apparently, before Trash, there were no clubs that didn't restrict themselves to the same Big Indie Names. Hmmm, maybe they should have tried travelling beyond London...

Vendetta Red cheerfully admit that they're california skatepunk cliches, so let's move on...

Australia is the new Rock & Roll Continent, apparently. Now, this is just pre-packaged stupid in flatpack boxes. Attempting to suggest that some town may be the burning groin of new music - Seattle! New York! Liverpool! - may just about work; the country-as-crucible claims are more tenuous (Japan, the other week, wasn't it?) but... "the new rock & roll continent"? Please.
Maybe we should offer this revised standfirst instead:
The NME had to pay for writers to fly to Australia to cover the Vines homecoming, so to try and spread the strain on expenses we decided to write up some other bands - including You Am I, in jesus' name - and will do our best to suggest that Australia and New Zealand - an area larger than the whole of the US, plus quite a lot of sea - has some sort of cohesive 'scene'...

"If anyone else asks me if I'm suicidal, I think I'll kill myself" wails Craig Nicholls. Hey, The Vines man - are you feeling suicidal, then? Despite the coverline, it seems that The Vines aren't actually having quite as euphoric a return to Oz as we're meant to believe - "suspicion", "hostile" and similar words pepper through the reportage. We might be being a bit dense, but we can't find a credit for the piece, which may just be an oversight, but is a shame as it's a well written, even handed piece of journalism, marred only by dreadful layout - you get six columns on page 34, then four pages of posters (can you hear the tumbrels? They have Melody Maker poster mags stuck all over them) and a page of Vines pictures, then another six columns, then an ad for Jack Daniels, then another page, and then it concludes thirty pages further on. The nme seems to have forgotten how to present journalism, even though clearly it hasn't lost the knack of writing. And its nice to see Swervedriver getting a small sidebar to themselves, as a result of Craig wearing one of the band's tshirts, although the reference to them not likely to do well during the Britpop Wars is bemusing, since they'd long since given up before the end of shoegazing...

albums - a self-aggrandising review of the nme/war child 1 Love album - Alex Needham gives it ten, which is scandalously wrong. It's a compilation album that has both Darius and Jimmy Eat World on it - who could possibly embrace its entire contents to such an extent? Bah. And Needham's contention that doing an album in aid of War Child is timely what with the imminent Iraq war is dodgy but probably accurate - better start building up the resources to pick up the pieces now, boys. It's curious Oasis are involved, though - thought you couldn't be arsed, boys? Thought you didn't think we could do anything? Thought you were just in a band?...

foo fighters - one by one ("a man who's finally learned to fly", 8);
brave captain (Martin Carr of the Boo Radleys) - advertisements for myself ("best since giant steps", 8);
the delgados - hate ("all you need is hate", 8); apples in stereo - velocity of sound ("vaguely contemporary", 7);
graham coxon (Graham Coxon of The Blur) - the kiss of morning ("an auspiscious manifesto", 8);
the soft boys - nextdoorland ("nothing to spoil their unsullied cult reputation", 8)...

single of the week: the beatings - bad feeling ("a scalding gang chant chorus")
also-rans: simian - never be alone ("call the police")
shaggy - hey sexy lady ("the sid james of pop-reggae")
samantha mumba - I'm right here ("infectious")
disco d featuring princess superstar - fuck me on the dancefloor ("everything is just so...")

live - the coral in newcastle ("only the beginning");
the darkness in King's Cross ("a spirit-sapping ironic take on Queen and AC/DC")'
erase errata in london metro ("stroppy, exciting and confusing")...

and finally, viral marketing has gone mad: a plug for www.rathergood.com/punk_kittens has made it into NMEmail. Is nowhere safe, or shall we prepare for the offer of Viagra next week?


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