Friday, April 05, 2002

IF YOU'RE FEELING SINISTER: or maybe just artistic, you can design a new Belle & Sebastian album sleeve and win, well, enormous prizes. Probably. Or at least the grudging respect of your friends and family. Unless, of course, they're part of the now-tsunami like swirl of nay sayers who form the current b&s backlash.
Matador have the competition - watercolours and blunt crayons at the ready

OH, BUCKS OFF: Michael Stipe "removed his glasses and cried" as the jury acquitted Peter Buck on the air-rage charges, says The World At One. So the jury - who I'm sure didn't have Stars in their eyes or anything - have chosen to believe that a man who was coherent enough to yell "I am REM, I can make up a story and get you sacked" was monged out on sleeping pills. Well, that Bono wouldn't lie, would he?

AND NOW, IN TECHNICOLOR: This is perhaps more like what the American industry should be doing - instead of worrying about kids swapping Sleater Kinney tracks over 56k modems, they're now actually looking at doing something about industrial pirating. Unfortuantely, the first major target is... bing! respected music industry company Technicolor. Nothing has been proven yet, but the company are appearing to be about as keen at having their books pored through as a sixteen year old who's got a hidden porn stash.
Meanwhile, although the Natalie Imruglia copy protection hasn't bothered more than the two dozen or so people who've actually bought White Lillies Island, a larger test case is looming. It appears that sliding a copy of Celine Dion's new album into your PC's CD tray will cause your computer to clutch its buttocks and freeze in horror. So far, not unlike the usual reaction on hearing a Celine Album start up. But this is a full-on crash. As we've previously discussed, Philips won't allow anything that breaches the standards set down for the format to pass itself off as a Compact Disc, which means that not only has Celine produced a record that has dubious status as music, but also a CD that isn't a CD at all. Surely there must be someone who'd like to claim their money back from the label?

DURSTBURST: apparently, according to Fred's ill-writted messages, Limp Bizkit are recording in a big pink house. Snurkle... Durst's in Emu's pink windmill, clearly. The album is going to be called Grotbags, we'd imagine. It also turns out his son is called Dallas (setting up the hope that some day he'll have a girlfriend called Debbie.)

PRETTY VACATED: The Charlatans - for reasons they don't want to discuss - have "by mutual consent" pulled the release of We're so pretty, which now will just be made gettable through their official site. Hope it's not a precursor of band-label estrangement...

Thursday, April 04, 2002

I WISH I COULD FLY...: the BBC are currently reporting that "comedians Keith Harris and Johnny Vegas" were at the 24 Hour Party People launch... well, I spose if Vegas works with a stuffed monkey, why shouldn't Orville's better half be allowed in, too?

DEATH COMES AS AN END: Megadeath are splitting up, apparently because Dave Mustaine has buggered his arm in some way. In a way, it's a bit of a shame, although quite why I'm not sure. Probably because it feels a bit like the Queen Mother popping off, in some way - while not upsetting me in the least, it still makes you go "bit of a pity." Like if an unloved but long term neighbour moved away, I suppose. More extraordinarily, his son is apparently called Justis. Hmmm, and Justis for All?
BBC report - but why is your hand ruined, Dave? Why won't you tell us?

J-LO DROPS 'EM: So, Jennifer Lopez has dropped her lawsuit against the people who claimed to have a video of her having (probably wonderfully choreographed) sex. Apparently, her lawyer is now saying that they didn't know if the people involved had a video of her or not, and they just wanted to have a lawsuit on file in case they needed to have one in a hurry. It's not clear what the lawsuit was - defamation? copyright? - and the terms of the settlement are confidential, but the whole episode sounds like there's something out there that the Lopez camp is afraid of hitting the web. Cause if they were certain there was no tape, wouldn't they have just let the case trundle to court, whereupon the defendants would have been forced to show their hand as empty?
Still, what it all adds up to is that Lopez is rapidly becoming the Streisand of our time - a lightning rod for all the contempt hurled at our poor celebs. Scarcely a day goes by when a story doesn't turn up about her being difficult, or having a smelly dressing room, or whatever. Of course, being incredibly rich probably compensates. We quite like that Ja Rule remix thing, too, and her strange little dance where she sticks her hand out and jerks her head twice, from the other shoulder.
sex video lawsuit dropped [bbc] - now, on to the attempts to supress footage of her Oscars hair do...

MAKES OUR EARS GO 'WHOOOOF' WITH JOY: We'd been reserving judgement on The Streets until we'd heard them, and we like what we hear. 'Lets Move Things Forward' is pretty darn good, but perhaps not as original as it likes to think it is (we keep being reminded of erstwhile EastEnder Tom Watt's cover of Subterranean Homesick Blues; made worse by the videos being rather similar, too).
Also going down well: I know its been around for ages, but Puretone's Addicted to Base is still making my face grin until it explodes; Princess Superstar's Bad Babysitter, and that McClusky single is pretty excellent, too.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

or, rather, and mainly, what the nme is up to; if only because tarrying with other titles would mean I'd have the cover (Liam with a crucifix in his mouth, stubble a la George Michael circa three years after it was fashionable and ladies Reactolite Rapides) gooning up at me for longer...

page three is given over to the news that Fisherspooner have signed for a £2million sum to Ministry. Is this an april fool's spoof? Or is it really time for a sigue sigue sputnik revival?...

julian casablancas punched the lights out of someone from his own record company and the band want to hear ryan adam's cover of all of Is This It; Asher D might have a top ten hit while being inside for waving a gun at a traffic warden; slipknot are appearing in this month's Viz; the nme prints a cut out and keep list of emi acts since "any could be due for the chop" - well, yes, nme, but shouldn't you do some journalism and suggest who *might* be in trouble, since you include Kylie in the list, you buffoons; there's nothing cynical at all about the proposed new order remake of world in motion with david beckham - and, of course, nothing to do with a soft way of preparing the ground for ole Mr. Posh's already-recorded album, is it?; the week after the nme stated that it was unlikely the so solids would ever play in the UK again, the nme reports that, um, they're playing belfast; and Muse are planning to release a single in the summer. So that's the long term weather forecast: intensely grim, then...

gossip without names: boyband member being targetted by fading star; superstar sulks after being denied cocaine; frontman now has drugs "deal" with a proper doctor...

on bands: pay as u go cartel - it's the mini so solids; the bellrays - scuzzpunk with singing lady; james yorkston and the atheletes - appears to be classic Thames sitcom Shelley set to music. Not in a good way...

"Mali music is as exciting as punk. This is the first time I've felt I'm part of something that's really going to change music" opines Damon Albarn, apparently not having noticed that Kershaw, Eno, Simon and about three million other people have already been there. Someone send the boy some tapes of Big World Cafe...

the vines are sick. in the head. they say so themselves. Singer Craig got so obsessed with music, he forgot to eat...

cooper temple clause do burn it - sticking add n to (x), kraftwerk and the edible five foot smiths onto their imaginary cd...

"Noise has a lot to do with sex. Women scream when they have an orgasm, so thats why I like riot grrl. Things like Destiny's Child are just repressed sexuality. It happens with boys and men, too. I feel embarrassed for them when I listen to Stereophonics or Coldplay. That's not music for men. It's music for sissies." Ooooh, Alec Empire, you were going so well, then you had to condemn the sissies to a life listening to 'yellow', didn't you?...

but seriously, the fact alec gets a page and a half, while liam gets four sums up exactly how far off the ball the nme has it's eyes these days. And, frankly, Jason Fox is one fox that badly needs hunting down (clever, eh? oh, please yourselves) - had he actually seen the Hindu Times video before he committed himself to describing it as "A clockwork Oasis" - it's some black and white soundcheck-style footage with the occasional flash of the phrase 'Bombs' and 'Pills.' It's not political in the least, although clearly it wishes it was. Fox then describes the album name "Heathen Chemistry" as "heroic", and takes at face value Andy bell's description of it being "like the White album." Clearly, this is a man who came to write a hagiography, and a hagiography he would wring from magic such as an anecdote about Liam throwing up while drinking with Richard Ashcroft, going to watch Travis and so on. Interestingly, Liam describes his audience as "the kids", seemingly unaware that his audience, like the band themselves, are now reaching the age of paunches, of pushchairs, and that they embrace the concept of a gig in the park precisely because it won't end too late, and they can get back before the babysitter gets her boyfriend in the shower. Liam, see, has no ability to process - he still thinks Lydon is cool, because he turns up at awards shows and berates those assembled there, missing the point that Lydon is turning up to accept the awards from the people he affects to deride. Still, at least Lydon used to have it. twenty five years on from the Pistol's punt up the Thames to mark the Silver, Liam is asked to comment on the Golden Jubilee. What will this voice of a generation come up with? "I'll be having a rather large shit that day." Fox reckons Liam *is* rock and roll. And he might be right - rock is a past it, ideas-free, inarticulate irrelevancy right now...

albums: badly draw boy - about a boy ost ("hits the heights", 8); Luke Slater - alright on top ("you need this in your life", 8); pet shop boys - release ("worst album to date", 4); 24 hour party people OST ("if the other two already mean anything to you, don't bother", 8)...

sotw: hoobastank - crawling in the dark ("why paul left s club 7 to join a metal band"); wsotw: flicknife ricksahw - spring collection 02 ("carter usm - only worse")...

live - system of a down in birmingham ("visions of sky-rending apocalyptica"); marianne faithfull in london ("the songs largely ruin one's enjoyment of the evening"); weezer in manchester ("the best stuff's right here")

next week there's a free cd. oh, and a free oasis poster. the week after, a colouring book. Probably.

MOTE AND BEAM: This is from Dotmusic, and might have you choke on your garden burgers:
Former boyband member Ronan Keating has attacked the concept of Pop Idol and Popstars as "weird" and their music as simply "glorified karaoke"
Whereas, Ronan, Westlife were... what, exactly?

SOUNDS LIKE... Yes, of course The Hindu Times sounds like Abba's Does Your Mother Know?, but am i the only person who always is convinced that that Ryan Adams single is the opening of The Dark Side of the Street?

MORE LABEL NEWS: This time, it's sadly not snorting at the excesses of overpaid loonies, but a sniff and a quick wipe of a tear as Earworm call it a day:
hi everyone,
i guess this might act as a surprise that it follows the last mailout so rapidly, well just that some rather important news has just come in... after having hinted at it in recent mailouts and correspondence, the time has come my friends to reveal that earworm grinds to a halt this summer after nearly 6 years of hustling!
when i started earworm, and in fact, enraptured, way back in 96, it was because of a fondness for vinyl, especially the nicely packaged 45. however, despite a thousand other labels still thankfully churning out their wax, sad facts are that we live in a climate where cds are where the money lies, and that releasing a 7" single (especially by a total newcomer) is almost frowned upon from your distributors and others, which i feel is a real pity. it'd be the easiest thing in the world for me to just churn out cd after cd without giving a damn about it, but that's just not what i started earworm to do. i'm chuffed to look back and know that those debuts by electric sound of joy and novak (to name two) were put out (back then, as a gamble almost) on earworm, likwise that the apples in stereo and yo la tengo released their first uk stuff through the label, yet those days seem a million years ago. where once we had the nme, melody maker and others championing the causes of the indie, we now have a solitary comic in it's place masquerading as the nme! (did nick kent and (ocassionally) lester bangs REALLY write for THAT?!) i personally felt handicapped by not being able to afford a press company to side with, to REALLY promote each release, and build upon my humble promo capabilities, a lack of the folding stuff really catches up with you for sure!
anyway, it's VERY easy to get all poncey on you here, but just to say a huge thanks for hanging on in there, there is some 'triffic stuff still to come in the last 3 releases (details below), so be ready for those, but for now just to say a sincere thank you to you all, here's what's to come in the next/final coupla months....
the final singles club 45 by peter daltrey (ex kaleidoscope)
the acid mothers temple triple cd
(hopefully)the last 4 singles which i mentioned last mailout, compiled with all a+b sides AND sleeve and label art as they would have appeared as 45s, compiled onto an affordable price. (even as a cd, i'm as excited about these singles as much as any in the past, all 4 are gems, at least this way, you get to hear them!)
anyway, speak soon, there'll be a further mailout or 2 as the above stuff sees the light of day, cheers, dom.

STEREOPHONICS TO GET BANK JOBS: No surprises that V2, Richard Branson's increasingly unsuccesful attempt to prove he still has the magic touch with the music industry (having flogged Virgin off to EMI ages ago) is in serious trouble, along with the rest of the bearded one's empire. Indeed, things are so dark at the label that half of it has just been signed over to Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which means that half the Stereophonic's label is now owned by a bank. Which seems kind of apt for them, don't you think?
We actually had a certain affection for V2, since their A&R bloke did pop up at Liverpool gigs at times other than when In The City or Radio One held events allowing capital-based wankers to come up in large enough numbers to not be scared. This commitment was only marred by the pisspoor cloth ear the A&R department had as a whole, but, hey, nobody's perfect, are they?

Monday, April 01, 2002

IT'S WHAT SHE WOULD HAVE WANTED: Can anyone explain at the BBC why, when BBC TV continued mainly unaffected by the death of the Queen Mother, the radio services were switched to rolling mourning? If BBC2 can continue with the multi-nasty-death 24 marathon, and BBC Choice can show "comedy", why was Radio One prevented from its usual urban, dance and reggae stylings? And did they really blow an expensive live-from-Jamaica link-up out the water because a 101 year old woman had died completely unexpectedly? And if 1, 3, 4 and 5Live were switched to rolling dead rich person, why did Bob Harris get to carry on on 2? Whispering a sign of respect, is it?

BUT AT LEAST THEY GAVE US AZTEC CAMERA: As if that new Simple Minds single wasn't scary enough (and what on earth is with that? Is this merely Jim Kerr clearing his throat to let Patsy know that he's still around?), The Scotsman is reporting that Deacon Blue have split - again, to allow them to work on solo projects. Ricky Ross is sure that everything he's learned in the last five years will stop this being an embarrassing failure, like his first solo career. That, of course, plopped like a poodle on pesto, causing the band to get back together for warmth and food. I wonder what Ross has learned in the last five years? How not to be shite would be a start.