Saturday, August 10, 2002

EMPIRE STATE HUMANS: Our puzzlement over I Am The World Trade Centre has been sorted out for us, thanks to becky and this piece from Magnet:
I Am The World Trade Center: The Tight Connection
Dan Geller and Amy Dykes had no idea what the name of their musical collaboration would one day connote. When the released their debut, Out Of The Loop (a collection of coy, laptop-recorded pop), last summer, the world was a different place. One national tragedy later, the duo continues undeterred, name intact. Whether Geller and Dykes felt the need to step things up to justify this bold decision is unclear, but The Tight Connection grooves to a somewhat different beat. From the opening synth squiggles of the album's first track, "The Postcard" (a new-wave/disco treatise on love's vagaries and hurt-so-goodness), there's a statement being made: A band with this name must have a purpose. The way-cute, we're-just-messing-around-with-our-computer feel of Out Of The Loop is missed, but The Tight Connection gives a crisper picture of the duo at work. Geller's beats and loops play beneath Dykes' new-found diva self-assuredness. That they have the confidence to cover - and nearly pull off - Blondie's "Call Me" speaks volumes. Sure, IATWTC may still be the prototypical indie-rock dance band (Geller co-founded the Kindercore label), but listen to the wistful "California Dreaming Again" and the funked-up "Dancing Alone" and try not to shimmy in your shoes.

Though I think the review raises as many questions as it answers - if they were called IATWTC before "the World Trade Centre" became a mass grave, why should the name suddenly mean the band must have a purpose? If we think back to September 10th last year, didn't the fact the Americans had chosen to call an oversized office block in New York The World Trade Center have a whole bunch of conotations all of its own? Isn't it possible that an artist who founded a label called Kindercore may have settled on their band name for pretty much the same reason Al Qaeda or whoever had targetted it for attack, that the name could have been seen as the ultimate arrogant declaration; the most obvious piece of Western Capitalism's symbolism?
Whatever, if it had been us, we'd have changed our name. Rule number one of band names is: never have a name that will obscure your art. And in I Am The World Trade Center, they've got a monicker which will black out the music for all time.

ROCK SICK NOTE: We've already had Julian Casabalancas and his wobbly leg - he had to play sat down during the Strokes gig the other night; Noel's injuries from the taxi crash were described as "more chronic than first believed" by Six Music (more chronic?). Now, is reporting one of Spiritualized has gone down with "blood cancer." In a misplaced burst of "he's only the drummer", the site says merely he's the percussionist rather than giving his name. No other details yet.

Friday, August 09, 2002

AND NO SOONER HAD WE SAID: There we were, talking 'bout Women In Rock, and bling! Ladyfest London 2002 materialises. Bearing in mind Beth Orton's comments on Lilith Fair (" If I'm being honest, I can't really see, politically, what it was about, other than being a gimmick. At the end of the day, people were just saying, 'Yeah, it's just a bunch of birds on stage.' Even I was saying that. It was kind of a cliche"), anything that brings together Chicks on Speed, Flamingo Fifty and Mika Bomb (amongst others) can't be a totally bad thing, can it?

TEN: Ten polls that claim, against all evidence to the contrary, that Bohemian Rhapsody is the greatest single of all time:
1. Channel 4 Music of Millennium poll
2. Air Guitar chart
3. Dutch radio 2 all-time top 1000
4. poll
5. Guiness Book of Hit Singles poll
6. Lithuanian All-time chart
7. BBC radio 2 Jubilee chart
8. Top 100
9. Poptastic 1999 Poll
10. RTV all-time vote

BLEEPGRRRL: Or, the sound of self-defeat as mild discomfort over magazine's attachment to DJ Rap leads to foundation of a 'women in electronica' movement. As a tribute - presumably - to electronica's bake and take po-mo mixed-upness, the foundign statement chases itself round and round in knots about how, you know, the creation of separate spaces for women is a kind of cop-out, but, you know, there's a need for women to be treated as not an amorphous blob with a label 'women in electronica', so, um, we're creating a site for women in electronica... and so on.
The thing is, however much editor tara might brislte at it, the dj circuit is dominated by mainly ugly, mainly a little too old, usually bald men; the rave scene did quickly move from 'hey, peace and love' to 'get your tits out, love'; clubs in the UK quite often tend to be owned by men who aren't afraid to lean on people to get their way; from our experience, the work of women promoters and djs is undermined by the way some of their sisters decide to make use of Wonderbras to push themselves forward, making it harder for others to be taken seriously. With this sort of background, the question 'How is it being a woman in an industry dominated by men' might be uninspired to the point of obviousness, but surely isn't invalid? Of course, using that as the hook for a piece doesn't do anyone any favours, but it is an aspect of the experience that's probably as interesting for the general reader as finding out what slipmat she uses.
The boards area at pinknoises seems to function in a slightly more positive way - more akin to Riot Grrl than the Dworkin-quoting recasting of the Women In Rock archetype that the official areas can fall into being. The thing about Riot, of course, was that it worked best when it just happened to be grrls helping each other; it struggled when it became self-aware and stopped offering a critique of society to become a commentary on what it was doing. We heartily endorse what pinknoises offers, but wonder about the tone in which it does what it does.

I DON'T: After this week's top ten funeral tunes, Music Choice have compiled a top five of the worst possible choices of music guaranteed to make wedding guests cringe. Top answer was Chris DeBurgh's Lady In Red, followed by Hear'Say's Pure and Simple; Gareth Gate's Unchained Melody and Everything I do... by Bryan Adams.
While this kicking of scmaltz is encouraging, we'd like to hold off our delight until we find out what people actually are getting married to.
Our first dance was Fade Into You by Mazzy Star, you know.
Life imitates 6Music advert [Sky News] - "it's Will all the way for us" is no step forward...

THE HYMEN WORKAROUND: So, what do you make of the news that Britney is taking a three month break from everything, and then some more time - up to two years, some reckon - from music? They're saying she's tired, poor lamb, but we suspect this is an attempt to finally get away from the 'not a girl/not a woman' problem - some time away will give a chance for her publicity to catch up with her biology, won't it? She can return, no longer untouched, and we can all forget about having to pretend that she's the only 21-year old virgin in the music industry.
Best news ever for Mandy Moore [BBC] - and making a movie about stock cars never hurt Elvis, did it?

MORE GOOD NEWS FOR THE BPI: New DVD standards to allow faster duplication of DVD-R. Want illegal copies of that Charlatans DVD? Why wait? (nb: we are being satirical. stealing copyrighted material is theft and wrong)

WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?: BPI, you're a fine industry body, and we love you very much. But you're living in a world of make-believe. With flowers and bells and leprechauns, and magic frogs with funny little hats. It seems the BPI - who you might remember aren't a government body, but little more than a Chamber of Commerce found out that EasyInternetCafe had CD burners on its machines. Of course, the simple fact that this is merely the 21st century version of the disk drive was lost on them, and they saw a world awash with illegal music downloads being copied to CDs - and, afraid that Mick Hucknall might not eat again as a result, "confronted" the cafe. The cafe invited the BPI in and, rather generously we think, offered to come to a cash settlement to make good any losses the BPI might have felt their members had made as a result of MP3s being stored on their machines. The BPI asked for a million pounds, or the equivalent of fifty-five thousand albums at full price. Which really exposes nothing so much as the complete lack of grip on reality the BPI seems to have these days. Easy suggested they weren't going to pay - the BPI then came back with an offer of £100,000 (which seems to suggest they were just trying it on in the first place). Easy are offering a still royal-sounding £26,000, mainly because they don't want to get involved in a pointless court case.
What we can't help wondering is why the BPI is being allowed to act as judge, jury and arbiter in this case anyway - surely if there is a dispute here, one of the royalty collection societies should be asked to mediate. Isn't that their area of speciality?
BPI choose a figure, double it, and then add some more [ZDNet] - It wasn't the BPI who visited the Gallaghers in their Manchester dressing room, was it?

YOU REALISE ULTIMATE MEANS FINAL?: How to mark the fourtieth anniversary of the Beatles? How about the same way every bloody anniversary has been marked, with another compilation of the same tracks, again? Strangely, that's what the plan is. This is being touted as the 'ultimate' Beatles' compy - which makes you wonder what they'll do in ten year's time - and, for some reason, will have fifty tracks on. 40th anniversary - 50 tracks? Can you see what they've got wrong there?
Can't they just put the White Album out again? [NME] - this ultimate Beatles album not to be confused with 1, 1962-1968, The White album...

AND NEXT, CULTURE CLUB RE-RELEASE THE WAR SONG: Nice to see - as the world rumbles slowly towards war behind George W, obedient and uncomplaing as K9, that finally some musicians are getting their heads together enough to use their platform to try and do something about it. Of course, George Michael got there first (doesn't that say something shaming about the current indiecrop?) but now 3D has stepped up to the Mic, too, in a post to the Massive Attack board. In what the NME headlined as Massive Attack star calls on UK acts to oppose war on Iraq through NME - both syntactically mangled and self-agrandising at the same time - 3D suggests that bands club together and take out an advert in the pop paper stating their opposition - which is an excellent idea; hopefully it'll also provide a hook for the paper to run a piece on Iraq as well - I'm sure Mark Thomas would be happy to write a background bit if they asked him. And while, of course, it's hugely unlikely that some bands' advert in the pop papers would stop Bush, it might energise some nme readers to get involved in anti-war things.
Talking of which:
Znet's Iraq watch
In These Times - you mean we haven't been at war with Iraq?
Guardian Iraq weblog

We now return to our normal programming, taking the piss out the music industry...

MAN O MAN: In celebration of their first Radio Three session last week, and the news that a new album is in the offing, we could have written a load of stuff about how great Half Man Half Biscuit are, were, and ever shall be, but since tangents has already done the job splendidly, we'll let them do it instead, pausing only to offer a quote from the great band:
Here comes the boy across the road
he says he shares our obsessions
and he'd like to join in on the session
and the others aren't arsed either way
so I say.... [dramatic pause]

BECKY BAMBOO - AT A GIG NEAR YOU: Erm... if you live in California, anyway...
man, I *hate* getting to a concert too early. especially since I don't drink or smoke.. I have nothing to do with my hands other than jot down catty notes in my little purple notebook about people and their (lack of) fashion sense. the black frames and short sleeved striped polo shirts were out in force... and dude - what is with the resurgence of the white boy fro? did I miss the memo on this?
anyways. the first band up was hudson river school. I'm not terribly good with genres. where does emo end and power pop begin? and what's wrong with just calling it rock? I don't understand. I like to simplify things by having 3 categories: crap, okay, and wow. HRS is squarely in the okay category. I wouldn't turn them off if they were on the radio and they could probably grow on me if given the chance, but there were no "wow" moments.. nothing that distinguishes them from the crowd.
deathray davies on the other hand, edged far enough towards "wow" to make me pay attention. I'll admit I was predisposed to like them because of the raves of some internet friends. that, and they had a theramin! that automatically raised their coolness factor by 12. scientific fact. cos theramins rock ass. they played loud and fast and looked like they were having fun. I bought 2 of their cds and have been seat dancing all day to them.
then came superdrag. again with the wow. I'll admit to not being the biggest superdrag fan - I only have 2 or 3 of their cds, but this performance definitely convinced me to pick up a couple more. they were very energetic and kept cracking jokes about emo and emo kids. (sam: "that's the part of the song where I usually breathe fire. but that's not very emo." john: "it is if you cry while you do it." snort.) they have great, catchy tunes and are a lot of fun live.

Moby resorts to calling Eminem a poofter - next week: Eminem releases single "I know what I am, what are you?"

Thursday, August 08, 2002

SOMEWHERE IN CHINA: A nice report on Reuters about the reaction of the Chinese government to the popularity of Flower Four, a Tawianese boy band. Dissident Hou Dejian claims that Peking is afraid of the power of pop because "they are convinced there was a direct relationship between pop culture and the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe." Now, that sort of power Slipknot would probably wash for...

NEW PINK FLOYD: While the Human League might be lauded by topping the TV Cream chart and providing the soundtrack to Punto adverts, there was always a lot more to the band than the stuff you hear at schooldisco. The forces behind the wonderful blind youth site, which documents lovingly the prehistory of the futurists, have lined up an album pulling together the rare early recordings of the group. The Golden Hour of the Future - stuff by a band you know, but won't have heard - is out next month
Track listings and so on - tell 'em we sent you. Or don't.

Y'ALTERNATIVE ahem HOE-DOWN: Quick plug for the free-and-not-free one day celebration of Americana at the rather fine Masque venue in Liverpool on the 31st; Witness are headlining and the Havenots, Hokum Clones, Violet Hour and others are all invovled; its in aid of CND, too - more details at the americana-uk site, whose anniversary the event celebrates.

THE SALES PUSH: Well, who knew that something more unpleasant than Discovery Health Channel's constant baby shows would force its ugly head out? But the heartwarming news that Brandy's brother is going to sample his sister's labour moans on a forthcoming single probably takes a step further, don't you think? Now, what we know about childbirth includes the phrase "loses control of bowels", so this might be the first mainstream scat single ever...
Eventually, the natural follow up to J T'aime [Ananova] - lets hope nobody gets the black box tapes from Aaliyah's last flight

WHEN TWO TRIBES GO TO WAR: Fight! Fight! Fight! EMI is taking on AOL Time Warner over EMI's belief that - oh, irony of ironies - AOL has been stealing music from them. Oh, yes, turns out the home of Warners has been happily playing EMI tunes over a range of their media outlets without actually paying for it, or even asking first. The BBC is handy for the fine detail, but it basically boils down to AOL assuming that a deal cut between Turner and MGM/UA years ago would allow Turner's new owners to use songs from MGM UA films - rights in which now live with EMI - with no further need to license. You'd have thought the company responsible for onestoptrax, a music rights clearing project, might have checked its own house was in order, wouldn't you?
Let's remember the words of Richard Parsons, co-COO of AOL Time Warner before the Senate Commitee on the Judicary in April 2001: "In the end, I think, anyone who wants to be part of a business involving copyrighted material must respect the copyrights of others, not merely out of respect for the law, but out of the simple requirement of survival." We're assuming you're not going to have perjurered yourself, Richard, so we'll expect to hear your resignation landing on a desk soon, shall we?

THE OLD ONE HASN'T FINISHED YET, YOU KNOW: For no good reason, here's a user's guide to the various new/old Kylies, as nominated by various parts of the press and media over the last couple of years. We start with the various 'New Kylies':
Dannii Minogue
Holly Vallance
Wendy James
Vanessa Amorossi
Tina Cousins
Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Billie Piper
Milla Jojovich
Natalie Imbruglia
and then there's...
Ayanda or Bianca from South African Popstars - South Africa's Kylie
Kim Wilde - the 80's Kylie
Sonia - the northern Kylie
Olivia Newton-John - the 70's Kylie
Nicole Kidman - the cinema Kylie
Felicity Kendal - the, um, Kylie of the buttocks
Gemma Hayes - Ireland's kylie
Paula Rubino - Mexico's Kylie
Stumpinski - Eastern Europe's Kylie
and, erm... Kylie Minogue

To misquote Niles Crane, congratulations Marshall on completing your transformation from serious artist into performing bear.

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT POP PAPERS: A rather fine history of the music press over at the New Republic, although being a stupid, stupid pedant I have to point out that Sounds went about ten years ago, not last year (I guess they mean Select) and Smash Hits was never a monthly, but - hey - I'm getting help with my clinging to fact problems. (As much of the content of No Rock will attest, I'd guess).
Wonderful is the recollection of David Hepworth's year-zero memo: "It is my intention to reverse the entire direction of [popular music publishing] in favor of entirely trivia...." although, to be fair, the Smash Hits of Logan, Hepworth and Ellen was trying to mark itself out in a market which had four 'serious' music weeklys, and a clutch of in-depth monthlies. I suggest that Hepworth's attempts to run counter to industry wisdom was supposed to carve ver Hits a niche, and not flood the market with sock-colour type questions.
Of the future, writer Martin Edlund suggests that the hyperlinked age doesn't need 7,000 word reviews - just the seventy to make people want to download (in short, his theory is that it takes a whole mess of newsprint to persuade someone to get the bus to the shops, buy an album, come home and try; it takes only a few words to get the same person to type a name in an MP3 search engine). This, of course, is true, but it doesn't really get to grips with what people want from a music paper - its interesting that Mojo and Uncut are doing (relatively) well, while the papers that chose to pare down reviews (NME, Melody Maker) are the ones which are feeling the earth crumbling under their feet. Edlund suggests that faced with people's access to a "celestial jukeobox", the papers can use the freedom from the need for depth to carry more reviews, casting a broader net. Well... that's one way of looking at it. But a review, surely, can do more than just have a 'buy/don't buy' element to it - when I talk about music with my friends (yes, yes I do - several, in fact) I don't go "It's quite good, it has the single on, seven out of ten"; and while there are many - too many - releases which do deserve little more than a scant nod, many more repay closer inspection. There has to be room in the market for people who want to see music as a part of culture worth more than being weighed up on a 'what's it worth' basis, surely?
BY THE WAY: Originally found the link to the article on double americano, which I've just come across thanks to... well, a chain of blogs and stuff, of course.

MILLER TIME: Steve Miller, talking about being promoted by Clear Channel in Billboard: "As the 1990s went on, Clear Channel came in, and things started getting real crazy, real quickly. I looked up one day and said, 'Who are these guys doing 11 of my shows?' Then it was 19, then one year it was 38 of 42 gigs. But the money wasn't good. I'm not talking about profits; I'm talking about where it was coming from. I don't like the way they run their facilities, and I don't like the way they treated me as an artist. Their lack of a sense of humanity is shocking." This is cited in another excellent salon piece on the company, which investigates claims that Clear Channel threatens to withhold radio support from artists who choose to have tours promoted by companies other than themselves. Paul McGuiness, U2's manager, dismisses this: "I don't think the radio business is coherent enough to operate in a vindictive way, or reward Clear Channel concert clients with radio airplay." He notes the band's wildly successful Elevation World Tour last year was promoted by Clear Channel, even though U2, "despite our considerable efforts," didn't have a Top 10 hit. - although this answers a different question entirely (does CC use its radio arm to boost the bands it promotes?) and, erm, since U2 are promoted by Clear, he's hardly an independent witness.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

NEVER MIND THE BLUE SUEDE SHOES, HERE'S SUEDE: We're still making our minds up on whether we'll be mentioning the silver anniversary of the toilet incident, so maybe that might be our only Elvis reference ever. But anyway, Suede... yes, news of Suede. New album out on the 30th will have a link that unlocks a load of online booty for you to then repost to all your fr... um, enjoy. And if you can't wait till it comes out on the 30th of September, you might be pleased to hear that the entire back catalogue gets a midprice rerelease next week. It's enough to make you remove your shirt and be photographed in very sheer purple trousers.

Diva magazine - the number one choice for lesbians in newsagents, albeit by default - have put Le Tigre on the cover, resulting in my need to go and sit down for a moment. Unfortunately, the sole copy WH Smiths had was so mangled, I can't bring you anything about the contents...

Music Week reveals how little Pop's producers understand what they're doing - leaving aside how they excitedly promised they'd look beyond the charts (Anastacia, Primals?), they're quite excited by the the advantages offered by using the Marquee stage for their daytime channel five show. "Sometimes, in a studio, the lead singer will be looking for the camera, giving little winks" they gurgle - apparently unaware that this sort of thing works rather well on television, actually...

there's a lovely horse on the cover of the nme, spoiled somewhat by having the queens of the stone age on the back of it...

news has john squire insisting that the stone roses will never reform (read: try increasing the bid to half a million, Mr. Power); there's a load of stuff lifted off the net about the new Radiohead album, which we shan't quote as that would be circular and scary; the Hives might find themselves locked into some sort of litigation hell that might stop them releasing anything for a very, very long time - don't be alarmed, that didn't do Michelle Shocked any harm, did it? Yes, you do remember her... oh, hang on, then, maybe it did; some sort of charity album combines might of ashcroft, badly drawn boy, charlatans and, erm, KLF; Oxide and Neutrino have had a bit of a think and decided that, y'know, the line about how their rap is going to "blow your two speakers up like the Twin Towers" might be a little insensitive. In fact, O&N just don't understand how it on the promotional version of their new album at all - "I don't know how it got on that" (erm, maybe by one of you rapping it?) - "I hope people don't really pick up on that" (yes, so do we) "we don't want to joke about the twin towers" (erm... but haven't you done just that?). Next week: Paul McCartney says "Blimey, the public wasn't meant to hear the racist version of Get Back"; Dr Dre has threatened to quit because he doesn't have anything else to say anymore - clip this article and send it to Coldplay, Toploader, Oasis...; there's a nifty collection of bands the Coral have been compared to - The La's, Russian Cossack Music, Captain Birds Eye and The Stairs, amongst others - although apparently nobody has spotted they've merely released a lost Inspiral Carpets album with their own name on it; nme readers have slammed the Mercury prize - which must strike fear into the hearts of the judges on a par with Tuvalu declaring war on America; Ryan Adams is plugging an awkward gap in his release schedule - erm, giving fans a treat - by sticking out an album of demos called 'Demolition' (a lame music gag first sighted 1877); we've had Chris Martin on his late virginity; now he's worried about going bald; U2 are going to release a record...

there's a serious investigation into whether superclubs are on their way out - yes they are, but new ones will take their place is Simone Baird's conclusion in an article that compares the elephantine likes of Cream and Gatecrasher with the more human likes of Chibuku and Trash...

on bands: bowling for soup - put your shirts on, men, for god's sake and stone sour, which is corey slipknot's equally shit side project - put your mask back on, for god's sake...

bright eyes and desaparecidos are forced to share a page, which hardly seems fair. Conor is given space to vaguelize on a "any bad times are bearable if you can play music" (he should try working in my office - as I write, NERD are being drowned out by 'amusing' renditions of Achy Breaky Heart in a pub singer style), but the lions share is taken for stuff like this: "The rise of emo coincided with the fall of Enron, while corporate rock rings more hollow than ever after 9/11" - didn't the rise of emo happen before Enron actually appointed Arthur Andersen's lying accountants? and how exactly did 9/11 make Fred Durst anything, apart from even more loudly bellicose?...

but let's not be too churlish - at least the nme is talking to Conor. And then to Miss Kittin. Hurrah! NME gets with the program shock. And it turns out Kim Wilde has approached her offering a collaboration - which she's turned down, sadly, because we'd like to see that. "I make no compromises" she insists, but adds "but I would not refuse a private jet"...

the sugababes select the tracks for the pretend cd, then the producers come in and the resulting remix includes alicia keys, michael jackson (but Liberian girl, for crying out loud) and jodeci...

and here's the Pattern now saying "being in a rock and roll band is all about having a lot of fun - it isn't difficult" - hear that, Nicky? Listening, Thom?...

the queens of the stone age come along and spoil the party, of course. But even they seem pretty happy with their lot - "we can't wait to get on the road and play these songs." Hurrah for bands who enjoy it...

so, onto the album reviews: bright eyes - lifted, or the story is in the soil ("he can spin a terrific yarn", 8); queen adreena - drink me ("occasionaly grates; never less than inspired", 7); toploader - magic hotel ("would have Rod Stewart guffawing like a sexist drain", 1); bruce spingsteen - the rising ("his best for some time, but not his best ever", 6)...

sotw: the music - take the long road and walk it ("love them... gloriously out of step") rather than george michael's shoot the dog ("oddly compelling") and... The Darkness - I believe in a thing called love ("so perfect, you may as well give in to the 80s poodle metal revival now"...

live - sex pistols at crystal palace ("the living heart and soul of a nation of drunken barbarian scum"); weller in hyde park ("new songs treated with gritted teeth tolerance") and magic alex in manchester ("better than K or dogstar - just not good company to be keeping")

finally, in angst... (sorry, nmemail - but doesn't the way the nme readers survey calls it "nmemail - formerly angst" demonstrate it needs its proper name back?) someone suggests most bands in the nme would kill their grandmother for a George Michael sized flop - which we'll leave, over here, with a hanging punchline, shall we?

THEY COULD CALL IT THE MUSE-UM: The German culture minister is suggesting that schools would be better off teaching their pupils about pop rather than classical if they really want to get them interested in music, which might be a fair point. But only to a point. The thing with education is that it's meant to broaden your worldview, and so merely playing kids Britney Spears and getting them to study A1 lyrics might be self-defeating, as it would only be replicating what they'd do for themselves - sex education isn't merely showing pictures of naked people; that has to be a way in to discussing condoms and STDs and all the other stuff that made the biology teacher blush. The use of the Top 40 has to be an entry point, and not seen as an end in itself. A lot of good courses like this exist at degree level in the UK, and it'd be nice to think that something similar could be done earlier - even if it's just so that teenagers aren't shocked to discover Unchained Fucking Melody is a cover version.
There's also another thing about this report on Julian Nida-Ruemelin's comments. Made at the site of a future Pop museum, it's claimed that this is the first institution of its sort outside America. Which shows just what a lame squid, damp squib and rubbish squip the Pop Museum in Sheffield was. Or maybe is. We can't even tell if it's still going - its website's news page sort of peters out after 2000, when it claims it's not closed, merely "rebranding." Putting it in Sheffield in the first place seemed an odd choice - based more on the parcelling out of national collections rather than any real affinity between place and subject (and before irate Sheffieldites email, yes, I know, Pulp and Joe Cocker and Human League - all well and good, but the city has never made an impact a la Madchester, Merseybeat or whatever.) Of course, it could have been worse - the current Music Week tries to puff Birmingham's music record, and has enormous problems filling the gap between ELO and Duran, and The Streets.
But how did the Pop Museum fail? How can you go wrong with that? Jesus, if the Hard Rock Cafe can do it, why couldn't the people in charge of the National Centre for Popular Music make a decent hand of it? (Maybe the clue is in the chin-stroking name, do you think?)
People get frothy with rage over the faliure of the Dome, but surely the fact that about £20 million was tossed at a place dedicated to a genuinely popular subject which is one of the few things this country has a record of being quite good at, all to no avail is more outrageous? Even the Swedes are able to come up with enough stuff to do this sort of thing well - with a genuine vision as to what is needed. The try-to-please everyone Sheffield museum was so afraid of being thought of as a museum, it seemed to abandon any pretence of being a curated space and wound up as a few interactive geegaws between Mick Jones guitar and Martin Fry's old underpants. The current Remix exhibition at the Tate shows how music can work in a gallery context, given a feel for the subject and a sense of theme. Maybe we should try for a museum again, with a bit less money and a bit more feeling

JUST FANCY THAT!:"I said to her, what's your competitive advantage? [...] You write every one of your songs - you're a great writer. So why did you stray from your competitive advantage? If you have this magnificent voice and you write such compelling songs,[...] why are you using all these collaborations [with other artists and other songwriters]? " Def Jam boss, Lyor Cohen, FT, yesterday
"The album features Carey writing and co-producing with such A-list producers as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Jermaine Dupri among others." Universal Belguim Press release, yesterday
"They signed the deal just a matter of weeks prior to bringing the album to market - it doesn't feel like enough time" - Lyor Cohen, yesterday
"MonarC Music/Island Records is set to release Mariah Carey's new studio album [...]  The Japanese release date is November 27, 2002 [... Carey] signed to the Universal Music Group's Island Records in May 2002." - same press release, or, as Hollywood Reporter put it: "UMG HITS FAST-TRACK KEY FOR CAREY'S COMEBACK "

THE SUMMER OF SOLOS: After the news of Johnny Marr's solo debut, now we have to adjust to a world in which John Squire is going to sing as well. His next album, apparently, is going to have his - ahem - Bob Dylanesque vocals on it. I can't wait.
Reni's 'It's a calypso christmas' is expected before the end of the year.Hey, why should I share the pie with a singer? [BBC] - like Bob Dylan now, we'd imagine...

We're telling you, America doesn't want the Oasis there

WHAT'S MORE IN KEEPING WITH THE SPIRIT OF '76: UK Subs and Vibrators playing a free gig a park or Sex Pistols brought to you by Clear Channel?

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT?: With an album by an act called I Am The World Trade Center scheduled for UK release next week, and a transvestite country 'tribute' to the Twin Towers the self-puffed talk of the Edinburgh Festival, this piece from andante magazine is timely. Focusing on the reactions to the frequent anti-semitic references that litter the western european Classical canon, Paul Mitchinson, attempts to find a balance between the need to say unsayable thing and "On the other hand, an audience also has sacrosanct rights in a democracy : to object, to call for restraint and sensitivity, to expose an odious agenda. Airing such concerns shouldn't provoke the charge of supporting Goebbels or Zhdanov, which is simply a strategy for silencing one's opponents without addressing their complaints. If recent critics have taught us anything, it is that music is not simply an aesthetic phenomenon, but also a cultural product deeply rooted in our social and political life. To the extent that it participates in our culture, it will be subject to the same pitiless analyses and scorching criticism that helps create a thriving democracy."
Debate rather than outright banning? It's a nice idea, I suppose. I wonder if it could work in the rock world? Or, as Bush edges closer to trying to wipe out his father's messy legacy (and probably most of us with it), will the BBC once again be drawing up its list of records inappropriate for war time?

LYOR, LYOR PUTS MARIAH'S HOTPANTS ON FIRE: Great piece on DefJam president Lyor Cohen in today's FT Creative Review - first, he outline his plans for restorting Mariah Carey's career: "I said to her, what's your competitive advantage? A great voice, of course. And what else? You write every one of your songs - you're a great writer. So why did you stray from your competitive advantage? If you have this magnificent voice and you write such compelling songs, why are you dressing like that, why are you using all these collaborations [with other artists and other songwriters]? Why? It's like driving a Ferrari in first - you won't see what that Ferrari will do until you get into sixth gear." What's interesting here is that , once again, it seems Mariah's market position is being defined by her outfits. While under her hubby at Sony, it was all Tiffany-esque demure; then it was "look at my tits. Is this skirt short enough?" Now, it sounds like Def Jam are planning to de-tart her up again. The collaboration comment is curious, as well - what drove Mariah from the margins to the mainstream was the hook-ups with other acts - sure, from time to time, she was reduced to little more than a bikini top and a orgasmic moan, but like the man said: you gotta have a system. Can Def Jam really be planning to try and pitch her against Shania Twain? Because she's got a lot of ground to make-up, and swerving to the Middle of the Road can't be the best plan. (Personally, we 'd like nothing better than for her to take up the bakesale-dog walking life, but we never get what we wish for.)
More curious is the tale that, as part of a spat between DefJam and another part of the Universal group, Fred Durst was offered an executive position at DefJam. Fred Durst at the helm of the label that gave us Run DMC? Thank god sense prevailed...
Whole thing here [FT] - yo! the FT raps

THE WORLD IS TURNING ON... OFF... ON: And you thought we'd let the Rajar figures pass without a murmur, did you? The audience figures for the quarter to June 2002 are in, and as you've probably had brow beaten into you, the Radio One breakfast show is in apparent trouble again - although, really, year-on-year comparisons are rendered pointless what with the intrusion of the world cup in the period covered, at breakfast time. More interesting is the position of Juice - not the Liverpool station, which has improved at least its audience figures since the days when it was Crash FM - but the sister station in Brighton. When Forever, the parent of Juice, bought Surf in December 2000, the press were told "In the RAJAR survey for the third Quarter 2000, Surf had 35,000 listeners listening for 5.1 hours each, giving total listening of 179,000 hours. The Directors of Forever believe that they can substantially improve on this performance, through changes in branding, music emphasis and marketing." Admittedly, these are figures for Quarter 2, but Juice (the new name and format) stands at 42,000 listeners, listening for 5.8 hours, making a total of 243,000 hours - not, perhaps, the most substantial improvement. Indeed, in this quarter, Juice managed 3.2% of listening in its area - in the same quarter when it was a local service and less keen to ape Capital's Southern FM chart-based programming, it was getting 3.5%. The upshot of these numbers means: Forever took a locally focussed left-field station, changed it to a blander mix, and didn't see much of a flicker in listening. Probably no wonder they lost a million last year.

SPAMBANDS: Admitting it's spam doesn't make it any better, Keren Ann - in fact, in a lot of ways it makes it worse, don't you think?

NOW, WILL YOU STOP CALLING IT OLD PEOPLE'S RADIO?: If you needed more evidence of the cool of Radio 2 than the divine Mr Vine setting up shop there, will the news that their most-played track last week was Flaming Lip's Do You Realize?? help?

IT'S WHAT GERRY WOULD HAVE WANTED. PROBABLY: The only surprise at the return of a Garcia-less Grateful Dead to touring is that they left it seven years.
It's nothing to do with money [BBC] - anyone else drops dead, and it's an afternoon off, no more

MORE RADIO DAYS: Wired have a piece about Clear Channel's operations in San Diego - local voices and spark gone, national mush re-heated as faux local in place - and Mexico, where Clear all but buy stations (Mexican law won't allow Americans to own their media - Tony Blair might want to ponder why) and then basically broadcast them back across the border, pirate style. Wired is pretty balanced - consolidation in San Diego has given a stable market, it concedes, and it points out that the stations are popular. But even so...
Meanwhile, back in Britain, we've been told that Ritz - first step in Mean Fiddler's attempts to ape the Clear Channel mix of radio and venues - is currently playing a tape over and over again (like Tracy Barlow used to in her bedroom), prior to a relaunch under the frankly dreadful name of Mean Country - but then Fiddler Country would have been even worse, we suppose; and it's not like Ritz was a brand that suggested country music, either. Rollouts, digital, yadda yadda... you know how this goes...
We're wondering what sort of 'country' MC goes for - and, indeed, if there's a market for a country station at all. Sure, when digital penetration gets deep enough, as a national proposition it might fly; Liverpool might also prove a sustainable environment too. But London? I guess we'll see...

COMPUTERS CHOOSE MUSIC: At long last, someone's come up with a system which will take the human failing out of selecting music. You know when Helen says "Hey, Pete, you loved Elastica, didn't you? You should try Korn", and on the basis of this recommendation you buy a Korn album, and only find out six months later that Helen was either drunk, hated you, or else was on the Korn street team? Well, what the global network of dreams does is take the flesh and blood out of the process, leaving only the brain. You tell it three bands you like, it suggest someone you should like as well. Still early days - gnod seems convinced that my love of Miss Kittin means I should be going out and buying Sabres of Paradise - but it's a start. Plus, there's an extra feature which draws a schematic diagram of similar artists. And it'll do the same for books. No more choices, ever. Only suggestions. Men will be on Mars before the week's out.

LET'S TALK ROCK: Not many music sites include a homage to long-forgotten New Statesman weekend competitons, but Let's talk rock with Alfonse Demerara does. Besides covering what review terms really mean ("accomplished" = yes, they're still going) and providing handy things to say to bands after gigs (apparently "you were really tight" has become suspect through over-use), there's also a collection of rock irregular verbs, such as I am charismatic; you are a good frontperson; he is wearing too much make-up. Worth a visit.

OVER ALREADY?: The Libertines surely can't already have dissolved in a punky, rawky, stylee, can they? Apparently a weekend bust-up which saw Pete Doherty disappear isn't going to mark the end of the band, reckon the record label - but then labels are famous for denying splits in bands which have already divorced and remarried, aren't they? And if a few days in the studio leads to fisticuffs and girly huffs, how could the band hope to take on a tour of the US without resulting to all-out war?
That's it, I'm off [NME] - that's what we need, a new Mozzer and Marr

MOBY MOPING MUSES: Now,let's consider Moby's plea, made in his tour diary that "those of you who work at mtv/viva/vh-1/much music/etc could start by working towards limiting the amount of airtime thats given to stuff that YOU find crappy or distasteful. radio, too. here's a novel idea for the people who program radio stations and video networks:
why not occassionally play something that you LIKE and that doesn't make you feel dirty?
in the future we're all going to regret this period in music where our tastes were determinedby 11 year old girls and wrestling fans."
It suggests that Moby hasn't seen a great deal of VH-1 recently (is all that Shania Twain aimed at the 11 year olds or the wrestling fans?), and also smacks ever so slightly of hypocrisy - for, strangely, Moby doesn't target any of the EMAP TV channels for his tirade, and over on the news pages we find a plea for fans to dial up QTV and request his tune "again and again."
We have to ask, by the way, what's wrong with MTV programming itself for the kids? It's what the channel is for, and complaining about that is like whining about all the football on Sky Sports. Worse, pillorying the chart stations for the music they play ignores that the real problem is in the charts themselves. Maybe if Moby sold a few more records, he might pop up on the European Top 20, too?

this is how shows for old people should go. doors at 3. free barbecue and plenty of potato salad. the bands start at 5:30 and you can finish up and be home in time to watch sex and the city. mmm.. bottom of the hill sunday shows RULE.
first band up was the moore brothers, whom I will proceed to damn with faint praise: they were pleasantly forgettable. they were 2 guys (presumably brothers) with one acoustic guitar who had a good blend of blandly nice voices. they had the obligatory superfan - you know, that guy who sings along with all the songs, who shouts out requests, and who listens avidly to any new songs. I have this theory that every single band, no matter how crap, has a superfan. let's test it, shall we?
there's one for candlebox. holy crap! there's a "ring 0' boxheads." boxheads? lord. you try. go ahead, prove me wrong...
next up were the court and spark. this was my third time seeing them and they were excellent as always. they have such a cool flying burrito brothers vibe to them.
and then came m. ward, who played a really short set - only about an hour. he has so many other great songs he could've thrown in there, but what we got was cool it was a big crowd, a lot bigger than I expected. I take this as a good sign that the word on him is getting out. the crowd was totally into it. it was almost like being at a rufus wainwright show. at times there was no noise other than the guitar and the cash register at the bar. hell, I could hear the front door squeak as it opened. I felt.. proud. like in some silly way I had somehow done something. delusions of grandeur, I know.

PLANES AND CARS: So, as if by someone planned this sort of thing, the first anniversary of September 11th - which this year will be held on September 11th - comes into line with the fifth anniversary of Dead Diana Day; more or less as New York announces some plans of what will come to replace the WTC, to cries of "erm... is that it?", the British government get round to showing off the sketches for a permanent Diana memorial (we do things slower in the 51st state) to cries of 'erm... is that it?'; and while Sep'ven tunes start to pile up at the Tower till... ah, but this is where the linkage ends.
Okay, the linkage mayn't seem especially strong, the cold-blooded murder of thousands set against the accidental death of a couple of hugely over-privileged toffs, but in terms of numb response, the only reference point close to after World Trade Centre was the after Diana effect. And that's what's strange.
Springsteen has, as we all know, spun a number one album out of the death; meanwhile, responses to the outrages and their effects as diverse as Steve Earle's and Toby Keith's have in turn inspired debate, and will probably create new music. The Strokes pulled and replaced New York City Cops from their set; Primal Scream disowned the entire concept of Bombing the Pentagon. Coldplay took their album off in a supposedly entirely different direction. Michael Jackson chose his special antibacteriological telephone to get some pals over to make a charidee single; the HIV song with Britney, Dursty et al suddenly had to wedge some references to Sepven in. And so on.
Now, set against what happened last year in New York and the questionable behaviour of the US government before and since, the death of the lovely Princess David wasn't going to amount to much. But what's remarkable is how little in the way of pop culture the most bizarre fortnight in recent British history generated. Yes, there is that opera (which is hardly 'pop'), and the dreadful Candle In The Wind (second mention on No Rock today, which is disturbing) - although that was just a rewrite anyway. And, of course, that sickly Chicken Shed thing. But that was - as far as we can recall - it. For two weeks, the nation clutched its teddy bears to its chest and cried real crocodile tears; everytime a flower bloomed it was cut off and forced into a bouquet to be tossed down outside Kensington Palace; the usual patterns of TV were replaced with rolling sniffles; a radio one dj mysteriously contracted a very long period of food poisoning after playing 'there is a light that never goes out.' And yet we've thought for ages, and can't think of a single song about those times. Now, it's possible we'll be contradicted in the comments section, but we find it kind of curious. No schmaltzy ballad from Jayne McDonald called Carpet of Floral Tears; no tart parallel-drawing from Billy Bragg under a 'How many other mothers died that night.' There are songs about the Falklands, songs about Thatcher, songs, even songs about IRA bombs. And yet, here is one of those landmarks, and nobody wrote a tune. It's almost as if we're trying to deny the way the country reacted, to pretend that, as a nation, we never lost our perspective at all - that our neighbours, our families, saw that it was just another celeb car smash - James Dean, Marc Bolan, Diana Windsor.
But you know what they say about forgetting the past...

Monday, August 05, 2002

THE GRAPEVINE: Tonight's pop reference snuck into the Newsnight mail-out, ctsy. Jeremy Vine: Life on Mars, neatly done in the preamble pointing out how there's not been a silly season this summer...

WHO COULD IT BE?: The writer, 6music and former gayer Tom Robinson. But who can he be talking about?
"We know that. If the name on this album was Costello, Young or Springsteen it would be acclaimed as a major return to form. If the name was Adams (R) or Gough (D) it would be hailed as their greatest, bravest work to date. How deliciously post-ironic, what a daring stroke of genius (everyone would say) to make a record with solo guitar in this age of Fatboy Slim and The Neptunes.
That would be his judgement on the new solo Roddy Frame album - although, as (we think it was) The Guardian pointed out, even when he was Aztec Camera he was mostly solo. Not sure that it's that ironic, really, but its always nice to have something new from Rod, isn't it? The album is called Surf. Some bastard's pinched the list of other new releases this week - and we assume you're not sweating on X from Def Leppard; over in the singles corner Alanis Morissette sticks out precious illusions (let's hope she keeps her kit on for the video; much as I'd like to believe the far superior Flaming Lips and do you realise? will trounce Coldplay's in my place, we know its not going to happen. And Toploader's Commonwealth Games downer time of my life should only be bought by people planning musical bonfires.

ROLF (ALMOST) BLOWS: The worlds of injured pet porn, easy-touchy-arts-criticism and giant painting narrowly escaped tragedy this weekend when Rolf Harris nearly caught fire. Apparently, the students fourth favourite thing (after: posters of Bob Marley with a spliff; subsidised beer, and calling Countdown 'Breakfast telly') was playing in some sort of tent, somewhere, when his accordion went up in flames. Your own jokes about red hot organs are welcome, if you feel you must.
Learning to swim is fuck all use when you're aflame [BBC] - course, he has an extra leg to help escape these situations

THE HARDEST LOOK IS THE ONE FORWARD: But the future will be a spot brighter with the Delgados having completed their new album. This new one is going to be called Hate, and it marks the first non-chemikal underground release for the band (they continue to run the label; it seems they just had visions of the way My Bloody Valentine almost pulled Creation down) and are now bedding down at Mantrarecordings. No release date yet, but we'll keep looking.
Making hate with love - Delgados album diary

MONKEYS BEAT KYLIE'S ARSE: Blimey - an awards ceremony giving a prize to a deserving nominee - can this be right? Apparently, Basement Jaxx's mutant monkey frightclip for Where's Your Head At beat off Kylie, Furtado and the So Solids to win the pop video award at the Soho Shorts festival. Actually, we'd quite like to see the video spun out to a fuller length - surely there's got to be a film in the idea of a scientist fusing monkeys and men to make a band? Course, Ronan would get all huffy at the tie-in single, but...
Heads up [Ananova] - apparently putting human faces on monkeys cheaper than painting out Kylie's cellulite

HOW MUCH PAINT DOES IT TAKE?: Former friends of Gary, The Glitter Band, almost manage pulling off an entire website without mentioning their past standing behind a man now doing time - but the strain is obviously showing, as the Glitter Band Official Fan Site are reduced to giving away tshirts in a desperate bid to keep their end up. Probably not a good idea to wear one in Portsmouth.

TEN, RIP: According to the Co-Op, who bury more corpses in the UK than anyone else, this is the top ten chocies of music for funerals in Britain:
1. Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
2. My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
3. I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
4. The Best - Tina Turner
5. Angels - Robbie Williams
6. You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry And The Pacemakers
7. Candle In The Wind - Elton John
8. Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
9. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon And Garfunkel
10. Time To Say Goodbye - Sarah Brightman

Well, I guess if you're forced by the deceased to listen through that lot, at least you won't be beset by misplaced affection for the dead. Bridge Over Troubled Waters apart, perhaps, why on earth would anyone want such bland, mass-produced pap to mark their last moments before decomposition sets in? This is your last chance to request a tune, people - use it wisely.
And as for the stinking arrogance of Candle In The Wind - regardless of which version you go for, having your coffin eased off the shoulder to that is akin to building a little Taj Mahal on your gravesite, don't you think? Frankly, unless you can get Elton to rewrite the tune for you, it's best to leave it alone altogether.
Likewise the lack of humility in having Tina Turner's the Best almost eclipses the lack of any taste at all in the selection. The song that is the automatic default for soundtracking any regional advert on ITV; the song that gets wheeled out at every dreary would-be motivational planning meeting for second string companies - is that what you want your life to be compared to? A Brentford Nylons sale or the September sales conference for Mole Valley Valves?
There are quirkier choices - someone apparently went gently into that good night to the News at Ten theme; we presume the person who elected for Firestarter was being cremated - but on the whole, it's same old same old. The Co-op's Lorinda Sheasby reports "We are receiving more and more requests for popular music as people attempt to personalise funerals and choose songs that are relevant to them." Personal and relevant are wonderful for a farewell to a loved one; this chart, however, reads like the bloody Capital Gold playlist. And do you really want Tony Blackburn in charge at your funeral?

splendid - after the House of Love, Popbitch commemorates the Fatima Mansions

THE RAIN BEATS HARD ON A HUMDRUM TOWN: So, that was the closing of the Commonwealth Games, then - musically a notch above the opening, albeit some of the choices made little sense. The popbitch claim that Toploader were booked on the strict understanding of Dancing In The Moonlight would be played makes some sense - otherwise, what the hell were a bunch of mainly forgotten nobodies doing on international telly with their new single? Ms Dynamite was an inspired choice, although again the song was a curious fit. But we have to take a moment to praise the crazy warped genius of having Grandmaster Flash in to MC a large portion of the event - could it be some synergy between Manchester and the New York of Flash's The Message being hinted at here?
At the other end of cool, could any bigger fuck off have been given to Jimmy Cliff than letting him be replaced on stage by Will Young? For some reason, Young was dressed like a young conservative, with a bloody flat cap, for god's sake. We can only assume that either he was hoping that nobody would recognise him on Canal Street (if he waited a couple of months, nobody would anyway), or else he thought that a flat cap would be a nice northern touch, unaware that pulling one on would be on a par with paying tribute to Jamiaca by blacking up.
Highlight of the night, however, was one of those moments where a caught shot suddenly makes you wonder if you've got someone wrong all these years. Prizes should be delivered to the BBC director who cut to the royal box in time to catch Prince Philip grinning like a loon, boffing a balloon about with his feet and hands. Classic.
Still tickets available for the games, according to the official site - mentions "bathed in light", neglects to mention "drowned in acid rain"

SCARY SEARCH TERMS: Welcome, whoever came to No Rock by googling on "Jimmy Young" fuck. Welcome, but... please, don't tell us what you were searching for...

THE GALL OF YER, GALLAGHER: You'd have thought by now Oasis would have realised that something - call it God, call it the cosmic cat, call it a teapot circling Mars - doesn't want Oasis to go to America. They've actually got there this time, and it's already a utter fucking shambles. The nme is reporting that they managed to limp four songs through a set before Liam had to run off 'cause his little throat was hurting him. Even Britney managed five tracks in Mexico, man. Bet they're wishing Noel hadn't been able to sort out his passport after all...

another Bowie best of? - we can only presume the BowieBonds aren't holding up that well on the market

STAYING IN IS THE NEW STAYING IN: So, the news from America is that a third of a million people fewer saw the Top Fifty tours there is the first half of 2002 compared with that all-important same period last year. Some of the blame is being laid at the feet of our old friends Clear Channel, who've hiked prices (the big fifty tours pulled in an extra 6 percent cash despite those shrinking attendances), but we think there's a broader point here. See, when record sales fell, the RIAA was able to make a case that this was because everyone was stealing music. The fact that fewer gig tickets are being sold, however, backs up the more likely explanation that the shrinking of America's music market is because what's on offer isn't encouraging people to pay out an increasingly thick wad of greenbacks for it. Unless, of course, the industry wants to tell us that people had bought stilts on the internet and were watching over the wall for free...
Billy Joel still doing well [Rolling Stone] - the news just gets worse...

MOTE, BEAM CONFUSION: Okay, we're probably as guilty as anyone at rattling sticks along the cage of Modern Pop Music and poking fun at the monkeys inside. We're entitled, right, 'cause we've read fanzines and bought flexidiscs and, dammit, fought in the CD wars, we did. Ronan Keating slagging off bands as forgettable, however? Geniusboy reckons that Hear'say sounds as if "they've just been put together" - woo, Ronan, you genius - you know, I think you could be right. If only the act of their being manufactured had somehow been caught on camera and broadcast on television, then the people would have seen. And we'd be so much better off it wasn't for acts just being put together by svengalis - Ronan, you wouldn't happen to know the bloke behind that Westlife group, would you? Could you have a word with him? Get that sorted.
'It's a joke' [Ananova] - also condemns Atomic Kitten songs as 'forgettable', apparently not noticing that they're two decades old and going strong...

OUT OF SPACE?: Curious goings on at cheerfull scouse chancers Space's camp. The much-much-much delayed new album remains delayed - wrangles with former label Gut are blamed, but the band were on the point of releasing it a while ago, which suggests they might have solved them. Instead, Gut produced a best of. More curious yet, the official space site has been closed down and now points to a fan site. Curious all round, and a pity, since we sort of miss them.