Wednesday, June 25, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Mind that cowpat edition
We don't know which sounds most unlikely: that the former manager of Black Grape is now Anne Widdecombe's PA, or that Bez and Shaun Ryder don't only live next door to each other, but do so in Hadfield, the village that was Royston Vasey. These facts - culled from Guardian (Friday) Review's otherwise unilluminating interview with Shaun - have caused us much mulling.

The woefully bad Green Room gossip column in Mail-sibling Metro freesheet claims that Michael Jackson sent a picture of himself to the Matrix makers "dressed as the Matrix." How would one dress up as a computer system, we wonder?

Elsewhere in Metro, the flexibility of regional editions meant we got to read the Lloyd Cole interview twice as we apparently aped his tour route last week. Lloyd is refreshingly self-aware: "Bad Vibes [a post-Commotions album] had some disastrously self-righteous songs on it. I sounded like Lou Reed on a bad day."

Careless Talk Costs Lives is like citrus fruit in every dystopian novel you've ever read; sometimes it's in abundant supply; your local newsagent has copies next to Woman and Whats On TV; other issues are like a Samizdat surprise, one copy, only obtainable in shops a walk, a bus ride, a road trip away. This months, it's like we've lost Florida, and the title is being restricted only to upper levels of government command. We did, however, barter one for a packet of fags and some sex. And it was worth the deep scratches on the back, too.

Sophie Harris goes to damn the Yeah Yeah Yeahs: "I hate the YYYs and I'm here to prove myself right. Fuck. Fatc is, there's nothing sexier than someone enjoying it. It. Performance, sex, sound, sight, smell."

Dave from Kaito worries about the future: "Fair play to the Datsuns, they're honest about what they do. The nasty thing has got to be the next big thing. The band put together to copy the Datsuns..."

Dance is where it's at for Rachael Nagy of the Detroit Cobras - "Dancing is pure and it feels good. Our bodies are supposed to be mobilised. We sit at work. We drive. Fridays and Saturdays are for dancing. It's part of the mating ritual [...] Most girls will respect a man who dances because either he's gay, or hes confident in himself and wants a good time. And confidence is sex."

While the nme continues to seek new stuff in all the old places, CTCL throws the net further and finds the stirrings of a punk scene in Katmandu - Rai Ko Ris, a band from there, stress that they're not the only act, but part of a vanguard, Katmandu being home to "lots of covers bands, and maybe no more than five punky bands. So far, about three or four hardcore bands. But growing fast.

In a splendid piece that is the closest thing I've ever seen to a pop paper having a register of interests (did you know Bang is edited by one of the Polyphonic Spree, by the way? They've, unsurprisingly, already had the cover), Horton from They Came From The Stars (I Saw Them) says to Fiona Fletcher "I'll sleep with you if you write about my band." He does, she does, but not like that.

But even the offer of shagging for coverage might be better than the PR route: as Puffboy from Braer Rabbit points out "I've seen professional press releases and its like the bands are applying for a fucking admin job."

Partly as a response to the ridiculous amounts their old stuff was making on Ebay, Rev-Ola have been reactivated. Among their new roster: Ivor Cutler.

Ladytron file a tour diary from the States, where Danny is buying leisure jump suits and the band are being terrorised by Mr. Peanut.

"I've always stayed away from Liza Minelli. But I'd love to go to one of their parties" - Grant McClellan from the Go-Betweens ponders if keeping the other side of the buffet table is protection enough.

When did you last get review writing like this? Neil Kulkarni goes alone to see the Throwing Muses. Why? "Didn't want to share a damn thing. Like a wank or a bath, it was best taken alone cos they're mine, these songs are about me."

Or like this: Sophie Harris goes to damn the Yeah Yeah Yeahs: "I hate the YYYs and I'm here to prove myself right. Fuck. Fatc is, there's nothing sexier than someone enjoying it. It. Performance, sex, sound, sight, smell."

"A genuine musician played a John Fahey song on harmonica at his memorial service and it helped me understand what music can achieve if it wants to" explains M Ward about his new new seriousness.

This is issue 4 of the countdown to oblivion, and we're a little scared in case CTCL does keep to its promise to explode with fury when it reaches one. On the other hand, you're invited to take out a six-issue subscription...

By contrast, this month's Word isn't quite as great as the first ones, but we put that down to the choice of featured subjects - Moby, Bjork, Annie Lennox, Tony Parsons - none of whom are actually as interesting as they seem to believe they are. But even a half-hearted Word has lots to recommend it - before we're half way through Mark Ellen's intro, we've discovered that Neil Young refused to let the bar at his Apollo gig open for more than fifteen minutes. A couple of pages on, and we discover - at last - we're united with the BPI on something; their chair Peter Jamieson hates Clear Channel too.

Will Self-Satisified suggests that "I don't think there's anyone else who unites a career in heavy fiction and light entertainment", suggesting he's never heard of Clive James, Harold jacobson, Jonathan Miller - or Alan Bennett, who, of course, unites both in the same works. And this also suggests that Shooting Stars is just the Generation Game, which isn't true at all, either.

Surprising: Penny Smith from GM-TV likes Bonnie Prince Billy, Graham Coxon is listening to The Cars (maybe Damon was right all along) and Mike Scott tends to not buy much music because "I have so much in my head." Well, one way to avoid the RIAA issuing a writ, I guess.

In the Parsons peice, there's a picture of him and the young Julie Burchill. It occured to me it's been so long since I saw a picture from this era I'd started to fall for her claims that she was a hottie in her youth. Actually, of course, she looked like nothing so much as a minor royal - one far enough down the pecking order to be drawing on at least a couple of gene pools, true, but a minor royal nonetheless. We'd so much rather Zara.

Royksopp is the Norwegian name of a fungus and also their equivalent of 'mushroom cloud'

David Quantick points out Grandaddy are serious men; their beards are "those of gaoteed artists rather than surfing wasters."

Had Friends been British, suggests David Hepworth, "by the end of season two, one of the characters would have got spectacuarly drunk and messily disgraced themselves in public, embraced a strange religion or changed sex." Not sure we can think of too many brit coms with sex changes in - there was Slap where the bloke pretended to be a woman, but beyond that...

The Bjork peice is too long and too flat; she's so busy trying to stress there's nothing extraordinary about her, she more or less proves her point.

the nme comes with condoms, which is a bit like Amputee Monthly offering free mittens as a covermount. There's also a nasty looking chocolate and guarana bar and a free festival guide (that's a guide to festivals which comes free, not ones you don't have to pay to get into).The guide warns you to avoid shagging on a glasto leyline as "one of you will get pregnant" - beware, then, boys...

nme proper has the polyphonic spree on the cover (the equivalent, we guess, of BBC2 filling summer schedules up with Fawlty Towers); pictures which prove The Strokes are making a new album and The Coral cheerily taking a forty grand loss on their New Brighton mini-fest on the chin - in the same week someone paid USD350 000 to sing with Coldplay in New York.

Starsailor are back. Did you notice they'd gone?

Sanctuary have snapped up Spiritualized, The Polyphonics have signed up with Disney's Hollywood Records and the Cooper Temple Clause have got, um, Gruey from kids TV in their new video.

AC/DC want to bring a musical version of the story of Helen of Troy to the stage while apparently Ozzy wants to do one about Rasputin. Having seen Mr Osbourne on ITV last week, we seriously doubt if he could manage to get through the lyrics of Ra-Ra-Rasputin (lover of the Russian Queen) without help.

Emily Eavis chooses ten tracks for her ideal CD - Stone Roses, Sigur Ros and Hank Williams. We have a really soft spot for Emily Eavis, you know.

Why are the Blueskins called the Blueskins? Because we use Blue Skins, they reply.

Much of the rest of the issue is just standard Glasto-wank, actually - Have Radio 4 ever dropped their drugs in a toilet? Would Interpol trust the burgers? - which is notable because they can't even be arsed to do full interviews with the bands, and so wedge three or four together into each featurette.

kings of leon - youth and young manhood - "they are to 2003 what oasis were to 1994 and the strokes were to 2001", 9
marlowe - a day in july - "heart-tugging", 7
the thrills - so much for the city - "at times ... sounds like Bluetones after too long in the tanning salon",7
califone - quicksand/cradlesnakes - "free jazz meets country. results as expected", 3

sotw - 50 cent - 21 questions - "tarty, like it's your birthday"
ladytron - evil - "first, they enslave the human race. Then they learn how to shag"
s club 8 - fool no more - "mere nonce fodder"

eminem - hamburg AOL Arena - "little more than the angry Justin Timberlake"
metallica - paris - three shows in one day - "if we hear another second, we will kill with our bare hands"

and, finally: the advert for the DVD release of Live Forever, the Britpop fly on the wall, announces itself thus: "all those discussions you've ever had - 'wouldn't it be great if...' - well, thats what happened in the 90's. 'If' happened." Sadly, not 'If' as in schoolboys with guns, or even Socks proving that it was all about the fish. Indeed, I'm not sure how much anyone had ever sat up late saying "Wouldn't it be great if, just as a bunch of ambisexualist pretty boys started to get people to take notice and realise how transcendent guitar pop can be, a bunch of monobrowed clodhoppers pushed their way to the front and redefined Dreampop into a grey, Laddish Thud?" The DVD promises twenty minutes of a video diary by an Oasis covers band, and thinks this is an extra, special feature. Right.

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