Friday, July 25, 2003

NO SHIT, DANE: Dane Bowers says that Victoria won't be doing the rapping on her new album herself. Dane, sweetheart, we doubt if she'll be singing on it herself, either.

AND NOW...?: A breathless Daily Telegraph fashion spread pants "Kelly Osbourne was once only famous for being the offspring of the Brummie heavy metal legend Ozzy". Now, of course, she's famous for... um... being Sharon's daughter as well.

ALBARN CONVERSION: Damon from Blur talks to MTV: "America is good at being able to sell their youth an absolute lie in such a high-budget way that the difference between Hollywood and reality is very, very blurred. That's the very sinister thing about America. It's a great country, it's just not necessarily ruled by great people."

Damon has just signed over the rights to allow Levis to use one of the tracks off Think Tank on their latest adverts.

BAD ADVERTISING SLOGANS OF OUR TIME: J-Lo's Glow is going to be hobbled with the strapline "In the eye of the storm, I am still Jennifer Lopez", which makes you wonder what the ones they rejected must have been like: "Smells vaguely of potatoes"? "Could even mask the smell of Celine Dion"? "It's mainly water, but its got something in that makes if whiffy; but don't put it on your women's bits; it stings like a bloody jellyfish"?

I'M NOT SURE THAT'S QUITE THE TRIBUTE YOU HAD IN MIND: Yanka Rupkina is going to record a tribute to George Harrison, reports the Bulgarian news:

The song to be dedicated to Harrison is still untitled but will be sad and slow - "the way George was," Rupkina revealed.

Hey... that's a little unfair. We like to think he was just a bit deep.

FISH AND CLIPS: It might do the cinderblocks (you know who you are; and chances are you work somewhere like Fox News or American radio) some good to read this piece on Country Joe and The Fish before yammering on about how anti-war activists are all the same uber-liberal patsies. It explains why a man who wrote on of the best pieces of anti-vietnam music will still go and put out a burning stars and stripes - and not by pissing on it, either.

Meanwhile, Merle Haggard has also gone and shown that politics can be three dimensional - of course, he wrote one of the Viet-era ra, ra, ra stompers; his new record is about the Iraq war. But rather than being a "good, let's getting killing" type song, it's a slagging of US media values. In its own way, likely to be about as popular as the Dixie Chicks with some stations.

WHEN LOCAL MANAGER'S DECISIONS BECOME MAJOR PR DISASTERS: Banning people for making anti-Bush remarks at any time would look bad for Borders, but when Borders is banning singers from performing because they criticised his legs, that's the sort of PR cock-up that BA would have trouble creating for itself. (If Bush has poor legs, doesn't this mean he's like Brad Pitt in precisely one respect?)

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR THE TOYS: The Which Indie Chancer Are You quiz is here and the lyrics quiz is here.

A MONTH IS A LONG TIME IN DOLLYPOP: Back at the start of July, Jennifer Ellison said she was going to stop wearing tight, revealing outfits and dress more demurely, in keeping with her new mature image.

"Although the fathers in the audience were dragged along by their offspring, they were rewarded with the sight of soap siren Jenny Ellison gyrating and twisting her bronzed body into positions yet to be seen in the Kama Sutra.
She only "sang", sorry, mimed one song, her No. 6 chart hit Baby I Don't Care. But few cared in the audience as her fantastic dancing went down a storm, while her body should be listed as a national treasure.

MARK UP, BOO: We're happy that Tim Brown, late of the Boo Radleys, has got a degree and a new job, but can't help feeling that there's something somehow wrong that Oasis sell records and the Boo Radleys are teaching kids how to format documents in Microsoft Word. Teaching people to use computers is no job for a grown-up.

'TILL THINGS ARE BRIGHTER, I'LL BE THE MAN IN LIVING COLOUR: Who would have thought that Johnny Cash would nearly out-gun Justin Timberlake in MTV Awards nominations?. But it's happened; about the only thing that makes this round of applaudits seem in any way different to last year's, and the years before that. EminemAvrilRadioheadColdplayMissy and, oh, it's just so very. Oddly, though, there doesn't seem to be anyone suggesting Kelly Osbourne should get some sort of prize.

SOMETIMES THEY WRITE THEMSELVES: Surgery might stop Chester from Linkin Park throwing up when he sings ... yeah, but how's that going to help us?

YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD VENUE DOWN: Last night's Liverpool Echo (not on icliverpool yet) carried a report that the first of the Lomax venues - the one that was actually in Lomax Buildings - is to reopen. The owner of the building - having had no takers for the place - is going to run the place himself (this seems to be a bit of a recipe for disaster, to us - after all, "how difficult can running a venue be" is the sort of phrase that comes back to haunt people...) under the godawful title of Adixion. Somehow, we can't imagine the phrase "we're playing the Liverpool Adixion on Thursday" tripping off the tongues of too many artists. And, unlike the early days of the Lomax, the new venue is going to be facing loads of comeptition - there's the Academy in the building used by the Lomax after it had relocated the first time; a return for Heebeejeebees in the old location; a much-revitalised university (also trading under the name the Academy) and the Barfly and Bandwagon/Zanzibar conspiracy. The question is: are there enough people to keep 'em all going - especially during the summer time, when Liverpool's gig-going masses tend to quit the city to oversummer with mater and pater?

I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO STICK IT, NEITHER: White Stripes next single to be their cover of I Don't Know What To Do With Myself. We've run this past our listing committee (you'll recall, we're sure, our plea that any cover version seeks prior approval to stop acts of desecreation on a level with Jennifer Ellison's Baby I Don't Care) and they've given the concept a cautious thumbs-up, although there is some concern that Jack White seems to be operating some sort of check list basis - Loretta Lynn, Baccarach and David - we're assuming Tony Bennett is checking his email on a regular basis.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

RADIO 2 U-TURN ON 'MACONIE DEPPING FOR WALKER' PLAN: They'r enow going to have a full-time replacement for Johnnie W while he's getting treated for cancer. Noel Edmonds. Excuse us, we need to have a little sit down.

POPBITCH TWANG or the bits that stretch credibility: Jack White was being orally pleasured by Rene Zellwegger when old ladies smashed into his car, yeah? Then how come his injury was a broken finger, and they didn't have to rush Rene to hospital to remove the penis that would have been lodged in her throat after the jolt that broke Jack's finger? Mind you, it would have helped her with her bid to put on weight for the new Bridget Jones movie. Nice story, but... it doesn't fly.

LET'S NOT SWAMP THEM WITH VOTES FOR VELOCITY GIRL: Primal Scream are asking - no, begging - for people to tell them which and why their favourite Scream track is. There's prizes in it for lucky winners, too.

SUEDE IN CHINA, PLAYED IN CHINA: It's rubbishy windows media format, but there's a recording of Suede's shows in China for you.

NEWS FROM AUSTRALIA: The Australian version of the BPI and RIAA, the ARIA is getting very vexed indeed over a chap called Phil Tripp. Tripp publicly (very publicly - in The Age, rather than just on a blog) rubbished the ARIA figures for the number of downloads taking place in Australia. For its part, Undercover spins again, saying that it doesn't really matter - the number of downloads isn't significant, it's that it's happening at all. But we'd disagree there - that the Record Industry is inflating to absurd levels the size of the challenge facing it means that the calls its making for changes to the law and demands for legal action is being done on a false basis. If downloading isn't an epidemic at all, but merely an event, then the reactions of the labels and their pliant placemen in parliaments is being totally overdone. They're shouting 'fire' in our busy theatre when there's only a smouldering.

BECAUSE THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME, DON'T THEY?: Chicago Police apologise for describing man sought for sexual offences as 'looking like Ice Cube'. "It was a genuine mistake" they say. NB: The apology was to Ice Cube, and not to the suspect.

NOW IT'S OFFICIAL - CELINE LESS ATTRACTIVE THAN INTERIOR TRIM, GO FASTER STRIPES: Celine Dion has been quietly sidelined as the main attraction for Chrysler's car adverts. In what amounts to an admission that using the long-of-face Canadian in a bid to try and add 'class' to the range (which is a bit like hiring Atomic Kitten to raise the tone of your local Kwik Save) was a dumb move, the new car group's new sales chief has elected to concentrate on the sprockets and so on instead.

KING RECKONS HE'S BEEN HARD DONE BY: Jonathan King is appealing against his conviction for touching young boys on the grounds of breaches of his human rights. He reckons that there were loads of reasons why his trial wasn't fair - presumably not least of which are he looks a bit like someone who'd do that sort of thing. King watchers might recall that a few weeks ago he tried to suggest his imprisonment was on a par with that woman who had been sent down for murdering her kids when, actually, they had died from natural causes. Right.

THURSDAY TIME-WASTER: One of those quiz things, I'm afraid, to discover which indie star are you?

MR. WELLER, WITH THESE RARITIES YOU ARE SPOILING US: Oh, goody, a whole three CDs of the stuff that even Paul Weller thought wasn't fit to be released as singles at the time. How blessed we are.

ERM... NO, THEY DIDN'T: reports excitedly that Thursday cheated death when their van was struck by lightning. Except, of course, being inside a car is the safest place to be in a thunderstorm if you're outdoors, so they didn't cheat death at all.

REMEMBER, SHE DID 'LIKE A VIRGIN': There's a big interview with Madonna over on Launch - it was done by one of their executives, and oddly, although the feature is dated July 19th, it seems to have been conducted quite a while before - indeed, a quote from it has been used on Launch news a while back. Anyway, there's a few nuggets of interest in there - apparently creating The Worst Bond Movie Theme Ever was a "several months ordeal" (imagine what she'd have done if she'd had even longer.) She blubs that people's reviews of her movies are, like, personal attacks - yes, Maddy, that's because you have the power to suck the very colour out of celluloid by your very screen presence, and you can't act for toffee.

But perhaps most tellingly, she's asked the most exciting point of her career. She chooses going on stage to promote Like a Virgin for the first time. Maybe the reason why nothing she's done since that point sounds quite so arresting to the audience is because she's never been thrilled by performing in the same way? It's just a job for her now, and that shows.

I THINK MY BRAIN MUST BE ROASTED: I did nearly post something along the lines of "isn't it funny that James Brown married -and is divorcing a woman also called Brown?" It's early in the morning, forgive me...

THE DANGERS OF AN OLD MAN PRETENDING TO BE A YOUNG MAN: Fred Durst (played in the movie by Clive Dunn) has put his back out. And what does he expect, jiggling round like a teenager at his time of life and all. You're making a show of yourself, man.

...ONE MORE TIME: Bowling For Soup claim we couldn't imagine what their cover of Britney Spears will sound like. Oh, I bet we can. Curiously, the reason it's been done was the (pointless) remake of Freaky Friday had been using Travis' (lame) cover of Baby One More Time; it seems that the might of the Disney Corporation couldn't get the rights to this, and so they obviously typed "what is the last band you'd expect to do a Britney cover version?" into Ask Jeeves. And got a duff result (fyi: Christina doing Baby One More Time would have been more interesting).

THAT'S NOT GOING TO HELP MUCH, IS IT?: We're sure that Dido's apology to her former fiance Bob Page via the new single White Flag is heartfelt. Bob was the bloke who she thanked in Thank You, although, Alanisally, it was the success of that song and the album which led to her decide to not marry him. We just can't help feeling, though, that it's going to be scant consolation after the unreleased "can't get away / to marry you today / my career won't let me" she sang him last year. "Oh, good, you're so sorry you're recording a song about it to further the career that destroyed the relationship in the first place? Apology so accepted."

WALES AND WALES AND WALES: We're waiting for a copy to arrive, and their website isn't up and running yet, but if free music magazines from Wales are your thing, you might want to visit - although the sites not up, you can subscribe to the print version which costs nothing, nothing at all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Bloody little, it's summer

For purposes we can only begin to speculate over, Radio Times has given its main interview spread to Kelly Osbourne. The wafer thin explanation is that The Osbournes is in MTV this week, but it's halfway through a series that's doing badly even by the standards of a minority channel. She doesn't have anything to say, except that Ozzy is like a walking anti-drugs advert - which shows (glancing at jack) just how poorly anti-drugs campaigns work, we guess.

The NME has managed to choose a terrible cover - the drummer from the coral with his gob open - it looks like the sort of thing you'd see on a low circulation regional paper where the designer and the photographer are the same person, and not overseen by an editor. We're in for one of those issues, then.

News: The Strokes are just one week away from finishing work on the new album - which suggests that they must have actually started it about last friday evening, then.

Fran Healy decided he wanted Celtic fans to sing on the new record, and went down to record them during a friendly with Fulham. The home team's groundkeepers turned the sprinklers on him, which shows they're better music critics than most of the writers for broadsheet arts pages. It also emerges that Fran "feels patronised by the press", presumably because they treat him like an affable buffon rather than spending time questioning his viewpoints and beliefs. That's not them patronising you, Fran, that's them being kind to you.

The Polyphonic Spree's missing robe has been found - it seems even the thief found the whole story so dull he wanted nothing more to do with it.

Moby is excited that his name has been adopted as slang for the complete removal of a female's pubic hair. He'll doubtless be equally delighted that we've been using the slang term for a female's pubic area to describe him.

Courtney Love is being turned into a cartoon figure... which isn't saying very much, really, is it?

Damon Dash is supposedly worth USD200m. Yeah, and shares are my pension scheme.

There's some pisspoor writing in this week's issue, frankly: an article is headed "Jack White's Last Gig" - he broke a finger, he didn't die; Coldplay are described as being "relegated" to a 150 person venue at the Sydney Opera House, despite this being a specially arranged gig (we'd like to believe that Coldplay were stiffing down under, but... it just ain't so - Chris Martin joked about being relegated, but that doesn't make it a fact; launching their Reading and Leeds carshares, the paper counsels "we suggest you don't exchange home addresses for safety reasons" - so, presumably, climbing into a car with a complete stranger involves no risk whatsoever; in the T in The Park survey, nobody has seemed to notice that asking someone to rate their experience of the festival and giving them the option of 'over-rated' makes no sense whatsoever. And two articles about Glasgow bands - in the course of which we discover little more than Dogs Die In Hot Cars and Fraz Ferdinand are from Glasgow - is apparently the excuse to claim there's a New Jock Revolution.

Frank Black CD picky thing involves Iggy Pop, The Beatles and Peter Paul and Mary.

Alison Goldfrapp has a nice story about when she was working in Agent Provacateur; a man asked to see stockings and then started to masturbate himself in, um, thanks. She did the job for a week. It's not clear whether the man involved cummed all over anything.

Given Danish Junior Senior, there are some pointless, aimless Euro questions - oh, a gag about cucumber straightness. Wasted opportunity.

"I can't wait to get back to Hoylake and mow the lawn" announces one of The Coral, before detailing how Hoylake is full of pdf files. The more we see of The Coral, the more we start to suspect that their wackiness is more what they feel is expected rather than what they feel; a sub-Vic Reeves whimsy rather than the disjointed glow of a distracted mind. James tells us that "big pylons and big induistry look like a big nuclear disaster" as he tries to explain his songwriting - but, no, no they don't. It's not a very good observation at all. It's all like the Dreaming of You video - the cycling with a backdrop, the man in the bear suit, the phone box on the beach; it's all stuff that doesn't quite feel like they're doing their own thing.

black rebel motorcycle club - take them on, on your own -"a masterpiece", 9
holly golightly - truly she is none other - "a world where its 1957 forever", 6
mondo generator - a drug problem that never existed - "they have tunes", 7

sotw - hot hot heat - no, not now "HHH brush off those Cure comparisons"
relaxed muscle - billy jack/sexualized - "jarvis yelping 'sex sex sex sex sex like a mad, horny labrador"

kings of leon - camden - "still some way to go"
elbow - kings cross scala - "Doves"
the hiss - brighton free butt - "hiss-teria looms"

and that's it. We can't wait until summer's over and music starts again.

MEAN FIDDLER DUMPS RADIO: The Mean Fiddler's brief excursion into radio looks like being ended, with the news that Mean Country, the repeatedly-failing bid to convince Londoners to listen to country music, is the subject of a takeover.

note to nme: nobody who can read gives a well-greased griddle about what steve o does or doesn't do

WE ALWAYS HATED THIS: Back when Richard Whitmore used to read the news, the BBC would give unfathomable amounts of airtime to the Edinburgh Military tattoo - squaddies running about with bits of cannon, highly trained dogs, marching etc. It's slipped further and further from prime time, probably because they've realised that it's the same dull drudge, year in, year out - and they never choose the sexy soldiers to roll about in the mud. To try and make it all funky, this year they're adding in the music of Westlife and Vangellis. Is this a good idea in a closed room of heavily armed people?

DEAD MAN'S SKINS: We're not sure we'd buy anything from an auction site bizarrely Julian Cope-themed, but... to launch the new, um, departure, they're autctioning off Jon Lee from Feeder's old drum kit. It's been on offer for a month already and hasn't attracted a single bid (they're looking round the room for an opening bid of two and half thousand, which we think David Dickinson would raise a highly-taned eyebrow at); but it is all for charity.

OH, YOU'RE SO, SO RUDE: Lisa Marie Presley's drumkit has got 'LMFP' painted on it. She obviously is hoping that everyone will see just how rock she is, but unfortunately, it's going to backfire - because, yes, people do call you that, Lisa, but it's as in 'oh no, not Lisa Marie Fucking Presley again'.

CAN YOU SPOT THE FATAL FLAW HERE?: is floating a sister service,, and it's going to sell downloads for seventy-nine cents a pop. So far, so iTunes-me-too. But what you actually get for money depends on what the record company licensing the track wants you to be able to do - so, some songs you can burn to CD; some you can only play on your machine. So, that's not a completely over-complicated system.

The other area where Scott Blum, the man whose idea it was (if you can call going 'we could do that, too' having an idea), might get his paws burned off is in his decision to have a 'multi-multi-milliondollar' TV advertising campaign to launch the service. As showed in the UK, spending bundles of cash advertising a website on television isn't any way to go about ensuring success - neither Amazon nor Ebay built their business on taking slots during Friends, and the huge projected spend for seems certain to push the profitabilty way off key.

No Rock prediction, which will come back to haunt us no doubt: Small burst of publicity; short struggle for profitabilty; quick sale for mark-down price to someone else in the electronic entertainment industries. I'd imagine both Microsoft and Yahoo have prepared cheques already.

WHEN EVEN JACKSON THINKS YOU'RE NUTS...: Even Michael Jackson thinks sending people to prison for downloading an MP3 is a crazy idea. Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson thinks the proposal comes from LaLaLand. And he lives there, so he should know...

THE IRON FIST IN A VELVET MIT: The latest spattering of RIAA subpoenas are, according to MIT, illegal - they're keen to stress that they're not taking sides, but the RIAA has been so busy-busy rushing to get bodies swinging from the hooks on the town walls to scare the others, they've not given the universities the time they're legally allowed to talk with the students.

OH GOD... DOES THIS MEAN MORE ADS FOR HIM ON YAHOOGROUPS?: Lil Bow Wow out to ensure every young person has a computer in their own homes - which really we only mention to point out that he's no longer Lil, as he's dropped that and now he's just Bow Wow. You know, like the S Club Juniors being Juniors no more. Doubtless you're expecting a punchline based around Junior Senior here, aren't you? You'll be waiting a long time.

IF YOU'RE PLANNING AN EVENT TO SALVAGE YOUR REPUTATION IN THE WORLD'S EYES...: ... it might be best not to make a total Horlicks of it. However, Toronto's bid to throw a jamboree to show the world there's no Sars threat is now in danger of collapsing as the main draw, the Rolling Stones, are threatening to pull out over press coverage. It seems that Michael Cohl has got upset that the Canadian press have been drawing attention to the ridiculous rules being laid on concert-goers (no blankets... no umbrellas - and remember, this is an open air concert which goes on for several hours. In Canada) and the pisspoor organisation of transportation to the event. Cohl's attitude was unhelpful, to say the least - "Everybody's getting ready to go, 'Oh my God, what a bad idea this was. What do you think would happen tomorrow if I canceled? If I called in and said the Stones cancel, I mean, they'd have a fit, wouldn't they?" So, have you got that, Canada - you just be snivellingly grateful that the old men are coming to your town. Never mind that you'll probably have to walk home, if you don't freeze to death first.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

YOU KNOW YOU'RE FAMOUS WHEN: You're a question on Mastermind. Meg and Jack White are now, therefore, properly famous. Although not so famous the contestant had heard of the White Stripes.

HOW NME.COM NEWS WORKS: They've just added a page about how music-makers can support Lemon Jelly on their upcoming tour. You don't have to be a genius to see that they must have stumbled across this story when they googled on the bands' name after their Mercury Nomination. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but maybe they should at least 'fess up their newsroom is now actually just a blog?

IF YOU BOOK THEM, THEY WILL COME: Normally, if you wanted a popstar to come and writhe about in their tight leather dresses in front of your face, you'd have to pretend that you were a big venue, swallow hard and negotiate with Clear Channel. Not so if you want Ivan Van Dahl to come to your house - you can just book them online. [Brought to our attention by cfb goes pop].

THE OTHER AWARD: The ever-creamy-filled Popjustice are launching a riposte, some say answer, some say response to the Mercury in the form of an inaugral twenty quid music award. Splendidly, it pitches Ladytron against S Club 8.

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT LORD OF THE RINGS COULDN'T GET ANY WORSE: They up the turgid threshold with Annie Lennox doing the soundtrack.

REALLY?: Fans really demanded an exhibition at the Beatles Official Mausoleum dedicated to Macca's solo years, did they? What fans? "We've had another call from that Mrs Mills, and two from a Pauline McArthy and a Paula Manarrty wanting to know if we'll put an interactive Frog Chorus exhibit in..."

CHEERS, DIGITALSPY: They list reasons to hate the Fame Academy hopefuls before they have to come into contact with your ears.

WOULDN'T GET YOUR HOPES UP TOO HIGH: Birmingham Evening Mail cheerleads the three local entrants into the Fame Academy hoopla - "If successful they will join global stars Eminem, Sting, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Ms Dynamite to win a money-spinning contract with record label Polydor." Or, rather more accurately, if successful they will join David Sneddon wondering just how he could have signed a major deal and yet still needs to buy broken biscuits from Home & Bargain to stop feeling so very hungry.

WRITING A PIECE ON THE INTERNET? DON'T FORGET IT'S EVIL: There's nothing worse than when local journalists and 'concerned parents' get together for the internet - as here someone registers for an unofficial band website; turns out they get sent porn spam afterwards. Firstly, it was the mother who signed her daughter up for the service - which goes to show there's not a great deal of point in parents supervising their kids use of the web if they don't have any web savvy themselves - if their kid wanted to learn to fly gliders, they'd presumably seek some advice from someone who could fly rather than saying "strap yerself in the cockpit, love, I'll teach you... can't be that tricky, can it?" Secondly, there's a problem of not quite understanding the nature of the problem here. Okay, an eleven year old should be able to surf without getting porn come-ons (might we suggest pop-up blockers and mail filters?) , but how do you get from 'advert to porn' to this: "She fears many other young children could accidentally be exposed to the sordid images - and with the alleged abduction of 12-year-old Shevaun Pennington hitting the headlines last week, believes it could lead to even more dangerous situations. If I could access these sites so easily and innocently, I'm sure many youngsters alone in their bedrooms could be doing the same," she said. And with all the other dangers of using Internet chatrooms highlighted in the news at the moment, who knows what could result from it?" Presumably only by Tabloid Style Escalation?

MERCURY PART TWO: Somehow, we'd managed to miss out on Terri Walker - despite her website proudly proclaiming she'd marked herself as a star of 2003 by getting to 38 in the singles chart. She's actually part of the DefSoul roster and, really, the closest to a 'defending champion' in the pack this year (Ms Dynamite winning last year, of course). Somehow, TW seems less likely to be popping up on Pepsi cans in 2004. The Thrills album is pretty airy and varied; we're not sure it's distinctive or coherent enough to please the Mercury judges, though, but we wish them luck as our personal favourites. Athlete must be in with quite a serious chance - they have that black ash credibility that so titilates Mercury judges, and it's been a few years since the Mercs went for the album which sounded like the Most Obvious Winner from a sound point of view. Coldplay surely will be marked down because their album came out so long ago it feels like you're being asked to pick The White Album (plus, of course, we imagine the judges would notice it's just not a very good album). Radiohead will probably withdraw, or something. Floetry are more popular in the US than in the UK, and we're sure they'd have to barred on the grounds of irritating novelty name if nothing else. Lemon Jelly are amongst the sixteen hardest working people in music, but they still seem to be a little more like an art school project than a proper musical act. And Dizzee Rascal - well, we don't really approve of people being stabbed, but if he comes round ourt way with his records, we'd be waving envelopes at him and if he gets a papercut, well, so be it.

MERCURY SHORTLIST ROCKS: The Mercury Shortlist has just been announced - here's the list:

The Thrills - 'So Much For The City'
Coldplay - 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head'
Radiohead - 'Hail To The Thief'
Athlete - 'Vehicles and Animals'
The Darkness - 'Permission to Land'
Dizzee Rascal - 'Boy In Da Corner'
Lemon Jelly - 'Lost Horizons'
Terri Walker - 'Untitled'
Floetry - 'Floetic'
Martina Topley-Bird - 'Quixotic'

... so, Coldplay versus Radiohead would be an interesting battle on any day of the week. I'm guessing The Darkness are going to be early favourites to pick up the prize in the long run. Has anyone actually ever heard Martina Topley-Bird, or is she one of those acts that nobody ever hears but everyone likes to name drop?

YOU CAN TAKE THE WOMAN OUT OF LIVERPOOL, BUT YOU CAN'T TAKE THE FREAKING BEATLES OUT OF THE SCOUSER: Let's just hope that no EMI executive is thinking 'Hey - Cherie Sings The Beatles - I'm thinking Christmas market, I'm thinking heavy TV...". This probably has set back Anglo-Chinese relations fifteen years.

TOGETHER AT LAST: The Cranberries Meet AC/DC, as Delores O'Riordan and AC/DC singer Brian Johnston are apparently mulling working together on a musical of the Life of Helen of Troy. Famously, of course, it was the length of her nose which determined the fate of the world, in pretty much the same way that had Delores held the note on Zombie a couple of seconds longer, they might have had a number one.

ANOTHER KENENDY: The Dead Kennedys have lost another vocalist, with the news that Brandon Cruz has left by that there Mutual Consent. (Perhaps he was ashamed at being associated with a band who once were the kings of US punk but whose tshirts are now appearing on the contestants on Ground Force?). His place, and as such, Jello's place, is being taken by Jeff Penalty.

LUSHfest03: IT'S NOT TOO LATE: If you've seen our entries so far, and you're thinking "they're okay, but, frankly, our band is so much hotter than that", there's still time to enter the running. We're accepting sign-ups right until the end of the month - just email with an URL and/or jpg and a brief description of what it is you do. Cheap publicity, yes, but publicityu nevertheless.

LUSHfest03: And sometimes, you just know you're going to have trouble. These are the JuJu Babies:

And we're sure they're going to quibble that we're not showing their best sides, or something. They played Steve Strange's birthday, which makes them hugely admirable in our eyes anyway. You can hear them, see them, and maybe even touch them at

LUSHfest03: Remember Lf? The stagnant answer to Pop/Am Idol which admits, cheerfully, that it's not about the music at all? We've had a couple of other bands who are willing to take part. First, meet Dollygrip:

Dollygrip are Dutch - as you probably can't tell from the grainy photo; and they play guitars, which you can. You can find out all about them on their website.

Monday, July 21, 2003

I COLLECT, I REJECT: A quick run round some of the great Pop Shit you can buy on Ebay right now:
Meatloaf Wall Rug - carpet-based display of the behemoth

Genuine 1980's The Jam necklace

Turin Brakes "collectors pack" - which is, apparently, twelve inch singles sleeves with no singles in them

Mariah Carey Wallpaper For Framing - erm, yes, that would be someone's printed out a screen wallpaper onto paper and is now trying to sell it

This…um... 'art'

NERVE: Limp Bizkit guitarist sidelined with trapped nerve; full, quick recovery could yet be hampered if we keep making him get stuff off high shelves, retie shoelaces, etc.

FACTFINDING: James Sensenbrenner, the Congressman behind some of the webcasting fee-legislation floating about in the US, appears out to have accepted eighteen thousand for a trip overseas lobbying on behalf of the RIAA. Unfortunately, of course, this is against House Rules. ("Members and staff may not accept expenses from a private source for travel the primary purpose of which is to conduct official business.")

And you have to wonder, if the record companies are really in the dire straits they claim, how can they afford to fund so lavishly overseas trips of this sort anyway? You could buy a CD single instead of downloading the track for free, but when you know the money is going to be wasted on sending portly congressmen to eat lobster and quaff wine in sunny climes, you might find the calls to do the moral thing and pay for your music seems strangely less compelling. "BUY THIS CD - OR SENSENBRENNER WILL HAVE TO FLY CLUB."

SIDE-EFFECTS: Tucked away in the bog-standard Music Biz on Hard Times piece in Rolling Stone, a mention that 600 Record Shops have closed in the US in the last twelve months. Now that, we know, you can blame on the internet. One way or another.

WE REALLY CAME THAT CLOSE?: Apparently, had Neil Primrose not recovered from his diving accident, there would have been no more Travis. As it is, they're back with more stuff than ever. Fran Healy says "it sounds like nothing we've done before" - suggesting, perhaps, the new stuff might actually be engaging. Is this a good time for someone to dig out their old copy of U-16 Girls and start asking questions about how the band feel about Pete Townshend?

OH. GOD. NO: The BBC is planning to televise The Heat Awards. Who knew there was a step lower than the TV Times awards?

PUNKOBITUARY: Californian punks The Exploding Hearts were in a car crash on the i-5. Three of the passengers in the band were killed in the accident; there were two survivors. Sympathy, of course, to everyone affected. Grimly, the front page of the exploding hearts website reads: "We need a drummer, again."

DOES ANYONE KNOW JUDSON COX?: We're assuming that he's some sort of comedy character - perhaps from Saturday Night Live? His opinion piece on the Dixie Chicks is guaranteed to have you rolling in the aisles - somehow, he's managed to extrapolate from Natalie Maine's comment that she was ashamed to come from the same state as Bush that she supported Saddam Hussein, moider, slaughter, "America's enemies" and so on. He then - or is it she? we've never met a Judson - states that any opinion from someone like the Dixie Chicks can be safely ignored, a point proved by the next couple of thousand words ignoring them. Oh, and apparently, the Entertainment Weekly cover was "soft core porn crossed with performance art for the lobotomized." Hilarious. I hope that Judson gets picked up to write for the Onion real soon.

Meanwhile, the Chicks themselves are adding their weight to Rock The Vote. Like 'Judson', we would have thought that there wasn't very much room for politicisation of the Chicks. It seems the war is having some really unexpected knock-on effects.

DAVID FILLS HIS BOX: The UK release of David Bowie's Box set is going to have some extra pretty rare things built in to it. (Nothing to do, of course, with BowieBonds' ongoing problems, we're sure its just an act of love for his fans.)

CHARTWATCH: "They're calling her the new Madonna" trilled Cat Deeley, introducing Beyonce on this weekend's CD:UK - which is a little harsh, her acting in the Austin Powers film wasn't that bad. She remains in the number one single spot, and nipping into the newsagents to pick up a paper this morning, it was clear why - ten seconds I was there, and the ten second burst of Crazy In Love was both instantly recognisable and then burned in my skull firmly and in a way I couldn't remove until I heard Jeffrey Archer's former cellmates doing their rewritten version of Daniel ("Jeffrey is leaving the prison today/ I can see the paparazzi clicking away again…"). The art of the hook is well known, and you still get pop with hooks in it, but what's missing these days is the ability to marble the hook right through the flesh of the song, so that any snatch of the track will lodge itself in. Madonna used to be able to do this - I had a pleasant trip down memory lane with a snatch of Lucky Star while popping into a restaurant toilet on Saturday - but it's a trick she's lost. Hollywood - having burned up apparently all the remaining Maddy goodwill - freefalls from two to fifteen this week. Kym Marsh's optimistic booking of commercials during last night's Corrie wedding special coincided with the shaky start for Come On Over turning into a swift departure (down to 23), while Avril Lavigne does even worse - Losing Grip suffering a humiliating shunt to the Pop Sidings after a single week in the Top 40 (41 this week). Blur are also out the 40 after a week - (Crazy Beat, 44)

Proving nobody's ever gone bust giving half naked women powertools, Benny Benassi debuts at number two with Satisfaction; Wayne Wonder has done an old-stylee five week climb up the chart to hit number three with No Letting Go, while - gasp - the Jesus lovers are given a resurrection (Evanescence up again to number 4). The Coral are straight in at number five with their (i.e. Every Liverpool Band That Doesn't Sound Like Oasis') own brand of scalladelica (or is it scouseadelia? Or Birkenhead-music?) on Pass It On. They're now the most successful Liverpool band since… well, Atomic Kitten, really, but if you're counting acts that own their own instruments, since The Farm. Probably.

Dressing up as dogs has given Super Furry Animals' Golden Retriever a number eight; further down some sort of wormhole seems to have opened up with Killing Joke's first chart entry in thirty-seven years (Loose Canon, 25) and Inspiral Carpets having their first mini-hit since the birth of the little baby Jesus (Come Back Tomorrow, 43). The Cardigans will be a bit disappointed that You're The Storm can only scrape together enough pocket money to make seventy-four - okay, they'll be distraught. Maybe someone should ring them?

But this week's big single losers are Appleton - threatening to move to Canada, suggesting men check their testicles; nothing has helped shift the new single. Everything Eventually shamefacedly creaks in at 38, amid rumours of sales counter not needing a fourth figure.

Over on the albums charts, yes, of course, Beyonce is still there, like the queen of the world. Aside from the Manics's social experiment (Q. Will our fans lash out for a b-sides compilation? A. Yes - Lipstick Traces in at 11) there aren't many new entries about - indeed, the second highest is Neil Young at forty two; then Sinead Quinn, off of the telly is Ready To Run at forty-eight (run-off, more like); Nitin Sawhney's Human appears for the first time (54). Despite having had the sort of push that must have caused Paul Weller to cry tears of real blood (not only was his music used in a Ribena advert; the record company then used footage from the advert to promote the album) The Style Council's Greatest Hits suffers an entry at 67.

Late-night TV profiles never harmed anyone, as BBC2's rerun of BBC4's Jeff Buckley documentary hauls Grace back into the top 75, and the curious online campaign for Martina Topley Bird has done her enough business for a number 70.

Album loser is Lisa Marie Presley. She may wish she hadn't waited this long to launch a music career - To Whom It May Concern only concerned enough people to sneak in at number 52. And after the surprisingly positive things "ordinary people" said about the album on BBC Online, too.

'I'M AN ONLINE FAN': Christian Science Monitor meets a sixteen year old downloader; photo illustrating the story looks (presumably uncannily) like the sort you see on those kind of dating sites. [Link via blogcritics]

OOOH, TEMPER: Chris Martin gets collar felt after smashing photographer's car window. After this, who knows what next? Tissue-ripping? Grape-squashing? Maybe even jumping off dolls houses'?

Sunday, July 20, 2003

"WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED ON MY WATCH" SNIFFS SMILEY MILEY: Apparently no end of high-jinks with Radio One's one big sunday this afternoon. A massive powercut knocked the show off the air twice, causing no end of delight to the listeners at home (well, who'd be mourning the loss of Daniel Beddingfeld and Chris Moyles?). When the problem was finally corrected, Chris Moyles picked up the broadcast pretending he was just telling the punchline of a filthy but incredibly hilarious joke. The joke being, of course, that a presenter like Moyles has never knowingly been hilarious while on air.

TALKING OF MAILING LISTS: We recently took over moderation duties on the Placebo Molkorific and were hugely bemused this weekend to start getting emails saying "you cannot send mail to this listserver." It turns out that someone at Warners Reprise had, for god alone knows what reason, subscribed the official Linkin Park mailing list to the Placebo one. No, we don't know why. No, we don't even want to try and imagine how they did such a thing.

LINE-UP: We're still shimmering from Justine Frischmann's voiceover for the Alan Ant documentary, and so it was a good time for Matt M to bring This A to Z of Elastica to our attention. Talking of the E-band, after about a year of the main Elastica mailing list being choked to death by spam, spam, nothing but spam, we've carried out our promise to create a slightly more secure list - you can join acdcdragact online or by emailing