Wednesday, August 04, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Q Revamps, and we're now just five years shy of a Libertines memorial fountain:

EMAP is having a bit of a redesign of its portfolio at the moment, slightly fiddling with the shape of FHM and Empire and, of more interest to us, having a(nother) Q relaunch. This time round, they're reverted to that messy lots-of-cover images that they did at the start, and, whereas in the 80s Q was the CD magazine, it's set out to try and carve itself a niche as the house journal of the download. And, yes, there's a manifesto from editor Paul Rees at the front: "Our aim is a simple one: to point you in the direction of the very best music of all styles and from all eras." Hmm. Q mk 7 (or 8? we lose count) has dedicated its first run out to the 1010 songs you must own. The 1010 tracks isn't a totally arbitrary figure, it's supposedly the number of tracks you can fit on a mini iPod. Although since you can choose to encode tracks at different rates, and they're all of different lengths, that isn't an entirely fixed figure. But we quibble. We could also point out that buying 1010 tracks for your iPod would cost about eight hundred quid, and so only the most flush would be in a position to obey Q's injunction. Especially since they've got popstars to draw up a list: Dave Grohl includes Master of Puppets by Metallica; ?uestlove picks Beasts of No Nation by Fela Kuti; Basement Jaxx click on 'buy' Tito Puente's salsa salsa; Jeremy Vine insists on Animal Nitrate by Suede being in there ("I wish Suede could have made another album like the first"); Travis Barker (asked to pick 'Punk') comes up with 12XU by Wire; homophobic fuckwit Beenie Man chooses one of his own songs (probably afraid if he picked something else he might choose a bummer by mistake and everyone would think he was gay or something); Lucinda Williams includes Dusty Springfield's Breakfast in Bed on her selection list; Tim Westwood chooses some real rap; Tim Rice-Oxley from Keane is given the pop brief and picks, um, Nick Drake and Ella fitzgerald; Kaite Melua suggests you really should have 50 ways To Leave Your Lover on your iPod.

Justin Hawkins delivers a pottymouthfull to someone who's sold a promo version of I Believe In A Thing Called Love for fifty quid on Ebay - "if you're that much of a talentless fuck that you have to leech off our fans, that's fine, but don't expect a pat on the back from me." Erm... but nobody forced anyone to buy it on Ebay, did they? And, scarily, Frankie Poullain reveals they've been talking to Roy Thomas Baker about production on the next album. In other words: the bloke who produced Bohemian Rhapsody.

In one of those 'duh' online polls, 88% of Q readers said they wouldn't buy a CD if they knew the profits were going to terrorist groups, which means there are 12% of them who would happily fork over a couple of quid to Bin Laden to get the new Beta Band LP. Clearly, EMI are viewed as worse than Al-Qaeda.

In the Postcards from The Edge series, Mr. Edge opines that creating a great song is like making a perfect salad dressing. Which would make the last U2 album what? Value Mayonnaise?

Natasha Bedingfield wanted to prove she was a smart blonde, so she took up a university place to study psychology at Greenwich Uni. She didn't quite make out the year.

Where are Opus now, you might have been wondering? Herwig Rudisser, the singer, um, still sings for Opus. Yes, they're still going.

Sweetly, despite having driven by him into bankruptcy, Lol Tolhurst sent Robert Smith a little list of reasons to let bygones be bygones. It's not recorded if 'you're a long time the living dead' was on the piece of paper.

Kayne West isn't a gangsta rapper, he says. "I'm just an ordinary man." The splendid thing is, of course, he clearly doesn't believe it, and equally doesn't realise that gangster rappers are amongst the most everyday of men, no matter how much jewellery they drape themselves in.

Q's bid to catch up on the Libertines bandwagon was never going to manage to work with the demands of a monthly publishing schedule; meanwhile, Jet's Chris Chester brags that he's never met a band that drinks harder than they do. Well done. That's quite an achievement.

Amongst Q's reviews: The Prodigy - always outnumbered, never outgunned - "a warning to Axl Rose", 2
The Libertines - the Libertines - "a tune that would have sent Benny Hill running free", 4
juliette and the links - like a bolt of lightning - "the curse of the actor pretending to be pop stars has struck once more", 2
dimitri from paris - cruising attitude - "satisfyingly cosmopolitan", 3
mash out posse - mash out posse - "no brained charm", 3
charlotte hatherley - grey will fade - "a minor key triumph", 3

alex kapranos issues ten commandments - ten is "never be an arse-kisser", although he doesn't rule out a cheeky lick.

Now, to the NME. Mike Skinner's achieved a key point in his success curve, now being popular enough to be able to appear on the cover without the need for them to stick a CD over his gob or anything. Or, indeed, for him to do an interview, oddly enough. His eyes are now starting to look a little, well, buggy.

There comes a time when everyone must take a stand. It might be votes for all, the abolition of slavery, or, in the case of NME, to save the Mushroom. In a piece which combines both the Third Summer Of Love and Schroomadelica (if they could have worked in Raggle-Taggle they'd have got a bonus for a full line of scenes that don't exist anywhere beneath the 24th Floor of Kings Reach Tower), the paper worries over what the future might hold if there's a crackdown on magic mushrooms. A price rise, presumably, and the influx of magic mushrooms cut with toadstools.

A page is cleared to give space for Libertines fans to talk about what the band mean to them - they tend to suggest that they're a Nirvana for our age, but really, to be frank: they come across like those people who took plastic-wrapped flowers to Kensington Palace in 1997.

Graham Coxon picks tracks for one of those old-fashioned CD things, like the Monochrome Set and Love are on it, you know?

Peter Robinson takes on Matt Busted. Matt Busted must have won, as Pete's picture has disappeared from the top of the page. On the other hand, Pete gets him to announce the band will split. Someday. And he calls himself a cunt for flogging blow-up guitars for nine pounds a time to the little girls, which at least is self-aware.

radar band are The Departure, who come from Northampton; it's the sort of place where they're called poofs, which gave them enough encouragement to get the hell out.
There's a big spread on this new London scene thing that's meant to be going down - the photocall outside Buckingham Palace where Selfish Cunt and The Libertines went fist to fist was leading up to this. And, like every other scene, there's something missing: Thirty-three faces, two women, and don't even ask about how representative of the big, multicultural capital this new scene manages to be. If this is the true sound of the arse-end of the city, it's as much a white male club as the top echelons of The City.

Your posters this week would be yer great british mavericks: Roxy Music, Jarvis, Bolan, Dexys, the Kinks, Syd Barrett and a naked arse, and Joe Strummer.

the hives - new york irving plaza - "pelle's over-confidence flatters the audience... we're all in on the joke"
ian brown - claremont landscape garden - "so why look back? The Roses were about living in the moment"

the libertines - the libertines - "a once-in-a-lifetime album", 9
hayseed dixie - let there be rockgrass - "storing an ex-lover's shit in a jar", 7
brave captain - all watched over by machines of loving grace - "serial laptop abuse", 4

sotw - the libertines - can't stand me now - "get well soon"
biffy clyro - glitter and twisted - "constant tempo changes"
preston from the ordinary boys loves stevie wonder. not like that. although he does say it's an unhealthy obsession.

And finally, a spot of perspective: the son of a junky writes to ask Pete to pull himself together while his kids are still young enough not to resent him. Keeping us free from amoral music, are you, Pete?

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