Saturday, June 05, 2004

"WE ARE PLEASED TO PUT THE MATTER BEHIND US": Clear Channel have settled a lawsuit it was facing in Colorado, although, oddly, it is refusing to admit any wrongdoing. The entertainment conglomerate had been facing legal action from a promoter in Denver who claimed that Clear Channel's radio stations wouldn't play music by bands playing at Denver venues not owned by Clear Channel. A federal judge had ruled the promoter, Nobody in Particular, had enough of a case to allow a full trial. Strangely, Clear Channel - who accept no wrongdoing - decided it would make more sense to settle the matter out of court, rather than go to trial and demonstrate that it wasn't doing anything wrong. We've said it before, but we do find it incredibly generous of these big companies that - although, of course, they're doing nothing wrong - they'd rather pay cash sums to rival companies than go to the trouble of showing how good and ethical they are under oath. Still, Clear Channel's executive vice president and chief legal officer says that he's happy: "We are pleased to put the matter behind us." Let's just hope there aren't promoters in, say, San Diego, or New York, or Tuscon who have a similar problem with them.

GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN US?: Oh shit, no sooner had we (and, it seems, the entire electronic world) raided the champagne closet to celebrate the end of Creed that Creed have reunited: the non-Scott Stapp members have formed a new band which they insist isn't just Creed without Scott Stapp, despite being, erm, Creed without Scott Stapp. The name to avoid is Alter Bridge. Write that down somewhere prominent, so you don't end up going to their gigs by accident.

Worse, Stapp is hooking up with The Tea Party to record a solo album. (Yes, we know that that doesn't quite make any sense). It's like when you cut an earthworm in half and get two worms, only without the possibility of being saved by a hungry blackbird.

THEY'LL BE LUCKY, SURELY?: Interesting little appendage on yesterday's Radio One entertainment news mail out:

Are you a female aged 25 or over who listens to Radio 1 and lives in the Greater London area? We're looking for someone who would be happy to talk about their lifestyle and interests at a radio event next week. It will take place between 6pm and 8pm on Thursday 10 June

Surely, with the onward march of the Colin Murrays, Chris Moyleses and Vernon Kays, grown-up women who listen to Radio One must be in pretty short supply? Perhaps they're trying to track one down so they can just parade her onstage - "see, we do have listeners over the age of ten..."

COWBOYS PICK WINDY 'UNS: No, no, no, Cowboy Junkies - while there's much to applaud in your top ten british punk songs ever selections, how on earth could you put Anarchy in the UK first? Higher than I Found That Essence Rare? You've got to be kidding - it's like doing a top ten restaurants and putting McDonalds ahead of Villa Romana on Wood Street, Liverpool.

TELL THE BNP TO FUCK OFF FROM THE BACK OF A LORRY: The Love Music Hate Racism team have come up with a replacement for the festival which collapsed when Pete Doherty wandered off to try some cheeses in France - they're having a rolling, lorry back festival around London on Sunday 6th. The bands involved will be Art Brut, The Fades, Skeme & Big P, Navigator, Demolition Man, MCs Foxy & Eksman and - of course - many more, and the festival-on-a-low-loader can be caught at the following locations:

11-1 Finsbury Park
1.30-2.00 Wood Green
2.45-3.30 Camden Town
4.15-4.45 Brixton
5.30-6.00 Brick Lane/Shoreditch

There's surely nothing more fitting for the 60th anniversary of D-Day than helping ensure Europe remains free from fascism for another sixty years.

JET OFF: Glastonbury looking slightly more attractive now, then, with the news that Jet have quit the bill for reasons of family illness. Now all we need is for Oasis to come up with a prior appointment.

Friday, June 04, 2004

WHO SAID GOD DOESN'T ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS?: Creed have split. What a way to go into the weekend.

PROBABLY NOT GOING TO BE A MANICS FILM NOW: It was all looking good for a movie with the Manic Street Preachers in it. Karl Francis, the Cardiff movie maker, was on board, and an application for funding had gone into the Welsh film board, Sgr n. Then Karl Francis decided to call the board of Sgr n all the names under the sun, including people incapable of selling faggots and peas in Cardiff market. We're guessing the application might not get quite the rosy reception it was expecting. Hint to Karl: Best to wait until you've got the cash before slagging off the guy holding the wallet.

"I HAVE A MALE LOVER" LINE OF DEFENCE ABANDONED: It seems that any hope of Nathan Moore of avoiding a fine for kerbcrawling by using the "I'm in a gay relationship" gambit to make it seem impossible that he'd have been trying to buy sex with a lady were abandoned when his legal team realised that maybe magistrates might not be unfamiliar with the concept of bisexuality. Oddly, despite having pleaded guilty, as is the way with pop stars, Nathan emerged from court still claiming to be innocent. Apparently he pleaded guilty to "stop the intrusion." Because nothing stops people looking at you like a kerbcrawler like saying "I am a kerbcrawler."

He was fined GBP250, or three times up the arse, twice without a condom, once over the tits and a standard with no kissing.

CROSSING IN THE MIDDLE: Reuters report that Heavy metal bands get softer (i.e. Kittie have recorded a song in a slightly quieter version), while Broadway gets darker (i.e. someone playing a kiddie sex fiend has been nominated for a Tony). This suggests that all music will eventually become Fred Durst by 2017.

HANG ON LASSES, AMERICA'S CALLING: The Sugababes must have been delighted to discover that, just as they thought they'd never have to see each other's pouty faces ever again, their management have decided to capitalise on their "success" in America - Hole in my Head has entered the Hot 100 at, erm, 98. So the leaky Sugababes boat is being forced to punt across the water. Yep, shutting Mutya and Heidi up in airplane together. That'll work.

Mis-Teeq are apparently doing "well" (comparatively well, compared to say, Robbie or Kylie) with a top 60 hit. Oddly, Busted are also having a crack at the US, but they've elected to start in the same way as in the UK, with the two-year old That's What I Go To School For. Blimey, and they think the Harry Potter cast are getting too old to play schoolkids... the Americans are going to think it's a revival of Please Sir.

PING PONG: Amongst the babies being thrown out with the Warner bathwater: Stereolab, dropped by Elektra, a label they've been with for over ten years. (Actually, the label has also gone, merged out of existence). The Breeders could also be for the chop. But don't the RIAA keep telling us CD prices are high so that record labels can support bands with less stellar sales?

THANKS, THE DARKNESS: Great. Just when we were on the point of being shot of the Wildhearts forever, the Darkness go and invite them to be tour buddies and keep the blood band alive. Why not go the whole hog and get Therapy? to make a new album, Justin?

HOOKERCLOTHES FOR TWO YEAR OLDS: It's in The Sun, so approach with caution, but Madonna's planning on launching a range of clothes for twos-to-teens featuring miniskirts and see-through tops. Is anyone else reminded of the Fry & Laurie sketch where Laurie's businessman is asked by Fry's banker if it's entirely ethical to be selling heroin, and Laurie looks confused and starts going through his paperwork saying "I think Sophie did me a graph on that somewhere..."?

YOUNG WOMAN THINKS ABOUT SEX; "THIS CHALLENGES ALL OUR PRECONCEPTIONS" SAY SCIENTISTS: This might shock you, but apparently Janet Jackson had sexual thoughts even before the Superbowl.
"As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that I had a very active sexual mind at a very young age. I hope that doesn't sound bad."

("I hope that doesn't sound bad" = "Is that okay for your strapline, or do you want me to throw something lesbian as well?") Shouldn't CBS have screened her to discover this before they let her appear on television? Her first crush was Barry Manilow - now, that does sound bad - before she moved on to Teddy Pendergrass when she was 12. Currently, Janet has an - ahem - "alterego" called Strawberry, who is the "most sexual" of all her alteregos.

HE'S COMING FOR AMERICA: "Cullum Is Different Kind of Jazz Star" warns Associated Press. Yes, a demonic one. Don't look in his eyes:

"For me, jazz is the widest platform possible to do everything I want to do. I can pull from so many camps when I'm playing jazz ... from rock 'n' roll, pop, hip-hop, dance and classical. When I was playing rock 'n' roll, it was much more rigid. ... In jazz, I can be different every night."

Can be; chooses not to be, apparently.

Although AP seems to be just doing a welcoming puff piece, we suspect they did sneak in this coded message:

Cullum's CD hardly captures the excitement of his live performances. He is no "scooby-doo" style crooner, but more like "Scrappy Doo"

Now, comparing Cullum to the most irritating, ill-conceived cartoon character - remembered only for turning up and spoiling everything - has to be a signal, doesn't it?

HOW MACCA AND LENNON GOT TO BE RICH: They only paid Peter Blake two hundred quid for making the Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band sleeve. Blake's still smarting over this, nearly forty years later - he told Apple to go slice themselves when they asked him to do some work during that flurry of anthology stuff a while back - but while he might not have got paid much, he's not done badly out of the Sgt Peppers job: certainly, whenever he pops up in the media, it seems to be to bang on about how "Shirley Temple's on the front three times, you know." Two hundred quid and several thousand good lunches, then.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

I HAVE ALWAYS RELIED ON THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS: Who's to know? Maybe when Croatian pop star Severina Vuckovic stood up and said "look, there's some pictures of me shagging that have been posted on the internet, so if you come across them, just delete them, will you? Oh, and let the police know", perhaps people will say "fair enough, then" and destroy them. And, to be fair, when first ran the photos, they were careful to preserve as much of Vuckovic's dignity as you can while running pics of her getting it in both ends. Editor Matija Babic says "We did not want to show her breasts, let alone anything more." That's restraint for you right there.

DID WE SAY IT WAS DOWNLOADING THAT WAS KILLING MUSIC? HANG ABOUT A MINUTE...: With the number of illegal downloads on the way back up again, it looks like the music industry is going to turn its attention back to people making copies of their own CDs, by introducing new technology that will, somehow, stop people copying CDs more than once, or something. We're not quite sure how it's meant to work, but it's delicious to think after all this time, they're resurrecting 'home taping is killing music' as a battle cry.

HOW MANY MUSIC INDUSTRY FAT CATS WILL WIND UP INSIDE?: Poor music biz execs; as if having Camden Council wanting to throw them in jail isn't bad enough, the Sarbanes-Oxley act - an American measure introduced after the Enron clusterfuckage to try and ensure good corporate governance - could allow artists to finally hold their paymasters to account: just by buying a single share of stock in their company, they could accuse the board of failing to comply with the act and demand a full, independent audit of the company's finances. Richard Menta explains it all in loving detail, concluding "the rules have changed."

[via blogcritics, who've been having an upheaval of their own over the last day as they shift from one hosting company to another - apparently Bloghosts just pulled the plug without warning]

WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE THIS?: Come on, a joke's a joke but does the World really deserve to be hit by a second Kelly Osbourne album? It's not like anyone actually got round to buying the first one, is it?

"MOVING ON SIR, IT APPEARS YOUR FATHER WAS A BANK ROBBER...": You'd actually have thought that a singer in a Clash tribute band would have been all over the lyrics to Clash songs anyway, so it's probably doubly unfortunate that London Calling's bassist Mike Devine had to text a chunk of Tommy Gun to singer Reg Shaw. Because he screwed up the number, and the text went astray to someone else, who didn't recognise "How about this for Tommy Gun? OK - so let's agree about the price and make it one jet airliner for 10 prisoners" as being a Clash reference, and told the police. Mike Devine wound up being interviewed by police - although he's probably lucky; if Blunkett had got there first he'd be dangling from his gonads in a secret camp in the Isle of Wight by now. Or, at the very least, breaking rocks in the hot sun.

Reg, for god's sake, if you need help with White Riot, use the telephone.

CHILDREN'S BOOKS - THE NEW MUST-HAVE FOR A CELEB: God, we prefered it when it was all fitness videos or books of out-of-focus polaroids. Now, the celeb with too much time on their hand seems to think that they can best serve the cause of humanity by churning out children's books. LeAnn Rimes is about to unleash three on us, Madonna - of course - has got her scary English Roses sideline; Stan Cullimore from the Housemartins writes books about hippos. We guess the thinking is "they're kids, they'll eat anything, won't they?"

Although actually, Stan's books are quite good.

HEY, YOU DIDN'T BLOG THIS, FRED: Apparently, having sniffed about Britney Spears, Fred Durst has tried to move on to Avril Lavigne. Probably heard her going on about how much she has in common with Marilyn Manson and thought "Hey, I'm also a middle-aged man pretending to be angry and scary, so I must be in with a chance, too." Gossip says that Fred got fixated on Avril after she'd asked him for an In-n-out burger. You can seem why a simple man might have got the wrong idea from that.

LIBERTINES CRISIS LEADS TO CANNING OF ANTI-RACISM FESTIVAL: Oh, bugger - the Love Music Hate Racism gig has been axed for Sunday as The Libertines can't go on. It seems that the band had been hoping Pete would have been back in the fold in time for Sunday, but now reckon he'll still be lost in France, and so pulled out. Without a headline act, the organisers decided to call it a day and axed the gig, although we'd have thought the message was more important than the running order. It's a bit of a shame that one bloke's personal demons has cancelled out an attempt to get out the anti-Nazi vote. The BNP must be pissing themselves.

MORE AND MORE COMPLICATED: Dear Avril, Yesterday you were quoted in an interview saying how if you were going to swap images with someone, it would be Jessica Simpson, right? And so, Jessica Simpson must be square with you. Britney, we know, isn't, because she dresses like you "should only dress for your boyfriend."

So, Avril, how come Jessica is an acceptable role model while Britney isn't? Why is dressing like this:

for an awards show okay with you, when dressing like this:

for a stage show isn't? We're very confused.

JACKSON CLEARED. A LITTLE: One of the nasty hanging nails on Jacko's back, the bloke who popped up claiming he'd just remembered being abused by Michael Jackson back in the 80s, has been pulled from Michael's paw; LA Police couldn't find anything to make further investigation of the claims worthwhile. It's unclear if, on being told the news, the accuser said "no... wait... maybe it was Paul Reubens... or that Portuegese TV presenter guy...", or if we just dreamed that bit. That leaves Jackson with the slightly more solid charges facing him but, hey, every step forward, eh?

BROTHER BEYOND THE PALE: What surprises us most about Nathan Moore being caught kerb crawling is this: how on earth can someone from Brother Beyond have the money for hookers?

Apparently, Nathan had the bad luck to be sniffing round while Camden was having a crackdown on prostitution (prostitution, flyposting - they're really having a crack at gentrification, aren't they?)

Moore - who went on for a stint with Worlds Apart and now manages James Fox and Phixx (still no clearer where he's getting the cash from, then)- has been charged with "being a man soliciting a woman for the purposes of prostitution from a motor vehicle while it was in a street or public place, persistently or in such circumstances as to be likely to cause annoyance to the woman solicited or nuisance to other persons in the neighbourhood." If only he hadn't kept playing Phixx on his car stereo, he might have gotten away with it.

KABBALAH NOT AS KEEN ON MADONNA AS SHE IS ON IT: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach isn't very impressed by Madonna's "embracing" of Kabblah, railing that no good will come of it all in an article "Perverted priorities", no less, for

You know your religion is up a creek when [...] the most famous representative of your mystical tradition is simulating lesbian sex with scantily clad pregnant dancers.
Earth to Phillip Berg: Do us all a favor and dump Madonna as your principal spokesperson. Sorry to be so crass, but Madonna is a slut. Yes, she may sing, and she may dance. But she is famous for being a slut. And no religion dare have a slut as its principal representative [...] I realize that Madonna has brought the Kabbalah Center great notoriety and is, according to reports, a contributor to the tune of millions of dollars. But is the Kabbalah Center really so desperate that it is prepared to promote itself through a vulgarian whose main contribution to the culture is porn rock?

Added to which, you know, she's not done a decent album for over half a decade...

Then, her PR steps in, issuing a counter-statement:

"I find Rabbi Boteach’s comments regarding Madonna frightening. His vile attacks on her character and as an artist are staggering for someone who professes to be a religious person. . . . I suggest this man take a look at his own character and what problems he may have that would make him feel that he should make statements about a truly beautiful human being that he does not know in the slightest. . . . Madonna’s relationship with the Kabbalah and her commitment to (their) teachings has been a beautiful experience for her and the fact that Madonna wants to share her lessons . . . is yet another example of her truly generous and loving spirit."

Which, is all nice and everything, but sort of misses the point of what the Rabbi was getting at - which seemed to be "What sort of religion associates itself with a woman whose image is one of a shaggarama on legs?", which would mean that Madonna being a lovely lady he doesn't know in real life would be kind of beside the point. We're just astonished that someone working in PR is suggesting that a Rabbi might have some character flaws.

The Rabbi, of course, strikes back:

"For Madonna to put herself forward as a spiritual spokesperson while continuing to degrade women by simulating sex acts at music concerts, portray full nudity in her movies, and to ridicule lesbians by performing same-sex kisses merely for TV ratings, is a mockery of her claims to a life of spiritual renewal based on the teachings of the Kabbalah. Women like Liz Rosenberg especially, who heave [sic] greatly distinguished themselves professionally through their brains rather than their busts, should be at the forefront of criticizing Madonna’s assault on feminine dignity."

Yeah, wouldn't be holding my breath for Madonna's PR woman to launch an attack on Madonna's behaviour. Now, let's just leave them to it...

THE SWEAR BOX: Madonna has introduced a swear box on her current tour, to stop the cast and crew befouling the air with cusswords. Quite right too, nobody going to see eroticised images of warfare, people singing from electric chairs and simulated lesbian sex are going to want to have their enjoyment ruined by someone using rude words, are they?

BLURRING BACK: Blur might be back in the studio working on a new album, but they're hardly rushing things, having done a week, and planning to do another week in the autumn. At this rate, they'll have an album completed just in time for the Paris Olympics in 2012. Damon says "There’s no deadlines; we’ll just chip away, like we did with the last one." Which sound worry Alex - the chipping away last time round was getting rid of Graham...

LIQUID DRIES: We're feeling a little guilty for never having mentioned Liquid, an alt-poppy radio service that had been located in the belly of Virgin's London studios, and now it's gone. In a look-at-what-you-could-have-won glance, this is the playlist for their last two hours:


[Thanks to Eleanor G for the tip]

THE BAMBOO REVIEW: Ms Becky Bamboo reports on The Shins and Verizon's patchy coverage in California:
Okay, so I don't even remember the name of the first opening act. I do remember it started with an "A" though. And I remember they were pretty bad. They had a vaguely jazz sound, no hooks to speak of, the drumming was so basic I could've filled in had the guy dropped dead before the show, and the sound was kinda muddy. They did not go over well, receiving polite applause at best.

After they stop boring me and start packing up, I anxiously check my voice mail to see if the phone call from my coworker has come telling me if she is able to get me backstage. Nothing! Argh.

The Fiery Furnaces get a better reception, swinging right into their short set of songs that shift every other minute or so and I quickly lose track of where movements of songs change into new ones. I do recognize the two I've heard on the radio and they both sound excellent. Their musicianship is undeniably great and they don't pause long enough to ever lose momentum, but neither do they let the audience get their bearings, seemingly on full throttle for 40 minutes and then abruptly coming to a dead stop. It's a little jarring and somewhat overwhelming. They get enthusiastic applause after they've finished but I'm not sure if I like them enough to get their CD or if I'm okay with just having the singles on various compilations.

As soon as the roadies start setting up for The Shins, I check my voice mail again. One new message! "Hi Becky, it's Anita. We're going to meet on the left side of the mezzanine between the opening act and The Fiery Furnaces to meet James [Mercer, her cousin and lead singer of The Shins] and get backstage passes. See you then!" A simple, eloquent expression of dismay and disappointment escapes from my mouth ("FUCK!!") as I listen to the message again just to make sure I'd heard correctly. I feel like suing Verizon for not delivering my voice mail in a timely manner. Bastards.

At least I get to see the show, which is awesome. The Shins come out and open with "Know Your Onion!" which rocks way more than the CD, a trend that will continue through the rest of the night. Their songs are so short that they're able to play nearly everything from their two albums plus a few b-sides/covers (not sure which) in the hour and a half they're on stage. One song they manage to stretch to three times its normal length with an extended intro and a "San Francisco ending" (jam band style) but it still doesn't crack the 10 minute mark. Hee. They repeatedly thank everyone for coming and tell us more than once they're a little intimidated by the size of the venue, the largest they've headlined. Being seated 3 rows from the back wall, I can report that if it wasn't sold out, it was definitely close to it because there are very few empty seats. Right before the last song, as Marty is again expressing thanks to the crowd, James pipes up with, "and I'd like to thank Anita for bringing a million people to see me" SON OF A BITCH! THAT SHOULD'VE BEEN ME TOO! Grrr... They close with a revved-up "So Says I" and leave to rapturous applause. I catch up with Anita as she's headed backstage and tell her I got the message to late. She gives me a hug and says, "maybe next time." Yeah. I really would've liked to have met them. I love their music, not to Wrensian or Rhett-like proportions, but enough to vow to keep working here at least until Anita finally gets me backstage...

AND THROW AWAY THE KEY...: We're absolutely delighted with the news that the heads of Sony or BMG could soon wind up behind bars, if Camden Council has their way - they're now seeking anti-social behaviour orders to try and stamp out flyposting, which, if breached, could result in a custodial sentence rather than the current GBP2,500 fine. Now, we're not as quite anti-flyposting as Camden - we don't see why quite so much effort is put into making sure abandoned petrol stations, boarded up shops and building sites aren't cheered up and the local culture given a helping hand - but we've noticed more and more that companies which don't need to flypost are taking up more and more wall space - a couple of small ads promoting a local gig is one thing, but for a multimillion company to try and shift its product on the cheap always did look tacky. And, as the Guardian leader points out, it's a little bit rich for the RIAA/BPI companies to indulge in this illegal activity:

The most amusing thing about Camden's action is that the music industry has been loudly demanding tough action against unauthorised music downloading over the internet. Yet the record labels' nocturnal flyposting shows they are just as willing to hitch a free ride.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Coming out in Hives edition
Just one magazine this week - well, one and a half, as the NME/O2 Music Guide is back, with lots of PJ Harvey, which is a good thing; Stuart Murdoch revealing that he never listens to anything while he's shagging ("never" kind of implies more than one sexual fumbling in his life, which surely wrecks his image?), while Allison Goldfrapp chooses to shag to the sound of Grace Jones.

NME proper has the Hives on the front page... even more than last time round, they seem like a stop-gap band: not bad, will do, fills a hole. And they're starting to look more than ever like the sort of band who'd be onstage for a school prom during a film set in the 50s.

The big news picture is of The Others doing a gig on a tube train - which makes us feel we got off lightly when we were last down in London and only had to endure a bloke doing poetry and juggling; other news includes the "world exclusive" of the Glastonbury Line-up, although it was also in today's Guardian, and they had the full starting times too. And BBC News Online had the line-up yesterday. And Q4music did, too. There's one of those rare beasts, an NME editorial on the subject of Pete Libertine's continued thrashing about - it's kind of "pull yourself together, get it sorted" stuff, but it makes the valid point that if kicking the band into touch is what it takes to save himself, then Pete has the right to do that. There's also a couple of photos you never thought you'd see: Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler working together, and Ian brown in a cameo in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Arkaban - it's not surprising that he's in the movie, but he's reading a book.

There's a picture of radiohead supporting Bill Nighy on a cover of 'Love Is All Around' at oxford playhouse - although, ahem, radiohead aren't "covering Wet wet wet", they're covering The Troggs like the Wets did.

The Duke Spirit do a CD - Jackie Wilson, The Slits, the Clash.

Peter Robinson meets up with Peter Hooton, who now looks like he should be running one of those firms that offer "25 hour security" services. Hooton advises The Bandits to squander any money that comes their way.

Glasgow's Kain are the radar band - "we're about making girls dance, and guys beat the shit out of each other." So, like Bacardi Breezers, then.

"We have more in common with rocket scientists than most other bands" suggests Nicholaus Hives. Which is about as interesting as they get. They should read the Devendra Banhart interview for tips on how to hold the interest - he sets off on how he can't eat papaya because he thinks he's eating his mother when he does.

There's a curious piece by Imran Ahmed about Richard Pryor - curious because it doesn't really seem to be hung on any hook at all, it's just a piece out of nowhere about a commedian that Ahmed likes. We wonder if this is a testing the water for having, well, odd, passionate pieces tossed into the mix? If so, we welcome it with open arms, although we disagree with Ahmed's conclusion - to say there would be no hiphop or Bill Hicks without Pryor is akin to suggesting there couldn't have been a Libertines without Arthur Askey.

Tim Arnold - godson of June Brown, Dot Cotton to you, talks about his time drying out in Tibet, which is more than a little Derren Brown; his mum couldn't even remember who his Dad was, but one of the monks managed to come up with a name, and the internet did the rest.

We're sure Daniel Radcliffe is a nice bloke - and he gives good interview; he once dressed up as the Libertines to go to school. We're just not sure why he's got so much space here.

Pixies album covers make up the posters, along with a little explanation of why he made them that way by Vaughan Oliver.

Back like the Hives are the Datsuns, although they don't get the cover, despite sounding better and looking much, much better. Christian gets to do most of the talking, too, which makes a nice change.

hope of the states - rescue rooms, nottingham - "more relaxed and self-assured than ever"
slipknot - london astoria - "sometimes hell aint a bad place to be"
the killers - liverpool academy - "pop music is a helluva lot more entertaining than snow patrol"

the datsuns - outta sight/outta mind - "a terrible letdown", 4
the killers - hot fuss - "half of the album of the year", 7
!!! - louden up now - "more saxophone!", 7

sotw - the concretes - you can't hurry love - "not a cover of the Supremes"
britney spears - everytime - "bottom of a hotel piano balladry"

and finally, ben curtis of secret machines loves the beastie boys - "nowadays, they're the hiphop Bono"

KITTEN HEELS TO AMERICA: Of course, nobody would blame former Atomics Jenny Frost and Liz McClarnon for deciding to have a crack at becoming stars in the US - after all, they must be thinking, if they could make it in Britain, why shouldn't the equally unlikely beacon of international superstardom shine on them?

SEE MY EYES, THEY ARE BRIGHT TONIGHT: We're a little bit bemused as to why, if you've got James Brown booked for an event, you'd make Will Young a headline act over him, but that's what appears to have happened for the free concert to welcome the Olympic Torch. We're not even sure we can bear to think about a nation that is holding a pop concert to mark the passing through of some fire on its way elsewhere.

CAN I SUPERSIZE MY DOWNLOAD?: Sony Connect, the useless, Sony-player-only music download service, has hooked up with McDonalds to give away free vouchers for the service with fries and burgers and other such items. Not a patch, of course, on the giggling Nemo McD was handing out a little while ago. Of course, most people might view this as a bit of a duff giveaway anyway - only two million mobile devices capable of playing the songs exist in Europe; which for a place with a population of three quarters of a billion isn't that much.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA: THE KRUSTY THE CLOWN OF THE POP WORLD: No, not because she looks ridiculous and never appears in public without make-up... oh, alright, but as well: she's clearly planning to follow Krusty in slapping her name on any product she can, having just filed 450 trademark claims with the US patent office:

"Among the products and brands she seeks to protect are Christina Aguilera contact lenses, crayons and anti-perspirants; Christina Aguilera badminton sets, ski wear and body shapers; and Christina Aguilera panties, modeling clay and - I blush to imagine it - electronic multipleactivity toys."

Badminton sets? Will you have Christina's face on your shuttlecock?
Slightly disturbingly, her trademark lawyer (hey, you think those cease-and-desist letters to the makers of Christina Meaty Chunks send themselves?) says:

"The goodwill associated with her name could be used to brand a huge variety of goods and services. She's a personality that is relevant not only to the higher teens and 20s, but also to kids."

Yeah, who wouldn't want to send their eight year olds to school with this lunchbox:

THAT WOULD BE FICKLE HOW?: Not only does Ireland Online fall for the Robbie Goes To Hollywood hype, but it's also incredibly kind in explaining away his crap sales in the US:

"Former Take That singer Robbie Williams has had no luck breaking into the fickle American pop scene but he might be poised on the brink of a Hollywood movie career instead."

"Fickle"? Is that what the problem has been, then? Only thing is, America has never been interetsed in the Tubster, have they? Far from being fickle, the US has shown steady, firm determination to pretend that he's not there in the hope he'll go away.

REGGAEOBIT: The death has been announced of Barry Brown, the Studio One reggae artist. It's believed that Brown - who has been under a drug cloud for a long while - died from a head injury received during a fall.

Born in 1962 in Kingston, Brown had his first hit in 1979 with Set Up Youthman. A patchy career followed, with a mix of successes (1984's Belly Move) and less well received work (Problems Get You Down was largely ignored upon its 1981 release). Although he never quite achieved the heights of his early career again, he continued to be proflific up until his death.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

WAH! HIDE YOURSELF: News reaches us from our former neighbour, Pete Wylie, who's readying a new album for release at some point when the weather's cooler. It's going to be called - ahem - Pete Sounds. In an equally bad punning way, he's also working on an autobiography, or - inevitably - a mem-Wah!

On a slightly more interesting note, he's also quite pleased with Morrissey's choice of intro music on his current tour - he's using Big Hard Excellent Fish's The Imperfect List, which was written by Wylie and Josie Jones. "Written" is probably over doing it a bit - collected would be closer, as it's a bunch of rubbish things over an Oh Superman style back beat.

WAR! HIDE YOURSELF: We're not sure who chose Sum 41 to go to Congo to investigate what it's really like in a warzone, but they sure did find out: they had to be evacuated. They were filming a report for War Child Canada on the piles of misery heaped on the country by warlords and the dickheads in charge when the situation got worse, and they were helicoptered out for their own safety. And what was their considered judgement after experiencing all this? Dave Baksh, writing on the Sum41 website, concludes "we came through this crisis stronger and convinced way more than ever that war is a stupid aspect of life." War, war is stupid? Boy George could have told you that.

LIVE AID II KILLED OFF?: We're assuming that Bono's sudden going cold on Live Aid II would have been a result of Bob Geldof's less-than-welcoming comments on the first rumours of the plan; now, Bono is saying there'd be no point in doing a Live Aid because it wouldn't raise enough money - which seems curious to us, because we've yet to hear of any single charity event which ever did raise enough in one go to solve a problem in one go. We can think of many good reasons not to have a new Live Aid, but "it'd still leave some cash wanting" isn't one of them. "I was going to run the London Marathon dressed as a chicken, but the money I'd raise wouldn't actually fund the development of a drug to combat cancer, so there's no real point."

POPWORLD WORLD?: Channel 4 and Simon Fuller are rumoured to be palling up in a bid to spin the Popworld brand much, much further than the bit blokes watch while they're waiting for Hollyoaks to come on of a Sunday - the TV station is looking to make Popworld a global brand, and it wants Fuller's help. Apparently, they're impressed by what he's done with Pop Idol, and don't really realise that Pop Idol and Popworld, despite both starting with 'pop', are slightly different beasts: Pop Idol is a format, while Popworld seems to not really exist as anything very defined: it seems to exist entirely on the shoulders of its presenters. Anyway, the attempts to slaughter the goose are going to kick off with a Popworld Radio Station, which is an excellent idea: you couldn't accuse Channel 4 of launching a product into an already completely overcrowded market there, could you?

MUSIC VERSUS THE BASTARDS: Liverpool's Bank Holiday Anti-racism event has been judged to be a success, although surely we'll only know that for sure when they finally track down all the postal votes and see if Nick Griffin got a European Seat for the BNP.

The gig had been supposed to take place in Manchester, but Greater Manchester Police objected to the licence. Oddly, the GMP are very proud indeed of their commitment to help fight racially motivated crime, and yet they could find reasons to object to a musical event dedicated to the same ends. Puzzling.

MUSIC VERSUS THE BASTARDS: Liverpool's Bank Holiday Anti-racism event has been judged to be a success, although surely we'll only know that for sure when they finally track down all the postal votes and see if Nick Griffin got a European Seat for the BNP.

The gig had been supposed to take place in Manchester, but Greater Manchester Police objected to the licence. Oddly, the GMP are very proud indeed of their commitment to help fight racially motivated crime, and yet they could find reasons to object to a musical event dedicated to the same ends. Puzzling.

NO SURPRISES: The full Glasto line-up has been confirmed, and apart from the Levellers headlining one stage, there's probably nothing you've not heard rumoured before. The Levellers? Blimey. Pity you can't get rid of the tickets on Ebay, eh, kids?

Surprise additions this year include 1970s disco act Sister Sledge and soul veteran James Brown.
Oasis, Sir Paul and Muse will headline the main Pyramid stage on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The English National Opera will perform part of Wagner's Ring Cycle with a 90-piece orchestra on the final day.
Oasis will follow Kings of Leon, PJ Harvey and Groove Armada on Friday, while the Chemical Brothers, DJ Dave Clarke and the Levellers head other stages.
Basement Jaxx, Zero 7 and Hothouse Flowers are among headliners in the festival's nine performance areas on Saturday.
Indie rock act Muse will follow Morrissey on Sunday 27 June
Morrissey will precede Muse on Sunday, when dance duo Orbital will give their final performance before splitting up after 15 years.
Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters, Goldfrapp, Snow Patrol, Chicks on Speed and GoldieLookinChain also feature among the hundreds of confirmed performers.

The joy of these things, of course, lays in the lower ratings of the further flung stages, which is why we're hoping the new bands stage gets flung onto the BBC Press Red coverage.

JESSICA SIMPSON DISCOVERS 'EAT AS MUCH MEAT AT YOU LIKE' DIET DOESN'T ACTUALLY WORK: She's now discovered that - hey - it's okay to eat bread, but if you survive on nothing but meat it'll "mess you up." We're off round to try and interest her in the No Rock and Roll Fun Patent Ice Cream and Toffees diet.

WE DO DO VOODOO: Kelly Osbourne struggling with a Christina Aguilera doll in her bedroom? How many times have we had that nightmare? Apparently she sticks pins in it. When she said she'd taken to fighting her demons, we didn't think she meant quite that...

PUBLISHEROBIT: The death of Julian Aberbach, music publisher has been announced. He died May 17th at the age of 95.

Born in Vienna in 1909, Aberbach ran a publishing company in Paris before the Second World War. Fleeing from the Nazi invasion, he and his brother settled in the US, where he joined the US Army. After a spell fighting in Europe, Aberbach returned to the States where he and his brother founded Hill and Range, specialising mainly in country music. In 1956, he persuaded Sun Records' Sam Phillips to sell him rights in Elvis' songs and arranged for Presley to sign with Colonel Tom Parker, in the deal which gave the colonel a healthy one out of every four dollars made by the singer.

Aberbach gave Elvis a USD2500 advance, which he blew on a pink cadillac - so, he always had grotesque taste, then.

HANG ABOUT... THERE'S A PULITZER PRIZE FOR MUSIC?: Yes, it seems there is, but the fact it's not widely known about beyond the classical community could explain why it's decided to bring itself into the mid 1950s by expanding its remit to allow jazz, film and theatre scores to be considered for its prize (sit down, Boy George, let's not try and push Taboo, okay?). They've also decided that you can now submit your entry on one of those wax discs, rather than as a written score. Rock music might be considered sometime round 2073, if it proves not to be some sort of fad, we suppose.

PAGING MS LANCASTER... WOULD MS LANCASTER PLEASE REPORT TO THE GIFT WRAPPING ROOM?: No matter how you try and defend it, there's something just wrong about having a public address system installed in your home, as Rod Stewart apparently has. Ananova say it's a Tannoy, but we have no way of confirming if the speakers are actually manufactured by that brand. But Rod, if you want to know where Penny is, why not go the whole hog and have her wear an ankle monitor?

Course, we suspect that it's just Rod trying to live out his railway fantasies - he's even taken to dressing like the Fat Controller.

DIRK WEARS WHITE LABELS: The always engaging remember the 80s reports that three classic Adam and the Ants albums, Dirk Wears White Socks, Kings of The Wild Frontier and Prince Charming are getting the fattening up and re-release treatment: demo stuff, unreleased stuff and, of course, remixes. Unlikely to include Save The Gorillas, sadly. Thats for July 4th; there's also going to be a DVD later in the year. Duran Duran poke out new versions of Duran Duran, Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Rio in some sort of special box which is like a shrunken version of the original packaging.

Also, RT8 says that Andy McCluskey is readying another Atomic Kitten three piece called Genie Queen (he really must now be entered into the Guiness Book of Records for "Most shit names for bands"); this time, though. they're covering OMD - Souvenir, although we reckon Tesla Girls would be better.

Monday, May 31, 2004

SPOOKY: It's slightly unsettling that Elvis has now clocked up more weeks on the UK charts than he did actually alive; but depressing that Phil Collins has clocked up enough weeks to appear twice in the top 50 most weeks spent on chart list - as a soloist, and as a member of Genesis; only Macca has also managed to do the double.

SEX SEX SEX WAS ALL WE HEARD: Linda Ronstadt is pissed off with the music industry - odd, that, isn't it? - because it's all about the flogging of sex nowadays, and that's not right. As you can see, it wasn't about selling sex symbols in her day:

Of course, she does allow it's okay if you're gorgeous and talented ("like Beyonce"), so it's not like she's really suggesting everybody cover up. She's worried about the effect all this has on kids. It's not clear why it would be any less pressurising on kids that Beyonce has talent as well as being Bootylicious - "nah, Mum, I don't want to wear hotpants like Beyonce, I'm just going to concentrate on trying to hit that difficult high note in the third verse..."

LIKE A VIRGIN: Knowing a duff idea for a film when she hears one, Madonna is apparently working on a movie about that dreadful self-publicist Rosie Reid. Reid, you'll recall, was so impatient she couldn't wait for another season of Big Brother and so sold her virginity on the internet. The punchline to the report are the words "it is not known if Madonna, 45, wants to play the 18-year-old. We bet she does.

BILLIE PIPER - A TRIBUTE: Apparently, Billie Piper's drama teacher reckons she is "Britain's answer to Nicole Kidman." We agree. Nicole married a small man with incredible, misplaced self-regard who'd ammassed a fortune off the back of very little actual talent, too.

MORE GELDOF: NO MORE LIVE AID: The BBC are running stories on 6Music at the moment reporting that Bob Geldof has ruled out a Live Aid II, which the Sun was claiming a more-or-less done deal this morning. The paper seems certain of its facts - Bono (of course, fucking Bono) to organise with Richard Curtis (together at last - The Vicar of Dibley and the Overlord of Ego), Coldplay, Radiohead, Macca and Phil Collins up on stage, and "a Whitehall source" saying "it's going to be bigger and better than before" - although, to be honest, the best way to improve on Live Aid I would be not having Phil Collins within a mile of a microphone; perhaps this time he could spend the whole duration of the concert flying about in a plane.

The plan seems to be to raise money to eliminate third world date, which seems to be an odd way of going about things - impoverished governments have been browbeaten into running up more and more foreign debt, and after years of campaigning for it to be written off, the idea now is to have a big telethon to give cash to the international finance companies? Was this idea created watching the final reel of It's A Wonderful Life? Surely that makes no sense - in effect, Coldplay would be taking to the stage to say "Dial now, 01 811 8055, and pledge some cash - even a fiver can make a difference to the Bank of America's bottom line." During the first Live Aid, bank logos were flashed on the screen to show the places where you could and make a donation - this time round, they'd be showing you the likely recipients of your hard earned cash. Patrick Kielty will be popping up at half past six, holding a sheaf of emails - "Tommy says his Gran was so worried to hear that Lloyds TSB had all this foreign debt on its books, she's sold her beloved piano to raise fifty quid to go straight into their coffers."

We can see why even Geldof has his doubts about this one.

BOOMTOWN AND BRADFIELD IN HAY-ON-WYE: Bob Geldof's done a turn at the Hay On Wye literary festival, which gave him the opportunity to once again trot out the story about him losing his virginity (He was 13, you know, she was 36, it was dreadful... oh, you've read Is That It and/or any interview he's given in the last twenty years and are sick of hearing about it?) It's curious that however often he rolls out the tale, it never actually seems to occur to him that this is something he should be taking into account when he rails against girl's magazines for offering help, advice and support to teens facing sexual confusions and fears - does he really think he was better served by the lack of an equivalent of Elle Girl for his generation, place and time when he was about to lose it in the front room? He also repeated his claim that "the uncomfortable truth for a lot of people is that Bush has done more than other administration", which is true - we're very uncomfortable with the increase in US commercial sales of arms to African nations rising from USD2.2million to USD30million between the first year of the Bush administration and 2003, and we're sure Bob will be keen to congratulate his new best friend on ensuring that Ethiopia managed to scrape together USD285,000 to buy much needed weapons from US defence contractors in 2003 when they'd not been spending a penny with the likes of Haliburton beforehand. We know Geldof is incredibly well-meaning and passionate, but his inability to think beyond the most basic apparent facts really undermines any value he might have as a commentator, either socially or geopolitically.

Elsewhere, James Dean Bradfield sort of dropped the ball a little by admitting that he didn't "really understand" Manic Street Preachers' lyrics. He also said he probably won't write another song, since with his first, Ocean Spray, it was about someone close to me dying, I don't think I will be in a hurry to do that again." Slightly ominous news, too, in that Nicky Wire is now co-writing with his brother, Patrick Jones, who has been hanging around the Manics for, well, a while now:

We're never convinced by "brothers collaborating", so we're hoping this works out okay. But we're not holding our breath.

THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT WHEN THE BABY COMES TO BE/ 'CAUSE THEN THERE'LL BE LULLABIES: Or will there? Trying to keep your kids musically alert while avoiding the risks of suddenly realising your three year old is trilling along to "Don't shit when you eat" isn't easy, as Marrit Ingman explains over on alternet.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

MY BOSS WAS MR MCGEE: Interesting to hear Alan McGee on Steve Lamacq's 6Music show earlier this afternoon. McGee seems keen to slew off the "man who signed Oasis" tag (although he was very quick to point out that Creation was still a going concern, as Oasis' publishers); but he was most fascinating on the subject of Poptones, which has noticeably failed to set the world alight. Twice, he defended the low strike rate of the label by saying "Everybody wanted it to be Creation Part two immedeatly", as if to suggest it was unrealistic to expect the new company to hit its stride right off. Now, this is fascinating for two reasons - first, Poptones really is Creation part two, which spent the first few years of its life sticking out a bunch of poor tracks with only the merest glimmer of genius every so often; second, why does Mcgee think it's unrealistic to expect Poptones to hit the ground running? After all, he has had twenty years experience of running record labels and does have a reputation for being an acute talent spotter - with that on his cv, isn't it only to be expected that people might have hoped for some great things from Poptones quite quickly on? Especially since this time round, he's not having to rely on giro cheques and favours, but has a comfy moneybelt filled with cash drawn from people who maybe expecting great things quite quickly?

THE OXFORD ZODIAC: Thanks to David M for confirming that, yes, the Oxford Zodiac was indeed the venue previously known as the Co-Op Hall.

I THINK SHE SAID TO USE EGGS AS A WEAPON: Got to love the good people at Energizer, who've realised that years and years of gig-going has tunred the first and second generations of rock fans into deaf-as-a-post old geezers. So they're pitching a campaign directly at them to get them to buy more, um, hearing aid batteries, calling in Pat Benatar to try and make hearing aids "hip" (although, of course, Morrissey might have been a better fit). The thinking is - no, seriously - that if the baby boomers are happy to buy eyeglasses, they can be persuaded to have a go with hearing aids, too. Pat doesn't, apparently, wear a hearing aid at all, which makes her a curious choice to run with for the campaign - kind of like trying to sell those disabled buggies by having Linford Christie racing about saying "look! I've got great legs... but you might need a buggy..."

TOO BEAUTIFUL TO PUT INTO WOR-UR-UR-UR-URDS: Although Danger! High Postage denies it's actually a review, we were very taken with their reveiw of PJ Harvey at the Oxford Zodiac - which, we think we're right in saying, used to be the Oxford Co-Op Hall (possibly our favourite name for a venue ever).

We're also very taken with Peej's new look:

during her recent peel capers

- although it does suggest she might be seeing Karen O's stylist...