Wednesday, January 19, 2005

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: The Killers introduce their tongue massage techniques
At long last, we've got a perspective on one of the stranger events of 2004 from the gurning mouth: Mark E Smith has provided the Guardian Guide with an answer to the question on everyone's lips: What the hell was his Newsnight interview the night Peel died all about? "The thing about that" explains Mark "was I had the bloke from the fucking Undertones in one ear and some BBC control room fella in the other, and another one asking me these questions. I couldn't hear myself, that's why I probably appeared mad." This is a little like a man driving after downing a quart of neat vodka complaining that he only crashed because the changing traffic lights startled him.

Still, not everyone thought it was a nightmare performance: "My mum liked it. She said 'He's always very self-assured, even when he's on TV.'" We were a little surprised that Ma Smith is still alive, what with Mark appearing to be in his late 70s.

The Monday Guardian featured a profile of Hit Song Science, which mayn't be the last nail in the coffin of the music industry but is certainly administering a good kick to the corpse. This is the computer which analyses a song and predicts if it'll be a hit or not - in other words, it's able to tell how far shy of the lowest common denominator a track is. It suggested that Norah Jones and Maroon 5 were worth record company investment and time. Enough said.

The Killers stare out in unshaved glory from the front of the NME, which is cheerleading for the Shockwaves/NME awards tour - yes, it is the hairstuff. Fancy.

The big news picture is a still from Charlotte Hatherley's Bastardo video, which shows her snuggling up to David Walliams. The video also has Hayley from the Archers in it, which should impress Fallon.

There's an interesting factlet buried in Jolie Lash's letter from Los Angeles: Oasis flew there to record the new album so they could record through the mixing desk used by Jet. Like Tom Baker asking John Culshaw where he buys his scarves, isn't it?

Peter Robinson breaks it gently to Darius that people are selling fridge magnets with his face on. Darius is upset that he's not even getting a cut from that, which surely he should see as an opportunity: he's not got much else to do; he could hire himself out to go round people's houses and hold notes up for them in the kitchen. Nice earner.

Special Needs pop by to suggest that darts is the only sport with the true spirit of rock and roll. At least they don't do the Jockey Wilson Said anecdote.

How much, Brandon Flowers, are the Killers your vision? "I don't want to say more than anyone else's... but the way we look, our name, our influences. They all came from me." Presumably the others get to choose the number for the barcodes on the album.

Best-worst-headline ever for the Futureheads article: Sunderland & Lightning. Barry Futurehead recommends The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch, while Ross reveals they massage their own tongues before going on stage. I don't think this means snogging each other's faces off, but it can be lonely on the road.

Bloc Party love Dungeons and Drahons. We should have known. The sweaters were the clue.

Simon from the Kaiser Chiefs slags off The Next Karate Kid, apparently unaware that "the girl" is Hilary Swank who could, quite easily, kick the butt of him and all his friends.

Having wrested control of his latest album back from Everton player Kevin Campbell, it looks like Mack Life is going to pump an awful lot of cash into Mark Morrison's career. There's a full page ad - left hand side, too, which is full of the usual po-faced guff that could be self-parody but so clearly isn't - the word 'released' is stamped across the ad, and a child has made the words 'Innocent Man' with building blocks, which are altered to read Innocent Mack. But you weren't innocent, were you, Mark? You were convicted twice, once of sending someone else to do your community service, weren't you?

Hard-Fi believe themselves to be the "hottest band in Britain" (Can you hear Alex Kapranos coughing politely? And Kasabian? And Bloc Party? And even Liquid Greek?) but complain that "we're still skint." Were Tony Hadley not currently trying to gather the trolleys up in a Lidl carpark right now, he'd probably mutter "welcome to music business, pals."

funeral for a friend - LA Troubadour - "just two new songs... but [they have] life beyond their hardcore playground"
kasabian - brixton academy - "there's still hardly a swagger in sight"
muse - earls court arena - "finally the songs find a venue that fits"

bright eyes - i'm wide awake it's morning; digital ash in a digital urn - "these albums issue a written apology for david gray", 8; 9
m83 - before the dawn heals us - "a new and strange dawn is upon us", 8
timbaland and magoo - timbaland and magoo present - "as simple as wallopping a rubbish bin with a cricket bat", 7

totw - hard-fi - cash machine - "cahspoint rejection and scratched livings"
HAL - what a lovely dance - "too late for them to start picking up the pieces"
editors - bullets - "editors are great"
midnight movies - mirage - "like Juliana Hatfield fronting Sterolab" (nb: this is meant as an insult)

Remeber Charlotte's Mag? A few years - okay, too many years back - they had the bright idea of launching a magazine "written by its readers" (the implication being, of course, that other magazines are written by people who don't read the title and have no interest in its enthusiasms, as if, for example, Q is written by a load of people who spend their leisure time reading Investor's Chronicle and What Caravan... okay, that's a bad example...). It did, of course, stiff, partly because the only way you can pull the trick off is to run articles which seem a bit amateurish. Anyway, judging from an ad in the classifieds, someone's trying something similar.

And finally, Adam Green is offering free entry (plus ones) to anyone called Emily who wishes to attend his upcoming to tour and who cares to email him on It's not clear if he'll require evidence of your Emily-ness.