Thursday, July 28, 2005


... to take hope from Oasis? Apparently, Secret Machines drew strength from playing with them at Milton Keynes:

Guitarist Benjamin Curtis said of the experience: “There were so many people that were just completely drunk. It was amazing. It’s weird to think that if one in ten people that saw us bought our record we would be in the charts!”

Unfortunately, of course, they'll have been so drunk they won't recall anything of your set, but... it all helps, we guess.


This has to be the oddest pop happening in quite a while - Jessica Simpson was sent off to do a bog-standard troop-rousing tour of Iraq; unfortunately, perhaps because she's not the brightest chisel in the makeover toolkit, she didn't seem to realise that you're not meant to talk about the risks and dangers being faced by American soldiers trying to clear up the mess. In fact, she's started attacking her network for censoring the news:

"It was unbelievable. They [ABC] didn't show a lot of what really went on with the enemy attacks and the shelling," Simpson said. "There was so much stuff that went on and somehow the tapes got mysteriously misplaced. It put everything in perspective for me. It really did teach me the definition of sacrifice. I can't even fathom being out there right now. I was ready to come home."

We can't help but think of the small child in the Emperor's New Clothes, for some reason.


Having done a photo shoot with her lovely husband (and we're guessing that it's the one for Interview (as discussed earlier), Britney was less-than-delighted to find out they aren't putting them on the front page:

During a telephone interview for the accompanying article, Spears allegedly exclaimed, "We're not on the cover! Why am I even on the phone with you right now?" when informed of the bad news.

It fell to Kevin to attempt to make the lemonade out of this apparent snub:

But Federline is then said to have countered, "I think it's better off that way that it's not on the cover because it's more of an artistic statement."

He's not wrong, there: it's a statement that the lack of artistic value in the pictures means it's not worth putting on the front.


Moby has announced a ceasefire after decades of armed struggle against Eminem. Moby has told journalists that he has developed a new respect for the bottle blonde sweary man:

"Honestly, if he retired, I think the world of music would be a poorer place. He's a really fascinating public figure," Moby said.

Moby said he still has qualms about some of Eminem's lyrics but praised him as talented, saying, "I'd much rather have public figure musicians like Eminem because at least he's exciting."

The car-advertising environmentalist says that he changed his mind because Eminem criticised Bush in public and in lyrics. My enemy's enemy, we guess.


If you do the maths, it's pretty obvious that nearly all of us will have some royal DNA slopping around in us, whether we're just a distant descendent of a wrong-side-of-the-sheets hooking up of a King, or are simply Prince Edward. So, James Blunt's supposed vague connection to Henry VIII isn't much of a thing to shout about. Even so, if he really believes - like Vera Duckworth - that he's a direct bloodline member of the Royal Family (and it's not that implausible; unfathomably popular and not entirely clear what the point of him is, he's just like a royal) we really would encourage him to march down to Buckingham Palace and demand his birthright.


Good Lord, he's like a one-man disaster area, isn't he? Pete Doherty's now smacked a Mirror journalist in the face; Laurie Hanna dashed straight off to the police to report the incident. Because the Met don't have anything better to do at the moment than get involved in another bloody Doherty allegation.

Hanna said: "Doherty was passing me on my left hand side and the next thing I knew his right fist had lashed out and connected with my left eye. "He shouted, 'What is it your paper calls me - fucking junkie scum?'."

We're a little bemused as to why, if Pete hates the Mirror so much, he's ringing up the 3am girls asking them to apologise to Geldof on his behalf. It's like there's some strange force compelling him to act in an irrational manner...


We're not entirely sure we should be anything other than afraid... very afraid: Bloc Party and the Kaiser Chiefs are coming together to record a cover of Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You.

For Christmas, obviously. They're not that insane.

They come to our country /And think they'll do as they please

Blogcritics takes a brief break from its ever onward rightsward march to consider the worst song lyrics ever, taking apart John Mayer, Pete Yorn and others in the process...


An interesting micro-announcement slips out from the US satellite radio operators XM and Napster - they're going to create a radio where you can press a button when you hear a song you like, take your radio to a PC and then buy the track online. It's kind of like the old device where you pressed "record" when you heard a track you liked, only with payments involved.


The Who, 1969: "That deaf, dumb and blind kid/ sure plays a mean pinball"

Wired News, 2005: Blind 17 year-old sure plays a mean Mortal Kombat


We're fond of the noises made by We Are Scientists, and they're going to be replicating those results on a 21 date UK tour:

17 Cambridge Portland Arms
18 London Metro
19 Wolverhampton Little Civic
20 Stoke Underground
22 Manchester Bierkeller
23 Birmingham Custard Factory
24 Leeds Warehouse
25 Nottingham Stealth
26 Reading Festival
27 Leeds Festival
29 Newcastle Cluney
30 York Fibbers
31 Glasgow King Tuts

1 Aberdeen Kef
2 Liverpool Barfly
7 London Notting Hill Arts Centre
8 Peterborough Met Lounge
9 Tunbridge Wells Forum
10 London Mean Fiddler

This is what they do:


Really bad news for Tesco - they're losing staff everywhere. Yesterday, eight checkout operators at their Driffield store quit after winning eighteen million on the National Lottery; now they're going to have to find someone to cover as Atomic Kitten put their solo careers on hold and reunite.

We're expecting a quote from Cheryl Tweedy including the words "grandma" and "Me mam" sometime soon.


It must be hard being oin Good Charlotte. People just don't take you seriously as it is - what with you being the Hey, It's The King to Green Day's Happy Days, and then, when you do get a to do an interview, all people want to talk about is your girlfriend's teeth. No wonder Joel Madden is fuming about things in his online diary:

"Here it is: wow kids I had quite an interesting day of press. I had an interview today with my favorite VJ from MuchMusic. I actually enjoy her interviews, cause she usually askes the most intelligent interesting questions about our music, and well today, she asked me one of the wierdest dumbest questions ever. She asked me if I liked my girlfriends teeth? At what point does a credible journalist like that go 'What did I just say?' I wonder if she felt stupid or embarassed afterwards? We are at a show, talking about music and fashion and fans and all that good stuff, and bam she hits me with that. I wonder if she was thinking 'What the fuck did I just say?' Like the question just slipped out like a fart. Haha. It's wierd how journalist and radio DJ's and television people get away with saying the dumbest shit. No one ever calls them on it. like they can criticize people all day long, but no one ever notices the dumb shit they say. I really hope next time we talk she sticks to the music. She is still my favorite VJ. Knowing Much, they will probally put this shit on TV. haha.""

Obviously, dating Hilary Duff ("any girl at all") must make things tricky for Joel - and we guess that the teeth thing would have pushed him over the edge, as we'd imagine he gets that all the time from the rest of the band ("so, Joel, is it true ladies have teeth down there?"), but seriously... what are Much Music meant to ask you about, then? The Kyoto protocol?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

VENUEWATCH: Venuewatch

The onward march of progress has picked up its pace a little, and the vapourisation of the legendary Edinburgh Venue is hitting two years earlier than originally planned. The city is to lose a music haunt which for two decades has hosted bands on their first lap of the city - from Franz Ferdinand to the Stone Roses - and will instead gain some offices "and an upmarket delicatessan."

"Of course, if we'd done this twenty years ago just think of all the extra filing we could have seen inside these walls" said an excited property developer. "Admittedly, the Happy Mondays and The Strokes would never had been here making musical history and giving people experiences they'll take with them for their whole lives, but on the other hand - we could have been selling three types of pastrami all along instead. And who wouldn't swap a gig in a club packed with sweat and hormones in order to get a slightly different sort of sandwich from the sort you can get anywhere else, eh?"

Actually, the developers claim to be helping the Venue find somewhere to go:

Phil Myrescough, the group's managing director, said every effort had been made to help the current operators of the Venue, Raw Promotions Scotland, find an alternative location, but no progress had been made to date.

He added: "They want to relocate, but it's easier said than done finding an alternative location for somewhere like the Venue."

Yes, Mr. Myrescough, exactly. Offices can go anywhere, but perfect venues? They're not so easy. What does that tell you?


It would be a cruel man to suggest that Guy Garvey from Elbow doesn't strike him as someone who has had cosmetic surgery:

But he has, apparently - although it wasn't a full-on attempt to win The Swan pagent; just had his Mr. Rumbolds brought under control:

"Put it this way - I was a big eared kid, they were like taxi doors. I used to get a lot of trouble because of them and my sister Sam had put me down for...well, cosmetic surgery, I suppose - to have my ears pinned back. I thought 'This will be the end to all my woes, I'll be a hit with the chicks, and really popular',” confessed Garvey, “but within an hour of being back at school with my new head they were singing 'Holding Back The (Y)ears' at me. I realised that being persecuted is a state of mind."

Actually, we think Garvey has a kind of rugged charm...

ROCK SICK LIST: Ozzy has something on the chest

The Black Sabbath segment of tonight's travelling Ozzfest has been cancelled as Mr. Osbourne falls ill with some sort of chest infection - apparently, if you go to the gig but leave before Rob Zombie comes on, you'll get your money back. And not have to watch Rob Zombie, which seems to be a double victory to us.


Goodness, what a to-do - Phil Collins is all red-faced and angry with the Oasis brothers because they suggested that he might be a Tory. In fact, Phil got straight onto that internet to complain:

Hi All, I wrote this a while ago after reading the Gallagher's talking about voting Labour if only to keep me from coming back to England. I took offence at that and wrote this, but sat on it... however in the light of the Mirror piece I'm prepared to post it and be d**ned....

Before I say anything.. let the minutes of this meeting show brothers, that I like a fair bit of what THE OASIS do. They remind me of BEATLES.... a great band and I like being reminded of BEATLES.
If you were there the first time round, you might think THE OASIS were a bit similar, what with that Liam and his attitude and his brother Noel... thinking they are as good as them BEATLES. Fact is.... they are a bit pale compared to them BEATLES..... I am, we all are.... Now Liam is just a clot... bop him round the head, and wake him up... Noel is smarter... but only just.... Just because they write a tune or two that reminds us of BEATLES we swoon a bit and reminisce.... but it's only nostalgia really.


I'd like to grab an opportunity to finally lay to rest a much quoted untruth about my Political leanings.
I have never been a Conservative, or at least not since being a young teenager. My Father voted Conservative, and even his doing that was a hangover from the 50's and 60's, which may have been an influence on me. I'm sick and tired of being thrown in that same old box... "he's got money.... so he must be..." I once said that if taxes were put up to a level where the Government took home more than me, then I would consider moving out of the Country. The Conservatives were in at that point and I mentioned Labour... if Labour had been in, I would have mentioned Conservative. It was said to make a point over 15 years ago. No one’s asked me since. I don't care if Noel Gallagher likes my music or not.... I do care if he starts telling people I'm a wanker because of my Politics.... an opinion based on an old misunderstood quote.

I live outside the UK purely because my wife lived here when we met.

End of story.


It is unfair of Noel to call Collins a wanker because of his party politics when there's so many more reasons to call him a wanker. For example, the way he recorded the hymn to the homeless Another Day In A Paradise and then stepped outside the studio and decided to not give a homeless person a red cent.

We also notice that Collins does seem to actually be - for all his protestations - espousing a view that is, essentially, anti-Socialist (to each according to their needs, from each according to his abilities) and ever-so-slightly greedy. We'd be inclined to think that what has changed in the last fifteen years is not Collins' politics, but those of the Labour party. There is something slightly crushing about a chap who was a Tory when he was a teenager, isn't there?


Paul McCartney appears to be hoping for a Living TV show, if his latest round of interviews is anything to go by: apparently, George Harrison co-wrote it with him. Despite being, you know, dead:

Sir Paul said he wrote Waiting For Your Friends To Go with help from Harrison, who died in 2001.

"I just got this feeling, this is George," he told Tom Robinson on BBC digital station 6 Music. "I was like George - writing one of his songs."

"It just wrote itself very easily because it wasn't even me writing it."

Sir Paul said he was remained unsure about the meaning of the song's lyrics.

"I thought, OK, the 'waiting on the other side' is also a little bit loaded, it can be crossing the river Jordan or whatever, that sort of thing. There's a little bit of double meaning there," he said.

"It was funny, particularly the second verse: 'I've been sliding down a slippy slope, I've been climbing up a slowly burning rope.' I just thought - it's a George song."

He's not actually thinking of donating half his fee to the Harrison estate, oddly enough.

Macca then asked if any listener had recently lost a "man with a beard... I'm seeing the initial J... or it could be an S... or... maybe it's a woman..."

[Thanks to Lucy Berrie for the tip on this one]


Another survey from a company not employed by the RIAA offers yet more evidence that the 'illegal' downloaders are actually the people the record labels should be encouraging comes from The Leading Question:

People who illegally share music files online are also big spenders on legal music downloads, research suggests.

Digital music research firm The Leading Question found that they spent four and a half times more on paid-for music downloads than average fans.

It turns out the people who the RIAA claim to be destroying the industry spend an average of £5.52 a month on legal downloads, while the people who only download legal music spend a measly £1.27. In other words, the oft-quoted belief that people who spend time hammering kazaa and the like are genuine music nuts and thus likely to be spending all they can on music as well turns out to be, erm, true - and should be lauded, not treated as criminals:

"The research clearly shows that music fans who break piracy laws are highly valuable customers," said Paul Brindley, director of The Leading Question.

"It also points out that they are eager to adopt legitimate music services in the future."

"There's a myth that all illegal downloaders are mercenaries hell-bent on breaking the law in pursuit of free music."

In reality hardcore fans "are extremely enthusiastic" about paid-for services, as long as they are suitably compelling, he said.

So, how does the BPI react to the news that they're bringing legal action against their best customers? Sniffy, of course:

"It's encouraging that many illegal file-sharers are starting to use legal services," said BPI spokesman Matt Philips.

"But our concern is that file-sharers' expenditure on music overall is down, a fact borne out by study after study.

"The consensus among independent research is that a third of illegal file-sharers may buy more music and around two thirds buy less.

"That two-thirds tends to include people who were the heaviest buyers which is why we need to continue our carrot and stick approach to the problem of illegal file-sharing," he said.

You'll note there's a lot of deft footwork in this statement. First of all, the implication that illegal file-sharers are "starting" to use legal services - as if this is a trend that has only happened in the last couple of months - whereas, of course, early adopters of filesharing software are almost certain to have been the early adopters of legal downloads as well - people who hadn't previously been using online music would have taken more persuasion to come online to buy music, as they'd not only need to have tooled up with hardware and software, but to come to terms with the whole idea. The BPI, though, can't say this, because they need to pretend that the legal action is forcing criminals online.

The "concern" about file-sharer's expenditure on music being down is, of course, a real one. Could that be, though, because online you don't need to buy whole albums of music you don't want, but can just choose the tracks you like; that online music is a little bit cheaper than offline music; and that the price of CDs has been coming down as the various consumer's bodies start to catch up on the Record Labels years of overcharging and supermarkets start to cut margins. Or does the BPI really believe that anyone who doesn't increase their spend on its products year-on-year must be a criminal?

Then we've got a consensus, which sounds a bit bogus to us, and misses the point - maybe some file-sharers buy less music (than what? measured in terms of unit sales? Or total value?), but the point here is that filesharers spend more on music than anyone else - so, clearly, the BPI would rather sell a few pence worth of music to saints than pounds worth to enthusiasts. What this "consensus" also fails to explain is if the two-thirds supposedly buying an undefined "less" of music are dropping so far as to offset the massively increased profits labels make from digital distribution compared with the physical version, and, much more crucially, if they're buying less because they're being satiated by illegal music, or just because they find other things to spend their money on while they're online - pvc trousers, belt buckles and so on.

And finally, that shaky consensus is suddenly pummeled into a conclusion we've never seen before, that the "heaviest buyers" are buying less music - but again, that could be because music is cheaper online, and if you can't make a massive saving buying lots of albums online, you're in a little bit of trouble.

The BPI: We'll finish looking in this gift horse's mouth once we've killed the golden-egg laying goose.


Some good news from the US: NBC has scrapped plans for I'm A Celebrity But I Wanna Be A Pop Star. It saves us only a few caterwauling actors and sportsstars, but every little helps.


It didn't really seem likely that it was anything other, but police have confirmed that Mindy McCready did leave a suicide note before her overdose, although her actions after taking the pills suggests she changed her mind:

McKnight, who described himself as McCready’s fiance, told authorities at the Holiday Inn Harborside in Indian Rocks Beach that she had taken a large amount of two substances and drank a lot of alcohol, according to a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department report.

Yep, that's William McKnight, who was charged with attempting to kill her earlier this year and, oddly, was with McCready when police arrived. We're guessing there's some more to this story.


... and we guess that'll free up some space in the music industry for another actor to become a singer (go on, then, Nikki). Apparently, it's not a passing thing for Keith Urban, who's being lined up for rom-com - he always wanted to be an actor, etc, etc...


Hey, come on you guys, cut Billy Corgan some slack, eh? The poor guy is trying to carve out a new artistic niche, lay the past and embrace some new sort of horizons, and all you can do is yell for Smashing Pumpkins songs - do you think he wants to be reminded that people used to take him seriously and want to hear his music? Do you think it's fair to remind him that nobody really has any interest in his new self-indulgent performano-wankage? How cruel can you be?

In other words: Corgan got so sick of people yelling for Smashing Pumpkin songs during his Melbourne gig, he shouted "fuck this" and flounced off the stage.

What we find astonishing is that there were so many people who'd want to hear Pumpkins stuff, come to that.


Cheryl Tweedy has announced that she won't be selling photos from her wedding to Ashley Cole to any of the celebrity magazines - which is going to leave Pick Me Up with an extra fifteen quid in the editorial budget to play with. It's not because she couldn't, you know, it's principle:

"We're not going to do a mag deal. We just want it to be a quiet affair with everyone we love there. I've decided I'm going to give a wedding picture to everyone as a think you for all the support I've had."

Of course, if she had a bunch of celeb photographers at her wedding she'd be afraid Nadine would be trying to hog them.


He may have got him off on the charges of getting himself off, but Tom Mesereau's work is not yet over - presumably keeping his client sweet while he waits for the bill to be settled, Mesereau has attempted to lift public sympathy for Michael Jackson:

"Michael Jackson was ill from time to time. In fact, people didn't realise he actually entered the hospital after the verdict," Jackson's lawyer Tom Mesereau told BBC radio in an interview.

"He was dehydrated, he had lost a tremendous amount of weight, he was having trouble keeping food down, he was terrified about what was going happen to his children and he had a recurring back problem," he added.

"I am concerned because he is a perpetual target. There still is a perception among some people that he ... doesn't want to go to court and will settle," said Mesereau. "We will be fighting any of these suits all the way if they happen."

Well, to be honest, even if he was being unfairly targeted in the past (it's funny how once you pay one kid off rather than face a trial for abusing him, you start to get a reputation, isn't it?), pretty much everybody knows you'd be shaking an empty money tree.

Michael Jackson hospitalised after trial - lawyer

Jackson leaves court after being found not guilty
Click to enlarge photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Michael Jackson went to hospital suffering from dehydration and weight loss after jurors acquitted the singer of child molestation last month, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

"Michael Jackson was ill from time to time. In fact, people didn't realise he actually entered the hospital after the verdict," Jackson's lawyer Tom Mesereau told BBC radio in an interview.

"He was dehydrated, he had lost a tremendous amount of weight, he was having trouble keeping food down, he was terrified about what was going happen to his children and he had a recurring back problem," he added.

The child star turned superstar, whose "Thriller" album made him one of the world's best known entertainers, was visibly weak at the end of his four-month trial and his family said he had gone to bed after the verdict.

Mesereau said he had not spoken to Jackson in the last few weeks although the two had been in touch after the trial.

Jackson was acquitted last month of molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003 as well as plying him with alcohol and conspiring to abduct the boy.

The singer faced nearly 20 years in prison if convicted.

Although cleared, music industry experts have questioned how the formerly unstoppable superstar can rebuild his career and work his way out of deep debt.

Mesereau insisted Jackson would not settle out of court if further allegations were made against him.

"I am concerned because he is a perpetual target. There still is a perception among some people that he ... doesn't want to go to court and will settle," said Mesereau. "We will be fighting any of these suits all the way if they happen."

Jackson's success as a pop singer had faded even before the trial as he became more reclusive and the media turned its attention to his dramatic physical changes and eccentric lifestyle.

Mesereau said he hoped nobody entered Jackson's home to spend the night to avoid future false claims.

"I advised Mr Jackson not to let any families in his home again," said the lawyer.

That's the sort of top-quality legal advice you only get from expensive lawyers. We suspect a British brief would have just barked "keep your bloody hands off the toddlers."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Following on from the announcement by Sony BMG that they'd been illegally paying to get their tracks on the radio comes the realisation that, if someone's making illegal payments to radio, that means radio stations must be taking them. Naturally, all eyes are turning to Clear Channel who, as the biggest US radio company, must surely have questions to answer. Clear Channel denies any of its employees were on the take:

"We are cooperating fully with Mr. Spitzer's office," a Clear Channel spokesperson said in a statement. "Clear Channel has extremely strict internal policies against payola; so strict that we severed ties with independent promoters in early 2003 to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. "We investigate any allegation of this nature," the statement continued. "The allegations made today will be fully investigated and any wrongdoing will be met by swift and appropriate disciplinary action."

We'll see...


It's not yet entirely clear why, but Embrace have pulled their forthcoming tour just a couple of days before they were due to play their first date in Rhode Island. Speculation as to the reasons veers between "they suddenly realised just how many Americans were that bothered" to... no, that's all we've got so far.


Pete Doherty might think that leaving a slurred message on the 3am girls answerphone will do it for patching things up with Bob Geldof, but it might take more than that to smooth things over with the Big Gay Out organisers. This is Fake DIY report they want twenty grand from Pete and the band for the breach of contract which happened when the Babyshambles set didn't. Apparently, added to the long list of people who Pete has fedded up over the last couple of years is the new Mr Gay UK, who was meant to be given his prize by Pete:

'Doherty was supposed to play at 6pm and present Mr Gay UK with his trophy. It was a huge disappointment to Mr Gay UK, to our crowd, and to several dozen camp dancers, who were due to appear onstage with him.'

Since Doherty once pinched his bandmate's NME award trophy, it might have been for the best that he didn't get his hands on Mr. Gay UK's prize.


Oh, David Mustaine, what must your evenings be like, tossing and turning and fretting that your former bassist is dragging the Megadeath name through the mud? It turns out that Mustaine now feels he has to get the law involved, filing a legal action to stop David Ellefson using the Megadeath name in adverts for musical equipment:

Mustaine said an ad in this month's issue of "Bass Player" features Ellefson holding a pedal tuner for bass guitars and includes the names of several bands he is involved with — including Megadeth.

Mustaine is seeking unspecified compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages.

Of course, we're sure it's not just greed and pettiness motivating this action - we bet he thinks it'll impress showgirls as well.


It's taken - what, five years, ten years, and watching the whole music industry grind to a halt, but it looks like at least someone in what they like to call 'the content industry' has realised that treating their customers with the presumption they're criminals isn't perhaps the best approach for a company. He's called Mitch Singer, and he's from Sony's movie division:

While acknowledging the difficulties involved in digital rights management, particularly with respect to incompatibilities between different systems, he suggested that it should be possible to make copies of legally acquired content.

He said that consumers should be able to buy a DVD and copy it onto their hard drive. “Shame on us. That is something we should have developed a long time ago,” he said, suggesting that Sony Pictures was looking to address this.

Good god... someone in the entertainment industry learning from their mistakes? Can it really be?


After dumping him, the Stereophonics have finally done the right thing by Stuart Cable. They're making a cash payment to their former drummer - at least, Cable seems to think they are:

"We've finally come to some sort of arrangement, but it's still all in the hands of the lawyers at the moment. There's a lot of paperwork to go through, so I can't really say anymore."


Pauly Shore really must have problems: he's taken to asking Fred Durst for relationship advice. Even in the context of a comedy show, this seems to be a peculiar thing to do:

Durst confesses, "I love the way young girls look - they're so fresh and squeaky."

Durst adds, "You keep hooking up with young chicks, you're addicted to sex... You want someone serious. You're seriously fucked up, man.

"You're fucked up for life... unless you get some help."

Handy advice from the man who once tried to claim he was dating Britney and Avril Lavigne, and who pretends to be a twelve year-old to sell poor quality music to preteens.


Woo-hoo! More tasty autumn dates coming as Four Tet tour with Explosions In The Sky: October
Saturday 22nd - Harpers, Hastings,
Sunday 23rd - Soul Tree, Cambridge,
Wednesday 26th - Cavern Club, Exeter, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Thursday 27th - The Point, Cardiff, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Friday 28th - Trinity Arts Centre, Bristol, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Saturday 29th - The Zodiac, Oxford, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Sunday 30th - South Street, Reading, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Monday 31st - Dot Zero, Sheffield, (EXPLOSIONS!)

Tuesday 1st - Mint Lounge, Manchester, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Wednesday 2nd - Brunell Social Club, Leeds, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Thursday 3rd - Sage, Newcastle, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Friday 4th - Liquid Room, Edinburgh, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Saturday 5th - The ABC, Glasgow, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Monday 7th - Concorde 2, Brighton, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Tuesday 8th - Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Wednesday 9th - The Talbot, Wrexham, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Thursday 10th - Hammersmith Palais, London, (EXPLOSIONS!)
Sunday 13th - Spring and Airbrake, Beflast,
Monday 14th - Roisin Dubh, Galway
Tuesday 15th - Cyprus Ave, Cork

We have made a subtle indication of which gigs will feature Explosions In The Sky.


At least the winner of the latest Best Gig Ever poll is one that most of the people voting for it could at least claim to have seen it - apparently, it's Queen at Live Aid (actually, they weren't even the best band at Live Aid, were they?); Queen polled 79% of the popular vote, trashing The Beatles on the roof of the Apple building into second place.

The poll also found the Stones at Altamont to be the most controversial gig ever (although, to be honest, we're not sure there's much controversey about it - "notorious", surely?); oddly, Jarvis crashing Jackson's Brit awards number and Sinead O'Connor ripping up the pope also came in quite high, despite, erm, neither of them actually being gigs. Dylan going electric was best solo gig; Radiohead at Glastonbury 97 best festival and the dance and hip-hop category went to Run DMC and the Beasties at Brixton. It's all a bit of a rum do...

...which is a pity, as the hoopla is to promote a rather good exhibition: Living The Moment, a collection of live pictures from down the years. Says more about live music than any number of stupid polls.


Also splashing down into the UK this November - Sigur Ros:

Brixton Academy November 9
Edinburgh Corn Exchange 10
Liverpool Philharmonic 13
Birmingham Symphony Hall 14


Start to pull together your stupid facial hair and red trousers for the White Stripes U tour - here come the dates:

London Hammersmith Apollo (November 5)
London Alexandra Palace (8-9)
Blackpool Empress Ballroom (10-11)
Glasgow Academy (13,14,15)
Manchester Apollo (17)


Ever since the Liverpool city council let the National Garden Festival site go to ruin, the valuable bits of the exhibition have been shunted around the city like an unloved wedding gift ornament from a visiting auntie. The Yellow Submarine which has for years been sat outside Chavasse Park has now found itself in the way of the Duke of Westminster's plans to convert the city into a giant shopping mall, and so it's been shunted off down to Speke Airport - sorry, put into a new location:

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Mike Storey said: "What better welcome can we give to visitors to this city then to have the yellow submarine right outside the airport?

"It fits in well with the Beatles theme which is developing at the airport."

We look forward to the giant signs yelling "Get Back" at people as they emerge from baggage reclaim at the John Lennon Airport.

The big question, of course, is what's happened to the Blue Peter Ship?


Pete Doherty is now on such a steep downwards curve that he's taken to drunkenly phoning up the 3am column at, erm, 4 am. Apparently he must have got an answering machine:

"Hello it's, errr, Pete Doherty here and I'm a little bit concerned about a story that's been going about saying one of Bob Geldof's kids is harassing me.

"I've been trying to ehhh, get hold of his number myself, but I've had a bit of, errr, trouble.

"So could you put in your paper Pete Doherty would like to apologise to Bob and his daughters." The Babyshambles singer went on: "It's quite emmm, upsetting to me because I thought I got on well with Bob and his daughters.

"Kate has known these girls since they were babies as well, so it's all a bit wrong."

We're sure Bob will be really, emmm, touched by that. The guilt really eats away at you in the middle of the night, doesn't it?


We're slowly seeing the IFPI shake all its global members into line with its dominant member's insistence that legal action is the only way to respond to filesharing - now, after years of trying to avoid the PR disasters and pointless cash burn-through of litigation, the German Phonographic Association is doing what the RIAA wants and sending out legal threats to people it believes are illegally sharing files online. 1,300 people have won the lottery, paying out an average of EUR4000. As is the case worldwide, nobody actually seems to have gone as far as court with this, being bounced into "settling" in the big label's favour under the threat of the cash demands rising from outrageous to stratospheric.

We're having trouble making the GPA figures add up:

He did, however, state that the number of music tracks offered illegally on file-sharing platforms rose by three percent to 900 million from January to June, while the number of legal online platforms is also increasing in many countries at the same time. The lobby group pointed out that the number of songs offered illegally in Germany plummeted in 2004 from 600 million in 2003 to 382 million.

Now, we're not quite sure how the figure of tracks was 382 million in 2004, 900 million now, and yet this is meant to be a "three percent" increase - it looks more like a threefold increase to us. Unless the numbers are just meaningless figures and nobody really has the ability to count the number of tracks available online because how would you even actually start to do that?


Like the perpetual war which will characterise all our futures, Courtney Love just never blows out, does she? Having blown over forty million of the money Kurt made for her, and carving out a four million dollar debt mountain in legal bills following various throwing things and taking things, who does Courtney blame for stealing money from Frances Bean?. Dave Grohl, of course:

"Dave gets to walk away unscathed and be the happy guy in rock, when he's one of the biggest jerks," said Love [...] Grohl has been "taking money from my child for years."

Of course, there's a strong argument that Grohl - who was in Nirvana, and played on the records - would have more reason to feel aggreived that Courtney - who didn't - gets much, much from the band than he does, but he seems more than happy with his share. It really does seem that Love's main beef is that Grohl wasn't stupid enough to kill himself.


The ongoing saga of country music's own Pete Doherty, Mindy McCready, has taken another turn for the worse - following the announcement that she's being charged with being part of a con that (she claims) she helped police break, McCready took an overdose while at a Texas hotel.

Her attorney last week, Dennis Tomlon, only popped up to announce he wasn't her lawyer any more:

Tomlin had said earlier Monday that McCready "went down there to visit her mother when she found out about the potential charges in Arizona. The stress got to her and she ended up in the hospital."

He said at that time she was in intensive care.

Tomlin said Monday night the singer instructed him to keep further details private after retaining another attorney. He did not know the name of the new attorney.

McCready had been due to appear in court yesterday over a probation violation.


An entrant to the music magazine shelf is Music Hurts, a web-only affair with no apparent means of support at the moment. It's quite inventive, making some interesting use of Flash, and the content is pretty good - in fact, it only falls down in doing everything through Flash. Sure, the clickable guide to Iggy Pop's place in the pop universe works really well, and makes sense being done in that format. But a straight article? Why am I sitting here waiting for an article to form itself up on the page more slowly than I can read it?

It's a bit like a glory-period Select that's just done its A-levels (lots of good ideas but sometimes too busy showing off to be completely engaging) and it does look wonderful, even while its look is getting in the way of being useable. Worth checking.

Monday, July 25, 2005


The suggestions from earlier today that Sony-BMG were going to 'fess up to bribing radio station employees in the US turn out to have been confirmed. The holier-than-thou member of the RIAA have been caught offering inducements to stations:

For instance, the program director for Buffalo, New York's WKSE-FM received several flights (to New York, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with guests) in exchange for adding Jennifer Lopez's "I'm Real" (in July 2001), Good Charlotte's "Hold On" (in November 2003) and Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" (in August 2004) to his station's play list.

A label employee complained about the deal in an intercepted e-mail to a higher-up: "Two weeks ago, it cost us over $4,000 to get Franz on WKSE. That is what the four trips to Miami and hotel cost. ... At the end of the day, [the program director] added [Good Charlotte] and Gretchen Wilson ... for $750. So almost $5,000 in two weeks for overnight airplay."

Typical record label - bad enough they're cheating the listeners, cheating the public, cheating the artists (who eventually pick up the tab for all this activity, of course) - but moaning about how much it's costing them.

Also, the label group orchestrated fake call-in campaigns, hiring people to request songs so that the station might add a track because it thought listener demand warranted it. In one e-mail exchange about the practice, a label employee instructed the call-in campaign leader to make the callers sound more excited: "My guys on the inside say that it's the same couple of girls calling in every week and they're not inspired enough to be put on the air. They've got to be excited. They need to be going out or getting drunk or getting in the hot tub or going clubbing ... you get the idea."

It's going to cost Sony-BMG ten million dollars to buy their way out of this mess - which comes hot on the tail of other outrages, such as having been threatened with ASBOs after illegally flyposting all around Camden, and overcharging consumers for their CDs - but, of course, once again Sony want us to show them more pity than they show twelve year old girls who download the odd illegal MP3:

Sony BMG acknowledged that fraudulent practices and payola took place and called it "wrong and improper."

"Despite federal and state laws prohibiting unacknowledged payment by record labels to radio stations for airing of music, such direct and indirect forms of what has been described generically as 'payola' for spins has continued to be an unfortunately prevalent aspect of radio promotion," the label group said in a statement. "Sony BMG acknowledges that various employees pursed some radio promotion practices on behalf of the company that were wrong and improper and apologizes for such conduct. Sony BMG looks forward to defining a new, higher standard in radio promotion."

It's a little bit like Catherine The Great announcing she wants to be leading attempts to define a new respect for horses, isn't it? Apart from anything, Sony shareholders might want to take a close look at how their pension schemes and insurance companies are coming to take such a massive hit.

It's no wonder Sony BMG are so worried about losing every penny from downloads - if they're spending five grand on getting a single record played on a single radio station in a single city, they must need all the cash they can get.

Oddly, the RIAA has nothing to say about one of its key members confessing to breaking federal and state law. And yet usually they've got so much to say about illegal activity.


Less than a week after getting engaged to his co-bandee Mary Charlotte Cooper, The Subways' Billy Lunn collapsed on stage at Hamburg Kunst. Nothing too serious, it turns out, just a bout of gastric flu - Lunn battled through four songs the next night at the Berlin Magnet before again giving up. Things were getting worse, though, and so the band cancelled their Cornwall K Festival date to give Billy a chance to recover.


Melanie B, one of the Spice Girls (you remember the Spice Girls) has quietly dropped a legal action she'd brought against the Sun following a story about her getting up to what we shall call "sexual hijinks" in a toilet at the Elysium nightclub. Demands for damages and an apology have been withdrawn.


Try as we might, we find it really difficult to feel sorry for the poor companies scammed by a New Jersey woman who pretended she was Jessica Simpson's PA. She sent a number of emails and faxes to companies claiming that Jessica was interested in their products. And, company after company dutifully sent off free stuff. Now, of course the woman, Courtney Handel was lying, and she had no connection with Simpson at all. But if companies are happy to shovel loads of products across without even bothering to doublecheck who they're sending to... well, is it really a crime?

It's not known if any company replied with the question "well, why doesn't the rich girl go to a shop and buy our product, then?"

Meanwhile, police are rumoured to be investigating another woman believed to be trying to make money out of Jessica Simpson's name. The suspect - known as Ashlee - is believed to be passing herself off as a singer and a relative.


There's been sputterign threats of a Bauhaus reunion before, but now it seems that it's actually going to happen - Peter Murphy is promising a new album and a UK tour perhaps before the year is out.

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Blimey, who'd have put money on that? Bauhaus for Christmas?


There's to be a big "end of the year music event" in Cardiff, pencilled in to become an annual event - and the first one is to be headlined by Oasis. Further down, the bill gets a bit cheerier, with Foo Fighters and Razorlight already lined up, and it's all going to take place at the Millennium Stadium, with the roof on it. Tickets go on sale this Friday.


Apparently you get to see Brandon Flowers naked in the new Killers video; the one for All These Things That I've Done. Or at least, he appears in the shower during it. We're setting ourselves up for a Holly Vallance style "it was a skintone body stocking" style disappointment.


We feel a little sorry for Lenny Kravitz - his star has waned a little since the glory days of, uh, that car advert and dating the third-most-attractive Cosby Show daughter, and now he finds himself in the awkward position of having to have his people release stories about him getting no-smoking signs put up in a nightclub as an example of his mighty influence. Len, lad, they ask people to put out their fags in Zizi if someone complains - if you really want to show your influence, why not start a letter-writing campaign to see if you can get some speedhumps put in somewhere?


As the Spitzer investigation into payola in New York reaches its conclusions, the Hollywood Reporter claims that Sony BMG are going to admit misconduct in the way they used "independent" promoters to get their records onto US radio. The paper suggests that the major label - part of the RIAA, and always quick to lecture the rest of us on what's right and wrong - could be looking at a fine of at least USD10million.


Pete Doherty appears to have been beaten up on Friday night, curiously running away from the police who came to arrest his attackers. It all happened on London's busy Kentish Town Road, which meant there were passers-by:

A passer-by said: “People at the scene said Doherty was trying to buy drugs off these guys. It all just kicked off in the street. Doherty was grabbed round the neck but his mate pushed the bloke off. Then Doherty got pinned up against a wall and they were all throwing punches at each other. Doherty got punched at least once in the head and kicked two or three times. His mate probably took the same number of kicks but really stuck up for him. If he hadn’t been there, Doherty would have taken a real beating. They were coming off worse.”

The brawling groups were pulled apart by strangers — and Doherty and his pal nipped in the shop and held the doors shut.

The witness said: “The attackers threw traffic roadwork barriers. But they got bored and walked off.”

We're not sure why the "passer-by" is quoting some nebulous "people at the scene" - perhaps he was a tabloid journalist. Anyway, thanks to the miracles of CCTV, the police arrested a bloke and charged him with affray. Could Pete actually appear for the Crown in a court case?

It seems to have been the last straw for Kate Moss, though (or rather, the latest in a long line of last straws) with the Mirror reporting that she threw him out and broke it off. (And that's only about the ninth time the tabs have reported Moss dumping Doherty, remember.)

Oddly, the Mirror suggests the fight wasn't with someone he was trying to buy drugs off:

Violence flared on Friday after junkie Doherty went boozing with guitarist friend Alan Wass in North London. A group of youths shouted "crackhead" at him and a fight broke out.

And the bored toss of a roadwork barrier turns into a hail of missiles:

Farid Khan, 30, of Supersave store in Camden Town, said: "The singer ran in pursued by six men. There was a big fight. We got the Somalis out but they hurled a brick at the door."

Curious choice of description by Mr. Khan, there - "the singer ran in."

Kate, apparently, still wants to record with Pete - because, of course, that would work, but just can't take the worry of what he's up to. "Friends" are worrying all this dumping could, well, knock Pete off the rails:

A friend of Doherty said: "We're worried how Pete will react to being dumped. For all their ups and downs, and despite his wild ways, he really loves Kate."

Yes, let's hope he doesn't turn to drink and drugs for comfort, shall we?


The Sun, of course, did try to dress up its front page on Saturday so that the "one down" it screamed about could have been taken to be the one arrest made on Friday, but it was pretty obvious they were thrilled by the idea of the shooting to death of the terrorist in Stockwell Tube station. So now it turns out, erm, he wasn't a terrorist but a Brazilian shot because he was wearing a thick coat on a warm day, what is the paper going to do?

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Wheel out Charlotte Church topless photos, of course. Not a mention of the terrible mistake last week. At least the Met Police have the balls to admit to their error.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


We find ourselves worried about Genarro Castaldo - worried, and yet strangely fascinated. Does he ever take a break - a holiday, a long weekend; even a quiet fifteen minutes with a coffee and super sudoku? Or is it, as it seems, that he spends every waking moment looking for opportunities to push his employers' name into the papers?

Yesterday he popped up in the Independent, giving his opinions on the paper's 'Devon is the new Manchester' theory - "Music is very much an urban thing. The whole idea of an underground buzz needs a large number of people and, in rural areas, you don't get that kind of network" he suggests, before mentioning how many copies of Seth Lakeman's albums HMV has sold since he was nominated for ther Mercury (50 a day, up from, erm, zero beforehand).

We don't know if Genarro gets any extra sales from his tireless work, but he surely is more efficient than anyone else working for HMV.


Mysterious goings-on in Wandsworth, with Patrick Wolf being accused of burglarizing his neighbour's house; oddly, the house he's meant to have broken into he was looking after at the time, and had a set of keys to let himself in and out as he chose while his neighbours were away.


The latest as the wheels come off one more time - the News of the World suggests Pete feels the band isn't good enough for him:

A ‘friend’ of Pete's reported to the News of the World today, that in a drunken phonecall Doherty told him:

“I don’t know what to do. The band aren’t my friends and I’ve had enough. Kate said I’m too good for Babyshambles.”

But Babyshambles is just you and some blokes doing the stuff that you can't do - it's as close to a bloody solo project as you could have without the tax people twigging. "Too good for my own vanity project" - it's the I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt for 2005, surely?


Everyone gets in the shooting act when it comes to hip-hop: a sales guy and the general manager from The Source have been arrested following a non-fatal shooting:

The incident took place around 2:15 a.m. outside the Limerick House bar across the street from The Source’s main office, apparently after a dispute about playing a CD that one of the three victims presented, police sources told Newsday.

Once the fight erupted onto the streets, two men opened fire, according to police, and three men were shot.

Police said a 26-year-old man suffered a bullet wound to the head; a 28-year-old man was shot three times throughout his body, and another man, 30, was shot twice in the arm and torso.

The two arrested - Leroy Peeples and Alvin Chiles - had not been charged and their lawyer says that he's sure it's all some sort of misunderstanding.


We'd have thought that the good people at PETA might have thought once, twice, and then thought again about giving Chris Martin this year's world's sexiest vegetarian award - as he does come across like everything you're supposed to think vegetarians are like (if you're a meat eater): pasty, unhealthy-looking, whiny, paranoid about sex and looking like a good gust of wind would blow him away. In fact, he's almost a poster boy for cliches about vegetarians. Bit of an own-goal, really.


Walking one-woman disaster area Mindy McCready has now got a while heap of other problems to go with her outstanding legal troubles - she's now facing five charges in Arizona resulting from what her people are saying is assistance she gave the police in trapping an alleged conman. Her attorney Dennis Tomlin claimed McCready was surprised to hear about the charges:

"I understand that she helped the authorities in Arizona take down a con artist that conned her and 35 other celebrities, and she also helped the authorities in Florida identify him," Tomlin said.

"She did not know that she had been charged … period. She was under the impression that with her assistance in taking down this con artist, that she was free and clear," Tomlin said.

McCready is charged with two counts of unlawful use of transportation, one count each of taking the identity of another, attempted fraudulent schemes and artifices, unlawful imprisonment and hindering prosecution.

McCready is also wading through DUI charges and under three years probation for fraudulent pharmecutical possessions.

INDIEOBIT: Patrick Sherry

The Leeds Club NME date ended nastily on Wednesday night when Bad Beat Revue singer Patrick Sherry flung himself off the stage, sustaining fatal injuries. Eyewitnesses at the Leeds Warehouse date say 25 year-old Sherry attempted to grab the lighting rig, misjudged his leap (or possibly lost his grip) and crashed head-first into the ground. The night came to a premature end as Sherry was rushed to the Leeds General Infirmary, where he died on Thursday morning.

The band had been together for three years - curiously, a This is Fake DIY review of them earlier this year had suggested the excessive behaviour of Sherry detracted from the efforts of his band. They'd picked up a number of support roles around the city as well headlining most of the Leed's indie venues; they'd been added to Wednesday night's Club NME bill when the original support act had had to pull out at short notice.

Warehouse manager Graham Hartley told the Yorkshire Evening Post "it was just a tragic accident and our thoughts are with his friends and family, as well as the rest of the band and their manager."


Symphony For Improvisers - Blue Note buffs up Don Cherry's 1966 experiment

The Music - Live in Japan DVD (So, that's what happened to them, is it?)

SOULOBIT: Eugene Record

The death has been announced of Eugene Record, leader of the Chi-Lites.

Coming together in Chicago in 1959, the close-harmony quintet of Record, Marshall Thompson, Creadel 'Red' Jones, Robert Lester and Clarence Johnson were originally known as the Hi-Lites but added the C to reflect their hometown when they made the stepchange from local heroes to national renown. The band would undergo a bunch of personnel changes as they started to amass a mixture of R&B and crossover pop hits - including For God's Sake Give More Power To The People, Oh Girl and There Will Never Be Any Peace. The band's talent to mix feel-good love songs with political tunes which brought a hard-edged message to a soft soul sound marks them as one of the most interesting points at the convergence of social action and good times.

Record quit the group after their label, Brunswick, hit a finacially rocky patch in the mid-70s, and quickly signed to Warner Brothers where he began a solo career; he rejoined in 1980 for a reunion of the original line-up (bar Johnson) only to leave again in 1985. Record started to concentrate more heavily on gospel music following his second departure - his 1997 Let Him In album was warmly received, even amongst those less convinced by the message than by the music. In 2002, Record made one final performance with the band that made his name for Chris Gegedus and D A Pennebaker's Only The Strong Survive.

Record has been fighting cancer for some time; the 64-year old is survived by his wife, Jackie.

FOLKOBIT: John Herald

The death has been announced of John Herald, singer and guitarist with bluegrass band The Greenbriar Boys.

Herald formed the Greenbriar Boys in the late 50s, playing a folk circuit at a time when a young Robert Zimmerman was getting his start - indeed, Dylan opened for the Boys at Folk City, Greenwich Village in 1961. They disbanded in towards the end of the decade, but Herald remained active musically - as a songwriter, his work would be recorded by Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary and Linda Ronstadt amongst others.

His last studio recordings were released as Roll On John in 2000, but was working on a new collection when he died. The New York Times reports poli ce are working on a theory the 65 year-old died by his own hand on Tuesday 19th.


Despite assurances from the organisers of the Big Gay Out (and if there's been a worse name for a festival, we'd love to hear of it) that Babyshambles and/or Pete Doherty would turn up to do some songs in Finsbury Park yesterday, guess what? They didn't.