Saturday, December 02, 2006

New edition

Of course, when PR people send you emails, it's out with the long spoons and on with the Hazchem wear. But when they're oferring a link to one of those Editor remixes - the Phones reworking of All Sparks - it would be churlish to pretend you're not interested.

Lohan has trouble with her tiny buttons

Franco M brings the following to our attention: Lindsay Lohan wasn't drunk or anything when she made a botched attempt to deliver an eulogy to Robert Altman - it was all her Blackberry's fault:

"She quickly put something together on her Blackberry," spokeswoman Leslie Sloane told Reuters. "It was written very quickly, and it was from the heart."

Aha. It was the Blackberry's fault that Lohan came up with stuff like this:

The missive - titled "Dead is hard, Life is much easier" - was meant to celebrate the life of Altman. Instead, it contained gems such as,

"Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourselves' (12st book) -everytime there's a triumph in the world a million souls hafta be trampled on.-altman Its true. But treasure each triumph as they come."

"Life comes once, doesn't 'keep coming back' and we all take such advantage of what we have."

"I learned so much from Altman and he was the closest thing to my father and grandfather that I really do believe I've had in several years."

Small buttons, tiny screen, three gallons of whisky floating about your system - you can see how it'd be the Blackberry's fault. Mind you, we can only conclude it was the drink that was responsible for the star of Herbie Fully Loaded thinking that the world was waiting for her to deliver a eulogy to Altman in the first place.

Paris Hilton turns her back on the Billboard awards

In what will surely come as some sort of blow to... well, nobody, really, Paris Hilton has quit a planned appearance at the Billboard awards as she has absolutely bugger all to do with music and realised that she would have been as out of place as a butcher in an operating theatre.

Oh, actually, it was because she didn't like the script:

"It is my understanding that some satirical references ridiculed some of her peers," her spokesman, Elliot Mintz, said in a statement. "Paris did not want to say anything that could appear hurtful or embarassing about people she knows."

Mintz said Hilton received a script Friday that contained material she found "objectionable." Representatives for Hilton and the awards show could not come to an agreement about the script's content so she decided to scrap the appearance, he said.

And what's more, there were all these long words in it, too.

Rock sick list: Duels

Looking forward to the December tour by Duels? Not too much we hope, as drummer James has put himself out the game. Statements all round:

"It is with great sadness and regret that we must announce the cancellation of the December Tour.

Drummer James has unfortunately sustained an injury to his wrist, and is under strict instruction from doctors to rest, to avoid more long-term damage.

We are incredibly disappointed about this and look forward to hitting the road next year to make up for it. We hope you understand that it is unavoidable, and appreciate we share your feelings. We are upset.

To persue ticket refunds please contact the ticket seller you used."

Less of the jokes about how he might have injured his wrist, thank you. Have some sympathy for the poor lad.

Kittie given Kiss-off

KittieWe were actually surprised to hear that Kittie were still going - they'd be uncharacteristically quiet for so long. But, it seems, they're heading back with a new album in February next year, and have walked straight into a scrap with Kiss.

Kittie had been planning to call their label the Kiss of Infamy; that was enough to bring a solicitor's letter from the bendy-toy and novelty pyjama manufacturers - apparently, Kiss used to make music before they turned their attention to flogging collectables, and seemed to think that their fans are so dense they'd pick up a record that says "An album by Kittie" on the front and "Kiss of destiny records" in small print on the back, and think they were looking at a Kiss album.

Kittie's label is now going to be X of Destiny. Kirk Brandon and the former lead singer with the Redskins are believed to be looking into matters.

The old songs aren't as good as they were

That new Beatles stuff? It's a load of old crock, you know. We have this on the highest authority - the Brothers Gallagher:

"It's a pointless exercise," said Noel Gallagher, adding that he turned the new collection off "after five songs".

His brother and frontman Liam Gallagher was more scathing declaring the album of tracks re-produced by Beatles producer Sir George Martin and his son, "rubbish!".

"If you haven't got The Beatles by now you're not going to get it," declared the singer and John Lennon fan. "I'm all Beatled-up!"

It's a fair point. Fancy releasing a load of old stuff that's been kicking around donkey's years and pretending it's a new leap forward.

Oasis were talking at a showing of the film promoting their greatest hits album.

Everybody hates U2

Apparently, we have something in common with Bono: we both cringe when we hear the name U2:

"I didn't think about it for a long time and, when I did, I realised I didn't like the name."

We imagine that while we hear the name as a summation of youthful radicalism turned into self-aggrandising pompery, Bono hears it as a missed opportunity to use the words "Bono and the..."

Junk couture

We worry about Victoria Newton's health - such a young person, and yet so often frothing with indignation her blood pressure must make her like an over-filled aerosol. Please, whatever you do with Newton, do not discard her in a fire.

Today, she's boiling and bubbling over the news that Vogue is going to put Pete Doherty on the cover. Apparently oblivious to the hundreds of newspapers and magazines which have already done this - we seem to remember Newton herself was happy to run interviews with the man - Victoria has, through breaths gulped into a brown paper bag, spotted what might be a horseman of the apocalypse in our very own Mews flats:

I personally think its disgusting that he is held up as an icon of beauty and cool — no matter how talented he is.

Should the UK’s fashion bible really get away with being so irresponsible? Doherty persistently breaks the law, treats rehab like a holiday camp and carries on getting wasted on hard drugs.

Well, yes... it's true that Doherty does seem to treat the law as something to be adhered to with a degree of flexibility, but since when did Vogue have to run background checks on its cover stars?

And more to the point, if promoting Doherty and his work is tantamount to forcing kids to eat heroin instead of sherbert, and calling for crack cocaine to be on sale in every school vending machine from here to Arbroath, then why does the Sun's own Bizarre Jukebox feature so many Babyshambles songs?

Oozing over Pete in July, the Sun says And you can get a sneak peek right here with our WORLD EXCLUSIVE VIDEO for the band's new single Fuck Forever.

The song is one of Pete's best and the vid even features a momentary cameo from his girlfriend - supermodel Kate Moss."

And, in a caption to a video the paper only posted earlier this week, The Sun chuckles indulgently Pete Doherty needs little introduction. As well known for his outrageous stunts and on/off relationship with supermodel Kate Moss as his music, the ex-Libertine is proving he can still make great music with his new band.

Doesn't Victoria think it disgusting that the newspaper section she's purportedly in charge of is holding up Pete Doherty as an icon of cool?

Noel in the comfort of your own home

He might be a multi-millionaire, but we'd still be counting the spoons: Noel Gallagher has played a gig in a fan's living room. Either he's really desperate to shore up sales of the new album in an increasingly competitive Christmas market, or Pontyn's Ben Hayes had won some sort of radio competition.

Noel sang three of his own songs. The second-prize winner woke up yesterday to discover Liam Gallagher sitting on top of him, before he was subjected to every song Liam ever wrote, twice.

Busted up the jungle

Congratulations - if that's the word, rather than a sad, sympathetic clucking noise - to Matt from Busted, who's joined the long list of winners of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here - beating off Myleene Klass and Jason Donovan, in something of a triumvirate triumph for fading popstars.

Matt will now be hoping that his career path follows that of fellow former plastic band member Kerry Katona, whose humiliation in the jungle was so worthwhile she was reduced to flogging Iceland's Prawn Rings in the break bumpers for the current series.

It's interesting that Myleene seems to have now finally abandoned her attempts to reinvent herself as the thinking graduate of Cowell's single-idea TV academy. She'd started the year co-presenting an astronomy programme alongside Adam Hart-Davis, and ended it showering herself next to Toby Anstis. Still, she tried some cod philosophy:

"I have had a lot time to reflect on things. You realise your family are just the pinnacle of everything. You realise how much you rely on them."

Certainly, we do rely on our family not to make us strip to our pants and shove cockroaches into our crotch, all the while threatening to withhold food from Liza Minnelli's ex-husband if we don't appear to enjoy it.

Jason Donovan - a man whose truthfulness has been proven in open court - explained his reasons for taking part in the show. No, not "at least it's over faster than a Southport panto and you don't have to spend six weeks in a poor-quality hotel":

Donovan described his time in the jungle as "three weeks out of my life to do something different".

"For my kids, it was a great opportunity for them to see their dad do something different," he said.

Well, yes, although what your kids get out of watching you make a former newsreader eat emu bollocks on prime time TV is something they'll have to explore with their therapists in the years to come, we suspect.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Of course... it's all the BBC's fault

The Economic and Social Research Centre has carried out an investigation into the British Music Industry, Creative Destruction in the Music Industry: the Way Ahead, which has been cherry picked by the Evening Standard to deliver the sort of BBC-kicking headline the Associated Newspaper group loves:

BBC 'damaging music industry'

A stinging attack on the music industry was launched today, with the BBC accused of contributing to the mass manufacture of boy and girl bands. [...]

The report says that "the BBC dominates what does and does not get played in the UK" and calls for it to end its "monopoly of the airwaves."

It says that "Radio 1 and other BBC stations still believe, despite all the years of co-existence with commercial radio, that they are the arbiters of what the great British public should and should not listen to each day."

It says: "This patronising attitude has repercussions throughout the music business and severely damages the prospects for many signed British acts who because of this face the prospect of never being played on radio.

"At the same time, the BBC is guilty of helping the manufactured boy-band/girl-band phenomena retain its potency.

"It did not help that the BBC has launched its own version of music reality shows. A seemingly endless supply of bland inoffensive or unoriginal music is played by the BBC and all its outlets.

"Much of this fare is similar to the music in the lift. The BBC steadfastly ignores the vibrant live music scene in the UK."

We're a little confused - we assume that the since the report's editor, Andrew Ian Dodge, is described as "American", he must live in the US and hence doesn't really know A from a bull's foot about the UK media industry.

If he'd got in touch, we'd have been happy to offer him a primer, although he could have perhaps got a little insight by reading his own report.

If the BBC operates a "monopoly" of the airwaves, why would it then "launch its own version of music reality shows" - why would a dominant broadcaster even feel the need to try and play catch-up? And if the BBC has this controlling power over the music industry, how is it the winners of their shows - David Sneddon and Alex Parks, if you're boning for a pub quiz - head straight to the bottom of the dumper, while Girls Aloud, Liberty X, Will Young and other ITV-manufactured bands thrive for years?

The claim that "the BBC steadfastly ignores the vibrant music scene in the UK" is so obviously wrong even Lord Hutton would have removed it from his report as being a victory of dogma over common sense. The BBC covers Glastonbury, WOMAD, Reading; does the Electric Proms; provides starts for numerous small bands on radio one, provides a network focused on black and Asian music. It could do more, but the sort of music which gets only limited access to the airwaves - tucked away after teatime, or on Sunday afternoons - isn't really the sort of thing that is going to sell in significant amounts in the US anyway.

Even if it would: does he really think that commercial networks have any interest in playing singer-songwriters from Bolton or bhangra from Bradford? The suggestion that a radio world without a BBC would suddenly turn into an unfettered dial full of vibrant, exciting British music is so laughable, we half expect Jeremy Beadle to pop out from behind the ESRC offices clutching his sides: "We had you going there..."

Look at the radio in Dodge's home nation. Without a BBC to "exert" monopoly influence, you find yourself switching between dozens of stations with common ownership and standardised formats - if it wasn't for NPR and college stations, you'd never hear anything beyond the few bands primed by the large labels.

Which brings us to another weakness in Dodge's case. He claims - quite fairly - that a lot of the trouble UK bands have in the US is down to the record labels. But it doesn't seem to occur to him that it might be the cartel operated by the labels might be the key problem here, rather than a made-up boogeyman of BBC Radio dominance. Indeed, when artists outside of the RIAA cartel try to hit American radio, they might find part of the problems they have been facing is that of payola locking them out.

We might have a strong public service broadcasting in this country: that's actually how we're able to have a vibrant music scene.

Still, at least Dodge has got his head round the internet:

The report also criticises record companies for suing their own customers for illegal downloading and for expecting their lesser acts to subsidise the "so called top of the roster."

"British record companies need to stop complaining about the internet and broadband so they can develop their own ways to use it for its full potential", it says.

"Their trade bodies need to end their paranoia about all the money 'lost' by illegal downloading as well."

Apparently, though, the American record companies don't need to.

New-ah! Sounds of joyous-aaaah!

As if the promise of a Fall album early next year isn't enough to get you salivating, has got hold of the tracklist, which is as full of apparently meaningless noises and the sort of startled shouts you'd get if you woke an old man mid-afternoon-nap as you might expect:

'Over! Over!'
'Fall Sound'
'White Line Fever'
'Insult Song'
'My Door Is Always Open'
'Coach And Horses'
'The Wright Stuff'
'Das Bootuboat'
'Tim Song'
'Systematic Abuse'

The whole thing will carry itself under the proud title of Reformation Post TLC. Of course.

Now, your iPod can replace your boyfriend

With the ever-growing capacity of iPods, you could store your entire life on one. If only you could marry it, eh?

Well, now you almost can, thanks to the OhMiBod vibrator attachment for your device. It pulses in time with whatever you're listening to, which might be fun if you've got some punk classic, less so if it's the In Our Time podcast.

The most appealing idea about this is that you could bittorrent some tracks, stick 'em on an OhMiBod enabled player, and call up the RIAA to tell 'em that now everybody's getting fucked by unpaid downloads.

Microsoft have announced plans for an attachment to Zune which might let you do it, but only three times with any one partner.

Peaches: You can't change your luck

It's splendid to hear that Peaches Geldof - who is, of course, "street" and not the pampered daughter of a multi-millionaire - thinks that the way to approach a grotty gig in the Kentish Town Forum is four costume changes. Like she was Shirley Bassey in Vegas.

It didn't help her much, anyway. Apparently she got booed every time she took to the stage.

No outfit could help her.

One feels such a silly fella putting up one's umbrella

Will Young. There's nothing he wouldn't do for charity.

Apart from going out in the rain.

Apparently, playing a charity do in Durban - in aid of something or other - he'd been given his pink champagne, and his pink towels, and nobody had minded too much when he refused to be photographed with some kids. But then it started raining and he refused to go on stage.

A stage with a roof.

Assuming the 3AM Girls have got their facts straight, we can only assume he's making the most of his fame while it's still here.

Heather Kills

In what is, certainly, a very real danger and not yet another half-arsed attempt to try and win some public sympathy, Heather Mills has told the BBC she's getting death threats:

"We've had a few death threats which is pretty scary.

"We don't have any funding for security."

Well, if the death threats are serious, could I suggest that perhaps you redirect some of the costs of your other staff to security? After all, if you're genuinely in fear of your life, surely it's better to concentrate your outgoings on bodyguards rather than, say, personal fitness instructors?

In fact, maybe it'd best if you sent Bea to live with her Dad. He seems to have plenty of security in place.

If it's a genuine worry.

Martin has the hots for Allen

Good lord, we haven't even gone near one of those online 'what would their kids look like' sites, but the news that Chris Martin has been trying to keep his options open with Lily Allen is more than enough to disturb our sleep patterns. He's been dedicating songs to the daughter of actor Keith Allen:

“This is for Lily Allen. She’s gorgeous, she’s sweet. And if I wasn’t married…”

... you'd be old enough to be her father and it still would be disquieting, Chris.

Everybody lives for the music-go-round

Kim Wilde has said the sort of thing that Elton John needs to hear every so often - that he sometimes only has the vaguest connection with everyday life. Something Elton has admitted himself from time to time, between sacking florists and reworking songs about dead drug-addicted film stars into plodding hymns to dead princesses.

Victoria Newton, though, throws a fit, damning Kim from the public prints:

"I always had her down as a mild-mannered, softly spoken elder stateswoman of cheesy pop.

But frumpy Kim, now a gardening expert, has dished out a completely unprovoked public pruning."

Hang about... Kim Wilde may be a gardening expert, but frumpy? Victoria Newton, do you even know what frumpy means?

So, what did Kim have to say?

“He’s deluded. The man has always been deluded.

“He’s lived a very unreal life for so many, many years, with so much excess that he’s lost touch with some realities of life. He’s become a self-indulgent person.”

“He should refer all his criticism to himself. I won’t abide tantrums in my children and I can’t bear them in an adult. It’s disgusting.”

“I’ve always been aware that he hasn’t written any lyrics himself.

“You never get much of Elton, but I wonder if there’s very much to have. But he’s a great musician.”

All of which is fair enough - Elton shoots his mouth off, and relies on his lyricists.

Victoria, though, is fuming. Doesn't Kim know that Elton puts money in the poor box?:

A huge part of Elton’s appeal is due to the way he speaks his mind.

He has also shown incredible generosity, donating millions to charity.

Some of the millions, of course, included a large payout from The Sun when the paper ran a story claiming he'd cut his dog's vocal cords, if you want to get into examining "vicious unprovoked attacks" on Elton.

Incidently, Kelvin McKenzie, who was editor of the Sun at the time, thinks that Elton John should repay that money:

In 1987, The Sun had falsely alleged that the singer had his “vicious Rottweiler dogs” silenced by a "horrific operation” to remove their larynges.

[Kelvin] says: “Bloody Elton John. I think The Sun should have its million quid back. It hasn’t damaged him at all, has it?

“Libel can only have a value if there has been some kind of damage, right? Where is the damage? Where? There’s nothing wrong with him. So no, I don’t feel bad about him, not at all.”

The suggestion that a man's reputation would be unharmed if the public were to believe - falsely - he inflicted cruel operations on animals to protect his peace and quiet? Oddly, Victoria Newton didn't seem to be bothered that unprovoked attack.

Stewart uncouples the Hunter

It's not entirely clear that he's been aware he's been a married man for the last sixteen years, but now reality has caught up with his image: Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter have finally divorced.

They've been separated for almost as long as they were married. This leaves Rod free to upgrade to a similar model with more recent features.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Robbie Williams is not getting a gift from Alan McGee

He might not have quite the sure, safe pair of ears that he had before foisting Oasis on us, but Alan McGee knows a pop tosser when he sees one:

"Robbie's just a showbiz chancer. It's people like him who are destroying British pop culture. He has one per cent of Mick Jagger’s talent. He's the post 9/11 feel good factor. He doesn't mean anything. He's utterly vacant."

Which is fair enough. Although from a man who gave Noel Gallagher a platform, it rings a little hollow.

Black thrown into jail

Twisted Black, the rapper, has been given a life sentence for his part in a massive series of cocaine deals in Texas.

Although, to be honest, if he was doing the kilo of coke trades every three weeks claimed in the court case, he was more a drug dealer with a rap career on the side, wasn't he?

iTunes: Please limit your passion to thirty characters

Apple like to invite famous people of all sorts (though no bear handlers yet) to post their favourite songs up in iTunes, along with a small commentary about what makes those songs special to them.

Kevin Smith went a little further than the usual 'this reminds me of something my PR person said I should remember', and - for his efforts - got knocked back.

It seems Apple don't like it when people actually have a tale to tell about their musical life. Or at least, their database can't cope when someone tries.

[Plug: We still reckon Kevin Smith's greatest moment is Chasing Amy]

Dion, month off

Terrible news for anyone who had been hoping to pick up a terrible disease from Celine Dion (that is the only reason anyone goes to see her show, right?): her Las Vegas show has been put on hold until December 28th because she's being treated for Mycoplasma bronchitis, a contagious bacterial infection.

Music fans who had tickets for her shows said they weren't too upset, as they actually would have preferred to put hot chestnuts down their knickers and run through a room full of hungry squirrels than see the show anyway, although some Celine superfans expressed disappointment that the cancellation was going to prevent them from attempting to collect mycoplasma bronchitis spores from the air around Celine's head. "We believe they may be imbued with magical healing properties" said one, "or at least fetch a few bucks on eBay."

That'll teach Kim

As if life starving to death under the leadership of a paranoid case wasn't already grim enough, the American State Department has banned North Koreans from getting their hands on iPods, along with a large number of other luxury goods.

It's interesting: Saddam doesn't have weapons, and yet America and the UK invade, dropping depleted uranium onto children and sparking a massive civil war.

Kim develops and tests nuclear weapons in full view of the world media, and all North Korea has to contend with is the blacking out of some of the pricier items in the Argos catalogue.

We're sure Kim Jong Il will be really annoyed, though. After all, a man who is able to pull together a few nuclear bombs out of thin air is going to find putting his hand on a couple of Video ipods well beyond his evil abilities.

Winehouse schoolhouse

There's probably no such thing a s a safe engagement for Amy Winehouse, but you'd have thought having a crack at inviting her to a school in the morning would have given fairly good odds on a meeting without incident.

The Mirror reckons her trip to the Brits School in Croydon defeated those odds:

in a diva strop she refused to take part in filming for TV after a row with her boyfriend. She stormed off in tears from the school.

Says our classroom insider: "It was chaos.

Some of the younger children were crying because they were so looking forward to seeing Amy perform.

"And the production staff just looked at each in disbelief, not knowing what too say.

"We tried to get her to change her mind, but she was having none of it and kept shouting 'no'."

Maybe she was trying to sing that song she ruins by honking No No No like she's calling workers to the morning shift on it?

Of course, a ruined school visit is nothing without the crushed face of a small children, their hopes and dreams dashed cruelly to the floor. Luckily, the Mirror rounds one up:

One pupil told us: "We wish Katie had come instead for the filming because we wouldn't have got any diva-like behaviour from her.

"Amy was in such a state and just crying. She is an idol to many of us here because of what she's achieved so soon after leaving and we couldn't believe how she behaved."

We're not entirely sure we believe this, though. First, the vague "one pupil told us" - we know that girls are getting harder and boys, they moisturise more, but surely it's not that difficult to tell one gender from another?

Then there's the claim that Amy Winehouse is, more-or-less worshipped as an idol. Not even if Croydon does that sound likely.

And, finally, the "we wish Katie had come" bit - there's not a soul alive who, given the choice between a drunk and incapable Amy Winehouse and Katie Melua would be opting for Melua. Sure, Winehouse might be sick in your piano, but at least there's no chance she'd turn up with Jamie Cullum in tow.

Apples come together

To be frank, we're not entirely sure that the vast majority of iPod-waving people are especially bothered at the lack of official Beatles downloads to be had right now - when Macca and co held aloof from CD releases, it looked greedy and spiteful, spitting on the fans desperate to give them cash; but you seldom hear anyone sighing that they can't wait until they get a DRM-hobbled copy of Lovely Rita, do you?

Anyway, it looks like anyone waiting will soon have their wait over: Fortune reckons that Apple (the iPod one) and Apple (the label) are about to strike a deal:

While details remain to be worked out, Fortune has learned that iTunes is close to a deal to bring the Beatles catalog online. Apple Computer is said to be angling to become the exclusive online music store for the Beatles for a limited window of time. Other music stores, such as Microsoft's MSN and Rhapsody, have courted the Beatles over the years to no avail, but it appears Apple is close to getting first dibs on the band's hits.

Of course, The Beatles have spent much of the last thirty years fighting battles with Apple Computers; it's nice to see that they can put their differences to one side when there's a monster payday to be had.

We don't want to hear it...

However, since it's popped up on the web, some of you may be curious to hear the noise made when Amy Winehouse comes together with Ghostface. [RealAudio link]

Apparently the track is called You Know I'm No Good. Always nice to see some self-awareness, isn't it?

We don't want to hear it...

However, since it's popped up on the web, some of you may be curious to hear the noise made when Amy Winehouse comes together with Ghostface. [RealAudio link]

Apparently the track is called You Know I'm No Good. Always nice to see some self-awareness, isn't it?

Britney's first husband breaks his silence

He's kept his silence for months - hundreds of times longer than he kept her as his wife - but now Jason Alexander has decided he can resist the interview circuit no longer (which means either The Sun has found his price, or else he's accepted he's not getting any rebound action this time):

“I have always loved her and I always will. It’s best for everyone that Kevin and her have split. She is much more confident now.

“I was really shocked when she married Kevin. I figured it was a fling that would fly over. I never thought she’d marry him. He always seemed so negative."

Well, he was half right - it was a fling that flew over. Although, of course, she did marry him.

“Their problems were because she had kids and that he wanted to pursue a career and was just never home.”

Unlike, of course, his own marriage to Britney which never even made it home, choosing instead to stick to the time-honoured "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" slogan.

Of course, having discarded the maker of 2006's worst album, Britney hooked up straight away with the maker of the second worst: from K-Fed to Paris Hilton. Jason, clearly, has been thinking about Britney and Paris a lot: “All beautiful girls like other girls in some way. All girls are attracted to other girls. She found other girls attractive, yes, but we never did anything about it."

We can only imagine what state that young man's sports socks are in at the moment.

He breaks off from his sapphic reverie long enough to talk about his own time cramping Britney's inner bisexual. But not in too much depth, as he's got a book to plug:

“It focuses on all the stuff that no one knows.

“It’s about the marriage, my friendship with Britney and all the lines in between.

“Britney knows about it. There are things in the book that will upset her. There will be things in the book she will be mad at.

“It’s all the details of the wedding and all the stuff that’s been going on.

“It talks about everything. There is no holding back because that’s what people want to know about.

“It does feature our sex life. It does feature having sex with her and what that was like.”

Brief and drunken, we're guessing. And just maybe she kept asking if she could call him Helen.

"... and I want the sausage roll recipe"

Following on from her not-entirely-convincing claims that she wasn't interested in the money, she's been spotted wandering about with a game plan on a notepad seeking possession of the matrimonial home.

The Sun's Virginia Wheeler is outraged:

HEARTLESS Heather Mills sinks to a new low — by flashing plans to seize the beloved home Sir Paul McCartney shared with his late wife Linda.

"Flashing" here should be taken as "not covering up in inches-thick lead thereby allowing photographers with a long lens to read what it said", but one does wonder how a woman who is keen for us to think of her as charitable, frugal, and hard-done by keeps doing things like this.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

If you have tears, prepare to shed them

Universal Records - currently demanding a stupid USD150,000 from MySpace for "copyright infringements" by its users (that's per song, not in total) - have more or less admitted to Reuters that they're using the US courts to conduct a business negotiation rather than seriously pursuing a claim:

Universal Music Group Chief Executive Doug Morris said on Tuesday he expected News Corp.'s MySpace to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit the music company filed against it earlier this month.


"I think it will settle. It would be a horrible case for them to lose," Morris said at the Reuters Media Summit.


"They're not that happy that we sued them but all these issues about infringement have to be worked out as we go into this transitional period for the industry," Morris said, referring to the move to digital distribution.

Morris said he believed the music industry would emerge stronger once many of these issues were resolved.

"When we get through it, it will be the resurrection of an enormous business," he said.

This sort of thing, of course, would be equally possible to achieve through negotiation - including artists, perhaps - in the best interests of everyone except the expensive lawyers who are running up calculator-defying bills. Never mind, though - those bills, ultimately, will be paid by consumers and artists.

It doesn't make Morris happy, though, all this:

"I hate being in the middle of this and I don't want to be looked at as the suing chairman.

"It's the worst thing that could ever happen to me."

Aw... I think... I'm filling up. Poor man, forced against his will and instincts to spend days and days dreaming up spurious court battles just to make sure his legal team don't get bored and start taking the photocopiers to pieces again.

If you don't want to be thought of as the suing chairman, perhaps... stop suing everybody?

Church closures

In all the excitement over her not-especially-good chat show and the diverting row with Girls Aloud, nobody really paid much attention to the less-than-glittering performance of the reinvented Charlotte Church singing career.

Almost nobody. Label Sony-BMG did, and they weren't happy. Shortly after taking a decision not to bother to launch her in the US, Sony-BMG have dropped her.

Or "allowed her to concentrate on opportunities presenting television programmes", as her publicist would rather it be presented. It's the sort of mutual consent where someone yells "I'm going" as they pick their best clothes out the rose bushes, we suspect.

Never mind the nuclear poisonings, focus on the mp3s

You might wonder if, when vocal critics of a nation's president end up nuked to death and shitting contaminated poop into Thames Water's sewage system, you'd want to be welcoming that nation more deeply into the family of nations.

The US seems determined to, though, and only one major hurdle to Russia joining the World Trade Organisation remains. No, not the corpses of those who try to find out what Putin's really up to; the existence of AllofMP3, of course.

Now, it seems, Russia has promised to do something about the service to prove how keen it is to be in the WTO:

The summary says: "The United States and Russia agreed on the objective of shutting down websites that permit illegal distribution of music and other copyright works. The agreement names the Russia-based website as an example of such a website.

"Russia will take enforcement actions against the operation of Russia-based websites, and investigate and prosecute companies that illegally distribute copyright works on the internet."

Curiously, though, the Russian delegation have promised to introduce some new legislation by next summer to help deal with the AllofMP3 problem. Which does lend some credence to AllofMP3's claims that its behaviour doesn't violate current Russian law - because if it did, why would the Duma need six months to draft some new legislation rather than using statutes already on the books?

[Thanks to Franco M for the link]

Elton offers it up John Howard

John Howard, the dismal Prime Minister of Australia, attempted to get involved with British politics during the last election when his hapless fixer Lynton Crosby was dropped in to run the Tory Party campaign. (How did that work out, we wonder?)

Now, we've sent Howard a gift. Elton John has got involved in Australian politics:

The musician, on an Australian tour, was asked if he had a message for Howard, whose government overruled a local law allowing gay unions in June.

"Up yours!" replied the outspoken star, who "married" his partner David Furnish in a civil ceremony last year.

Howard has insisted that there was nothing homophobic in his government's striking down of the Australian Capital's Territory allowing gay marriage:

"It is not a question of discriminating against them," he said.

"It is a question of preserving as an institution in our society marriage as having a special character.

"If you look at the legislation, what it effectively says, a civil union is not a marriage, but it will be treated for all purposes as being equivalent to a marriage," he added.

When someone tries to tell us they're not homophobic, but calls gay people "them", we always find it difficult to take them at their word.

From the big chin of TV to the long arm of the law

There's lots of recorded instances of the police tempting hapless crooks with the promise of free tickets to shows, rounding them up when they arrive, clutching popcorn and opera glasses. It happens less often these days, perhaps because the wiseguys have got wise.

However, if you are trying to avoid sitting down with a policeman to explain your recent past, we'd suggest you might still want to avoid printing the details of your movements in TV Guide.

Snoop Dogg, leaving a taping of The Late Show with Jay Leno, discovered this the hard way, as cops pulled him over as he left the studio and, allegedly, discovered marijuana, cocaine and a firearm in his car. Either Dogg hasn't really learned the lessons of his many run-ins with police, or else the Leno programme is giving their guests a hell of a gift bag.

Madonna's adoption will be challenged

Now that the horse has bolted, or at least been given a comfy bed and a taste of London life, Judge Andrew Nyirenda has allowed 67 Malawian human rights groups permission to proceed with their calls for a review of the events which led Madonna to taking David out the country.

Not that Madonna needs to worry: after all, she convinced Oprah Winfrey that there weren't any laws in Malawi and so she shouldn't have any problem explaining to the court that rather than getting special treatment because she was rich and famous, there were no rules to ignore.

Noel cuts out some of the dead wood

We understand that Noel Gallagher is going to promote Slurp The Cocks with an acousticy jaunt round Europe, accompanied by Gem and nobody else. We're sure he invited Liam along, though, and it's not an attempt to try and figure out the answer to the question that's bugged us for over a decade: what's the point of paying two of them?

The people who protect our safety

Perhaps the most worrying thing about the accusations that a fan has hacked into Chester Bennington's financial details (and even sniffed his PayPal details) is that Devon Townsend supposedly violated Linkin Park's privacy while at work.

She works for the US Department of Energy, at Sandia National Laboratories. The place which, in its own words, has a primary mission [...] ensuring the U.S. nuclear arsenal is safe, secure, reliable, and can fully support our Nation's deterrence policy. We employ only the most advanced and failsafe technologies to fulfill our responsibilities as stewards of the nuclear stockpile.

Great to hear that's such a simple job the staff have got time to kill trying to find out where Chester Bennington buys his knickers.

Does one N make a difference?

Having been banned from doing so once, Lora Ivanova is trying again to persuade a Bulgarian court to allow her to change her name to Madona. She insists that there'd be no confusion between her and the mock-cockney childcatcher, as she's only going to have one N in her name. Also, of course, she's barely known on the banks of the Danube never mind further afield.

The state is reluctant to give her her wish, but not because it's worried people might turn up to her gigs expecting to hear some old Abba tunes and see a misguided leotard. Apparently, they just haven't been convinced there's any need for the name change:

The lawyer appointed by the municipality said that Ivanova was missing substantial reasons need to change one's name as required by law, and urged the court to deny the claim. The court has a month to decide on the matter.

RIAA thinks we'd be better off without the web

At times, watching the big music industry cartel squawking and squealing over the years since the first indication that Napster might be a problem of some sort, it's seemed that the RIAA might be happier if the internet had never been invented. How they must wish they could just get the bloody thing switched off, and we could all go back to using CDs and local record stores.

They're working hard to achieve that dream, reckons Ray Beckerman. Beckerman is a lawyer representing Barker in Electro vs. Barker, and he suggests that if the RIAA-backed Electro wins, the logical conclusion would be the unplugging of all DNS servers:

This is a nursing student who was sued in her name. We made a motion to dismiss the complaint because doesn't specify any acts or dates or times of copyright infringement as the law normally requires. We've made several arguments like that before this motion and the RIAA put in an argument which basically fudged it. However, in this case they basically decided to go for the gold and they made a bold argument claiming that merely making files available on the internet is in and of itself a copyright infringement. It was a shocking argument because if it were accepted it would probably shut down the entire internet.

Beckerman also has much to say about how the judges hearing a lot of these cases lack the basic technical understanding to follow some of the arguments - and a more disturbing reluctance to allow themselves to be educated.

They could, of course, try and mug up on the details with Google. Unless, of course, the RIAA manage to get the whole thing shut down.

[Thanks to David Scott for the link]

Something to listen to

All these three will evaporate following their completion of seven days on the listen again, as alt rock seizes Radio 4's holiest citadels:

Jarvis Cocker appears on Loose Ends
Patti Smith on Start The Week
Courtney Love on Women's Hour

Liam and Gary sitting in a tree, h-u-g-g-i-n-g

They were from different worlds, different lives.

He was a shambling, muttering ball of anger and confusion, forever getting into fights and shouting his mouth off. He was rock.

The other he was a choreographed cherub, trilling love songs and keeping an eye on the gay fans. He was pop.

But when they came together, Gary Barlow and Liam Gallagher made beautiful music, although (thank god) not literal music, says Gary:

“Liam is a top bloke and he’s not as big a hardman as people think.

“Whenever I see him he gives me a hug and we have a nice chat. We get on well.

“I know we’ve got completely different styles of music and all that but he’s a nice guy.”

Ah, isn't that sweet?

Charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em

We're in two minds about the proposed Abba Museum in Stockholm - obviously, the largest collection of gold lame jumpsuits in private hands needs a home, but we're given to understand that the idea came to the organisers after they visited The Beatles Story Experience at Albert Dock, Liverpool. Which suggests that the whole thing might take itself a little too seriously.

A soulless hole dedicated to celebrating Abba's music without much understanding about what made it magical? It's Hung Up by Madonna, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Eagles gunned down

More turbulent times on the Guns N Roses tour. No sooner had Eagles of Death Metal taken the stage to replace Papa Roach than the G'n'R fans started to boo. They booed, and booed and booed - presumably Axl fans like their rubbish metal to at least not be aware that it's rubbish - and Axl heard their pain.

Rose redubbed the band Pigeons of Shit Metal and kicked 'em off:

"Don't worry, that's the last show they're playing with us."

Eagles of Death Metal had time to come up with something more considered:

"At first the audience refused to welcome us to the jungle, but by the time we took our final bow, it had become paradise city. Although Axl tried to November rain on our parade, no sweet child o' mine can derail the EODM night train. We say live and let die."

Do you see what they did there?

At long last, Michael Jackson is learning from his mistakes

Sure, he'll still turn up at ridiculously expensive events - like the £2,000 Japanese Premium Christmas Party - but he's gotten wise:

He won't promise to sing for his supper.

Stick to what you're good at, Mickey. Let people have a look, but leave the music to other people.

2006Music: Other people's choices

A collection of the best best-of lists and reviews. Yes, they've started posting them already.

Special mentions and thanks to Largehearted Boy and DJ Martian and their respective collections of links to more of this sort of thing.

Altrok radio's most-played artists of 2006:
Graham Coxon
The Futureheads
The Long Blondes
The Pigeon Detectives editors' picks of the best albums:
1. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
2. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
3. The Crane Wife - The Decemberists
4. Eye To The Telescope - KT Tunstall
5. Saint Elsewhere - Gnarls Barkley

Architecture in Helsinki's album of the year, according to Filter:
Arthur Russell - First Thought Best Thought

Arctic Monkey's single of the year, according to 6Music:
Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit

Ricardo Baca, Denver Post pop critic's CDs that "defined" 2006:
1. Silversun Pickups - Carnavas
2. The Grates - Gravity Won't Get You High
3. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
4. Van Morrison - Pay The Devil
5. Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped

ContactMusic reviews the year with, erm, Castaldo-like insight: It's been another busy year in the music world. Songs have topped charts, albums have flown off shelves and musicians have kept up the grand old tradition of rock and roll by marrying, divorcing and getting arrested.

Corinne Bailey Rae's album of the year, according to Filter:
Editors - The Back Room
(We know, Summer 2005...)

Douglas Baptie reviews the year for CD Times: Ironically, it was also the year Sleater-Kinney decided to go on "hiatus" (read: split up) but 2006 was arguably the year that women finally broke through and were simply allowed to be, whether they were established acts like The Gossip or Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or newer faces like CSS, The Long Blondes, Be Your Own Pet, Blood Red Shoes, Tilly & The Wall, Lilly Allen, The Pipettes, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Metric - all just doing their own thing, but not being heckled or groped or having their attractiveness discussed in the music press.

Basement Galaxy is performing a slow reveal, but has already listed a top 10 ineligible albums list:
1. Pavement - Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition
2. Iron Maiden - Death on the Road DVD
3. Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend (Legacy Edition)
4. The Casettes - Neath The Pale Moon
5. Shooting At Unarmed Men - Yes, Tinnitus

Battle's single of the year, according to 6Music:
Peter, Bjorn & John - Young Folks

BBC Collective albums of the year, in no particular order:
The Young Knives - Voices of Animals And Men
Joan As Policewoman - Real Life
Joanna Newsom - Ys
The Knife - Silent Shout
Hot Chip - The Warning
Burial - Burial
Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am...
Cat Power - The Greatest
The Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control
Ghostface Killah - Fishscale

Ben from Girlpants albums of the year:
1. Helios - Eingya
2. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
3. Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
4. Burial - Burial
5. Tunng - Comments of the Inner Chorus

Best selling UK albums of 2006:
1. Eyes Open - Snow Patrol
2. Beautiful World - Take That
3. Ta-Dah - Scissor Sisters
4. Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys
5. Inside In / Inside Out - Kooks

... and the best selling singles:
1. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
2. A Moment Like This - Leona Lewis
3. Hips Don't Lie - Shakira Ft Wyclef Jean
4. I Don't Feel Like Dancin' - Scissor Sisters
5. I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker - Sandi Thom

Best selling albums, worldwide, with sales figures according to Mediatraffic (and an estimate at the total including markets not measured by Mediatraffic):
1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium 5.693.000 (6.119.975)
2. High School Musical - High School Musical Soundtrack 5.397.000 (5.801.775)
3. Justin Timberlake - FutureSex / LoveSounds 4.348.000 (4.674.100)
4. Rascal Flatts - Me And My Gang 3.623.000 (3.894.725)
5. Pink - I'm Not Dead 3.419.000 (3.675.425)
6. Nelly Furtado - Loose 3.371.000 (3.623.825)
7. Beyonce - B'Day 3.238.000 (3.480.850)
8. The Beatles - Love 3.152.000 (3.388.400)
9. Evanescence - The Open Door 3.112.000 (3.345.400)
10. Andrea Bocelli - Amore 3.052.000 (3.280.900)

Between Thought And Expression provides an MP3 and videoed guide to the 69 favourite songs of the year:
1. Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins - Rise Up With Fists
2. Devics - Distant Radio
3. Grizzly Bear - Knife
4. Lily Allen - LDN
5. Basement Jaxx - Take Me Back To Your House

Blender's top albums:
1. My Chemical Romance - Welcome To The Black Parade
2. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
3. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
4. Justin Timberlake - FutureSex / LoveSounds
5. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale

Bob Butler, who manages the warehouse for Southern Distribution chose, amongst his favourite things to listen to, The Mike Sammes Singer's Music For Biscuits and Danny Baker's Radio London programme. We suspect these two might be related.

Isobel Campbell's album of the year, according to Filter:
Bob Dylan - Modern Times

Chatanooga Pulse chooses the best local albums:
1. The Unsatisfied - The Way to the Crumbs
2. Infradig - Clinical Indifference / The Psychology of Breathing double ep package
3. Some Have Guns - Something Happened
4. Lou Wamp and Swing Shift - Wizards of Swing
5. Jennifer Daniels - A Thrill of Hope

Chromewaves: Rankings like that are inherently meaningless (as the uproar whenever someone publishes any sort of list that makes claims of definitiveness will attest) so instead, I've chosen to list off the ten records that meant the most to me in 2006 - the ones that soundtracked my life, so to speak. The post is a thing of beauty, lavishly illustrated with pics and links and mp3s, and highly recommended.
Eric Bachmann - To The Races
Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
Cat Power - The Greatest
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
Early Day Miners - Offshore
The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America
Land Of Talk - Applause Cheer Boo Hiss
The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
Shearwater - Palo Santo
Margot & The Nuclear So And So's - The Dust Of Retreat

Billboard's Classical best US sellers year-end charts:
Classic album: Sting - Songs From The Labyrinth
Classic artist: Sting
Classic crossover album: Andrea Bocelli - Amore
Classic crossover artist: Andrea Bocelli

Bloggedy Blog picks albums of the year:
1. Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon
2. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
3. Cat Power - The Greatest
4. Asobi Seksu - Citrus
5. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America

Bootie USA has pulled together a CD of their favourite mash-ups of the year, including Party Ben's Hung Up On Soul (Death Cab For Cutie vs. Madonna) and Go Home Productions' Don't Hold Back, Sweet Jane (Chemical Brothers vs. Velvet Underground vs. U2 vs. Sugababes vs. MARRS)

CBC Radio 3 select 94 best tracks of 2006:
1. Joel Plaskett Emergency - Nowhere with you
2. Malajube - Montreal -40c
3. Islands - Rough Gem
4. Cadence Weapon - Oliver Square
5. The Hidden Cameras - Awoo

Gideon Coe's single of the year:
Joan as Policewoman - The Ride

Andrew Collins, 6Music presenter and 'Not Going Out' scriptwriter track of the year:
Jamie T - Sheila

Daily Mirror's remaining 3AM Girls award their "3a Emmies":
Pop group: Sugababes
Legend: Elton John
Album: Christina Aguilera - Back To Basics
Tour: Take That
Businesswoman: Victoria Beckham
Band: The Kooks
Single: Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous Girl

The Daily Record's Razz column's albums of the year:
1. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am...
2. Muse - Black Holes And Revelations
3. The Feeling - Twelve Stops And Home
4. The Fratellis - Costello Music
5. Morrissey - Ringleader Of The Tormentors

Users at eMusic choose their albums of the year:
1. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
2. The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America
3. Belle And Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
4. Cat Power - The Greatest
5. Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass

Glide Magazine has 20 from 2006, in no especial order:
Built to Spill - You In Reverse
JJ Cale & Eric Clapton - The Road To Escondido
Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Cat Power - The Greatest
Elvis Costello & Allan Toussaint - The River in Reverse
Decemberists - The Crane Wife
Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
Earl Greyhound - Soft Targets
The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
Joanna Newsom – Ys
The Roots - Game Theory
Silversun Pickups - Carnavas
The Slip - Eisenhower
TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
Viva Voce - Get Yr Blood Sucked Out
Wolfmother - Wolfmother
Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

Andrew Parker at The Gong Show took 180 of these sorts of lists, and compiled a best of the best albums:
1. TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain (Number one on 14 lists)
2. The Knife - Silent Shout (8)
3. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America (7)
4. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury (6)
5. Bob Dylan - Modern Times (5)

Guardian Music Blog top albums, as voted by music writers on The Guardian and The Observer:
1. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am...
2. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
3. Hot Chip - The Warning
4. Lily Allen - Alright, Still
5. Ghostface Killah - Fishface

Blogcritic's assistant music editor A L Harper submitted her own list of best albums:
1. Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
2. The Working Title - About Face
3. Pink - I'm Not Dead
4. Green River Ordinance - The Beauty Of Letting Go
5. Placebo - Meds

Kenny Herzog, editor of CMJ's albums of the year:
1. The Goodnight Loving - Cemetery Trails
2. Various Artists - Confuzed Disco
3. Ghostface - Fishscale
4. Mew - And The Glass Handed Kites
5. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury

... and his favourite singles
1. Justin Timberlake - SexyBack
2. Rick Ross - Hustlin’
3. E-40 - Tell Me When To Go
4. Girl Talk - Smash Your Head
5. In Flames - Take This Life

Idolator munches through pages and pages of HTML to sum up the year:
Best artist: Gnarls Barkley
Album of the year: TV on the Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
Top track: Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Top reissue: Pavement - Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition
Enthusiasm (Total votes/voters selecting album) ratio: Burial - Burial
Under 30's album: Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
Bloggers' album: Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
Newspaper writers' album: Bob Dylan - Modern Times
African/Caribbean voters' album: Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
Caucasian voters' album: TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
Other race voters' album: Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
Midwest album: The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
New York album: Ghostface Killah - Fishscale

I Love Everything users gather to suggest albums overlooked by other lists: The new Bleach album. Title is long and the English translation doesn't make a whole lot of sense...something to do with the head nodding from side to side and chewing the meat

Indielaundry mp3-powers their albums of the year:
1. The Whitest Boy Alive - Dreams
2. Hot Chip - The Warning
3. Midlake - The trials of Van Occupanther
4. Tom Waits - Orphans
5. Bob Dylan - Modern Times

Jeroen of MusicMania picked a favourite album:
Sylvester Anfang - Satanische Vrede

Keisha Jenkins of's favourite album:
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

The Jpopmusic forum discuss best singles: I vote "Nanairo no Ashita~brand new beat~/Your Color". I think its one of her best singles since "Double" and "Be The One".

Kerrang's albums of the year:
1. Taking Back Sunday - Louder Now
2. Muse - Black Holes And Revelations
3. The Bronx - The Bronx
4. My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
5. Mastodon - Blood Mountain

Largehearted Boy selects the albums of the year in some form of alphabetical ordering:
Asobi Seksu - Citrus
Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
Casey Dienel - Wind-Up Canary
Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
Joanna Newsom - Ys
Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
Serena-Maneesh - Serena-Maneesh
Shearwater - Palo Santo

Last FM has a "best album 2006" tag, although it's not been assigned to anything since October at time of writing.

Lee, co-owner of Netherlands store Patta, according to Slam X Hype:
Band/music of the year: Peter Bjorn and John
The Long Blondes
Concert: Be Your Own Pet (Lowlands)
EPMD Amsterdam

Douglas Lyttle at Bloomberg reviews the year: Most Unwelcome Trend: Singers cranking out "tribute" records to long-dead artists, or worse, going whole hog and covering batches of songs from entire eras. Notable offenders this year include Michael Bolton ("Bolton Swings Sinatra'') and Rod Stewart ("Still the Same ... Great Rock Classics of Our Time.") Ol' Rooster Head has now hit a second wind by working his way through most of the eras, starting somewhere around Pearl Harbor and ending in Woodstock. What's next? "Stewart Sings Streisand"?

Matador Records are celebrating their year with the Matador Player, featuring a couple of tracks from their big-hitters of the year, including Pretty Girls Make Graves, Matmos, Brightblack Morning Light and Yo La Tengo. [Link probably going to decay at some point]

Mediatraffic's best-selling in week of release worldwide albums
1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium 1,108,000
2. Kumi Koda - BEST (second session) 983,000
3. Justin Timberlake - FutureSex / LoveSounds 932,000
4. Evanescence - The Open Door 775,000
5. Tool - 10,000 Days 756,000
6. Beyonce - B'Day 736,000
7. Rascal Flatts - Me And My Gang 733,000
8. The Beatles - Love 721,000
9. The Killers - Sam's Town 706,000
10. Ayumi Hamasaki - Secret 696,280

Metacritic scientifically feedback the best-reviewed albums of the year:
1. Ali Farka Toure - Savane 94 points out of a possible 100
2. Tom Waits - Orphans Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards 91
3. Clipse -Hell Hath No Fury 90
4. Bob Dylan - Modern Times 89
5. Joanna Newsom - Ys 89
6. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain 89
7. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale 88
8. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies 87
9. The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America 87
10. Los Lobos - The Town And The City 87

Amongst Metric's favourite albums of the year, according to Filter are:
Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds
Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped

Mixtape Monday from picks its six artists "that had it poppin' so hard that the streets and the mainstream had to pay attention":
Lil Wayne
The Game
DJ Drama
Mick Boogie
DJ Green Lantern

Mojo magazine's year-end selection of albums:
1. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
2. Bob Dylan - Modern Times by
3. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
4. Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
5. Archie Bronson Outfit - Derdang Derdang

More Cowbell's top albums:
1. M. Ward - Post-War
2. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
3. The Brother Kite - Waiting For The Time To Be Right
4. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
5. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls In America

Mr Red Penguin's Top 100 singles of 2006:
1. Art Brut - Nag Nag Nag Nag
2. Metric - Poster Of A Girl
3. Young Knives - Weekends and Bleak Days (Hot Summer)
4. New Young Pony Club - Ice Cream
5. Long Blondes - Weekend Without Makeup

MTV UK collects some of the notable popstar quotes of the year:
“Don’t hate me cos I’m a superstar and I’m married to a superstar” - Er, okay, Kevin Federline.

Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good offer best albums:
1. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
2. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. Band of Horses - Everything All The Time
4. Mates of State - Bring It Back
5. Beirut - Gulag Orkestrar

Craig Ness of's track of the year:
Beirut - Postcards From Italy

NME's albums of the year:
1. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
3. Muse - Black Holes And Revelations
4. Hot Chip - The Warning
5. CSS - Cansei De Ser Sexi

NME's tracks of the year:
1. Hot Chip - Over And Over
2. Peter, Bjorn and John - Young Folks
3. The Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control
4. Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
5. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy

Chicago's North West Herald singles of the year, in no particular order:
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Lupe Fiasco - Kick, Push
Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous
Justin Timberlake - SexyBack
TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me
Dixie Chicks - Not Ready to Make Nice
Belle and Sebastian - The Blues are Still Blue
Beyoncé - Irreplaceable
Prince - Black Sweat
AFI - Miss Murder

Listeners to NPR voted for their CDs of 2006:
1. The Decemberists: The Crane Wife
2. Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
3. Bob Dylan: Modern Times
4. M. Ward: Post War
5. TV On the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

Obscure Sound mp3-enabled albums of the year:
1. Xiu Xiu - The Air Force
2. The Divine Comedy - Victory For The Comic Muse
3. The Veils - Nux Vomica
4. Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up, I Am Dreaming
5. Scott Walker - The Drift

Off The Record contributors choose their favourite albums:
Grace: M Ward - Post-War
James: Sarah Blasko - What The Sea Wants The Sea Will Have
Sandra: Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country

The Onion AV Club writers struggle to produce a best music of 2006 listing: We used a weighted voting system—meaning passion proved nearly as important as widespread popularity—and tallied the votes using a highly scientific combination of computer spreadsheets, solar calculators, and an abacus, in a scientific formulation designed to ensure that only the finest albums would make the list.
1. The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America
2. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
3. Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occupanther
4. Jenny Lewis With The Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
5. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit

And, from the Onion AV Club's essential guide to the Least Essential Albums of the 2006, including:
LEAST ESSENTIAL MUSIC TIE-IN TO AN INESSENTIAL TV SHOW Various artists, The Biggest Loser: Music Featured In And Inspired By The NBC Series
LEAST ESSENTIAL RACHAEL RAY BRANDING VENTURE (MUSIC DIVISION) Various artists, Rachael Ray: Too Cool For School Mixtape For Kids

Picadilly Records of Manchester staff albums of the year:
1. Vetiver - To Find Me Gone
2. Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occupanther
3. Cat Power - The Greatest
4. Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators - Keep Reachin' Up
5. CSS - Cansei De Ser Sexy

Picadilly Compilations of the year: "The "Rip It Up & Start Again", "North By Northwest", CD86, John Peel and Hacienda compilations had us older Piccadilly people happily tripping down memory lane regaling 80s obsessive Brad with tales of post-punk life. All in all it was another great year for compilations."

Picadilly reissues of the year: After an inclusion of one track on Gilles Peterson's "Digs America" compilation had tipped us off to his greatness, Darondo's "Let My People Go" became a firm favourite on the shop stereo at the beginning of the year. Also totally new to us was the Fern Jones "Glory Road" collection which put a smile on our faces and spring in our step on those busy Saturday afternoons, and Las Malas Amistades early work release which filled our heads with weirdness.

Pitchfork files its top videos of the year, including the sub When The Whistle Blows that was Keith Allen's daughter's Smile and, inevitably, the OK Go one with them on the treadmills. Admittedly, that was more inspired than anything they've done musically.

Pollstar track the largest US tours of the year:
Rolling Stones lead in sales value at $138.5 million
Kenny Chesney sold the most tickets, 1.13 million

PopMatters best 'world' music:
1. Ali Farka Touré - Savane
2. Lee 'Scratch' Perry - Panic in Babylon
3. Anouar Brahem - Le Voyage de Sahar
4. Värttinä - Miero
5. Kékélé - Kinavana

Q Magazine file the sort of best albums list that you'd expect from Q:
1. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am...
2. Muse - Black Holes And Revelations
3. Razorlight - Razorlight
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
5. The Killers - Sam's Town

Q's best reissue is The Clash - The Singles

Rebecca Raber, associate editor at CMJ, with a list of her favourite albums:
1. Girl Talk - Night Ripper
2. The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine
3. The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America
4. Islands- Return To The Sea
5. Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming

Raven Sings The Blues offers an MP3ed best-of, in no particular order:
Vetiver - To Find Me Gone
Beach House - Beach House
Shearwater - Palo Santo
Wooden Wand & The Skyhigh Band - Second Attention
The Skygreen Leopards - Disciples Of California
Woods - How to Survive in/ In The Woods
Flying Canyon - Flying Canyon
Horse Feathers - Words Are Dead
Kahoots - Fourteen Ghost
Benoit Pioulard - Precis
Nina Nastasia - On Leaving
Howlin' Rain - Howlin' Rain
King Tuff - Mindblow
The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
Tim Hecker - Harmony in Ultra Violet
Sinoia Caves - The Enchanter Persuaded
The Black Angels - Passover
Band of Horses - Everything All The Time
Indian Jewelry - Invasive Exotics
M. Ward - Post War

Reverend Moose, content editor at CMJ, picks albums of the year:
1. The Knife - Silent Shout
2. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
3. VAUX - Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice
4. Dead Heart Bloom - Dead Heart Bloom
5. Against Me! - Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live In London!!!

Revolver Magazine chooses best albums:
1. Lamb of God - Sacrament
2. Mastodon - Blood Mountain
3. Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist
4. GOJIRA - From Mars To Sirius
5. Converge - No Heroes

Marc Riley's single of the year:
Das Wanderlust - Orange Shop

Tom Robinson's single of the year:
Camille - Ta douleur

Rocksound magazine delivers a top 75 via its MySpace blog:
1. The Bronx - The Bronx
2. Converge - No Heroes
3. Isis - In The Absence Of Truth
4. Muse - Black Holes And Revelations
5. Kylesa - Time Will Fuse Its Worth

Rolling Stone's Top 50 albums of the year:
1. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
3. Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
4. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
5. Ghostface Killah - Fishcake

... and Rolling Stone's 100 tracks of the year:
1. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
2. The Raconteurs - Steady As She Goes
3. Chamillionaire - Ridin'
4. TI - What You Know
5. The Pack - Vans

Ron of MusicMania picked a favourite album:
TV On The Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain

Rough Trade Shop top 100 albums:
1. Beirut - Gulang Orkestar
2. The Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control
3. CSS - Cansei De Ser Sexy
4. Lily Allen - Alright, Still
5. Brakes - The Beatific Visions

Rough Trade Shop best reissue:
The Triffids - Born Sandy Devotional

Rough Trade Shop's favourite compilation:
Jarvis Cocker & Steve Mackey/Various - The Trip

Seattle Gay Blog gathers top albums...
1 Fox Confessor Brings the Flood - Neko Case
2 With Love and Squalor - We Are Scientists
3 Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys
4 Carnavas - Silversun Pickups
5 Wolfmother - Wolfmother

... and the Seattle Gay Blog's best singles:
1 Well Thought Out Twinkles - Silversun Pickups
2 Hold On, Hold On - Neko Case
3 Analyse - Thom Yorke
4 My Love - Justin Timberlake featuring T.I.
5 Woman - Wolfmother

Skatterbrain tracks of the year:
1. Pants Yell - Our Turf
2. The Most Serene Republic - You're Not An Astronaut
3. The Pipettes - Pull Shapes
4. Belle and Sebastian - Sukie In The Graveyard
5. The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health

Status No Object from the Village Voice picks the New York gigs of the year:
1. Jay-Z at Radio City Music Hall, 26/6/06
2. Sleater-Kinney at Webster Hall, 2/8/06
3. TI at the Apollo Theatre, 1/6/06
4. Cat Power at Town Hall, 10/6/06
5. Boredoms at Webster Hall, 2/7/06

Stylus Magazine's best singles collated by JBones, based on the rating given by the magazine averaged from a number of reviews. Maximum possible score is ten:
1. Nelly Furtado - Maneater (9.0)
= Marit Larsen - Don’t Save Me (9.0)
3. The Pipettes - Pull Shapes (8.7)
4. Justin Timberlake - My Love (8.6)
= Bertine Zetlitz - Midnight (8.6)

Slim Devices have started to debate albums of the year on their talkboards. Bosonova808 takes advantage of the time difference: dEUS - Pocket Revolution (will be a 2006 album in the States but has been out for a few months in Europe) - good. Not quite as amazing as The Ideal Crash which still totally floats my boat, but Tom Barman remains seriously cool.

Suite 101 have picked the best Christian rock albums of the year:
1. Derek Webb - Mockingbird
2. Johnny Lang - Turn Around
3. Delirious? - Mission Bell
4. Leeland - Sound of Melodies
5. Phil Joel - The deliberatePeople album

The Sun's Bizarre column invited its readers to vote for their favourites. Madonna is so desperate for decentpress she even turned up to be presented with her prizes:
BEST MALE: Justin Timberlake
SINGLE OF THE YEAR: Take That - Patience
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not
CANER OF THE YEAR: Noel Gallagher
SACK THE STYLIST: Britney Spears
BEST COMEDY: Little Britain
BEST ACTOR: Daniel Craig
BEST ACTRESS: Keira Knightley
BEST DJ: Chris Moyles

Sweeping The Nation has embarked on a slow-reveal of its top 30 2006 albums. Overall winner:
TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain

Tony Sylvester of Southern Distribution picked top albums:
1. Kaada - Music For Movie Bikers
2. Daniel Higgs - Ancestral Songs
3. Entrance - Prayer Of Death
4. Current 93 - Black Ships Ate The Sky
5. Burial - Self Titled

Tapes N Tapes favourite album of the year, according to Filter:
Liars - Drum's Not Dead

Time Out New York's top albums:
1. Joanna Newsom - Ys
2. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
3. Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
4. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
5. Mastodon - Blood Mountain

Tiny Mix Tapes suggests a tiny mix tape of the best tracks of 2006, including:
Ghostface Killah - The Champ
The Flaming Lips - The Sound of Failure
Boozoo Bajou featuring Oh No - Back Up
CSS - Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above

UK Music Bloggers poll organised by Sweeping The Nation:
1. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
2. The Pipettes - We Are The Pipettes
3. Camera Obscura - Lets Get Out Of This Country
4. Cat Power - The Greatest
5. Joanna Newsom - Ys

We Are Scientists favourite single, according to 6Music:
We Are Scientists - Inaction

Paul Weller's favourite singles, according to 6Music:
Midlake - Young Bride and
Amy Winehouse - Rehab

John Wenzel, Denver Post staff writer, picked his CDs of the year:
1. Snowden - Anti-Anti
2. Band of Horses - Everything All The Time
3. Built To Spill - You, In Reverse
4. Beck - The Information
5. The Black Angels - Passover

John Williamson reviews the year in the Glasgow Herald: The Young Knives' Voices of Animals and Men is at least [The Arctic Monkey's] equal, and the Long Blondes re-enforced Sheffield's claim to musical city of the year (Jarvis Cocker's solo album and Richard Hawley's belatedly acclaimed Cole's Corner also deserve mention) with their updated take on C86 pop. The rush to cash-in on the Arctic Monkeys (like Oasis and the Stone Roses before them) brought a number of atrocities in their wake, but at least the cause seemed modest in the receipt of their acclaim.

Chris Wilman of Entertainment Weekly's favourite albums of the year:
1. The Dixie Chicks - Taking The Long Way
2. Lily Allen - Alright, Still
3. The Beatles - Love
4. Drive-By Truckers - A Blessing And A Curse
5. Vince Gill - These Days

Wikipedia's (potentially) ever-changing attempt at a chronology of music in 2006: November 8 – Nelly Furtado makes a cameo in the Portuguese soap opera Floribella.

... and a Wikipedia chronology of UK music: Single sales bounced back in 2006 as legal downloads added nearly thirty million sales to the total for the year. Despite this, the 17,694 copies sold during it's week at number one gave Orson's "No Tomorrow" the distiction of being the lowest sales ever of a chart topper.

... and Wikipedia on Swiss music in 2006: Despite the consistency at the top of the chart thus far in 2006, the Swiss singles chart has seen a lot of popular acts pass through it. Normally in the first two months of the year the chart would be mostly quiet, but the top ten has been fairly active, with acts including US5, 50 Cent, Ch!pz and Mary J. Blige entering toward the higher end of the chart this year.

Amy Winehouse's favourite singles, according to 6Music:
The Zutons - Valerie

Yahoo Music reviews the year: Pete Doherty Kicks Reporter: Finally, this guy successfully kicked something

Yahoo Top Searches found Britney the overall most-searched for term on the web in 2006; Shakira's Hips Don't Lie was the most-searched for lyrics.

Yannorossi posted a top ten albums:
1. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
2. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
3. Lily Allen - Alright, Still
4. The Long Blondes - Someone To Drive You Home
5. Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea

This post will be updated as more lists are published on and offline; last updated 08-01-07 at 2.00pm
The 2005 collection