Saturday, July 18, 2009

Spare Snare weekend: Live at Virgin

Who would have thought, watching Spare Snare do Wired For Sound and Smile, It's Sugar at the Virgin Megastore in Dundee in 1995, that Spare Snare would be around longer than the chain?

[Part of Spare Snare weekend]

LaToya: What more can I give?

Look, she's giving all the proceeds to charity, right, so there's no way that LaToya Jackson releasing a tribute single to her brother is in any way an attempt to try and bolster her own career, is it?

Even if it's just a track off her forthcoming album. Even then.

Spare Snare weekend: As A Matter Of Fact

Okay, I suspect this is one of those 'weekends' which struggles a little to make it to teatime on the first day, but we'll keep shaking YouTube to see what falls out.

This is an actual promo video, for the band's As A Matter Of Fact single:

[Part of Spare Snare weekend]

Downloadable: Free Energy

Some of you will wish to move on to the next post pretty sharpish, as what we have here is a slice of the sort of thing that used to keep American AM networks going during the 1970s, before they realised it was cheaper to just stick a right-wing blowhard in a studio and occasionally throw the words "there is a lesbian in town" or "it's not right for a six year old to have a rifle" at him.

And, we're assured, there's nothing ironic going on here.

So this is a band called Free Energy. And a track called Free Energy. You can download the mp3 here; you might have to imagine the eight-track for yourself.

Twittergem: Little Boots

You, and half the world, @iamlittleboots:

is wondering what lady gaga is gonna do once she can't get anymore mental

... but I think the picture you posted suggests we might be finding out already.

Embed and breakfast man: Spare Snare

To celebrate the mighty Spare Snare's live session on Marc Riley's programme last Thursday [iPlayerable until next Thursday], let's spend some time looking at them doing stuff on video, shall we?

Cruelly blamed for Snow Patrol - which is like telling the Earl Of Sandwich he has to take the blame for those things they sell on trains - Spare Snare have been, on and off, doing interesting and lovely things for nearly two decades now.

This is them doing some of those interesting and lovely things in a studio last year:

Spare Snare online
Spare Snare official site
Spare Snare MySpace
Spare Snare at Last FM
Spare Snare on Wikipedia
Spare Snare live at WMBR 1995

Learn To Play
Love Your Early Stuff
Charm/Live At Home

More video to come
As A Matter Of Fact
Live at the Dundee Virgin Megastore

Darkness at 3AM: Mental health trends

The challenge for 3AM, of course, is to come up with a headline about a young woman detained for her own good in a mental health institution that is both sensitive, and explains to their readers exactly what is going on.

Can they do that with the Mischa Barton story?

Mischa is sectioned - like Brit


Ambientobit: Danielle Baquet-Long

The death has been announced of Danielle Baquet-Long, the female side of husband-and-wife dronescape duo Celer.

"Dronescape duo" and even "ambient" are too slight terms to try and explain exactly what Celer were up to; a mixture of self-produced, self-released records, installations and performance. The Spekk website tries to sum it up:

Their intent is producing works that reflect the nature of love, family, and their concerns and interests, through a relative and absolute symposium of expression. They currently reside on the coast of Southern California.

Danielle had a cruelly short life, unexpectedly truncated at the age of 26.

Gordon in the morning: Leona Lewis hits 'desperate relaunch' button

Or, rather, Simon Cowell has.

With it starting to look like Leona Lewis was one single, Gordon Smart is reporting of a desperate bid to overhaul her offering:

I'm told: "Everyone at SyCo is determined to transform Leona into a global touring powerhouse.

She has proved she can sell millions of records, so the next logical step is for her to pack out arenas.

She's barely played any gigs at all at the moment. Oh - and "proving she can sell millions of records" is a bit of a stretch: she's shown she can sell a lot of one, heavily TV-promoted album, in Europe; in the US, Spirit did okay business but nothing stellar. It's like, I don't know, she was just parachuted in to the top of the showbusiness pecking order, and doesn't actually have any bedrock support underneath her.

Hence all the attempt to try and take a woman who has hardly ever done a live gig in her life and build a stadium event around her. It's clear that nobody in her organisation really believes her talent is enough:
[H]er record label have told her: "Money is no object."

Generally, if the label is pouring in cash to try and turn your show into a spectacle, it's an acknowledgment that you, on your own, aren't very spectacular at all.

So, Gordon: what's the big idea here:
She is teaming up with TRAVIS PAYNE, the dance guru behind MICHAEL JACKSON's ill-fated comeback gigs, for a spectacular 14-month world tour.

Aha. Who wouldn't want a man who helped dance Jackson into an early grave on board, eh? Nothing like working with somebody who has the words "ill-fated" on his CV.

Still, with all this money pouring in, there must be a clear, central proposition to the way Leona is going to be marketed, right?
The source added: "The Garden Of Eden theme will allow Leona to showcase two sides to her character: The angelic songbird, and the less well-behaved R&B vixen."

Ah. So, in other words: they haven't really got a clue, then, who she is, how to market her, or who might want to buy her music. No wonder the plan is to just throw money at the problem.

Meanwhile, Gordon clacks his teeth at the behaviour of her-from-Powder's daughter:
The daughter of BUSH frontman GAVIN ROSSDALE and singer-cum-designer PEARL LOWE stripped to her undies to shamelessly plug her new MTV documentary Daisy Lowe In 24 Hours.

Despite her shamelessness, Gordon did manage to find it in himself to run the pictures and plug the programme, though. So, that's alright then.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Kittie want you

If you're in New York, and feel like helping out Kittie, they want you to appear in a video.

Terms and conditions apply:

MyGoodEye producer Allison Woest states: "We are shooting a '20s-era, speakeasy/burlesque music video for KITTIE, and are looking for fans to participate! If you would like to be in the video and have '20s-era nighttime social clothing to participate in the debauchery, please get in touch! Males and females both welcome. The video will be shot during the day on Sunday, July 26 in New York City. If you are interested, please send an email to:"

It's a pity; I'm in England and my 1920s-era nighttime social clothing is all at the dry cleaners. But you might be more lucky.

Twittergem: Solange Knowles

The more @solangeknowles Tweets, the more I find myself warming to her:

Whenever I get handed a plane blanket I have these creepy images of some weird guy jacking off underneath one, or a slobbering old man. Eek.

Twittergem: Tim Westwood

There has been some debate around Bruno. Does it expose and ridicule homophobia, or does it legitimise and amplify it?

@westwood provides the answer:

This Bruno lookin flight attendant has just invited me to go up in his cockpit - that smells fishy to me

Downladable: Shonen Knife

It's not so much that Shonen Knife have been going for thirty years, as they way they still look like they're bunking off school to make records.

Still, if you can take Doreen Gray Japanese pop-exuberance at this time of the morning, SpaceLab are offering an mp3 of Super Group, off their new album.

Gordon in the morning: Just a Little Strange

It's not altogether impossible that JLS somehow accidentally left "a CD and a memory stick" with new tracks on a train.

It's not completely beyond the realms of possibility that someone would discover the stuff and listen to it.

It's not entirely unlikely that that person would assume that there was something significant about the music.

It's not absolutely against nature that the finder would contact the showbusiness desk of The Sun rather than, say, the railway lost property office or the police.

It's not definitively unthinkable that Gordon Smart would be able to identify new material by JLS from hearing "a snippet".

But, as a quiet news day is padded out with a story about Smart returning the lost material to JLS, the whole thing seems about as plausible as a UFO full of ghosts.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Streaming: Thom Yorke

The good people over at Stereogum are streaming Thom Yorke's cover of Miracle Legion's All For The Best.

The track is part of the Mark Mulcahy covers album, Ciao My Shining Star.

Zookz, lawks and crikey

You might recall a while back, the World Trade Organisation decided that American bans on online gambling infringed the rights of Antigua and - after toying with the idea of making Americans work as butlers for Antiguans - decided that Antigua should be allowed recompense by ignoring a bunch of US copyrights?

Well, despite the crazy sentence never quite having been fully worked through, a company called Zookz is taking the WTO at its word and launching a sort-of legal illegal download subscription service.

Only they probably don't have the right to do it, and they haven't got much in the way of content anyway. Cheeky, rather than a real challenge.

Yes, yes, the cruel jibe occured to us, too

Gary Jarman has been left unable to talk for two weeks following an operation to save his voice and, by implication, The Cribs:

"You may have noticed that my once youthful sounding cherub-like voice from the first album has, over the course of three records, degenerated into the grizzled, bitter old man voice of today. Well, no more! I am currently mute, unable to speak for the next couple of weeks, and on a heady mixture of Vicodin and Throat Coat tea."

To be honest, I'd thought it was just late onset puberty doing that, but it turns out it was the old nodules on the vocal chords. Which have now been removed.

Charles Moore: He keeps us poor

You'll recall last week Charles Moore penned an open letter to the BBC insisting he wouldn't pay his licence fee because of the airspace they gave to Jonathan Ross.

It was, he insisted, unfair to expect good, honest, law-abiding people like himself to use their hard-earned, god-fearing pennies to underwrite the costs of bringing unacceptable material to the nationally-owned airwaves.

Could this be the same Charles Moore who has just blown £45,000 plus costs in a legal settlement following his idiotic and wrong claims on Question Time that the leadership of the British Council Of Muslims condoned the killing and murder of British soldiers.

I'm a little lost as to whether we should all refuse to pay our licence fees until Charles Moore repays the £45k, or if we should just refuse to pay until the BBC promises never to put Charles Moore on again.

I'm also a little lost about this: If Moore really believes what he wrote in the letter, that the BBC was operating outside its charter ever since the Russell Brand phone calls to Andrew Sachs last October, why did he appear on Question Time this March? If the BBC had forfeited its charter, it had no right to broadcast - and was making the programmes with licence fee money Moore claims it had no right to collect. So Charles Moore went on a programme made with what he believes to be illegally obtained funds, broadcasting as a pirate operation, to make libellous and hurtful comments which have had to be compensated for, with monies he believes the BBC should not legally have.

Perhaps you should just pay your licence fee, Mr Moore?

[UPDATE: How will the Telegraph cope with this story? It loves a chance to have a pop at the BBC, but since the libel came from one of their own, what to do? Simples! Report the libel award but refer coyly to "a panelist". Good work.]

The Blake-up

Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil have divorced:

In divorce papers before the court it was stated that Fielder-Civil "finds it intolerable to live with the respondent".

Is St Lucia really that bad, Blake?

In light of the news about the other celebrated divorcing woman, Jordan, this morning, you might be worried at the implication of this story, but don't be alarmed. It's hugely unlikely Winehouse will be going anywhere near a recording studio in the foreseeable future.

Radiobit: James Klass

Genuinely sorry to hear of the death of James Klass.

The 44 year-old worked on most of Merseyside's radio stations, including Radio City, Radio Merseyside, Juice and many of the pirate radio stations which came out of Toxteth.

He died of bowel cancer on July 12th; his funeral is in the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral tomorrow.

Whiley, Bowman sidelined in favour of Kit Curran & Smurfette

The sound of the last tide of Matthew Bannister's Radio One washing away, then, as Jo Whiley and Edith Bowman are eased to one side in a new Radio One line-up:

The Radio 1 controller, Andy Parfitt, said: "BBC Radio 1 must continue to change to connect with a new generation of audiences and this is a significant move, promoting three of our up and coming broadcasters into the heart of the schedule."

Aha, so it's about moving out the older presenters for some new, fresh names, is it?

Not quite, as they're bringing in Greg James and Fearne Cotton to daily slots.

Fearne Cotton is 28, so only a little younger than Bowman; Bowman is 34 and actually younger than Chris Moyles.

To be fair, Whiley had started to turn into a fixture of the Simon Bates sort in mid-mornings, and probably is at the point of needing to move on. It's disappointing, though, that Radio One have chosen to abandon any pretence of being interested in music during the daytime in favour of a woman who feels much more Variety Club Showbusiness Awards than Camden Crawl.

Greg James is probably more surprised than anyone at this promotion, given that he actually has the words "sitting in for" on his driving licence. He's one of those people who crop up in radio a lot, with two first names and an ability to fill the unforgiving minute with just enough chat to take us up to the news, weather and travel. Adrian John. Paul Jordan. One of those.

It all makes for the most crushingly lightweight daytime Radio One schedule since Mike Smith and Gary Davies were alive.

Thumbs Aloft meets the Great Big Eye

David Letterman played host to Paul McCartney last night. This is considered to be something of a coup, and while you can see it might be a bit more interesting than Jamie Cullum on Michael Parkinson, there's still a bit of me that wants to check it wasn't a rebroadcast of programming from the day the Apollo guys headed off for the moon.

Anyway, if Paul McCartney is your sort of thing, you'll be delighted to hear that you can watch an extended Macca on Letterman set on the CBS site. Even if you're not in America.

Everyone still loves you, small plastic circle

Some interesting data from the Leading Question [pdf] this morning, which suggests that in the UK, the CD is still people's first choice for music:

• 73% of music fans are still happy buying CDs rather than downloading
• 66% of 14-18 year olds prefer CDs
• 59% of all music fans still listen to CDs every day
• CD burning is top of all sharing activities (23%), above bluetoothing (18%),
filesharing single tracks (17%) and filesharing albums (13%)

The conclusion, surely, is if people still love buying CDs, but aren't buying as many of them, then there must be something wrong the offering of the product.
Those who are paying for a digital music subscription service (such as Napster or
Musicstation) spend more on CDs each month than most music fans (£16.87 per
month compared to £11.37).
• Music streamers (ie those who listen to streamed music on their computers every
day) also spend more on CDs (£12.17 a month) and downloads (£7.02 per month
compared with a survey average of £3.81) than most music fans.

I don't think it would be unfair to extrapolate from that 'people who collect digital music' generally are more likely to be buying music in whatever form.

Gordon in the morning: Time on her hands

That's the trouble with divorce, isn't it? It's not the couple, it's innocent people who get hurt.

Jordan is relaunching her pop career.

I say relaunching - it's more "diving in an attempt to see if there's anything to salvage following the sinking of her last attempt".

Gordon reports that she's signed up with "David Bowie's management" - although it's The Outside Organisation, who are media managers rather than traditional music industry management. They're also responsible, for instance, for the Digital Spy Reality TV Awards and Tim Kash.

Sadly, Gordon has decided against getting his team to mock up a picture of Jordan made to look like Kash, and has instead gone with a picture of her looking like Aladdin Sane.

Smart warns us to expect a "chart battle" between her and Andre by the end of the year.

[Flash forward to December, as a record label guy shows Andre some paperwork - "This chart shows you that 87% of your CDs were returned unsold... and this chart shows that 96% of hers were..."]

George Sampson's mum "tidies up"

Lesley Sampson - mother of George Sampson, of course - has been charged with flytipping after, it is alleged, she dumped sixteen bags of his fanmail outside his house.

Lesley has denied the charge; the case has been adjourned.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Johnny Borrell and his high standards

Hey, women - do you want to hang out with Johnny Borrell?


Well, for the sake of argument, let's say you did. It's not as easy as you might think. Oh, no no:

Borrell's brother Willy tells Britain's The Sun newspaper, "Johnny basically says, 'Go and find me a girl. But she has to be hot and have at least five GCSEs'"

This is, apparently, evidence that Borrell is not a bloated, ignorant, sexist rock cliche. Because what could be more touching than when you ask your brother to "find a girl", you make him ensure they have five GCSEs.

It's almost touching, the idea that having five GCSEs is some sort of bar for towering intellectual achievement. It's a pity Willy doesn't go into a bit more detail - does Johnny insist on maths and English as a minimum? What grades is he looking for? Does the familiarity with a GCSE syllabus give an insight into what Johnny's conversation is like - "ah, Geography, eh? Yeah... I see myself as an ox-bow lake, where the current has silted up my entrance... or... um... Willy, did you find any hot girls who had done physics? I think my kinetic energy patter works better..."

Michael Jackson didn't sell that many albums

There's a lovely piece by The Wall Street Journal's Numbers Guy, Carl Bialik, which explores the claims for Michael Jackson's albums:

For many years, Mr. Jackson's lifetime sales tally typically was reported at 200 million albums world-wide. But in late 2006, news articles began putting the number at 750 million, a figure that became part of the popular lore as Mr. Jackson was attempting a comeback. In the last few weeks, it has popped up in obituaries and retrospectives.

The truth is, Jacko's album sales are still pretty impressive, but nowhere near that figure:
Lau Ho Hoi, who works for a construction firm in Hong Kong and posts on a popular U.K. online music forum, gained attention on the music blog Hitsville last week for his posts from 2004 compiling Mr. Jackson's sales by country. In an updated analysis, he calculated that the pop star sold 131.5 million albums world-wide, and 65.6 million singles. The total doesn't include digital downloads, which have taken off for Mr. Jackson since his death.

Guillaume Vieira, an engineer in Paris, has compiled his own totals for his Web site, Fan of Music. By his count, Michael Jackson had sold 205.5 million albums before his death, plus many millions more in singles and downloads.

So: Jackson didn't sell 750 million albums. His memorial wasn't watched by a billion people. And his title King Of Pop was not ratified by every member of the United Nations.

It's not going to stop people printing the legend, though, is it?

Tito, be not proud, though some have called you one of the other siblings

Tito Jackson has been talking about the death of his much, much more successful brother. He might want to think about the metaphors he chooses in future:

Tito said he first heard that Michael had died from his sister Janet, as he was driving to the hospital in LA on the 25th June.

"I said, 'No, Janet, what's wrong?' She finally made me pull over and said Michael had passed away. I couldn't believe it. It just killed me. I just sat in the car and cried."

It killed you, did it? Not quite as much as it killed Michael, surely?

Tito also explains about the drugs:
Tito added that he and his siblings had been concerned for some time over Michael's use of painkillers.

"I never saw him on drugs. Not once. He deliberately did it away from us. He didn't want his family to know anything about that part of him."

I'm not entirely sure, either, how you simultaneously don't know someone is taking drugs and be concerned about it.

Twittergem: Puff Daddy

Oh, @iamdiddy, tell us what you're doing, for WE MUST KNOW. Are you eating breakfast? Are you watching television? Are you on your way to somewhere you might eat breakfast?

Makin history! What are you doin?

What am I doing? Funny you should ask, Diddy, I'm making the universally recognised hand-gesture for 'wanker'.

Daddy's Twitter account has a little symbol on it which says "verified account", which presumably means someone at Twitter has convinced themselves that the Daddy who Tweets is the same Daddy who... what is his job these days? You can see why they might want to provide this service, but it does run the risk of creating all sorts of philosophical crises down the line. If, for example, Britney Spears employs someone to Tweet on her behalf, can the account be said to be "verified"? My Twitter feed is, genuinely, mine - should I not be verified as genuine? Or does verification only count if you're famous for something?

Casablancas alone

In a world not exactly desperately waiting for a new Strokes album, news reaches us that causes a wobble:

Good morning,

I wanted to let you know that Julian Casablancas is readying his solo debut, Phrazes for the Young, scheduled for release this fall on Cult Records/RCA. Casablancas plans to announce a special series of U.S. dates shortly, to be followed by a solo tour later in the year.

There's a photo too - or a picture, or... well:

Uh... yes. The image is by Williams + Hirakawa. Yes.

It's due for release in the autumn, so expect a late-summer leak followed by a scrabbled-forward release date.

Only ten?

Ofcom have just published their weekly 'most complained about programmes chart' - you'd have to guess they have Eight Out Of Ten Cats built into the template - which reveals the regulator received ten complaints about the Michael Jackson memorial. Sadly, Ofcom doesn't reveal at this stage what the nature of the complaints were, so we don't know yet if it was people angry that they were left feeling a bit vomity by it all.

Gordon in the morning: Trolleyed

I've tried to work it out, but can't really see why a photo of Cheryl Cole wearing a summer dress at an airport has earned this headline:

Cheryl's a trolley dolly

Okay, it's a babydoll dress, and... she's at an airport where you might have to put your suitcase on a trolley? Is she meant to look like an air steward? If you look closely at the picture, does she have tiny, tiny wheels she's moving about on?

Gordon adds a note or two:
Hubby ASHLEY arrives later in the week for a pre-season tour with Chelsea.

Seeing this picture of his wife looking so hot so many miles away is not going to make the wait go any quicker for the footballing fella.

But isn't Ashley a foul, should-be-dumped, playing-away beast, Gordon? All of a sudden he's sat in a hotel room, wailing over a photo of his wife rolling about on a tiny foot-installed trolley?

Gordon's also got the new Lily Allen promo video:
LILY ALLEN looks typically sloshed in the new video for her single 22.

Peering into a nightclub mirror with her make-up smeared and hair ruffled, the singer looks like she's enjoyed one of her now-trademark booze benders.

This, apparently, is something worth seeing. Despite Gordon's review of her T in The Park set which, erm, stifled a yawn at seeing Allen apparently having enjoyed one of her trademark booze benders.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dinosaur Jr prop up Playboy mansion

It's a bit disappointing that Dinosaur Jr have done their bit to prop up Playboy by doing something for It's part of the site's bid to find something that it can charge for, what with so much porn being available for free on the net.

At least they're treating the whole procedure with only half an arse - the idea is for bands to cover other bands, and Dinosaur Jr are offering Just Like Heaven. In other words, the same bloody song they covered two decades ago.

In other words, it's like this exclusive:

Guns N Roses leaker gets his sentence

A heavy-handed sentence for leaking Guns N Roses' album 'Chinese Democracy' has been handed to Kevin Cogill, as the RIAA would hope for:

A federal judge has sentenced a man who pleaded guilty to leaking part of the Guns N' Roses album "Chinese Democracy" to a year's probation.

Blogger Kevin Cogill (KOH'gill) will also serve two months of home confinement, subject his computers to government scrutiny, and record a public service announcement for the Industry Association of America [sic].

The prosecution had wanted him to go to prison - prison - but presumably because he didn't force anybody to listen to the godawful record, the courts decided to just be a little over the top.

What's the point of the PSA? "Hello... I'm someone you don't know. I did a bad thing, and now I'm warning you not to do it, otherwise you might end up pretty well known, on TV and everything. And you wouldn't want that to happen, would you?"

The rationale for the legal action was that Cogill's work reduced the number of people interested in buying the record. By which measure, the way Axl Rose killed any interest anybody might have had in buying the record, through making it so awful, should leave Rose looking at 20 to 25 years.

Nine Inch Nails: The fear that drives the band

What is it that keeps Trent Reznor going? A face in his head, that's what:

Now when I’m offstage, I’m not same guy onstage but it’s driven by the same place. I’d never want to be Gene Simmons, an old man who puts on makeup to entertain kids, like a clown going to work ... In my paranoia, I fear that if I don’t stop this, it could become that. Because it’s nice to get a paycheck, and now the only way to get a paycheck is to play live, so it’s all those things swirling around in my head.

Reznor is pretty sharp on the challenges facing people who rely on music for their paycheques:
It’s a kind of Mafia-type run business .. They have systematically taken advantage of artists over the years from The Beatles onwards. You [the artists] do all the work, they loan you money to make records, then you pay them back and they own everything. To see that system collapse is an exciting thing. There isn’t a clear answer on what the right thing to do is right now, and as a musician you’re up against a pretty difficult scenario: most kids feel it’s OK to steal music, and do freely ... The good news is that people are excited and interested in music ...

It's perhaps disappointing to hear him use the RIAA phrase "steal music"...
As an artist it’s your job to capitalize on that. It means generally swallowing a bitter pill and saying, ‘Hey, people don’t want to buy music, so let me give it to you. I’ll find another way to make money but I want you on my side and hearing my music. So let’s get rid of this walled garden of having to pay to hear it, here it is, give it to your friends. Hey, try to come to our show if you can, or you can buy this T-shirt of ours if you like, and that will help us out. Or, here’s a nice version of our album that we put in a cool package for a premium price and we’re only selling a couple thousands of them.’

... because it's clear that what he means is not that people are stealing at all; they're just not placing any cash value on the digital product. It's not theft, it's the market exerting its logic, Trent - which is what you show by your responses.

I am the Pumpkins, says Pumpkin

Billy Corgan is, you'll be vaguely aware, pushing grimly onwards with the Smashing Pumpkins, despite being the only original Pumpkin left.

There's been some mutterings that, perhaps, he shouldn't be pretending to be a band when it's just him and some hired hands.

Never one to let a muttering be unmet by a densely-argued essay, Corgan has tried to explain why he is right and everyone else is wrong and If Destroyed Still True:

The idea of identity is a strange one to tackle. For many years, I treated the idea of the band named The Smashing Pumpkins as an existential concept that exsisted away from my being and body. It was sort of 'over there', if you will. Jimmy leaving in 1996 made me deal quite heavily with the concept of loyalty to the 2 members who were left (James and D'arcy) as our relationships at that time were quickly drifting apart. And so on, and so forth, thru the different people coming and going. In the center of any of it has been for me, speaking personally, my music. Yes, MY music. The music that came out of this being and body. I've called the umbrella the songs came out under different names but to me I guess there really wasn't a whole lot of difference. As they say, a song is a song.

What the future holds is unknown to me. I am 100pct committed to the future of SP. I can tell you that. 100pct!! I've never been happier about being in SP, or a part of SP, than I am now. The music I am making sounds like The Smashing Pumpkins. It doesn't sound like solo work, I can assure you of that. But only when you hear the music can you decide for yourself. I'm not worried, because I know most of you are rooting for me to get it right. I want to get it right, but not for you, for me. Its been a long journey to get back to where I started. There have been many sad days along the road, but honestly, these are really happy days.

The road is long, explained Corgan, with many a winding turn. "It leads us to who knows where?" he pondered.

But you know what's missing here? Some hyped-up fauxmotion. Because this isn't just about what brand some so-so music gets released under. It's about... well, Michael Jackson, apparently:
We've all seen over the past 2 weeks what happens when a man loses touch with his hope, his spirit, and his music. The path I am on is one of feeling reborn by my love for my music. I wasn't really deep down sure I could get back here, but I am here.

You see? If you don't let him call his band Smashing Pumpkins, you're no better than those people who held Michael Jackson down and pumped him full of Bubbles. I'm sure Corgan doesn't mean to make it sound like he's suggesting not calling the band Smashing Pumpkins would be tantamount to murdering him. I'm sure.
I will never say to you what people say to me all the time, which is that 'I am the band'. I am not 'the band', I am just the leader of the band. I only want people around me who respect me and my music. I think that is a healthy thing to want, and is consistent with the ideas of holistic living. What would you say about me if I worked with people who didn't care about me or my music? Isn't that a form of selling out?

I am not the band. But it is MY BAND. I would never pretend to be the band, but if you touch my band, I shall have your legs broken. But also I shall break my own legs. Which are never, never, the band's legs.
There is a lot of discomfort as we watch our world change quite quickly before our eyes. Familiarity breeds a sort of security, but it also breeds contempt. If you know anything about me, you should know you won't catch me. Smashing Pumpkins is not a concept 'over there' anymore. Its where it has always been. Right HERE.

No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best. But things aren't cooking in my kitchen. There's a name, and there's a band. Who knows if the rose would smell as sweet if it had a name that James Iha approved of? We might all die from swine flu, which somehow means that I can save the world by making Amazon customers get to see the new records when they're looking for the old stuff.

Little Man Tate call it a day

Little Man Tate have decided the world has won, and will wrap up their activities with a farewell date in Sheffield this October. Here's what they said:

The land of LMT has been quiet for some time now and I suppose now is as good a time as any to break the sad news that we've decided to call it a day as Little Man Tate and bring to an end what has been an amazing 4 years of tours around the world, singles in the hit parade and some of the best times of our lives.

Without dragging this on too much, it's something that we have sat down and discussed at length for a while now and we have decided that after a good innings, we've achieved what we set out to do and it's time we moved on to other things. We're all still good mates and we'll carry on supporting each other whatever we decide to go on and do from here. What we do know is that you, the fans, made it all possible for us and we'll never forget the loyalty you've showed us over the years and the unbelievably joyous atmospheres you've managed to create from as far away as Tokyo to our beloved streets of Sheffield. We're going to do one last gig in Sheffield in October so we can get the chance to bid farewell to you all and to say ta for all the good times. It's been an amazing journey since the summer of 2005 and one we'll never forget so, signing off for one last time, see you all in a couple of months.

Shrinking Borders

Bad news from Borders, with the UK version of the CD and book store announcing store closures:

Borders announced yesterday that leases for five stores, Blanchardstown in Dublin, Llantrisant, London Colney, Oxford Street, and Swindon have been sold to the fashion retailer, New Look. It is unclear when the stores will finally close or how many staff will be affected.

It's possibly a sign that Borders is planning to concentrate on its out-of-town locations by freeing up town centre leases that have other potential takers. Or possibly the first shutterings of a long, slow decline.

Did It Leak shows how leaky the supposedly anti-leak music industry is. In real time.

If Pirate Bay is so bad the music industry must crush it for telling people they can find records on torrents, where does that leave @diditleak, a twitter stream of breaking leaking record news?

Presumably the BPI-RIAA won't be keen to close this one down, given that the early leaks of most of the records there point fingers not at EVIL FANS but, erm, the people who work for labels doing the leaking.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet: Michael Jackson

Diamond Geezer heads down to Greenwich on what would have been the first night of Jackson at the O2:

Many of the crowd had come dressed in at least one item of MJ apparel. Black hats were especially popular, although I looked around in vain for the street vendor knocking them off at a fiver a time. One or two wore white gloves, a couple sported rather more sparkly gems than is socially acceptable, and there was even one red satin tour jacket circa 1984. But the main item signifying membership of the Jackson cabal was the commemorative t-shirt. Be it respectful, exuberant or a bit cheap - the message was more important than the material. My favourite was the plain white t-shirt with the slogan "I HATE MARTIN BASHIR". Martin, thankfully, had had the sense not to turn up.

Moyles accuses BBC of timid approach

The signs you have seen, child, are those of Chris Moyles entering his DLT-pomp stage:

Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles has accused the BBC of making dull programmes because it does not want to upset listeners.

He says that radio shows are "so formulaic [that] anyone different, like me or Jonathan (Ross), stands out".

It will not be long now, child, before Moyles leaves the building, complaining to all who still seek him out on HearteningFM or Absolutelynotvirgins that it wasn't he who got tiresome, it was the BBC who got tired:
But, he told the Radio Times: "The reality is you can't keep everyone happy all the time."

At this point, the original transcripts show, he digressed for a few minutes about how he and all his mates were in the pub the night before, drinking beers, discussing pretty much the same issue; said something inaudible about gays; and then returned to his theme:
"The BBC is in a very weird state where they just don't want to upset anybody," said Moyles.

"Everything now needs to be signed, sealed and approved 18 times."

He might have a point there, but how clumsy to suggest the problem is that people would be upset if everything is not sent through thirteen layers of compliance.
"We're not trying to change the world, but because radio is so dull, so boring and so formulaic, and anyone different - me or Jonathan - stands out.

"So the BBC is throwing down rules and regulations on you and then the newspapers are saying certain things and you're just trying to juggle everything while keeping everyone happy at the same time. "

The other way you could look at it is, Chris, that most DJs are sensitive enough to know where the line is, and so anyone who is lumbering about not knowing when enough is enough, like Chris Moyles, stands out. And draws the weight of compliance down on everyone.

There are a lot of people who do interesting and boundary-sniffing things on BBC Radio, without upsetting people. It's they who should be complaining about the new era of over-compliance brought about by people like Moyles who couldn't control themselves.

Gordon in the morning: She's back, back, back. Oh god.

Amy Winehouse has come back home - good news for News International, who can gather infomration about her so much more cheaply now she's just a taxi drive away.

And how is she, as she gets off an international flight, Gordon?

The boozy songbird looked freckled but fragile after jetting into Gatwick airport from St Lucia.

Freckled but fragile? What does that even mean?
A source said: "At one point Amy had toyed with the idea of permanently relocating to St Lucia but that's no longer the case."

I'm presuming "toyed with idea" means "Gordon said she was going to" in this instance. But you've got to admire the quality of the information that Smart has access to - a source who can reveal that she's not staying in St Lucia just a few hours after she's got her luggage off the Gatwick carousel.

Gordon points out that it's been three years now since she last released a proper record:
Much more delay and all the focus will be on her hell-raising rather than her music. And we wouldn't want that, would we... ?

Ha ha! Imagine, eh, Gordon, if she was releasing music rather than slowly and publicly killing herself with drink and drugs. Just imagine.

Elsewhere, Ronnie Wood's former brother-in-law has done a picture which shows Wood drinking blood from a young virgin's neck. Thereby, at a stroke, making Twilight no longer the world's most juvenile vampire story.
[Paul Karslake] The painter said: "I don't hate the bloke, but I am very annoyed with him.

"Ron's a vampire, all those Rolling Stones guys are. They stay up all night and sleep all day."

Actually, that doesn't necessarily make them vampires. Sleeping all day and being active at night makes them like lorises as much as vampires.

Monday, July 13, 2009

File sharing numbers dip, apparently

A survey has discovered that the number of people willing to tell strangers they share unlicensed music has decreased a little in the last twelve months.

The MusicAlly survey has been called good news for executives in some places over the last few hours, and perhaps it is: at last, something they can point to to pretend that the last ten years and millions of dollars spent fighting filesharing has been a success.

It's not really such good news, of course - MusicAlly don't know where they've all gone:

MusicAlly's MD Paul Brindley told us more research was needed to find out where they were going, pointing to the rise in popularity of Bluetooth device-to-device transfers and instant messaging.

"More fans are regularly sharing burned CDs and bluetoothing tracks to each other than file-sharing tracks," says MusicAlly.

But there are other forms of instant gratification than acquiring a recording. An earlier MusicAlly survey, conducted in January, highlighted the importance of YouTube as a music source: 31 per cent of the yoof demographic listen to streaming music, compared to 18 per cent of the general population.

The whizzing CD burner is back? It's going to be cassette tapes again before you know it...

Rough Trade found in Top Shop

Here's an interesting approach to the drop in sales of physical music - Rough Trade is going to take space inside some branches of Top Shop to sell CDs and such:

Stephen Godfroy, director of Rough Trade Retail Group, said, of the decision:

“[it] supports Rough Trade’s belief that the CD format is as popular as ever [and] that it is largely the poor high street retail of CDs that is to blame for declining sales on this format."

Well, perhaps - although something that people would head three or four doors down the street to buy which now has to be taken to them in order to persuade them to buy isn't quite saying "as popular as ever" to me. If once you would swim oceans for your passion, and now only cuddle because they're there, I'd say you might actually be cooling in your ardour.

Let's hope I'm just wrong and overly cynical.

Taylor Horn honks "racism" after Liverpool deportation

Taylor Horn - the latest in a very, very, very long line of lightly talented, fairly attractive women given the "next Britney Spears" label - has been thrown out of the UK after turning up at John Lennon Airport to do a promotional tour of the UK without the proper paperwork.

Apparently, it's racism run rampant:

Before preparing to leave Britain the Americans accused the government agency of “underhand” tactics and vowed to take legal action.

Their lawyer has lodged an appeal based on “race grounds”, claiming anti-American bias is behind their deportation.

Hang about a minute. If your paperwork was in order, and you were refused entry, you could appeal on the grounds that the decision was incorrect. Why would the whole "being American" thing be an issue?

This sounds a little more like someone turning up without the papers, and trying to find an excuse to be let in. That's quite high-maintenance. Maybe she is the new Britney Spears after all.

Gordon in the morning: A sudden moment of clarity

Bad news for the cleaners at Wapping; it sounds like there might be a lot of eye-scales to clear up around Gordon's desk this morning:

Allen is just a Lil bit predictable

LILY Allen flouts ban on smoking, boasts about getting drunk & swears like trooper at T In Park

To be fair to Lily, though, there isn't any real indication why the latest swearing and drinking and smoking is "predictable" and dull, rather than getting Gordon to stand on his hindlegs applauding this behaviour. Isn't this sort of thing usually given the pubescent "caner of the year" award?

Elsewhere, the not-actually-surprising news that Duncan James from Blue likes boys as well as girls seems to surprise Gordon:
FANS were reeling yesterday after pop heart-throb DUNCAN JAMES admitted: "I'm bisexual."

Actually, that is surprising - Blue still have fans?

Why, though, does Gordon insist that your sexuality is something you "admit", like a murder or illegal phone-tapping? Perhaps James could have come out earlier if the tabloids didn't treat love like it was seedy.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Guy Hands wants half a billion write-off

Ominous noises from EMI, with Guy Hands scrabbling to keep the company afloat. He's put in three hundred million of his own money, but wants Citibank to write off half a billion of company debt.

Citibank, you'll recall, is in trouble of its own, having had to be bailed out by the US taxpayer for $300 billion. So, effectively, Guy Hands wants the US taxpayer to fund Terra Firma's disastrous stewardship of EMI.

Does this mean that Hands believes in taxpayers sharing the burden when times are tough? Not quite - sure, he'd like some tax dollars to keep his company afloat. But when the hat was passed around UK taxpayers to keep the state going, Hands took a different approach, pissing off the live as a tax exile in Guernsey when the 50p top tax rate came in.

Despite, erm, apparently being so rich he can afford to throw another £300million in to the black hole of EMI. God forbid any of that cash should find its way into the NHS or schools.

T In The Park: TV On The Radio on the slide?

After Pete Doherty played the King Tuts tent at T in the Park, on came TV on the Radio. About half the audience made their excuses and left, which I think tells us something a bit grim about festival audiences.

T in the Park: Blur might not turn up

NME is reporting that Blur might not turn up for their T in The Park headline slot tonight:

Festival chief Geoff Ellis made the announcement on the Main Stage at the Scottish festival this afternoon. He explained that guitarist Graham Coxon was in hospital and that the situation was being monitored.

They've rejigged the line-up a little; Snow Patrol will go on an hour later than planned in the hope that Graham Coxon will be back in time for a slightly later start.

Otherwise: can you imagine hoping for a Blur set, and having to make do with Snow Patrol instead?

Blackberry tries to taste a bit more like Apple

Presumably, the Telegraph views the announcement that Blackberry have done a deal to allow its users to download music directly to their tiny handsets as "news" because it's taken so long.

Blackberrys - which are like smaller versions of the Amstrad em@iler - are popular with salespeople who mainly use them to wave around on newly-landed airplanes to demonstrate how important it is for them to be in touch with their head office. Research In Motion are hoping that this music business will attract a different sort of customer.

AEG miss the point a little while LaToya cries moider

The city of LA has suggested that AEG might like to pay some of the costs associated with the Michael Jackson farewell promotional event.

AEG aren't rushing forward to help:

But AEG president Tim Leiweke said that AEG did pay for the memorial itself.

Leiweke seems to have been breathing too deeply from the fumes of Jackson overstatement, as he seems to feel that putting on an event is, somehow, an act of public generosity in its own right. In summary, AEG's position seems to be 'why should we pay for the crowd control? We already paid out to bring the crowds there in the first place'.

Meanwhile, LaToya Jacksons talks to the News Of The World (or possibly has a private conversation which the News Of The World paid money to get transcribed):
I will nail Michael Jackson's killers

Blimey. That's got to be up there with the death penalty as a cruel and unusual punishment, hasn't it?

Oh. As in "capture". I see.

Yes, "killers" - for LaToya believes that someone went out their way to kill Jackson. Presumably someone who couldn't wait another ten minutes or so for natural causes to do the work.

Jackson says she knows who did it - and yet, surprisingly, doesn't seem quick to share that vital piece of information:
"Michael WAS murdered," declared La Toya, 53. "And we don't think just one person was involved. Rather, it was a conspiracy of people. I feel it was all about money. Michael was worth well over a billion in music publishing assets and somebody killed him for that. He was worth more dead than alive."

Yes. Somebody - or bodies - who couldn't wait to get their hand on all that lovely, lovely debt that outweighed the value of his assets.

The Hooded Claw, speaking to the Sunday Mirror on condition of anonymity, explained that there wasn't a criminal mastermind alive who wouldn't kill to seize control of a complex of networks of companies that owned rights that had been used as collateral against unsustainable debts. "I mean, who wouldn't, right? And personally, I'd have made sure I killed him right before he did all those gigs to clear large chunks of the debt, rather than wait a few months, see the debt mountain reduced, and kill him when it would seem even more plausible that he just conked out from a year's worth of efforts in Greenwich."

Still, LaToya knows the names of people who were happy enough to conduct what would have been one of the most high-profile murders in history, despite the financial trail making them obvious suspects. And yet, rather than name them, she's just let them know she knows who they are, but isn't going to tell people yet. Has LaToya ever seen an episode of Columbo? Does she not realise that that sort of behaviour usually gets you wrapped in a carpet and dumped over the side of a boat bobbing about on Lake Michigan?

But to be fair, Columbo is a made-up story about murders. Which is totally different from this one. Because it doesn't have Peter Falk in it.

O'Neal festival stopped after stabbing

I'm not a crowd control expert, but is cancelling an entire festival because of one incident really the best move to make?

A teenager got stabbed in the leg at the Southwark Park Festival, and - rather like a grumpy primary school teacher - it's been decided that that one piece of trouble is going to spoil it for everyone, and the whole thing has been pulled. Alexander O'Neal and all.

It was police advice which led to the early closure. It sounds rather like the Metropolitan Police panicked somewhat. Perhaps it's a pity they didn't advise the G20 to call it a day once there was the first sign of trouble.

Teenage Fanclub weekend: ATP

From earlier in the year, this is Teenage Fanclub doing Don't Look Back at the behest of The Breeders, at All Tomorrow's Parties:

[Part of Teenage Fanclub weekend]

This week just gone

The most-read stories in 2009 - thus far - have been:

1. Review: Lady GaGa at Glastonbury
2. Video: Neil Young at Glastonbury
3. Liveblog: Eurovision
4. NME awards shortlist
5. RIP: Kelly Groucutt
6. George Sampson wrecks the remains of his career
7. Review: Bruce Springsteen at Glastonbury
8. Downloadable: Glasvegas
9. Michael Jackson: Sunday papers scrabble for pieces
10. Liveblog: Morrissey on The One Show

The last time we did this, this was what we were about to suggest investigating:

Lets Wrestle - In The Court Of The Wrestling Lets

download Let's Wrestle

Nanci Griffith - The Loving Kind

download The Loving Kind

La Roux - La Roux

download La Roux

Wilco - Wilco

download Wilco

The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin

download Oh My God, Charlie Darwin

Nouvelle Vague - 3

Robin Guthrie - Angle Falls

download Angel Royale