Saturday, November 07, 2009

Mozzer: Bottled off in Liverpool

Another truncated Morrissey show tonight, in Liverpool. He got hit by a drink thrown from the crowd, marched off the stage and refused to come back on.

You can see his point. But not everyone can:

Around 10 minutes later a member of the crew announced that the singer had been hit on the head by what was described as a bottle and the concert would not continue.

The announcement was greeted by boos from the packed Arena.

Embed and breakfast man: Le Prince Miiaou

A smattering of Francophone awkward-guitar-pop for this weekend, as I dip cautiously into webpages I can only translate if they touch on French I learned at school. And, frankly, there's not much about a boy called Xavier falling into the river here.

What there is, though, is the work of Maud-Elisa Mandeau and that translates pretty well. Here's a taste, from her session for Liberation:

Our tabloids slather over Kasabian; French papers run this sort of thing. If ever there was an argument for closer European integration, this could be it.

More Miiaou
Le Prince Miiaou on MySpace [Machine-translated into English]
Le Prince Miiaou on MySpace [French language version]
Le Prince Miiaou on LastFM

Le Prince Miiaou - Safety First - mp3 album

Further video to come...
Football Team
Live at Chanteir Des Francos
Hawaiian Tree

Splits: Aerosmith

Shortly after Brad Whitford told Classic Rock magazine that, perhaps, Steve Tyler might not be the only person who can sing songs comes apparent confirmation from Joe Perry that Tyler has quit.

I'm imagining he stormed out yelling "well, if having a singer who doesn't fall off the stage and crack his hip is so bloody important, you find one..."

Embed and breakfast man: Berlin-off

Given the discussion in the comments yesterday, here's a GDR-era video Berlin-off.

In the red corner, Eastbourne's The Mobiles doing Drowning In Berlin:

And in the other red corner, The Passions I'm In Love With A German Film Star - perhaps the sexiest song ever written about a roadie:

The Passions - Thirty Thousand Feet Over China
The Mobiles - The Best Of...

Downloadable: Sambassadeur

Sweden's mighty Labrador records offers up a glimpse of the new Sambassadeur: Download Days now.

Gordon in the morning: You are the ref

Normally, when Gordon tells us about all the things that he's been doing, it's accompanied by an awkward photo.

Not this time:

Yes, it turns out when he's laddishly hanging out with a footballer and kicking a football about and - heh - not being very good at it, Gordon is relaxed. Is he sure he's writing for the bit of the paper that he wants to be in?

It's all for a programme:

Coke Zero Presents: Wayne Rooney's Street Striker is unmissable telly.

Isn't it a bit arrogant to say that a programme that you're in is unmissable?

Dates with Cate

Coming soon: Two Cate Le Bon dates:

Monday 9 November – LONDON – The Social (£4)
Saturday 21 November – LONDON – The Borderline (with Nancy Elizabeth)

Apologies to those of us who don't live in London.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Spinner catch Miley Cyrus out in a lie

Faster than Channel 4 News' fact check, Spinner run a slide rule over Miley Cyrus:

"I've never heard a Jay-Z song. I don't listen to pop music, and it's not even my style of music." --Miley Cyrus

Really, asks Spinner:
[W]e quote from your new single 'Party in the U.S.A.,' "and the Jay-Z song was on/and the Jay-Z song was on."

Although, to be fair, maybe Miley doesn't listen to her own songs, either. If she had any sense.

Bunnymen tax gripe tour axe

Echo And The Bunnymen had been due to tour America this month.

But now they're not.

The IRS apparently wanted some money. They feel that there's been a few too many Bunnymen tours in a short period of time, and are demanding "a fee" (i.e. tax that isn't called a tax) and the Bunnymen won't cough up. The next tour will now be in April. The next tax year, then.

Downloadable: Pixies

In one of them swap-for-email deals, the Pixies are offering a free ep. You don't even have to go anywhere as there's a widget. Look:

New Year treat in Utah

What could persuade you to spend New Years Eve in Utah? How about Wainwrights Rufus, Loudon and Lucy playing together?

Park City Eccles Center gets the event. New Years Eve is when you'd expect it.

Morrissey is the greatest

It's always wise to approach any claims that X is the greatest at Y with extreme caution, especially when the 'X' in question is the subject of the a book by the person making the claims.

Still, you can at least see why Dr Gavin Hopps is coming from:

The launch of Dr Hopps' book, "Morrissey: The Pageant of His Bleeding Heart", will take place in Manchester.

The event will be held on Saturday at Blackwell's University bookshop in the city's Oxford Road.

Dr Hopps believes Morrissey's work is comparable not only to great writers but also to comedy greats such as Frankie Howerd and George Formby.

The book explores all the major subjects in the singer's writing - such as love, melancholy, monstrosity and alienation.

If you're starting to make grand claims, calling George Formby a comedy great is going to start to undermine you from the get-go. It's like suggesting that William Hague is every bit as witty as James Corden.

And the rather than one of the greatest? Jarvis Cocker might have a thing to say about that...

Well tonight, thank god, it's them instead of you-know-who

Band Aid. Band Aid II. Band Aid 20. And now... Do They Know It's Christmas is going to have a fourth incarnation - organised by Fucked Up.

Yes, it's going to be sort-of-all-star:

Talking to Vulture, [Pink Eyes] listed off some of the people involved: "David Cross, members of Vampire Weekend, TV on the Radio, Broken Social Scene, the GZA, Bob Mould, No Age, and Yo La Tengo are all confirmed. I'm still waiting on confirmation from Feist, Jarvis Cocker, and M.I.A. We wanted the biggest people we could get. If we could get a Jonas Brother on this, I would get a Jonas Brother."

Yes, it going to be doing a lot of good work for charity:
"[T]he single will benefit "a few different organizations, like Justice for the Missing, that are affiliated with the 500 missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada. That number is an old official statistic that the government uses, but the number is probably closer to 3,000. It’s not like cancer or AIDS. Those are worthy causes but they have big fund-raising machines. This is an undocumented, underreported crime that’s been going on for years. And while this is for Canadian organizations, the same sort of thing is going on at the U.S.-Mexico border, with Mexican women going missing, and in Australia, with aboriginal women there."

The whole thing is being funded with the cash Fucked Up won when they scooped the Polaris prize earlier this year.

You're wondering why, aren't you?
"I liked the idea of somewhat marginalized indie rockers coming together for a marginalized cause ... There's a kind of cavalier colonialism to the original, like the West has to go in and help this poor Third World country. But the charities that we're trying to help are exactly a product of this colonial history. People who have been subjugated and oppressed for so many years are going missing. So there's an irony to using the song."

It's fair enough, although it's not entirely clear that there's very much difference between Midge Ure helping the starving of Ethiopa and one of Vampire Weekend assisting the brutalised of North America in terms of colonial descendants assisting those who lost out in colonisation, apart perhaps from a bit of self-awareness. And even then, suggesting that being on an indie distro gives you some sort of common cause - even with a gentle tongue-in-cheek - might wipe out whatever self-awareness there might be.

Chris Brown furrows his brow

Poor Chris Brown is all confused:

"I'm confused right now as far as the public perception [of me]," he revealed during the upcoming MTV News special "Chris Brown: The Interview". "Like, I think with my fans, they still love me, they support me, definitely. You have those people who will support you. So it's kinda like 50/50 for me. I got the people that will come out and support and then the people that don't wanna see me do anything. They basically want me in jail."

How very puzzling that after you beat the crap out of your partner - and tried to get out of it by treating it like you'd turned up wearing last year's sneakers - that there's not much support for you beyond your most dogged fans. I can't work it out at all.

MTV goes to Berlin: We're all winners

Congratulations to Placebo, U2, Jay-Z and Beyonce, who won the prizes for bothering to turn up to the MTV Europe awards.

The prizes were handed out in Berlin, and it wasn't lost on anyone that this meant some sort of vague reference to the events of twenty years ago had to be written onto the autocue and read out in a slightly confused voice. Oh, and that Bono thing.

The irony of what MTV did isn't lost on the Guardian:

Twenty years ago, thousands of Germans converged at the Berlin Wall to watch as the hated barrier between east and west was torn down. But tonight, many fans hoping to catch a glimpse of U2 as they played a free concert to celebrate the anniversary of the historic event would have found a small obstacle in their way: a hastily erected wall.

The organisers of the event, the music network MTV, erected a two-metre high "sight barrier" to exclude those without one of 10,000 free tickets from catching a glimpse of the band.

Well done, Bono. Building a divisive wall to celebrate the collapse of a divisive wall. Apparently Nelson Mandela is panicking in case Bono wants to do something to mark his release.

Those people who turned up in full:

Best Video - Beyonce - Single Ladies

Best Live Act - U2

Best Urban Act - Jay-Z

Best Rock - Green Day

Best Song - Beyonce - Halo

Best Alternative - Placebo

Best New Act - Lady GaGa

Best Male - Eminem

Best Female - Beyonce

Best UK & Ireland Act - Pixie Lott

Best European Act - maNga

Best Group - Tokio Hotel

Tokio Hotel are the best group in the world. Tokio Hotel are the best group in the world. Tok... how many times do I have to say this before it starts to stop sounding like a punchline?

Gordon in the morning: Sind sie allein in Berlin?

Last night's MTV awards in Berlin had an element of looking backwards, but most people were only casting backwards twenty years.

Not Gordon, though. Germany, you say?:

Ze vinners are...

Ah, reporting Germany like you're writing a Victor comic strip. Classy. Are The Sun ever going to get over the Second World War?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Stuck On Repeat 2009: Best of lists

This, then, is where it starts: Our annual round-up of what other people are picking as their best of lists.

This post will expand as more people publish their lists
Last updated: 02-01-10 editor's top albums:
5. I And Love And You - Avett Brothers
4. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
3. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix
2. It's Blitz - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
1. Middle Cyclone - Neko Case

Associated Press entertainer of the year:
Taylor Swift

Martin Caballero of the Boston Herald's favourite album:
The Spirit Of Apollo - NASA

Broken TV's top song of the year:
Velvet - The Big Pink

Creative Review's sleeves of the year:
Further Complications - Jarvis
Logos - Atlas Sound
Around The Will - Iron And Wine
Yes - Pet Shop Boys
Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle - Bill Callahan
Embryonic - Flaming Lips
Bitte Orca - Dirty Projectors
Klang - The Rakes
Veckatimest - Grizzly Bear

David at It's Getting Boring By The Sea's top album:
XX - The XX

Greg Dulli's album of the year [via Filter]:
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix

FACT magazine's albums of the year:
5. LP - Discovery
4. Love Comes Cold - Cold Cave
3. Fabric 45 - Omar B
2. Dancemother - Telepathe
1. XX - The XX

Faronheit's EP of the year:
Fall Be Kind - Animal Collective

Jed Gottleib of the Boston Herald's favourite album:
Get Guilty - AC Newman

Michael Gregoire's netlabels of the year:
Just Plain Sounds

iTunes best sellers:
Album: Only by the Night - Kings Of Leon
Track: Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas

Adam Lambert's album of the year [via MTV]:
The Fame - Lady GaGa

Le Corps Mince De Francoise's best live bands of 2009 [via Noize]:
"Passion Pit at Melt-festival and Health during our Germany-tour in October"

MTV man of the year:
Michael Jackson

Neilson most-played artist on British radio:
Take That

Netaudio's favourite Creative Commons albums:
Twilight Rainfalls - Anders Ilar
Depth Perceptions Vol 1 - Pronounce - Various
Netaudio Berlin Festival Sampler - Various
Elements - Mon0
Evolution Q - Various

Popjustice Reader's Poll:
Best single: Poker Face - Lady GaGa
Most annoying face: Danyl Johnson
Artwork fail: 3 Words - Cheryl Cole

Pyaramidd/Starfucker's favourite albums of 2009 [via Noize]:
Jewellery - Micachu And The Shapes
Psychic Chasms - Neon Indian
Logos - Atlas Sound - Logos
Two Suns - Bat for Lashes
Bitte Orca - Dirty Projectors

Rough Trade Shop's albums of the year:
5. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
4. Fever Ray – Fever Ray
3. Primary Colours - The Horrors
2. Oh My God, Charlie Darwin - The Low Anthem
1. XX - The XX
Someone's turned the whole chart into a Spotify playlist

Said The Gramophone's top 75 tracks of 2009:
5. Best I Ever Had (Skeemix) - Drake featuring R Kelly
4. No Intention - Dirty Projectors
3. Two Weeks - Grizly Bear
2. Change Of Heart - El Perro Del Mar
1. Sharon Van Etten - Much More Than That

Bob Young of the Boston Herald's favourite album:
Musiquita - Martina Gomez

Lest we forget - previous year's best of lists

Mitch Winehouse reckons he could do that album business

How many people who have become famous because of their kids really shown any talent? Edward Enfield, perhaps? And...

Why do I suspect that a collection of Frank Sinatra covers ("and two original songs") from Mitch Winehouse won't change things much?

Berliners call for wall to be rebuilt; West begs to be let into the East

The collapse of the Berlin Wall was a fantastic example of people. Ordinary, brave, pissed-off people taking the law into their own hands.

There is no nothing less appropriate to mark this than several millionaires with no obvious links to the city playing a self-aggrandising gig:

U2 and Jay-Z have played a show at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin this evening (November 5).

Taking to the stage on the eastern side of the old divide, the band played a short set to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the flashpoint that kick-started Germany's reunification.

Why does Bono singing a Bob Marley song "mark the anniversary"? You might as well fill a milkfloat full of bison poo and drive up it in circles round the Reichstag and say that's marking the occasion.

Abbey Road goes indie

The idea of giving independent US record stores a special, hugely limited edition of Abbey Road to sell is one which has a correctly-positioned heart. But it might have been more generous to have released the records at the start of the Beatles reissue circus, rather than just as the already-limp circus is selling off the last of clown cars.

No Doubt not happy

The much-ballyhooed legal intervention Courtney Love was promising over the Karaoke Kurt in Band Hero never showed up - presumably the paperwork got stolen by Ryan Adams or something - but Activision are now facing a more coherent threat: No Doubt are suing over the way they've been portrayed in the game:

Rock band No Doubt sued video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc over the use of their likeness on its new "Band Hero" product, accusing the company of turning the rockers into a virtual karaoke act.

No Doubt and Activision had a contract allowing the company to use the band members in the game, but Activision, which is based in Santa Monica, California, went beyond the agreement by allowing gamers to use avatars of the band performing songs from other rock groups, the lawsuit states.

Yes, No Doubt are not a virtual karaoke act. They're virtually a karaoke act, but that's not the same thing at all.

Griffin done... Big faces

Zoe asks the questions that otherwise would be happily unasked:

Are X factor fans crazier than fans of all other TV shows?

No, Zoe. They're not. But carry on.
Last night, supporters of awful, tone deaf Irish twins John and Edward went to Simon Cowell’s SyCo record label offices in West London and projected the boys faces onto the building.

That must have cost a fortune (I know because I was looking into getting my own face onto the venue where I held my party)

I think you can get this sort of thing done for £45 or so; all you really need is a projector and a power source.

Still, you've got to love the glimpse inside Griffin's mind: projecting her own massive face onto the side of a building hosting her own party. Is it just me, or is that a little bit showy?

Watch with No Rock: Halifax PopFest

You might enjoy at least some of the Halifax Pop Explosion highlights currently being splashed about by CBC Radio 3.

Gordon in the morning: Written on the body

Gordon has a detail from the Williams/Ross interview that hasn't been in other reports:

"The differences [between Take That and Williams] we've had have just melted away.

"I celebrated by getting a Take That symbol tattooed on my right arm."

Gary! Gary! Look what I done... I done a tattoo off your logo and it's a proper one, with ink and everything. It's not like a transfer, like the other one I had done. Let me back in the band and I'll have your face done on my tummy. Pleeeeeeeeeaaaaasse, Gary.

From Williams to Walliams. Gordon has done an exclusive interview with David Walliams (it's quite hilarious, too - if you can ss the words "to read the whole of this exclusive interview, buy today's Sun newspaper" without giggling, you're made of stone.

Walliams has something to say about the current over-reaction of people to some jokes:
"This debate has always happened - 'Are comedians going too far?'

"Richard Pryor in the 1970s, Monty Python and Life Of Brian. The comedian's role has always been edgy.

"The idea that we want comedians to be on message, to be saying the right things - well, that's pointless."

Put through Gordon's filter, though, this becomes:
David Walliams on comedy's PC plague

Over the last couple of weeks venomous criticism from the politically-correct brigade has been aimed at other brilliant British comics accused of overstepping the mark.

Gordon, you really think the Mail - who started the whole Sachs thing and ushered in the new climate - are "politically correct"? Do you really think the people who didn't get the joke about the Queen and Phil on Have I Got News For You were complaining because they were "politically correct" and not merely confused and outraged from the Shires?

Still, interesting to see that The Sun hates this "brigade" and their venomous criticism. I guess Gordon is thinking of stuff like this:
Lately we've had Frankie Boyle attack Olympic gold swimmer Rebecca Adlington for having a face like someone looking in the back of a spoon.
Jimmy Carr then had a laugh at the expense of our injured soldiers.
Even our maimed boys could still kick your butt, Jimmy.
David Mitchell from the Peep Show thought a joke about girl-in-the-attic Anne Frank would get him some cheap laughs.

Inevitably, yes - that's from The Sun. Smeato's column, in fact.

Smeato's column is worth a read, by the way, for this wonderful example of what happens when you don't read back your own copy:
Like Walliams, Rod and Emu were notorious for jumping on folk.

They thought twice though when The Big Yin eye-balled them both with the deadly warning: "I'll break its neck - and your f***ing arm."

Now that's funny.

Morecombe And Wise used to entertain more than 20million telly viewers - more than The X Factor could ever hope for.

And they never felt a need to swear or be cruel.

So it's funny to threaten to break the arm of an elderly children's entertainer, and funny to swear while you're doing it, but not funny to be cruel or swear. They should let him write the BBC Editorial Policy guidelines.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Morrissey open to offers

If Joss Whedon finds no luck with his $10,000 offer to buy the Terminator franchise, perhaps he might consider investing in another tarnished-but-still-loved icon? Morrissey has come adrift from his record label and is seeking new positions.

I can't wait to get my hands on a Kings Of Leon bandana

The most eye-catching thing about the planned Kings of Leon fashion range (yes, really) is the prices:


£161 for a Kings Of Leon hat.

EMI come up with plausible revenue stream

It's not exactly a novel idea, and the question is 'what took you so long', but EMI are launching a special division to deal with instant live albums:

Abbey Road Live, EMI's new live music audio and video recording and instant production service, will allow fans to purchase high quality live recordings of shows they've just attended. Mixed and mastered on site, the recordings will be made available in a range of formats including CD, DVD and USB or via secure digital delivery to home computers or mobile as streams or downloads.

The secure digital delivery is probably the sweet spot - waiting for you at home before you've got your boots off.

Digital Beatles updates

That Beatles download site? EMI is having a cow and suing BlueBeat.

Still, if you don't want to risk the wrath of EMI, but still want the Beatles on your computer, why not piss away cash on an ugly and pointless Apple-shaped thumbdrive with all The Beatles songs on it?

There's going to be a strictly limited edition of just as many as they think they can get away with.

Also coming soon: Four Tet

And add this into the new diary for next year, too: Four Tet are back.

There's an album, There Is Love In You, coming on January 25th.

There's a tour:

London Dome (February 12)
Manchester Club Academy (March 11)
Leeds TJs (12)
Edinburgh Bongo Club (13)
Brighton Concorde 2 (17)
Birmingham Custard Factory (19)
Bristol Fiddlers (20)

There's a single out now - Love Cry - which is "super-limited". There's a version up on YouTube but, I suspect, no paperwork has been done to allow it. It's wonderful, though.

If you can trust them, Liars are prepping

More stuff to look forward to in 2010: Liars will be releasing Sisterworld early on.

The title? Oh, there's a high concept attached:

The title of the album refers to a place that is entirely Liars', completely without the influences and falsities of Los Angeles, where the band can, according to a statement, explore the "alternate spaces people create in order to maintain identity in a city like L.A."

Got that? It's not a world where they can sleep with each other's sisters without it being all awkward and strange. Not at all.

Joss Stone doesn't like Lily Allen much

Joss Stone is unimpressed by Lily Allen's attempts to influence the law on filesharing, on the grounds that Allen isn't really a musician:

"[Lily] needs to sell records because she's not a singer, and that's not an offence to her because I think that she knows that too," Stone told the Press Association.

Whereas Stone is "making real music [and] people [will] come to the show" for "artist[s] like Lily ... it's about the track, their personality and their celebrity".

Yes, people really shouldn't take bread out the mouths of actual artists by trading on their celebrity to get jobs in other fields, eh, Joss Stone?

By the way, how did the acting in The Tudors go?

Still, Stone is smart enough to know that while you might pick a fight with Allen, you're on a hiding to nothing taking on the internet:
"She's not going to win [the] fight [over downloads]," Stone said. "None of us will win that fight. So let's just accept it and see it as something that can be beautiful and might change music for the better. It might sort the weeds from the flowers."

Hmm. Actually, the weeds tend to be more interesting than the flowers, don't you think?

Kele goes it alone

More vague plans: Kele Okereke is apparently working on a solo record. Or at least that's what he's told his producer:

Hudson Mohawke told BBC Radio 1xtra that he may be working on the record with Okereke.
"It hasn't been finalised yet, but I'm doing a bit of stuff for Kele from Bloc Party's solo album," the producer said. "He's doing a record with one of the guys from Spank Rock."

So... not quite a solo record, then.

... and presumably the rest of Take That know, Robbie?

The feeling that Robbie Williams needs Take That more than Take That need Williams never quite goes away, does it?

The 35-year-old, who is a guest on Ross's Friday night chat show this week, said: "We've got together, done bits and bobs. I can't say much."

- Gary, Gary, can we do a song?
- No, Robbie, and get out my bathroom
- Oh come on... can I at least dance around a bit? People used to like me dancing around a bit
- No, Robbie. We do all the dancing. We're in time and everything now
- Oh... can I stand on the stage?
- No.
- Can I hold your shoes while you're on the stage?
- Oh... alright. But don't tell anyone.

AC/DC: Rolling in it

Which Australian entertainers make the most money? Well, yes, the headline on this post might give it away a little: AC/DC have taken back the top spot from, erm, The Wiggles.

The Age reckon that the ninefold increase in AC/DC fortunes might be down to it being grim for the rest of us:

Some of AC/DC’s hits over the years have coincided with the depths of the economic cycle, such as their successes during the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s. The band released its Black Ice album in October last year just as governments around the world rushed out emergency spending to avert a financial meltdown. The band’s contribution was to embark on a 17-month world tour.

I'm not entirely sure that the band were interested in bailing out anyone but themselves, but it's an interesting idea. Why waste all that money on complex computer models to predict the economy, when all you need to do to spot a downturn is ask Angus Young's tailor if he's letting out the waist on the schoolboy shorts again.

Embed and breakfast man: Viv Albertine

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Los Campesinos plan Winterval

Touring Britain in February, Los Campesinos? You'll need two sweaters or you'll catch your death:

11 Feb Wrexham, Central Station (14+)
12 Feb Liverpool, EVOL@O2 (14+)
13 Feb York, Fibbers (14+)
15 Feb Aberdeen, Tunnels (14+)
16 Feb Dundee, Dog House (14+)
17 Feb Edinburgh, Bongo (18+)
18 Feb Derby, The Venue (14+)
19 Feb Leicester, Queen’s Hall (14+)
21 Feb Cambridge, Junction (14+)
22 Feb Norwich, Arts Centre (14+)
23 Feb Brighton, Audio New Slang Night (16+)
24 Feb Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms (14+)
25 Feb London, KOKO (15+)
26 Feb Falmouth, Princess Pavillion (ALL AGES)
27 Feb Bristol, Thekla (14+)
01 Mar Birmingham, The Rainbow (18+)
02 Mar Northampton, Roadmender (14+)
03 Mar Reading, Plug & Play (16+)
04 Mar Kingston, Banquet New Slang (18+)

Embed and breakfast man: Secret Shine

Secret Shine are knocking together a new album, but - to make you moist and ready - they're sharing this new song. Touching Nothing was recorded at at the Big Pink Cake weekender in Bristol, earlier this year.

Now, that's the way to start a morning.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

World governments: working to keep Phil Collins back catalogue safe

In a few hours in Korea, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement talks will be resuming, with the main meat of the meeting a series of proposals drafted by the American Government.

It's a year since Obama won his victory promising a different way of doing things. I'm not sure a pan-global repressive approach to copyright was quite what anyone was expecting.

Michael Geist has the the details on what is, basically, an attempt to ratchet up US copyright law and blanket it across the world:

If accurate (and these provisions are consistent with the U.S. approach for the past few years in bilateral trade negotations) the combined effect of these provisions would to be to dramatically reshape Canadian copyright law and to eliminate sovereign choice on domestic copyright policy. Having just concluded a national copyright consultation, these issues were at the heart of thousands of submissions. If Canada agrees to these ACTA terms, flexibility in WIPO implementation (as envisioned by the treaty) would be lost and Canada would be forced to implement a host of new reforms (this is precisely what U.S. lobbyists have said they would like to see happen). In other words, the very notion of a made-in-Canada approach to copyright would be gone.

And, of course, the rest of the world.

It makes Feargal Sharkey seem like a very small and silly threat.

Well, actually, Sharkey makes himself seem like that. But you get the drift.

Spotify get an eye-catching first of dubious value

It's big for Spotify, of course:

It’s our pleasure to announce that this Friday 6th November, we’ll be unveiling Robbie Williams’ comeback album “Reality Killed The Video Star”, exclusively to all of our users in the UK, in advance of the album’s official launch on EMI's Virgin Records on November 9th.

The full album, which was produced by Trevor Horn and features twelve brand new tracks, including the singles “Bodies” and “You Know Me”, will be made available exclusively to every one of our UK users at midnight, 00:00 GMT, this Friday.

So what will fans make of “Reality Killed The Video Star”? Before next Monday’s official launch, there’s only one way to find out.

Interesting that it's Spotify getting the big reveal; equally interesting that it's all users and not just premium members who are being invited to hurt their ears. That, you can extrapolate, means that access to all Spotify users is more valuable for EMI than the fear of people using, say, AudioHijackPro to push ripped copies of the album onto the torrents.

[Thanks to Michael M]

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Rating elevated to 'guru'

In a ho-hum piece about how The X Factor has "changed the music business forever" (apparently being on TV sells records - why did nobody think of that before?) the Telegraph's James Hall calls on an expert witness:

Artists with new albums to plug – from Bon Jovi to Robbie to Whitney to Michael Buble – now appear on a weekly basis. Gennaro Castaldo, a spokesman for HMV and a guru on sales trends, says that artists who appear on the show can expect a “doubling or trebling” of sales on the back of their performance.

That's totally changed the face of the music business, right? Nobody ever fought to get a band on a half-assed Saturday night TV show in order to boost sales before. Unless you count Noel's House Party, or Parky, or all the other ones.

Downloadable: VHS or Beta

More free download largesse: The LA Riots rework-over of VHS Or Beta .

Downloadable: El Perro Del Mar

In order to try and interest you in the new album, Love Is Not Pop, El Perro Del Mar have set free a download of Change of Heart. Yes, the Lou Reed cover.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - Moustache

The Times' Michael Moran counts down the 25 best moustaches in pop:

23: Bryan Ferry

The blink-and-you-missed-it Ferry pencil moustache from 1976 graced the cover of his third solo album Let’s Stick Together. Although a short-lived project it was quite possibly an influence on Midge Ure’s widely admired 1979 effort.

Absolute invites you to dance the Prince Charming

Absolute have announced plans to launch an 80s station on the internet and DAB in London.

Absolute 80s aims to be a "nostalgia trip" for 30- to 54-year-olds, playing 80s pop from the likes of the Human League, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Duran Duran, Prince, ABC, Depeche Mode, Blondie and Bon Jovi.

The new station will operate as a jukebox format, without DJs, while the evening playlist will have a party feel.

This is going to take the place of Absolute Xtreme, which - as we were saying last week - is barely distinguishable from the main station. Something had to be done, and this is clearly something.

The worry for Absolute must be, though, that while people like to have 80s themed parties, and some people still dress up as Boy George and Marilyn to have sex from time to time, is it something that people want round the clock?

Yes, Duran Duran albums still sell tolerably well. And Spandau Ballet can sell tickets to a comeback. But there's a market for Clangers DVDs and Bagpuss backpacks; it would be a foolish move to launch a TV channel off the back of that, though.

I'm not clear that there's any demand for a sustained network playing (a very, very small segment of) 80s music without a presenter or context. And if there is, wouldn't sticking 'Wham" into LastFM do the job?

Griffin done... Christmas

Zoe Griffin announces that Jim Carrey is going to be in London today. But that's not really what's on Zoe's mind:

I really don’t get the fuss over Carrey but I am glad that the word Christmas is still in use - there has been way too much political correctness and ridiculous suggestions we call this time Winter Festival.

And they won't let you call a binbag a black bag any more, you know, and they're going to force everyone's grandma to be replaced by a black lesbian who knows all the health and safety rules.

Are you really that gullible, Zoe?

Gordon in the morning: An end to welfare

Blimey. Gordon Smart might not reflect his employer's stance on binge drinking, but he's clearly a supporter of the Sun's distaste for welfare payments. Robbie Williams has been helping out his girlfriend's mum, which would seem like a nice thing to do.

Gordon isn't so sure:

Robbie's made it clear how much he loves Ayda, but it seems a bit much to extend his generosity to her mum.

At least put her on the payroll and get her working.

Yes - if the woman's got her two legs, send her out digging holes. Anything else smacks of socialism.

It sounds like we're going to have sit through another long lost Beatles song:
A FORGOTTEN Beatles song begun by George Harrison has finally been completed - 40 years on.

Harrison, who died in 2001, scribbled the first ten lines of a number called Silence (Is Its Own Reply) on a piece of scrap paper in the 1960s.

On the back of the paper were instructions on how to reach Beatles manager Brian Epstein's country house in Sussex.

It's not clear how much of the original song was there, although the chorus - "down the A23/ turn left onto the Haywards Heath road/ it's the third entrance on the left" - suggests not very much.

This has, at least, been completed away from the heart of The Beatles industry:
The lyrics remained ignored until BBC Radio Merseyside host Spencer Leigh asked contemporary songwriter Dean Johnson to finish them.

There is, though, a lingering problem. Generally, if a scrap of lyrics has been discarded, it's because they're not very good. Could that be the case here?
"I'm happy to say it's only a dream, When I come across people like you, It's only a dream and you make it obscene."

Makes you think, doesn't it? Mostly, it makes you think "woah, I wish George Harrison had invested in a shredder."

Monday, November 02, 2009

Music industry policy in action

Well done, the music industry. Your efforts to close down the Pirate Bay might have cost you a fortune in legal brain-hire, and might not have actually have done more than take the site down for spurts, but still: You made your point, right?

Sure, what you also did was lead to a increase in the number of Pirate Bay-alike sites doing the same job, but in a more distributed fashion. But you made your point. Like when you closed Napster down, and wound up with helping the drive to filesharing in the first place.

According to [McAfee security analyst Greg] Day, in the days prior to the shutdown, treasure-hunters used anonymising software to gain access and copy the indexes that Pirate Bay used to redirect users to other computers hosting torrents.

Once the indexed data was in the public domain, open-source code was available to anyone who wanted to help with redistribution of torrents. While the Pirate Bay was offline there were four times as many sites offering access to the torrents.

Well done, the music industry. Well done.

Lamb cutlet: 6Music comes to its senses

Cheering news for most people who love 6Music but have drifted away from daytimes: George Lamb has been dropped and his show handed to Lauren Laverne.

Lamb will remain on the station, doing the weekend breakfast show for anyone who happens to be awake at that point. Given that the current show is done by Iyare, that tells you how high-profile his new slot will be.

Laverne doing mornings and Cerys doing lunchtimes - you only need Louise Wener at breakfast and that'll be a full set, isn't it?

Griffin done: Mitch Winehouse

Living TV's plans for a web series of interviews done by Mitch Winehouse in a taxi has already picked up a lot of publicity, but Zoe Griffin has her own angle on the story, naturally:

The Hoff is one of the coolest and funniest celebs I have ever met and Amy Winehouse’s dad Mitch is a straight-talking genius so I was really excited to hear that the two will combine for a 3.5 minute show for internet site Liv.

David Haselhoff is really one of the coolest and funniest celebrities you've met? Good god, who are the other famous people you've come across? Tommy Cannon and The Singing Postman?

You might have thought that such an admirer of the Hoff would, erm, be able to spell his name correctly:

If only they added him to spell check, eh?

Let's just pause for a while at the idea of Mitch Winehouse being "a straight-talking genius". Fair enough, it would mean there was more behind the decision to sign him up as a chat show host than "he's related to someone famous", but how does this "genius" manifest itself, exactly? And what would a genius get out of talking to The Bloke From The Programme That People Watched To See The Women In Swimsuits, exactly?

Still, nice to know that it's "3.5 minutes". Hopefully Living will provide a digital clock counting down to the end of the affair.

People who like music spend more money on music - survey

It's been repeated, and found by surveys, so often it barely constitutes 'news', but it's nevertheless timely that a Virgin Media funded survey again reports that people who use unlicensed music also spend more on licensed music, too:

The study - funded by Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) - says a third of adults go illegal. But the additional money they spend contributes £200 million to the music economy each year.

The survey only spoke to a 1000 people, but it was carried out by Demos so had a fairly rigorous methodology.

Brett on his own

The Quietus reveals we had a close call:

Brett Anderson Solo Album Could Have Been "Completely Instrumental"

Oh well. Better luck next time, eh?

Seriously, though: why would that make sense in the first place, Brett? What we love about you - especially now you've started keeping your shirt on in photos - is your voice and your lyrics. An instrumental album would have been like Big Mac bringing out a burger that only used the bread.

Darkness at 3AM: Drink Pink

According to the 3AM girls, Pink is about to go into the wine business.

Which is interesting, but nowhere near as interesting as the column's decision to call her P!nk. With the exclamation mark. They'll be bunging the ® in next.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Jackson opens the tills

Last week, Gennaro was uncertain if Jackson still had it:

"At the time of his death the response was very emotional," said Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for the HMV music retail chain.

"But there is a question as to whether that is as potent this time around. There is not that emotional intensity."

Now, though, the HMV Jackspert has made up his mind:
A spokesperson for HMV stores in London Gennaro Castaldo, said the success of the soundtrack will be manifested by being "among the top five for the next two months."

His mind-makeage probably helped by the interest shown in the movie, to be fair.

Gordon in the morning: Worth the entry fee

It's one of those days where Gordon confounds expectations and runs a decent story, albeit one copied off the Bon Jovi message boards:

BON JOVI face a backlash from furious fans over the £1,300 price tag for the best seats at their O2 residency next June.

The New Jersey rockers, who make much of their working-class roots, are set to play a string of gigs at the East London venue.

It's not just the top tickets which are eye-wateringly expensive; the crappest part of the venue will cost you forty quid.
New album The Circle from the quartet fronted by Jon Bon Jovi tackles issues such as the recent global financial downturn, and the irony is not lost on fans.

Oddly, Gordon doesn't use any of the contacts in his rolodex to bother getting any response from the ticket agency, the band, their management, the venue or even "sources close to". But at least it's a point worth raising.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Miley Cyrus wants Twitter vapourised

Sure, it can't be fun having someone insisting you return to a social network under threat of pussy-eating (and not the NSFW kind). But could Miley Cyrus hate Twitter more?:

"I think that everyone should leave Twitter," she told Chicago's B96 morning show during her tour stop in Chi-Town earlier this week. "I think Twitter should just be banned from this universe."

Good luck with that, Miley - even if you manage to get the United Nations of Earth to agree, you're never going to persuade the Cross-Galaxy Federation to ban Twitter. And The Empire uses it to arrange hunting weekends, so they're never going to back you. That group that the Tories sit with in the European Parliament - try them. Them's nuts enough to listen to you.

But for Miley, the internet is a bad place all round:
" 'Cause honestly, people, want to know why? You're unhealthy. You need to get out and do stuff and be in the world instead of being like this [hunched over and typing]," she explained. "All I did was lay in bed on my computer and sit there and eat ice cream late at night."

The singer added, "You don't end up living your life and you end up saying things that really is no one else's business. And I'm not a big fan of the Internet anymore," she added. "I don't really go online."

It's not known when Miley Cyrus had the attitudes of a 1980s PE teacher implanted in her mind; experts online suggest it could have happened when she deleted her Twitter account.

Tinariwen: Getting booked

Some ideas you can never quite classify as being audacious or just economy-brand terrible. So it is with plans for a book about Tinariwen, written by their manager Andrew Morgan:

Andy describes his book as "a full length work of documentary 'faction', told either from the first person point of view, with plenty of my own experiences of meeting the band and traveling to the desert, or more from the point of the view of the band members and the other 'companions' who have been on their incredible journey with them. I haven't decided yet. Its ambition is to be the most in-depth piece of writing about Tinariwen, modern Touareg history and the whole ishumar generation in the English language."

Hmm. If it comes off - and it could, in a Julian Cope sort-of fashion - that's going to be an incredible book.

If it doesn't, we might have to look the other way and whistle.

Meanwhile, the band are lined up to play Tamanrasset, the unofficial capital of the Touareg people. This is going to be a homecoming show - Tinariwen haven't played there since the 1980s. Their people are pitching it as the "sub-Saharan music event of the decade", which is the sort of bombast you'd expect from PR people but does have something of the ring of truth.

I missed, by the way, the release a couple of weeks back of Imidiwan: Companions. I'd make more of a fuss about it, but I see from Twitter that the X Factor is on so we're apparently all pretending we want music dead.

Sub Pop, KEXP link up

Given that times are meant to be so hard for music businesses, it always comes as a surprise to hear that people are, of course, still launching labels.

Like SubPop, who have linked up with KEXP to launch an imprint dedicated to The Best Ambiance's mix of pop from various nations across Africa.

They've already signed an act, too - Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba. They played the G8, which I guess means they'd managed to become as important as Bono without a US record deal. They sound like this:

Last with the news: The Rakes split

Look, I was on holiday and missed this, right? Luckily, The Guardian Guide repeated the story for a laugh. The Rakes split up the other week.

It's a bit of a pity. They were quite good.

Knock Off Nigel rides again

The intellectual property industry hasn't quietly dropped its toe-curlingly bad Knock-Off Nigel campaign. Oh no.

The supposedly cash-strapped business sector has pumped a bunch of cash into making something it clearly thinks will appeal to young people. Teaming up with readers' wives title Nuts (classy move, there), they've created a never-actually-funny video which you can "customise" with your friend's face and name to make it seem like they're Knock-Off Nigels, too. Oh, what larks.

Nuts are, of course, being paid to distribute this, but it seems that even they realise it's a bit weak. It's so far from compelling, in fact, they have to stick an introduction more-or-less begging you to watch:

Keep waiting - it's worth it!

Nuts Editor

I love the way rather than having a name, it's just "Nuts editor". Like when The Beano editor used to appear in The Bash Street Kids.

Boyzone plan a "tribute" to Stephen Gately

Apart from inviting Jan Moir to perform a rap on one of the tracks, it's hard to think of a worse idea than the Boyzone Stephen Gately cash-in album.

Sorry, I tried to type 'tribute' but the spell-check keeps correcting it to 'cash-in'.

Boyzone will incorporate a number of tracks which feature Gately's voice on the album, Ronan Keating told Sky News.

Luckily, what with Derek Acorah being busy doing the Michael Jackson seance, Boyzone have got some tapes with Gately's voice on them they can use. Like The Beatles did with John Lennon. Although probably not even as good as that.

Sunday People follow Church

In this photo Charlotte Church seems to have spotted the paparazzi, and taken steps to try and hide her child from them. (Almost as if she has no faith in the papers to stick to the Press Complaints Commission code.) And yet The People still run it.

So they have a photo of a woman clearly trying to stop a person photographing her daughter, and they run it, with a caption saying 'look, she's trying to stop people seeing her daughter'.

They must be very proud.

Cheryl Cole gets stuck on her hairspray

You think it's all fun being paid a ridiculous sum of money to endorse products?

Oh, if only that was the case:

CHERYL Cole's fashion advisors fear she is LOSING this season's glamour battle with rival judge Dannii Minogue - because she is BANNED by L'Oreal from changing her hair.

Girls Aloud star Cheryl, 26, has to keep her tresses the same as on her ads for the hair company under the terms of a £500,000 sponsorship deal.

Meanwhile glamorous Dannii, 38, has been sporting various funky styles including an Elvis QUIFF, Cleopatra FRINGE, pixie CROP and Bardot BOB.

To be honest, if someone gave me half a million to look a little less desperate for attention than Dannii Minogue, I'd consider it money for jam.

Cheryl is also reported to be finding it difficult sticking to demand that she doesn't beat the crap out of minimum-wage toilet attendants for the length of the sponsorship.

Still, she's lucky that other parts of the Nestle empire aren't so fussy. L'Oreal might be insisting she uses their products, but at least KitKat aren't making her force a couple of fingers down before each programme.

Hmmm. She's taking a lot of money from Nestle, isn't she?

Help Stamp Out Loneliness Weekend: Indietracks

Completing a very short weekend of not-very-high-quality video, here's some performance by HSOL from Indietracks this year:

[Part of Help Stamp Out Loneliness weekend. The other part.]

This week just gone

The most-read 2009 stories so far have been:

1. NME Awards 2010
2. Mp3 download: Los Campesinos
3. RIP: Taylor Mitchell
4. Neil Young live at Glastonbury
5. Glastonbury 2009: From the sofa
6. Panic At The Disco split
7. Liveblog: Eurovision 2009
8. George Sampson confuses Simon Cowell with Fairy Godmother
9. Glastonbury 2010 ticket update
10. Little Boots and The Saturdays don't row; 3AM say they do

These were the first signs of gathering Christmas markets:

Tegan And Sara - Sainthood

download Sainthood

Julie Fowlis - Uam

download Uam

Kats Karavan - The History Of John Peel On The Radio

Johnny Foreigner - Grace And The Bigger Picture

download Grace And The Bigger Picture

Espers - Espers III

download Espers III

Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of Medicine - The Audacity Of Hype

Morrissey - Swords

download Swords

Devendra Banhart - What Will Be Will Be

download Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon

Erasure - The Innocents [21st Anniversary Edition]

download The Innocents

Krystle Warren - Circles

download Circles