Saturday, July 17, 2010

Countryobit: Hank Cochran

Hank Cochran, country songwriter, has died.

Hank had started out as a performer, and briefly had an act with Eddie Cochrane, the Cochrane brothers. They weren't brothers. Despite achieving mild success in the early 1960s, it was a shift to crafting instead of singing which really made his success. A role at Ray Price's Pamper Music meant he was able to bring his friend into the company - and, since that friend was Willie Nelson, it worked out nicely for all parties.

He wrote for a number of country legends, including Patsy Cline and Burl Ives. His approach - "make it short, make it sweet and make it rhyme" - allowed his work to move easily across from the country charts to the main Top 40.

This, surely, is his golden moment:

Hank Cochran was 74.

Vampires attract cash-hungry model

Ann Kirsten Kennis. The name might be unfamiliar, but the face won't be.

This is her:

She's unhappy, as she claims that her appearance on the sleeve of Vampire Weekend's Contra was without her knowledge or permission.

Surely, you say, given that she's a model, she must have had a good idea that her picture would be used on things that pictures appear on? Isn't that her job? And wouldn't she have signed a release form?

She's ahead of you:

She also claims someone forged her signature on a release form.

Naturally, being America, she's decided that she needs to sue as only money can overcome the horror for a model of people looking at a photo of her. And, to be fair, if the picture was used against the rules, there is a small case to answer. So what are we talking - a few hundred dollars?

She's asking for two million dollars.

Two million dollars for being on an alt-rock CD sleeve? If that's what she thinks the pricing scale would suggest, it's perhaps no surprise she's not a famous model - "a shoot for a catalogue? Why, yes, I'd be delighted - that's going to be ten million pounds a day. Hello? Hello?"

Gordon in the morning: It's all about the money

Continuing the obsession in yesterday's paper which played the That/Williams rapprochement as mainly being of interest due to the money, today Carl Stroud - Gordon's deputy - files this:

ROBBIE WILLIAMS is at the centre of a multi-million pound record label bidding war after he confirmed he is rejoining TAKE THAT.

The band will release an album together and are set to rake in £75million with a 54-date stadium tour next summer.

But Robbie's record-breaking contract with EMI - signed for a reported £80million in 2002 - is up in October.

Stroud then goes on to speculate about Sony and Universal waving round £100 million bids to secure Williams. Sorry, a "source" does:
An industry source said: "Signing Robbie Williams is the holy grail for labels at the moment.

"He's already struck the biggest record deal in history, so whatever he is offered will have to compare favourably to that.

"He could be the first British artist to ever land a £100million deal."

The only problem with this - no disrespect to the industry source - is that it totally ignores Williams' recent track record. When EMI signed him for £80million, it was at the top of the Robbie Williams market. Now, more than ever, he's a bit like a saucer - only really of value if you're getting the full set, and - frankly - he could be easily replaced by a coaster if he was required at all.

And that would be if the record labels had any money to bid with.

The only industry source who surely would go round telling the papers that Williams was worth a hundred million - a tenth of a billion, lest we forget - is someone trying to talk up Williams' price in the market.

Frankly, if Williams thought his future earnings were going to be that high, he'd be self-financing. Trying to squeeze cash out of a record label is a sign that he knows he's not really going to make very much in the long run.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mirror Maths

Here's something strange:

Order your copy of the Daily Mirror for £3.15 and get the new Prince album 20TEN for Free.

The Mirror costs, what? 40p. Postage can't costs more than a pound, even if it's in an envelope. And that envelope can't be more than 50 pence worth.

So how does paying £3.15 for a 40p newspaper make the Prince album "free"?

It looks rather as if the Mirror is selling the Prince album for £3.15 from where I'm sitting.

Back For Good Enough: Robbie Williams moves back in with Dad

I think it's fair to say that the reunionised Take That had reached a bit of a natural end, with the first bubbling of creativity from getting back together having long since flattened out, so the inevitable lumbering back in of Robbie Williams has come too late to spoil anything too much. 'Williams rejoins Cameron-endorsing Marks And Spencer models' is less of a shame than the 'Williams stamps over the fizzle' if he'd been back in in 2005 or 2006.

Still, the camera-hogging, gurning, 'look! I'm a character' of Robbie towards the end of the BBC News video is a hint of the mismatch between the two sides now. It's like the two little pigs running into the brick house and behaving like they were the expert housebuilders all along.

Still, nobody's really that bothered about whether it's a good idea or not. For the Mirror, it's a chance to feel vindicated:

The move confirms the Mirror’s exclusive story in a March 2009 ­interview with Robbie that the band were getting back together.

Daily Mirror, everyone's been saying 'sooner or later, Williams will turn up with a stupid grin on his face' since Take That first got back as one. I'm not sure that 'just sixteen months after we said it was happening, it happened' is quite the claim you think it is.
obbie said last night: “I get ­embarrassingly excited when the five of us are in a room. It feels like coming home.”

Yes, it's exactly like coming home. But there's no shame in that, Robbie - a surprising number of men in their thirties move back in with their parents after their careers go south.

The Mirror offers a verdict on the hooking-up, with their in-house Take That fan Beth Neil taking on the paper's music critic Gavin Martin. (Gavin Martin's the Mirror's music critic now? Really?)

Beth goes first:
I just hope Robbie doesn’t try to steal the limelight and overshadow the other four, who have grafted non-stop to become the nation’s biggest man band.

Oh, come on, Beth - what are the chances of that?

Still, I'm sure Gavin's got some sort of musical insight to share:
[E]xpect plenty of sold-out gigs, making it an astute move commercially for all five.

Is it, though, Gavin? Take That as foursome could sell out gigs at the largest venues in the country, so all they're really doing is splitting the take five ways instead of four. That looks like a crappy move, surely?

Over at The Sun, Gordon Smart is delighted:
[T]hank the lord for some good news after such a bleak few weeks of murder and misery dominating the headlines.

Oh, yes. I've totally forgotten we've got a bumbling Tory at the Treasury and the Prime Minister believes some people are just innately evil with the news that a band have brought back their worst member.
This reunion is HUGE. It doesn't get any bigger.

Scientists are currently attempting to calculate if this reunion that doesn't come any bigger is larger or smaller than the bigness of a Masterchef final.

Reunions don't come any bigger? Wouldn't Paul and Ringo getting out the mop-top wigs one last time trump it?

Hang about, though, Gordon's about to blow:
The tour will break records on pre-sales, as will the album. Then there'll be the sponsorship, the TV rights, a DVD, merchandising, royalties and publishing.

To say nothing of the acres and acres and acres of coverage churned out by the tabloids, eh, Gordo?
If you thought the boys were rich now, next Christmas is going to see them served up with a whole new level of wealth.

Is it just me, or is a reunion where the reaction is 'this is going to make a lot of money' rather than 'we're going to hear some great music' one which, fundamentally, is more in the interests of record labels and promoters than fans?
The only problem I can see is Robbie's crippling stage fright and his hatred of being on the road.

You don't think that the fifteen years of animosity and his inability to work as part of a team might be a bigger problem?

The Mail calls the reWilliamsing 'Take Two', although surely it's Take Four - the band, band without Williams, band reunited without Williams, Band reunited with Williams? Despite assigning two writers to the story, though, the Mail doesn't show very much interest in the band coming back together - mainly because there's no picture of a woman in a bikini they can run alongside it.

Kim Dawson provides 'analysis' for the Daily Star. She's already started the countdown clock. The countdown to the end:
Another split will only break the hearts of women round the country still reeling from Mark’s infidelity.

Nobody seems to have told Dawson that (a) the reunion is only a fixed-time deal so there will be a natural end and (b) there are precisely no women - apart maybe from Owen's wife - who are reeling from his infidelity. And even if there were: eh? What the hell does that mean?

The Daily Express more or less ignores the story entirely, although it does take care to take the sting out of the response to its short cut-and-paste brief:
Have your say is unavailable for this story

God, yes, you wouldn't want anyone saying anything nasty about Williams and Barlow hugging, would you?

The Telegraph inadvertently gets to the problem of the story. To justify the excitement, there's a desperate desire to present this as an unlikely surprise:
Bandmate Owen said: "Getting the five of us to be in a room together, although always a dream, never actually seemed like becoming a reality.

"Now the reality of the five of us making a record together feels like a dream. It's been an absolute delight spending time with Rob again. But I'm still a better footballer," he joked.

... but the entire world has just been waiting for this moment, and for the last two or three years it's been an inevitable 'when' rather than an 'if':
Despite Williams ridiculing Barlow during his early solo shows, the pair began to bury the hatchet in recent years and their friendship was renewed.

Williams said last year: "You carry around all this resentment and bitterness for such a long time."


Williams had already revealed he was working with Barlow. Last month he announced the pair were to release a duet Shame which will feature on his greatest hits collection.

Still, the Telegraph does focus in on some people who won't be celebrating:
The new album will be released on Take That's label Polydor, rather than Williams's company, EMI.

Ah, the cost of trying to drag their nosediving big name out the dumper is having to let Polydor get the most cake.

The Times - well, who knows or cares what The Times says these days?

Really, though, at times like this you need to turn to an expert. What have you got for us, Popjustice?

Now, that would be a reunion which didn't come any bigger.

Gordon in the morning: Finally, Cheryl is well enough to have sex (stories written about her)

On a day when you'd have thought the return of the worst bit of Take That to the band (more on which in a moment) would have been the showbiz headline, Gordon instead leads off with some rubbish about Cheryl Tweedy's sex life:

CHERYL TWEEDY has managed her first laugh since she was struck down with malaria - when doctors banned her from having sex.

A bit of Will.i is quite low on her list of priorities at the moment - with staying alive at the top.

But her boyfriend's Derek, isn't it? Why mention... hang about, you're not just making a laboured pun based on "will.i" sounding a little bit like "willy", are you? Surely not?

So on a day when there is actually big news, you've chosen to ignore that and just make a willy joke your lead. I see.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You're Korn and then you want to die

Jonathan Davis - one of the children's entertainers in the scary-Clown act that is Korn - suffered when making the new album:

"Making the record was sheer f**king hell. It was one of the most difficult things in my life," he explained.

"It was f**king torment. [Ross] put me in a place I didn't want to be. He put me in a horrible depression where I wanted to kill myself again. It was f**ked up. He was just pushing my buttons, tormenting me and f**king me up."

He continued: "He'd find out everything that my lyrics were about, then he'd use that s**t as ammo while I was singing. I got back into a position where I trusted him, but then he abused the s**t out of [that trust] and that killed me.

"He was sticking a knife deep into my heart. It was f**king brutal. He's a motherf**ker. I literally got to the point where I wanted to die. [Bandmates] Fieldy and Munky were worried sick about me. I lost a whole lot of weight, I couldn't eat, I was rotting away."

He wanted to die when he made the record, and if you listen to it, you'll know exactly how he felt.

Let's not suggest that Davis is an old ham, who is trying to dress up the sort of teenage angst he should have left behind long since into some sort of dark art. Because, you know, that might fucking push his shitting motherfuckering buttons, and that would put him off his Puffa-Puffa Rice.

Dave McCabe granted conditional bail

Dave McCabe out of The Zutons has been granted conditional bail at a hearing yesterday. McCabe pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following a row outside the Korova club in Liverpool. He's accused of breaking a man's nose; he'll be back in court during the week of September 20th.

Gordon in the morning: The ill and the old

Shane out of Westlife is investing wisely the money he's made inexplicably:

The WESTLIFE singer is behind the building of a £5million nursing home in his native Sligo, Ireland, hoping it will be the first of many.

Shane and brother Finbarr run the sadly titled company Shafin (get it?) Developments together.

Yes, Gordon, we "get" the not-exactly-difficult company name.

It's interesting the report focuses on the old people's homes rather than the "luxury flats and shopping centres" he's also going to build. I wonder why.

Oh... it's so that Gordon can do some shtick:
Westlife had a hit with Home in 2007 - now maybe all Shane's showbiz mates will be looking forward to their twilight years in one of his properties as he expands his empire?

I can imagine LOUIS WALSH Zimmer-framing around as SIMON COWELL whizzes by on his luxury mobility scooter.

Yes. Yes, you keep imagining that.

Naturally, there's a Cheryl Cole story from her bedside with nothing much in it. Supposedly, she's refusing the private hospital food in favour of stuff her Mum's bringing in:
A source close to the GIRLS ALOUD singer said: "It's definitely helping to cheer her up.

"There were things like quails eggs on the menu. But fancy foods aren't Cheryl's way."

The made-up story then goes on to stress how working class Cheryl is, while explaining how she's not eating from the menu in the luxury, private hospital in the centre of London where she's receiving the best treatment money can buy is. It's effectively like being treated down a mine, I guess.

Embed and breakfast man: Belle And Sebastian

Over in Finland last week, Belle And Sebastian played a new song, I Didn't See It Coming. This is what it sounds like:

[via This Is Fake DIY]
[Buy: Fans Only: DVD]

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Replaying the Ace Of Base

There's something you might never have expected to see: Ace Of Base are back. And, far from adopting a new sound, they're just mashing up their old stuff into a semi-familiar sort-of-old-jumper of sound.

There was this one time, at Bandcamp, I stopped giving it away for free

So, up until now, Bandcamp has been allowing bands to use its marketing services for nothing.

That can't go on forever, though, and from today they're going to start charging:

Bandcamp’s share will be 15% of each transaction, dropping to 10% as soon as your all-time sales exceed $5,000 USD.

The revenue share won’t go into effect until early August. Until then, Bandcamp’s share remains zero. We’ve based the percentages on what works for the business and what many of you have already told us feels fair, but there’s still plenty of time for more feedback, so bring it (preferably in the comments below).

It's not a large sum, and given that Bandcamp seems to work well for those who use it, finding a way to keep offering the service is fair enough.

Not entirely sure it's fair that smaller bands wind up paying a higher rate, though - surely if there has to be two rates, you can better afford to pay more after you've sold five grand's worth? Is the idea to encourage people to try and sell more so they get the lower fee? But isn't the actual earning of the money going to encourage that anyway?

That's a small quibble, though:
The basic service will remain free. Bandcamp only makes money when you make money. We considered building the business around advertising, but…well, OK, we never really considered that. We did consider building it around subscriptions, but under that model, given the option of either developing a feature to increase your sales by 20%, or dinking around with service tiers to try to boost our subscriptions by 20%, we’d have to choose the latter. By building the business on a revenue share, our interests are perfectly aligned with yours: we only succeed when you succeed.

If their platform makes you money, they make money. There's some virtue there.

Peter Jenner is a wise man

Thanks to Michael M for the link to Music Ally's coverage of Peter Jenner at the Westminster eForum. Jenner is the emeritus president of the International Music Managers' Forum - you might also remember from his other work managing The Clash and T Rex and... well, everybody else, more or less.

He's not convinced the record industry have really thought through their reaction to digital music:

“It seems to me that in the online world, the marginal cost of a digital file is essentially zero,” he says, making it an “inescapable reality” that the digital world is pushing the price of music towards zero.

“If we rely on a copyright law – i.e. a right to copy law – we’re clearly barking down a historical blind alley.” He says the comparison is making airline legislation based on the rail network. “There aren’t many signals in the sky…”

Jenner's central argument is that, with the record companies getting it wrong, now is the time to return control of music to the people who make music:
[He says] pressure for – for example – copyright extension is coming from the industry rather than from creators. They’re not worrying about whether their grandchildren will benefit from a song when they’re writing and/or recording it.

His solution, though, is probably just as unworkable - in effect, a levy on internet connection:
“If we can get £1 a month from every person in this island for music, that would give us £60 million a month,” Jenner concludes, suggesting that this would come close to the current value of the industry here in the UK. “It is not a huge challenge.”

Righto - it would be fairly easy to organise collection. But given that right now the music industry is worth about sixty million quid a month, and not everyone is paying, why should everybody suddenly have to chip in a quid?

Just philosophically - why? My Dad used to listen to Radio 2 and would sometimes see a band on the TV. But his musical consumption was already all paid for - the PRS payments took care of it. Why should he pay a pound?

I buy lots of music, certainly more than a pound a month's worth. But I'll be damned if I want to chip in money which will end up going to supporting, say, Robbie Williams or Katie Price.

Which leads us on to the other question: how do you split up this sixty million pounds? Or forty million, by the time the administration costs of just collecting the the money has gone. If I stick up a YouTube video of myself humming, do I get a share? And if I don't, why don't I?

Because if this money is going to reward people for the music they make being used online, then who decides when you move from being someone humming on a YouTube video to being a musician worthy of a slice of this pie? Is it if I sing instead of hum? Do I have to sing my own song? But then the Sugababes won't qualify for any of the money?

And if you do admit that anyone who does something musical online gets a slice, then frankly, that forty million isn't going to go far. And that's before you get filmmakers asking why they're not getting a bit. And vloggers. And... well, you get the point.

So the risk for those involved in music is that, by breaking the link between the music and the payment, you don't increase the amount of cash in circulation, but you do expand the number of people trying to get their beaks wet.

Jenner knows what won't work. I'm not sure he quite has a plan for what will.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: The Price of nothing

Did you know that Katie Price - or ITV2, as she's known professionally - has got a single out? Of course you didn't, because if you did you'd have been hiding under the bed until it all went away.

It looks like 'under the bed' might be quite busy, come to that, as the whole world seems to be hiding from the single. It's going to be lucky to scrape the Top 50.

Earlier this week, she told the Press Association: "If it does well, that would be brilliant, but as long as people like it."

Let's hope she had a plan C as well. "Failing that, just so long as I'm not summoned to The Hague to explain what I've wrought" - something like that.

Who can explain how Katie Price is supposedly so popular, but her records are not selling?

Why, this job could be perfect for HMV's Glamour Factmodel, Gennaro Castaldo:
Gennaro Castaldo of music retailer HMV said: "Katie Price is obviously a hugely successful celebrity who knows how to engage with her fans, particularly when it comes to her books, DVDs and other merchandise, but some people seem to be drawing a line when it comes to her singing."

Castaldo seems puzzled that people aren't buying the record when they buy all the other tosh; surely his puzzlement should be that she manages to sell anything at all.

Perhaps she should have got someone else to do the singing for her, the way she has someone else write the books for her.

Gordon in the morning: Band fracture at the bedside

Gordon hasn't enjoyed himself with a terrible episode in Cheryl Tweedy's life since he kept banging away at her marriage for days on end last year. You know, the thing that caused all that stress that somehow contributed to her illness?

Thank god that nobody is causing Tweedy stress and anxiety while she's got malaria, eh, Sean Hamilton?

MALARIA victim CHERYL TWEEDY has banned her Girls Aloud best friends KIMBERLEY WALSH and NICOLA ROBERTS from seeing her.

There's an attempt to paint this as some sort of band-strife thing, rather than just Cheryl only taking visits from her mum and current boyfriend. Still, I'm sure painting 'I don't want to see anyone' as 'Cheryl bans bandmates' won't make her any more stressed, eh?
A source said: "Cheryl doesn't want people to see her as she is."

Don't worry, A source: hardly anyone even mentions that time she beat the crap out of the woman in the toilets.

Oh. You mean "see her being ill."

Hamilton reveals that not only has it put the kibosh on X Factor judging and the new album, but Tweedy's illness has also disrupted the timetable on another popular public entertainment:
The 27-year-old has even put her divorce from love-rat footballer ASHLEY COLE on ice as she is too frail to meet lawyers or read documents.

But Sean, that can't be the case, can it? I can definitely remember Gordon Smart announcing that Cheryl was going to ensure the divorce was "done and dusted" before the World Cup.

Elsewhere, Gordon runs photos from Kylie's shoot for Out, which gives him the opportunity to indulge in a spot of distancing himself from the idea of being gay:
It was pointed out to me by a good-with-colours friend, obviously.

But the pics are a pleasant treat for her lady-liking fans too.

Good with colours friend? That's lame in both directions.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Prince helps out the Mirror

So, how did the Prince album giveaway do for the Mirror? Pretty well, from the paper's perspective:

Their sales increased by 334,000 and 45,000 [for sister paper the Daily Record] respectively when compared with sales on the previous Saturday.

The Mirror hopes that people will have been so thrilled with the paper that came with the record that they'll be back for more Andy Capp and 3AM. Good luck with that, Mirror.

They're also convinced they've created something collectable:
According to the Mirror, copies of its Saturday issue have "become an instant collector's item" and the CD itself has "sparked a global bidding war" with copies "being touted for $22 - £14.60 - last night on the internet...

Perhaps. But you can pick it up for 99p right now. Which, to be fair, is still a profit - although the large number of 'no bids' suggests it might not have been such a canny investment after all.

Girls Can't Catch anyone's eye

Girls Can't Catch - who tried to be The Spice Girls or Girls Aloud or something with Girls in that was successful - have bowed to the inevitable and given up:

Member Daizy Agnew confirmed the news to fans in a post on her page, writing, "Sadly it's over for GCC. We have (had) an incredible year! Thank you so much for your support. It was a pleasure to share this experience with Jess (Stickley) and Phoebe (Brown). I will (be) pursuing other projects. I don't believe in giving up. Thank you once again for everything."

No word yet on what Daisy Agnew's other projects might involve, but friends say she has been asking 'so, how often do they change out the Sugababes again?' quite a lot.

The strategy of attempting to ride a girl-power type typhoon to fame while having a name which appeared to be lifted directly from a sitcom bloke's sneer will continue to be pursued by other bands, including I Can't Do The Maths As I'm A Lady and Stop Flapping The Map About We Should Have Turned Left Outside Cirencester.

Rihanna tries to avoid a soaking

More misery from the US live music scene, where greed-and-Ticketmaster-LiveNation have combined to suffocate a golden goose: Rihanna is axing dates across the US rather than turn up to empty rooms.

The Denver date has followed Phoenix, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Dallas and Washington down the drain; Simon and Garfunkel have also been paring back their itinerary as people decide not to pay silly money for a night out.

The Rihanna tour is going under the banner The Last Girl On Earth; ticket sales are so slow she might have wound up The Only Person In The Arena.

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Louise Wener

Hopefully, the next edition of Louise Wener's Different For Girls can drop the off-putting thumbs-up on the cover from Fearne Cotton now that Jude Rogers has reviewed it for the New Statesman:

Wener also dismantles the myth that the likes of Blur were intelligent pop revolutionaries. She describes their rudeness, their ruthless ambition and their "easy, bohemian, moneyed odour". And then there are the groupies. Wener leaves nothing out. The bassist Alex James tells a young woman, "You're ugly, but I'm going to fuck you anyway," while their tour manager is despatched to select attractive girls from the audience and give them after-show tickets, known as "Blur-job passes".

Gordon in the morning: Mel B's fists of fury

Poor Amado Aguirre. He's an estate agent and was - he claims - invited to go and value Mel B's house; while he was prepping by taking photos of the properties, deciding what bits he'd talk up and what bits he'd try to avoid purchasers looking at, when Mel B and her husband, Mel B's husband mistook him for a paparazzo and - again, he says - beat him up.

You'd have to be impressed if this story is true - so many celebrities would send their hired goons to beat up strangers rather than rolling up their sleeves and doing it themselves. Although perhaps Mel B can't afford to hire goons any more, and that might be why she's flogging off the house.

She might find it even harder to afford hirings if Aguirre has his way - being an estate agent, he's sized up his injuries, considered their location and put a value of a million pounds on them. Hence the size of his launched lawsuit.

Stuart Pink has handled this story, leaving Gordon to try and squeeze another Cheryl Cole story out of her malaria. I suppose Smart is worried if he doesn't run something, anything, every day, readers might assume she's died in the night.

[Doctors] have also suggested she takes up relaxing yoga and Pilates to reduce her stress levels.

Yes, apparently yoga cures malaria. Given that she was supposedly at death's door according to yesterday's non-story, it seems a little odd the doctors are bellowing over the sound of medical equipment that she might think about buying a yoga mat.

Yesterday, you might recall, Smart informed readers that Tweedy would be out for most of the X Factor:
MALARIA-stricken CHERYL TWEEDY will not return to X Factor until live finals in October, it was revealed last night.

That was pretty definitive, then. At least X Factor fans know where they... hang about, what's this today?
Cheryl has said she won't perform at all for the rest of the year - but she will be back as a judge on X Factor in time for boot camp.

Meanwhile, The Sun's advertisers have got a suggestion for Cheryl if she's looking for a plan B:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Reggaeobit: Sugar Minott

The death has been announced of Sugar Minott, one of the earliest reggae acts to crossover.

Born - where else? - in Kingston, Jamaica, Lincoln Barrington Minott got involved with reggae at an early age, selecting for the Sound of Silence Keystone group before he was a teenager. He established his own sound system, Gathering Of Youth, shortly afterwards.

Sugar Minott got a further toehold in the scene as a member of the African Brothers. The band worked with names whose position in reggae history border on the religious - Coxsone Dodd, Rupie Edwards and Ronny Burke amongst them.

After he left the trio, he turned his start into a strong solo following. He spent time with Studio One, helping re-establish the label after it had seen many of its first wave depart to other outfits. Fabulously successful at home, Minott even managed a number four hit in the UK with Good Thing Going in 1981.

His Black Roots label, and Youthman production outfit brought on the next generation of Jamaican talent, while he continued to tour in his own right. He was about to release a new album in the next couple of weeks.

Sugar Minott was 54; the cause of his death has not been made public, but he had cancelled Canadian dates following chest pains earlier this year.

Coming soon: Laetitia Sadier's solo album

Laetitia Sadler, off of The Stereolabs, is doing a solo album this September. It's going to be called The Trip and - hey! - will be promoted by a trip round Europe playing bits and pieces from it:

10-14 Esch-Sur-Alzette, Luxembourg - Kulturfabrik
10-15 Utrecht, Netherlands - Ekko
10-16 Leipzig, Germany - Conne Island
10-17 Berlin, Germany - Hebbel Am Ufer 2
10-18 Krakow, Poland - Unsound Festival
10-19 Vienna, Austria - Rhiz
10-20 München, Germany - Feierwerk
10-21 Turin, Italy - Spazio 211
10-22 Rome, Italy - Init Club
10-23 Bologna, Italy - Lokomotiv
10-25 Barcelona, Spain - Sidecar
10-26 Zarautz, Spain - Gazteszena
10-30 Vendôme, France - Festival Rockomotives
10-31 Paris, France - Café de la Danse

(Tour dates culled from Pitchfork and thus all in October.)

Rush fans seek refunds

Last Wednesday, Rush cancelled a gig in Chicago because of heavy rain. A shame, perhaps, but there you are.

Oh... unless you're Christopher Langone. He's annoyed that the band didn't adopt a show-must-go-on approach, and has launched a lawsuit:

The lawsuit states: "After the announcement of cancellation, rain was not significant in Chicago. For example, the Chicago White Sox completed a game in the weather in Chicago on the evening of July 7, 2010."

Langone tells the Chicago Sun-Times, "I travelled here to Chicago to see the show with old friends. I've been a lifelong fan of Rush and we were very disappointed they cancelled the show...especially when (the rain) stopped."

'I'm such a lifelong fan of the band, they decided to not play in the pouring rain once, and I slap them with a lawsuit. That's the extent of my fandom.'

It's not clear if the baseball match he cites in his lawsuit was being played with electric bats, or if Langone doesn't quite understand the difference between standing on a stage surrounded by electrical equipment and playing sports. Nor the difference between an open air gig, and a sporting event, the latter of which have most of the fans under cover. It's also not entirely obvious why Langone is especially pissed off that they cancelled and then it stopped raining, as if he'd rather they left it right to the last minute to pull the gig, thereby ensuring even local people would have set out on their journeys before it was called off.

Darkness at 3AM: Thinking of the children

The Mirror's gossip team stick their fingers into Kerry Katona's misery again:

Brian McFadden is so furious with ex Kerry Katona for yelling at their kids in a C4 show he has demanded they spend the summer holidays in Oz, with him. Molly, eight, and Lilly-Sue, seven, will fly to Sydney today. Brian said: "It really upsets me when she uses the kids in her TV shows. I don't like them being pawns in a story."

Yes. That's the best way to stop the kids being pawns in a story, by telling the press that you want the kids with you, away from being used as a cheap way of generating headlines.

Gordon in the morning: Cowboy style

More non-stories from outside the hospital and far, far from Cheryl's bedside as a spokesperson issues a statement:

Last night her spokesman said: "She will not be able to take part in X Factor's boot-camp stage or perform at V."

Gordon folds this into a 'return for the live finals' which, clearly, isn't what the statement said.

In other news, Gordon's byline is slapped alongside that of Carl Stroud to predict a reunion - "for one year only" of Robbie Williams and the Bits Of Take That who people like:
ROBBIE WILLIAMS is rejoining TAKE THAT for an album and tour - and a video with GARY BARLOW based on Brokeback Mountain.
Robbie and Gary will warm up with the video likening their love-hate relationship to the tormented gay cowboys in the 2005 flick.

Apart from having two blokes in it, the Williams/That relationship is nothing like the Brokeback story, really, is it? Not in any way.

It's more like when Bet Lynch came back to Coronation Street and discovered that it wasn't the place she left and just looked odd and awkward standing at the Rovers bar.

The story is incredibly oddly written, too:
[The single Shame] is about Robbie's feelings for the boyband - famed for hits including Back For Good.

Really, Gordon and Carl? You're having to slip in a line to tell us who Take That are?

Gordon's people have mocked up how it would look if you put cowboy hats on Barlow and Williams - because that's what Brokeback Mountain effectively boils down to, men wearing cowboy hats. Sadly, nobody thought to photoshop Carl and Gordon a Brokeback-style shared byline picture.

In short, then: the last goodwill left in the Take That reunion is about to dry up.

And in the North, Gordon went to watch Kasabian playing T in The Park. Gordon had a very important job to do:
The band kept a close eye on the World Cup Final.

And it fell to me to pass them the result live on stage after Spain's last-gasp win.

Let's hope the band hadn't recorded the match to watch later, eh, Gordon? Otherwise you'd be Brian Glover to Kasabian's Bewes and Bolam.

Kasabian's reaction?
When I'd told him the score, Serge declared: "We'll play their victory party in Madrid, it's as simple as that."

Will you, Serge? You might want to wait to be asked. Simple as that.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Apparently, it is possible to tarnish John Lennon's memory

Given that since he was shot, the keepers of John Lennon's flame have been quite happy to use his name and music to flog everything from regional airports to training shoes - to say nothing of John Lennon's Flame brand barbecue coals - it's something of a surprise to discover that people still get upset by it.

But they do, and so we find ourselves with Sean Lennon having to defend why Lady GaGa was allowed to use Lennon's white piano.

You know the white piano - it was the one in the video where John banged on about how we'd all be much happier if we could free ourselves from being fixated on physical stuff; from treating things as if they were somehow of intrinsic value themselves and to concentrate instead on the spiritual.

Apparently that message of not treating stuff like it was a god has had such a deep impact on Lennon's fans, they can't stand to see people putting their hands on the piano Lennon used to float the idea. Hey, you, get your hands off John's stuff:

JOHN LENNON's son SEAN has been blasted by fans of the late BEATLES star for allowing LADY GAGA to play the musician's iconic piano.

Yeah - how dare Lady GaGa, a mere pop star, put herself on the piano keyboards of the bloke who did Twist And Shout and I Wanna Hold Your Hand. That's just wrong.
Sean defended his decision to allow the pop sensation to use the piano - insisting his followers shouldn't be "so judgemental".

In a series of posts on the microblogging site, he writes: "Pianos are meant to be played. Why is everyone so uptight?

"What should we do, lock it away in a dusty room? So judgemental... Come on, lighten up... life's too short, there're enough real problems in the world.

"Firstly, he gave that piano to my mother for her birthday, it is hers, secondly, he was not uptight the way you seem to be."

Of course, if Sean really wanted the piano to be played, he could give it to a school that wants to teach kids to play piano but don't have the money to buy one. Eh, Sean?

The music industry takes on the porn industry

It's always nice when the music industry thinks of someone new to sue. Now, they're going after the porn industry for using songs in wankflicks without paying royalties.

Pornographers against music industry lawyers. It's hard to know who you want to come off much, much worse.

Interestingly, the record labels have decided to demand back royalties rather than just telling them to stop. Because the RIAA are so greedy, they don't care if the cash is spunk-stained. Because all they care about is the cash. Who cares where it comes from?

When Goths fall out: Murphy and Perry have stand-up fist fight

Okay, not a stand-up fist fight. Nobody does that any more. But the bitter collapse of a plans for a Pete Murphy-Brendan Perry 100 date world tour is ending in smeared eyeliner and angry Facebook posts.

Perry started it, sir, with this:

"The truth of the matter is that PM [Peter Murphy] wasted months of my time, energy and effort. It was he, after all, who invited me to tour with him and then reneged on our agreement not once, not twice but three times... can you imagine my frustration? ... I would not have minded so much if he had shown some remorse by way of an apology, this would have been the very least I could expect from such an honorable and 'spiritual' man. Right? Well wrong... When I last wrote to him to enquire how he was and what the problem was, he basically told me to mind my own business... Cuckoo!"

Hang about, Brendan? Murphy dumped on you once, and you carried on. He did it again, and you still carried on? By the time of the third time he turned you over, you might start to wonder if you let yourself in for it, right? There comes a point when Charlie Brown has to stop blaming Lucy, and ask himself why he keeps trying to kick a ball he knows won't be there, right?

Perry hasn't finished, though:
"The guy has too many albeit mysterious health issues to deal with and, to be honest, he's a sandwich short of a picnic."

I can't help but feel a bit disappointed that Brendan Perry would use 'sandwich short of a picnic' as a genuine term of abuse. It's a bit like turning up at the Dead Can Dance rehearsal rooms to find the walls covered in 'this is a round tuit' and 'I know you think you understood what you think that I said' posters.

Still, Peter Murphy won't take that sort of thing lying down. Sideline watches from, erm, the sidelines:
Murphy now retaliates saying that he mistook Perry for a better person suggesting Perry should "write angry depressive 'Goth' songs that would be a good big market for you." And things get serious when Murphy adds: "if I find any serious libel in print up there on the web, I tell you, and from the real Irish fucker that I can be, I will take no hesitation in suing your bad ass."

Ha! Pete Murphy scolded Perry by accusing him of playing to the doomy-Goth lowest common denominator market. That would probably hurt. Had it not come from a man who makes a cameo in Twilight: Eclipse.

The Lost Campesinos: Ollie's off

Ollie has left Los Campesinos, as you're probably aware. This is his farewell:

It is with very sad regret that I have to announce that I, Ollie Campesinos!, have parted company with Los Campesinos!.

When we first started this band we never expected in a million years that three years down the line we would have done and achieved all the things that we have. It’s been an amazing experience and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I want to thank everyone that we have ever worked with. Without your hard work we wouldn’t have done all these things. Thank you to every band I have ever had the privilege of playing with. I have made some really great friends.

But most importantly I want to thank every one of you that has ever taken any time to take interest in us. Whether it’s coming to a gig, buying a record or merely reading my food reviews. If it weren’t for you guys and gals we would have faded out a long time ago.

It’s been a true honour and a privilege, my life is going to be very different.

And this is the remaining band's response:
This is really tough to talk about for so many reasons. I guess first off, you should know that the last few weeks have been pretty horrible for everyone, especially Ollie. We didn’t think we’d ever be in this position and it’s been hard enough to deal with privately, let alone publicly, but we’ve certainly taken no pleasure whatsoever in any of this: asking one of our best friends to leave the band we formed together really does feel as shit as you would expect.

It’s obviously difficult to explain this decision in a sensitive way, because Ollie’s been nothing but professional and genuinely lovely throughout his time in this band, and has continued to be, even now. Any of you that have met him will know what he’s like, and what a good guy he is.

So we feel we should stress that the reasons for this decision were never personal nor down to any lack of effort or professionalism on Ollie’s part; we still love and respect Ollie deeply. Please understand that it’s a decision we all felt we had to make for Los Campesinos! to be able to continue as a band at all.

We’ve had over three brilliant years with Ollie and made three records I think we’re all proud of, and in that time he’s always been enthusiastic and hard-working, and, well, just an all-round nice guy. Hopefully this decision won’t make any of us less proud of what we’ve achieved together, as it really has been a pleasure being in a band with him. Again, we can’t emphasise enough just how shit this whole situation is, but we hope you’ll understand.

There is no danger of this being the end of Los Campesinos!, and we will definitely continue more enthusiastically and stronger than ever. All scheduled gigs will continue as planned.

And this is what they were like, in less shit times:

The new number two: Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling embark on Prisoner-themed album

I think we've all agreed we'll just pretend that ITV haven't attempted to destroy one of the few remaining pieces of heritage they've left by remaking The Prisoner, right? (God, ITV, eh? They'll be inserting CGI ghosts into Coronation Street next, eh? Oh.)

So, let's embrace a sort-of remake we can all get behind:

This is Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling - a name, I suspect, they will come in time to resent as much as Mr and Mrs Kerr's son Wayne resented his. Never mind, though, as what they're doing is both interesting and lovely. They've embarked on a 17 strong song cycle which turns each episode of the The Prisoner into a nowavepop song.

Songs, in fact, like this:

UPDATE: JULY 2015: That widget appears to have failed at some point. Here's a YouTube embed instead:

Twittergem: Ryan Adams

I wish I could make as good a record as John Mayer made. If I can do that I will be happy.

- @theRyanAdams

This week just gone

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This week's interesting sounding releases:

Cherry Ghost - Beneath This Burning Shoreline

Download Thirst For Romance

Sarah Harmer - Oh, Little Fire

Download Oh Little Fire

Wire - Send Ultimate

Download Send

I Am Kloot - Sky At Night

Download Sky At Night

Deer Tick - The Black Dirt Sessions

Download The Black Dirt Sessions

Cat Empire - Cinema

Download Cinema

Kylie - Aphrodite

Download Aphrodite