Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shuffler: Like The Hype Machine, but streaming

I'm not totally convinced that Shuffler - which will suck the music out of a blog and turn it into a streaming music services - does a thing that will totally flip my life into an approved-by-Grand-Designs better way of living, but it's interesting.

You choose a genre, it streams music and lobs the relevant post underneath. It might make a bit more sense when thought of as an iPad thing rather than a web thing, and then it could be a sort of musicky magazine which sings to you affair.

There's a question, though: if Shuffler is pulling music blogs into its paid-for app, and music into its paid-for app, how come Shuffler keeps all the money that's paid for the app?

Úlfur Hannson: A bad hand, and not just at Scrabble

Úlfur Hannson, Jonsi's bassist, has hurt his hand - his arm - and so Jonsi won't be playing the Helsinki Flow festival tomorrow.

Hotpants Romance weekend: Shake

Live, in Florida:

[Part of Hotpants Romance weekend

Jack White doesn't much like his audience

Oh, poor Jack White. He wasn't happy with how cutting edge the Dead Weather audience were in New York:

"F- you, you hip motherf-ers!" White screamed at the audience, which included Liv Tyler, rock royalty Alexandra Richards, Shaun White and Mary-Kate Olsen. "Why don't you rock the f- out?! Maybe I should go grab those free drinks and shove them down your throats, you hip motherf-ers!"
Mary-Kate Olsen rolled her eyes at this, and you can see why: if you don't want to attract the modish, young Jack, stop straining to be so modish. If you don't want the pretty people of New York to crowd your gigs, drinking free drinks, don't put out free drinks and play Buffalo instead.

Your audience might be a mirror, you know.

But who knew the Olsen twins went out in singles, too?

Hotpants Romance weekend: I Think I Need A New Heart

The 'pants do Magnetic Fields:

[Part of Hotpants Romance weekend]

Elton's friends: Playing for Rush

It comes to something when even the Daily Mail can smell that there's something badly wrong with Elton John playing Rush Limbaugh's wedding.

Furnish later revealed to People magazine that John justified his appearance by telling him: 'Life is about building bridges, not walls.'
Is it, though? Sure, it's good to be generous, and perhaps make a pointed point about how you're playing the wedding of a man who believes you shouldn't have the right to get married; even taking a fee from someone who uses his platform to rail against AIDS charities, to give to an AIDS charity.

But on the other hand: that's just self-justifying rubbish, isn't it? Limbaugh believes that money can buy anything - even a gay man's conscience - and you've proved him right. The "build bridges not walls" argument could cover any sort of dealing with the enemies.

It's true that both Limbaugh and John support civil unions but not gay marriage, so on that they're not so very far apart - Limbaugh has a "they can't help it" attitude, and John fears that the idea of marriage is a demand too far. He's keen to stress that he isn't Mr Furnish: "We're not married. Let's get that right. We have a civil partnership. What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage."

Yes, Elton, god forbid you should be treated equally if it might upset some people.

Perhaps it's this pissweak spirit of worrying more about upsetting rich bigots than fighting for civil liberties that makes John tinkling over Limbaugh's big keyboard not so surprising.

But only a fool would believe that a right-wing friend of Rush would be sat listening to Crocodile Rock thinking "you know what, maybe we should be helping fight the AIDS crisis..."

[Thanks to Michael M]

Embed and breakfast man: Hotpants Romance

Robert Lloyd recommended this lot to Marc Riley, Marc Riley put 'em on his show on Thursday night, and now we're going to pass on some of the glory.

They're variously described as the best all-girl band from Manchester ever and Everett True's perfect band, and those two points sort of give you a good starting place if you're trying to imagine what they sound like.

But don't imagine, listen:

That would be Hotpants No Chance, from the first proper release, It's A Heatwave.

... which you can buy, if you like.

Hotpants Romance online
Official site
Hotpants MySpace
Hotpants on Facebook

More Hotpants to come...
I Think I Need A New Heart

Gordon in the morning: Turner the Coles

Clearly, given the way Gordon suddenly stopped referring to Cheryl as Tweedy and reverted to Cole a couple of weeks ago, it's not actually news to him that Cheryl Cole has decided to remain branded with Ashley's name, but he pretends like it's breaking this morning.

X Factor judge Cheryl says her move was inspired by chart legend TINA TURNER, 70, who kept husband and bandmate Ike's name after their 1976 divorce.
Apparently, she's afraid people might get confused:
a source said: "Cheryl has decided her married name will stay. She feels the most successful period of her career has been under the name Cole.

"She's established in Europe. Going back to her maiden name Tweedy would be confusing.

"It also shows she is bigger than Ashley and prepared to be grown up about a difficult time in her life. She is a fan of Tina Turner. Tina was divorced during her career but decided to stick with her married name because it was how she was best known."
It's a nice little explanation, although I suspect it's a decision taken by someone in an office rather than by Tweedy herself. Cole herself.

Why would keep your ex-husband's name to show you're "bigger" than Ashley? Does that make any sense? Should Ashley now change his name to Tweedy to show he was just as big as Cheryl?

She better hope he doesn't insist on a licensing fee.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gordon in the morning: There's no reason why you can't shamelessly promote yourself and your boss

I'm sure that in his mind, Gordon is convinced he's just doing some cross-promotion for Sky Sports, but... oh dear.

Normally when Smart does one of his grinding football things, he at least gets one of A1 or Dappy's cousin to stand alongside him to pretend it is sort-of about showbiz celebrities. But today?

It's all about the Gordon:

SERGE PIZZORNO has a rival in the Soccer AM hall of fame - ME.

The KASABIAN star scored THE best ever goal on The Road To Wembley challenge - flicking the ball up with his right foot and smashing it through the "b" like no other guest, before or since.

But I'm right up there after the cult Sky Sports show's hosts MAX RUSHDEN and HELEN CHAMBERLAIN invited me down to unveil the new "Road to Wembley 2011".
And on it goes, with Smart detailing how he kicked a ball at a wall for a TV programme, for all the world as if he thinks anyone might be interested.

You can see why they've not taken The Sun behind a paywall, can't you?

In fact, Gordon's astonishing goal might not even make the cut:
It's still the best footie show on the telly after 16 seasons, and hopefully the gorgeous Hell's Bells will show my goal to the nation tomorrow.
Hopefully? But if your goal was so brilliant, wouldn't it be a shoo-in?

If the whole thing wasn't enough of a cringe, let's just savour the caption on the photograph:
Road to Wembley ... Gordon poses after displaying his Smart skills

ABCs show NME continuing downwards tumble while K! picks up

Last night was the day all magazine editors dread, when the ABC publishes circulation figures and they discover how many people they've lost from their readership. It's a lot of waving for NME.

Krissi Murison has had a year to remake the magazine in her own image, and one major redesign. So, in sheer number terms, how is she doing?

In the summer 2009 figures, NME was selling 40,948. Now? 33,875.

On a positive note, that's only a 17% year-on-year drop in sales, which is better than the quarter or so vanishing during the later years of Conor McNicholas' reign.

Making things worse for NME, it can't even point to a general malaise. Nearest rival Kerrang is now selling 44,013 - which is up from 43,253 this time last year. Not a massive increase, but an increase nevertheless. It would be turning the knife to point out it's now over 10,000 copies ahead of NME.

Q is selling 89,450 copies monthly, a 10% drop year-on-year - last summer it was selling over 100,000.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pay to listen

It is, of course, a wry stunt rather than a new business model: The Reclusive Barclay Brothers are offering 'incentives' to people who listen to their music, reports Music Week:

The video asked viewers to visit the aptly named site to submit their e-mail address and over the subsequent 30 days, the band will randomly pick 100 people to receive their £27 share of the cash.

The band claims that paying people to listen to music is the only logical conclusion to the current trend of giving music away for free.
It might just be a smart use of £2,700 worth of promotional budget - cash that might otherwise have gone on small adverts or flyposting. Can't help wondering if they might have been better off having one huge prize though. If you're going to turn fans into a lottery, make it a big lottery.

There is no sum of money large enough to compensate for listening to Olly Murs.

[Thanks to Peter D for the link]

Something nice about Kasabian

Karl T emails with news of Kasabian on the bummel:

according to this month's Cycling Plus, Kasabian's bass player is going to ride from John O'Groats to Lands End, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Reports that Bradley Wiggins* is going to record an album of turgid dad rock can't be confirmed at this time.
The footnote:
*Famous cyclist. No? Oh well, suit yourself.
This is excellent news - firstly, because it's a good thing to raise money for charity. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, while he's in the saddle, he won't be making music with Kasabian.

Actually, people might just sponsor him to stay away from studios and stages.

Gordon in the morning: Ellie of a job, Smarty

This morning, Gordon meets Ellie Goulding, who seems to be on a press to try and make herself seem a bit more interesting. We're now getting, it seems, her struggle:

The odds were stacked against her making it in the cut-throat music industry after a tough upbringing.
Why would having a "tough" upbringing "stack the odds" against making it in a "cut-throat" industry? Wouldn't coming from a tough background toughen you up for a tough job?

It turns out, though, that while not idyllic, Goulding's childhood wasn't especially unusual:
Her dad walked out when she was just five, leaving her mum to bring up four children.

Ellie hated the man who became her stepdad and witnessed some traumatic scenes growing up, including visits from bailiffs who repossessed the TV as she sat watching it with her brother and sisters.
Not fun, but not out of the ordinary for a lot of people.

And the stepdad?
"We didn't have much money and my stepdad was horrible. He wasn't strict and he wasn't drunk, he just wasn't very intelligent.

"He had no brains at all. He was a lorry driver with a tattoo of a bulldog smoking a spliff. The other tattoo he had was a snake with a dagger through it."
I'm surprised at this point none of the senior Sun staff came through waving their arms, given that Goulding is describing the paper's hardcore demographic.

It might not have been much fun, but living in a council house and sharing a room with your sister isn't really going to get her past the first round in a Four Yorkshiremen debate.

Unhappy, yes, but...
"I think a lot of people would be closed about such a weird childhood"
'We didn't have much money and I didn't like my stepdad' isn't weird, though, is it? You wouldn't wish for such an upbringing, but I think you'll find there's thousands and thousands of kids who are a lot worse off.

Ellie, do you have anything that bad which happened to you?
She is dating Radio 1 DJ GREG JAMES
You poor, poor thing. Quick, WH Smiths, clear a corner of the Tragic Life Stories shelves.

Elsewhere in The Sun, their battle against Southampton continues:
TODAY we are printing the most one-sided match report in the history of The Sun.
That sounds unlikely, given the England coverage, but do carry on.
While applauding Plymouth's amazing victory we are deliberately ignoring one of the hottest title favourites in history.

All this is down to Southampton's draconian executive chairman Nicola Cortese. His totally crazy decision to ban national and local newspaper photographers from the game will hurt his club more than he thinks.

This senseless move will not make him extra money but it will turn the fans and, more importantly, sponsors away from the club.
Southampton have banned agency photographers from their ground, insisting that all photos be sourced via the club. The worry is that the football team might then start adding all sort of strings to the photos - trying to use the access to the pictures to shape what's actually reported. In extremes, Southampton might insist that you could only use their pictures if you write in positive terms about the club.

The Sun isn't going to allow such a situation to develop. Can you imagine a proud title like The Sun throwing away its journalistic integrity just to get a few snaps? Thank god it has integrity and knows a line in the sand when it sees... hang on, what's this in yesterday's Guardian diary?
Clunk! A contract thumps on our desk from Stuart Higgins Communications offering the Guardian rights to republish Hello! magazine's coverage of Robbie Williams's wedding to Ayda Field. How could we refuse such a prospect from Higgie, known in his days on the Sun's newsdesk as the human sponge? Well, one or two problems: we could probably cope with the requirement that the magazine cover should be reproduced in full colour and not smaller than 7cm in size and even the tag that it is really a Hello! exclusive. We're just a bit foxed by clause 3: "No derogatory references to be made to Hello! magazine or to the artists referenced. The piece must appear in a positive context." Well, really – as if we'd do anything else ...
Apparently The Sun operates one rule on the sports desk, and a totally different one in Gordon's kingdom.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hey, Ayatollah, leave those kids alone...

Roger Waters has given his blessing to Candian-Iranian band Blurred Vision's adapted version of Another Brick In The Wall targeting Iran.

Let's hope EMI get the memo and don't go stumbling in with take-downs.

This is the track:

I suppose anything that helps is a good thing, but can't help feeling that using a song that's thirty-five years old is a bit like picking Lord Carrington as the figurehead for your campaign. Still, at least it's not Rage Against The Machine.

Mogwai back in the studio

Well, given that next year is going to be rubbish, with most of us on the dole, having Experian going through our pockets to see where we've been, at least there's something to look forward to: Mogwai are off into the studio to do a new album.

They haven't a clue what it's going to sound like yet. I think 'not like the Wiggles' will be a safe bet, though.

Gordon in the morning: An overlooked guest

Poor Gordon Smart. Given how The Sun has fawned over Robbie Williams for years, it must hurt that Hello got the plum seat at the wedding, and it's there, in all the photos, grinning alongside the Happy Couple.

No wonder Gordon couldn't bring himself to write about the event, instead handing his copy of Hello over to Tom Wells to do the copying from.

Just a point, though: how shabby is it for a man making as much as Williams does to sell his wedding for a few extra quid?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Missing Words

Curious. A four-page retrospective of The Word in The Guardian today, and not a - ahem - word about a certain newspaper which sponsored the programme during its first run.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Shuffling the marketing departments

HMV is merging the marketing departments for Waterstones and HMV. Because, frankly, selling books is almost identical to running a youth club, right?

Still, Gennaro Castaldo is keen to calm down fears this might be an 'efficiency' measure:

Gennaro Castaldo, spokesperson for HMV, said: “I'm pleased to say this is not about cuts or job losses - it's about finding a better way of working together as brands to achieve synergies and to make the most of the resources available to us.

“There are potentially a couple of vacancies or new positions, while one role may go, so there are more or less just as many heads supporting both brands as there were before - just under 50 in total.”
Mmm. Brand synergies. And, you know, if someone loses their job, well, that's only more or less screwing up their lives. More or less.

Funkobit: Phelps 'Catfish' Collins

Phelps Collins, guitarist and brother of Bootsy Collins, has died.

The Collins brothers discovered music together, and shared a first band, The Pacemakers. They remained together when James Brown pulled them into his backing group.

After they stopped being members of the JBs, they stuck together in Bootsy Phelps and The Complete Strangers:

And, indeed, remained together when they both joined Parliament-Funkadelic. In fact, they only split when Phelps quit the P-Funk movement, and more or less music, in 1983.

He made a mini comeback in 2007, playing on the soundtrack of Superbad.

Phelps Collins was 66. He died on Friday after being ill with cancer for some time.

Everything the PRS does is for the artists, even having a yabba-dabba-do time

PRS collect all the money they can, and give it all to the artists, right?

PRS for Music and MCPS pay money collected to their writer, composer and music publisher members. Both organisations are ‘not for profit’ and only deduct a small administration/commission fee to cover operating costs.
Yes. They just deduct a small admin or commission fee, to cover operating costs. And who could begrudge them that?

A small commission, covering the costs of office space, collecting the money, contacting people with licence problems.

Oh... and creating totally spurious surveys:
Latest research undertaken by PRS for Music, reveals that The Flintstones’ theme tune is the most recognisable of kids’ television programmes, according to UK adults.

The survey of 2,000 adults across the UK, also show that Baa Baa Black Sheep is the nursery rhyme we remember most from our childhood, while up to 28% of females and 23% of males listen to music to make themselves feel younger.
Are you one of those artists who the PRS are so worried about not getting much money? Aren't you delighted that they're spending the little bit you do get finding out these things?

Why have you done this, PRS?
Commenting on the results, Ellis Rich, chairman of PRS, said: “Many of us find our first love for music as children through singing nursery rhymes and humming along to our favourite theme tunes on television. It is a truly wonderful sensation when the recollection of music can bring back those nostalgic emotions of how music made us feel as children; emotions and memories which continue to live on inside so many adults, still to this day”.
This seems to have an awful lot to do with getting the name of Ellis Rich (seriously? Rich?) into the papers, and nothing whatsoever to do with collecting and distributing royalties. It's not even a made-up survey worth making-up, to be honest.

EMI remind you why the music industry is both doomed & despised

There's been a bit of joy in the darkness for the last few weeks, as people have enjoyed the Welsh-positive that parody of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys that was Newport State Of Mind.

Not any more, though. EMI have rushed in to slap a takedown and had YouTube throw the video.

Because, god knows, it must have really been hurting Jay-Z's sales.

Perhaps if EMI spent a bit more time growing its business, rather than going round stealing the kids' balls like they're the grumpy park keeper of the internet, they might not be flailing about in the manner of a binliner caught in a tree.

[Thanks to @electroweb]

News at 10?

There's some Twitterage about this morning that is going to host a big announcement about The Libertines at 10am.

Oh, they couldn't leave it alone, could they?

Gordon in the morning: No Cher' Cole by the charcoal

Having thrown his lot behind the idea that Nadine Coyle is heading out Girls Aloud, Gordon is now scouring information to try and support his hypothesis:

NADINE COYLE has denied there's a problem with her and the rest of GIRLS ALOUD.

So why wouldn't she invite CHERYL COLE round for a tasty chargrilled sausage when they were just a few miles apart?

The singers are in the same neighbourhood in Hollywood but the Geordie's invite for her Irish chum's barbie must have got lost in the post.
Or maybe she was invited and had something else to do. Or maybe it's ridiculous to suggest that because they work together they have to socialise as well - I'll be Dominic Mohan has loads of parties that he doesn't invite Gordon to. All the time, I'll bet. But just because Dominic breaks out the grill, and is throwing on fat juicy steaks and opening the second-best wine without Gordon being there wouldn't mean that there's some sort of rift, surely?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Faithless. Or possibly Fiatless.

Faithless have done a deal with Fiat which lets them continue without a traditional label:

This Sunday, during Big Brother on Channel 4, a three-minute advertising break will be filled by a video for the dance group's new single "Feelin' Good".

The Italian car company have paid for the video which will not appear as an advert – a blue Punto Evo car will make a quick appearance however, it has been reported.
Faithless are clear they're doing this as an experiment, to see how this sort of thing might work.

The warning bell, though, is this:
The deal has been called a "prommercial" by an advertising agency.
A prommercial? Combining the word "promotional", which means to sell something, with the word "commercial", which means to sell something.

A book at breakfast: Phil Jupitus on his time at 6Music

Phil Jupitus has written up his time as a breakfast show host for a book, Good Morning Nantwich - although for some reason there's a drawing of Amy Lamé on the cover.

It's pretty damning of Lesley Douglas' late-period at the station, and John Plunkett's interview with Jupitus gives a taste:

Asked to present a listener poll of the greatest duets in history, Jupitus lost his rag when an internet campaign meant Fairytale of New York by Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues was kept off the top spot by an obscure tune by Sinead O'Connor and the Chieftains.

"I started whining about this on air and getting crosser and crosser and then my mobile went and it was Lesley Douglas," recalls Jupitus. "She said: 'If you want to destroy 6 Music keep doing what you are doing on air now.' And I went: 'This is not a fucking 6 Music show, this is not what the station is supposed to be about.' I kind of lost it with her and hung up." The pair have not spoken in the three years since.
Jupitus also got it in the neck for not playing Razorlight or Coldplay.

He's more positive about the network now, pointing to Lauren Laverne as an example of how the current 6Music has got the balance right. And the campaign to save the station from closure is seen as a sign of the BBC connecting with audiences.

But Jupitus isn't on air right now:
He also offered his services to a local BBC radio station. "I said the money's not important, I just want to play some music. They weren't interested. I can't get arrested on the radio by the BBC these days."
He's had angry calls with management while on the air, criticised his network with the microphone up, and now feels shunned. Phil Jupitus might just be the new Danny Baker.

Surely someone could give him a show?

Gordon in the morning: The man in lycra

It's nice that Gordon has done something for charity; I'm not so sure it follows that that justifies the decision to make his weekend sporting the splash in Bizarre this morning.

It's somewhat toe-curling to read a piece written like a 'local teen does sponsored event' story from a local paper when that piece is written by the section editor about the section editor hymning what a great time the section editor had being a jolly good egg.

Warning: The story also features Jensen Button and a photo of Smart wearing lycra. Stood next to Vernon Kaye.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Jesca Hoop and organic lentil soup

Whole Foods have a pretty good programme (ripped off from Starbucks, naturally) whereby they select an artists they deem up and coming and promote the butt out of them in their organicish-at-premium-prices US supermarkets.

They've just signed up the wonderful Jesca Hoop for this boost.

It's a place in the US that sells Haloumi, and you'll hear Jesca Hoop while shopping. How good is that?

Here's a live version of Enemy. Go shopping for more:

Sub Pop taking orders for Vaselines return

Perhaps of slightly more use to you if you're in the US or trust transatlantic post, Sub Pop are taking pre-orders for the Vaselines return 7" Sex With An X.

Oh... and you do know that you can download Sex With An X from the Sub Pop site, don't you?

The New Republica

Another thing that I had somehow missed until I noticed an advert tucked away in the small ads: Republica are back and gigging again.

Oh, and of course, re-releasing Ready To Go. All Gigs is very keen to make sure you don't call them one-hit wonders, and to be fair, Drop Dead Gorgeous was a better single anyway. But they're still pretty much a one-trick pony.

It's not even Republica reforming, anyway. It's Saffron and some anonymous blokes she's assembled to chug through Ready To Go behind her. The same recipe as Origianl Republica, but sourcing the ingredients from elsewhere.

Cathal Coughlan: New release

Yes, if you cast your eyes just to the right, you'll spot this:

Cathal Coughlan - Rancho Tetrahedron

Download Rancho Tetrahedron

That would be a new Cathal Coughlan album. (Technically, a new Cathal Coughlan and the Grand Necropolitan Duo album.) I think that deserves a little more of a shout.

This week just gone

The most read stories this week - and, yes, something extraordinary has happened. After years of playing second-fiddle to R Kelly, the McFly nudity story has bounced to the top, driven by McFly getting naked for Attitude magazine and increasing the number of searchers:

1. McFly strip naked for attention
2. R Kelly blah blah sex tape blah blah
3. Deadmau5 suffers in big false head
4. Susan Boyle: Where's all the millions?
5. Joe McElderry comes out in public
6. Johnny Dee wants covers kicked out the chart
7. Carphone Warehouse launches expensive, pointless Music Anywhere service
8. Liam Gallagher opens a small shop
9. AC/DC continue to shun iTunes
10. Gordon Smart and The Sun think it's funny to call gay men 'benders'

This week, these interesting new things emerged:

Wavves - King Of The Beach

Download Wavves

The Arcade Fire - Suburbs

Download Suburbs

Chicane - Giants

Download Giants

Best Coast - Crazy For You

Download Crazy For You

Miyagi - Electrosaurus

Download Electrosaurus

The Charlatans - Some Friendly Live At The Roundhouse

Steeleye Span - Another Parcel Of...

Download Another Parcel Of...

Various - West African Shock Waves Ghana & Togo 1972-1978

HP Sauce