Saturday, September 11, 2010

Two Of The Beatles Have Died

Okay, that's not news. But what is news is that an album of many fine bands doing Two of The Beatles Have Died is available for download right now.

You pay what you want, from nothing to everything, but before you make your choice: the artist share of the record is going to The British Lung Foundation.

You get a range of versions of something special; Lung Disease gets kicked about a bit. Virtue and music, hand-in-hand.

[Thanks to @ttfb]

JLS want to wrap up your penis

Oh, god. It turns out that the much-talked-up JLS condom range has turned into an actual product:

And not only do the four different packs of extra safe condoms feature each band member's individual colour, they also are branded with the boys' faces.
Having Marvin JLS peering out at you is going to ensure safer sex - who's going to be able to maintain an erection under those conditions?

You can hear the grinding of PR strategists trying to market a product for the sexually active using a band whose fans tends towards the prepubescent:
Marvin, who is dating The Saturdays star Rochelle Wiseman, added: 'We came up with the idea of Just Love Safe as we wanted to send a clear message out to fans that are over 16 and sexually active - and that is to always use a condom during sex.'
It's not clear if Marvin thinks that fans under the age of 16 shouldn't use a condom, or if you don't need to worry about it if you can't stand the band.

Nor why, if they're that bothered, they're flogging condoms and taking a licensing fee rather than, say, giving condoms away for free at their gigs.

Don't get me wrong, anything that stops JLS fans from creating a new generation has to be a good thing. But I can't help feeling that if you're the sort of person who buys condoms because they've got JLS on, you might want to ask if you're quite mature enough to be making decisions about sex in the first place.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Bez: Strangeways, there you go

After serving two weeks of his one-month sentence for attacking his partner, Bez is out of Strangeways.

He'd have probably have spent longer in the Big Brother house than he did in prison.

Boybandobit: Rich Cronin

Rich Cronin, a member of late 90s short-lived boyband Lyte Funky Ones, has died at the cruelly young age of 35.

Cronin co-wrote LFO's 1999 hit Summer Girls, but the band struggled in a stalling and overcrowded market. They split in 2002; three years later, Rich was diagnosed with leukemia.

In one of many periods of remission from the leukemia, Cronin went on to appear in the Mission Man Band series of MTV alongside other struggling former boyband stars. Although not doing much for either music or television, the show did create some solid friendships - Chris Kirpatrick was one of the first to express sympathy after news of Cronin's death was announced.

He had launched a charity, the Rich Cronin Hope Foundation, to raise awareness and encourage bone marrow donations.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

UK Music plans to schmooze the Liberal Democrats

Ooh, look who's holding a Pop Quiz for the Liberal Democrats during their conference in Liverpool:

UK Music's Great Political Pop Quiz

Hosted by former Undertones frontman Feargal Sharkey and composer David Arnold (James Bond, Shirley Bassey). Free food and drink for participants, great prizes and special guests.
I'd feel a bit more relaxed about this if, for example, UK Music would choose to be a bit more upfront about how its funded and whose money is buying this access to one of the parties of government.

It says something that UK Music are choosing to lobby the Lib Dems with a pop quiz - something which by its nature is focused on the past - rather than, say, displaying some of the emerging talent that it claims is at the heart of its interests.

Popjustice crowns Example as single of the year

If last night was the Mercury Prize night, that must mean it was also the night for Popjustice's glittering Twenty Quid Music Prize for best single of the year.

This was the winner:

Run and hide: Kingmaker are back

Thanks to H. LlewelynProduct19 for alerting us via the medium of tweetage to Kingmaker MMX.

Yes, the numerals are for 2010.

Yes, the name suggesting that Kingmaker have returned from wherever they went is right.

Much as Kingmaker divided us back when we all had hair and no discernible waistlines, I guess you'll fall into one of two camps on this reunion. Either bouncing around in wet-knickered excitement, or else already two-thirds of the way through "... and appeared on the cover of the NME with a noose to stress how intense he was, the tosser..." rant.

On the bright side, it's only six quid in, and you do get David Cronenberg's Wife for that, too. Bull And Gate on the 17th.

Mercury Music Prize: Well done, theme from General Election 2010

Congratulations, then, to The XX for their victory in the Mercury Music Prize last night.

The Sun describes their reaction to winning as "low-key", which appears to mean they didn't invite anyone from The Sun to their party afterwards.

It's a great album, but perhaps the safest choice - maybe second-safest, after Mr. Rascal. I suppose with both Lauren Laverne and Miranda Sawyer heavily pregnant on the balcony, the judges were afraid that going for a shock winner might have sent Jools Holland scurrying for hot water and towels.

Incidentally, was Jools having a bad night last night or did it just come across that way on the TV? It looked like he'd not only opened the winner envelope prematurely, but that he'd also had a quick peek inside the prize money envelope before he'd handed it over. It made the prize giving look more like that awkward moment when the bloke from upstairs knocks on the door clutching your Giro in a raggedy envelope and mumbles "sorry, mate, didn't see it was addressed to you before I opened it..."

Gordon in the morning: Better homes and pardon?

Supposedly, Robbie Williams is thinking of buying a large house in Kent. It's the talk of a village near Tunbridge Wells, apparently. The story has been whacked under this headline:

Robbie's a manor of Kent
After a few minutes, you can just discern an attempt at a pun on 'men of Kent', which is perhaps a bit esoteric for The Sun. And wrong, because Tunbridge Wells is in West Kent so it should, properly, be 'Robbie's a Kentish Manor' if anything. But since Williams wasn't born in Kent, he's not actually either a Man Of Kent or a Kentish Man. Certainly not on the strength of two house viewings.

Meanwhile, over at the GQ awards...
THE JLS boys started the night with a bit of a shocker - mistaking ALICE COOPER for an old woman.

But it seems Alice took it well and posed for a photo with JB, MARVIN, ORITSE and ASTON.
Much as I would love to believe this story, it doesn't really make any sense - how are they supposed to have "mistaken" Cooper? Did someone say 'have your photo taken with Alice' and they say 'I don't see an old woman?'

That seems a little unlikely - and why would they assume Alice to be old, even if the female name could be confusing?

Or did they meet Alice Cooper, and think he was a woman? That doesn't seem likely, either.

The "story" under the standfirst doesn't actually have any further explanation. It all has the air of something made-up to sit under an otherwise pointless photo.

God, I'm defending JLS. I feel dirty.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Cloud music

Thanks to Michael M for the link to New Scientist's exploration of music-in-the-cloud, it's glorious opportunity and the potential downside:

Corynne McSherry, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights pressure group in San Francisco, sounds a note of caution over cloud music services. She believes licensing problems like those with Yahoo will be difficult to overcome. "Downloading the MP3, having the actual file, gives you more control over how you use the music," she says.

Ho thinks that while some people will continue to want to own recordings, the culture of music ownership could eventually die out. "You might have a next generation of people who say: 'I don't want to bother with having my own collection of music.' I don't know when that date will come."

Rough Trade tease with expansion plans

Could the Rough Trade twitter poll really be a sign of plans to open a branch in the provinces? Or is it simply a tease?

Listen with No Rock: Superchunk

Hopefully this won't flop out depending on where you live, but... let's cross our fingers:

That's the new Superchunk album, that is, streaming courtesy of NPR.

Duff decision: McKagan quits

Who knew that Janes Addiction picking up the offcuts of Guns N Roses would end in tears?

Just five months after Duff McKagan turned up in Janes Addiction, he's out again.

"Hey, we wanted to thank Duff for helping us write songs for our new record," Jane's Addiction told The AP via e-mail.

"We love the songs we worked on with him - and the gigs were a blast - but musically we were all headed in different directions. From here Duff is off to work on his own stuff so we wish him all the best."
All headed in different musical directions, and yet none of them on the right path.

Darkness at 3AM: John Pilger used to write for the Mirror, you know

I really hope MTV have paid a lot of money for this non-story marketing message to be slipped in as "story" by 3AM:

Mtv news presenter Laura Whitmore has become obsessed with the new MTV urban workout.

She's been busting a groove to various hip-hop classics at her local Virgin Active gym.

We'll pass, thanks...
Is that last line a desperate bid to try and pretend there's a journalist involved here somewhere?

It's almost as if Ringo is being erased from history

With Liverpool City Council happily bulldozing his first house, now the first club Ringo Starr played in has burned down.

(The Kingsway Club in Southport, had it not burned down, was due to be demolished anyway.)

Gordon in the morning: Triangle

Be warned: someone's sold Gordon a blurry, naked photo of Pete Doherty playing snooker.

For some reason, Smart slaps a triangle of snooker balls over Doherty's cock, which makes the running of the photo even more odd. You can't see Pete's penis, you can barely make out the face, and there's no real story stacking it up. It's just one really weak joke:

Thankfully there was no chalk lying around.

He might have applied it to the wrong cue.
Is there nothing so slight it won't go into the column, Gordon?

Pete Doherty naked. It's come to this.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Charlie Simpson has his sort-of integrity, and you can't buy it for a million pounds

God alone knows who would be offering Busted one million pounds to reunite, but Charlie Simpson has told them "no".

He wants to keep on with Fightstar, and he won't be distracted by a million pounds.

Why, I bet if he was even offered a million pounds for real, he'd still say no.

Sharkey tries charm offensive

Given that his attempt to beat ISPs and technology companies into giving money to musicians has been an abject failure, Feargal Sharkey has decided to try and win the cash by adopting a Big Society/"we're all in this together" approach. Thinq was there:

Sharkey, a campaigner against people copying music on the internet and the technology they use, said it had become apparent that technology and creativity were inseparable.

"It's now time for ISPs and tech companies to sit down together and possibly for the first time have a broad adult conversation. Our future is now totally dependent, totally entwined, totally symbiotic," he told an audience of industry, government and media at the Westminster Forum this morning.

Sharkey was on rousing form. The former pop star called dramatically for the mobilization of British music and technology producers: "By 2020. We. Want. To rival. The United States. As the largest. Source of repertoire. And artistry. In. The. World."
I suspect he might have been banging the table where those full stops are.

Is that true, though? Does a vaguely defined "we" really want to set its cape on scale rather than quality?

Is it even possible, given the sheer weight of numbers that the US offers? Wouldn't this "we" be better off creating high-end acts rather than churning out thousands of mass market vehicles?

And why would the technology companies share the aims of UK Music anyway? It doesn't matter much to Google if you're looking for an act born in Bangalore, Boston or Brighton.

Although Sharkey is abandoning his previous bellicose stance, he's trying to not make this look like a climbdown:
The music industry scored a controversial success in April when the last government passed the Digital Economy Act, which would sanction the removal of people's internet connections if they were suspected of sharing copyrighted music online.

This had helped restore the equilibrium between creativity and technology that had, said Sharkey, been out of kilter. It was but a single "stepping stone" toward the music industry's goal of having people "remunerated for their talent time, effort and ability".
Although the DEA has had no discernible impact on behaviour. Nobody seems to have been bothered by any of the terms of the Act.

Sharkey then goes on to patronise the technology industry:
Internet applications providers should think not about how many users they could get, but how sustainable were their business models.
You think, Feargal? (Interesting that size is the most important when selling music but not when selling applications, though.)

Perhaps Sharkey should have tried the 'working together' approach before beating technologists with a stick. Given nobody believed him when he claimed ISPs owed their profits to musicians' sweat, he's going to have to make a better case if he wants these former rogues to believe they need his self-appointed approval.

Not that Papa Roach take themselves too seriously, or anything

Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach has been furrowing his brown to emote out a clear idea of who he is:

He told website "The thing I finally realised in my search for the f***ing madman that's been chasing me. I just realised that it's myself.

"It's a hard realisation to take, that all of these people that you resented and all these things that you hate about the world is all a reflection of yourself. It's a little bit of a hard pill to swallow."
Jacoby Shaddix is thirty-four years old.

Tony Blair meets Jedward. Or is it the other way round?

Oh, bloody hell. Thank you Daily Mail for managing to make us feel a shard of sympathy for Tony Blair:

Tony Blair is conducting a whistle-stop tour of the country's radio and TV stations to promote his book, A Journey, and he doesn't seem to care with whom he shares the limelight.

The former PM's tour reached a breathtaking low on Friday when he appeared on Irish television alongside reality TV duo 'Jedwood'.
He was on the same edition of The Late Late Show as Jedward. It's not like he went on their programme or took part in a singsong with them.

There's more than enough inappropriate grinning to throw at Blair without having to pretend you don't understand the make-up of Ireland's main talk show. He dropped depleted uranium on children, which makes sharing a running order with Jedward somewhat small beer.

Even more oddly, despite the headline:
Is there nothing Tony Blair won't do as he tries to flog his book? The night ex-PM posed with Jedward
... most of the article actually talks about Daybreak and ends up churning through quotes about Adrian Chiles from Christine Bleakley. It's the like the article itself knew it was a bit a weak and tried to change the subject.

Gordon in the morning: Come on, Vogue

Seriously, Vogue? You've put Cheryl Cole on the cover this month? What's it going to be for November - "My man turned out to be a vampire - but I love him anyway"?

Still, the magazine's decision to swallow hard and go with sales instead of style has given The Sun's Lynsey Haywood the chance to 'write' a piece by copying out some stuff from a magazine. Cole tells Vogue how terrible it's all been:

CHERYL Cole spoke out over her divorce from love rat husband Ashley - and admitted: "I feel betrayed."

The X Factor judge said: "Yes, definitely I do, but I've got to take everything that's happened and learn from it. I accept that that's a chapter of my life that's finished.

"And I've just got to be grateful that I've got so many good things going on. I have. And there's no children, you know?"
Although Cole has ended the chapter, she seems to spend an awful lot of time going through some sort of comprehension exercise based on it.

It's curious that someone who apparently needed her divorce to be listed in a secret fashion in the court papers is happy to chat all about it in a glossy magazine. It makes it look like the courts were used as an access management tool rather than as, you know, courts.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Rockobit: Deva Pramada (Mike Edwards)

Mike Edwards, founder member of the Electric Light Orchestra, has died in an unusual accident. The van he was traveling was hit by a runaway round bale of hay.

The cellist was a member of ELO from their first live date in 1972, until he quit in 1975. It was at this time that he embraced Buddhism and changed his name to Deva Pramada.

Sadly, the man believed to be Edwards has yet to be formally identified - local police have used the internet to pull together an ID but are trying to trace a relative:

[Steve Walker of Devon And Cornwall Police said] "this was a tragic accident and we have now identified the victim as Michael Edwards, a founder member of ELO.

'We have used photographs and YouTube footage to identify him but we now need help contacting his family for formal identification.

'We don't believe he was ever married and we have identified an ex-girlfriend but she is currently abroad.'

He continued: 'We think he may have a brother called David in the Yorkshire area and we obviously need to contact him.

'Michael has no immediate family but we believe he may have taught some cello in Devon and would ask his students to contact us if they know of any relations."
Edwards' first experience on stage was playing a ragamuffin in a BBC version of Carmen while a child; he returned to staged musical events in his post-ELO career producing operas for Sadlers Wells and Covent Garden. In 1992, he released a double cassette as part of Tim Brophy & Deva Pramada.

Mike Edwards was 62.

Peter Godwin asks for your help

It's funny, what with labels only doing what they do for the good of the artists, that Peter Godwin is finding he's more or less having to beg Universal to re-release his back catalogue.

Godwin is hoping to persuade Universal through a Facebook campaign that there's a demand there. Really, though, Godwin should be allowed to demand his work back from Universal on the basis that they've not done anything with them, and he could. Restraint of train, surely, to be keeping music out of print and preventing the creator from earning with it?

Parachute Men weekend: Every Other Thursday

A surprisingly beautiful hymn to the rhythm imposed on life by the fortnightly giro cheque:

[Part of The Parachute Men weekend]

The deep thoughts of JLS: Oritsé

Today's News Of The World has a "diary" where the JLS boys share their diary of their amazing climb from runners-up on a talent show to being That Band Who Were Runners-Up On A Talent Show:

"The shoot was great. I fell in love with my video girl.

"While we were trying to get into the moment on set, a kiss happened. Then again. She was amazing, but nothing materialised."
Pssst... Ortise, if you check your spam box on your email, you'll find some advice that might be able to help you with that.

This week just gone

The most-read stories from Septembers past:

1. Robbie William's first love revealed? [2005]
2. Edith Bowman does good work for charity [2005]
3. Paul McCartney's publicist offers Heather Mills nude modeling job [2006]
4. RIAA turn out to not have any evidence for threats [2006]
5. AC/DC not interested in iTunes [2008]
6. Charlotte Church's ex's big reveal: a small bit of blow [2005]
7. Britney Spears at the VMAs: Cool recpetion [2007]
8. Thom Yorke snubs Ronan Keating [2008]
9. Download: Los Campesinos [2009]
10. RIP: Sabine Dunser [2006]

These were this week's more interesting releases:

Everything Everything - Man Alive

Download Man Alive

Rose Elinor Dougall - Without Why

Download Without Why

Philip Selway - Familial

Download By Some Miracle

Claudia Brucken - Love And A Million Other Things

Download Love

Thea Gilmore - Murphy's Heart

Download Murphy's Heart

Liv Kristine - Skintight

Download Skintight