Saturday, November 13, 2010

Breeders weekend: We're Gonna Rise

Live, at a free San Francisco show:

[Part of The Breeders weekend]

All Yesterday's Parties?

The collapse of Pontins - taken into administration yesterday - might have prompted a lot of think pieces about bluecoats and Butlins and hi-de-hi, but there's a musical angle to the threat hanging over the chalet-and-cafeteria holiday camps.

Over the last few years, Pontins has been plumping up the bottom line by offering a home to indie-rock weekenders: originally All Tomorrows Parties, and now the NME-themed Weekenders.

KPMG are confident they can keep Pontins as a going concern; ATP jumped over to Bultins a couple of years back. So it's not quite the end of the road now. But if the Pontins camps do vanish, it's likely they'll take some of the indie weekends by the sea with them, if only due to the cut in capacity.

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Pulp

Inspired by the Pulp reunion, Tom Ewing creates a rule-of-thumb for a comeback that works:

Second, understand what you mean to people. Barlow and company's initial return was so triumphant because they knew their fans remembered them as a lost first love and made music that was bittersweet and grownup: the pop equivalent of an old flame friending you on Facebook. If, like the Spice Girls, they had jumped into a reunion pretending nothing had changed it would have been a disaster.

Embed and breakfast man: The Breeders

Can it really be true, as Wikipedia claims, that a very early version of The Breeders opened for Steppenwolf in 1977?

What was largely seen in 1988 as a kind of supergroup with a Pixie, a Pixie's twin, a Throwing Muse and one of The Perfect Disaster wasn't quite a continuation of the Deal twins' early group; the only revival was of the name. But it's still quite a thought.

Sadly, it doesn't look like the band's date at the Bronze has survived the attentions of Fox solicitors, so let's leap in with Divine Hammer and Cannonball, recorded for an MTV New Years Eve special in 1993:

I suspect to casual followers of the band, that single video might possibly embrace 'all there is to know about The Breeders'. Which could make the rest of the day something of a challenge.

Last Splash
Title TK
Mountain Battles

Breeders online
4AD site
The Breeders Digest
The Breeders on Last FM
The Breeders on Spotify

More to come around the weekend
We're Gonna Rise live in San Francisco
No Aloha live in Dublin
Gigantic live in Japan

New Gorillaz album? There's an app for that, apparently

Damon Albarn is claiming to have recorded the next Gorillaz album on a iPad in hotel rooms around the world:

"I fell in love with my iPad as soon as I got it, so I've made a completely different kind of record," he said. "It's ironic, being the sort of technophobe and Luddite that I am." He also offered a few vague clues as to its direction. "It sounds like an English voice that has been put through the vocoder of America. More American-sounding than Blur ... I'm going to try and put it out before Christmas."
Now, it's not impossible - but you've got hope that alongside the final product, Albarn also releases the things exactly as they were recorded onto his iPad, as - surely - for a sound that Gorillaz audiences look for is going to require quite an extensive bit of post-production?

If Albarn has been able to record a proper, produced album using only an iPad and tables in Hampton Garden Inn, that would be quite a feat.

Gordon in the morning: Me and Roo

We know what The Sun thinks of Wayne Rooney, right? He's no better than he should be.

He's shamed, says Pete Samson:

SHAMED Wayne Rooney arrived in the States yesterday - to stay slap bang in the middle of America's strip club capital.
He's a a sleazeball, say Richard Moriarty and Guy Patrick:
SLEAZEBALL Wayne Rooney pesters a busty blonde for sex while on the prowl at a drunken party.
When Scott Sutter accused Rooney of giving footballers a bad name, Paul Jiggins could only agree:
Wayne's such a cuckroo[sic] clot
Yes, he's a shamed, sleazeball clot. Who would want to be seen with Wayne Rooney now he's been so ruthlessly exposed in The Sun, eh?
You'll note that Rooney is wearing the logo of one of the few sponsors who don't have any problem being associated with a shamed sleazeball, which is probably why both men look like they're being forced to do something just because of the money on the table. It's a look Rooney must be quite familiar with seeing, come to think of it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Half a million quid will get Elton John to make you cry

It's possible to defend the idea of spending a lot of EU money on a very high-profile concert to promote cohesion. It gets a bit harder when the money in question reaches half a million quid. And it turns into an uphill struggle when that money had been earmarked to promote Italian culture and defend traditional music and ended up going on an Elton John gig.

Still, I'm sure the Campania tourism exec who helped plan the event, Dario Scalabrini, can explain exactly how Elton John is promoting genuine Italian culture, and what the people of the region got for half a million:

"Elton John sang the Neapolitan song O Sole Mio for the first time ever. The audience was crying with emotion."
Ah, that old emotional crying. So different from other types of crying, like crying with algebra, or crying with a side order of chips.

You'll note that Dario didn't say whether the emotion was a positive or negative one. Maybe the idea was that if you don't protect your own culture, it'll end up being mangled in the hands of Elton John. That could be half a million well spent.

Gordon in the morning: Gordon casts his beady eye

Given the extent to which Gordon fawns over every doing of the Gallagher ("oh, you said that man was a twat - why, you exhibit so much wit, sire"; "why, sire, these trousers you have in some way overseen the design of are so much more than mere trousers - I shall wear nothing else") his lukewarm reaction to the Beady Eye single must be setting off all kinds of alarms:

The track is all right. I was more than happy to hear it roaring out the radio a few times. But that spark that separates the good from the spectacular is missing.
For Gordon talking about a Gallagher, that's the equivalent of the sort of words which made Glen Medeiros cry.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

O2 want "content producers" to pay for access

Music and movie companies ought to pay internet network operators to deliver stuff to customers who are already paying to receive it, reckons O2 chief executive Ronan Dunne:

"Isn’t it fair to ask those big companies that are fuelling the data surge to help make a contribution to the infrastructure? If consumers alone are paying for the data there is no incentive on content providers to use networks efficiently," he said.

"So we think that part of the solution may come in moving away from the old one-size-fits-all model," said Dunne. "The alternative – that we all continue to pay for unlimited access – would simply end up pricing out the vast majority of our customers, who will continue to have a relatively modest but growing use of data in order to pay for the small proportion of very high users."
Actually, given that most telecoms companies have spent the last decade rolling about in massive vats of profit instead of making their networks keep up with demand, most content producers do their best to make efficient use of networks, as they're aware that there are lots of web users who are sat trying to access their sites via Edge, or contended-to-trickle ADSL.

Paying at the postbox, and paying at the letter box? Even the Post Office hasn't tried to pull that one.

Maybe the MPAA and RIAA shouldn't have been so quick to try and stop individuals redistributing their stuff over torrents - if you're going to be charged at point of upload, a business model where the uploading was spread across millions might have been quite a money saver...

Gordon in the morning: At least it's not JLS

Well done to Foster And Allen, who have managed to feed Gordon Smart's obsessions with chart battles to the point where he's leading with a massive feature on them this morning.

Naturally, being a sensitive writer, Gordon is able to handle the idea of older men releasing a record without falling into stereotyping older people:

Taking The OAP

BEARDY folk singers FOSTER & ALLEN have declared war on TAKE THAT in a manband v granband chart battle.

It will send ripples through the Saga holiday set, with pacemakers on red alert.
And the blue-rinse pin-ups are spoiling for a scrap.

On a visit to Sun HQ, they poked a walking stick in TT's direction and thundered: "We're ready. It's war."

Someone pull the panic cord for the warden.
Ha ha, old people are so funny, Gordon.

I'm assuming Gordon's depiction of Foster and Allen as geriatric was written with the full understanding that his boss, Rupert Murdoch, was already 16 when the senior of the duo, Mick Foster, was born. I wonder if Smart does the Saga and sheltered housing gags when he's talking about Rupert?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gordon in the morning: Man says band are better than other band

Gordon's big splash this morning is Kanye West's sticky warm effusions about... it says Coldplay here. Can that be right?

"America has, and probably always will, dominate music across the globe but it's always been the British who pull out that very special band.

"We have had amazing bands like NIRVANA and GUNS N' ROSES but it's the British who have had the cream with The Beatles and THE ROLLING STONES setting the standard. I love Coldplay, and I honestly think they are on the same level as The Beatles."
Coldplay? Chris Martin and The Coldplays?
"In 30 years, when Coldplay are old men, people will look back and say, 'These guys were more talented than The Beatles.'"
"It was aaaaaallll Yelllow"? That Coldplay?
"I have worked with Chris Martin and the man is a genius - as a performer and a songwriter he is on the same level as JOHN LENNON."
Certainly, the best of Chris Martin's work this decade has been every bit as good as anything Lennon has done in the last ten years.

Kanye, of course, has decided that diamonds make better teeth than teeth do, so this shouldn't really come as too much of a surprise.

West goes on a bit more about how great Chris Martin is, for all the world like a man who only owns two records; a Coldplay one and Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. Which surely would be the only way you'd place Coldplay and The Beatles in that way on the podium.

If you read me a lot, you'll know that I tend to the view that The Beatles are a bit overrated, and would question the assumption that they're the band against which all others should be measured.

But on the other hand: Tomorrow Never Knows. A Day In The Life. A four of fish and finger pies in summer. Against that whiny one, and the other whiny one, and, to be fair, The Scientist is alright?

Kanye hasn't finished, though. He's getting to the end of the comparative, and coming to the definitive:
"I am not saying this sort of s*** lightly, it's really how talented the guy is. And Coldplay can go down as the best ever - even bigger than The Beatles."
The best ever? The best ever band in the world? Did I suggest that Kanye only had two records? I must have overestimated; he can clearly only ever have heard Coldplay. God knows how this came about - perhaps he has badly damaged hearing which can only hear noises in the sound range of a plodding, low moan, and as such only Coldplay records make it into his register.

Even Gordon seems a bit taken aback:
That is a massive compliment, and a controversial pop view.

I'm a fan, but Chris Martin and co, despite selling millions of albums, divide opinion.
Actually, it's because of selling millions of albums. Had they sold a few hundred, people wouldn't even have an opinion on them.

Maybe Kanye's right. Perhaps Coldplay have hidden talents that only Kanye can see. We'd ask for clarification, but he's busy telling the people of Belgium why they should adopt a ravioli square as their king.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Liam Gallagher's eye wants your ears

If we're being fair, there's no reason to assume that Beady Eye is going to be like Nowaysis but with guesswork. They might be going to surprise us. It could be Liam Gallagher's redemption.

Tomorrow, when a free download is made available via the Beady Eye site, we might find ourselves struggling to understand how someone who has spent years treading water underhoof could turn in a life-changing, life-affirming, life-tasting track of subtle joy and secret magics.

I'd bet against it, but there's always a chance, right?

Those European Music Awards winners in full

Since they went to all the trouble of pretending to like Justin Beiber, the least we can do is bring you the MTV EMA winners list. If you're reading this in an office or other public place, please try and keep your howl of despair to yourself:

Best New Act

Best Pop
Lady GaGa

Best Alternative

Best Rock
30 Seconds To Mars

Best Male
Justin Beiber

Best Video
Katy Perry - California Gurls

Best Hip Hop

Best Live Act
Linkin Park

Best Female
Lady GaGa

Best Song
Lady GaGa - Bad Romance

Best European Act
Marco Mengoni

Best Push Act (no, us, neither)
Justin Beiber

Best World Stage Performance
Tokio Hotel
It might be obvious to laud Lady GaGa, but at least you can see the performance. But Beiber? That's going to look embarrassing when looking back in two years.

Gordon in the morning: The fans are all crazed

The MTV European Music Awards took place on Sunday - you can be forgiven for not noticing; after all, with MTV's current programming, you'd assume that the European Awards would consist of the last six American Teen Choice Awards being run back-to-back.

During the course of the night, a perosn ran onto stage while Rihanna was doing a song.

Sorry, did I say person?

A CRAZED fan leapt on stage to get at RIHANNA at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
Of course, it was a crazed fan.

It's always a crazed fan.

Now, running on stage is rude. And sometimes is the act of someone suffering from demons in some way. But not always. Most times not. So why is it always a "crazed" fan who runs on stage, or tries to touch Cheryl Cole's hair? How is it that The Sun is always so happy to assume that anyone who isn't on their list of celebrities must be, in some way, nuts when they try to get close to the people publications like The Sun have made part of their everyday life?

It's a horrible sign of how The Sun views its readers that as soon as someone crosses the line from the audience to the spotlight without permission, they're immediately characterised as a scary, crazed threat.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Courtney Love remains Courtney Love

Of course Courtney Love greeted her New York Times interviewer naked and drunk. Of course she did. The only real mystery in the event is why Rolling Stone wrote about it thus:

She may have tried to remake her image in recent years, but Courtney Love's interview with New York Times reporter Eric Wilson lived "right up to my worst reputation," as she put it.
Rolling Stone thinks Love has been trying to remake her image in recent years? Really? With the endless rants about houses bought in Curt's name, and fuck this and screw that, and Ryan Adams stole something and the people she doesn't get on with are all wrong and evil and Activision never got permission to do that thing they did and so she's going to sue them just as soon as her daughter comes back?

It's like saying that Burma has been doing its best to be a model democracy, so it's a bit surprising the election results came out the way they did, surely?

Manson signs to Cooking Vinyl

Yes, of course, there's a blustery statement trumpeting the news:

"We will always be our worst audience, until we stop being an audience and start being an artist,” he said. “Any art is flesh and blood, no matter how you perform, decorate or display it. But we all want the passionate horror of that blood. And blood is what I am here to bring.”
But all the bluster in the world, and the dignity-salvaging side label called Hell, Etc, can't alter the fact that what Cooking Vinyl do - and do bloody well - is a nice line in bands whose focus is on serving the audience they have, rather than conquering new worlds. Manson - god bless him - has joined music's greatest conservation programme.

Gordon in the morning: Awards ceremony announces new font

The overhaul of the typography for the Brit awards might seem an odd thing for Gordon to get excited about:

In recent years the awards show has looked like a dated rock'n'roll cliche.

But all that is set to change with a new venue, statue, exciting new format based on the Oscars and a new logo - a bold BRITS instead of the old scribble design.
An "exciting new format based on the Oscars", eh? Given that the Oscars is a bunch of the same old faces giving awards to the same old faces, it's hard to see why the Brits aren't like the Oscars already.
A source said: "The new committee is ripping the guts out of the old Brits.

"The idea is to make the Best Album award like the Best Film at the Oscars. They loved the drama this year when no one knew if The Hurt Locker was going to win Best Picture ahead of Avatar.

"That sense of drama has been lost from the Brits and they want to get that back."
The trouble, surely, is that while people might not have known if The Hurt Locker or Avatar was going to win, with the Brits nobody really cares if Kasabian or Paolo Nutini take the prize. Simply saying "we're going to make it dramatic like the Oscars" won't suddenly stop the shortlist being clogged up with Asda-rack-ballast like every year.

There's been some rejigging of the voting eligibility, too:
The voting academy will get a complete overhaul as well, with key players replacing industry dinosaurs.

And most importantly, artists will get their say on who bags Album Of The Year.

Brits chairman David Joseph said: "Artists are the most valuable part of our industry so inviting them to join the Voting Academy is an obvious step."
If they're so important, why are they only voting for album of the year. And who do you mean by "artists"? Because if everyone, say, who sold more than 200 tracks in a year get a vote, that would be interesting. If it's just letting Elt and Robster and Chris have a go, then you might as well not bother.

And the phrase "key players" is as meaningless as "industry dinosaurs" in this case, surely?

Not to mention that the Oscars voting system is dominated by movie industry dinosaurs.

The show itself is going to abandon Earls' Court and settle in at the Millennium Dome - showing the kind of surprising, left-field thinking that we've come to know and love from the Brits. The O2 Arena? Whoever would have guessed.

Gordon says we'll love it:
I've seen the secret plans for the new show, which will be screened live on ITV and it will be better for everyone - fans, artists and my mob.
"My Mob"? Has he started to confuse himself with Mac Muprhy? Is he running a youth club in the Bizarre offices, to the chagrin of the snooty bloke in a blazer running The Times official reader's club?

What's odd, though, is Gordon's claim that "in recent years the awards show has looked like a dated rock'n'roll cliche."

This year's awards, which most observers were only able to watch through three pillows and cold, bitter tears found most of their applause in Gordon's column:
PETER KAY's quickfire quips had the Brit Awards crowd in stitches.

The host called LADY GAGA "New York's answer to SU POLLARD" - and "the only woman who shops at Ikea for her dresses".
Not much mention of rock and roll cliches there.

Perhaps he meant the year before was a big rock and roll cliche? 2009, you'll recall, saw Gordon praising the hosts even while scripts were still being written:
On a serious note, the lads are a good pick for the show.
And his team carried on praising them even while most people were in A&E having toes uncurled:
KYLIE MINOGUE, JAMES CORDEN and MAT HORNE got their Brit Award hosting duties off to a great start with a spoof performance of Kylie's hit track Can't Get You Out Of My Head.
Indeed, one of the things I don't think I've ever seen The Sun describe the Brits as is a rock and roll cliche - even when Liam Gallagher is throwing swears around and stomping off stage, the Bizarre team is stood applauding the exciting and shocking event.

So why is Gordon denying everything he's run about the Brits in the past to applaud the new look?
The Best Album category will take centre stage under the new name of Mastercard Album Of The Year Supported By The Sun Bizarre Column.
Oh, yes. Just like the Oscars. All the prizes in the Oscars carry two sponsors' names, right?

By the way: the suspicion that albums have been put at the heart of the prize givings in a bid to try and shore up sales of a dwindling way of packaging music at a time when everyone under 40 thinks in terms of tracks, not packs; and that that shows that the heart of the Brits is still being crafted in major label marketing departments and not by "the artists"; and that those departments tend towards the dinosaury? That's an unworthy thought to be having. Totally unworthy.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Psych... oh killers

I'm enjoying the rather splendid Out On Blue Six feature, They Could Have Been A Bit Like The Beatles, which explores the official Second Summer Of Love (TM) of 1989 through the curious attempts to try and psych-up mainstream acts. God knows how many of these relics they'll work through, but already up is Danny Wilson's Second Summer Of Love:

A bit like when people like Herman’s Hermits sang about flowers and love for one or two singles before they got spooked by that bloke from Procol Harum dressed as a druid on Top Of The Pops and went ‘normal’ again.
...and New Kids On The Block's Tonight:
It probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that there’s a distinct lack of political posturing in the lyrics, which seem to be more concerned with reiterating just how famous New Kids On The Block are and how many people come to see their live shows.
There is, as you'd expect from Blue Six, a proper scoring system which means we can expect RESULTS.

Gerard Way's hair rebellion

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now:

My Chemical Romance star Gerard Way dyed his hair pink so he wouldn't be grouped in the same category as other rockers in their thirties.

He said: "I'm happier, but I think in some odd ways more rebellious.

"In some ways the colour is more rebellious, even if it's self-rebellion, there's no big, secret, hidden enemy."
That's right, Gerard. Having pink hair is the act of a dangerous rebel, living by their own rules, on the edge of society. Dammit, outside society.
Just ask Percy Sugden.

This week just gone

Our most-read MySpace related stories since 2005:

1. Preston declares MySpace began and ended with The Arctic Monkeys [November 2006]
2. Jarvis Cocker turns up on MySpace [July 2006]
3. Nice MySpace You've Got Here: Maggie Horn [February 2007]
4. MySpace steals Mobile's name for its own URL [November 2008]
5. MySpace announces plans to sell music [September 2006]
6. MySpace plans to sell music flop badly [April 2007]
7. MySpace buys and absorbs Imeem [November 2009]
8. MySpace announces plans to sell downloads, again [February 2008]
9. Nice MySpace You've Got Here: The Berg Sans Nipple [February 2007]
10. MySpace struggles to find CEO [August 2008]

These were the interesting new releases:

Suede - Best of

Download Best of

Neil Diamond - Dreams

Download Dreams

Pet Shop Boys - Ultimate

Download Ultimate

The Temper Trap - Conditions Remixed

Download Conditions

Alex Ross - Listen To This