Saturday, November 27, 2010

They put the application in at the wrong speed

Yes, a stock 'wrong speed' joke can only hail some news relating to the mighty John Peel. In this case, news that Stowmarket Corn Exchange is to be remade as the John Peel Arts Centre.

You suspect that while he'd probably feel a bit shy and awkward about his name being slapped outside a building, this is exactly the sort of way he'd like to be remembered. Let's hope they have a lot of unexpected sounding noises in there.

Senseless Things weekend: Hold It Down

Done live at Terry Christian's circus of the unstomachable:

[Part of Senseless Things weekend]

Joe Jonas: That's not a knife

If the arrest of Willie Nelson with dope is a bit too expected, how about the discovery that Joe Jonas was trying to slip knives through airport security?

Yes, you'd have thought that he'd done enough damage to our way of life by being in the Jonas Brothers, but... no, he's sneaking weapons through Abu Dhabi airport security with shivs.

I say shiv, but... well...

The Jonas Brothers singer and actor was stopped with Ashley Greene, his "Twilight" star girlfriend, when he cluelessly tried to go through security with cheese-cutting knives in a carry-on bag.
Next week: Barry Jonas detained at ORD with three fish knives and one of those wooden honey things.

Embed and breakfast man: The Senseless Things

I was a bit surprised to realise, during the scanty research for this introduction, that The Senseless Things lasted seven years as a going concern. That's not even measuring from the late-last-decade Wiz memorial reunion back to the school version of the band; it's taking from 1987's fanzine freebie first release to the eventful, eventual 1995 of record company dropping and band implosion.

Oh, but they rushed during those seven years. And they were collaborating with Jamie Hewlett while Damon Albarn was still trying to flatten his vowels.

Morgan Nicholls now plays as part of Muse's touring band. You find scrabbly indie survivors in the strangest places.

Let's start with Too Much Kissing recorded - as seems appropriate - at the Square in Harlow. The Square was the epicentre for this sort of guitar pop:

The Postcard CV - debut album re-released by Cherry Red this year
The Singles - downloadable

Senseless Things things
Full tribute site
Senseless Things on Last FM
Senseless Things on Spotify

More to come across the weekend
Although many of the videos have had their embedding switched off by Sony Records, so perhaps not very much more.
Hold It Down live on The Word
Easy To Smile live on Top Of The Pops

Willie Nelson busted again

Well done, Texas police. Arresting Willie Nelson for possessing a bit of dope. That's some sort of proof of the power of your detective skills right there. It's like pulling Chewbacca over on suspicion of possessing hair.

Given the amount of scary, hard drugs being poured across the borders by scary, hard men, wasting time shaking down Nelson for dope suggests a law enforcement team incapable of prioritising.

Gordon in the morning: All-time low

The online version of Bizarre today is double-splashing the Kardashians.

It's not just that they're not really anybody, but the whole piece is just an advert for their not-actually-celebrity not-really-fashion line.

To be fair, the scant text doesn't carry a Smart byline - the press release has been cut-and-paste by Chris Pollard - but someone has taken a decision to run with a bit of meh-adware. There are always lows, but thank the Sun that there are always new ones beneath.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Robbie Williams now treating himself like The Queen

At least when tat is produced to mark an anniversary of the Queen doing a job, Liz doesn't flog the mugs and whatnot herself.

So, then, look with horrified delight as Robbie Williams marks his twenty years in the business with his own range of souvenirs:

Fans can choose from a number of items named after his songs, including the Let Me Entertain You scarf, a Lovelight scented candle and the Angels Heart Charm.
The Let Me Entertain You scarf? Seriously?

It's not known if Williams was merely accosted by the contestants for the next series of The Apprentice, or if he's really behind these ideas. Rumours he's opening a small stall outside his own house cannot be confirmed at time of upload.

Nina Nastasia non-starter

Just heard that Nina Nastasia's UK tour, which had been due to start on the 29th November, has been cancelled due to ill-health. Refunds at the point of purchase; hopes of a return to the UK soon.

Ghosthunting: Sony admits songwriter president was a mistake

You'll recall the "really?" response when Epic made Amanda Ghost, middling songwriter but of dubious management skills, president of the label.

It's ended in tears, and pretty much ensured that Epic will lose whatever was left of its quasi-independence in the Sony family.

The Hollywood Reporter details the moment where Ghost ensured she would vanish, during a CMJ showcase in New York last month. One of her artists had a small pulse of feedback while performing. Ghost, says the reporter, rushed onto the stage:

Among a string of expletives, says a source: "She was screaming: 'Who booked this fucking place? It sounds like shit! We don't treat our artists this way at Epic. I'm not letting them play another minute!' " -- and pulled the plug on the show. "The room just got silent."
Two weeks later, the plug was pulled on her presidency.

According, again, to the Reporter, it had been coming for a while:
An example: It was commonly known among Epic and Columbia employees from all ranks that Ghost was a more than casual marijuana smoker who would regularly light up in her office and admonish so-called creatives who didn't partake. "Her motto was, 'If you don't smoke pot, you can't work here,' " one former staffer says. "In her A&R meetings, she'd say things like, 'If you're not high, like, how do you like music?' " [Sony Music Label Group chairman Rob] Stringer, who says he's never seen Ghost smoke pot, surmises the conversation went more like this:

" 'You guys have brought nothing good to the table, you ought to smoke pot and hear some better music.' It was a taste issue."

During another meeting, a staffer recalls Ghost throwing a CD across the room to make a point. "She thought it was cool and edgy to do stuff like that. She'd say, 'This is shit; you know we can't put this out!' Amanda was a little manic. One minute, she's totally cool, the next she'd say something completely inappropriate then deny having said it. She was a real loose cannon."
There's a lot else in the story of her time in charge at Epic, a time where the one big success was, erm, the death of Michael Jackson triggering enough catalogue sales to cover up some of the worst of the hole.

It's hard not to feel sympathy at the way her juggling of family commitments - which in a success would have attracted admiring op-ed pieces - is turned against her as evidence of other "unreliable" behaviour. But when you read details such as her signing of an artist who she also had publishing rights for, and how eighteen tracks on the artist's first album had her co-writing credit on - there's no sign how this could have ended up anything other than badly.

Ghost has faults, clearly - but the real problem is with Sony. They should never have put her in this role in the first place, and once they had, they should have offered her support. Not the patting-on-the-head style of support, but proper training and advice.

A failing business can succeed with a maverick approach. But the maverick needs to know what they're doing.

[Thanks to Michael M]

Gordon in the morning: A maternity of errors

You'll remember a couple of days ago we were talking about Gordon's scoop announcing Dappy as Channel 4's alternative queen.

It seemed a rotten idea for Channel 4, and so it's reassuring to discover that Gordon was just talking bollocks as usual. MediaGuardian has the actual details of the Alternative Message:

A member of the medical staff from a Southampton maternity hospital will deliver this year's alternative Christmas message on Channel 4.

The Princess Anne hospital will form a large part of Channel 4's Christmas Day schedule, with the alternative message and a marathon of One Born Every Minute Christmas specials called One Born At Christmas.
Unless Dappy's picked up a bit of extra work over Christmas, it's another story from The Sun that turns out to be totally wrong.

Although it's possible Dappy will be needing a second job - the people who make Ghosthunting With are suing N-Dubz for breach of contract after the band twice failed to show up for the programme. Comes to something when the ghostly apparitions are more reliable than the star guests.

Industrialobit: Peter 'Sleazy' Christopher

The Guardian has reported the death of Throbbing Gristle founding father Peter Christopher.

Born in 1955, Christopher had originally found himself working with musicians as a graphic artist. He took the first promo shots of The Sex Pistols (and, more tangentially, as the designer of the Boy logo, was partly responsible for one of the iconic Pet Shop Boys images), but started to make the shift from visuals to sound when he came into contact with Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter and Genesis P-Orridge.

In 1976, they coalesced as Throbbing Gristle, creating music which marked them as outliers even while Punk was shifting where the median of British music was. Being denounced as "wreckers of civilisation" wasn't their highest point, but it's certainly Tory Nicholas Winterton's biggest contribution to British culture.

When Gristle split in 1981, he continued to work with Mr. Orridge as part of Psychic TV. The second album from that band proved pivotal in his life - while working on it, he met Jhonn Balance, with whom he would a life and musical partnership.

The pair formed Coil, creating music for the best part of twenty years until Balance's death in 2004.

In the same year, Throbbing Gristle reformed - initially to play the appropriate location of the Tate Turbine Halls, and then gigging more regularly. That fell apart earlier this month when Genesis quit again; the rest of the band continued to fulfill dates under the name XTG and had been working on an album of Nico covers.

Peter 'Sleazy' Christopher was 55. Dave Simpson ends his piece in the Guardian with these words from the man:

"We are all only temporary curators of our present bodies, which will all decay, sooner or later. In a hundred years or so all the humans currently alive will have died. I take great comfort in knowing, with certainty, that thing that makes us special, able to enrich our own lives and those of others, will not cease when our bodies do but will be just starting a new (and hopefully even better) adventure ... "
That seems a positive note on which to end some sad news.

[Related: John Balance obituary]

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Attack On R-Dig: James Brown joins the Readers Digest

The recently-out-of-bankruptcy Readers Digest desperation to try and find itself some sort of readership has signed up James Brown to do a monthly column:

"I really believe that it helps to write for an audience you are part of. In my 20s I wrote for NME and created Loaded, in my 30s I edited GQ and created Jack, and so in my 40s writing for Reader's Digest and running my own digital publishing venture Sabotage Times just seems right. The column is about enjoying yourself, simple as that," Brown added.
To be honest, James, when you put it like that, you make the Readers Digest sound like the lowest loop on a downward spiral of a career. "In my 50s, I shall be writing a free column taking a wry look at life for the Shepton Mallet Shopper. In my 60s, I shall be joint-editor of the local Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter. In my 70s, I shall be in charge of the Sunday Express."

Stuart Maconie is also joining the magazine, which makes two former NME people on the masthead. I suspect that it still doesn't really make the Readers Digest anything more than the magazine that Punch writers used to make jokes about.

Gordon in the morning: Oldplay

Coldplay are busily working on a whole new album, you'll be thrilled to hear:

[Chris Martin] 33, said: "We're hungry and very fired up. In five years we'll be in our late 30s. You have to have your best work done by then."
You know what, Chris? I think you already have done your best work by then. In fact, I think you'd done your best work by the time you packed up that first evening back in Parr Street.

Still, Gordon is nodding sagely about this need to beat the clock:
He's got a point. Just look at the drop in quality from rock legends THE ROLLING STONES and BOB DYLAN when they hit mid life.
The Rolling Stones drop in quality, eh, Gordon? We can only assume you believe that Mick Jagger hit midlife sometime around last summer, as last May you were gnawing with excitement to find out what Jagger's session with Joss Stone would sound like:
I can’t wait to hear what they all come up with.
And Bono is 50, yet it doesn't seem to have stopped you fawning with delight every time he cranks out a musical burp.

Still, there's an undeniable hint of the midlife about the new Coldplay record. Or at least some sort of crisis, anyway:
CHRIS MARTIN has revealed the inspiration behind the band's risky fifth album is old school American graffiti.

The frontman said: "The ideas come from New York graffiti art of the Seventies where people were expressing themselves with paint.

"I've spent a lot of my life playing it a bit safe or conforming to something, even though I didn't agree with it.

"So I have respect and admiration for people who don't.

"It's about being free to be yourself and to express yourself among negative surroundings. Being able to speak out or follow your passion, even if everybody seems against it."
Really, Chris? The Coldplay body of work to date was all about playing it safe? Why, I'm sure nobody noticed.

Only a multisquillionaire would think that going into a warm, comfortable studio - having already made more than enough to see you through this and many other lifetimes - is on a par with risking your life and liberty when you have nothing to tag a subway car.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Music industry exceutives blame PC Mag for exposing their futility

You can understand the rage felt by the music industry executives who have signed a letter accusing PC Mag of 'encouraging' people to steal music.

What got them angry was a piece written in response to the closure of LimeWire, which effectively said "there are lots of similar services which haven't been shut down".

In other words: the music company has just spent a fortune fixing a leak in their bathtub while the water is cascading from the hot water tank in the roof.

Still, let's hear what the copyright industry has to say, shall we?

We write to express our deep disappointment with your decision to publish Chloe Albanesius’ October 27 article, “LimeWire is Dead: What are the Alternatives?” as well as Sarah Jacobsson Purewal’s November 9, 2010 article “LimeWire is Quietly Resurrected: It's Baaack!” Both articles are nothing more than a roadmap for continued music piracy. The disclaimer in the first, “PC Magazine does not condone the download of copyrighted or illegal material,” rings hollow to say the least.
If, like me, you missed these articles, you'll be delighted that the wise owls at the record industry have drawn your attention to them - Limewire Is Dead and It's Baaaack may very well have passed unnoticed had there not been all this foot-stomping from the RIAA. They really know how to grow an audience with a viral campaign, don't they?
Let’s be honest. The vast majority of LimeWire’s users were interested in one thing and one thing only: downloading our music for free with the full knowledge that what they were doing was illegal. The harm done to the creative community when people are encouraged to steal our music is immeasurable. Disclaimer or no, when you offer a list of alternative P2P sites to LimeWire – and include more of the serial offenders -- PC Magazine is slyly encouraging people to steal more music and place at risk the tens of thousands of music industry jobs – including singers, songwriters, musicians and the technical professionals who put it all together. Even worse is offering a direct link to a “resurrected” Limewire as follows: “I went ahead and downloaded LimeWire Pirate Edition for *ahem* research purposes, and can report that it appears to be working very smoothly. In the event that you, yourself, would like to do some research, you can download the client here (direct link).”
We've all been doing this long enough, yes, to not need to point out that use of the word "steal" and claims of job losses is just nonsense. Or that filesharing services have non-evil uses, and just as saying 'here is a list of places that sell crowbars' isn't an extortion to breaking and entering, saying 'here are peer-to-peer networks' isn't an encouragement to commit crime.
Our argument is buttressed by the fact that PC Magazine offered no alternatives that are 100% legal.
None of the alternatives listed are any per cent illegal. The befuddled music execs have confused 'contain unlicensed files' with 'are not RIAA-approved music selling sites'.
In fact, legitimate download services, who have developed business models based on a respect for copyright and have entered into mutually beneficial arrangements with the music industry are undoubtedly outraged by your feeble attempt to undercut their ability to compete in the legal marketplace.
Legitimate music download services aren't listed in a piece about peer-to-peer networks because they're not peer-to-peer networks. It's like moaning that there's nothing about vegetarianism in an article recommending butcher's shops. And those legitimate services have managed to build a presence alongside, not even despite, the existence of much better-known peer-to-peer networks. Generally, they've tended to accept they're part of the landscape and concentrate on giving people reasons to pay for files instead - something the music industry still seems incapable of grasping as being fundamental to a successful online business.
We would hope that your sense of decency and the realization that even PC Magazine has a responsibility to the rule of law, would have informed your editorial decision in this matter. We suspect you’d feel differently about this issue if, like the music industry, you’d had to let go more than half of the talented writers and journalists who create your magazine because of uncontrolled piracy of their work. Unfortunately, it is clear that the rule of law was an afterthought.
Yeah, you journalists, sitting around in an industry which hasn't been affected in any way by the development of the internet. It's not like your stuff can be cut and pasted, is it?


Here's the list of signatories in full:
Rich Bengloff, President, American Association of Independent Music
Ray Hair, President, American Federation of Musicians
Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, National Executive Director, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
John LoFrumento, CEO, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
Del Bryant, President & CEO, Broadcast Music, Inc.
Elwyn Raymer, President, Church Music Publishers Association- Action Fund
Ed Leonard, Chairman, Gospel Music Association
Gary Churgin, President/CEO, Harry Fox Agency
Barry Bergman, President, Music Managers Forum-US
Jim Donio, President, National Association of Recording Merchandisers
David Israelite, President & CEO, National Music Publishers Association
Steve Bogard, President, Nashville Songwriters Association International
Neil Portnow, President/CEO, The Recording Academy
Mitch Bainwol, Chairman & CEO, Recording Industry Association of America
Pat Collins, President/COO, SESAC
Rick Carnes, President, The Songwriters Guild of America
John Simson, Executive Director, SoundExchange
Ray Hair? Seriously?

Embed and breakfast man: Regina Spektor

Enjoy, while you can, Regina Spektor from last night's Jimmy Fallon:

[Buy: Regina Spektor Live In London]
[via The Audio Perv]

Gordon in the morning: Good news for the Queen

The rumours that Jordan is being lined up as one of the Today Christmas guest editors was rotten enough, but it now turns out that Channel Four have given their Alternative Queen's Speech slot to Dappy.

Yes, that Dappy.

Gordon, naturally, can't see anything wrong with this:

The viewing choice is bound to divide families across the the UK, with older relatives sure to stick by Her Maj.

Grans will choke on their mince pies if they flick on to Camden scamp Dappy's ramblings by mistake.
Really? Why? Because they'll assume there's been some sort of coup?

It's not the first time that Channel 4 have made a clunking choice for what's usually quite a thoughtful slot - they used it to promote their buying of secondary rights for The Simpsons one year; Ali G and Sharon Osbourne have both wasted the slot, too. But this is surely the first time they've given the time to somebody barely capable of stringing a thought together.

Gordon hasn't finished his Christmas TV preview, though, as naturally The Sun isn't going to let an article go by without a cross-media plug:
Dappy and Her Majesty have further competition on Christmas Day from camp dancer LOUIE SPENCE - who I call Louise - as he'll be giving a motivational chat to Sky 1 viewers in a Pineapple Dance Studios special.
Gordon: simply repeating the homophobic 'gag' that a gay man is actually a woman doesn't make it any better.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beatles: The numbers

EMI are chortling with delight over the sales figures for the first week of Beatles on iTunes:

EMI has sold more than 450,000 Beatles albums via Apple's iTunes store in the seven days since the band's entire back catalogue was made available to download digitally.

The music company said 2 million Beatles singles have also been downloaded. An EMI insider hailed it as "a pretty amazing achievement".
It's not a disaster, but given the number of albums and tracks available, and the global marketing heft given to the launch, it's not really that good. A pretty solid, middle batting order performance.

Hang about a moment, though... this isn't just the UK sales. It's worldwide. Oh, and those 450,000 include those sold as parts of the box set counted more than once.

EMI needs any sales it can get these days, but given this has been their longest-awaited launch, the whoops of delight sound somewhat forced.

Bono & The Edge try to cheer everyone up

It's been a rough week or two for Ireland, so it's nice of Bono to give everyone a lift by describing the miserable progress of his pointless Spiderman musical from bad idea to rotten stage show:

"Is there jeopardy?" asks Bono, U2's main songwriter and lead singer. "Yes. Because it's technically very difficult. It has never been achieved before — the kind of scale of what we're looking for. There may be very good reasons. We're going to find out. The expense of it? A lot of it was the delays."
Oh, yes, of course. It'd have to be something nobody has ever attempted before, wouldn't it, Bono? Although it's just a bloke on a string. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang needed a flying car.

Bez arrested

Bez has been arrested at Euston after failing to answer bail:

He was arrested by officers from British Transport Police at the railway station earlier.

A transport police spokesman said: "Mark Berry has been charged with breach of a restraining order and trespass on a railway."
Still better off that Shaun Ryder, though.

Spotify: The gentle smell of burning cash

The headlines are about the losses at Spotify - an operating loss of £16.4million for 2009 - but nerves will be steadied by the massive growth during the year. Mediaweek reports:

Subscription sales generated £6.8m, up from £380,541 in 2008, which made up the lion's share of £11.3m in total revenue.

Advertising revenue exploded from £2,200 in 2008 to £4.5m last year.
Obviously, it'd be lucky to achieve percentage increases of the same order for 2010, but it feels like a move in the right direction.

This is also interesting: it claims "over" 250,000 subscribers out of a user base of six million, which means 5% of users contribute 60% of the revenue.

Gordon in the morning: Unfinished monkey business

Is anything interesting happening while Amy Winehouse overwinters in Barbados? In previous years, her trips to the sun have resulted in drunken embarrassments, gleefully recounted by Gordon.

This year, she's been playing with a monkey.

Still, that's enough for Gordon to clear space on his page:

The troubled star has been befriended by a monkey while on her holibags in Barbados.
Holibags? Gordon, you need to upgrade to the latest version of Office. As well as the red spelling warning, and the green grammar flag, there's a jiggly purple line which draws your attention to places in text you might have inadvertently written like you were a fifteen year-old girl signing someone's shirt on the last day of term.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Downloadable: Underworld

This is also cracking: Underworld cover King Creosote.

[update: just for the record, this was sort-of-a-joke as it was the other way around, King Creosote covering Always Loved A Film. It appears to have vanished completely from the internet after RCRDLBL closed, which is a shame.]

Au Revoir Simone: Don't go over the lines

This is cracking, it's one part Au Revior Simone video to one part online colouring book: Knight Of Wands.

Kenny Everett: Digging him up for Christmas

It's great that Radio 2 are going to celebrate Kenny Everett this Christmas, but I'm not sure about the plans for a 'new' programme made up of old programmes carefully cut together - the radio equivalent of that blood-coldening Bing Crosby beatboxing ad, surely?

If I had an AMA

The American Music Awards were passed around last night. And the Daily Mail is in doubt of the most important part of the ceremony:

Here comes the superstar! Miley Cyrus makes a grand entrance at American Music Awards in a short dress and long train
Although looking at the full list of winners - which the Teen Choice awards might sniffily dismiss as juvenile - maybe the Mail made the right call:
Justin Bieber

2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Pop/Rock Music - Favorite Male Artist

• Pop/Rock Music - Favorite Album: My World 2.0

• T-Mobile Breakthrough Artist of the Year

• Artist of the Year

The Black Eyed Peas

2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Pop/Rock Music - Favorite Band, Duo or Group

Michael Buble

2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Adult Contemporary Music - Favorite Artist


2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Rap/Hip-Hop Music - Favorite Male Artist

• Rap/Hip-Hop Music - Favorite Album - Recovery

Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers

2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Soundtracks - Favorite Album

Lady Antebellum

2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Country Music - Favorite Band, Duo or Group

Lady Gaga

2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Pop/Rock Music - Favorite Female Artist


2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Contemporary Inspirational Music - Favorite Artist


2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Alternative Rock Music - Favorite Artist

Brad Paisley

2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Country Music - Favorite Male Artist


2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Soul/Rhythm & Blues Music - Favorite Female Artist


2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Latin Music - Favorite Artist

Taylor Swift

2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Country Music - Favorite Female Artist

Carrie Underwood

2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Country Music - Favorite Album - Play On


2010 American Music Award winner for:

• Soul/Rhythm & Blues Music - Favorite Male Artist

• Soul/Rhythm & Blues Music - Favorite Album - Raymond v. Raymond

Gordon in the morning redux: That chart battle result

You remember the big battle Gordon spent time talking up between Take That and Foster & Allen?

The results are in:

Take That - Number 1
Foster & Allen - Number 40

I think there needs to be a recount there, eh?

Gordon in the morning: Yes, she does have breasts

Although it's the sort of conversation held in pubs up and down the land, when Gordon publishes the discussion between Tinie Tempah and himself about Dolly Parton it just sounds really, really seedy:

"I love everything about Dolly Parton. She has got massive boobs."

She certainly has - massive 64-year-old boobs.

he admits if he did get the chance to pull her, he'd still grab it with both hands.

He said: "She almost became an indirect auntie of mine, which makes it creepy that I'd be willing to go there.

"It really didn't start as a lustful sort of thing."

Dolly must be used to blokes admiring her considerable assets.

And she'd be silly not to pair up with someone as talented as Tinie, even if he did spend most of the time staring at her chest.
Yes, Dolly Parton's chest is a comedy stand-by, but... Gordon, did you really read this before running it? I know this is The Sun, and - as Laurie Penny points out in an excellent piece in the New Statesman - it's a paper which can't tell the difference between 'a bit of a laugh' and 'objectification of women', but this is just creepy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not Forgot-Ten: Other people's lists

With the year starting to draw to its conclusions, it's time to start collecting together some of the highlights of other people's reviews of the year.

This post will be expanded regularly over the next couple of months
Last update: 03-01-11 Best Rock Albums
5. The Hold Steady - Heaven Is Whenever
4. Kings Of Leon - Come Around Sundown
3. Kid Rock - Born Free
2. Drive-By Truckers - The Big To-Do
1. Deftones - Diamond Eyes

Best-selling UK albums via Official Chart Company
5. Plan B - The Defamation Of Strickland Banks
4. Rihanna - Loud
3. Lady GaGa - The Fame
2. Michael Buble - Crazy Love
1. Take That - Progress

Best-selling UK singles via Official Chart Company
5. Usher featuring Will I Am - Oh My God
4. Only Girl (In The World) - Rihanna
3. Bruno Mars - Just The Way You Are (Amazing)
2. Matt Cardle - When We Collide
1. Eminem featuring Rihanna - Love The Way You Lie

Duffy's favourite track of the year, via The Observer:
The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition

Robert Duffy of Done Waiting's favourite albums:
5. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
4. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks
3. Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love
2. The National - High Violet
1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Gorilla vs Bear Best tracks of the year:
5. Girls - Carolina
4. James Blake - CMYK
3. Beach House - 10 Mile Stereo
2. Joanna Newsom – Good Intentions Paving Company
1. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Round and Round

I Heart Music Hottest Bands In Canada
5. Shad
4. Broken Social Scene
3. Karkwa
2. Diamond Rings
1. Arcade Fire

iTunes Rock Album Of The Year:
Deftones - Diamond Eyes

Santiago Lizón's best Creative Commons tracks, via Phlow:
Penca Catalogue - Only Locals
Stable Mechanism - A Fake Conversation
Monoceros - Camper
Crisopa - Titanium Tears
Javier Rubio + Pársec - Alice y Bob

Laura Marling's favourite album via The Observer:
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

The Music Slut's top albums:
5. One Night Only - One Night Only
4. The Irrepresibles - Mirror Mirror
3. Everything Everything - Man Alive
2. Sufjan Stevens - The Age Of Adz
1. Lightspeed Champion - Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You!

NME albums of the year:
5. Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
4. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
3. Beach House - Teen Dream
2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
1. These New Puritans - Hidden

NME's biggest names missing from its 50 best albums of the year list:
5. MIA - M/\Y/\
4. Eminem - Recovery
3. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
2. The Courteeners - Falcon
1. Kings Of Leon - Coming Around

NME's reissue of the year:
David Bowie - Station To Station

NME tracks of the year:
5. Arcade Fire - We Used To Wait
4. Kanye West - Power
3. Janelle Monde - Tightrope
1. Foals - Spanish Sahara

Q Best albums
5. Vampire Weekend - Contra
4. Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
3. Plan B - The Defamation of Strickland Banks
2. Robert Plant - Band of Joy
1. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

Pretty Much Amazing Best songs
5. The Morning Benders - Excuses
4. Yeasayer - ONE
3. Cee-Lo Green - Fuck You
2. Tame Impala - Solitude Is Bliss
1. LCD Soundsystem - All I Want/I Can Change

Wendy Roby's fifty singles of the year includes TuneYards - Real Live Flesh; Oh No Ono - Helplessly Young; Keane - Stop For A Minute

Oliver Sim's favourite album, via The Observer:
Best Coast - Teen Dream

One Track Mind's reader's favourite songs of the year:
5. Sarah Jaffe - Better Than Nothing
4. Trentemøller - Sycamore Feeling
3. Emily Jane White - Liza
2. Junip - Rope And Summit
1. The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio

Stereogum Best new bands
Forty bands nominated, including Warpaint, Minks, Best Coast & Active Child

Sweeping The Nation's albums of 2010:
5. Allo Darlin' - Allo Darlin'
4. Napoleon IIIrd - Christiania
3. Meursault - All Creatures Will Make Merry
2. Sufjan Stevens - The Age Of Adz
1. Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring

Tinnie Tempah's favourite album, via The Observer:
Plan B - The Defamation Of Strickland Banks

Everett True's top five albums
Agent Ribbons – Chateau Crone
My Disco – Little Joy
kyü – kyü
Mountain Man – Made The Harbor
Tunabunny – Tunabunny

UK Bloggers chart, as curated by Sweeping The Nation:
5. Beach House - Teen Dream
4. Caribou - Swim
3. Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
1. The National - High Violet

Village Voice's worst songs of the year:
5. Artists For Haiti - We Are The World 25 For Haiti
4. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Don't Pull me Over
3. Cast Of Glee - Loser
2. Bret Michael - What I Got
1. Train - Hey Soul Sister

Katie White's band of the year, via The Observer:

Lest we forget
2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005

There's a similar, but much more diligent list, over at Largehearted Boy

Usher offers advice to Justin Bieber

It's not entirely clear if Justin Bieber (I think he's from Toy Story 3) solicited Usher's advice or not, but Usher's offering it anyway:

“I tell Justin you’ve got to love all your fans without falling in love with them. I can’t say I’ve never dated a fan but it’s not a good idea. I tell him to understand that you are a fantasy to them and you should be mindful of that,” Usher said.

“And I encourage him to not take success so seriously so early. Have fun with it. And make friends!”
It's bloody good advice.

For Usher, he shouldn't date his fans because they like songs by Usher, and who wants to hang out with someone like that?

For Justin Bieber, he shouldn't date his fans because they're eight years old and he'll end up on some sort of register.

Lady GaGa plays the Tony Britton role

No, no, she's not becoming a doctor and moving in with her son; it's the other Tony Britton role. "Are you familiar with the term... sleeping partner?" That one.

In other words, she's bought a share in a restaurant:

The 'Poker Face' hitmaker recently became a part-owner of Vince & Eddie's in Manhattan's Upper West Side, putting her money into the longstanding Italian-American eatery.
The report says she wants to keep her involvement low-key, which seems a bit out of character.

It's a smart move, though, as she can negotiate great deals with slaughterhouses when she buys the ingredients for dresses and entrees at the same time.

This week just gone

The most-read comments in the last five years have been:

1. A response to The Strokes side projects
2. Applause for a MGMT video
3. Inevitably, the confused reactions to R Kelly videotaping himself having sex
4. Considerations of Gordon's concern for Adele's love life
5. An eyewitness account of Courtney Love at the Oxford Union
6. Amy Lee fans insisting that it was okay for her to talk about murdering Britney Spears because she's sexy
7. A threat against kittens that only Pink can spare
8. Speculation about Cliff Richard's love life
9. Trying not to think about John Barrowman's webcam penis
10. Equally inevitably, everyone gets twittery about the thought of Danny McFly's cock

It wasn't all digital Beatles last week, you know:

Brian Eno - Small Craft On A Milk Sea

Download Small Craft On A Milk Sea

Kate Rusby - Make The Light

Download Make The Light

Pink - Greatest Hits

Download Missundaztood

Tammi Terrell - The Complete Solo Collection

Download The Complete Solo Collection

Sandy Denny - Box Set