Saturday, March 26, 2011

MySpace: The herd departs

You know the problem with herd instincts? They tend to lead to herding.

So it is with MySpace - or Myunderscoreunderscoreunderscore as its logo would have it - as visitors vanish faster than that pile of cash Rupert Murdoch gave them:

There were almost 63 million users of MySpace in February 2011, down from more than 73 million.

Year on year the site has lost almost 50 million users, down from close to 110 million in February 2010.
MySpace are busy trying to spin this as good news:
MySpace boss Mike Jones has been putting a brave face on the falling numbers.

He said the site is no longer a social network and is instead an "entertainment destination".
Well, you can change a railway station into an art gallery, but if nobody comes to look at the pictures you're still sunk, aren't you?

Yes, Duff, it's 'being on the road'

Duff McKagen sounds, oh so much, like a man trying to rationalise something:

"You're away from your wife and whatever, and I don't fuck around – but there are no women on the bus," he outlined. "All of a sudden, well, your bass player's got long black hair, he's wearing his little sister's pants, and out of the corner of your eye he looks like a hot chick."

He added: "We call it 'road gay'. We don't actually act on it…"
Yes, it's not actual sexual attraction. It's just because you're sitting on a bus. It's well known that sitting on a bus for more than an hour can make you "confused" and you start fancying anything. It's why the cross-country National Express pull in at Milton Keynes for a fag break on most trips to allow all that pent-up sexual energy to dissipate. They had to rebuild the Coachway to cope.

I'm wondering if Duff has a list of these scientific explanations. I'm picturing something like:

- It must have been my eyes streaming from that hot chilli
- It must be the air conditioning has frozen my brain a little
- It must be that I'm stood too near a large magnetic source
- I suspect it's possible that he's really a woman dressed as a dude like in that Shakespeare play... yes, yes, that's probably it... he must really be a lady, and there's nothing wrong with that, is there? In fact, I maybe should get him to remove his trousers, because that's how I can be certain he's a lady, right? Obviously, he might have some sort of prosthetic device down there to make it convincing, so I'd have to check that out, maybe by grabbing it and having a good tug, just to see if it comes off... but if it's really tightly attached that might not work, so perhaps I should taste it as well, just to see if it tastes real. Yes, that'd be it
- It must have been the crate of beer and half bottle of bourbon

Gordon in the morning: Lee Ryan is trying

At some sort of party to launch an games console, Lee Ryan apparently reminded us why he's known for miles around as the thinking person's vacuum of thought:

He tried pulling stunning MTV presenter LAURA WHITMORE at a Nintendo 3DS party with the opening line: "Are you f****** anyone at the moment?"

Knocked back by Laura - who is dating THE CORONAS singer DANNY O'REILLY - Lee added: "Usually I just say I'm in BLUE and that works."
Really? Saying "I'm in Blue" "works"? Does Lee Ryan understand that being looked at with a mixture of pity and concern and being told "never mind" isn't actually what adults think of as "being on a date"?

He can't be telling the truth, can he? Because that would mean that people would be more likely to have sex with him if they knew who he was.

What the pop papers say: Kills and bellyaches

In this week's NME, Alex Denney meets The Kills and has a chuckle at the old rubbish churned out by newspapers when writing about them:

What about the rumour - repeated on no less estimable a source than the Guardian website, among others - that you lost a bunch of songs for the new record when Kate [Moss] chucked your laptop in a swimming pool?
Ha ha - silly Guardian, repeating an obviously made-up tabloid story as fact, eh?

But... what are those "others" Denney coyly refers to?, funnily enough. Perhaps they're just a little less estimable than The Guardian?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ms Allen changes trains

The ContactMusic headline screams:

Lily Allen Caught Up In Rail Drama
The story, though, turns out to be 'woman sits on train delayed by incident many, many miles away'.

Still, Channel 4 have got three-part documentaries out of less.

Madonna's charity abandons Malawi school build

It turns out that even a combination of Madonna and Kabbalah can't build a school, as Raising Malawi has junked plans to build:

The organisation, Raising Malawi, has ousted its board of directors and replaced its members with a new set of officials that includes Madonna and her manager, the Times reported.

"A thoughtful decision has been made to discontinue plans for the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls, as it was originally conceived," Michael Berg, co-founder of Raising Malawi, said in an e-mail to members who had contributed to the project.
Perhaps we should send in Toby Young - he seems determined to open a school despite knowing bugger all about it, so he has the perfect credentials.

Raising Malawi has so far spent over two million on not building a school, and you'd have to say brining the management of the project closer to the heart of the Kabbalah Center doesn't really bode well for the future.

Killing Bono is wrong

You'll be aware of Neil McCormick. His day job is as music critic for the Daily Telegraph - a job on a par with being Cheese Reviewer for Lactose Intolerance Monthly - but his main passion is reminding everyone that he knows Bono.

We've already had a single which seemed to exist purely due to an anecdote about Bono; there's been a book about how he know Bono, and now, inevitably, there's a film based on the book based on the anecdotes based on knowing Bono.

The film is called Killing Bono. The book is now, too, although it used to be called I Was Bono's Doppelganger. Someone along the line, someone in marketing has decided the idea of killing Bono is more attractive to floating customers than the thought of someone being exactly like Bono. I wonder why?

The first line of McCormick's book is

I did have a life before U2.
So you have to suspend your disbelief from the very off.

At this rate, McCormick is going to have made more money out of knowing Bono than The Edge has.

[Thanks to Michael M and @jimwaterson for this]

Gordon in the morning: The worries of Winehouse

Amy Winehouse is worried, claims Gordon this morning:

She is stressed about singer ALEX CLARE's rise to fame.

He signed to Island Records last year and Wino is worried he will write songs about their time together and their darkest secrets.
Given that Winehouse has such a spotless reputation, you can understand the worry - perhaps he might have seen her smoking a spliff, or perhaps drinking a tiny bit too much. Can you imagine the damage if something like that got out?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sandra Parsons worries about the filth we're flinging at our kids

The Daily Mail - a website which basically drives traffic by printing pictures of women in bikinis - also runs content from the newspaper of the same name, which means you sometimes get to read Sandra Parsons worrying about 'pornification' alongside links to see Amanda Holden naked save for diamonds, Chantelle Houghton naked except for lettuce leaves, and this:

"Honest, guv, I thought she looked loads older than 15" being the sort of line that the Mail is meant to be objecting to, rather than using as a strapline, surely?

Anyway, in the midst of all this pornified content, there's Sandra Parsons, worrying about Rihanna.
On the cover of the latest issue of American Vogue is a sultry shot of the pop singer Rihanna, posing in a skin-tight, transparent chiffon and lace dress.
Phwooaarr. Just in case you can't imagine this, the Mail helpfully runs a photo of the cover.

But only so you can see how terrible it all is, you understand.

There's also S&M. Parsons doesn't like that, either. Youngsters sing it:
In the ordinary course of life, young teenagers would have no need whatsoever to know about sadomasochism. But thanks to the increasingly revolting music industry, they are now all too familiar with almost every permutation of the sex act.
Yes, young people never knew about sadomasochism at all. Not without pop music. Why, before The Beatles you never learned about bondage until retirement.

Parsons worries that what kids listen to now will have an effect in the future:
What children see, hear and do before adulthood can have far-reaching consequences.
She doesn't say what these "far-reaching consequences" are, or offer anything to back up this claim; nor does she really suggest what should be done about it, beyond a vague suggestion that 'something must be done'.
Rihanna is estimated to be worth £70 million already. She, Jessie J, Skepta and their ilk rely on people like me feeling outrage. They want to be seen as treading on forbidden ground because there’s nothing like it for boosting sales.
Hmm. So you think that music only gets sexualised because the kneejerk reactions to it drive sales, and so you think the best thing to do is, erm, write a kneejerk reaction to it?

There is much sexist and dispiriting in the music industry, that's undeniable. But it seems odd to complain about a circus when you've driven into the ring in a falling-apart car. If Parsons really wants to stop normalising porny images for kids, perhaps she should ask her employer why a "family" newspaper runs so many acres of bikini-and-bum shots on its website?

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Wedding preparations

Back when Charles and Diana got married - whatever happened to her, by the way? - the ceremony was released on records by both ITN and BBC. Scientists say that most of the discs actually rolled themselves direct from Woolworths to the nearest branch of Oxfam.

Still, it was 1981, and if you wanted to enjoy the ceremony over and over again, you pretty much had only a record as a way of doing it.

Quite why they're bothering to stick out a record of the forthcoming wedding between William and Koo Stark isn't clear, but they are. Chief regal nuptial expert at HMV, Gennaro Castaldo, is excited:

Gennaro Castaldo, of HMV, which will be among the online and high street stores selling the album, said: “We’re expecting huge demand for what, no doubt, will prove a highly collectible recording and piece of royal memorabilia.

“We could well be looking at the first ever number one royal album, and you could even have a situation where the Royal couple find themselves at the top of the singles chart as well.”
Really? The download version isn't really a souvenir, being a digital file - tricky to take to Antiques Roadshow - and are there really enough people interested in specific parts to push bits up the singles chart?

I do like the possibility that Kate and William might be invited to mime to bits of their wedding on the Christmas Top Of The Pops, though.

Wouldn't you just tape it on your Sky+ if you were that bothered, though?

Morning Benders help Japan

Over on their official site, the Morning Benders are doing a 'donate-what-you-can' deal: give some money to help the earthquake/tsunami survivors, get a remix ep.

Judge gently points out to music industry it isn't worth all the music in the world, ever

Judge Kimba Wood, who is hearing the claims for damages against LimeWire for unlicensed filesharing through its network, has told the music industry it needs to be realistic. The Register explains:

In an opinion published ahead of the damages hearings, Judge Kimba Wood revealed that the record companies, seeking statutory damages against the music-sharing service, are seeking damages predicated on the “number of direct infringers per work” – leading to a damages claim of as much as $75 trillion dollars (according to Wikipedia, total global GDP is around $69 trillion”).

“The absurdity of this result is one of the factors that has motivated other courts to reject Plaintiffs’ damages theory”, the judge wrote.
If only everyone took the time to work through the figures and spot that record companies seriosuly oversetimate their losses. Might stop bad laws being made to plug these trillion-pound crimes.

Gordon in the morning: Woman admits crime

Nicole Scherzinger is keen on getting a job on American Bob Says Opportunity Knocks, and is prepared to say anything to get it:

Nicole said: "Simon has me to thank for putting One Direction together but I don't get any credit. I won't be getting a cut of the money they make him."
I think if you claim responsibility for One Direction you're meant to ring in a local radio station and use a codeword.

Still, Cowell should let Nicole share in the bounty of One Direction - I'm not entirely sure how one can assign part of your tax write-down to another person, but Syco should look into it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gordon in the morning: Nobody pastes baby on a Corden

Good news for James Corden, a father for a first time.

How does Gordon celebrate this happy event? With a photoshop horror:

Take a moment to enjoy just how shoddy that work is, by the way - the jagged shoulder, whatever the hell is going on round the neck. This is Britain's biggest selling newspaper, by the way, not a sixth form project.

The photo is captioned "Top of the tot ... tracksuit like one Smithy wears" which, erm, explains everything.

Are you interested in what Justin Bieber thinks of Dancing On Ice?

Could you pretend you are?

In a piece with the headline teaser 'Biber: I'll skate on ice show', the poppet actually says:
Justin, 17, has just one condition, saying: "Next time I see David Beckham I will say that if he agrees to do it then so will I."
In much the same way that I will run naked down Kensington High Street - on condition the Queen does it first, then.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chris Brown has violent outburst when asked about his violent outbursts

To be fair to Chris Brown, nobody going on Good Morning America expects any questioning stronger than "muffin or french toast", so he was probably wrong-footed by this:

While on camera, Brown just about kept his temper under control. But only just. TMZ reports:

We're told after the interview, Brown freaked out, storming into his dressing room and screaming so loud, the people in hair and makeup became alarmed and called security.

We're told Brown was out of control, and one source present tells us he smashed a window in his dressing room, and the glass shattered and some shards fell onto 43rd and Broadway. ABC security tells TMZ ... the window was shattered with a chair.

We're told by the time security rushed the area, Brown had ripped off his shirt and left the building, blowing off another performance he was supposed to do for the ABC website.

And sources say ... on his way out of the building, Brown confronted a segment producer, got in his face and stared him down. People from the show got in between Chris and the producer to diffuse the situation.
Clearly, Brown is so tired about his beating up of women being brought up he's trying his best to create some more up-to-date douchery for people to focus on.

The Strokes pull a crowd

After DFA1979's over-subscribed SXSW date, last night it was The Stroke's turn to try to cram more people than possible into a physical space - although the cops weren't called this time, luckily. They were playing a 25,000-strong venue, too, so having people outside trying to get in was quite a feat.

Clearly, none of the people scrambling up the fence had heard the new album.

Discobit: Loleatta Holloway

According to a tweet apparently from her manager, Loleatta Holloway died last night.

Holloway had hits in her own right - most notably Love Sensation:

That song got sampled, remixed, and wound up providing the smartest bits of Black Box's Ride On Time:

Unfortunately for Black Box, they didn't get the samples cleared, and ended up being dragged through the courts before handing over large chunks of the royalties to Holloway and Love Sensation songwriter Dan Hartman.

I've not seen any fact-checking media organisations reporting her death yet - one of the articles about her passing says that "it's all over Twitter and Reddit", which doesn't sound totally solid; there are claims that she slipped into a coma shortly before dying. The one solid fact is that she was 64.

Bluesobit: Pinetop Perkins

Blues legend Pinetop Perkins has died.

Born in 1913 in Mississippi, Joe Willie Perkins might have remained a cottonpicker had he not run away from home following a fight with his grandmother. Earning a living playing in juke joints, he might have remained a guitar player, had he not had a botched operation after his arm got cut in a club fight.

Instead, he turned to piano, a decision that would give him an extraordinarily long career - he won a Grammy in 2005, the oldest person so to do. But his most profilic era was the 30s and the 40s - working across the Mississippi delta with Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Nighthawk, BB King and Earl Hooker. It was this period - and in particular a cover of Clarence Pinetop Smith's Pinetop's Boogie Woogie - that secured Perkins his slightly-borrowed nickname.

A great sidesman for his first 70 years or so, in the late 80s Pinetop started to build a solo career. He threw himself into it, too, with over a dozen albums across the 1990s.

He played SXSW in 2005, and despite being about four times the age of most of the other acts there showed them how to do it:

Pinetop Perkins died in his sleep. He was 97.

Gordon in the morning: Liam does something good

Liam Gallagher is arranging a benefit for Japan:

Liam and his BEADY EYE bandmates will headline a benefit gig at Brixton Academy on Mother's Day, Sunday April 3.

The singer has persuaded Modfather PAUL WELLER, GRAHAM COXON and THE CORAL to join the bill.
What a good-spirited and generous act. And there's no need to try and cram some sort of 'massive chart battle' overwork onto the story to make it interesting, is there, Gordon?
[A source said] "Graham has mentioned the gig to Damon Albarn. It could be the end of one of the most famous British rock 'n' roll feuds ever if he shows up."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Retiring: Alan Lewis

A find farewell to Alan Lewis, a man who quietly worked his way through many of the UK's best-beloved and now-defunct music papers.

UK Press Gazette counts them all out:

Lewis started his career as a local newspaper sub before moving to Melody Maker in 1969 from where he went on to become the founder-editor of Black Music and Kerrang!, editor of Sounds, NME, No1 and Vox.

He was also instrumental in the launch of Loaded and Uncut, the former of which he acted as editor-in-chief, and had a hand in the development of Family History Monthly.
Lewis has been editing Record Collector magazine, which he has carefully positioned away from being a magazine solely about collecting circles of plastic; as a result, there's still a title to hand on. Ian McCann - a name whiskery NME readers will recognise as an equally solid pair of hands - will take up the editor's job when Lewis retires.

Downloadable: Throwing Muses

If you've been collecting the Season Session Rat Girl tracks, Kristin Hersh has just set free the Spring collection.

Wyclef Jean: Not shot?

Yesterday, Jeff Jarvis seemed to be grumping that mainstream media had used the word "shot" in headlines about Wyclef Jean, despite the bullet only grazing his hand - personally speaking, if a bullet has been close enough to do me any damage, I'm going to say I've been shot.

Turns out, though, that the facts might be on Jarvis' side. Not because of 'not shot enough' pedantry, but because Jean wasn't shot at all, according to Haiti police:

Jean said, “The way I can explain it is that the bullet grazed me in my right hand. I heard blow, blow, blow and I just looked at my hand.” Doctors at the hospital where he was patched up and ace-bandaged beg to differ. Police chief Vanel Lacroix told Reuters he, “met with the doctor who saw him and he confirmed Wyclef was cut by glass.”
The Fader reckons that this might be Haiti police trying to play down election violence. It's probably a question of who you trust the most.

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Janet Jackson

Fluxblog gives Janet Jackson some love:

As a singer, Jackson is very underrated. There’s nothing ostentatious about her vocals — there’s no melisma, no belting. She sings to suit melody and she never upstages her rhythm. The songs are often deceptive in their apparent simplicity, often escalating toward demanding high notes.

Gordon in the morning: Old Mother Harding

Sarah Harding, Gordon tells us, is thinking of acquiring a family:

She said that as well as having kids by Tom: "I'd definitely adopt one day. If you can give a child a better life then why not? I'm in a good position to do that, so who knows?"
She said: "It puts me off a bit now that it's this whole trend thing. I'd love to help but don't want to be labelled as another BRAD and ANGELINA."
Well, yes - it is a worry. But I suppose, if you're worried that people might think you're only adopting for attention, here's a thought - you could just adopt, rather than give interviews about how you might adopt, at some point, in the future. Generally, the deeper the interview and pr campaign in proportion to the actual adoption, the more like a publicity stunt these things tend to look.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beth Ditto doesn't know much about her favourite show

You know what Beth Ditto really likes? Pantomime scrubbing:

The Gossip frontwoman wishes her favourite programme, 'How Clean Is Your House?' - in which presenters Kim Woodburn and Aggie McKenzie help people sort out their filthy surroundings - would launch in her native America because it would be such a challenge for the hosts.

She said: "My favourite TV show is 'How Clean Is Your House', the British one - there is no American one.

"Though sometimes they come to America and than can be better - I feel there's no dirtier house than in the United States."
Um... Beth, this is an American one. It's the ones where they come to America. You can even buy it on DVD. Should you want to.

Interesting that Beth's favourite programme hasn't made a new episode in over three years. Perhaps, like Chris Patten, she doesn't watch much television?

Death From Above cause 'riot'; CBC vanishes article

Nasty scenes as overexcitement and undersized venues combined to turn Death From Above 1979's comeback show into a riot.

Consequence Of Sound's Jeremy D Larson was inside:

From inside, we witnessed firsthand a man being repeatedly punched in the face by a police officer. This was all happening as the band played. As DFA 1979 finished “Romantic Rights” (I believe), two or three police walked on stage, followed by a man in charge of the venue.

“The alley needs to be cleared in ten minutes or the show is over,” said the man. He was met with a mixed reaction from the crowd — no one wanted the show to end, but those of us inside — or at least myself — had no problems with the people watching. During the ten minutes, police stood by as those in the alley reluctantly dispersed. A report came back that two to three people were arrested, and as of posting, this is still unconfirmed. Meanwhile, Grainger told some yuck-yuck jokes and jawed with the audience about their rehearsals and previous setlists. It was unnerving but commendable.
CBC's Radio 3 blog also had a story on the riot, which appeared about an hour ago but has since vanished from their site. What's interesting about the CBC story is it suggests there wasn't actually any need for cops on horses to turn up with pepper spray:
I, like many, got close to the gaping space when the fence came down. I shot photos, took video, so many did. It was scary, but after no one rushed the stage, I felt a bit relieved. It was obvious the fans outside wanted to be there, wanted to be cooperative, wanted to dance around and experience the bands first show since 2005.

The security at Beauty Bar also did a great job of securing the fence, holding it up with their bodies, and even some rope. From what I saw, they were trying to accommodate fans on both sides of the fence.

Things seemed to be going well, the band resumed playing, everyone started dancing. Then the riot police showed up on horseback. They sideswiped the crowd, pepper spraying and even tasing some fans. The band stopped playing, the fans were given 10 minutes to clear the alley, if the fans didn’t leave, they would have to cancel the show.
From this, it sounds like a not-unusual crush at an overpopular gig was turned into a riot by the addition of heavy-handed policing - although the unnamed fan's account doesn't condemn the police:
Did I get scared? Yes. Did I think the fans, band and security handled it well? Absolutely. Do I blame the cops for showing up? No. I understand why they were called. If fans did rush the stage, cramping hundreds of excess people into a small fenced in space, their presence would have been definitely needed.
Maybe that's true, but did waving tasers round and spraying pepper into fans eyes' really help?

There's some footage on YouTube:

It's important to note that, once the cops had been, the gig continued to a peaceful conclusion, which is something that wouldn't normally happen after an actual riot.

[UPDATE: The CBC blog has reappeared, credited to Lana Gay.]

Jessica Lea Mayfield weekend: Grown Man

Recorded at The Farm, New York:

[Part of Jessica Lea Mayfield weekend]

Wyclef Jean: shot

Although his own plans to run Haiti fell down in the face of the nation's constitution, Wyclef Jean is still busy with the presidential campaign there. He's been campaigning for Michel Martelly in the second-round vote.

He's been shot in the hand for his troubles.

Never happened to Gary Barlow when he was out on the stump. And he was supporting David Cameron.

Jessica Lea Mayfield weekend: For Today

Recorded live for

[Part of Jessica Lea Mayfield weekend]

This week just gone

Just lookin' - the top ten search terms for No Rock this month (not counting searches specifically for the site itself)

1. Phil Collins sick
2. KT Tunstall gay
3. Lauren Laverne nude
4. The Strokes Angel leak
5. McFly naked
6. Nihal Mercury Music Prize
7. Avril Lavigne bra
8. Dappy
9. Thom Yorke rude
10. Why no ACDC on iTunes

Just "Dappy"?

These were the releases that might be worth a second look:

Cornershop - The Double O Groove

Download The Double O Groove

The Dears - Degeneration Street

Download Degeneration Street

The Unthanks - Last

Download Here's The Tender Coming

J Mascis - Several Shades Of Why

Download More Light

The Naked & The Famous - Passive Me, Aggressive You

Download Punching In A Dream

The Vaccines - What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

Download What Did You Expect...

The Pet Shop Boys - The Most Incredible Thing

Download The Most Incredible Thing

Alex Turner - Submarine

Download Submarine