Saturday, October 29, 2011

EMI's likely buyers

It's looking more and more likely that EMI will be split into two as the auction continues.

Warner Music will probably pick up the recorded music part of the company, with BMG Rights Management - a 50-50 Bertlesmann/ KKR group - taking the bit that makes money.

Ah, yes, KKR are private equity - that's been something of a success for EMI in the past, hasn't it?

Warners are expected to kill the EMI brand in America - or at least finish off the parts that are still twitching following Bungling Hands' time in charge - but might retain it in the UK. It wouldn't be too surprising if some form of EMI America label clung on at the edges, just to play to the sentimental amongst the people who still buy records.

Morrissey to put his case to a jury - perhaps

So Judge Tugendhat has allowed Morrissey to bring the four year old racism spat before a London jury.

Morrissey is excited:

In a written statement issued by his solicitor after the hearing, Morrissey said: "In 2007 the NME viciously attacked me and labeled me a racist and a hypocrite.

"Last week they sought to avoid facing me in court to settle the matter once and for all.

"I am delighted that the NME's attempt to stifle my claim was unsuccessful and that as a result I will be able to use the very public forum of the high court in London to clear my name, loud and clear for all to hear."
The NME also says that it looks forward to the battle:
An NME spokeswoman said: "NME recently sought to strike out Morrissey's claim on grounds of a lengthy delay. After almost four years, we are glad that the matter will now proceed to trial and we will finally get the opportunity to bring this matter to a close."
It's potentially a bigger risk for Morrissey than it is for the magazine - because if he loses, he'll actually have been proved a racist in court, which is the sort of thing it's hard to come back from, while, if he wins, he'll still have what he said, if not the NME's interpretation and selection, to contend with.

The biggest risk for the NME is that there might be a Smiths reunion at some point.

The judge himself says he wouldn't be surprised if matters get settled out of court.

Gordon in the morning: Madonna's five-ring circus

Gordon has news this morning of a planned appearance by Madonna:

Madonna is fit for Olympics

The 53-year-old singer is going to make her return with a massive gig in Hyde Park.

She is planning to win back her Queen Of Pop title by playing to 60,000 fans smack bang in the middle of the Olympics.
Smart is dressing this up as if it's part of the Olympics, although it's unlikely Madonna would, given that the supine UK government passed a law against that sort of thing.

There isn't actually an announcement - Gordon quotes "a source" and does some wild speculation:
Last month, Em — as her pals call her — said the follow-up to 2008 album Hard Candy will be "more good music" and out next spring.

That also ties in nicely with her rumoured Super Bowl performance at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis next February.
Nobody wants to see someone doing the new stuff at a Superbowl performance, surely? Especially given that the last couple of albums have been a bit patchy.

Still, you've got to love those "friends" - as Em calls them - who are obviously very close to Madonna operation with their insight of "more good music" being on the album. To be fair, I guess "good music" would represent a change of direction.

But how likely is that London - which clearly has started to panic about how the traffic is going to flow around during the running competition - would allow Madonna to clog up the other side of town at the same time?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Noel Gallagher responds well to criticism

For much of the last decade, people with ears have been pointing out that most Oasis music after the second album was more-or-less without redeeming merit.

For much of the last decade, Noel Gallagher has angrily defended his band's output like a BP executive denying that the oil-covered seabirds had anything to do with their gushing ineptly-drilled well.

Lately, though, Gallagher has started to concede that, actually, he's spent much of his life treading water.

Has he learned his lesson, though? That perhaps it might be worth paying attention when people start to ask questions about quality control.

No, of course not. The Edinburgh Evening News has felt his wrath:

Noel Gallagher has thrown a strop following a bad review of his latest album by the Evening News’ chief music writer – and banned him from last night’s gig at Usher Hall.

News reviewer Gary Flockhart was told he had been black-balled for describing Gallagher’s new High Flying Birds record as a “letdown” and “big disappointment” in last Tuesday’s column.
Flockhart told, erm, his own paper that he was surprised to be told he couldn't get a press pass ("That piece you wrote about him last week didn’t exactly help your cause to be honest") because his review hadn't actually been especially scathing.

Trouble for Noel is, if he only wants to be reviewed by people who slavishly believe him to be the greatest thing since Mungo Jerry, he's going to find large swathes of the planet where his entire press guest list will consist of himself, wearing a false moustache and a hat pulled down low over his eyes.

Flockhart, at least, came out of it well: not only did he get a story making Gallagher look petty out of it, but he's also got an evening off that otherwise he'd have had to spend watching Noel Gallagher And The Easily Angered Chickens.

Daily Express: Woke up this morning, and my horse done me wrong

What is the Express talking about here?

ROBERT PLANT’S done it, Hugh Laurie’s had a go and now Lionel Richie looks set to become the next in line to ...
You'll probably struggle with the answer:
...bring out a country album.
Hugh Laurie? Country album? Does the Express not know the difference between blues and country, or does it simply not care?

Coldplay hold off Spotify

Are you looking for Mylittle Pono on Spotify?

You are? Seriously? Really?

Let's pretend you are.

You won't find it there, as Coldplay are keeping it off:

British band Coldplay is withholding its latest album, "Mylo Xyloto," from all-you-can-listen streaming services such as Spotify and Rhapsody — making it the biggest band yet to express reservations about a system that pays artists a fraction of a penny every time someone listens to a song.
The AP's Ryan Nakashima believes this is a blow to Spotify, which almost certainly overstates the value of yet another Coldplay album to people who have subscribed a site with more music than they know what to do with.

It's probably true that Coldplay won't miss the streaming royalties for now; it'd be interesting if the streaming services decided to refuse to allow hold-out albums to come to the service later, and to see if that shifted the balance when deciding if to be on or off at launch.

Gordon in the morning: Will this do (part 379)

There's a massive headline:

Nicole Scherzinger looks down after split
And, indeed, a massive photo which backs up the story. A photo of a woman with her head so inclined that her eyeline appears to taking her gaze towards the ground.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Amy Winehouse: the inquest

So, now we all know what has been known by the people who the never-less-than-bungling Met Police accidentally sent the details to : what killed Amy Winehouse.

Yesterday's inquest heard she'd drunk a lot; the coroner recorded a misadventure verdict.

A chance for the press to take a moment to show a spot of decorum?

Surprisingly, the Express almost manages to just report the inquest straight, only letting itself down by slapping in a crappy video which cuts from a jaunty neon parping bumper into footage of Winehouse's body being hauled out of the house.

Both the Mail and Mirror fixate on a line from Amy's doctor:

Amy Winehouse inquest: I don't want to die - what singer told doctor night before her death
says the Mirror;
I don't want to die: Amy's word hours before being found dead at five times drink-drive limit
trumpets the Mail.

The line was recounted to show that Winehouse wasn't feeling suicidal, but both papers attempt to wring some tragedy out it, more-or-less implying that it was famous last words. The Mail smudges it the most, as you'll spot from the headlines. When did Amy say this, Daily Mail?
GP Christina Romete, who saw the singer hours before her death, said she did not believe Miss Winehouse had deliberately drunk herself to death.

She said she had told her: ‘I do not want to die… I have not achieved a lot of the things I wanted.’
The Mirror is more honest about this:
She suffered alcohol poisoning but had told her doctor the night before: “I don’t want to die.”
The Daily Mail's "hours" appears to be "more than twenty-four", which most people would call "the previous day" unless they were trying to spice up a report of a young woman's death.

The most stridently ill-judged tone, naturally, comes from The Sun. For them it's a story so lurid, they have to tell it twice. First a staff reporter has a go:
Amy Winehouse was five times the drink-drive limit
Tragic star went on fatal booze binge, inquest finds
But in case that wasn't making enough out of it, Tom Wells had another try at the story:
3-day vodka binge killed frail Amy Winehouse
Star 5 times drive limit
A three day binge? But didn't she her doctor hours - sorry, a day - before? On day two of a binge? How was she? As Wells report admits:
She last saw Amy at 7pm the night before she died. Dr Romete said: "She was calm, she was coherent. She was tipsy I would say, but she didn't slur and was able to hold a full conversation."
Forty-eight hours into a bender.

That's the inquest system for you: the coroner establishes the facts, then the tabloids come round and muddy them again.

Noel Gallagher: We should have been on a break

Noel Gallagher says that, given his druthers, he'd have gone on a decade hiatus after Knebworth:

"In that period, 97 to 2000, I could have done with a lot of time off, but Liam, to his credit, always pushed us back into the studio.

"I'd have had a decade off after Knebworth and gone 'Well that's enough for me, need to go on holiday and I'll see you in 10 years'.

"There was some good songs but not really great albums, you know what I mean, but its all part of the story I guess."
A ten year break? At last, there would have been something from Oasis we could all have enjoyed.

Gordon in the morning: Coldplay under the influence

Coldplay held a press conference yesterday to launch their new album Fido Dido, and Gordon went along. That it was in Madrid might have added to the allure.

One of the big surprises was that Brian Eno tried hypnotising the band during the recording sessions:

Bass player Guy Berryman admitted yesterday that the band have reached a stage where they are open to outrageous ideas from the talented team around them to tap into new writing veins.
I'd have thought that was an admission they've more or less run out of steam, isn't it? "What can we do? How about if we dress up in wetsuits and stare at photos of kittens to see if that creates an idea?"
"Brian suggested we try playing together when we were hypnotised. One of his friends came down and we tried it out. Nothing came of it but at least we tried it."
I'm suprised none of the hypnosis tracks are on the record, because when I listen to it, I do find I feel sleepy, sleepy, very sleepy.

Meanwhile, Chris Martin was fuming at the idea that people think Coldplay little more than a reworking of other people's ideas:
He also hammered any suggestion that the band would ever copy other people's music.

He said: "It's fine not to like our band, but making up shit about us is not on. There's a difference between criticism and accusation. People who accuse us of stuff like that are *****, quite frankly."
I'm guessing that's going to be "cunts" - partly because it's clearly such a shocking word Gordon couldn't bring himself to even print the first letter, and partly because having been lazily homophobic and misusing disability language over the last couple of days, he's probably going for the clumsy sexist insult to get the treble.

Still, it's interesting that Chris gets so angry about people who accuse them of copying other bands. So much as to call them *****.

One of the biggest *****s would be, erm, Chris Martin who told Rolling Stone in 2005:
"We’re definitely good, but I don’t think you can say we’re that original,” he notes. “I regard us as being incredibly good plagiarists.”
He might also want to have a word with his bandmate Jonny Buckland, who admitted ripping off Kraftwerk:
"We've never so directly stolen off anyone before. We've never paid for our plagiarism."
What a *****.

Mind you, at the same time, Martin also chimed in with this:
"Fix You came directly from Elbow's Grace Under Pressure."
Hold up there, Chris: don't you know that there's a difference between admiration and plagiarism?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Downloadable: Peggy Sue

Peggy Sue were on NPR's World Cafe earlier today; you can snaffle their two live tunes for free thanks to the unique way NPR is funded.

Bookmarks: Internet stuff - The Fall

Is it a Fall song, or is it a tax avoidance scheme (i.e. a tax dodging scheme)? Asburyandasbury want to know Play along at home:

The names given to these ingenious tax dodges are strangely resonant – things like “The Double Luxembourg” and “Outward Domestication”. In fact, they sound very much like lost B-sides by Manchester songsmiths The Fall.

[From 2009, but beautifully rediscovered today by Boing Boing]

Pushing MySpace was a mistake when it was my space

Michael Jones was in charge of MySpace during its last days as part of the Murdoch empire - you'll recall, he was the man who tried to turn it from being a hollaback horrorshow into a music destination.

He's now admitted that he was flogging a hippo carcass:

A year ago, we executed one of the most significant relaunches of a historical Internet brand. We repositioned Myspace as a social entertainment destination and introduced an entirely new technology platform, new products and refreshed content. However, the new Myspace didn't gain as much traction with consumers as we had hoped.
The reasons for this? He's quite upfront about it. He had a toxic brand:
We chose to keep the Myspace brand. This was a mistake. We found that regardless of how much we improved the product or the marketing message –– consumers' memories about the brand were too strong to allow them to view Myspace with fresh eyes and an open mind. We could not escape their images of animated GIFs.

It could be argued that with more time and more marketing dollars, we might have been able to change users' perceptions of Myspace.
Perhaps if your team focused your efforts on promoting your message rather than leaving arsey comments on blogs which suggested your offering was weak, you might have done better.

But then... the offering was weak, too:
Myspace Music has always had a strong brand affiliation with entertainment. Its popular Secret Shows franchise -- a series of free concerts with top artists exclusively for Myspace users -- helped to create an incredible bridge between online and offline experiences and established a certain brand tone in consumers' minds. With the relaunch, we sought to capture the essence of Myspace Music and expand it to other entertainment categories on the site.
I think Michael's wrong here; what he really discovered was that even the shittiest stick will be grabbed if there's enough spangles on off; people came away from MySpace gigs thinking they were great despite, not because of, MySpace's involvement.
However, where Myspace came up short was on utility -- that is, we didn't have a product that compelled users to come to the site every day, something that had true-long lasting utility for consumers.
That's right. People tend to only listen to music once or twice a week.

No, really: if you believe you're the place to go for music, then most people will be popping by whenever they fancy a tune. You had utility; it's just there were better offerings elsewhere that weren't quite so MySpacey.

Mike then indulges in a spot of "boo-hoo, people didn't realise how great we were" sobbing:
As of August 2010, Myspace was interacting with over 100 million users a month, generating billions of page views and streaming hundreds of millions of songs. Yet, despite these incredible metrics, the market value for Myspace was far below the value placed on many other smaller, yet similar, businesses.
I don't want to sound like that woman off the show which tried to sell unsellable houses but a business is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. Your business isn't a billion dollar business if people will only pay a million for it. Values of businesses are all made-up anyway. Yours was just made-up in the wrong way.

Jones seems convinced that a few changes - along with more time to overcome the "entrenched" problems of the existing MySpace staff and the "single point of failure" of having one URL - that there was something at the heart of MySpace which had value. Its new owners seem to also be struggling to find any such point.

Cowell backs down, Rhythmix changes name

Belatedly doing the right thing, Simon Cowell and his evil moon-thieves are clumping into action to try and salvage the whole 'trying to bully a charity into giving up their name' fiasco.

It's being pitched as if the contestants themselves came up with the idea of not calling themselves Rhythmix any more:

"At the request of the charity Rhythmix, the members of the girl group Rhythmix have decided to change their name, a decision which has the support of Syco and TalkbackTHAMES," a statement from the programme's producers said. "The group's new name will be announced in due course."
The "group" decided, did they? That's about as likely as Bartleby the Pony taking out a deed poll to become Black Beauty off his own initiative.

It's the right thing to do, but it's still depressing that it took the charity taking its complaints public and building 65,000 Facebook supporters; it's unacceptable that ITV, Talkback Thames and Simco are trying to spin this as doing a charity a favour.

Chris Martin should try being quiet

Yesterday, Chris Martin was making hilarious jokes about being gay.

Today, he's misusing mental health terms:

He said: "It's definitely a schizophrenic album, it keeps changing sounds. That's why we called it such a strange thing, 'Mylo Xyloto'. Because we felt like so many people have already made up their minds about us, both good and bad, that we can sort of start again from scratch and try and reflect all the music we listen to and we love."
Let's keep this simple, Chris: even if "schizophrenic" did mean split personality, it'd still be shitty to use it to describe your record; that you're simultaneously misusing the word, and using it offensively really does hit the double.

Gordon in the morning: Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want

Joey Barton is trying to reunite The Smiths. He's a big Smiths fan.

Obviously, both those sentences can't be true.

Gordon reckons Barton is working on an attempt to piss on yet another memory:

[T]he QPR skipper has been working on the musical equivalent of the Middle East peace plan.

Now The Stone Roses have patched up their differences, Joey has taken it upon himself to reunite one of Manchester's other legendary bands, The Smiths.
This is akin to the drummer from Cud popping up trying to insist that Jimmy Case is added back into the Liverpool team for this Saturday.
"If I could get The Smiths back together that would top anything I could achieve on the football pitch."
It turns out that he's not actually "working" on it, just has met Morrissey and Marr. Separately.
They haven't played together for nearly 25 years but Barton thinks the ice is thawing. He added: "They told me they had turned down £40million for a reunion — but I reckon Marr is up for it."
That's not actually thawing, is it? That's just suggesting that Marr might bite if the money was good enough. Nor is it "bringing them together", it's just asking if they have.

It's unclear if Barton or Smart are even aware that the Smiths weren't a duo, and that two very vital parts of an actual reunion took Morrissey to court after he claimed they weren't actually vital parts of The Smiths. And their names might be harder to get on any reunion document. To be fair to Barton, though, he seems merely to be saying "it'd be nice if they got back together" rather than having a flipchart with a plan on it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

X Factor: Bullying charity

As if the transparent faked storm on the front pages of the papers today weren't enough of an image-dent for the X Factor, there's a genuine storm brewing. A music charity claims that Cowell's people have been trying to bully control of its name from them:

On 23 September 2011, Simco (a company owned in large part by Simon Cowell) lodged an application in Europe to trademark the name "Rhythmix" for use by the programme X Factor. At the time of lodging that application, X Factor and Simco were fully aware that "Rhythmix" was an existing trademarked name of a music charity that works with vulnerable young people. Rather than seeking any discussion with the Charity, considering any of the moral implications of their actions, or checking with the Charity whether the pursuit of an exclusive trademark might have any negative impact on the activities of the Charity, Simco and their legal representatives sought a way to use the law to circumvent the trademark of the Charity.

The two questions for X Factor, ITV, Syco, Simco, Freemantle and Talkback Thames are simple:

1. You knew it was a music charity working with very vulnerable young people, so why did you try to take the name, aggressively seeking to limit the use of the name by the Charity by lodging applications to grant you the exclusive right to record, create promotional items and even use the word in printed media?

2. If you thought it wasn't going to be a problem, now you know it is. Professional people who work in this field are telling you it is. The media are telling you it is. The public are telling you it is. Why have you so far failed to make a public statement clearly laying out your reasons why you need to keep the name.... or why do you not simply change the name?
Perhaps even more unedifying than the idea of Cowell trying to snaffle a charity's name is some of the comments from what we can only presume to be X Factor fans on the charity's Facebook page. Take Ross Greig:
Maybe instead of wasting time into long notes you should put more effort into the charity. The whole point of charity is helping people. But how can you do that whilst arguing on facebook... Priorities
Clearly, reading what is an admittedly long but fair explanation of the charity's position was a bit of a strain for Ross, and made his head hurt. Otherwise why would he have written a comment so preposterous? Unless he really believes that trying to protect the name they've been using for over a decade is a waste of time. Perhaps they should just view this as if Ricky Gervais had "reclaimed" their name for them, right?

Rhythmix have rather a good response:
Actually Ross, I completely agree with you. I don't see any reason at all why we should have to monitor this wall, or write long notes, time that could be usefully spent doing what we want to do. Could somebody please tell Simco that as well?
Jake Ryan looks on the bright side:
If worst comes to worst and you lose and change your name, people will:-
A) Only remember the girl band as the band that stole the charity name (which will always have comedic value and they will be despised)

B) Still remember who you USED to be and remember the name you change to, everybody remembers the World Wrestling Federation, im sure you guys will be fine!

+If worst comes to worst, and you lose the name and all your publicity and everything, you'll know to get better solicitors!
Yeah, that's a good point. If you lose the name you've spent all that time building up, all you need to do is mount an expensive rebranding exercise. A few weeks of nationwide TV programming under your new name and you'll be fine, yeah?

It's unclear if Jake remembers that the wrestling people had to change their name after a charity had to fight a legal action to protect their brand in the face of a muscular attempt to snatch a trademark by a populist entertainment company.

Ian Brown: Fast Erratic Acceleration Relief

Nick Freeman, the solicitor who does very nicely, thank you, out of keeping people caught speeding on the road has helped Ian Brown keep his licence despite being clocked doing 105 miles per hour on the M6. After dark:

Brown, wearing a shirt and tie and a large black jacket, thanked magistrates after his lawyer Nick Freeman argued that a driving ban would have caused him "insurmountable" difficulties in relation to seeing his 11-year-old son who lives in London with his mother and in attending Stone Roses band rehearsals which are taking place at "a remote secret location".
You might wonder - especially if you've had a friend or relative killed by a person speeding on a motorway - if the requirements of a man rehearsing for a multimillion pound showbusiness event should be the priority in deciding if that bloke should be on the road.

I mean, we all know how ropey Brown's voice is live, but how bloody remote does the rehearsal space have to be? Is it like Gruinard Island, a place which has to be miles away from where people live and which will be hostile to life for decades to come?

Rehearsing with the Stone Roses might not be a job you can do working from home, but surely the response should be 'he might want to think about moving the rehearsal space' rather than 'go on, then, keep your licence'. Or, given the cash sloshing about for reunion tickets, that Brown might just be able to afford a driver. One who doesn't bomb up the road like a boy racer.

Q Awards 2011: Those winners in full

So, as we've just heard, the Q Awards took place yesterday, organised by a 25 year-old magazine and, apparently, a panel of 70 year-old judges. In between the sniggering at how funny being gay is, they managed to give out some awards to the sort of people who appear on the covers of the magazine.

Here's the winners in full:

Best Act In The World Today presented by First Drinks Brand: Coldplay
Greatest Act Of The Last 25 Years presented by BlackBerry: U2
Best Album: Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Q Best Male Artist presented by Merc: Tinie Tempah
Q Best Female Artist presented by Nivea Visage: Adele
Q Icon: Noel Gallagher
Q Classic Songwriter: Gary Barlow
Breakthrough Artist: Ed Sheeran
Best New Act presented by Orange Amplification: WU LYF
Q Innovation In Sound: Kaiser Chiefs
Q Inspiration presented by YouYou Mentoring: Fatboy Slim
Q Next Big Thing presented by Nivea Visage: Lana Del Ray
Best Track presented by Q Radio: Adele - Rolling In The Deep
Best Video presented by Q TV: Jessie J - Do It Like A Dude
Best Live Act: Biffy Clyro
Q Classic Song presented by Zippo: Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
Q Outstanding Contribution To Music: Siouxsie Sioux
Q Hall Of Fame: Queen
The prize for Bon Iver is interesting; in this context it looks like the sort of CD someone would buy going to university to put on top of their pile in the hope that people might think them cooler than the rest of the bundle would suggest.

More notable, though, is that there's a totally made-up category which seems to exist solely to give a prize to Snow Fucking Patrol for Chasing Cocking Cars. It seems that it's been sponsored by Zippo - Groucho, Harpo and Chico presumably wanted nothing to do with such a soiled rag.

To extend the Q-as-freshers-CD-pile, Chasing Cars would be the track they've packed in the hope that they might get a person they find sexually attractive back to their room.

Interesting that a prize sponsored by Blackberry was won by U2. I'm sure it's just a total coincidence, but it looks a little suspicious that the same company sponsors both the prize and the winner. Maybe that's the synergy we hear so much about.

Gordon in the morning: Ha ha, it's funny to call people gay

Gordon Smart has something of a scoop today, although he fails to recognise it. He was at the Q Awards yesterday:

CHRIS MARTIN has confessed Take That made him question his sexuality as a youngster.

The Coldplay star said his favourite bands growing up were "U2 and five handsome, strapping men from Stoke and Manchester".

With his tongue firmly in his cheek, he added: "I'm not afraid to admit it, they made me ask the question 'Am I gay?'"
It seems massively unlikely that Martin really did have U2 and Take That as his favourite bands growing up, and was just flattering people who happened to be in the room. It's also clear that he was trying to make something he might have thought was a joke.

But really, Chris? "I liked men making music - ha ha, it was like I was gay"? You can see the sort of audience that type of joke plays to, with Gordon slapping his leg and honking while stressing that it's okay - his tongue is in his cheek. He's not REALLY GAY.

It did get worse, though:
And drummer Larry Mullen JR didn't miss the open goal.

He had the crowd in stitches, joking: "Chris Martin, I have the answer for you — you are gay."
Yep. It's 2011, and Larry Mullen - one of the richest men in the world - thinks being gay is a punchline. And a room full of Gallaghers and Barlows honked their delight at such a witty retort.

Well done, Q. That's quite a party you threw there.

Monday, October 24, 2011

We are the 99% from 98º

Amongst those arrested during the Occupy Cincinnati protests over the weekend: Justin Jeffre, formerly one of 98 Degrees. The Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with him when he was released:

"I spent the night in jail, and it was not fun," said Jeffre of Clifton Heights. "But it was the place to be if you are standing up for free speech."

Going to jail could be a good career move for Jeffre. Spending time behind bars inspired many blues and country artists to write some of their best material.

Jeffre wasn't sure.

"I didn't feel like singing in there," he said.
That probably came as a relief to the other people he was locked up with, to be frank. And it might take more than one night in jail to turn one of 98 Degrees into a latterday Ted Hawkins.


Jennifer Lopez had a bit of a meltdown while onstage this weekend.

It turns out that, if you're feeling emotionally vulnerable, going on stage to sing a song about love accompanied by dancers who have been chosen because they all look like your ex-partners might not be the best move for your mental health. Radaronline spoke to an onlooker:

As she sang, pairs of dancers appeared in spotlights around her. One couple had a P. Diddy look-alike with the female dancer wearing a copy of her infamous slit-down-to-the navel Versace gown. Another had the male dancer mimicking Cris Judd with the girl in jeans and a T-shirt, while another pair had the girl wearing a seafoam green gown on the arm of a Ben Affleck double. Most telling was the dancing couple who recreated Lopez and Marc Anthony during their sizzling American Idol performance last May, just weeks before they announced their split.
Half of you feels terribly sorry for her; the other half of you kind-of wonders how she was allowed to get away with such self-indulgent self-destructive behaviour in the first place.

Gordon in the morning: Everybody! Hurts!

A surprisingly lavish spread for Hurts today, who took Gordon on a two-day trip around Europe and are rewarded with breathless coverage.

Only one problem, though: while they're massive in Eastern Europe (or so they tell Gordon), they're the people behind the 164th best-selling album of last year. Sure, people who like music like Hurts, but Gordon's audience are hoping to read something about Kim Kardashian or Noel Gallagher complaining about how small Curly Wurlys are these days. How can Gordon justify RCA paying for his fabulous jaunt, and still make it relevant for his readers?

Theo, who has been seeing Alexa Chung,
Ah, that'll do it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Americana UK is ten

Ten years of any music website is worth celebrating; especially so when it's a brilliant and essential one like Americana UK.

And, blimey, they know how to celebrate: There's an event at the CUC in Liverpool on November 12th:

We have curated a truly splendid line-up for what promises to be a very special celebration:
Richmond Fontaine (Willy Vlautin and Dan Eccles acoustic set)
Richard Buckner
Mark Eitzel (American Music Club)
Danny & the Champions of the World
Plus other UK based americana acts including Redlands Palamino Co,Quiet Loner, Case Hardin, the Toy Hearts, Jason McNiff, the Lucky Strikes, Gerard Starkie, Southbound Attic Band, Ratty Little Fingers - and a few surprises as well.
That's surprises as well. Tickets are on sale now. Go get 'em.

Meat Loaf off at Grand Final

He may or may not have been paid half a million Australian dollars for the performance, but Meat Loaf's appearance before kick-off at the Australian Football League's grand final hasn't exactly been a success.

Guess what, though?

Meat Loaf says it's not his fault:

"I'm sorry, they're jerks. I do not like them," he said of the AFL, according to News Ltd reports.

"And I'll tell you what, anybody that I hear announces that they're going to play for them I'm going to write to that particular artist a letter and tell them not to.

"And I hope the AFL hears this and I want this everywhere. Because I will go out of my way to tell any artist do not play for them."

The rocker said it was impossible to put on a good show in the allocated area.
I suspect if you're paying out half a million dollars, you'd be expecting you're getting an artist whose talents would allow him to put on a decent show in a back alley.

Mr. Loaf complains that there was no soundcheck, the earpiece didn't give him any guidance and there was no live piano.

It's almost as if he was warming-up for a sports event rather than playing a Meat Loaf gig. Oh... hang about...

The AFL have said that his show was "disappointing" but other than that have kept quiet.

Bon Jovi: You Want To Make A Memory

A happy story now: Bon Jovi has added to his part-share in a Mexican restuarant by opening a soul kitchen in New Jersey.

A soul kitchen is a pay-what-you-can restaurant; the idea being if you're down on your luck or been abandoned by your rich family you can eat the same food as other people, without shame or stigma, and make as much of a contribution as you can. It's kind of like In Rainbows, only you get a good, hearty bellyful instead of the haunting worry that Thom Yorke might have played some sort of trick on you.

It's fair to say that it's better to see Bon Jovi moving from the music world and getting involved in ethical restuaranting than it was to see Jamie Oliver going in the opposite direction.

[Thanks again to Michael M]

Sean Parker: Why would you sign for a label?

Sean Parker - who went from founding Napster to, erm, popping up at the only fairly creepy Bilderberg crypto-capitalist bunfight last year - was on-stage at this week's Web 2.0 summit, and amongst the names dropped and scores settled, he said this:

He also criticized record labels for their bureaucracy and inability to adapt, saying that thanks to digital distribution services like MySpace and Spotify, bands no longer need to pay a third party to get their music into the ears of the masses. At one point during the interview, Parker said, “I’m not actually sure why you would sign up with a record label. Unless you're desperate for money, or you're on skid-row, and you've got a heroin problem."
Not entirely sure even that's true - even when the majors were powerful, signing to a record label for the money would have been like a cow striking a deal with a butcher to secure her future.

It's questionable, though, if a man who has invested so strongly in Spotify might want to be quite so rude about record labels in public, though - whatever pipe the music of the future flows through, the majors do still control a big chunk of the archive. Pointing out to them that they're probably not going to be part of growing that archive is only going to make them want to jack up the value they drag out of what they do control.

[Thanks to Michael M]

Madonna's brother collecting cans, fearing winter

Anthony Ciccone, brother of Madonna, has significantly fewer homes than his sister.

If there's a good thing to come out of the story, it's that it does give a celebrity angle for the otherwise pretty-much-ignored homelessness crisis to force its way into the newspapers:

“My family turned their back on me, basically, when I was having a hard time,” he said. “You think I haven’t answered this kind of question a bazillion times — why my sister is a multibazillionarie, and I’m homeless on the street?”

“Never say never,” he said. “This could happen to anybody.”

“I don’t have any income, I’ve got to go collect bottles and cans, do odd jobs.”

Despite the uncommon community effort to help the homeless here, there are gaps, and Ciccone was among several locals who got cold-related injuries last winter.

“They can’t do everything all the time for everybody, they just don’t have the resources,” he said. “These people that run these things are all volunteers, they don’t get paid to do these things.”
It's unlikely that any other homeless person in Michigan would have been able to get the international press to show an interest in his story, and it's to Ciccone's credit that he's using the interest to talk about everyone that's caught in homelessness, and not just himself.

This week just gone

The most-read stories from across the archive this week:

1. Fred Durst lands his own sitcom
2. Starbucks belated brings iTunes tie-up to UK
3. The Stone Roses: Reunited, we understand
4. Kylie expands her pants
5. Courtney Love refuses to warm up for Fred Durst
6. The differential selling out of the Stone Roses
7. R Kelly sex video - you know the score by now
8. MC Hammer launches his own search engine
9. Mariah Carey's sister arrested in police sting
10. AC/DC won't go on iTunes because it's... uh, something

These were interesting, and released:

Ash - Best Of

Download Ash

Veronica Falls - Veronica Falls

Download Veronica Falls

Merle Haggard - Working In Tennessee

Download Working In Tennessee

Cowboy Junkies - Sing In My Meadow

Download Sing In My Meadow

Slim Whitman - Keep It A Secret

Download Whitman best of