Saturday, November 19, 2011

You can't choose your fDeluxe

The Family - one of those strange creatures flung together by Prince when he was at the height of his powers - are back, back, back. Only, erm, they're now trading as fDeluxe.

Sure, The Family was a better name for a cult than a band. But fDeluxe? It sounds like a probiotic product.

To give the band their due, they're under no starry-eyed confuison about their creation myth:

Paul Peterson: [Prince] wanted to create something that would be funky but get into some of that Duran Duran money at the same time.
To be fair, the same motivation covered most of Tony Hadley's career, too.

Bull And Gate Weekend: TV Smith

Now, a genuine survivor-stroke-hero, TV Smith. Once leader of The Adverts, now leader of, erm, TV Smith:

[Buy: Sparkle In The Mud]
[Part of Bull and Gate weekend]

Bull And Gate Weekend: Jynxt

Not the highest of fi as far as videos go, but worth a look; this is Jynxt playing the Bull And Gate sometime around 2007-ish:

Jynxt were something of a strange offering: mostly comprised of the children on one of Fleetwood Mac (Jeremy Spencer, to be precise), all the indications were that they should have been dreadful, but they were actually alright. Look, try this without the limitations of live video:

Admittedly, you'd probably have to have a weakness for mid-80s eurorock to really warm to them.

The various websites which remain about the band suggest they were set to rock 2006 and, with a little less conviction, that they were set to rock 2007. I don't think 2008 ever really braced itself to be rocked by them; and, a bit like the Cosby show, the desperate packing of the original line-up with non-relatives watered down the proposition considerably.

[Buy: Jynxt demo]
[Part of Bull And Gate weekend]

Open wide and say 'aha'

Does it seem to you that there's a load more tours being pulled these days because of the singer having throat problems?

You're not wrong, according to the New York Times. Turns out it's not that throats are getting damaged more easily, but that it's a lot easier to spot problems:

Dr. Steven M. Zeitels, the Boston surgeon who operated on Adele to fix bleeding in her larynx, said that over the last 15 years the use of fiber-optic cameras that can scan the vocal cords for minuscule injuries and abnormalities has become common. It is now possible to spot problems like bleeding, nodules and cysts earlier and to take swift action to fix them, he said.

“Is there some epidemic? No,” he said. “The only thing different happening is the singers know better how to take care of themselves, the doctors know better how to take care of them, and what has been happening always is just getting noticed.”
I suspect there's also an element of insurance companies being more bullish on their demands for the problems to be fixed early on, too.

Bull And Gate Weekend: 14 Iced Bears

Sarah Records champions 14 Iced Bears. They played the Bull And Gate earlier this year:

I suspect they must have played there during their Sarah Records era, too, but that would have been back before every gig was videotaped from every angle. Unless you know something...?

[Buy 14 Iced Bears]
[Part of Bull and Gate weekend]

Embed and breakfast man: The Bull And Gate

So, with the Bull And Gate on the market, let's have a wade through the YouTubes to demonstrate just how important the venue has been in offering both early legs-up to growing bands and slots to other bands who might never get much bigger.

If it's to your taste, you can watch Coldplay on the B&G stage.

But let's go back a bit further, and join Halo Jones on stage. How far back are we going? To a time when there songs about Pfennigs:

Not to be confused, of course, with the Johnny Hates Jazz-esque Halo James who were operating with a higher level of success at the same time.

More Bull And Gate performances to come across the weekend
14 Iced Bears
TV Smith
We Are Scientists
The Wave Pictures

New start for The End

Somewhere up in the loft, I've got a copy of The End, the fanzine put together by The Farm. I can read the rest now, should I wish to, as there's a book gathering all 20 issues together. And there's bit and pieces from the title on that site, too.

Amazon are aware of the title, but don't have any right now.

Any chance of a perfect-bound collection of the run of Debris, do you think?

Gordon in the morning: No, Mr Smart, I expect you to lie

Dan 'lost' Sales has a red-hot exclusive for Gordon's page today, claiming that Noel Gallagher is going to write the new Bond theme:

The Wonderwall writer, 44, is to meet 007 bosses within the next few days to discuss writing the title track.

A source told The Sun: "They're going to talk about potentially writing and performing the song for next year's new Bond film.

"Nothing is signed or official, it's just being discussed at the moment."
This might come as a surprise to Bizarre readers, who were assured by Gordon hi'self last month that Adele was doing the theme:
ADELE's voice must be back to its best – she has started trying to match Shirley Bassey's huge vocals.

She's warming up her pipes ready to start recording the next James Bond theme.
Perhaps it'll be a duet.

Or maybe The Sun is just making stuff up.

Seriously: Gallagher doing a Bond theme? Don't they usually for someone the American audience have heard of?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vaughan's gone

Has it really been eight years? Johnny Vaughan has been doing the Capital breakfast show all that time, but not any longer:

Johnny Vaughan is leaving 95.8 Capital FM after nearly eight years as the London station's breakfast DJ.

Vaughan's co-presenter Lisa Snowdon will continue to front the breakfast show with stand-in Greg Burns from Monday, with a replacement full time co-host to be announced by the Global Radio-owned station in due course.
It might just be me, but does anyone feel that it's somewhat sudden for a departure to be announced on a Friday lunchtime, with some seatmeat dropped in to fill the slot the following Monday while the search for a replacem?

The real worry, though, is what this means for the advert featuring Snowdon, Vaughan and those bemusing breakfast biscuits. The ones that thought there was something so unusual about eating a biscuit in the morning that the concept needed to be explained incredibly slowly. What will they do now? (I'm assuming the answer is 'desperately try to flog the remaining stock through Home Bargains for 25p a box'.)

I collect, I reject: Remember Jello Biafra?

Smiths fans should worry about a cover version on a John Lewis advert. How much of a schmuck must you feel if you'd bought into the Dead Kennedys worldview, only to find this sort of thing being officially available:

No, no. That isn't a Jello Biafra Bobblehead. It's, erm, a Throbblehead:
Jello Biafra, the original political punk and former ringmaster of Dead Kennedys, is now a throbblehead.

This figure capturing his look from the 80s is limited to 1000 numbered units, stands at 7 inches tall, and is made of super strong polyresin.

Jello is accurately sculpted right down to the piercing glare, star belt buckle and Alternative Tentacles tee.
Unfortunately, they couldn't manage to sculpt the dignity, as it was too small to scale to this model.

Johnny Marr defends flogging song to shop

A lot of huff has been expended on the decision by Morrissey and Marr to let John Lewis write them large cheques this Christmas. Now Johnny Marr is fighting back. Speaking from, probably, a Jacuzzi of cash, Marr explained that letting the song advertise geegaws and whatnots wasn't a bad thing at all:

Writing 'Please Please...' one Friday in '84 is one of the best memories of my life. This ad has not sullied that memory one bit."
"And you know what", he continued. "If my memory had been sullied, I could have just popped it into a John Lewis JLBIWM1402 Integrated Washing Machine. That baby has an A+ energy rating, and can make light work of a six kilo load. That would unsully anything."
He then went on to criticise the fans who had been "bitching and moaning whilst, wait for it, watching X Factor."
"... almost certainly, though, not on a screen that could hold a candle to the John Lewis JL19 LED TV, which has pinsharp clarity on the picture but is small enough to make a handy second TV. Maybe for kid's room or the caravan?"
... before linking to a YouTube video of former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins, in which the punk singer dismisses the notion of using songs in advertisements as "selling out".
"After all" he concluded "if you really want to see selling out, get yourself down to John Lewis and watch the way the twig Christmas tableware is flying off the shelves. That playful but practical cutlery is going to be a talking point in smart households up and down the nation."

I think the taking the cash is alright, but the whiny self-justification for it is a bit much to take. You wonder who Marr is trying to convince; and to just dismiss the fans who made The Smiths concerns about something very important to them being used in an ad is ungrateful, to say the least.

But it's not like the travesty that Littlewoods have made of Terry Scott's My Brother, is it?

Producerobit: Joe Gracey

Joe Gracey, a massively influential figure in Austin's music scene (and beyond) has died.

Gracey took a hand at most parts in the great musical dance during a forty year career; more-or-less inventing progressive country as a genre during his time as a DJ in the 70s; writing, producing and playing bass for bands (including his wife's, Kimmie Dawson). He also co-ordinated the talent for the very first Austin City Limits.

Joe Gracey, who was 61, had fought cancer more than once - an operation in 1977 had left him unable to talk; the Austin Statesman reports that it was cancer which took his life.

MTV ate my economy

He's saying it as an example of how weak some causation arguments can be - in other words, he doesn't really mean it - but I did enjoy Barry Ritholtz's blog suggesting that MTV's Cribs was responsible for the housing crisis and, thereby, the financial hole we're all in:

The series showcased the huge, luxurious homes of the rich and famous in music, film, and sports. It was watched by young, easily influenced kids who would soon be out on their own, buying Cribs that they themselves could not afford.
That's to say nothing, of course, the channel's long-standing demonstration of an unsustainable lifestyle where you could get not just your money for nothing, but also your chicks for free. Surely that undermined the entire work ethic of the Western world?

Someone's pinched Stuart Braithwaite's guitar

At the weekend, there was break-in at Mogwai's place in Glasgow. Amongst fifteen grand's worth of stuff pinched was Stuart Braithwaite's guitar. He'd really like it back, explains the Evening Times:

Stephen Hines, an employee of the group’s record label Rock Action Records, who discovered the break-in at the band’s base, said: “This is Stuart’s recording guitar. It doesn’t even go on tour with him as it’s very precious to him. I had to break the news to him.”

Stuart said: “Everyone is gutted about this theft. We have been lucky that most of our equipment is currently on tour with us, meaning the theft could have been a lot worse.”
They're asking for anyone who knows anything - presumably somebody flogging a lovely guitar you'd not have expected them to have had - to get in touch with police. Or have the curse of Mogwai rain down on your head.

Gordon in the morning: Awkward for charity

Can you show us on the bear, Gary?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gordon in the morning: Showbiz expert

Given that there isn't a Glastonbury next year, it really will be a washout.

To be fair to Gordon, the article does remember there's no 2012 event, and given how many stories he's been running about Hugh Grant's child's mother, he must have been distracted yesterday as the Leveson inquiry heard about how some people had been behaving towards her:
Sherborne said that "Whilst Mr Grant was appearing on Question Time, discussing the closure of the NoW, Rupert Murdoch and press standards generally, she received a barrage of telephone calls from a withheld number from someone who managed to get it from somewhere, and when they finally answered she was threatened in the most menacing terms, which should reverberate around this inquiry: 'Tell Hugh Grant he must shut the fuck up'. Unsurprisingly she was too stressed to call the police."

The barrister also claimed that Tinglan Hong's mother was almost run over by paparazzi in the weeks after Grant became one of the most prominent critics of News International.
Near the end of a lengthy diatribe against tabloid press ethics and behaviour, the lawyer said he had secured an emergency injunction on behalf of the mother of Hugh Grant's child. Sherborne claimed the real reason for her injunction is that she has received threats because the father of child has spoken out against the press.
I'm sure Gordon would have been worried that, having run non-stories about Grant's relationship, some people might assume The Sun was in some way connected with this grisly business. No wonder attention to detail might have been sloppy at Wapping.

Venuewatch: Bull And Gate

One of the greatest venues in London is under threat, as the Bull & Gate is up for sale.

It's been owned by the same family, The Lynskeys, for the last 32 years; they're now finding the economic going tough and are looking for someone to take it off their hands. There are hopes that it will continue in its current line of busines, but the agent selling the place can't help pointing out that, you know, it could be anything:

Chris Bickle of Davis Coffer Lyons commented: “This landmark pub venue is quite possibly the most renowned place in the capital to see unsigned acts and has played a major and historical role in London’s drinking and live music scene for decades.”

“We very much hope to find a buyer who can continue the tradition of live music at this location. At the same time, the sheer size of the building will obviously appeal to investors and developers,” he continued.
Let's hope it finds a buyer who wants the music to go on; maybe one of the bands who's played there on the way up might want to preserve a place that helped them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beyonce didn't get where she is today by recording rotten songs

Chris Martin tried to write for Beyonce, but Beyonce turned her nose up:

Well, I did write a song for Beyonce, but it got rejected by her A&R people. And the one I wrote for Rihanna didn't get rejected.
Apparently there are, like, barriers, man:
"It was when [Rihanna] was doing 'Rated R', but it took so long – there's still this tribalism in music where we're rock and you're hip hop, and sometimes it takes a while to get across those barriers."
I think you're confusing "barriers" with "quality thresholds", Chris.

"Save iTunes" cries distributor

ST Holdings, which distributes electronic music (as in mp3, not as in Delia Derbyshire), has noticed that it's earning less money of late. In the third quarter of 2011, total revenue has fallen 14% and revenue from iTunes is down nearly a quarter.


Hypebot says the company says the drop came after it started supplying to streaming services, and as a reaction to the drop in income, has now stopped Spotify:

"As a distributor we have to do what is best for our labels," states the company. "The majority of which do not want their music on such services because of the poor revenues and the detrimental affect on sales. Add to that, the feeling that their music looses it’s specialness by it’s exploitation as a low value/free commodity."
The tracks, from 234 of the 238 labels who ST work with, are also being taken from Rdio and Napster.
The reaction of one of their labels reaction was, “Let’s keep the music special, fuck Spotify”.
You'll spot the use of the word "special", which is being used here to mean something other than special; something between "lucrative" and "exclusive".

There's something a little amusing about parts of the music industry suddenly coming to see iTunes as the high-value way of distributing music and streaming as a cost-cutting upstart. It remains to be seen if this short-term decision makes sense in the long-term: will iTunes always be offering such a good deal? Will there be an inexorable shift to streaming? Might people feel their "special" music shouldn't attract "special" prices? (At a guess: no, maybe, and yes.)

Fancy that: There's no baby Bieber

The unlikely claim that Justin Bieber not only had testicles, but had deployed them appears to have been withdrawn after the claimant suddenly realised you might want to choose as your mark somebody likely to have had a thirty-second backstage shag and forgotten it.

Gordon in the morning: Taking the Bieber test

Gordon conjures an image of Justin Bieber with a swab already in his gob:

JUSTIN Bieber has confirmed he will take a paternity test to prove he is not the father of a fan's child.
He will? He WILL? Or he would? Or might?
He said: "All this stuff is dealt with by my legal team. But if they want me to then I will."
So he might, if people think it's necessary, and they ask him to. Not quite "will"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Second hand digital music files

ReDigi offers an internet-era version of that stand-by for lean weeks, flogging off your records. It has a service which checks that you've deleted your copy of song, allowing it to sell it to a new owner.
Naturally, the RIAA feels this must be stopped, as ars technica reports:

ReDigi must "quarantine any copies on its servers of our Member's sound recordings so that those recordings are not exploited in any manner," the RIAA's Jennifer L. Pariser insists. On top of that, ReDigi must erase from its website "all references to the names and likenessess of artists signed to RIAA members" and break any ongoing connections between the operation's current downloaders and its servers.

Next, RIAA wants ReDigi to fork over "an accounting of all sales achieved and revenue generated" from RIAA member sound recordings through the ReDigi service, "so that we can discuss a resolution of our Members' claims."

"In this record, I note that the statutory damages for willful copyright infringement can be as high as $150,000 per work infringed," Pariser adds.
The main worry for the RIAA is that this again reinforces the idea of digital music being something you own, rather than rent; ReDigi maintain that it's perfectly legal to sell something you own, providing you do actually sell it.

That there's a demand for the saving offered by second-hand files - about 50% off the price - should be of more interest to the labels, as it suggests there's a huge market being missed out because the pricepoint is wrong. Maybe if they could stop being fixated on copyright, the RIAA could start to understand what happened to its business.

Debbie Harry: A piece of cake

Admittedly, turning yourself into a cake effigy isn't everyday behaviour, but the NME's headline on the Debbie Harry story misses the point a bit:

Blondie's Debbie Harry butchers nude model of herself onstage
Or 'slices a cake onstage', if you want to be less extreme about it.

The NME admits it's just copied the story direct from the Daily Mail, but - not for the first time - you wonder if the point of being the NME should be not simply nodding along with everything it reads on the internet:
An inside source, meanwhile, described the performance as "controversial and unnecessary" before going on to add: "This is appalling for women all over the world who suffer domestic violence."
The Mail actually doesn't even pretend this is a "source", simply ascribing the quote to an "insider".

An insider of what? You wouldn't expect the Mail to bother with the question, but surely the NME might show a bit of curiosity about the quote it's typing out. Especially since it's potentially the sort of issue the NME used to care about - is it okay for a woman to cut up a cake of herself on stage? Or does it really represent (as the Mail suggests the audience claimed) violence against women?

Gary Lightbody on the block

Talking to BBC News, Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol says he had trouble with this album:

For someone with a continuous drive to create music, Lightbody was shocked to find himself suffering a crippling bout of writer's block last year.

"Oh God, I never want to go through that again," he grimaces. "You've done the thing that you do every day of your life for 16 years and suddenly it's removed from you.

"I just couldn't write a single word. I was terrified. I couldn't pick up my laptop, my notepad, or anything, for fear that I was going to sit there and stagnate.

"I was actually catatonic for most of it."
It must have been terrible; imagine having to write a record and not being able to come up with a single idea for it.

Judging by the new Snow Patrol album, he's still suffering from it, too.

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Sisters Of Mercy

The Quietus has done an email interview with Andrew Eldritch, which is hilarious (he refers to himself in the third person throughout, for a start) and worth a few moments of your time:

Andrew, from clips I've seen of the current tour, you look in better shape and sound in better voice than you have done in years. Do you have a health regime?

Andrew Eldritch/The Sisters: Yes. We may produce a fitness video. Chris is good at rugby league, because he's built like a brick palace. Ben is good at sleeping with people who might possibly be girls, so he has abdominal muscles like a Greek god. Andrew is very good at dancing around with a vicious metal stick, but therein lies our major problem: there are new laws prohibiting the consensual mix of sex and violence.
[Thanks to Karl T]

Gordon in the morning: The ghost of you stays

Alex Peake has an "exclusive" this morning (that's exclusive as in 'nobody else would touch it with a very long pole'):

JUNKIE rocker Pete Doherty has fled to Paris because he says the ghost of Amy Winehouse is haunting his London flat.
Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking. Alex Peake knows what you're thinking. Alex's "source" knows what you're thinking:
"A lot of people will think his visions are probably drug-induced but he claims he is clean."
If that's true, there can only be one explanation: he's angling for a Most Haunted celebrity special.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not that Matt Willis, then

Digital Spy's story about Matt Willis of Busted managing Tricky has been removed, because... it's a different Matt Willis.

Jazzobit: Michael Garrick

Michael Garrick, jazz pianist and composer, has died.

Garrick was mostly self-taught - he'd been drummed out of music classes for throwing a snatch of Glen Miller into a classical class recital - and formed his own quartet while still an English Literature student at UCL. Across a long career, Garrick worked with a number of names, expected and surprising, from Anita Wardell to Spike Milligan.

He was heavily involved in jazz education, alongside his composing, playing, and running his own jazz label. He was made a CBE in the birthday honours last year.

Michael Garrick was 78; he had been admitted to hospital with chest problems last week. Jonny Trunk's obituary for The Wire is highly recommended.

Buskerobit: Jesse Morris

One of San Francisco's regular BART buskers, Jesse Morris, has died, Muni Diaries is reporting.

Known as The Punk Rock Johnny Cash, Morris continued his covers act down the metro system alongside his own band, Jesse Morris and the Man Cougars. He liked his work:

“I consider it a job,” he says. “Just like some people might work in an office, I work at the station entertaining people. I get to do what I love, and I can make a living at it.”
Tributes to Jesse have been left on Reddit.

Gordon in the morning: The dead cannot complain

News of the failed Freddie Mercury & Michael Jackson project being revived this morning:

IT has been a while since Michael Jackson fans had anything to celebrate.
Really? I'm pretty sure I spotted most of the rump turning a manslaughter verdict into a tailgate party just a few days ago. But do carry on:
But his loyal army can now look forward to songs he recorded with Freddie Mercury being released next year.
You say that like it's a good thing.

These recordings were done in 1983, and were so toxic they have been stored ever since in a sealed metal box somewhere under Pencross Fell. So why disinter them now?
Brian [May] has put to rest any money-making conspiracies that always seem to surface.
To be fair to May, I suspect he's being honest - he has a track record of being led by curiosity into doing terrible things - although it's hard to believe that's the motivation for the Jackson family.

Still, something that was so disappointing that the people involved didn't want them released while they were still alive. Why drag it out now?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Matt Willis sues Tricky

Matt Willis, once of Busted, is suing Tricky after Tricky dumped him as his manager. Tricky had...

Hang about a moment.


Being managed by one of Busted?

Apparently so:

Tricky, who appeared on stage with Beyoncé at this year's Glastonbury festival, hired Willis in April 2010 and agreed to pay him 20 percent of his earnings.

However, after paying Willis £44,633, Tricky (real name Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws) moved to Crown Management this February, according to a High Court writ.
Tricky. Being managed by one of Busted.

UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments, the DigitalSpy story about this has vanished, as it's a different Matt Willis. Perhaps Trciky thought he was getting the Busted one, too...

X Factor descends further into chaos

Last night, then, it seemed like the Earth itself had grown tired of the X Factor, with "an unusual power spike" forcing the show off the air for fifteen minutes.

ITV might wish it had stayed off the air, as well, with the curious publication of the results of the phone vote on STV's website an hour before they happened.

STV have the sort of convincing explanation that Theresa May might make:

STV said in a statement: "The STV web team prepared stories regarding each contestant in anticipation of the result and due to a technical hitch, all four stories went live on our website.

"We would stress that this was purely a technical hitch and for this we apologise."
Now, we've all done this - accidentally putting live something that you intended for draft - but it's odd that most people only seem to have spied the page hailing the success of Amelia Lily, the actual winner of the vote; and while preparing the pages in advance makes sense, would they have left it so late to compile the pages?

Doubtless all cock-up, but it doesn't look good.

Especially on a day when people are being encouraged to vote formerly evicted contestants back on to the programme. You might recall that when this happened on Big Brother, Channel 4 were censured and forced to pay £50,000 to the then-phone regulator ICSTIS.

Help Thomas Dolby

You - assuming you're in Birmingham and have a bass - have the power to save Thomas Dolby's gig.

He just tweeted this:

Matthew's fretless bass is broken! Can anyone bring one to Birmingham O2 Academy tonight?
I see a sea of fretless basses swimming down the street to the Hummingbird.

This week just gone

The most-read pieces amongst Australian visitors so far this year are:

1. AC/DC hold out off iTunes
2. Tatu bemused that we might think them gay
3. R Kelly sex video blah blah
4. Stephanie Dosen 2007 UK tour dates
5. Ashley Judd had a crush on KD Lang for the longest time
6. Westlife shaken by lack of respect from Thom Yorke
7. Liveblog: The last Mark & Lard show
8. McFly take their trousers off
9. RIP: Trish Keenan
10. Jo O'Meara tells Asians 'saying you don't cook your food properly is praise, not an insult

These were this week's interesting releases:

Johnny Foreigner - Johnny Foreigner vs Everything

Download Vs Everything

My Sad Captains - Fight Less Win More

Download Fight Less Win More

Laura Veirs - Tumble Bee

Download Tumble Bee

Jah Wobble & Julie Campbell - Psychic Life

Download Psychic Life

Primal Scream & MCS - Black To Comm

Download Black To Comm

Dakota Suite - The Other Side Of Her Inexhaustible Heart

Sandy Denny & Thea Gilmore - Don't Stop Singing

Download Don't Stop Singing

Sigur Ros - Inni

Download Inni

Thin Lizzy - Live At The BBC boxset

Download Live At The BBC