Saturday, March 31, 2012

Macca pats One Direction on the head; pats Noel on head for good measure

Well played, Paul McCartney. Obviously, he wouldn't want to snort derisively when a lightweight act gets garlanded with "the new Beatles" honours, because that would look snooty. So look how he managed to make 'like The Beatles? I don't think so' sound as if it was warm-hearted advice when on Daybreak:

“There are so many bands who all get called ‘the next Beatles’.

“Suddenly it puts an awful lot of pressure on them to be the next Beatles.”

“Oasis were ‘the next Beatles’ once if you remember. It’s a pressure, because suddenly you’ve got to live up to all the things that we did and it was a different time.

“So let’s just call them ‘the next terrific band’.”
You do wonder how long McCartney has been waiting for an opportunity to point out that all those people who called Oasis a modern Beatles were spectacularly wrong, don't you?

Gordon in the morning: Sometimes, we share the same thought

Gordon brings news of a future publishing sensation:

LITTLE MIX are barely out of their school uniforms but have announced plans for an autobiography.

The girlband will put out Little Mix: Our Story So Far on September 16 with publishers HarperCollins.

Jesy, Perrie, Leigh-Anne and Jade will also release an official annual for 2013 in the same month.
From time to time, Gordon and I do react in the same way:
They'll need a hit first.
Being fair, they have had a hit, Gordon - they had a number one last year - but the spirit of your response is spot-on. Announcing an annual aimed at the Christmas 2012 market when you'd mostly been forgotten by Easter is a bit of a bold move.

But it's good news for Poundland, who can expect to take delivery of both books around this time next year.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lady GaGa: South Korea thinks of the children

Bad news if you're a South Korean child: The Korea Media Rating Board has banned under-18s from the forthcoming Lady GaGa gig in Seoul.

From a UK perspective, where many gigs take place on licensed premises and are barred from Under-18s, it's probably more surprising that this is even considered worth reporting.

It's a victory for the pushy-church lobby:

"Our Christian community needs concerted action to stop young people from being infected with homosexuality and pornography," the Korean Association of Church Communication said in a statement.
Yes, GaGa had been planning to "infect" children with homosexuality; she'd been going to get gays to lick the doorhandles to start it spreading amongst the crowd.

Gordon in the morning: Rap sheet

Apparently, Nicki Minaj is going to offer Stephen Fry rapping tips.

Nicki, Stephen was making rap music when you were still eating Cheerios and collecting My Little Ponys:

(Sadly, Channel 4 has removed all traces of Fry doing his Sheep Rap from the internet. Boo. Baa. Boo. Baa.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bookmarks: Luscious Jackson

Luscious Jackson have given an interview about their comeback to CNN. (Yes, CNN):

CNN: It's been an exciting couple of years for fans of '90s music with a bunch of those band reuniting. Was that a factor in putting out new Luscious Jackson music?

Jill Cunniff: I hope there's nostalgia, that's great, but it has nothing to do with what we're doing. It's just because the time is exactly right to do it. Five years ago, there wasn't this type of social network connection, connectivity. I think now people really miss that spirit of another time. People were really sad to hear we broke up and I guess now those people realizing that we're reuniting and they're writing about how happy they are. It's great.

Gordon in the morning: Gloves off

Popping up on the edge of Gordon's column today is a massive advert for his current employer's current other business, Sky Atlantic:

Viewers are Mad for Megan Draper

THE season five premiere of Mad Men pulled in 98,000 viewers – while 45,000 tuned in to the second episode of the Sixties-based hit.
It's a little bit of a stretch to suggest a programme which managed to displace more than half its audience episode-to-episode has viewers "Mad for" it, but the Bizarre team try to talk things up:
Ratings are expected to rise as fans watch it on catch-up.
Well, perhaps by a bit.

In case we forget, how did the first episode do for the last series, when it was on BBC Four?
US drama Mad Men returned to BBC4 for its fourth series with just over 350,000 viewers last night, Wednesday 8 September.
At the time, MediaGuardian sniffed that that was a bit underwhelming for a series with such a stature.

Oddly, Gordon's gang don't mention how Rupert Murdoch has spent a small fortune on a programme managing to take it from an audience of a third of a million to less than fifty thousand in one leap.

Elsewhere, the bid to try and make One Direction sound interesting continues by a suggestion they might have stolen Darth Vader's gloves.

Actually, the story is that a "Darth Vader mimic" (mimic?) has misplaced a pair of his gloves, and he thinks he might have had them last at an event that One Direction were also at. It barely even registers as circumstantial evidence.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Demand answers from Bob Stanley

Q Magazine is apparently still going, and asking for readers' questions for Saint Etienne.

How ASCAP screws smaller artists...

... and by "smaller", I mean all but the two hundred biggest acts in America.

Zoe Keating plays cello, and does fairly well in terms of bringing in an audience and selling tickets. Obviously, there are expenses involved in hiring venues, as she explains:

For example, at one concert I played last month the gross ticket sales for the night were $9336. Of the many expenses deducted, one of the items was $86 to ASCAP.
What is this? This is the nightly portion of a license fee that the hall pays to ASCAP for the permission to perform music by ASCAP artists in their venue.
But not to worry, eh? Because Zoe is playing her own music, and is registered by ASCAP, so she'll eventually get this money back, right?

Er... no:
The customer service representative on the phone said there was nothing for me to claim. He informed me that ASCAP pays out performing royalties only to the 200 top-grossing concert tours, as determined by Pollstar. They also pay royalties for “Live symphonic and recital concerts”, whatever they are (he said I don’t quality for those).
There is some sort of grudging contest where you can register to "win" a tiny portion of the money that ASCAP have collected in your name.

ASCAP have a lot to say about the "theft" of "intellectual property", but they seem to have no problem in stealing money from all-but-200 acts to give to the 200 acts who least need the money.

The difference being, of course, that it's actual money ASCAP are stealing, rather than nebulous, potential, possible money.

Madonna denies cringeworthy drug reference was cringeworthy drug reference

Yesterday, to try and flog her new album, Madonna found herself on Twitter, which gave her a chance to try and clear up her 'has anyone here seen Molly' drug reference at the Ultra Music Festival.

Madonna insists that her drug reference wasn't a drug reference at all:

I don’t support drug use and I never have. I was referring to the song ‘Have You Seen Molly’ written by my friend Cedric Gervais who I almost worked with on my last album
Of course you were, Madonna. Of course you were. Because it's the most usual thing in the world to stand on stage and yell out something a bit like the name of a song you're not about to sing by someone you haven't worked with. It's a well known thing.

Deadmau5 - who first called Madonna on it - seems happy with her explanation, though; and Cedric Gervais has taken advantage of suddenly popping onto the public stage to promote the ass out of himself ("share his interpretation of his own song"). TMZ:
Now, this "friend" -- a DJ named Cedric Gervais (left) -- is coming to Madonna's defense, insisting his song is NOT about drugs ... it's about a girl named Molly who, according to the lyrics, "makes me want to dance."
So, are we all clear, then? Madonna's drug reference was actually simply a mangled reference to a song; that drug song isn't about drugs at all.

Twenty years too late, American culture has finally caught up with "noooo, it's just a song about a man called Ebeneezer who is good" piss-poor fourth-form pretending that it's not about drugs.

Madonna, a 53 year-old woman, is doing the equivalent of humming while teacher is turned to the blackboard and then looking surprised when he turns round.

Still, Madonna doesn't support drug use and never has. Now, can we all forget suggestions she might be childishly poking drug references everywhere and get back to thinking about her album MDMA?

Gordon in the morning: More bullying from Bizarre

Having played a major part in helping develop awareness of the sex video sold by Tulisa's ex, Gordon continues to bully the young woman this morning.

His 'story' is that she went to a party but left after people going on about the video made her feel awkward. Is there any way that Smart thinks detailing that in a paper is kind? Or worth publishing?

Remember, this is something horrible that happened to her, without her agreement or knowledge.

If Cowell really wants to support his protege, how about cutting off the supply of stories he feeds The Sun until they stop this constant harrying of her?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Radio One drops news

There's a whole bunch of worry in the detail on the BBC news cuts. The most worrying is what sounds like the death knell for Newsbeat:

Radio 1 and 1Xtra will no longer have their own dedicated news services, except at breakfast
Whenever commercial radio types complain about Radio 1 having listeners they wrongly assume would be tuned into their weak offerings, Newsbeat has always been a handy point of difference between an all-out ratings chasing service and what the BBC does.

Not any more, it seems.

SXSW: The Black Keys not thrilled by Spotify

Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, speaking to an US radio station, doesn't seem to have gotten over the whole Napster deal yet.

Asked about Sean Parker's suggestion that Spotify would outstrip iTunes in a couple of years, Carney spluttered:

"He's an asshole. That guy has $2 billion that he made from figuring out ways to steal royalties from artists, and that's the bottom line. You can't really trust anybody like that."
It might be fair to point out that, towards the end, Napster was putting an awful lot of effort in trying to figure out how to actually pay royalties to bands but the record labels couldn't decide if they wanted to take over the business or close it down. And Spotify has found an elegant way of persuading people to pay for music, without which still more files might be sucked, unpaid, off the web. But, hey, why take a balanced view when there's a boogeyman?
"The idea of a streaming service, like Netflix for music, I'm totally not against it. It's just we won't put all of our music on it until there are enough subscribers for it to make sense."
In other words: we're not prepared to take a minor risk in order to help ensure it's a success; let other people stick their necks out. We'll just turn up when the cash is there.
"Trust me, Dan and I like to make money. If it was fair to the artist we would be involved in it. I honestly don't want to see Sean Parker succeed in anything. I imagine if Spotify becomes something that people are willing to pay for, then I'm sure iTunes will just create their own service, and they're actually fair to artists."
Ah, yes. The famously "fair to artists" iTunes. It's just that Apple pass the screwing-the-artist work onto the labels.

The labels. They've been creaming cash off artists for decades. But why rock the boat with them, eh, Patrick?

Jet grounded

A moment's silence, please, for the news that Jet have called it a day:

After many successful years of writing, recording and touring we wish to announce our discontinuation as a group. From the many pubs, theatres, stadiums and festivals all across the world it was the fans that made our amazing story possible and we wish to thank them all. Thank you, and goodnight.
It's fitting that a band who were so clunky and ungainly can't just say "we've split" but instead the tortuous "we wish to announce our discontinuation as a group".

I know what you're thinking: it's a bit like when an actor from Crossroads dies and for a moment you go 'I thought they died years ago'.

Gordon in the morning: You are a Gary

Pity poor Gordon Smart - at least for a moment. One Direction are much in demand, and would be like Google supermagnets right now. But they're dull. So there's barely anything to say about them.

In fact, this one story he's managed to scrabble out more-or-less underscores how dull they actually are:

ONE DIRECTION singer Liam Payne has been nicknamed Gary by his bandmates.
Not Moon. Not Lemmy. No, he's been nicknamed Gary. After Barlow:
Niall Horan said: "Liam has that Barlow aura. He says things like 'Come on boys, let's roll. Let's get going.' He knows it and can't deny it."
Personally, it looks like all the band have a Barlow aura. Ken, rather than Gary, but even Gary isn't much better.

Perhaps in time Liam will get a more racy nickname - Chief Accountant, maybe. Or Hugh Gaitskell.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Madonna, Deadmaus and flogging Molly

Did you hear Madonna? She, like, dropped a drug reference on stage, because she is so edgy and stuff:

When introducing Avicci, the 'MDNA' artist asked the crowd, 'How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?', using Stateside slang for the drug MDMA
Drugs! She's so cool; it's like she's every episode of Skins.

Deadmaus wasn't impressed. First, he was unimpressed on Facebook:
seriously, i giveth not a fucking single FUCK for slating on madonna for reaching an entirely NEW level of idiocy ... i can appriciate her meteoric career, and all good deeds done, but WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? That's your big contribution to EDM? Thats your big message to ultra attendies? hipsterspeak for looking for drugs? fuck off you fucking IDIOT. fuck.
He then was slightly less swearily unimpressed over on tumblr. It's long, but worth quoting in full:

This is certainly what it should be about, and it’s what im about regarding the Madonna issue.
Whether i like it or not, and like every other walk of life, whether you’re becoming an adult, or climbing up the corporate ladder, or blazing a path in your chosen profession, im in a position now where i should be responsible. And yup… i should be a little more careful about what i advocate, and i certainly try to be. being an advocate of something or another certainly has it’s place… drawing promotion towards a good cause, enabling others to do what they desire to do, help others to create something, etc. and all that other good shit.

Im not perfect. i have my vices, and some of them are probably more harmful than a recreational drug or two… but i do know that i am at the very least morally obligated not to blatantly inflict or advocate anything that’s detrimental to society, others health, etc.

my last rant has yielded some interesting points and arguments from both camps no doubt, but i should at least be clear on where i stand with advocacy (which im almost certain isnt even a word).

I smoke cigarettes. yeah, it’s shitty i know, and its a personal problem that i struggle with… and i know how much it sucks, so my tour isnt exactly sponsored by a cowboy of sorts. I drink a little bit too, which im sure has killed more people than double the combined amount of overdoses on any recreational drug you can name…. so, i try to make an effort as not to blatantly condone it in situations where the youngins are around. and trust me, the mau5 horde has plenty of little ones… So, i dont see the dire need to be a constant dickfuck and stamp my vices all over my media outlets. Sometimes it happens, but, of course, my intent isnt to make any look cool or desireable.

Now, weve taken EDM so far in the past decade, so goddamned far. It really hurts me to see rampant ADVOCATION of extreme bullshit lifestyles to a genre that spans pretty much any age gap these days. Of course, ill always have my opinions about this or that… and yeah, its my personal choice not to do drugs, but im not on a fucking crusade to stamp out other peoples personal choices by no means. fuck being a crusader. Im not pro, or anti drug… but… ill easily let you know that im pro-responsibility.

Its just that simple… you can have an excellent standard of life providing you had a sense of responsibility to yourself, and those around you, REGARDLESS of whatever choices you make in your life… either good or bad (which is the opinion part).

I just feel like ive been kicked in the balls for a dollar. I’ve always been into electronic music, as far back as i can remember… and around the beginning, i really do remember the times the events i loved were pretty much outlawed by my city simply due to its speculated over-excessive drug use, and the media coverage that everyone loves to lap up around it. Yeah, that bummed me out… kinda made me feel like… how could something so damn interesting, artful, fun and just plain cool, be frowned upon by most….

but look at us now, allthough not completely, and never like to be completely, the dark veil has been lifted slightly and the music and good times and technology is starting to shine through more and more than “the latest breaking news about such and such a drug found only at these underground TECHNO RAVES - Tonight on fox!”

still, we have, and will always have personal choice. Thats how our lives are shaped… through the good or bad choices we make. we learn every day from them… but theyre ours to make, and its our responsibility to make the right ones for each of ourselves.Not to be pandered down to us in metaphorical pill form from BIG voices as a marketing scheme to “fit in” with todays young and “hip” crowd to sell a fuckin CD.

So, if you can be pandered with MDMA refrences, then at least pander your own ass with a good sense of responsibility which will enable you to make the personal choices that are right for YOU… then i wont have to feel like a fucking moron on a stage because you paid money to listen to some warm humming sounds high as fuck. Besides, one day ill get older, and i dont want a bunch of fucking irresponsible fuckheads on my lawn. RESPONSIBLE fuckbags, much preferred… but will still be asked to gtfo off my lawn for being a fuckbag all the same.
Slightly less sweary. I did say slightly.

Gordon in the morning: Spies like JLS

Let's hope the plans for Aston Merrygold's stag do weren't supposed to be a secret, as Gordon Smart has published them today:

They [the rest of the band] have called in an ex-MI5 spook to help kidnap him and see he gets a more extreme fright than a few hours handcuffed to a lamppost.
To be fair, Ortise appears to have gurgled the details to the Sun.

Hmm. How wise is it to tell everybody - including the target - that there's going to be a hi-jinks style kidnapping of a high-profile bloke? If you were planning to kidnap a star for real, it would be useful to know there's one who would go "Ha! This is FUN! Oh, you guys..." for at least the first half-hour or so.

Still, famous people have the sort of watertight security that would mean something like that could never happen, right?

In totally unrelated news:
SIMON Cowell found a woman intruder in his bathroom — armed with a BRICK.
Are we absolutely sure this isn't some crazy prank stunt pulled by Ant and/or Dec?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Embed and breakfast man: The Tender Trap

Yesterday, in Leicester, The Tender Trap covered X Ray Spex:

Santorum is our man, apparently

I'm something of a fan of terrible political tunes, and the more terrible both they and the subject are, the better.

Which is why it's a delight to discover this:

Believe it or not, this song is actually up for purchase on iTunes. The band are called First Love; the track is called Game On (Song For Rick Santorum) which would be enough on its own.

The guy batting at the bongo drums is clearly so far detached from reality he probably thinks he's on a Girls Gone Wild video, which gives him an excuse. The others seem to be deadly serious.

Let's take a look at their lyrics, shall we?

GAME ON! Join the Fight
We've finally got a Man who will Stand for what is Right
Do you see what they did there?
GAME ON! Victory's in Sight
We've got a Man who Understands that God Gave the Bill of Rights
Er... actually, I think you'll find people gave you the bill of rights; God was the Ten Commandments and the thing about not eating shellfish.

Come on, all join in the chorus:
Oh, there is Hope for our Nation again
Their capitalisation is really annoying, isn't it?
Maybe the First time Since we Had Ronald Reagan
I don't think anyone in the video is old enough to remember Reagan, but the implication from Republicans that both Bushes were hopeless is, at least, refreshing.
There will be Justice for the Unborn
The concept of 'justice for the unborn' always makes me think of that sequence in The Handmaids' Tale where Offred is talking about the lynching of doctors. Perhaps it's just First Love couldn't make 'a concerted roll-back of hard-won abortion rights as Santorum suddenly abandons his belief in small government and light-touch regulation to rigourously control what women can and can't do with their own uteruses' scan. 'Uteruses' is a very difficult word to find a rhyme for.
Factories back on our Shores
In other words, Santorum will repeal environmental legislation to a point where the beaches in Maine are covered with manufacturing units.
Where the Constitution rules our land
A fundamental misunderstanding of what a Constitution does, there.
Yes, I Believe... Rick Santorum is our Man!
Personally, I'm struggling to believe that Rick Santorum is a man, rather than a kind of clean-shaven, stop-motion version of that bloke off the Monopoly box.

Second verse time:
GAME ON! He's got the Plan
To Lower Taxes, Raise Morale, To Put the Power in our Hands
Actually, according to Gallup polling, the more likely it looks Obama will remain president, the more confident people seem to be in the future of America's economy. Perhaps you'd choose to measure 'raising morale' in other ways - I guess with all those tax cuts and the required cuts and furloughs in public services that implies, you're picturing a lot of people having nothing to do but go out and enjoy the sunshine, right?
GAME ON! Change is at hand
Faithful to his Wife and Seven Kids - He'll be Loyal to our land
"Because, right, clearly if he's at home impregnating his wife so often, he can't have had time to stray, right? And it follows that if he's not, as far as we can tell from the number of children he has, boffing a stripper in Vegas, we can be sure that as President he won't accept a cash deal from Belarus to go and work for them part time, or something."

Here comes a middle eight:
Oh It's crazy, What's been slipping through our hands
When we the People are still supposed to rule this Land
Rick Understands
So, hang about a moment: the sort-of-democratic process of selecting a candidate to represent the Republicans is showing that the people really aren't keen on Rick. This is an expression of what the people want. But when they say that, they're being crazy, and should be ignored, because if you select Santorum, he'll make sure the people have the power to have their voices heard. (Unless, er, they're saying they don't want Santorum, when they shouldn't be trusted. Because then, the people are being crazy.) Is that clear?

This week just gone

A year ago today, this is what people were reading most intently:

1. Lily Allen mildly inconvenienced by train delay
2. Mail finds space amongst Kardashian shots to complain about pornification of pop
3. Gennaro Castaldo predicts massive sales for CD of the Royal Wedding
4. Madonna's Malawi dream charity collapses
5. Why is Killing Bono more attractive than being his doppelganger?
6. Telegraph music critic makes terrible record; claims Bono told him to do it
7. Gordon Smart suggests Amy Winehouse is 'worried' by an ex with a record deal
8. That Tatu lesbian story thing
9. Video: Jessica Lea Mayfield - Grown Man
10. The last Mark and Lard in full

These releases were interesting:

Soap And Skin - Narrow

Download Narrow

The Wedding Present - Valentina

Download Valentina

Anti-Flag - The General Strike

Download The General Strike

John Foxx - The Shape Of Things

Download The Shape Of Things

The Shins - Port Of Morrow

Download Port Of Morrow

Lee Renaldo - Between Times And Tides

Download Between The Times...

Mitch Benn & The Distractions - Breaking Strings

Download Breaking Strings

Erasure - Essential

Download Essential