Saturday, June 02, 2012

Bookmarks: LaRoux

In The Guardian, Matthew Horton wonders what the synth-pop class of 2009 has in store:

La Roux's route looks darker. Her first album plumped for rinky-dink early Depeche Mode – an innocent pursuit on the face of it, but grim passions lurk beneath. Three years is plenty for Jackson to gain a taste for leather perv-breeks and clanking S&M pop, but she might want to pause for thought before diving headlong into smack addiction and pretending to be Trent Reznor.

Gordon in the morning: Hanging round the school gates

Today, for some reason Gordon runs a school photo of Rita Ora:

RITA ORA hasn’t changed much from her school days.
She left school all of three years ago, of course.

So, she's not changed much, then, Gordon?
She has discovered bleach and hair straighteners since then.
Oh. So she's changed quite a bit, then?

What's really disturbing about this is the way the Bizarre homepage is linking to the photo item - first off, it's shoved it in that large pic box which is usually home to a photo of a woman in a bikini. An odd position to put a photo of a kid. And the caption is quite creepy, too:
It’s back to school for Rita! Star looks Fresh-faced in snaps
HOT Right Now star, who landed her first No1 with DJ Fresh, goes make-up free and shows off her natural brunette locks in class pictures
There's nothing disturbing about describing a photo of a schoolgirl like that, is there?

Friday, June 01, 2012

Deus: There's a new album. Today.

This is how the music industry should be working, all the time. Deus had some songs, which they thought would make a nice album. So they've released an album. Tom explains:

"We had songs we didn’t want to lose, didn’t want to have sat on a shelf for four years so we decided to break our previous way of working and be less precious and finish the songs quickly and then release them to the public. It’s 2012 for fuck’s sake, the idea of waiting months to release stuff seems so old fashioned."
It's streaming at Drowned In Sound - here; and for sale on the Deus site.

What a great start to the Bank Holiday weekend, eh?

For HMV, it's Midnight at the Apollo

HMV have sold the Hammersmith Apollo to the operator of the Millennium Dome for £32million.

It's the first step in HMV exiting the live music market that it was never entirely clear why it was in in the first place.

I collect, I reject: Elvis' crypt

What do you get the Elvis fan who has everything? Here's perhaps the ultimate piece of memorabilia - assuming you'd draw the line at getting a spade and sneaking past security at Graceland: Elvis' crypt is up for sale:

This lot includes: permanent ownership of the crypt where Elvis was once entombed; opening and closing of the vault and crypt for burial; memorialization inscription; and use of a small chapel for a committal service. Transportation and funeral home charges are not included.
It wasn't just Elvis - his mother Gladys also was there for a while, while permission for burial at Graceland was being processed. But it's not been used since:
This original crypt has remained empty with a statue of Elvis commemorating his time there and as a visiting place for those coming to remember The King.
"Commerating his time there" - I suppose, to be fair, he did spend longer in the crypt than he ever did in the UK, although he didn't really do very much while he was there.

Starting bids are sought at one hundred thousand dollars. That sort of money would buy you a three bedroom house elsewhere in Memphis.

Ween split; memo appears to have gone astray somewhere

Ween have called it a day. Aaron Freeman/Gene Ween told Rolling Stone:

"It's time to move on. I'm retiring Gene Ween... It's been a long time, 25 years. It was a good run."
Except he might have forgotten to do something quite important. He cancelled the milk, put the papers on hold, locked the doors and windows... but there's a nagging voice which suggests he might have missed a detail as he closed down the band.
Mickey Melchiondo, aka Dean Ween, later appeared to be unaware of the split on their Facebook page. He said that the break-up was "news to me, all I can say for now I guess", before the post was removed.
That'd be it! Telling the others. It's important to make sure the whole band know it's over - after all, when Liam from Flowered Up forgot to mention that they'd split, the rest of the band kept doing rehearsals every Wednesday for sixteen years before the penny dropped. True story.

The LA Times is a bit cynical about the split:
Ween sets the table for the inevitable reunion

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A less-than-welcoming Coldplay experience

Samantha wanted to go to the Coldplay gig. Let's not judge her for that, a lot of people like Coldplay.

Trouble is, Samantha needed accessible tickets. And that's where things get bad. Very bad indeed.

She's tried to get tickets for London - where tickets for disabled people have to be ordered through the post, take a third of a year to arrive, and are tossed out without any regard to what the requirements of the gig-goer are (it seems the assumption is that you'll use a wheelchair, not that you might have vision problems, for example.)

So she tried for Manchester, and things were even worse, where the website does at least have a number for "ambulant disabled" [their term] gig-goers to call - not that anyone on that number can help, or appears to even be expecting the calls.

It's a pretty shabby tale from start to finish. I don't think any of us have much in the way of expectations of Ticketmaster or gigsandtours, but this is a new level of misery creation.

On a headline

Isn't that called bondage, Newsbeat?

Gordon in the morning: Cast out

You know that game where you say who'd play you in a film of your life? One Direction play that. Gordon Smart runs it as his lead story. Seriously.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dave Rowntree a bit upset after graffito removed

The NME reports on a shocking desecration of our nation's heritage:

Dave Rowntree hits out after historic Blur graffiti is removed from London path
I know what you're thinking - what, exactly, is "historic blur graffiti"?

Back in the early days of the decade, someone painted a line from For Tomorrow on Primrose Hill - the bit about "and the view's so nice". Which is rather a good joke, and one that has has a good run. But now it's been removed.

Dave isn't happy and - as a reminder that he's trying to become a politician - he's even prepared to throw the Olympics into his argument in a totally baffling way:
"It's a jobsworth attitude in an Olympic year where we're supposed to be celebrating British culture, and Blur did contribute to British culture. It's part of the Blur story."
I'm not sure that simply because it's related to Blur, who were British, is a particularly strong argument for a fairly obscure pun having a right to be on a pavement. Can you offer any other reason to keep the words?
"I can understand the decision, but I lived in the area for about 15 years and even I got used to it being there. It's a shame, it was in one of our videos, we felt deeply about the lyric and about the hill."
Which is nice, but - again - isn't really a compelling argument.

Some people tried to put back the writing, but chose a rainy day and their efforts were washed away - not by a jobsworth cleaner, but BY THE LORD GOD HIMSELF. Who must be an Oasis fan.

It seems a bit of a shame to have taken something that has been around for so long, and offered a wry little in-joke; but it doesn't seem to have occurred to Dave that perhaps the people who got out the scrubbing brushes might simply not be aware of the lyrics of a number 28 hit from nineteen years ago, and their relevance to that spot.

Garbage: Don't go breaking up the girl

Suspicions that Shirley Manson might be some sort of pop star superhero are growing, with the news that she had a bloke thrown out of a Garbage gig for hitting a woman in the audience.

Because this is 2012, the incident is on YouTube:

"You’re fighting baby, you gotta leave now. You can’t fucking fight, man. You can’t fight. I’m sorry, that’s the rules, man. We just need to all simmer down."
Theresa May wants us to choose who runs our police forces. Bagsy Shirley Manson for Thames Valley.

Gordon in the morning: Louis Tomlinson and a naked man - together at last

One out of One Direction being woken up by a naked man? Apparently it's a security issue. Or, rather, that's how Gordon tries to report it:

SHOCKED One Direction star Louis Tomlinson was woken in a hotel room at 5am — by a NAKED man trying to get in.
How close to this being an incident was this, Gordon?
Worried Louis, 20, peered through his door’s spy-hole after hearing a noise and was alarmed to see the starkers stranger in the corridor.
So the "attempt to get in" seems to be "tried the door handle". But was this a rabid fan, desperate to rub his naked loins against Louis Tomlinson's soft, peachy flesh?
And it wasn’t a fan
It wasn't?
but a drunk member of the public looking for a LOO.
In summary, then, the lead story this morning is 'drunk man gets disoriented in hotel, tries the wrong door'.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Franz Ferdinand audience pepper-sprayed

At first you have to get past the surprise that there was a Franz Ferdinand gig in Sao Paulo which was so popular there was a crowd control problem, but once you do, the details are pretty shabby.

The venue - 20,000 capacity - still had space inside, but organisers shut the doors "to reorganise entry". This freaked those outside out; they started pushing and, in the end, the cops pepper-sprayed them.

It's hard to believe that anywhere in the world there are still gigs which are so poorly organised that they'd risk shutting doors while thousands of people are still trying to get in. It's outrageous that we're hearing stories of Franz fans being pepper-sprayed; it's good fortune that we're not hearing stories of them being killed.

Ted Chippington: A new release

Yes, you heard the headline. There's a new release from Ted Chippington - five hundred, limited edition, vinyl only and available through eBay.

Gordon in the morning: Thin content

There's an especially vicious piece in Gordon's realm this morning, as Miranda Prynne (pronounced "pryin'", presumably) writes some copy around a picture of Lucy Davis shopping:

THE Office star Lucy Davis shows the strain in the wake of her marriage break-up.

The actress, 39 — who played receptionist Dawn Tinsley in the hit TV comedy — appeared gaunt as she went shopping in Los Angeles.
Her ultra-thin look is a far cry from the curvy figure she had during her Office days.
Only then does Pryin' mention that there's probably a medical reason for this:
Lucy’s weight has fluctuated since she had a kidney transplant in 1997 after renal failure.

The actress, the daughter of comedian Jasper Carrott, also developed diabetes.
Running a photo of woman who has health problems and tutting 'doesn't she look gaunt' over the top of them? What an ornament to our national life Gordon's team are.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kanye West reckons he could have a go at being an architect

Is there nothing that Kanye West won't turn his hand to? (By "turn his hand to" I mean "grunt at drawings of and sign off his name appearing upon", of course.)

He now fancies a spot of architecture:

What I want to do post-Grammys is I want to work on cities, I want to work on amusement parks, I want to change entertainment experiences or life.
There's a couple of things here. First, the way he says "post-Grammys" where most people would say "after my music career", as if he just expects the end of the process of making music is being given a small metal gramophone and a round of applause.

More crucially, it's the extent to which he's thought this through. For what could be more obvious a sign of having considered his many options than saying "I want to work on cities" before suddenly changing that to "amusement parks".

Still, how difficult can it be, changing entertainment? (Or, possibly, life?) I know that I'd be delighted to ride a rollercoaster put together by someone who's doing it because he's got bored of collaborating with Jay-Z.

Gordon in the morning: The Wanted against nakedness

Inevitably, given their profile, the world is now being softened up for a bunch of clothes supposedly designed by The Wanted.

Because The Wanted have a really distinctive style, don't they?

Even Gordon manages a decent snort of derision:

Which is good news for fans of checked shirts and faded denim jeans.
So, why would they be doing this now? Apparently, it's because they met Tommy Hilfiger last week.

So, you meet Hilfiger and decide to copy him by designing clothes? Could someone please arrange a meeting between The Wanted and Buzz Aldrin, please?
A source says: “They are also inspired by the massive success of Jay-Z and P Diddy’s clothing ranges."
And what part of that success is it that inspires? The ability to connect more closely to fans by shaping a distinctive visual style? The chance to show you have talents that stretch beyond your core work?

Don't be silly:
"It could be a great money-spinner.”
The only success that mattters.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lady GaGa: Jakarta off

After a couple of weeks of insisting she wouldn't back down to satisfy the demands of religious fundamentalists protesting against her Jakarta concerts, Lady GaGa has backed down:

"Lady Gaga's management has considered the situation minute to minute, and with threats if the concert goes ahead, Lady Gaga's side is calling off the concert," Minola Sebayang, lawyer for promoters Big Daddy, told reporters.
It's disappointing that frothing types have forced the pullout, but putting people's lives at risk to prance about in a dress made of batons isn't worth it.

First night: Over the Hump - Eurovision 2012

We've all had some time for it to settle in now: apparently Engelbert Humperdinck wasn't a secret weapon at all. Indeed, I'm hoping he was just using the Song Contest as a cover for a jewel heist in Baku, otherwise it'd be questionable why he was there at all.

Graham Norton seemed genuinely concerned that Hump was going to be distraught at the result, quickly forming a theory that this wasn't a vote against him, just an unfortunate side-effect of having gone first.

Plausible, I suppose - at a rough estimate, a couple of million people would have spent his song bellowing "Mum! It's starting!" or "Is this part of the contest?" or even "Лайно, де вони отримують цю страшну розминка хлопець з? Він одягнений, як він прийшов на похорон." But that would probably shave your score by a couple of dozen votes at most, rather than nearly the lot, surely?

Engelbert is sounding upbeat, to judge by his words to BBC News:

The 76-year-old said he "did the best for my country".

"I've had many highs in my career and Eurovision has been a wonderful experience," he said.

"I want to thank everybody, especially my fans around the world for their words of support.

"I did the best for my country, the rest was out of my hands."
The BBC said that at least he was spared the humiliation of Nul Points. But that might have been all he was spared, to judge by the Associated Press copy:
Amid the usual jamboree of youthful exuberance — and questionable taste — this year's Eurovision Song Contest featured a pair of elderly acts among its most high-profile contenders.

The night opened with some two-note crooning by the UK's black-clad veteran act Engelbert Humperdinck, who Scottish comedian Robert Florence acerbically remarked on Twitter looked "like an inaccurate waxwork of Johnny Cash."

Russia's Buranovskiye Babushki, a group of six grannies, offered a similarly static stage show, but did liven up their act "Party for Everybody" with some choreographed baking in an onstage oven.
The Press Assocation ran a ruler over just how bad things were for Englebert:
Questions will be asked about the decision to hand the baton to a 76-year-old, leading to one of the worst outcomes for the UK. Until 2011, the public had a say in who represented the UK and with which song, but that was abandoned when boy-band Blue were chosen to sing I Can, in the hope an established name could bring home the title. They managed to come 11th last year, a respectable position in comparison to this year.
Yes, he's managed to make the awful Blue performance look like some sort of high-water mark.

The Telegraph worries that even as a failure, this fell short of spectacular:
Sweden are officially the winners! And we didn't even manage to come last. Second last is more embarrasing than last, really, because it's not even funny. Poor Engelbert. Bet he's got the right hu... never mind.
The Mail might have spotted the weak link in our entry:
Humperdinck’s song was written by Sacha Skarbek - who teamed up with James Blunt to compose You’re Beautiful - and record producer Martin Terefe.
So, next year it's off to Sweden - a rare opportunity to enjoy Eurovision in a nation where gay people don't get hit on the heads with batons. It's normal to joke that winning the contest is a bit like getting an expensive and ugly gift, but the head of Sweden's SVT is quite confident, she tells Dagens Nyheter:
SVT can be trusted with the job of organising one of Europe's largest television events, says Eva Hamilton, stressing they have no intention of spending crazy sums of money. The event is also expected to create jobs.

- I cannot say what this will cost, but I can say that we have no ambition to keep up with the constant arms race and demand the entire country's GDP for this kind of thing, she says, referring to Azerbaijan.
So are Sweden enjoying their moment? Yes, but - if Svenska Dagbladet is any indication, not so much as they're enjoying the discomfort of their neighbours:
It could not have gone worse for Norway in yesterday's Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan's capital Baku. Not only did the country came last with only seven points, nearly half of those came from eternal rival Sweden, who also swept all before them and won the whole competition.
Ah, yes, poor Tooji. At least Engelbert has a long career he can point to. Norway's Tooji is still young, and will have a lifetime of living down his loss. Could you imagine any way the night could have been worse for him?

Actually, Norway's Aftenposten points out it was his birthday yesterday as well. Still, he's philosophical:
It wasn't so bad it deserved seven points. I am not worse than Ireland, who entered hyperactive Teletubbies. I know that I'm not, so it must be something that the universe is trying to teach me.
The Irish Independent is delighted that those hyperactive Teletubbies have saved some cash:
JEDWARD'S bid to win Ireland's first Eurovision prize in 16 years fell as flat as their hairdos last night, as the twins finished in the bottom half of the table.

That Ireland won't have to host the competition next year will come as a relief to some at the head of RTE, given its accumulated losses of €50m.

Despite it being their second time in a row to represent their country at the Eurovision, their rendition of Waterline in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku failed to attract the affection or the votes of the millions watching the competition across the continent.

The Grimes' twins, John and Edward, 20, from Lucan in Dublin, delivered a solid performance and gave it their all, but it was a devastating return after the high expectations ahead of last night.
And the decision to go ahead with the event in repressive old Baku? Did that create an awkward evening, a sense of trying to have fun while ignoring the screams outside?

Not a bit of it:
Azerbaijan and the city of Baku have proven to be worthy hosts of Europe’s favourite TV show with a wonderful evening of entertainment put on by host broadcaster Ictimai Television. The show was opened in a very impressive fashion with a stunning fireworks display around the hall and amazing night time vistas of the Azerbaijani capital. This was followed by a very impressive display of Azerbaijani dancing in the hall after which last year’s winners Eldar and Nikki performed their winning entry Running Scared.

The interval act was equally impressive, featuring Azerbaijani superstar Emin who kept the audience and viewers entertained whilst the votes were being verfied.
Mind you, that's just the verdict of the Azerbaijan official news agency. They might be a bit biased.

This week just gone

The most-read May stories are:

1. Mick Jagger loves Boris Johnson
2. The Kerrang awards shortlist
3. Liveblog: Eurovision 2012
4. Gary Barlow meets Africans; fears they might want to eat him
5. Huey Morgan declares war on Kenickie; loses
6. BBC cuts: What they mean for music
7. First night: The Stone Roses comeback
8. Mail sees Gary Glitter on TV in past; rages
9. RIP: Rob Doherty
10. Golden Gate reaches 75; excuse to embed a Sleater-Kinney video

These were this week's interesting releases:

Smoke Fairies - Blood Speaks

Download Blood Speaks

Saint Etienne - Words & Music

Download Words & Music

The Temper Trap - The Temper Tramp

Download The Temper Tramp

The Enemy - Streets In The Sky

Download Streets In The Sky

Fun - Some Nights

Download Some Nights