Saturday, June 23, 2012

Elvis: Crypt no-go

At the start of the month, you might remember a crypt in which the corpulent corpse of the late Elvis Presley rested while paperwork was completed turned up on an auction site.

Put your money back in your pocket, Dickinson: fans have decided that this is somehow an affront to his memory, and had the auction cancelled.

Oddly, the various other assaults on his memory - the Elvis-branded banana-flavoured peanut butter cups; the official golden sunglasses; the locks of hair with certificates of authenticity - this seems to be fine with the fans who lap them up.

Vince Power hates BBC putting on live bands. Nowadays.

Vince Power is quite clear when he condemns the BBC for getting into the festival business:

The Hackney Weekend has been criticised by veteran festival promoter Vince Power, former prime mover of the Reading festival, and now running Hop Farm and Benicassim in Spain. Complaining that taxpayers' money should not be spent on a free festival in times of austerity, he went on to say: "If the BBC is giving something out for free, then we can't compete. It's really pissed me off."
Oddly, though, when Power was running Reading and Leeds, he was happy enough to have a Radio One stage as part of the events - curious that he seems to be relaxed about licence fee money being spent to subsidise his own operations, but not in competition with them. Oh, to have such principles.

Glastonbury 2012: What is Michael Eavis up to?

Without a festival to organise, and no cars to drag from a sodden parking field, Michael Eavis had enough time on his hands to guest edit the Western Daily Press.

Given how Eavis always trots out an upbeat tale of success, no matter what went wrong, I was half-expecting him to announce that there's a brilliant festival going on in Pilton, in blazing sunshine.

He doesn't actually do that.

Instead, he paints a lovely image of festival values:

The Festival cares and the people who come here do, too; I once saw someone who didn’t quite have enough money to buy bread at a stall at the Festival. The fella next to him broke his bread in two and gave the other chap half and walked off.

It was brilliant. It was so impressive – he hadn’t done it to be applauded, he had just done it. It would be wonderful if actions like that could be replicated more often.
It's true, you do meet a lot of lovely people at the festival. But there is a lingering sense of how the idea of a place where people share their bread with the poor squares with a £200 entry fee.

Nickelback: Money saving expert

From the ever-vigilant Criggo collection:

Simon Cowell thinks up brilliant and witty riposte to the original One Direction

You'll recall the original band One Direction, who - somewhat surprised to discover Simon Cowell's band of gym receptionists trading under the same name - launched a lawsuit.

Cowell has now come up with a comeback - He's suing back.

Yes, that's right. Apparently, what to you or I might look like a genuine discomfort at having your band name pinched, to Cowell is something other. The Americans have:

"devised and perpetrated a scheme to exploit the goodwill"
Yes, they built a time machine, flashed back to earlier in the century, started a band with the name One Direction and then came back to 2012 just to exploit Cowell's creativity. It sounds plausible to me.

Bobbie Brown writes a book

Bobbie Brown is busy slaving away in front of Microsoft Word, reports Blabbermouth:

Bobbie Brown, an actress and model and probably best known as the video vixen in WARRANT's "Cherry Pie" video, is working on her autobiography, "Sex, Drugs And Cherry Pie", for an early 2013 release.
Now, I don't work in publishing, but if I was trawling round for celebrity biographies, and was offered one by 'you know, the woman out a pop video from 1990', I'm not sure I'd be exactly whipping out the chequebook.

Coming in 2013: 'My life as the one in the red top out of the ZZ Top Legs video' by the one in the red top out of the ZZ Top Legs video.

Gordon in the morning: What an arse

Stop the presses! Gordon Smart has discovered women have bottoms:

Nothing Min-i about Nicki’s bum
No, really. In what was once a newspaper.
The rapper showed off her incredible bottom in a shoot for New York-based magazine Urban Ink.
Ah, how long must Smart have been lurking about in a car parks in Washington to uncover this scoop, eh?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Black Keys take on Hut, Home

Tracks from Black Keys' El Camino have turned up soundtracking Pizza Hut and Home Depot adverts.

Nobody asked them first.

Pizza Hut and Home Depot are now getting grumpy legal letters from The Black Keys.

Cock sues baller

Mark Durante - who was briefly in the Revolting Cocks - is Kevin Durant, a basketball player over a terrible nickname:

According to the suit, filed Wednesday in federal court for the Northern District of Illinois, Durante has repeatedly demanded that the Oklahoma City Thunder's three-time NBA All Star stop using the nickname. He's also suing Nike, which he says has begun using a superhero version of Durant named "Durantula" as part of a shoe campaign, and Panini Authentic, which is selling photographs and basketballs with the Durantula inscription.
The real sting is not that the sporting person is using the name, but that Kevin is the more popular of the two Durantulas:
"A few years ago if you Googled 'Durantula' it was all about me," [Mark] said.

Then, he said, his friends and fans started telling him they couldn't find him on Google because the search results that came up were all about Durant.
Hang about - rather than an expensive lawsuit, why didn't he just tell his friends and fans to Google "durantula music" or "durantula + mark"?

Bookmarks: Glastonbury 2012

The Guardian is currently streaming live from the site of the Glastonbury festival. Yes, you read that correctly.

UMG-EMI merger goes to Washington

The US Senate is currently grinding through a decision on whether it should smile upon the merger of Universal and EMI. Yesterday senators held a hearing to allow themselves to be better informed before (meeting shadowy lobbyists, accepting small envelopes and) delivering their verdict.

As MusicAlly reports, much of the focus was on the digital music market. Warner's Edgar Bronfman Junior fretted that the 50% of biggest-selling artists held by the new Universal would allow it to decide which digital services thrived, and which wilted:

”At 50% of the hits, Universal can say no to anything”
Universal were shocked, shocked, at the suggestion they might use their new superpowers for anything but good:
UMG boss Lucian Grainge disagreed.

“The thought that we would constrict our artists who we’ve invested in, and construct the investment we make in EMI to dissolve the market would be commercial suicide,” he told the hearing. “We would be insane not to license, develop, make our music available through as many platforms, through as many retailers as possible.”
Yes, the idea of a major label trying to use its catalogue to strangle upstart, disruptive businesses and technologies - where would anyone get an idea like that, eh?

You suspect, though, that Bronfman is less worried about the idea of record companies taking on digital companies than he is about the new company's greater heft within the RIAA, the majors' preferred choice of digital closedown.

Isle of Wight Festival: God apparently didn't get tickets

With no Glastonbury festival this year, the regulars had to find some other place to go. The cascading heavy rain which makes everyone's life a misery apparently chose to attend the Isle of Wight festival instead:

Problems began on Thursday morning when the main car park had become waterlogged from heavy rain overnight.

Organisers were forced to open extra fields and bring in metal tracks so vehicles could be directed to overflow car parks. Many had to be towed because of the mud.
Naturally, being an island meant that the knock-on effect of traffic gridlock was a ferry fuck-up:
Mud at the festival site caused by heavy rain led to huge delays in parking and resulted in tailbacks as far back as the port of Fishbourne.

Three boats carrying about 600 people were held in the Solent until the cars stuck at the port had moved and the passengers could be discharged.

A spokesman for ferry operator Wightlink said: “We can't do anything else with them until we can get into port to unload. At the moment we are in the lap of the gods with the Isle of Wight Festival.

"As soon as the berth is free they will be able to unload, but we just don't know when that will be. It has nothing to do with us, and it's not a problem caused by us."
When people eventually make it to the site, things will get even more miserable for them.

Pearl Jam have managed to arrive.

Gordon in the morning: Cargo hold

Oh, sweet Jesus; you're enjoying yourself in America only to open the newspapers and find that Ed Sheeran's there, too.

You drag yourself back across at the Atlantic, and he's over here too.

Still, there's one piece of good news: Delta have tried to help us all by silencing Sheeran:

He took to Twitter after an American airline misplaced his prized guitars.

He wrote: “So after Delta messing up the flight over here, they have lost both guitars. Bring back Cyril and Nigel.”

Ed needs the boys back sharpish because he’s performing at Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend tomorrow.
Perhaps the guitars ran away?

Gordon headlines the story "Sheeran incompetence", although I suspect staff at Delta knew exactly what they were doing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Voice falls silent

Oh, dear: the potentially lucrative Voice UK tour has been cancelled due to a lack of interest.

Eight of the finalists from the series had been booked to appear on the tour; this may well have wound up with more people on stage than in the audience.

Google plans to sue conversion site

Google is going to sue, according to a letter sent to the site's owner.

As the name implies, the service takes a YouTube URL and spits out an mp3 of the audio track. Given that it's sort-of-copyright-infringey (although not of any copyright Google itself owns, for the vast majority of the videos).

As an extra protection, Google has started blocking the YouTube-mp3 servers, which it could have done quietly without drawing attention to the site and the wide range of similar options.

Torrentfreak suggests similar conversion tools are getting letters from Google; but Google surely knows all it means is people will go back to ripping the audio from videos the old-fashioned way, capturing it locally as the music plays out.

The tantric Sex Pistols

I'm sure nobody would deny the rights holder the opportunity to flog the dead horse of Never Mind The Bollocks a little more upon its 40th anniversary, but a four disc version?

No tracklisting yet, but the fourth disc is believed to consist of the sound of Universal executives standing in a pile of coins, laughing and laughing and laughing.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Downloadable: Ladyhawke

She has people in her hair, you know. Enjoy, courtesy of the Anxiety marketing push, the Villa remix of Sunday Drive:

Embed and breakfast man: Kate Nash

I'm a little in love with the new Kate Nash, turned-around-in-a-day track:

I'm even more in love with the flicker of horror that creeps over the faces of people online as they play it. "Oh noes, this sounds experimental and isn't even pretty. Oh noes, oh noes."

Kate Nash is great. And has always been more than just pretty pop songs:

You can download Underestimate The Girl for free, unless you're all "but it doesn't have a chorus".

Acappellaobit: Brian Hibbard

Brian Hibbard - one of the Flying Pickets - has died.

Hibbard was a member of the briefly-popular a capella Flying Pickets, who snagged a Christmas number one with a cover of Yazoo's Only You. The band suffered rapidly declining chart positions with subsequent singles, something they blamed on their radical politics and support for the striking miners, but equally possibly down to the short half-life of a novelty act.

Even so, the band continues to tour, although not featuring any of the original members. Brian and famously-bald Picket Red Stripe quit the group in 1986, and tried to recapture the magic formula in an instrument-free act Brian And Stripe - even down to covering a Yazoo song, Mr Blue. (A Yazoo song which rhymed with Only You, what's more.) The world wasn't especially interested, and Hibbard quickly returned to acting.

He had a degree of success, landing a stay in Coronation Street as Doug Murray, a mechanic who somehow suffered a schoolgirl crush from Tracy Barlow; he also popped up in Doctor Who, Pobol Y Cwm and EastEnders. He had a part in Ifans-twin vehicle movie Twin Town.

Brian Hibbard was 65; he had been unwell with prostate cancer.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Radiohead cancel after stage collapse kills Scott Johnson

Terrible news from Toronto, where drum tech Scott Johnson was killed after the Radiohead stage collapsed while it was being erected.

Johnson, who had also worked with White Lies, Keane and many others, was from Doncaster; he was one of four people unable to get out in time as wind brought down the temporary structure.

Usher has high hopes

Usher is going to play Sugar Ray Robinson in a forthcoming film. He's already trying to attract the attention of the the Academy:

''I've seen Oscar winners come out of left field. I'm just saying Jennifer Hudson..." said the 33-year-old.
Yes, Usher hopes to win an Oscar. And why shouldn't he? I dream of this post winning a Pulitzer. I think the difference is one of us knows that it isn't going to happen.

It's not even a film about Robinson - Hands Of Stone is actually about Roberto Duran.

Or, if you listen to Usher, it's a film about Usher:
"I'm going into it offering my interpretation and my hard work and my dedication to be the best Sugar Ray ever."
I know what you're thinking: surely Sugar Ray Robinson is the best Sugar Ray Robinson ever, right?

Usher, though, would seem to be be saying "we'll see about that":
"I've spoken to him, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to live up to him but I'll try to be better than him."
Yes, you might have spotted some humility creep in halfway through that quote, but thank God Usher was able to stop that worrying trend and get back to deciding that he's actually going to be better at being someone than the actual person ever was.