Saturday, July 07, 2012

Clap Your Hands, Say Goodbye

The departure of Tyler Sargent and Robbie Guertin from Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah has led to a mathematically accurate but slightly strange headline:

Two fifths of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah leave the band
Come on, NME - this isn't the time for fractions. It's clearly time for pie charts:
So, why are they off? Guertin:
"Being a member of Clap has been an incredible experience, but I have decided to move on and see what's next. I will continue to make music with my other band, Radical Dads, pursue miscellaneous artistic endeavors, and also grow some vegetables. I am excited to see what else might come my way. Maybe some tomatoes?"
The phrase "A member of Clap" is surely enough in its own right to justify quitting.

Sargent's departure he explains like this:
"I am very proud of what this band has accomplished over the past eight years, and I will miss playing with such talented musicians. I wish Alec, Sean and Lee the best of luck with whatever CYHSY does in the future.

I wish Robbie the best of luck with his musical and horticultural endeavors. As for me, I am currently in the process of forming a presidential exploratory committee for 2016."
Given the number of instruments Guertin played, CYHSY will be shortly advertising for about seventy-six replacement members.

Countryobit: Andy Griffith

Although best known as an actor for the Andy Griffith Show and Matlock, it's worth remembering that Andy Griffith was also an active musician. Griffith, who died this week at the age of 86, won a grammy in 1996 in the snappliy-titled Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel Or Bluegrass Gospel Album category for I Love To Tell The Story - 25 Timeless Hymns.

Slayer: Apparently writing lyrics is a quick process

Kerry King is writing some new words for a Slayer record. Surprisingly, he's not blocking out much time in his diary:

"If I get off my ass and start writing again on the road — since we've been in Europe, I keep trying to work on lyric ideas, maybe some leads, and fixing songs that didn't work correctly — it should be a real quick process."
Really? Thinking up rhymes for "blood", "grave", "misery" and "antichrist" is such a speedy process? The creation of yet another song about not showing mercy is something which one can do while waiting for a PopTart to cook? Whoever would have guessed?

One Direction: It's like Perez Hilton has a time machine or something

Perez Hilton has gone right out on a limb and suggested that shoddy boy band One Direction might not last:

"I would not be surprised if One Direction break up in the next couple of years," Hilton said.

"I think ultimately one of them will quit or get fired, they'll continue on as a foursome and then not too long after - maybe a year or two - they'll break up."
A vague suggestion that a made-up band might split at some point before 2017? If you tried to make a wager on that basis at Ladbrokes, the staff would literally be unable to see you waving your betting slip. You'd be actually invisible to them.

Mind you, who'd have thought Perez Hilton would still be around, sort-of, in 2012?

Count: Whitney Houston song used for good

Count were shooting a video on the streets, when a guy came up and proposed marriage. He didn't get to become Gabbi McPhee's husband, but he did get this really sweet personal performance.

Count - Dance With Somebody - Downtown LA from Count on Vimeo.

Music's lovely, isn't it?

[via AndPop]

Destiny's Child: They're coming back... eventually. Possibly.

Destiny's Child are back, back, back.

Actually, they're not. In fact, all we're being promised by Beyonce's dad Matthew Knowles is two back-catalogue albums. But he didn't get where he is today without knowing how to market, so he dangled a possible reunion so far in the future that everyone will forget it was ever promised if it doesn't happen in the end:

Will there be a Destiny’s Child reunion tour to complement the two projects?

Not on the first release. It takes a year of planning to do these tours, but first it starts with the artist wanting to do it. And I think the ladies are still working happily in their solo careers. And I hope in the next five years that there is a reunion tour. I think it would be incredible. The hardest thing would be choosing which songs they’re going to do, because we would want to mix it up with solo hits and Destiny’s Child hits. We would have to throw away some number ones from off the set list [Laughs].
If you read that carefully, I think Knowles is saying that he hopes at some point in the next four years the individual Childs will become unhappy in their solo careers, doesn't he?

CBGB festival closed as former bassist 'stabs' replacement

While Bloc was falling apart in London, New York's highest-profile festival was also suffering a shutdown of its own. It appears that former member of Cro-Mags Harley Flanagan turned up at the band's set and, it's claimed, stabbed two people.

ABC news has some details:

Around 8:15 on Friday, EMS and police responded to New York City nightclub Webster Hall for a stabbing.

When EMS arrived, they found one of the victims had been slashed, and the other had been bitten.

Sources say that the two injured men were members of the band that was performing on Friday night. Both victims are expected to be okay.
There's been some, uh, creative work done on Flanagan's Wikipedia page, which currently claims he had set fire to a Philadelphia playground - a story about someone else pasted in with a find and replace on the name. It also has a summary of the events of last night, which I'm suspecting might fall short of Wikipedia's demands for accuracy and citation:
On July 6th 2012, he was arrested for stabbing and biting current members of The Stonecutters Social Club backstage at Webster Hall in NYC, protesting their "No Homers" admittance policy,while clearly allowing Homer Glubnick into the fold. He was then taken into custody by the NYPD. While being put into the back of the police officer's car he could be heard screaming, "I was the one who ate the foot off of the Jesus in St. Peter's Cathedral." It is not known whether the foot was recovered. Foot was allegedly from the Age of Quarrel, roughly 300 years before the ascent of Elizabeth I.
Hopefully that's made things clearer.

Def Leppard clone themselves

Def Leppard have got the hump with Universal taking the lions' share - or, rather, the Leppard's share - of their royalties, and have recorded 'forgeries' of their old stuff:

The band's frontman Joe Elliott said to Billboard that the disagreement has led to the band deciding to phase out their recordings for Universal and replace them with a whole new collection of their songs, which they're calling 'forgeries'. "We'll just replace our back catalogue with brand new, exact same versions of what we did," he said.
There's a glorious philosophical conundrum here - are these now new originals? Are the cover versions? Could the 2012 studio version of Pour Some Sugar On Me be considered merely a later take from the original suspended 1987 session?

This is a different class of re-recording from, say, Kate Bush's director's cuts reworking of earlier albums, as the Lep (as they must never, ever be called) are trying to recreate the songs exactly as they were; it's closer to those soundalike albums ("sings the hits of") which unsuspecting parents would buy children to make Christmas mornings so disappointing in the 1970s.

It's not quite the unique event you might think; certainly, back in 1981 Flux Of Pink Indians launched their own Spiderleg Records with a cloned version of the '1970s Were Made In Hong Kong' ep they'd made for Stortbeat Records as The Epileptics a couple of years earlier. That was over a royalty dispute, too.

[Thanks to @jamesthegill for the tip]

Gordon in the morning: Dappy is the Lord Longford of our age

Tucked into the showbiz section today is news of Dappy issuing calls for justice:

The Sun revealed that a message in his new video out on YouTube declared: “Free Leo Chindamo".
Learco Chindamo was the killer of Phillip Lawrence, the head stabbed to death outside his school back in 1995. He had been released on parole; arrested for an alleged mugging, he was acquitted of the crime but still returned to prison for violating the terms of his release.

There's a nuanced debate as to if it's entirely fair for someone to effectively be sent to prison for a crime of which he wasn't convicted, or if it's fair that having promised to avoid trouble, and having failed, Chindamo was correctly taken back inside for his original murder.

It also calls for a steady hand to be able to object to the parole recall without being seen to be somehow downplaying the horror of Lawrence's murder, especially given how the death was a tabloid cause célèbre.

Nuance and a steady hand. Dappy's not really the man for the job, is he?
[T]he N-Dubz nincompoop, 25, claimed he never even realised what the convict’s crime was. He said sorry via Twitter to the family of the teacher, 48, who was killed in 1995 breaking up a fight at his West London school.
In fact, Dappy's understanding of the case seems to go no further than having known Learco's brother some years ago. (It seems as if one of his old neighbours asked him, Dappy would quite happily have stuck a message 'Fridge Freezer for sale £15 - some damage to door, working order - must collect' on screen, to be honest.)

Still, having had someone explain to him what he'd done, Dappy took to Twitter to try and stop the shitstorm he'd stirred up. That won't go wrong, will it?:
[E]ven his apology was hamfisted — misspelling their name. His message said: “My heart goes out to Mr Laurence’s family and I know the pain of losing a loved one, sincerely Daps.”
Someone so well-meaning, but so inept. Shouldn't he be in the cabinet?

Cocked Bloc: Festival dissolves in confusion

It sounded like a lovely idea: take over the Pleasure Gardens in Victoria Docks, London. Get a load of acts, from Snoop to Battles. Have some on boats, and some on dry land.

That'd be a great festival, right?

Today's message from Bloc suggests things didn't pan out:

By now everyone will have heard that Bloc 2012 was closed due to crowd safety concerns.

We are all absolutely devastated that this happened, but the safety of everyone on site was paramount.

Given the situation on the ground, we feel that it was the right decision to end the show early.

Bloc will not open on Saturday 7th July so please don’t come to the site.

Stand by for full information on refunds.
By most accounts, they're lucky that they're only facing a financial disaster, as last night went badly, badly wrong. Dummymag have done a great job of tracking how things fell apart.

Police closed down the festival at a quarter to one this morning, as too many people turned up:
The problems seemed to stem from a confusion over ticketing, reportedly handled by the extremely unfortunately named company Crowdsurge. One person we contacted, who wishes to remain nameless told us “there was a shambles getting in when it opened. No one seemed to have the right ticket, and security didn’t know the correct ones.”

Blogger Jamila Scott told us that by later on, this confusion had resulted in “two-hour” queues, so long that people burst over the fence. “People surged toward the front and jumped over the barriers by the toilets. There was then a stampede, with scores of people jumping over. Security went insane, screaming and shouting to try and stop it. Eventually though, they gave up and let anyone in.” She reported that no-one had checked her ticket.
There seems to be confusion over whether there had been over-selling of tickets, although once people stop having their tickets checked that becomes a moot point.

A massive crush of people, security losing control, and water. We're lucky we're writing about a festival error. I hope the Health & Safety Executive will be starting an investigation.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Decoding

Gordon Smart's on top of his game, isn't he? Today he's running an analysis of Katie Holmes' behaviour in May.

He reckons it suggests she could have been planning a split from Tom Cruise.

Tomorrow: Gordon Smart predicts last Friday's Euromillions result.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Cor blimeys in the evening

Gordon is quivering with excitement at the prospect of John Lydon being a guest on tonight's Question Time. (He's on with Louise Mensch, so it's presumably a special narcissists edition.)

BBC chiefs are on tenterhooks after including former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon on tonight’s Question Time panel.
Unbelievably, Smart dredges up the Sex Pistols meet Bill Grundy incident as a dread warning from history:
He was [...] part of the Sex Pistols’ foul-mouthed turn on Bill Grundy’s chat show in 1976 — which wrecked the presenter’s career.
Rather a lame part, though: he said 'shit' very quietly, and then had to have it dragged out of him again.

Got any more, Gordon?
[P]roducers are aware the 56-year-old drew complaints over his swearing on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity in 2004.
Oh, yes. And how did that turn out for ITV? Careers ended in flames? Resignations? Shame? Fines? Remind us, Broadcast magazine:
ITV let off over Lydon

ITV has escaped censure from Ofcom over John Lydon's four-letter outburst on I'm a Celebrity ... Get me out of Here! The regulator received 96 complaints after Lydon called viewers "fucking cunts" live on air. Ofcom accepted that ITV "acknowledged it was highly regrettable and took immediate steps to apologise" as well as introducing a seven-second delay for subsequent live shows.
Ah, yes, the terrible incident where ITV muttered a sorry and Ofcom went "ooh, you guys."

Even allowing for that, though, why would BBC chiefs be on "tenterhooks"? As Gordon is - hopefully - well aware, the programme is prerecorded hours before it broadcast. So even if Lydon does swear (and given he's an old ham more than an old punk, and will only swear when he knows he's been invited on as pantomime dame) they'll simply be able to bleep it out.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Tulisa flicks the Cs

Uh-oh. A video has got Tulisa into trouble. Not that video. This is one she filmed with Nines in London, during the course of which she made a C-symbol.

Gordon has one interpretation of what that might mean:

The sign is used by members of notorious north-west London gang Crime Scene Boys, also known as the Church Road Soldiers, who have been linked to gun violence and drug dealing.
Tulisa offers another view:
“I filmed a street video on Sunday night for a track on my album.

“The video was a collaboration with the rapper Nines. When we were filming on the street loads of other people turned up and joined in the shoot.

“When I was holding my hands in the C sign, this was as a tribute to Camden, my home town and where N-Dubz began.

“I am not aware that this sign has anything to with any street gang and I 100 per cent do not endorse any gang violence in any form.”
The truth, you'd suspect, starts in the last line - I don't think anyone is going to think that for some reason Tulisa would have been stood in Harlesden suddenly showing love for Camden; apparently Nines throws the C sign into his videos as a matter of course - I suspect Tulisa was just trying to fit in.

I do love the idea of her strained management team desperately trying to come up with another meaning for the C:
"How about Cowell? No?"
"Could we get the Shamen's Mr C in to do a cameo, and say that she was filming that bit to introduce him?"
"Perhaps we should just say it was a Static_assert?"

Gordon hasn't actually called for Tulisa's head on a plate:
It is also the kind of thing her bosses at ITV, X Factor producers Syco and record label Universal will take seriously.
... but has offered to get the crockery out.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The sort of headline that could turn Pangloss into a misanthrope


Bookmarks: Pete Seeger

Blank On Blank is a great idea; it takes journalists original interview tapes, digitises them and sticks them online. Here, for example, is Pete Seeger on the history of We Shall Overcome:

It was the only record I ever made which sold. The record was called “We Shall Overcome.” It sold 500,000 copies, which for me was a huge sale. I was singing for some young Lutheran church people in Sundance, Idaho, and there were some older people who were mistrustful of my lefty politics. They said: ‘Who are you intending to overcome?’ I said: ‘Well, in Selma, Alabama they’re probably thinking of Chief Pritchett.; they will overcome. And I am sure Dr. King is thinking of the system of segregation across the whole country, not just the South. For me, it means the entire world. We’ll overcome our tendencies to solve our problems with killing and learn to work together to bring this world together.’

Universal-EMI merger catches in The Voice

Here's some fun: the ill-fated deal to funnel off the acts from the UK version of The Voice to Universal hasn't just lumbered the label with a barn full of unsaleable singers; it's a mighty spoke in the deal to bring Universal and EMI together, too. MediaGuardian explains:

The European commission document is understood to have raised the spectre of "over exposure" that the enlarged Universal Music will get across all manner of media platforms and markets. If combined, the two companies would distribute 41% of music sold worldwide.

A particular concern of the commission's is the share of airtime Universal artists would get on radio and key TV shows – it is understood that the Universal-dominated BBC talent show The Voice is raised as an example – where three of the four judges,, Jessie J and Tom Jones, are signed up to labels owned by the company.
Obviously, there are plenty of other examples of how one company dominating the music industry is bad for everyone (effectively, the way they sing with the one note of the RIAA-IFPI cartel proves how rotten that is), but how amusing if the attempt to hammer a super-major falls down in part because of The Voice.

Executives haunted for all time, when they close their eyes, by a vision of Jessie J spinning round on a chair yelling "this is how Team Jessie does it" over and over and over.

Global Radio to launch two unwatched music channels

As more and more TVs get connected to the internet, with the ability to stream YouTube and other videos through the big screen, is there any segment of the TV industry looking more doomed than the music video channel?

We can only assume Global needs a massive tax write-off, then, as it brings Capital and Heart to the TV.

Yes, not one brand, but two largely unloved and virtually identical brands. Pumping out videos 24 hours a day.


Apparently brands unextended are not brands at all:

[Ashley] Tabor, Global's founder and executive president, said: "Global prides itself on clear, simple brand propositions for its consumers.

"Brand extension is a natural thing for us to do, for example online, mobile and live events, so I'm delighted we're now bringing both Heart and Capital's top-class brand quality to music television."
Living in Milton Keynes, my experience of people's view of Heart's brand quality would mean the TV service should operate for years under the Horizon brand, with lots of local content, before slowly declining and eventually adopting the Heart branding timed with an 'All Bruno Mars, all the time' policy.

It might sound crazy to launch music video channels in 2012, but in a way, it makes sense - nobody watches Heart when it's on the radio, and nobody will watch it on the TV.

Overpriced headphone manufacturer acquires underpowered music service

Beats - who sell expensive headphones with a giant B on them - purchasing the MOG Music service.

The two sides have celebrated their union by releasing cascades of warm PR juice into the open, upturned faces of the public:

"Beats By Dre was born out of a need to restore the emotional connection with music that was lost by the degradation of sound from the digital music revolution, starting with the weakest link in the experience at the time - headphones," Beats President and COO Luke Wood said.

"But it was never about just headphones. We've since expanded the Beats mission to every other link in the music experience chain - speakers, mobile phones, personal computers and automobile sound systems.

"With MOG, we are adding the best music service to the Beats portfolio for the first truly end-to-end music experience. With their talent and technology, the possibilities around future innovation are endless."
It's not actually end-to-end, is it? It's not connected to the creation of music in any way, shape or form. And although MOG files (currently) are relatively high-quality, they're nowhere near CD-quality, are they? So it's not even moving back to the first degradation of sound of the early digital music revolution.

In effect, Luke Wood should have said "we've got some things to listen to music on, and we thought we should probably sell some music, too."
David Hyman, CEO of MOG added: "We're thrilled to be joining forces with Beats, a company that's committed at the highest level to the experience surrounding music delivery; the fit feels perfectly natural.

"MOG subscribers can expect continued excellence from the best music service in the market, and we look forward to putting premium music experiences in the hands of millions of music lovers everywhere."
"The experience surrounding music delivery" is one of those phrases that could only be uttered by someone who doesn't care for music. I've long argued that audiophilia is the enemy of a passion for music; someone standing around applauding the experience of music delivery sums that up nicely.

The Stone Roses: Or something a bit like them

Normally, there's nothing worse than being at a gig surrounded by people bellowing along. I've paid money to hear the singer, not you lot. Shut up.

Mind you, if I'd been at Heaton Park...

I think I'd have been begging the crowd to try and drown this out.

We warned you this would happen.

Over on the YouTube page for this video, stalwart Stone Roses fans - and by "stalwart" I mean 'people who were prepared to pay through the nose to see the band, but didn't know well enough or care enough to try and keep their memories safe' - are trying to argue that this, somehow, doesn't matter.

One line is to dismiss the technology - somehow, the music is recorded tolerably well but those new-fangled microphones will pick up an angel's voice, and make it sound like a wounded bear bellowing in the IKEA warehouse.

The other is to admit that, yes, it sounded dreadful, but that doesn't matter, because Ian Brown could never sing, you're paying for the performance.

Obviously, people who have splashed out a couple of hundred quid shlepping off the Heaton Park are going to try and find a way to justify to themselves what they've done; that's their right. It's almost heartbreakingly brave.

But, come on: what made The Stone Roses was the first album. It was the songs. The performance was a small plastic circle rotating as a little needle pulled across the work of John Leckie and, to a lesser extent, John Squire.

Still, if you take them at their word: where's the performance, then? Brown is tramping about the stage like someone waiting for Wildlife Services to remove an injured bear from IKEA, because he needs to pop in and buy some shelves. His performance consists of turning up in some jeans and singing badly.

Of course you had a great night. Let's just not pretend you were at a great gig.

Sony's Music Unlimited comes to Japan

The Next Web announces Sony's launch of Music Unlimited in its home market:

Sony has announced the introduction of its Music Unlimited service in Japan, bringing more than 10 million songs which can be listened to across a range of devices through the cloud-based service.
Blimey. Wonder if they'll ever bring that to the UK?
With today’s unveiling, Japan becomes the seventeenth market were Music Unlimited is live, and it marks the end of a long wait for Sony fans in the company’s native country. The Spotify-rivalling service first launched in the UK and Ireland in December 2010, some 18 months ago.
Really? You'd have to say that there's a service that could benefit from a bit more promotion.

Holograms 'to not become our overlords in our lifetime'


James Rock, the man behind the company that makes holographic images of pop stars, says that they won't replace live concerts in the future.
In other news, the cor anglais is thought unlikely to replace the bass guitar at festivals in the near future.

Gordon in the morning: Jokes have now peaked

Bad news for Dave channel; close down Jongleurs, for comedy has reached an apex and from now, there is only the opportunity to make jokes that are in decline.

The time of this moment in human history was one of The Stone Roses pension fund shows:

STONE Roses hero Mani had Rio Ferdinand in stitches with a cheeky tribute to his beloved Manchester United.
If you are eating, or drinking, you may wish to finish before reading the detail of this jape, lest you spray the contents of your mouth over your screen.
The football-mad bass player flipped his guitar over to flash the message “Mani United” in front of 70,000 fans at Heaton Park on Sunday night.
I know. I know.

It's funny because he's called Mani, and Man United is a football team. And one of the football team was there.

Oh, we talk of it still.
After the gig, Rio chuckled: “Mani United – that was awesome. I couldn’t believe my eyes when he did it.

“The guy’s a genius and the band were amazing.”
A genius, Rio? Why damn Mani with such faint, faint praise?

Mani United. We are simply not worthy.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Taking Codeine again

Never mind the Stone Roses: the only triumphant homecoming of a band who split in the mid-90s this weekend that was worth the candle was Codeine's reunion. The New York Times was there:

“That last song was the last song that we wrote and, um, yeah, it sounds like some of the other ones too,” Stephen Immerwahr said after he sang Codeine’s “Median” at the Bell House on Friday night. It was, like the rest of Codeine’s set, adamantly slow, asymmetrical, morose and drastically dynamic; among its terse lyrics were “grim and pure, like me.”
The Codeine dates haven't been the focus of a circus; there are no acres of photos of drunk forty something pissing and waving their cocks around. The dates didn't attract Liam Gallagher back down to ground level.

And how did Codeine sound?

Oh, yes.

Gordon in the morning: Bono versus God

It was only a matter of time before Bono started having a go at God. Gordon reports:

The U2 frontman said he would like to wait for the Big Man to bless him with inspiration when he’s stuck in the recording studio – but he doesn’t have time to wait.
I suspect this could just be God desperate to save the rest of his people from another U2 album, couldn't it?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

This week just gone

The most-read June stories have been:

1. Video: Kate Nash
2. Billy Corgan blames the internet
3. Simon Cowell sues band for daring to sue him
4. DLT meets Aung San Suu Kyi
5. Usher has trouble coping with all the women
6. RIP: Bob Welch
7. Radiohead cancel after stage collapse
8. Legal fight over pisspoor nickname
9. Sugababes forging new works
10. Bookmarks: Whatever happened to the nu-synthpoppers?

These were the new releases:

Jesca Hoop - The House That Jack Built

Download The House That Jack Built

Metric - Synthetica

Download Synthetica

Go-Kart Mozart - On The Hot Dog Streets

Download On The Hot Dog Streets

Beachwood Sparks - The Tarnished Gold

Download The Tarnished Gold

Various - Saint Etienne Presents Songs For The Lyons Cornerhouse