Saturday, January 26, 2013

RHCP wanted Coachella to beg

One day, mark these words, there will be a film, garlanded with awards, about the exciting circumstances of the Red Hot Chili Peppers agreeing to play Coachella:

Cliff Burnstein, whose firm Q Prime also manages Metallica and The Black Keys, told Rolling Stone magazine that the LA band signed on as the Sunday night headliner with only an hour to spare.

"We've been in talks for months," he revealed. "It goes down to the wire. It's a negotiation."
You were agreeing to pay a pop concert in return for an almost certainly oversized cheque. It's not like you were trying to get a group of Nuns out of a hostage situation before the end of a ceasefire.

And what of suggestions that, perhaps, the Peppers might be a bit too vintage for Coachella?
Burnstein also hit out at reports the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who played Coachella in 2003 and 2007, were no longer suited to play the festival. "We'll be right in the target demo for Coachella. It's surprising, but it's true", he said.
I suspect Burnstein is confusing the demographics of the people who pay for the tickets with those of the people who actually use them.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Black Flag rises again

Black Flag are reuniting to play Hevy Fest this summer.

"Blimey", you might be wondering, "how did they persuade Henry Rollins?"

They used the simple trick of not telling him:

Black Flag are reuniting for a performance at British rock event Hevy Fest in August, but former member Ron Reyes will be taking on vocal duties.
They were more fun before he turned up, to be fair.

Gordon in the morning: Ed Sheeran's going to the Grammys

As if the Grammys didn't drag on long enough, Ed Sheeran is going to be playing a song during it.

He's apparently got a nice suit to wear:

Ed was voted worst-dressed man of 2012 by GQ mag which has put a bit of pressure on him.

He said: “I’m going to be wearing a very posh suit to the Grammys.

“And if I run into GQ I’m just going to stick it to them. I’ve got a proper tailored suit made for me.

“If I want to be smart, I can be smart, I just really don’t care.”
Ah, so that is the type of "not caring" which involves not just going out and buying an expensive suit, but constantly talking about it and GQ.

Is it wise for Ed to put on his interview suit, though: isn't looking like he's just nipped out for a pint of milk and a Crunchie at the heart of his appeal? Stick him in a shiny two-piece, and there's a risk America is going to think "I see Mick Hucknall's been moisturising."

At least we know...

While argument and counter argument rages over the veracity of Beyonce's performance at the inauguration...

... at least we can be sure Kimberley Walsh wasn't lip-synching at the National Television Awards.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gordon in the morning: Reducing tax

If there's one thing we know the Sun despises, it's beloved entertainers entering into measures, however legal, to reduce their tax bills. Just last October they were raging at freelancers working for the BBC:

IS the BBC helping thousands of its workers dodge income tax?

We now know it pays 4,500 “freelancers” though “personal service companies”.

This allows them to pay tax at about half the 40 per cent they could be clobbered with.
So, that's clear - going out your way to establish a way of reducing tax, in the words of The Sun "stinks to high heaven".

Oddly, though, that sense of outrage doesn't appear to extend to One Direction, where Gordon is almost tumescent with their tax moves:

The latest company is called 1D Live LLP – a limited liability partnership.

Registering a company as an LLP means it won’t pay any corporation tax – which is usually a hefty 23 per cent on all profits.
Apparently, for some reason, this doesn't "stink to high heaven".

Perhaps it would only start to stink if they pay in performance fees they earn at the BBC?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Wanted realise they've dropped the ball; make new video

The Wanted have done one video for the I Found You single already.

It's awful - sexist, laddish, packed with stylised empty violence. Rolling Stone describe it as "edgy", but really it's just ill-conceived.

So they've done another version:

The Wanted pay tribute to the Beatles in this new alternate video for "I Found You."
It's a "tribute" as in "quick and cheap idea of sticking them in a studio and having some screaming fans, a bit like The Beatles, but equally a bit like how even that show where B*Witched come back will be".

Beyonce open and closed her mouth perfectly

Everyone agreed - and by "everyone" I mean "people I follow on Twitter who expressed an opinion" - that Beyonce nailed it at the Obama inauguration.

Now it turns out she got some help being note-perfect when you've actually already done the song and were just miming.

Does it matter? Not really, in the sense that Obama was only miming the inauguration anyway - the actual swearing had been done the day before, and if Barack was just opening and closing his mouth for a performance he'd done earlier.

On the other hand: what was all that 'pulling the earpiece out' business? If she'd been singing live, that would have been a brilliant moment - "Beyonce doesn't need the monitors".

Instead, it turns out to have been a bit of empty theatre.

So Beyonce didn't nail it. She was just very good at using a shortcut. She No More Nailed it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hilco buy the debt, effectively buy HMV

Good news for lovers of novelty mugs and amusing t-shirts: ITV News are reporting that Hilco has bought HMV's debt, which means they become kingmaker for HMV's future. And given they're interested in taking control of HMV, that's more-or-less certain what will happen now.

NME Awards 2013: Shortlist

Hey, those cutting-edge types on the cusp of the future down at the NME have announced the shortlist for their 2013 awards. Strap yourselves into your most-firmly secured seats, straightsville, because here's the alternative to the Brits. Which crazy, left-field act is doing best, NME?

The Rolling Stones lead this years' nods with nominations in four categories ('Best Live Band,' 'Best Book', 'Music Moment of The Year', 'Best Music Film')


It's interesting that three of these categories are faffy, non-core categories (best music film? Is that even a popular enough category to warrant giving a prize?). The nomination for best live band, though, is one in the eye for everyone who thought that giving it to Muse every fucking year was the most conservative award thinking ever.

To be fair, Tame Imapala and Haim have also both got four nominations - but it's notable that even although they scored the same number as The Rolling Stones, editorially, the NME decided the Rolling Stones were "leading".

Also surprising is that David Bowie's Where Are We Now is shortlisted in the best music video category. It only came out two weeks ago. Given that many of the categories were open for voting back before Christmas, how does that work, exactly? What exactly is the rule on qualifying period here?

It's not clear if NME is impressed, or allowing its embarrassment to leak out here, either, when they talk about how well MIA has done:
M.I.A. is also up for four awards - ('Best Track', 'Best Music Video', 'Best Dancefloor Anthem', 'Best Twitter' despite only releasing one single since the last NME Awards.

Here's the full shortlist:
Best British Band supported by SONOS
Arctic Monkeys
The Vaccines
Biffy Clyro
The Maccabees
The Cribs

Best Album
'Channel Orange' Frank Ocean
'Jake Bugg' Jake Bugg
'Given To The Wild' The Maccabees
'An Awesome Wave' Alt-J
'Come Of Age' The Vaccines
'Lonerism' Tame Impala

Best International Band supported by Rekorderlig Cider
The Killers
Tame Impala
The Black Keys
Odd Future
Crystal Castles
Foo Fighters

Best Track supported by Blackstar Amps
'R U Mine?' Arctic Monkeys
'Don’t Save Me' Haim
'Bad Girls' MIA
'Inhaler' Foals
'Best Of Friends' Palma Violets
'Elephant' Tame Impala

Best TV Show
Breaking Bad
Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy
Fresh Meat
The Thick Of It
Doctor Who

Best Music Film
Searching For Sugar Man
LCD Soundsystem: 'Shut Up And Play The Hits'
Hit So Hard : The Life & Near Death Story of Patty Schemel
The Rolling Stones: 'Crossfire Hurricane'
Led Zeppelin: 'Celebration Day'

Best Re-Issue
'Generation Terrorists' Manic Street Preachers
'21' Blur
'The Fat Of The Land' Prodigy
'Turn On The Bright Lights' Interpol
'Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness' Smashing Pumpkins
'Collected' Ian Brown

Best Solo Artist
Jake Bugg
Noel Gallagher
Florence Welch
Miles Kane
Paul Weller

Best New Band supported by Spotify
Palma Violets
Django Django
Alabama Shakes

Best Music Video
'Oblivion' Grimes
'Bad Girls' MIA
'Where Are We Now?' David Bowie
'R U Mine?' Arctic Monkeys
'Don't Save Me' Haim
'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards' Tame Impala

Best Festival supported by Farah Vintage
Reading & Leeds Festivals
T In The Park
Isle Of Wight

Best Live Band
The Maccabees
The Cribs
Biffy Clyro
The Rolling Stones

Best Dancefloor Anthem
'What You Came For' Mosca feating Katy B
'Sweet Nothing' Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch
'Gangnam Style' Psy
'Bad Girls' MIA
'In Paris' Kanye West/Jay-Z
'Losing You' Solange

Best Twitter
Muse (@muse)
Fred Macpherson, Spector (@fredmacpherson)
Theo Hutchcraft, Hurts (@theohurts)
Alana Haim, Haim (@babyhaim)
Wiley (@EskiDance)
MIA (@MIAuniverse)

Best Book
David Byrne: How Music Works
Neil Young: Waging Heavy Peace
Mike Skinner: The Story Of The Streets
Tim Burgess: Telling Stories
The Rolling Stones: 50
Peter Hook: Unknown Pleasures : Inside Joy Division

Music Moment Of The Year
David Bowie returns
The Stone Roses play Heaton Park
Olympics opening ceremony
The Rolling Stones play London's O2 Arena
Green Day's secret set at Reading Festival
Pussy Riot's punk prayer

Hero Of The Year
David Bowie
Bradley Wiggins
Pussy Riot
Barack Obama
Frank Ocean
Dave Grohl

Villain Of The Year
David Cameron
Harry Styles
Fred Macpherson
Azealia Banks

Best Small Festival
The Great Escape
Field Day
Festival No.6
End Of The Road

Worst Band
One Direction
Mumford & Sons
Justin Bieber
Ed Sheeran

Best Fan Community
30 Seconds To Mars
Manic Street Preachers
The Killers
Enter Shikari

Best Film
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
iLL Manors
The Dark Knight Rises
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Monday, January 21, 2013

HMV Canada looking most likely to buy HMV

The chances of Hilco, owners of HMV Canada, taking over the British chain are looking stronger today as the major labels indicate they'd be willing to support the company through 'generous credit'.

Which is nice, although the majors were already offering splendid terms to HMV and it didn't really do much good.

Hilco have made something of a success in Canada, but this CBC report which tries to explain that success doesn't really offer much enlightenment:

After downsizing to 113 stores in the past year and a half, [HMV Canada's Nick] Williams said HMV Canada is now preparing to re-enter some of the markets it left, particularly in malls.

He credits the retailer's perseverance in the Canadian market to a decision to abandon several low-margin entertainment products, like video games and technology hardware like tablets and iPod docking stations, in favour of higher margin branded products like superhero T-shirts and coffee mugs branded with rock bands like Kiss.

The shift in selection helped HMV Canada deliver strong holiday shopping sales, with $65.4 million of sales over the period, coming in better than its $63.5 million holiday revenue target.
Hmm. Green Lantern t-shirts and novelty mugs. Doesn't HMV in the UK already sell a lot of that sort of tat already?

Merlin threatens to do to MySpace what Merlin did to Morgana

Merlin, the group which negotiates rights deals on behalf of thousands of small and medium-sized labels, is accusing MySpace of using songs to which it has no right.

Merlin's deal with MySpace expired about a year ago, and yet, oddly, over 100 of its labels have still got their music being used by the site. The New York Times reports that MySpace is blaming its members:

Neda Azarfar, a spokeswoman for Myspace, said the company had decided not to renew its contract with Merlin, and that if songs from its member labels were still on the site, “they were likely uploaded by users” and would be removed if requested by the label.
Really? MySpace "users" did it? Why not blame something more likely to actually exist, like "a unicorn did it"?

But if we accept that Azarfar is guessing correctly - and wouldn't you have checked, rather than guessing, if it had been you? - isn't this a pretty terrible line for MySpace to be putting out to the music industry partners it desperately needs to court?

MySpace: a place where people are sticking any old copyright-breeching material online, and we don't really keep an eye on what they're doing.

Now, remind me what the RIAA usually says about such business plans.

Slight fiasco: Lupe booked for inauguration bash

Obviously, choosing an act to play a party in celebration of Obama's inauguration is a tricky business. You might wonder, though, why Washington's Hamilton Live would have plumped for Lupe Fiasco.

I mean, booking Lupe Fiasco at all seems to be an odd thing to want to do at all, but in an event celebrating a man Fiasco calls a child killer it's a bemusing booking.

Lupe started his set with a half-hour war song, and ended the set that way, too, as he was "helped" from the stage by security.

At the moment, backstage at the White House, Joe Biden is assuring Barack there won't be a repeat at the inauguration proper as "this Teddy Nugent guy I've booked is a real patriot, apparently".

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tweenies air unexpected Savile tribute

Yesterday, as old episodes of the Tweenies were shovelled onto CBeebies, a 2001 episode in which Max did a Jimmy Savile impersonation went out.

A few people on Twitter raised amused eyebrows.

This, according to the Telegraph, means the BBC was "under fire":

Rachael Mills, from Bournemouth, tweeted: "Can't believe in tweenies on cbeebies today a character was impersonating saville in parody of totp!!! What is the bbc thinking?"
They even found a "concerned father" called Mark Roberts - there's no other context to explain who he is, or why his concern should concern us more than anyone else's - to express his concern at greater length:
Concerned father Mark Roberts said: "The complete lack of quality control the BBC have over their programming was absolutely sickening.

"The song he introduced just makes everything worse. Somebody at the BBC should get fired for this.

"The song title was just the icing on the cake of inappropriateness."
Concerned father Mark Roberts is right - the song Max-as-Jim introduced was called 'Ha! I Am Hiding My Sexual Offences In Plain Sight!'.

Hang on, no, it was One Finger, One Thumb, which I think only has sexual connotations if you want it to.

Now, clearly, it's a bit unfortunate that this went out. But anyone who thinks for a second or two will probably concede that it would have been very unlikely that anyone would think they'd need to double-check every ten year-old programme for preschool kids to make sure there's no impression of people who turned out to be sex offender - although that episode of Rosie And Jim where Jim pretends to be Cyril Smith might need a quick lookover from someone at ITV. And the paperwork for the episode would be unlikely to list every single joke - or, in this case, "joke" - featured.

Unfortunate, but... where exactly is the harm? Presumably anyone watching Cbeebies would be unlikely to see Max wearing the wig and think "that's the now-known paedophile Jimmy Savile, so presumably this programme is trying to make me think that people like that are okay to hang out with".

Come to that, even in 2001, it's unlikely that any of the target audience would have had a clue who Max was supposed to be. Savile's run on Top Of The Pops had ended in 1984 and Jim'll Fix It had stopped ten years later. Presumably the Savile impersonation was included solely as a little joke for any parents watching with their kids - although even some of the parents would have been too young to recall Savile as a Pops presenter.

In 2001, it was a reference which would have gone over the heads of the kids, and only been picked up by older people watching. It's no different in 2013, except what once would have been a small joke is now an ugly coincidence.

Yes, it probably shouldn't have gone out, but if you think the main child protection issue that has fallen out of the Savile story is making sure children never see any reference to the man, you might well be directing your concern in the wrong direction.

This week just gone

To mark Obama's second inauguration, here are the most-read stories about Obama:

1. Morrissey puts Obama on his chest
2. Remaining Grateful Dead choose Barack over Hillary
3. Arcade Fire endorse Obama
4. Obama thanks the music industry; sticks RIAA hack in for Attorney General job
5. Conor Oberst swaps support from Kerry to Obama
6. Hillary Clinton rumoured to be about to unleash Madonna at the Primaries
7. Obama tells Jay-Z et al to keep away from the victory party
8. Bob Dylan's thoughs on Barack
9. Copyright under Obama pretty much the same as it was under Bush
10. Why Biden is a bit of a nightmare as vice president

These were the interesting stories:

Serafina Star - The Moths Are Real

Download The Moths Are Real

Snuff - 5-4-3-2-1 Perhaps?

Download 5-4-3-2-1

Everything Everything - Arc

Download Arc

Dutch Uncles - Out Of Touch In The Wild

Download Out Of Touch...

Yo La Tengo - Fade

Download Fade

Villagers - Awayland

Download Awayland