Saturday, December 14, 2013

Just to be clear

If they're asking questions about you on Jeopardy, you're not really an alternative any more.

[via Brooklyn Vegan]

The Courteneers are taking a year out

The Courteeners are planning a quiet year next year, apparently. They're going on hiatus:

Speaking to Tim Cocker on the XFM Manchester Breakfast Show earlier today (December 13), the band's frontman Liam Fray said that the gig the band are set to play at Manchester Arena tonight will be "the last one we do for a while".

He commented: "I'm not going to say for a long time cos I don't know. We played a lot of gigs this year and we've played those songs a lot, I think we need to go away and decide which ones work best, what we like and reassess really for the next 'phase'". Fray added that 2014 will "definitely be quieter", saying: "The arena will be your last chance to dance for a while... At least a year."
Actually, that could just be a threat that he's going to break everyone's ankles based on that last sentence.

It's hard to know how we can face a New Year without The Courteeners in it, but we must try to be brave, everybody. Be brave.

Vaccines album release schedule 'impossible to put into iCal'

The Vaccines are working on a new album. Possibly. It seems to have 'cheque's in the post' status:

Young explained to XFM that the band have already started writing the follow-up to 2012's 'Come Of Age', but that fans might have to wait a while to hear it. He commented:

"We've always written in quite a solitary manner so we've actually already started writing the next record. I kind of feel by admitting that people are going to expect it sooner than perhaps we're ready to put it out."

He added: "We're not set on releasing it any time soon. When we feel like we've made the best record we're capable of making, which is hopefully sooner rather than later, then we'll put it out and we're halfway to doing that really."
That's clear, then, they're halfway to making the best record, and it's going to be sooner rather than later, but don't expect it sooner, so it'll be coming later.

In other words: expect the release three weeks after the label loses patience.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Beyonce springs a Christmas surprise

'Releasing records without prior announcement' is the new 'putting a record onto the torrents, pretending it's leaked, making a fuss, and then "bringing forward" the "original release date" in line with the marketing plan'.

Beyonce has just blitzreleased a new album, just in time for Christmas - although, you'll note, way too late for Hanukkah.

Sorry, did I say album? I forgot that this release come pre-wrapped with some old bollocks:

Beyonce Unexpectedly Releases New Self-Titled 'Visual Album' on iTunes
Yes, this is a 'visual album' which you might want to see as an astonishing new development in music, or else something that Thomas Dolby did in 1994 with The Gate To The Minds Eye.

It's fair to say that while the world is thrilled to have a new Beyonce album, and impressed at the idea of lobbing the thing out when it's ready, rather than running a long build-up campaign, the "visual album" aspect is going down like a high concept in a low crowd.

Here's how Beyonce describes it:
"I see music," Beyonce said in a video announcing the album on her Facebook page, dubbed "Self-Titled, Part 1." “It’s more than just what I hear. When I’m connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they’re all connected to the music.”
CMU's Andy Malt was unimpressed:

There is a possibility that Beyonce has rushed this one out because she was feeling uncomfortable at the prospect of six months of marketing meeetings where everyone else in the room tried not to snicker as she outlined her vision.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Swervedriver return. But wait, there's more.

Swervedriver came back last year; this year, though, they're releasing music for the first time in a decade and a half.

That would be enough to get us all giddy. But can you make us giddier, Line Of Best Fit?

“Deep Wound” was previewed live last year and finally experiences a standalone release this week. The track features Ride‘s Mark Gardener on backing vocals too.

Do you ever find yourself wondering what Natasha Hamilton is up to these days?

Of course you don't.

Still, since we've brought it up, she's keeping herself busy as a latter-day Jimmy Savile.

Not like that.

A school in Hornsey rolled out the red carpet when one of the Atomic Kittens dropped by.

Pop star Natasha Hamilton visited Rokesly Infant School, in Hermiston Avenue, to teach children about road safety.
Still, a gig's a gig, eh? And a solo gig is a... hang on... you say this wasn't a solo gig?
She teamed up with the character Belt from the children’s film The Croods to mark Belt Up Week.
I suppose if you're playing second fiddle, better a fictional sloth than Kerry Katona, eh?

The reason why this school was chosen is a bit odd:
The school was one of only five schools from across the country to be recognised for its contribution to road safety over the years.
If the school is one of the five best at road safety, wouldn't it make more sense for Belt and Kitten to go and visit one of the ones that are less good at it?

Kim Wilde has eyes as wide as saucers

To be fair, the headline does make Kim Wilde sound a bit more detached than the story does:

Singer Wilde sighted UFO after Michael Jackson death
WTVQ kind-of implies that Kim might have been hinting that the UFO was somehow connected to Jackson's death, throwing up a possibility that he might not really have died but gone to live on Pluto, but really she's just using the death to provide a time of sighting.

Because Kim's a bit psychic, see?
The Kids in America hitmaker is convinced she and many of her family possess mild psychic powers, and the extraterrestrial sighting from the back yard of her home in England in 2009 convinced her.
I'm not entirely sure why one would need to have a psychic power to see something from another planet - unless, of course, it was a ghost UFO.
Wilde tells The New Review magazine, "Maybe a part of me was quite psychic, because we have strong psychics in my family, especially on my father's side... I am tuned into it, a little bit. I don't see ghosts and stuff but I did see something very unusual in the sky once, which I can only say was a UFO. But there were lots of witnesses, it was in the local paper, it wasn't just me...
Does that mean that all those other witnesses were also a little bit psychic? Perhaps this spaceship was hovering over a nearby Spiritualist Church?
"It was 26 June, the day after Michael Jackson died, and me and my mate were in the garden and we saw bright lights in the sky. I have to say there's not a day gone by that I don't think about what the hell it was. It was so huge, two of them, going zig-zag for 10 minutes and I knew it was really massive. It could be some very clever thing that someone developed somewhere, but I've got a feeling it wasn't."
So it wasn't a clever thing that someone had developed somewhere. Which suggests it was a natural phenomena.

"Woman sees natural event she cannot explain and remembers the day it happened by reference to a story in the news". There's your headline, then.

Von Trapps think NBC have a problem, don't like Maria

The other night, NBC did a three-hour live production of the Sound Of Music. It was something of an oddity for NBC in lots of ways - a three hour programme; a live musical in prime time; a programme that people actually watched.

There's sourness, though, as some of the Von Trapp family are bitching over the casting of Carrie Underwood as Maria. It's fair to say nobody has looked at Maria this angrily since Elsa Schräder saw her come back from the abbey.

“I found the overall production to be completely underwhelming and mediocre at best,” blogged Francois von Trapp. “I kept wondering why NBC would settle for a community theater quality production.”

Francois, a University of New Hampshire grad, is the daughter of Trapp Family Singers’ Rupert von Trapp, who was portrayed as Friedrich in “The Sound of Music.” She took to her blog over the weekend to defend her criticism of Underwood’s performance.

“I have nothing against her personally,” she said. “She’s an extremely tal­ented country singer, but I’m pretty sure my father is repeatedly rolling over in his grave.”
'Yeah, I did that thing where you balance a glass of water on the headstone, and it was definitely wobbling, so he was turning in his grave. Or maybe it was nearby fracking.'

It turns out the Von Trapps had their own proposal for how you might solve a problem like casting Maria:
Francois’ nephew, Myles von Trapp Derbyshire, added that Underwood didn’t have the “acting experience” to pull off the role. “Although her voice is amazing,” he added.

Myles told ABC the von Trapps, who turned their homestead in Stowe, Vt., into a family-run 3A-star resort, got together and decided who they would have cast as the singing ex-nun: “Les Miserables” star Anne Hathaway.
Yeah, we'd all rather have Anne Hathaway as our grandma, Myles.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Katy Perry: Putting the 'part' into 'bipartisan'

You know, the hardest thing for the Obama White House - besides the questions about the way their drones keep raining death down on the heads of people thousands of miles away - is trying to navigate the deep rift between the parties in America.

Still, the inauguration is a good time to try and overcome those divisions, isn't it? To remember that Obama is the nation's president, not just a Democratic president. That's why its a cultural event as much as a political one, and why singers like Katy Perry are invited along. To be inclusive. After all, if Perry's family can straddle a political fault line, why can't America, right?

Hang on, what's that, Perry?

Pop star Katy Perry, who will be featured on the cover of the January 2014 issue of Marie Claire, told the magazine that she refused to allow her parents to watch her sing at President Obama’s inauguration “on principle,” and because they are Republicans.

“My parents are Republicans, and I’m not. They didn’t vote for Obama, but when I was asked to sing at the inauguration, they were like, ‘We can come.’ And I was like, ‘No, you can’t,’” she told the magazine.
Yes. Because the idea of someone who didn't vote for Obama not attending one of his inaugurations is impossible to even conceive, isn't it?

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Heart turn down Seaworld

Following Blackfish - the movie which said the things a lot of people have been saying about Seaworld for years - bands are starting to pull gigs at the whale-torture fun park.

Heart have just said no:

"Heart has chosen to decline their forthcoming performance at SeaWorld on 2/9/14 due to the controversial documentary film 'Black Fish.'" the band said Sunday on its verified Twitter account.

Sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson did not elaborate.

But the duo isn't the first to cancel a concert at the Florida theme park because of the film.
Country singer Willie Nelson and Canadian rock act Barenaked Ladies also pulled the plug on their shows.
It's a slightly oddly worded tweet - kind of suggesting that they're avoiding the place because of the controversey than because of the practices at the park - but anything that helps hasten the end of captive orcas helps, I guess.

This week just gone

The most-read stuff from across the site in the last month:

1. With two tweets, Charlotte Church makes Louise Mensch crumble
2. KT Tunstall blames sexuality rumours on her braces
3. Ian Watkins changes his plea
4. Tatu can't figure out why people think they're gay
5. James Arthur returns to Twitter to make things worse
6. Miley Cyrus turns ruined anniversary into PR moment
7. The last ever Mark & Lard
8. Remember that time Eminem sold his wedding to Hello?
9. Simon LeBon calls out Robin Thicke
10. Video: Tori Amos - Jackie's Strength

These things you could buy, for Christmas or whatever:

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Live From KCRW

Download Live from KCRW

British Sea Power - From The Sea To The Land Beyond

Download From The Sea To The Land Beyond

Muse - Live at Rome

Download Live at Rome