Saturday, June 14, 2014

Casey Kasem: TMZ show their class

Traditionally, the international standard for heartlessness was 'the relative who nips upstairs at the wake to try on the deceased's shoes'.

The world today, though, moves more quickly. The world is more douche-spattered. And thus, TMZ have redefined that international standard of heartlessness:

Casey Kasem is still clinging to life, and TMZ are trying to get a fight going over the corpse he has yet to vacate.

Well done, TMZ. You've made Uncle Digby leaving a funeral with better shoes than he arrived in look like a humanitarian.

James Arthur embraces exciting, open, bold new future

James Arthur has been dumped by Syco, who suddenly realised that there was no role for a record label in running a career which seems to consist mostly of making a dick of oneself on Twitter.

It does mean the end of the modern tradition which would see, once a month, Arthur take to Twitter to deny rumours that Syco were dropping him.

But the good news is that this will free Arthur up to spend more time building his social media presence (or "regularly turning the pile", as gardeners would describe it.)

He's started already, look:

"Just to clear things up - I am no longer with Syco. I would like to thank all at the label for making a great record with me," Arthur tweeted today (June 11).

"I now have to move on and do something different - the future is bright! #LOVE."
It's unclear what the "great record" Arthur refers to is - speculation is that some of the Syco interns and Arthur collaborated on making the world's largest rubber band ball.

Dana International incident

Dana International, who won Eurovision a while ago (don't look up when, you'll only feel old) has created something of a storm in Israel with her new video.

It's for her song in support of this year's Gay Pride, and judging by the summary, I suspect International was hoping to make some sort of stir with the work:

The video, which was produced by Tel Aviv Municipality, features real Hassidic kids in a bar mitzvah service of International’s supposed son, Raam International. The service goes bad as too many celebratory candies thrown at Raam wound him and draw blood.
However, it's not the content, but the participants, which has caused the kick-off:
According to Ynet, the parents of the kids who participated in the video were invited this week to their children’s religious school for a reprimand about having their kids participate in a Dana International video clip. The parents claimed that they were invited by Tel Aviv Municipality to participate in the video, and it was presented to them as a clip that represents Jewish values, and especially Bar Mitzvah. The parents claimed that they had no idea that it’s a clip for Gay Pride.
The International camp's response is to shrug and say 'well, yes, tolerance and respect is what the Torah's all about, surely?' which manages to be right without actually dirtying hands on the question of if everyone involved knew exactly what they'd signed up to. Because - even if the parents are homophobes, or transphobes, or hate Eurovision - respect also involves being upfront with people. Surely?

What the queen likes

We live in a strange age, where people have many different careers, but I think I'm right in saying that Cerys Matthews must be the first person to do the specific double of an FHM cover spread and an MBE.

(Although, presumably, that's trumped by Angelina Jolie's French FHM cover and an honorary damehood.)

Other musicians who will have to worry about hiring a posh includes Talvinder Singh Matharoo, who's got an OBE.

Darcus Beese, the president of Island Records, also gets an OBE for services to music, although giving an award to a major label exec for services to music is akin to giving Ronald McDonald a prize for services to cows.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kasabian defenders even more lumpen than Kasabian themselves

Billy Bragg - in common with (checking list) Most People Ever - doesn't have much time for Kasabian. He took time out of his busy schedule to chuckle aloud:

He explained: "They have an import role to play. They are there to remind us how true Spinal Tap was. I'm not a fan, but if you read their interviews as if it was dialogue from Spinal Tap, it's very entertaining. Especially the stuff Sergio Pizzorno says, he's Nigel Tufnel. Particularly with the album title, '48:13.'

"I'm guessing that's how long the record is. Someone sent them a CD that just said 'Kasabian', and they didn't know what else to put on it, 'cos they hadn't bothered to think up any fucking titles, so they just put the time on and Serge said, 'that is fucking genius.'"
Oh, if only Bill knew that they started with the length and worked their way backwards from there.

Still, not everyone was going to take that lying down. The Drummer From The Raptors took to Facebook to defend Kasabian against this assault:
Writing on Facebook, Luke asked: "Why are you such a cunt?"
I'll say this for Kasabian fans, they have a love of language and a deftness of touch you don't often see since the Algonquin Round Table stopped meeting.

Twitterblob: Liam Gallagher


Not that Liam Gallagher has these opinions, but it's interesting that he signs his own tweets (presumably a compromise given he can't use sealing wax and a signet ring).

It's also interesting that he's still doing "said no-one ever". I look forward to Liam's I can haz cheezeburger tweets in about six months' time.

UPDATE: Parody account. Bollocks. Pwnd.

Kerrang! Awards 2014: The young people finally give the Quo respect

Kerrang! did its awards yesterday - so we finally can acknowledge that Gerard Way is the best at Twitter (within the tolerances of Kerrang! readers). The full list of winners suggests why the paper might be struggling to hold on to readers:

Fall Out Boy – Save Rock And Roll Tour

Neck Deep

5 Seconds Of Summer

The Dillinger Escape Plan

The Ramones

You Me At Six – Fresh Start Fever

Deaf Havana – Boston Square

Bring Me The Horizon


Status Quo

Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together

Fall Out Boy

You Me At Six

Deep Purple

Gerard Way

Game Of Thrones

The Last Of Us

The Lego Movie

Jarrod Alonge

Gerard Way

Taylor Momsen – The Pretty Reckless

Andy Biersack – Black Veil Brides

Slam Dunk
When You Me At Six is leading the field for the best band in your realm, you're pretty much putting a message on the front page 'awaiting delivery of new inspiration - please call back in 2015 for an update'.

Still, interesting to see Status Quo and The Ramones getting the 'let's give an award to someone who might generate wider interest in our awards' awards - neither band (nor Deep Purple, come to that) feel especially like they're the forebears of what a Kerrang band sounds like these days; they might as well have chosen to give the prizes to Spirogyra and Violinksi.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Will Amazon trickle out a stream?

The New York Times reckons that Amazon might quietly launch a music streaming service today.

That they'd pick World Cup Of Soccer day to do this suggests it's the softest of soft launches. Which may be down to the likelihood that one of the majors - UMG - doesn't appear to have been signed up yet.

Give people what they want in lethal doses: Jade Tree comes to Bandcamp

Jade Tree records - Milemarker, Girls Against Boys, Denali and many others - has been not-quite-shuttered for the last few years. It was in a status of more or less silent running.

Now, though, the label is shaking itself back to full activity, starting with putting their full back catalogue onto Bandcamp for sale or streaming.

There's a promise of a ramped-up release schedule for the coming months, and the label's Darren Walters says he's in love again. He's keen for it not be thought of as a comeback, but it's clearly a new, happy chapter.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Embed and breakfast man: Kristeen Young

But why, Kristeen, why would you have poisoned Morrissey with a headcold? Why would you do such a thing? Why?

Oh... the devil made you do it.

Aaaaand that's the formal cancellation

Inevitably, then, the Morrissey US tour has been cancelled.

It's now thirty-four years since Morrissey completed anything (on that occasion he finished the general knowledge crossword in a copy of the New Family Titbits).

But of course, it isn't his fault, says an official announcement:

Morrissey announces the close down of the present U.S. tour with "unimaginable sorrow".

On Saturday, June 7th, following the show at Boston Opera House, Morrissey collapsed and was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital where doctors treated Morrissey for "acute fever". Difficulties had arisen on May 31st following Kristeen Young's opening set at the Miami Knight Concert Hall, after which Kristeen confessed to "a horrendous cold", the symptoms of which were passed on to Morrissey resulting in the cancellation of the next show in Atlanta.
For the good of all, Kristeen was asked to step down from the immediate upcoming shows, but instead she decided to leave the tour entirely. Morrissey and the band wish her well and hope she is now in good health.

Morrissey received medical attention in Miami, and once again in Boston, but it was not enough to shake off the virus, the recovery time for which is too lengthy to meet the final 9 shows of the tour.
These devious people with their apparently weaponised colds.
Morrissey and the band are otherwise delighted and very grateful for their experiences on the U.S. tour, some shows of which they considered to be their best-ever.
It's the best-ever on the basis that, this time round, they actually got as far as doing a few soundchecks and actually turned up to run through some songs. On several occasions.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

If you thought the current Morrissey tour was going too smoothly...

It was never going to happen that Mozzer made it through a tour unscathed, was it? He's just rescheduled two dates on medical advice; last week he cancelled Atlanta altogether because of a "virus".

Morrissey tickets: all the fun of a lottery ticket.

How Kasabian work

There's an interesting detail in the tour Kasabian give to the BBC of their dreadful new album:

In that spirit, the album is called 48:13, which is precisely how long it lasts.

"I wasn't trying to be clever," Pizzorno says. "The album is the sum of all its parts - and that's 48 minutes and 13 seconds."

Bizarrely, he decided on the title before the album was recorded, having become "attached" to the numbers. "It's so silly," he says, "but for me something about that felt right."
This explains a lot about what Kasabian songs are the way they are. They're delivered to fill a pre-dug hole, like when you get readymix cement delivered to plug a gap in a back yard.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Comedyobit: Rik Mayall

We've not only lost a great comedian and actor with the death of Rik Mayall; he's a loss to music, as well.

Lest we forget, he was part of Bad News:

He was the focus of the otherwise-forgotten Butcher Bitches by Circus Circus Circus:

He also supported the band The Company She Keeps in the video for What A Girl Wants:

And was in the clip for Lionheart's Die For Love:

The video for Art Of Noise's remake of Peter Gunn? Send for Mr Mayll.

(Turns out having Rik in your video wasn't a lock-in for sales.)

Also, Rik would turn up on The Tube in the early days, when the series was still heavier on pardoy than self-parody:

Let's not forget he also had a number one in his own right, even if it was in character:

That also went to number one in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

We've lost a great man.

Prokofiev, Sir Mix-A-Lot collaborate

Not Sergei Prokofiev, of course - he's dead - but his grandson, Gabriel, who is also a composer. And THE Sir Mix-A-Lot. They came together at the request of the Seattle Symphony, in order to do an orchestral version of Baby Got Back:

Not, perhaps, the greatest sentiment to tempt young (let's be honest, middle-aged) people to the orchestra ("hey! Everyone can enjoy classical music, although if you're a woman you might find the transportation of some of the shitty stuff hip hop does into the orchestra a bit of a turn-off.) But an interesting collaboration.

World Cup: J-Lo doesn't make it to the finals

If the BBC has chosen a poor theme for the World Cup, the official song from FIFA isn't going down any more smoothly:

FIFA said in a news release on Sunday that Cuban-American rapper Pitbull and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte will sing the official tune "We Are One" before Brazil takes on Croatia on Thursday in Sao Paulo.

The song has let down many Brazilians who complain that it sounds too generic for Bossa Nova-crazed audiences in Brazil and that it features foreign musicians singing mostly in English and Spanish. Leitte sings only a few seconds at the end of the song in her native Portuguese.
It's unclear how the song was chosen, but given this is FIFA we can't rule out brown envelopes; strange handshakes; or mysterious deals relating to global gas supplies.

On the record, J-Lo adds... something, as this picture of her enthusiastically posing with Pitbull and in no way looking like she'd much rather be elsewhere, shows:
(editor's note: the caption on that photo says it's Pitbull; I'm not entirely sure it isn't the late Mike Reid.)

Having agreed to do the awkward photocall, though, Lopez seems to have had enough, and won't join her colleagues for a quick run-through prior to kick-off:
Soccer's governing body says Lopez cannot perform at Thursday's event because of unspecified "production issues."
Not only can she not be arsed to turn up, she can't even be arsed to come up with a proper excuse for not turning up.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Madonna: I knew her when she was Flaca

Here's a nice story, about a guy, Lamont Clarke who used to know Madonna when she was just starting out. When she was still Jenny From The Bl... no, hang on; that wasn't her. When she was our Madonna. The one who made the first records. The one who didn't make all those movies.

He's - apparently reluctantly - told his story to the New York Post because his fellow convicts (oh, yes, his story wasn't quite so rags-to-riches) spotted him in a picture:

“I’m a humble guy and never told no one that I knew Madonna,” Clarke, 44, told The Post in an exclusive jailhouse interview at the Eastern Correctional Facility upstate in Napanoch, NY.

“But fellas kept coming to me with the paper and asking if one of those kids was me. I couldn’t lie and told them the truth.”
The details of the time when a pre-Sire Madonna - they called her Flaca or Sis - was looked out for by his group are really sweet.
“We were tough dudes, and you didn’t want no one to see your weak side, but Sis listened to me,” says Clarke. “I got into a lot of arguments with Danny, and she’d say, ‘C’mon fellas,’ and calm it down.

“We were poor. We didn’t have the latest fashion or the latest jewelry, but she liked our style. We didn’t have much, but we had a whole lot because we had each other.”
And once Madonna hit it huge, do you think she was going to forget the gang she used to hang with?

Yes. Yes, she did. Dropped them like an oiled herring:
“One day, Junito was sitting on the stoop and the dude looked down,” he recalls. “ ‘Sis broke out,’ he said. ‘Sis left.’

“I tried to cushion the shock, saying that maybe she’d be back. Maybe one day she’d come in a limousine, and the door would open, and she’d say, ‘Get in,’ and give us tickets to her show.

“As a kid, you hope for that kind of thing. But none of it ever happened. We just went on with life.”
Not even a handful of tickets to a gig. When her New York pals knew Madonna was going to be successful no matter what, they didn't realise that "what" that was no matter included them.

Pete Doherty: Don't hold the front page

You think, Pete?

Justin Bieber: Some free PR advice

Hi, Justin.

You're in it up to your neck, right? Turns out that you've done some pretty nasty, pretty racist things, and videos of them have got out into the wider world.

I'm sure you'll spot the irony - the ease of creating and sharing digital video made you into a massive celebrity; now, that same ease of creation and sharing shows that you're a massive asshat.

And I know that there's a scrum of people running around, trying to work out how you can make this 'Justin Bieber is a massive racist' stain go away.

Here's a hint. If your PR team cook up a stunt that results in a headline like this:

... you're probably screwed.

(Sidenote: You - or the growns up around you - do know that 'reading the Bible' isn't always the opposite of 'being a massive racist', right?)

This week just gone

The most-read things during May:

1. Liveblog: Eurovision 2014
2. Midge Ure stitched up by the Mail
3. Radio Academy Awards
4. Terry Christian keen some disabled people don't become a burden on the state
5. Allan Jones leaves Uncut
6. Radio One: using stats to drive the playlist
7. Peter Andre has a trestle table
8. You won't believe how many cassettes the kids are buying
9. The US Now Playlist
10. Brotherhood Of Man have a prior engagement

These were the releases the week before I went off to swan about on holiday:

Swans - To Be Kind

Download To Be Kind

9Bach - Tincian

Download Tincian

Foxes - Glorious

Download Glorious

Tori Amos - Unrepentant Geraldines

Download Unrepentant Geraldines