Friday, June 20, 2014

Songwriterobit: Gerry Goffin

Gerry Goffin has died.

What a songbook.

Although not always an uncontroversial songbook.

Talking about He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss to NPR in 2011, Carole King said that the Gerry Goffin had heard a friend use the phrase; a survivor of domestic violence herself (although not during her marriage to Goffin), King told NPR she wishes they'd never written the song.

That a reputation as a great songwriting team could survive writing the line "a chugga chugga motion like a railway train now".

Gerry Goffin's private life wasn't always easy - his mental health was disrupted by incidents bookended by bad trips and electroconvulsive shock therapy; his marriage to King was less resilient than their songwriting partnership. Oddly, this was all considered perfect material for a Broadway musical.

Gerry Goffin died June 19th; he was 75.

Shooting after Nas at Red Rocks

There was a grim end to last night's Nas, Schoolboy Q and Flying Lotus at Red Rocks: There was a triple shooting which - depending on which tweets you believe - saw the open air venue somewhere between lockdown, or everyone being searched as they left.

The Denver Post reports there's no indication of what happened to either shooters or shootees.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What the pop papers say: Glasto clear way for Ted Nugent in 2015

As part of the preview to the Glastonbury festival (or rather its preview of its preview), this week's NME asks a ginger question about how James Hetfield, the bear-slaughtering bastard, is headlining.

Emily [Eavis] refuses to be drawn in.

"I don't really want to get involved with it, in terms of official comments," she says. "Every year we have people campaigning. Last year we had Tyler, The Creator; we had Beyonce anti-fur; we had Jay-Z and guns; we have this. We can't get involved in other people's politics, if we did that we'd rule out most bands in the world."
Glastonbury - which once advertised itself as "the CND festival", which raises funds for campaigning groups Greenpeace and Oxfam - can't "get involved in other people's politics".

Given this willingness to turn a blind eye to people's politics, you wonder if there's anyone Glastonbury would rule out. James Hetfield's NRA buddy Ted Nugent? Will Macht Und Ehre at last get their big chance on The John Peel Stage?

Obviously, Glastonbury has long since ceased to be about a group of people with shared values getting together, but this year feels different again. It's the first time they've ever gone "look, we don't care about what people think, and given we've already done a homophobe we're unlikely to worry about who we give a platform to in the future."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tony Orlando on the international stage

Here's a surprise: Tony Orlando, out of Dawn, has pushed his way into the story of the kidnapped Israeli teenagers.

It's a little odd, but Orlando's concern is clearly genuine. And it's not like he'd be so tactless as to try and make cheesy references to his old novelty hit, is it?

Referencing one of his biggest hits “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree”, Orlando told the press assembled outside the home that he intends to urge Americans to demonstrate their own support by tying three yellow ribbons for each of the missing teens.

Coming tomorrow: Brotherhood Of Man attempt to prevent the fall of Baghdad by encouraging Isis to save all their kisses for them.

Shirley Manson schools you; so does Dave Schools

Want to learn some German with Shirley Manson? And some bass with Dave from Widespread Panic?

Of course you do. Let's go to Pancake Mountain.

Extra points for linking Kraftwerk and wurst, I think.

The Arctic Monkeys: let's have a quick unwrap

So here's the new Arctic Monkeys video:

Clearly, there's a tongue in a cheek here, right?

Mr Discopop points out that some people might have missed that:

"More gratuitous, self-aggrandizing tripe from the ego of the century," grumps, arrloid, who is not alone in feeling Alex's ego has run rampant like a feral donkey.

"His confidence is sexy but this is a bit much," writes Anna Farid. "The only thing bigger than his ego," concludes FSAfykm, "is his nose".
Mr D shakes his head:
The clip, for Snap Out Of It, pokes fun at Alex Turner's "sexpot" image, with actress Stephanie Sigman (that's her above) in floods of tears, smooching pictures of Alex on her TV and hungrily devouring a steak.

Over on YouTube, though, everyone has missed the point spectacularly.
And he's right.

Up to a point.

Because this is a wonderful cake-eat, cake-keep moment. Yes, there's a terrific sending up of the sexyliciousness of Alex Turner, but at the same time, the very act of sending up the idea is a reminder of that status. And there are less self-satisfied ways of lampooning your sexysexysexy credentials than hiring Stephanie Sigman to prance about in her bra.

It's all a bit 'ooh, fancy that people think little old me is sexy', innit?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

BBC launches new music awards show (sort of)

There's always room for more music awards shows, right? Because there's an unlimited pool of talent just waiting to do the 'and the winner is...' shuffle. There are simply too many days that don't have lifetime achievement awards being handed to Cliff Richard, are there not.

So, thank god for the BBC, bravely plugging that gap with a new music awards show, celebrating music.

It's a totally new concept, pulling together Chris Evans from BBC One's teatime magazine show The One Show and presenters from BBC Radio to create a unique experience.

Here's some footage from the pilot:

YouTube, Indies at war

Regardless of the other rights and wrongs, threatening to block certain labels' videos on YouTube unless the label does a deal over a separate product is a bit of an asshatty move by Google.

The BBC understands that even if blocks do go ahead, content from artists signed to independent labels will remain available on YouTube via channels such as Vevo.

Videos which are exclusively licensed by independent record labels, such as acoustic sets or live performances, may be taken down.
Thanks for that, Google. Good to see the not being evil going so well.

Great puzzling openings from music journalism of our time

You know it's going to be bad when a website tells you there are Six Things You Need To Know about a Bruno Mars gig. Six things? You only need three - where, when it starts and when it finishes. That's all you need to avoid the thing like an ebola-ravaged groundhog.

But when the MLive article starts, it gets even odder:

Bruno Mars is the most ubiquitous pop star to play Van Andel Arena in a long time.
What does that mean?

I suspect the idea they were going for was he's the most famous, or simply the biggest, pop star to play the venue for a long time, but it's a really odd way of phrasing it.

"Where are we going, lads?"
"To be ubiquitous."
"How ubiquitous?"
"More ubiquitous than most other acts."

Katy Perry's playing the arena in a few weeks. She's even more ubiquitous.

Scott from 5ive does a nice thing

It's easy to snurkle at the activities of pop stars, so for a change here's someone doing something nice.

Scott Robinson out of 5ive went on All Star Mr & Mrs and won some money. They gave it to the hospice which looked after his wife's grandma.

(They're not allowed to say how much money because the programme hasn't gone out yet, and you know how modern people hate spoilers.)

Now, back to the snurkling.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Much Music Awards 2014: Justin Bieber still popular

Justin Bieber - despite having turned out to be awkwardly racist - remains popular in Canada, where the Much Music awards gave him some sort of people's choice prize to him.

Apart from the mild surprise that Much Music is still on the air, there's not much about the winners that will cause people to drop their sandwiches:

VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Hedley, "Anything"



POP VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Hedley, "Anything"

DANCE VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Autoerotique, "Asphyxiation"

HIP HOP VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Drake, "Worst Behavior"

ROCK/ALTERNATIVE VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Sam Roberts, "Shapeshifters"

INTERNATIONAL VIDEO OF THE YEAR BY A CANADIAN: Drake, "Hold On, We're Going Home" (f. Majid Jordan)

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR: Thugli, "Run This" (Amos LeBlanc; Ohji Inoue)

POST-PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR: City and Colour, "Thirst"

MUCHFACT VIDEO OF THE YEAR: SonReal, "Everywhere We Go"

YOUR FAVE VIDEO: Hedley, "Anything"


The main point of the event is to promote Canadian music (although presumably not Bieber), so how did that go?

Digital Spy covered the event, and they did find space amongst the big pictures of Lorde to reflect the local talent:
The Canadian winners included Sam Roberts Band, SonReal and Hedley.
And, er, that's i

Bonnaboo: Kim Kardashian's husband goes down badly

Kanye West's attempts to pull off being a serious artist while working part-time in a circus have failed, cold hard reality reported this weekend.

West went to the Boonaroo Festival, and found says the Examiner, a crowd in no mood for his braggadocio:

Variations of “F--k Kanye” began appearing throughout the audience on graffiti including walls, barriers and port-a-potties.
You'd think that when even the chemical toilets are singling you out, you'd take the hint.

But oh no; not Kanye.
About halfway through his set, when the song “Heartless” was being introduced, Kayne started shouting “Where the press at? F–k the press!”

Many members of the news media were in attendance for the show. But West continued with his rant. He bragged to the crowd about his strong work ethic and his commitment to music.
Kanye continued, “humbled in a way that gave him strength” because at 37, “what you see [of him] now is only the beginning.” and later added, “I am the No. 1 muthaf–kin’ rock star on the planet!”
Paul McCartney might beg to differ. Mick Jagger might beg to differ. Indeed, given Kanye's move to being a hip-hop Honey Boo Boo, even James Arthur might have a case for challenging that claim.

In the absence of other rock stars, though, it was the audience who raised the objections:
The crowd did not take that sitting down. The audience forcefully booed him and many got up and left. But the festival attendees did not leave the area, they migrated over to the UK dance band “Disclosure’s” tent before the duo’s set even began.

The raucous crowd shouted well-organized chants of “F–k Kanye!”
Bonnaroo is noted for its mellow crowd. The festival’s official slogan is “Radiate Positivity.”
That's not entirely true - after all, the last time Kanye appeared back in 2008 he got booed off the Boonaroo stage. That time, though, it was turning up six hours late and the displeasure could have been a commentary on poor time keeping. In 2014, I think we can safely assume this was a content issue.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Smarter than the average meter

Smart meters are pretty controversial. Or, at least, they should be. Sure, there's a bunch of easily-dismissed EMF radiation panic about them. And, yes, they can help you keep track of the energy you're using (in case somehow you might have so many rooms in your house you don't know when you've got a radio switched on in one.)

But more concerning is the privacy aspects. All of a sudden, your meter will be sending data about your behaviour to the power companies. It's becoming a large civil rights question in America.

"Right, but what has this got to do with pop music?" you're probably wondering.

Well, faced with intrusive technology that ultimately could tell British Gas when you're home and EDF if you're awake in the middle of the night, what sort of shill could the industry find to sell their case?

Guardian diary, can you tell us?

A diary date, finally – 8 July sees the launch of the Smart Meter Central Delivery Body's nationwide campaign to persuade everyone to buy gas and electricity via a new "smart meter". Special guest speaker: Sir Bob Geldof. Whatever the worthy cause, call for Bob.
Ah, Bob. Increasingly, taking great strides to be on the wrong side.

Hey Ho, Let's Go... eventually

It's taken the best part of forty years, but The Ramones' debut, Ramones, has finally gone gold in America.

The differential in sales between Ramones albums and Ramones tshirts is, perhaps, a question for another day.

Claim of thrones: Alfie Allen doesn't exactly back up Lily

A short while back, Lily Allen was telling people that she could have been in Game Of Thrones but they'd tried to cast her in an incesty role with her brother.

Oddly, though, Alfie doesn't seem to know anything about this. The Mirror reported this:

The actor, who plays Theon Greyjoy on the hit HBO series, has refuted that Lily was ever an option to play Yara Greyjoy.

He said: "The only thing I'm going to say on that is that it's not true."
Interesting in many ways - not least that The Mirror doesn't know what "refute" means. Also interesting that that report appeared on the Mirror site nearly a fortnight ago, but the Daily Mail is reporting exactly the same story this morning like it's news.

Also interesting is how the Mirror takes Alfie as saying 'it's not true' and somehow manages to take from this that Lily was never an option.

Still, it must be hard for Alfie - now the rising star of the family, suddenly finding a relative trying to wet their beaks by saying 'yeah, they offered me a role but I turned it down'.

At least that's lightning that won't strike twice, though.

Oh. Hang on.:
Keith Allen could be joining his son in fantasy drama Game Of Thrones after auditioning for a role in the bloodthirsty show. - See more at:

The actor told The Times he has gone for the role of a slave who leads a rebellion "like Spartacus".

He said: "Every scene is a bloodbath. Frankly I think I'm cut out for that."

Allen also revealed he had previously auditioned for the part of his son Alfie's on-screen father but said he deliberately failed the screen test.

He told The Times the offer was "a bit cheesy, a bit obvious" so he "did a rubbish audition"
Sources close to Alfie Allen say he's mulling a "I could have pranced about bellowing in a Fat Les video" counterstrike.

For those who haven't seen Game Of Thrones, it's a series a bit like Merlin but with more nudity.

This week just gone

The most-read things so far this year:

1. Liveblog: Brits
2. Armenia try a homophobic entrant for Eurovision
3. Simon Bates dropped by Smooth
4. Terry Christian's suggestions about disability are, erm, interesting
5. Liveblog: Eurovision
6. The kids? They're all buying cassettes these days. Supposedly
7. MTV assumes women at gigs are waiting to be picked up
8. Alfie Boe humiliates audience members
9. It turns out Michael Jackson was a little odd
10. Man has to refocus energies from cancer onto dealing with Aston Merrygold's prank

These were last week's interesting releases:

First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

Download Stay Gold

The Proper Ornaments - Wooden Head

Download Wooden Head

Bob Mould - Beauty & Ruin

Chrissie Hynde - Stockholm

Download Stockholm

Various Shambling Beauties - C86 Box Set