Saturday, September 13, 2014

Nicki Minaj's old school tie forever loosened

You know how schools love a former pupil who's made it. Any chance they have to wheel them in - no matter how slim their claim to fame - and once again that 1996 Olympic fourth-placed canoeist will be on the stage handing out prizes.

Which makes it all the more surprising that when Nicki Minaj offered to do an event at her old High School, the school school said no thanks.

Oh, and this isn't because the school might be thinking that a career in pop music is a bit beneath what they want for their pupils. Minaj went to Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School. The school that they based Fame on.

U2: Why that 'free' album is dangerous as well as turgid

There's a good piece on The Register about why pushing an unwanted U2 album into people's faces is more than just impertinence:

Some have said that the offer would have been more palatable if a band with more "street cred" had been promoted.

But that's not really the point. Days before the U2 push, crooks were spamming fake Apple emails accusing marks of buying the film Lane Splitter on a computer or device that hadn’t previously been linked to their Apple ID. In reality it's not an Apple purchase notification, it's an attempt to trick users into handing over their Apple ID usernames and passwords to a phishing site, as Symantec details. The scam messages are distributed by the Kelihos botnet.

With Apple randomly messing with the contents of people's iTunes cloud libraries, this sort of email alert looks plausible: I just got a free album, maybe I just got a free film, victims may wonder. Celebrities had their private nude images spilled from their Apple iCloud accounts – have I been hacked too, others will ask when faced with an email notifying them of an unexpected purchase.
Apple want to trust us with using their products as an electronic wallet. Proving they can't be trusted with your keys doesn't seem a great idea right now.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Neil McCormick (who knows Bono) says why the Apple U2 'gift' was OK

Neil McCormick, who knows Bono, just popped up on Today to explain why people who are annoyed that Apple has foisted an undeletable U2 album into their personal music collections are wrong.

Neil, who knows Bono, muttered something about how the people complaining were the same ones who let Google serve ads next to their emails. Then he came out with this:

[They're] whinging because the biggest band in the world has put a free album in their box
Firstly, Neil, who knows Bono, One Direction are completely innocent in all this so I don't know why you're suggesting they've done anything at all.

Oh, maybe you meant that U2 are the biggest band in the world, like you're sending a dispatch from the early 1990s.

This suggestion that, somehow, it's okay because U2 are (or rather, once were) popular is fascinating - 'why are you complaining? They've had number one albums'.

Neil then went on to say that it didn't matter any way because it was all somehow in the cloud which also makes it alright, but then I had to go and watch some magpies throwing a mouse corpse around in the street. This isn't a metaphor; it was something that actually happened.

Screamobit: Robert Young

So, no, then: as it became clear yesterday, Throb's death wasn't just a Twitter rumour.

The Primal's official statement, signed by Andrew Innes and Bobby Gillespie:

"We have lost our comrade and brother Robert Young.

"He was an irreplaceable talent, much admired amongst his peers.

"He was a true rock and roller. He had Heart & Soul tattooed on his arm and I'm sure on his heart too.

"He once said to me, 'When we go on stage it's a war between us and the audience'. He never let go of that attitude."

"Our love and thoughts are with his sons, Brandon and Miles, and their mother Jane, his wife Rachel, and his immediate family."
The Independent has marked Young's passing by publishing a large, glorious photo. Of, erm, someone else. And then slaps on a caption that references someone else again.

In other poorly considered tributes, Liam Gallagher tweeted "Live Forever" which, while understanding the sentiment, seems a poor choice of words. Andy Bell, the one who was in Ride and some other bands, managed a better way of saying the same thing:
"That big power chord in Loaded is ringing out on the other side now."
Robert Young was 49; his body was found Sunday in Hove. Sussex Police have said the death was not suspicious, but natural justice says it was way too soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


According to a scattering of tweets, Robert Young - original member of Primal Scream; 'Throb' to the band and its fans - has died, although there isn't anything approaching official confirmation. Let's hope its a bad Twitter rumour.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Venuewatch: The Cockpit

Sad news from Leeds: The Cockpit, which closed for "maintenance" at the start of the summer, is not going to reopen:

“It is with great regret that we have to announce the permanent closure of the Cockpit.

“After 20 great years as an integral pillar of the Leeds music scene we have decided that it is no longer viable to deliver you the level of service you deserve with the building in it’s current condition.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank every one of you who came to watch your favourite bands, danced, stage dived, crowd surfed, found your life partner and gave the Cockpit its reputation as one of the best live music venues in the UK.”

It added: “All forthcoming live events will be moved to alternative venues and all original tickets will remain valid.”
According to the BBC report, attempts to make good two decades' worth of skipped maintenance proved overwhelming, closure being the only option.

It's a shame, though. A lot of history in twenty years in those poorly-distempered walls.

Here's Rolo Tomassi playing there:

[Thanks to @CJHutcheon for the tip]

Quick message to Apple

Hi Apple.

Why is there a shitting U2 album in my iTunes this morning?

Why would you do that?

What do you think the advantage to me is of having, hidden amongst music that I actually like and want to have in my collection, a U2 album that I did not ask for, do not want, or would never seek out?

By all means, offer the record in your store. Advertise its availability far and wide. Float U2 on the magma atop a volcano, film the event in HD and book every advertising slot on every TV channel to show the results.

But do not, ever, insert unsolicited bullcrap into my iTunes library. Ever. You're making a Surface seem like a good idea.

I don't even seem to be able to delete the stinking things, either...

No, I don't want to "hide" them. I don't want them in my Cloud purchases. I want no connection with these tossers. I want them gone. I want them deleted.

Please don't ever do this again.

[This reminds me of the time that the BBC shoved unfunny sitcom Dossa and Joe onto Sky+ boxes without asking first.]

Tom Clarke: I am not a Hobbit

Time Out appears to have called Tom Clarke out The Enemy a Hobbit.

Tom - known for his outspoken barbs himself - giggled a little and said 'you know what? I wish I had one-tenth of Martin Freeman's charisma'.

Oh, sorry, I'll just read that again. He didn't do that.

Instead he did this:

Tom, Tom, Tom. They don't use little pens any more. Actually, little pens was people in bookies or Argos; most journalists used normal sized pens. They use keyboards. Although maybe you misspelled penis.

We perhaps shouldn't be surprised that Tom is threatening to shoot people in the face for a mild comment - he also uses his Twitter feed to bang on at some length about his broadband problems.

And there's this:

I have no idea what Tom is referring to. But I'm pretty certain he hasn't, actually, been raped.

Time Out did make a mistake in calling Tom Clarke a Hobbit. It's easy to get confused, but the cave-dwelling fictional creature they were really going for was a Teletubby.

Kate Bush: Filming the filmic live performances

This morning Digital Spy asks a question:

Kate Bush to release live DVD of 'Before The Dawn' London shows?
It's just pondering. Maybe she is, maybe she isn't. Who could tell? How could anyone know?

Unless, erm, they read the story right underneath the headline:
The singer - who is currently performing her first live dates in over 35 years - has sent out a message to fans with tickets for the September 16/17 gigs to say that seats are being rejigged "to film the show for a DVD release".
I'm no expert, but that suggests that maybe there's going to be a DVD. Although who can say for certain with such a typically gnomic utterance?

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Venuewatch: Vice drives out Death By Audio?

Williamsburg venue Death By Audio is closing. They announced it like this:

After seven years of operation Death By Audio will close on November 22, 2014. Running this space has been an incredible undertaking and a joy since day one. We have been fortunate enough to host bands from all over the US and the world nearly every night of the week. Amazingly, we've hosted in excess of 1000 acts a year for the past seven years. The effect pedal company will remain open and relocate to a temporary space until we find a more permanent home.

When we first moved onto south 2nd street the only things on our block were a used police car lot and several empty buildings. Now there are a half dozen expensive restaurants, bars, a daycare center and a new condo building (that was an empty lot when we moved in). All ages DIY music venues are almost by definition temporary, and we feel fortunate to have lasted in this space for this long. We knew from the beginning that it couldn't last forever and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has preformed or attended any of our shows. We are still weighing options about what happens next and will let everyone know more about the future of Death By Audio as soon as we can.

Our closing party starts Wednesday Sept 10 and we will have great programing for these last 75 days. We are looking forward to putting on some really incredible shows to send off what has been one of the greatest undertakings of our lives. We hope to see you there.

Edan and Matt

P.S. If you're in Hot Snakes please get in touch.
So they're going without rancour, and the tale of 'grassroots venue eventually forced out by the very improvements to their area their presence helped generate' won't be surprising to anyone who follows any music scene in a city.

Part of the reason things got tougher for DBA was Vice's expansion in the same building. Impose reported on this back in July:
DBA manager Edan Wilber also confirmed that they did not have plans to be moving anytime soon, but added, “We’ll see how that goes when our lease is up.”

While it remains to be seen if either venue withstands the test of time (or the more pressing threat of neighbors like VICE driving up the cost of rent), this news means that local music fans will still be able to see shows in two of Williamsburg’s best venues for at least a little while longer.
Only a little while longer in the case of DBA, it turns out.

Obviously, it's not Vice's fault - a successful business needs space, and a rising tide lifts all rents and so on.

But... as Brooklyn Vegan pointed out, Vice got given $6.5million in tax breaks to remain in Williamsburg which, when space is being parcelled out, might be seen as giving an unfair advantage to the already cash-rich media organisation over a sweat-and-love driven local venue.

Embed and breakfast man: The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers did Letterman yesterday. Here, don't take my word for it - here they are...

What is Emeli Sande up to these days?

In 2013 Emeli Sande would appear singing as soon as three or more people gathered, like a Magic FM version of the riot act.

This year, she's been quieter.

So, what's she up to these days?

Erm... she appears to have become the Arthur Daley of music, flogging cars down by the Thames:

Emeli Sandé performed at a secret location on the River Thames tonight (September 8), helping to unveil the [new car].

The singer played a 45-minute set, including a song titled 'Feels Like' which she created especially for the launch of the new vehicle.
But I know what you're wondering now - was there some sort of half-arsed social media campaign to launch the new car?
Using #FEELXE, the public shared words, pictures, sounds and films through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Actually, it looks like mostly "the public" here means 'car dealerships, motoring journalists and PR people', but even DigitalSpy is struggling to find anything to say about it. That line is just 'there was a hashtag', isn't it?

The car is expensive. Part of what you're paying for is the cost of the sing-song by the Thames. But there was a hashtag.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Kpopobit: Kwon Ri-sae

The crash that led to the death of Go Eun-bi has claimed the life of a second member of Ladies' Code. Kwon Ri-sae died on Sunday.

Known professionally as Rise, she had had a career before joining Ladies' Code, both as a participant in the 2009 Miss Korea contest and then on a number of reality shows. Ladies' Code was a change of direction, or at least a difference in emphasis, as she moved into music.

Kwon Ri-sae was 23; she died September 7th following emergency brain surgery.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Paloma Faith kind-of misses the naked photo point

The myriad of difficult privacy and security issues that fall out from the hacking of the iCloud? Paloma Faith isn't that bothered:

She told The Sun on Sunday: ''I don't feel like I've ever done anything that I'm particularly ashamed of.

''I would rather they didn't see naked pictures of me, but if they did, I can honestly say I've never taken an untasteful one.''
That's a bit like being told that there are burglaries in the area, and shrugging with a "well, at least if they pinch the silver, I've had a chance to polish it first."

Also: why would you even share your thoughts on mobile phone hacking with the the News Of The World? It's like going to Russia to talk about territorial integrity.

This week just gone

Five years ago: The most-read stories from September 2009, in September 2009:

1. Downloadable Los Campesinos tracks
2. RIP: Jake Brockman
3. Lily Allen quits the battle against filesharing
4. The Kings Of Leon want you to be impressed
5. James Blunt rallies behind Lily Allen
6. Wogan announces an end to breakfasts
7. Madonna uses Lourdes to remind people how she used to be
8. RIP: Wycliffe Johnson
9. Phil Collins quits drumming
10. Courtney railing at Kurt's avatar

These were interesting this week:

Esben And The Witch - A New Nature

Blonde Redhead - Barragan

Download Barragan

Peggy Seeger - Everything Changes

Download Everything Changes

Pulled Apart By Horses - Blood

Download Blood

Jennifer Castle - Pink City

Download Pink City