Friday, September 26, 2014

Bookmarks: Lush

While the Manics busily rush to sneak in a 20th anniversary Holy Bible event before the 20th anniversary year passes by, there's some other albums turning 20 this year. Including Lush's Split. Marking the occasion, Ghost Life Ghost Life has spoken to the surviving members of the band. Yes, a Lush interview in 2014. I bloody love the internet. It's in depth:

MIKI ‘Split’ was a bit of a rite of passage, I suppose. The band’s three main supports – Howard Gough (manager), Ivo (head of 4AD) and Tim Carr (Warners A&R) – were each having their private crises, and we were left to navigate our way through choppy waters without their previously constant guidance. There were so many opinions and interferences, producers, mixers, UK record label, US record label, video directors, marketing strategies, etc. Expectations were high but every plan sounded as valid as the next and we didn’t know which direction to turn. I​ guess we survived, a bit battered and bruised, and ultimately became a much better band, both on record and live. It left its scars though, and we lost our innocence.
There's also praise for Loz, the drummer from Ride; a link with Nigella Lawson and some warm words for Steve.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mirror struggles with naked pictures not of Liam Payne

The picture of a bloke who might look a bit like Liam Payne if you squint a bit has confused the poor Daily Mirror.

First, they struggled with the idea that the picture wasn't of him:

If the photo is genuine, Liam will not be the first celebrity to have images leaked of him against his will.
That's not, to be fair, untrue, but you might as well observe that if Liam Payne gave up music and became a vicar, he wouldn't be the first celebrity to shun fame in favour of holy orders. True, but pretty irrelevant, having ascertained that the photo, clearly, isn't genuine.

They're still confused now:
The photos did not appear on 4chan or Reddit and are thought to be unrelated to the recent hacking scandal sweeping Hollywood and Britain.
Let's just leave a second to process that the Mirror appears to suggest that appearing on 4Chan and Reddit somehow proves the veracity of a nude photo.

And, yes, it would be thought that the existence of a grainy lookalike shot had nothing to do with people's Apple accounts being hacked, because it's a totally different thing entirely, apart from being connected to photos and computers.

On which basis, tomorrow, the Mirror will be speculating that there's no evidence that this event is in any way connected to Lolcats.

Ed Sheeran cuts prices

It goes against the very grain of every fibre of my existence to say something nice about Ed Sheeran, but... doing a tour of Australia where the ticket prices are designed to be affordable rather than gouging the fans is a Nice Thing To Do:

ED Sheeran has announced an Australian arena tour on his lonesome and on a budget.

Sheeran will charge only $99 for tickets for all concerts on his April/May tour next year, with none of the usual VIP packages or premium seating charges.
Although that is still the equivalent of fifty-three British pounds for a ticket, so it's a rather stretchy definition of "affordable" (roughly a full day's work at Australian minimum wage levels, for example).

And given that it's just him and a guitar and no band, the costs are pretty low to start with.

But - even with those points in mind, and somewhat grudgingly - the excising of 'even more expensive tickets' is a welcome move. Everyone's being a bit overcharged, but everyone's being a bit overcharged by the same amount.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Take That split, a bit

It's turned out that Jason Orange is leaving Take That, the tax-avoidance scheme created by Gary Barlow and some accountants.

Orange issued a statement earlier today revealing that he found out he didn't really exist, and that he was created by Barlow "in order to claim child benefit. In light of this discovery, I must leave the band."

Talking to the media, Barlow was effusive in his farewell to Orange, praising what he'd brought to the band - "without Jeremy... Jason, Jason, we'd have... uh... oh, yeah, when we did that advert for Marks And Spencers, we'd not have been able to show off quite so many suits at the same time. And... well, we'd not have been able to call our album The Eight Legged Groove Machine. Although that wasn't us. But if it had have been, that wouldn't have been possible without James. Jeremy. Jason." Barlow concluded the statement by getting all present to sign a form allowing him to recoup the cost of providing Luncheon Vouchers for all of them.

Here's the actual statements:

‘I want to start by saying how proud I am of what we have achieved together over the years. However, at a band meeting last week I confirmed to Mark, Gary and Howard that I do not wish to commit to recording and promoting a new album. I have spent some of the best years of my life with Take That and I’d like to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey, including my band mates, who I feel are like brothers to me. Most especially my gratitude goes to all of the good and kind, beautiful and ever-loyal fans of the band, without whom none of this could have been possible.Thank you.’

‘At the end of The Progress Tour I began to question whether it might be the right time for me to not continue on with Take That. At the start of this year and with my full knowledge and blessing the guys began writing new material. There have been no fallings out, only a decision on my part that I no longer wish to do this. I know how much Mark, Gary and Howard enjoy writing and making music, and they know that they have my full support and encouragement to continue on with what is to be another chapter for the band.’ - Jason Orange

‘This is a sad day for us. Jason leaving is a huge loss both professionally and even more so personally. We first became aware of Jason’s reservations a couple of years ago but had hoped that by giving him the desired time and space he may begin to feel differently. This has not been the case and we now have to accept and fully respect his decision which we know hasn’t been an easy one. Jason’s energy and belief in what this band could achieve has made it what it is today, and we’ll forever be grateful for his enthusiasm, dedication and inspiration over the years.’ - Mark, Gary and Howard
Before popping that in the fax machine, Gary rang Mark and asked "are we sure that we've got the right one who's going, and it's not meant to be Jason commenting on Howard's departure?"

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Full Bible. No apocrypha.

Joining the 'playing an album in full to celebrate its 20th anniversary, thereby making you feel both giddily excited and incredibly ancient' gang: the Manics, doing The Holy Bible.

Venuewatch: MelloMello

Bad news from Liverpool: MelloMello has been forced out of business as rents on Slater Street become untenable. Here's their farewell statement:

To our wonderful community,

It is with great sadness that we must announce that as of Monday 22nd September 2014, MelloMello CIC closes it’s doors and ceases to trade from it’s Slater Street home.

Despite our best efforts we have been unable to meet the huge increase in business rates imposed on us two years ago, and have battled the financial difficulties that several burglaries and the ever-evolving fabric of the city centre have incurred. We are deeply saddened to be closing our doors, but also truly proud of what has been achieved within these walls.

MelloMello began life in 2007 as a completely volunteer-led organisation, in a derelict space, and has grown organically through the hard work of it’s staff and the community into a catalytic creative hub, a grassroots cultural monument, and a welcoming and warm environment, brimming and buzzing with energy, passion, art, music, dance, comedy, food, drink, laughter and love.

We thank our amazing staff, for everything they do, their talents and eccentricities, the wonderful support network they have built up, and the welcoming environment they provide. We thank every single creative individual who has walked through our doors and given us beautiful, raucous and thought-provoking art and performances. And we thank you, the community of Liverpool, for whom we endeavoured to provide such a place, for your fantastic support, the contribution of your own creativity and many wonderful characters over the years. You have all helped to create something truly unique.

As for the future…… watch this space.

With all our love, MelloMello
The cycle of enthusiasts taking over a derelict space, improving it, sparking a revitalisation of the area, attracting other tenants, pushing up rents and getting pushed out by the new high rents is an over-familiar one in Liverpool.

There's a slate of planned gigs which, presumably, won't happen now; the optimistic "watch this space" (or, presumably, watch another space as the Slater Street site gets transformed into a generic bar or trouser shop) holds out some hope.

[In 2012, the council nearly sank the venture

Monday, September 22, 2014

The misfiring reappearance of Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill's trying a comeback, and started in Brixton.

Now, her live performances have sometimes been a bit mixed, but anyone who buys a ticket for Hill in 2014 is pricing in that the event could be erratic-bordering-on-inexplicable, right?

But a late start, angry tweets and poor reviews marred her first sell-out gig at the Brixton Academy in London.
The 39-year-old singer, famous for her 1998 album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill", arrived on stage with a five-piece band and three backing singers at 9:58 p.m. on Saturday.

The show, with tickets selling for 55 pounds ($90), had been advertised to start at 9 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.
Okay, so an hour late. That's not a good start, but it's a Saturday night. We're all okay staying up a bit late on a Saturday, right. Especially for a great gig.

It was great, right?
When she arrived, Hill spent 80 minutes performing a combination of re-worked hits from her debut album, the only solo studio album she has made, and delving into pop and rock territory.

Songs from "The Score", another award-winning album Hill recorded as part of the Fugees in 1996, were left largely untouched, along with a number of tracks from her 2002 MTV Unplugged 2.0 album.

Hill also performed covers of "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" by Nancy Sinatra, The Flamingos' "I Only Have Eyes for You" and a few Bob Marley classics, including "Soul Rebel", "Jammin'" and "Is This Love".
To me, that sounds okay - if I'm a big enough fan to go and see her, that she does some solo stuff and a few classic seems a good mix.
Yuichi Miyama, a 31-year-old paralegal from London, said on Twitter: "Lauryn Hill is the most disappointing concert I have ever been to. That's heart-breaking."

He explained to Reuters at the concert that he didn't recognize a lot of the songs Hill performed.

"The bottom line is Lauryn Hill is a singer and there are a lot of songs on that album that she sings certain things in such a beautiful way," he said.
Wow. You admire Lauryn Hill as a singer, and yet think that she has chosen to sing things in the wrong way. I can see why you might be disappointed. I can't see why you didn't know this would happen, and didn't choose instead to stay at home and listen to the album. Because the album always sounds like the album, and Lauryn Hill live - when she turns up - never sounds like the album.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This week just gone

Popular this week:

1. Video: Maud-Elisa Mandeau
2. U2 manager doesn't care about the charts, but they prove that album disaster wasn't a disaster
3. Robin Thicke says he was too drugged to know he was writing his rape song
4. Video: Breeders on MTV, NYE 1993 (now again with video)
5. Bono is going to invent a new format
6. RIP: Peter Gutteridge
7. Bono is very proud of that terrible album that everyone wants to delete
8. Yeah, this one is about the U2 album, too
9. Tony Hadley rushed to hospital (8 years ago)
10. What does SXSW do for Austin?

These were the interesting releases:

Shellac - Dude Incredible

Fripp & Eno - Live In Paris

My Brightest Diamond - This Is My Hand

Download This Is My Hand