Saturday, March 07, 2015

5 Seconds Of Summer's name isn't even as clever as it seemed

5 Seconds Of Summer - it's not a great band name, but there's at least something there; the idea of a short burst of joy in an otherwise grim exi... oh hang on, I'm just being handed a piece of paper:

When asked how they came up with the name for the band, Michael said: ''We just... it doesn't mean anything. I wish it did, it's just a stupid name. I thought of it...''

However, drummer Ashton quickly corrected him, saying: ''He was nude in bed''

Michael then shared: ''I was in bed nude. Milk, chocolate, nude and watching Scrubs. That actually is the story. That's actually really embarrassing. Nude, eating milk, and chocolate and watching Scrubs.''
Oh. It turns out we've assumed there was more thought behind the name than there actually was.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Folkobit: Jim McCann

Jim McCann, a member of The Dubliners between 1974 & 1979, has died.

Already a well-known singer as a member of The Ludlow Trio before he joined The Dubliners, McCann also enjoyed solo success; worked as an actor and hosted a series on Irish television.

In 2002, he rejoined The Dubliners but the same year saw him hit by throat cancer. The illness took his ability to sing, but he remained part of the touring act - sometimes as compere; sometimes as photographer; sometimes as guitarist.

Jim McCann was 70; he died Thursday March 5th.

Justin Bieber has a dream

Justin Bieber is, then, clearly in the 'trying to swap tiresome bad boy image for something that might have a bit more room for career growth' stage of his story.

He wants to cling to purity:

"There's a part of me that I don't ever want to grow up," he said. "I want to always remain ... to have that sense of purity inside of me where I don't ... I don't want to lose that sense of purity."
Yeah, Justin. Might be a bit late to preserve that purity. Still, at least you've still got the box it came in.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

What the pop papers say: Ails to the chief

Noel Gallagher's on the cover of the NME this week, which can mean only one thing. (And, yes, it does - Pete Doherty's on the cover next week.)

Noel on the cover; and inside, there's an amusing interview with a grouchy, funny giant of the Manchester music scene.

No, not Noel; Mark E Smith:

I mean, the Arctic Monkeys, come on. They've been to music college [this is not true]. They've got degrees in tock music [this isn't true, either]. I think some of them have got passes in The Fall.
I get sent magazines with all this advice for new bands... and it's 'Number one, get a decent bank account.' It's like applying to university. There was always privilege in music, but nowadays you don't have a chance in hell."
That's the way you do it. But then Smith doesn't have the problem Gallagher does - he's not trying to square a working class hero image with struggling with paying to send his kids to school; his anecdotes are about Pixies fans trying to take selfies rather than (as Noel does) stories about being on the red carpet at the BAFTAs.

The NME is still calling Noel "the chief"; I'm hoping this is ironic, given his timorous, weak new album - the way men in their 80s who were something in the Raj were still called The Major long after the sun had set on the Empire they once bestrode and the career they once had.

There's six pages of Noel, and Tom Howard gives him an easy ride. Especially when there's a strand of his thinking that's a little disturbing.

First, Gallagher trots through the Ali G defence for sending his kid to private school. We've heard this before, of course:
Good for you that you don't have to go to fucking school and come home talking like fucking Ali G, because, believe me, I would beat that out of you
Let's hope that Noel's using "beat that out of you" as a figure of speech. Let's hope that.

But - as the last time he used 'I don't want my kids to sound like Ali G' justification for swerving the local comprehensive - what does "sounding like Ali G" mean?

It could be that he simply means that he doesn't want his children to sound like working class kids do these days - a strange position for a man who has made his money out of tales of working class upbringing. Suddenly, Gallagher is concerned about "speaking proper", is he?

Or it could be that "talking like Ali G" means "talking like Ali G" - co-opting the speech patterns and slang of young black men?

Later on, Gallagher is talking about his support for the Teenage Cancer Trust - one of the things that reflects really well on him. It's a great cause, and Noel has really gone above and beyond in the work he does for them.

There's a but.
I like it because it's a charity for British kids, and it's real, you know
Not a charity for kids who are unwell; not that they're facing a massive challenge at a time of their lives when they should just be enjoying themselves.

It's a charity for British kids.

As opposed to what, exactly, Noel?

It's not as if Noel hasn't helped charities aiding people cursed with the misfortune to not have been born British on top of their other problems - Oasis were one of the main attractions for War Child, for a start. It makes the phrase even more puzzling.

Like the Ali G remark, it feels less like a racist stance and more a throwback to Victorian charity-begins-at-home Little Englanderism; a faint whiff of the UKIPs that Noel himself would probably be surprised to notice.

Maybe The Chief has more in common with The Major than we'd first expect.

Elsewhere, Laura Snapes watches Sleater-Kinney, deftly linking Carrie's claim that their music is an "obliteration of the sacred" with their presence as "some sort of religious totem".

Emily McKay talks to Kim Deal, making a game attempt to get to the bottom of the Pixies split but deciding it's better to hear about the Breeders than it is to pursue the matter.

You do wonder, though: The Fall, Noel Gallagher; Sleater-Kinney; a Radiohead The Bends feature; Mark E Smith; The Breeders... why on earth are young people not buying the NME? Is it because they're not really much in the NME these days?

One last thing: Between page 52 and page 59, Pete Doherty has morphed in Peter Doherty. Might want to decide on which it is before you lay out next week's cover, guys.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Good news for Brighton


In other on-stage incident news

Giorgi Armani, and his part in Madonna's downfall.

Is Armani sharing some the blame for the only interesting thing to happen at the Brits last week?


He's putting it all on Madonna:

This cape had a hook and she wanted a tie, and she wasn't able to open it with her hands. That's all there is to it. 'Madonna, as we all know, is very difficult,' he said.
It wasn't a wardrobe malfunction, then, it was user error.

Britney Spears wig-off wig-out

'Hair extension falls off; few injured'. It's not much of a story. Even when Pulse tries yelling it:

Britney Spears' hair extension dropped on stage as she performed her 'Piece of Me' show in Las Vegas on Friday, February 27.

As the pop princess sang her heart out to the song, 'Do Something', a huge clump of her blonde hair detached from her head and attached itself instead to the back of her sexy black catsuit.
This is not the sort of story which people clear front pages for. It's not even the sort of incident that they'd bother sending someone with a broom to sweep the stage after.

But, bless their little hearts, Pulse try to bark it up:
The pop star didn't stop her performance even though...
she had suffered little more than a bit of hair that wasn't attached to her had become a little more unattached?
...a fan had already filmed the entire embarrassing hairstyle malfunction.
What? What exactly does that sentence mean, Pulse? Are you saying 'it's a surprise she didn't stop the song and attempt to get the fan to delete the video'? Or that this was the sort of incident that normally grown people would flee the stage after?

Coming tomorrow: Pink plays on despite awkward hangnail moment.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Ex-Nuclear Hellfrost singer thinks he's a bit like Kramer

Dimebag Darrell's grave was recently, depending on who you choose to believe, either desecrated, vandalised, or briefly partially covered with a note saying mean things. It turns out the culprit was, erm, Reece Elber.

Reece Elber. Out of Nuclear Hellfrost.

Surely you know of Nuclear Hellfrost? Nuclear Hellfrost:

They're a band worth your time if you like your black metal with a crust and some thrash filling.
Anyway, the taint of having perhaps spat on, and perhaps only taken a cheeky Instagram with, Darrell's grave has sprung Elber into making an apology, and claiming full responsibility:
"My friends and I have received death threats and multiple insults over the past day or so, I've made the …news, and all I can say to sum it all up is I'm deeply sorry," Eber wrote. The original post (since deleted, though screengrabbed by MetalSucks) says the visitors spat on Darrell's grave, wrote "FAG" on it, and stole a pair of cowboy boots. In the apology, Eber claims it was all a lie, and that all he actually did was leave a note. The post also called Pantera "buncha racist hillbillies."
I say "full responsibility". There is a slight attempt to deflect some of the criticism:
"The fact of the matter is I feel awful and guilty and this will stick with me forever, just like the Seinfeld guy using the N word," Eber concluded in his apology.
The invocation of Michael Richards is a little odd - Famous People Do The Darndest Things?

R&Bobit: Charmayne Maxwell

Charmayne Maxwell, singer with Brownstone, has died following a freak accident.

Brownstone were "discovered" (or at least assisted) by Michael Jackson; they spent a short period in the mid-90s on his vanity MJJ label. The band achieved a few hits, both in the US and the UK. If You Love Me reached number 8 on both sides of the Atlantic in 1994. It also scored a Grammy nomination.

There was a brief reunion in 2013, inspired by Nicci Gilbert's role in a reality TV series.

Maxwell apparently died after falling at a football match; some reports suggest she severed her neck on a broken wine glass in the accident.

The 46 year-old was married to Carsten Soulshock, and had a son, Nicolaj.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Great Escape: That's better

@Jamesthegill has just alerted me via the magic of Twitter to this, by @BeALittleBrave, which is the 2015 Great Escape line-up with the same criteria as applied to the Reading bill:

It can be done (and it's a much more interesting collection of acts. And not just because there's no Limp Bizkit on it.)

Reading 2015: It's so boy-boy

This from Viv Albertine's Twitter feed:

On the right, the Reading-Leeds bill announced so far. On the left: the bands with female members.

Two days with not a single woman on either the main or second stage. One stage without any women at all.

It's a pretty poor show.

WHO want you to turn that music off

At the end of last week, the World Health Organisation issued a warning that you should only listen to an hour of music a day. Actually, that's what the headlines said. The detail was more about being careful how much music you blare straight into your earbits:

Dr Etienne Krug, the WHO's director for injury prevention, told the BBC: "What we're trying to do is raise awareness of an issue that is not talked about enough, but has the potential to do a lot of damage that can be easily prevented."

The full report argued: "While it is important to keep the volume down, limiting the use of personal audio devices to less than one hour a day would do much to reduce noise exposure."

Dr Krug said that a good ambition aim: "That's a rough recommendation, it is not by the minute, to give an idea to those spending 10 hours a day listening to an mp3-player.

"But even an hour can be too much if the volume is too loud."
(I'm sure Dr Krug is well aware that "too loud" is, by definition, that amount which is excessive.)

So the hour is a guideline rather than a prescription. Which is lucky, because they also suggest you only stay at a gig for 28 seconds.

(Admittedly, that's the average length of time that Morrissey plays across the course of any one announced tour, so in his case it's difficult but not impossible.)

They make a more practical suggestion that you should wear hearing protection when you go to see live music.

Hearing protection at a gig! That'd be like, I dunno, wearing a condom when you have sex with a stranger or something... Oh. Hang on.

The hat at Bay

The thing that should worry James Bay is not that he has a "trademark hat" (although that is worrying), but that every interview seizes on the hat (figuratively, not like a bully stealing a hat and throwing it over a nearby fence, even if that would do us all a favour.)

No, the worry for James Bay is that the hat is pretty much the only thing anyone is interested in. That he's basically a cardboard cutout until you get above the brow.

The Observer caught up with him at the weekend, and talk turned to the hat:

The hat remains staunchly in place during our two meetings, but Bay plans to take it off one day. “I might shave my head,” he says. “I hope to have a long career and I don’t want to be defined by things that aren’t the music.” For now, though, it feels like a uniform: he puts it on and he’s ready for work. “It’s my suit. There should be an element of mystique between the fans and the artist. That bit between the stage and the audience. I think that’s necessary. I used to dress up like Michael Jackson. I didn’t have the glove, but I had a red jacket like in Thriller.”
The idea that his dull hat is adding a air of mystery to his act is heartbreaking, isn't it? Like someone who works in an office choosing a Daffy Duck tie to try and create a sense that he might have a personality.

More grim, though, is this description of the hat as a "suit" or a "uniform". The musician that the BPI thinks is the greatest hopeful of this year's hopefuls thinks of his music as a job that one might put a uniform on to do. Perhaps it's not a hat he should have gone with; maybe he should arrive on stage carrying a timesheet.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

They're here. They're Queer. Get tickets for it.

Garbage have just announced plans to do a 20th birthday party for Queer...

This week just gone

The most read February things:

1. Liveblog: Brits 2015
2. RIP: Steve Strange
3. Kasabian tank at the BAFTAs
4. ... but do okay at the NME Awards
5. NME might go free
6. Australia enters Eurovision
7. RIP: Andriy Kuzmenko
8. Album charts add streaming
9. Gennaro Castaldo has something to say about Kim Sears' chest
10. Jack White: It wasn't my guacamole, alright?

These releases interesting, right?

The Pop Group - Citizen Zombie

Download Citizen Zombie

Dutch Uncles - O Shudder

Download O Shudder

Public Service Broadcasting - The Race For Space

Download The Race For Space

Kathryn Roberts & Seth Lakeman - Tomorrow Will Follow Today

Download Tomorrow Will Follow Today

Various - Kitsune New Faces volume 2

Download Kitsune New Faces 2