Saturday, May 16, 2015

Absolute Radio a little less absolute

Absolute Radio - the one which used to be Virgin back when it started - is starting to see its UK AM network crumble.

Listeners in Berkshire (and bits of the country that touch the county) are being advised to swap to digital after - effectively - the station was told to get orf a farmer's land:

The AM transmitters at the privately owned Manor Farm site were switched off on Friday, as the lease on the site is not being renewed.

Absolute Radio's transmissions on 1233kHz, which served Berkshire, southeastern Oxfordshire and south west Buckinghamshire were terminated on Friday morning.

Smooth Radio, which inherited the former frequencies of Gold last year has also been affected. Its service on 1421kHz from the site was switched off alongside its service on 1485kHz, which although broadcast from a different site operated under the same commercial AM radio licence serving the Thames Valley area.

Listeners to both stations are being advised to continue listening via digital radio, either via DAB digital radio, online, via mobile apps or through digital TV services.
Yes, that's right. Because someone who's listening to a music service on AM in 2015 is doing so because they have the ability to listen digitally, but are choosing not to.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bluesobit: BB King

According to his lawyer, BB King has died.

King called all his guitars Lucille, after he nearly killed himself running into a burning building to rescue an instrument. As he told the story:

“One night, two guys started to fighting and one knocked down one of them containers [kerosene barrels, for heating the club] and it was already burning with kerosene and so when it spilled onto the floor, it looked like a river of fire and everybody started to run for the front door – including B.B. King.

“But when I got on the outside, I realized then that I had left my guitar on the inside. So I went back for it. The building was a wooden building and burning rapidly. It started to collapse around me and I almost lost my life trying to save my guitar. So the next morning, we found out that these two guys that were fighting were fighting about a lady that worked in the little dance hall. We learned that her name was Lucille. So I named the guitar Lucille to remind me to never do a thing like that again.”
King was 89; he died in his sleep in Las Vegas.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Coming soon: Bob Collins

Bob Collins used to (and from time to time, still does) lead The Dentists. He's been all this time in the business (if you can call it business) and never done a solo record.

Until now.

Or not quite now. It's out on June 16th, and here's the press release:

Remarkably, this is Bob Collins’ first album under his own name, despite his prolific and accomplished songwriting in The Dentists and other assorted acts over the years. Telescopic Victory Kiss brings together the finest songs from his latter day career performing as a solo acoustic artist or with the three piece Full Nelson combo.

The Dentists occupied a unique spot in the no-man’s-land between garage rock and nascent 80s indie pop. Thanks to a renewed interest in that era, and two reunion gigs in 2010, they are now receiving some of the recognition that eluded them in their heyday, to the extent that they are now a de rigeur presence on any self-respecting compilation of 80’s guitar-indie.

Bob’s signature passion-fuelled jangle is as in evidence on the new album as it is on any of his former band’s past catalogue, now combined with his own rich vocal delivery, doing justice to the lyrics like only the writer can.

Since their split in 1995 all members of The Dentists continued to be musically active if not prolific with recorded output, largely due to the continuation of a hesitant and dismissive approach to engaging with anything resembling the ‘music industry’.

After a brief respite Bob Collins supplied some guitar and songwriting craft to the self-confessed classic-pop MOR of Fortune West on a 2000 single, then appeared on an album and EP with Mick Murphy’s Fortress Madonna project in 2002. A collaboration with former Dentist Mark Matthews in the Great Lines, stormed SXSW 2005 before imploding and leaving a legendary album ‘in the can’.

Bob finally began performing in earnest as a solo artist in his native Medway Towns, in 2007 soon adding fellow ex-Dentist Rob Grigg on drums and ex-Ascoyne d’Ascoyne (another one of Bob’s former combos) Mark Aitken on bass as the Full Nelson.

Between co-authoring “The Kids Are All Square” a celebration of the early 80s Medway punk and garage scene, joining the extraordinary punk-pop-blues combo Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society, and co-promoting Medway’s Homespun independent music festival Bob managed to squeeze in the recording of this album during 2013 and 2014 with his Full Nelson colleagues.

Recorded in Medway’s analogue Ranscombe Studio, this ten-song assortment of self-penned material is as fresh, heartfelt and engaging a collection of guitar pop nuggets as you are likely to have heard in a long time.
Bob Collins And The Full Nelson's Telescopic Victory Quiz is just a month away.

Sarah Brightman puts space on hold

Remember all that hoopla about how Sarah Brightman was heading to be the first ex-wife of Andrew Lloyd Webber in space? The dream is over, or at least on hold:

Brightman announced today (May 13) that she won't be making that trip to orbit. The U.S.-based space tourism company Space Adventures was brokering the multimillion-dollar flight for Brightman. (The terms of Brightman's deal have not been officially disclosed.)

"Ms. Brightman said that, for personal family reasons, her intentions have had to change, and she is postponing her cosmonaut training and flight plans at this time," reads an update posted today to the English singer's website. "She would like to express her extreme gratitude to Roscosmos, Energia, GCTC (Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center), Star City, NASA and all the cosmonauts and astronauts for their support during this exciting time in her life."
So we shall have to slumber on without Sarah Brightman high over our heads, for an unknown period. Be strong, fellow earthbound types. Be strong.

Tumblrgem: Cassettes

Apparently-official cassette versions of albums that you might have thought only ever existed on CD, download or hipster-vinyl variants, via The Dapper Bastard:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stapp misses court date

To Denver, where Scott Stapp was due to appear in court to face misdemeanour charges following his 'riding on a luggage carousel' stunt last month.

He didn't show up.

Maybe he tried, but couldn't get past DIA without finding himself trapped in a luggage locker.

There's now a warrant for his arrest.

Stapp's band, Puddle Of Mudd, last released an album in 1963.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fallen Idol

It's perhaps more surprising that Fox was still making American Idol than that they're cancelling the series.

It's going to limp to the end of its 15th season, and then vanish for good.

Dana Walden, co-chairman and CEO of the Fox Television Group, described it as a "pretty emotional decision" to end "American Idol."
"A pretty emotional decision" here means that, with audiences starting to drop below nine million, people were starting to feel the well-known emotion of 'look at that old warhorse cluttering up the schedules bringing down ratings lets stop paying the people on it the millions we're shelling out and make something cheaper that viewers might like more'.

The series hasn't really had a massive star-making role since, arguably, Jordin Sparks back in 2007.

Bookmarks: Carol Decker

There's a lovely short piece in the Henley Standard that's partly about T'Pau, but really about how children don't really know what their parents do at work:

CAROL Decker’s daughter didn’t realise how famous her mum was until she saw her singing in front of 10,000 people.

Scarlett Coates was 10 when she and her brother Dylan watched T’Pau’s performance at the first Rewind festival in Henley.

Monday, May 11, 2015

We seem to have gone backwards

Not only do we have the same faces in cabinet doing the same jobs, but Katie Price is going to try to be a pop star again.

The second time as farce, everybody. The second time as farce.

Dolores O'Riordan is going to be charged

Dolores O'Riordan is, it appears, going to be charged following her attack on an air steward last November.

In theory, she could end up in prison for six months.

Adam Levine dusted in the street

It might look like the aftermath of a party at George Osborne's house, but it's actually Adam Levine after he left the Jimmy Kimmel studio and got attacked with sugar.

Sure, it looks bad, but at least it was granulated sugar. Imagine if it had been cane sugar. Or a block of molasses.

Entertainment Weekly suggests that Levine might have brought the attack on himself:
"Your sugar. Yes, please. Won't you come and put it down on me?"
That might be one of his lyrics, but pretty much everything he's written seems to demand stuff be thrown at Levine. Doesn't mean we should, though.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Life with Cameron: Charlotte Church is our new vanguard

Charlotte Church was out on the protests against the new Tory government on Saturday. The Tories, of course, were unimpressed:

But in response to Ms Church and the protesters, the Welsh Conservatives' leader [Andrew RT Davies] said: "It's champagne socialists standing shoulder-to-shoulder.

"At the end of the day, to denigrate the electorate, who has just spoken, within 48 hours of the election, is slightly unfortunate and unbecoming."
Champagne socialists. Is that the best you can, Mr Davies?

You and your party suggest that we should ensure that "hard working people" have their rights protected; that they have their choices respected.

And yet as soon as someone who has a few bob in their pocket says anything that suggests caring about others might be the right thing to do, suddenly we discover that this makes them "champagne socialists" and their right to comment has, magically, become nullified.

(It's unclear where the point comes that you stop being a champagne socialist and cross into the jealous underclass - perhaps somewhere around the living wage?)

Obviously, it's a cliche. But worse than a cliche, it's not even like champagne is that much of a luxury product anyway. And worse than being a tatty cliche, it's not even right. Because Church is actually marching in the streets with a placard, which isn't what a champagne socialist is supposed to behave.

Davies also seems to have missed the point that the Tories only won the support of 27% of the voters who turned out in Wales - it came second, and yet Wales now has a Tory government. To suggest that objecting to the runners-up sitting taking pole position is denigrating the electorate is a little odd.

But then if we thought the Tories understood humility, perhaps we wouldn't all be so bloody terrified about what's going to come next.

Spotify assumes your mum is a confused old dear

Mothers, eh? You literally couldn't have lived without them. And if there's one thing that's true about mothers is that they're people.

Spotify, though, isn't aware that mothers come in different shapes and sizes. They seem to picture them as confused old people who might struggle with the very idea of music streaming:

To be fair, my Mum would take a lot of catching up if I had to explain streaming music to her - "right, here's what's happened since 1983; maybe we'll start with compact discs..." - but most mothers aren't going to be befuddled with the idea of digital products. Most grandmothers wouldn't be, either. And those that are (along with men who are) are probably not stupid, but just uninterested.

A bad move by Spotify. Unless 'insulting your customers' is a cunning business strategy.

This week just gone

The most-read stories from the coalition government years:

1. Paul McGuinness on how to save the Music Industry
2. Noel Gallagher says it was better under Thatcher
3. RIP: Charles Haddon
4. Gordon Smart builds the audience for the Tulisa sex tape
5. Why Jessie J is apparently part of the illuminati
6. RIP: Jon Fat Beast
7. PMRC's Tipper Gore breaks up her family; presumably that's music's fault, too?
8. Glastowatch moans about people moaning about Glastonbury ticketing
9. Daily Mail calls Katy Perry fat
10. RIP: Daniel Cho

These were this week's new releases:

Rozi Plain - Friend

Download Friend

Giant Sand - Heartbreak Pass

Download Heartbreak Pass

The Lovely Eggs - This Is Our Nowhere

Emika - Drei

Download Drei

Django Django - Born Under Saturn

Download Born Under Saturn

Palma Violets - Danger In The Club

Download Danger In The Club