Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bookmarks: Cerys Matthews & Wham!

In a second slice of regional press/80s nostalgia for the morning, the South Wales Echo has been making Cerys Matthews relive the trauma of her first gig. Wham!, as it turns out:

“My sister was a bit older than me and I remember her saying, ‘You’ve got to come with me to the Top Rank in town or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life,” says the 46-year-old mum-of-three from Pembrokeshire, who's co-presenting the coverage of next weekend's Glastonbury festival for BBC6Music.

“It was in the early ’80s and I must have been about 12 or 13 at the time - it was during Wham’s first proper tour and they’d made a name for themselves by wearing tight white shorts and doing unconventional things with shuttlecocks.”

Bookmarks: Duran Duran

Superb work from the Newcastle Chronicle website, which has dug into its archives for the story of the time Andy Taylor opened a wine bar called Rio in Whitley Bay:

And the following year we reported on an even more bizarre problem.

“Panic broke out at the Tyneside wine bar owned by Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor when someone freed man-eating piranha fish from their tank,” we said.

“Bar staff at Rio rushed to rescue the fearsome fish, which eat human flesh, by scooping them into pint pots from between the feet of horrified customers.

“No one was bitten, but a few customers received an unwelcome soaking when 200 gallons of water in the tank gushed out.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Glastonbury 2015: When legs snap

The line-up for Glastonbury now has a scary TBA in the Friday night headline slot, with the Foo Fighters pulling out as Dave Grohl's leg is so badly broken.

If it was me, I'd shift Mark Ronson across to the main stage undercard and let Florence headline. In fact, I'd probably have let Florence headline even if Grohl hadn't snapped his leg.

Donald Trump's campaign runs into trouble right at the start

It's not unusual for a presidential candidate to get into difficulties with their musical soundtracks - mostly for using songs without permission.

I think Donald Trump - very much the Zeppo of this year's Republican hopefuls - has broken some sort of record, having got slapped down virtually before he left the stage announcing his - admittedly amusing - candidacy.

"Heh" Trump must have thought, "I've only just said that I intend to clutter up the 2016 race with my limited understanding and honking outrage routine, and already my email box is pinging. I wonder if this email is from a wellwisher, or a rival throwing in the towel. Let's check."

Official Statement from Neil Young:

"Donald Trump was not authorized to use "Rockin' In The Free World" in his presidential candidacy announcement. Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America."
Trump sighs. He had really wanted to go with Barrett Strong's 'Money', but didn't feel America was ready to vote for a black Republican Presidential theme song.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bono goes to Canada

Bono has taken time off from 'rationalising' his tax affairs to go and tell Canada how to spend their taxes.

But let's not focus too much on Bono's tax affairs, and wonder instead about his politics.

While in Canada, Bono praised how great the current government's commitment to overseas development is:

Bono remained above the fray, striking an upbeat note as he arrived on Parliament Hill repeating his mantra of "the world needs more Canada."

"Development assistance, or foreign aid as you call it here, is a really good way of showing who you are to the rest of the world," Bono said, surrounded by fans and well-wishers.
Stephen Harper's government is currently providing just 0.24% of GDP to its aid budget. This gets a visit from Bono and a lot of warm words in the press.

Oddly, though, when Paul Martin's aid budget was at 3% in 2005, Bono issued angry statements and called him out from the stage at a U2 gig.

That's strange, isn't it?

Smashmouth: Buns don't kill people; people do

Smashmouth's dwindling career has reached the point where they're now playing The Taste Of Fort Collins, a college town food-fest.

It didn't end well, either as, as if the good people of Colorado were channeling The Great Hall at a public school, the band were hit will a hail of bread rolls. The band didn't take it with good grace:

Think on, Steve Harwell. Give it a couple more years, you'll be hoping that the audience throw you some food during a set.

Embed and breakfast man: Slowdive

Apparently there's a "Pitchfork era", of which Slowdive's Souvlaki is part. (Actually, Souvlaki predated Pitchfork by a year, but that might be quibbling.) Whatever, they've produced an hour long documentary on the record. They being Pitchfork, not Slowdive:

Monday, June 15, 2015

I owe it all to Amy - what, exactly?

It's true, but probably both more true and less than it seems:

Amy Winehouse's pop star goddaughter Dionne Bromfield says she owes much of her success to the tragic songstress.
You might want to quibble with word success - admittedly, Bromfield has a BAFTA under her belt, for the CBBC series she co-presented, but beyond that... even with a guest spot on Strictly, her biggest hit to date stalled at 43; her last album sank without trace.

But you can't argue that the Winehouse connection has helped her enormously - indeed, that six years in to her career articles about her still start by referencing her late godparent, and that many of the pieces about her focus exclusively on that relationship, it could be the only thing keeping her afloat.

Which is a shame - who knows how Bromfield's musical career would have played out had it been allowed to breathe rather than carrying the weight of the departed Amy?

Rapid mark-down of claims

Helly Luv! She's taken Isis.

She's done what?

Oh, alright, she's taken YouTube.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hidden delights: All Shook Up

While we're talking about beautiful things on the iPlayer, the entire run (four episodes) of All Shook Up is currently available (again, assuming you read this before mid-July) - Jesca Hoop, Wytches, Lonelady, Jane Weaver and much more. Go see; go enjoy.

Hidden delights: Slowdive

Originally tucked away behind BBC Red Button - and now on iPlayer, but only until 7th July 2015, Simon Scott out the Charlottes and Slowdive on Springwatch Upsprung, talking a little about shoegaze haircuts, and a lot more about the music of nature.

This week just gone

The most-read stories in the first half of the year (minus two weeks, but you know we're close enough):

1. Liveblog: Brits
2. Liveblog: Eurovision
3. Grooveshark calls it a day
4. Mental health in the music industry
5. Noel Gallagher is still loved by the NME
6. What is Conor McNicholas up to these days?
7. RIP: Jess Marquis
8. Blurred Lines a rip-off - official
9. The UK's Eurovision entry
10. From Westlife to lay-by

These were interesting releases this week:

Sauna Youth - Distractions

Download Distractions

Pins - Wild Nights

Download Wild Nights

Bis - I Love Bis

Download I Love Bis


Download FFS

Act - Love & Hate

Download Love & Hate

Tove Stryke - Kiddo

Download Kiddo