Saturday, December 12, 2015

Rock City is 35

Rock City - surely the leading light of UK venues which smell of pickled onions - has just turned 35, and to celebrate, the Nottingham Evening Post has compiled a list of favourite memories. Like this one:

Tara Dunne

The Comsat Angels, Wall of Voodoo and U2 for two quid. Bono climbed the speaker stack into the lighting rig while singing and got stuck up there. They had to stop the gig and get a ladder to rescue him. The 40 or so people that were there gave him 20 minutes of verbal abuse and I guarantee he heard every word.
This is a story which should be told every Christmas.

[Spotted in @badger5000's Twitter stream]

Oh My Girl: story suddenly loses impetus halfway through

The story of Oh My Girl being detained at LAX sounds, at first, like something gone terribly awry:

The eight members were travelling to America for an album cover shoot but were detained for 15 hours in customs.

A statement from the group's record company, WM Entertainment, said authorities held them after going through their costumes and props.

"They seem to have mistaken them as sex workers," said a spokesman.
That's quite a terrible thing to have happened, and to be held for 15 hours because border guards thought photoshop props were somehow sex toys (what sort of photoshoot was this?) is outrageous.

But... just as you're about to be outraged, there's this:
The record company also said there might have been an issue with the type of visa the band members presented.
Oh. So it's not so much "immigration mistakes pop group for sex workers" as "band management screws up visa application, attempts to spin story to deflect attention", then.

Annexing a year is a rare Swift misstep

There's a couple of reasons why Taylor Swift trying to own 1989 is disappointing.

First of all: you can't trademark a number. You can't trademark a year. To be fair, Swift wasn't quite trying to claim ownership of that, just 1989 scribbled down, but it's the same thing. Even at his worst, Billy Corgan never tried to command how people might use 1979, even in his favourite font.

Secondly, and what's more strange: Taylor Swift (or Corporate Taylor Swift Inc.) knew 1989 was going to be a big deal; didn't it occur to them that the best time to try and trademark something might be before signing the exclusive special edition deals with Target and launching the product?

In other odd Taylor Swift news, somehow I Knew You Were Trouble appeared on Spotify but credited to Lostprophets. Yeah. Lostprophets. In terms of 'making a prank as uncomfortable as possible' that's up there

Spotify's response was "someone gave us it like that" and a swift (ho-ho) pulling of the track.

Bookmarks: vinyl

Kathy Iandoli contributes a piece on the lost art of cratedigging, which you can read over at Medium:

So what’s the point, right? Well, there is a utility for cratedigging that dates back decades to the earliest days of hip-hop production, because records were the raw materials for hip-hop tracks. The art of sampling was awesome albeit arduous. A producer would find a “breakbeat” (an instrumental section or drumbeat) or a snippet of sound from a record that they liked; play the vinyl on a turntable; and record that piece of music onto a sampler or a sampling-enabled drum machine where it could be replayed and layered in conjunction with other sounds in the beatmaking process.

To acquire the vinyl, they would hunt. They raided record stores and hit record fairs in the early morning hours to scour through crates and crates of wax. The Roosevelt Hotel Record Convention on E. 45th Street in New York City was a big one. Dealers would gather and legends of hip-hop’s Golden Age would arrive and peel through the layers of vinyl to find what they needed.

Bipolar Sunshine: Everyone gets Nandos

It's been a grim few months, so it's a lovely change to hear about someone doing something really nice.

Bipolar Sunshine got a Black Nandos card, and rather than just eat all the chickens, he shared the chickens out:

Bipolar and Jazz took the card on tour with them, handing out chicken to homeless people across the country.

"We were just coming over, just being honest and saying, 'Look, we've got this card, this is what happens, we can get a free meal.'"
This is a brilliant story for two reasons - first, it's a lovely thing to do in its own right.

Secondly, Bipolar Sunshine has found a way of talking about the actual existence of the Nandos Black Card in a way that Nandos can hardly get angry about. I'm imaging most of Britain is currently staring at some version of this news story going "they DO exist", as if Nessie and a yeti had just announced a dual-headlining tour of small arts venues for the new year.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

In which Lemmy has a point

Even if you're in Motorhead, even if you're Lemmy, being asked if you're about to shuffle off the planet must be a downer:

"I'm sick of the fucking, 'Are you going to die?' line of questioning. It's getting really old, that question. I’m alright. I'm going out there and doing my best.

"I have good days and bad days but mostly I've been doing alright. The last tour of the States was very good."
Even if you weren't talking to Lemmy, asking any guy in his 70s if he thinks he's got long left seems incredibly rude.

This week just gone

Most read this week:

1. Tony Hadley rushed to hospital
2. They're bringing back Top Of The Pops (perhaps)
3. Taylor Swiftonomics
4. The Paris attacks turn out to be about Morrissey
5. The last Mark & Lard show
6. Wendy James comes back
7. Other people's 2015 lists
8. Mercury Music Prize 2015
9. R Kelly tries to ignore his brother
10. Barack Obama works with Coldplay

These were the interesting releases last week:

Placebo - MTV Unplugged

Download Unplugged

Ty Segall - Ty Rex

Download Ty Rex

The Telescopes - Splashdown

Download Splashdown