Wednesday, November 25, 2015

15 Step: Other people's lists

An annual amalgamation of other people's attempts at best-of lists. And, perhaps, the odd worst-of, too.

Part of 15 Step
Last updated 25-11-15

Mojo's Best albums:
5. Jim O'Rourke - Simple Songs
4. Tame Impala - Currents
3. New Order - Music Complete
2. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
1. Julia Holter - Have You in My Wilderness

15 Step: The uberpost

It's only a month until Christmas, which means it's time for us to start trying to scrape the year into some sort of shape. The first step in that is this annual post, which holds together all the other posts. And is never that exciting when it first goes live.

Other people's best-of lists

Lest we forget:

Martyn Ware: The National Trust

Martyn Ware out of Heaven 17 et al has been collaborating with The National Trust on a sea-themed artwork. It's easier to explore than explain, so go have a look and a poke about.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mark Seymour tells racists to get lost

Hunters And Collectors heard that their music was being used by racist wank-gerbils Reclaim Australia. Mark Seymour isn't having it:

I've just been informed that 'Reclaim Australia' are using 'Holy Grail' at their rallies.
Let me be clear. 'Reclaim Australia' is a racist organisation.
We stand together with refugees and asylum seekers the world over.
We are opposed to bigotry, race hate and fascism.
'Reclaim Australia' has no place in Australian Society.
This has had the happy side effect of leading his racist fans to out themselves, and withdraw from being his fan. For example, one prime toothbucket called Jake Myers swept in to slap this out of his keyboard:
Fuck you Mark , just burnt my hunters albums , are you fucking blind to what's going on in the world stop being politically correct and have some balls, at least reclaim are doing and saying something, yes it mightn't be the best way of doing things but at they are trying , this is what shits me about Australia these days everybody is to fucking soft and afraid of offending someone, fuck I'm cranky.
First of all, clearly if Seymour had been too scared to offend people, he wouldn't have had a pop at the brain offsets which calls themselves Reclaim Australia.

Secondly, and more importantly, you've burned your Hunters albums, have you, Jake? Really? You set fire to them, did you? It's funny, because I don't smell burning plastic coming off that post. I smell something, but not that.

Barack Obama to work with Coldplay

For the best part of a decade, Fox News and the people who watch it as if it was a news channel have done their best to besmirch Barack Obama's name.

Now he's doing their work for them, by working with Coldplay:

The gospel anthem, which Barack sang at the funeral of Charleston shooting victim Clementa C. Pinckney earlier this year, is an interlude on the band’s highly-anticipated seventh album.

Chris revealed: “We have a tiny clip of the President singing Amazing Grace at that church. Because of the historical significance of what he did and also that that song being about, ‘I’m lost but now I’m found’.”

A source close to the band added: “Barack Obama wouldn’t let just anyone feature his vocals on the record, especially considering what a deeply emotional moment it was for him.

“But he clearly loves Coldplay and is happy to be a part of their music history. The band were obviously thrilled.

“They needed to get permission from Obama himself and the Charleston church it was recorded in.”
Yes, Coldplay have taken a key moment in #blacklivesmatter and turned into a marketing stunt.

Even Glen Beck couldn't have seen Obama signing up for that, surely?

Embed and breakfast man: Pins

Ooh... there's a new Pins video:

Bookmarks: Chvrches

I'm pleased that I've lived long enough to see Clive James write about Chrvches, but I'm delighted that he lived long enough to write about them:

Young pop stars now are born knowing how the web drives the cashflow. That, apparently, is why Chvrches spell their name with a “v” instead of a “u”: when you Google them, you won’t get anyone else. Originally they were two ordinary-looking young blokes, but they were lucky enough to be joined by an extraordinary-looking young lady who could sing. Lauren Mayberry has an enchanting voice with a face to fit, and millions of hormonally tormented young men all over the world think there has never been anything like her, while millions of envious young women think that this must be history’s first case of a rebel angel dressed as if she didn’t give a damn.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lil Boosie apparently has a problem that isn't ours

Lil Boosie - who, clearly, was at the back of the queue when hip hop handles were being handed out - has a problem with All The Gays on his TV:

Since I’ve came home ever time I turn on the Tv some gay sh*t on I try to watch love n hip hop (gay sh*t)tried to watch empire (gay sh*t) walked n on a cartoon doing gay sh*t a f*ckin cartoon kids watch tv,” he wrote.

The rapper added, “I guess next they go have a f*cking gay channel for kids saying if U want to be gay watch this tune n smh f*cked up world n my eyes ( but everybody don’t agree smh).
This from his Instagram account.

Oh, where to begin? Where to begin? Poor Lil Boosie, just wants to watch TV and there's a cartoon doing gay shit which kids might watch. WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

Boosie is 33 - which explains why he prefers not to be known as Lil Boosie any more, although as a man in his 30s his preferred name, Boosie Badazz, is even more toe-curling. Also, it's sad, being 33 and still not knowing that (a) gay things happen and (b) if you really are that uptight, you can switch off the TV and (c) that if you don't want to switch off your TV, that's okay, because gay, bi and other queer themes are still rarer than anyone who actually gives a shit about what Lil Boosie thinks about TV.

Funny. He's worrying about kids perhaps seeing that it's okay to be gay. This from a man who cheerfully makes songs about shooting people out of revenge. Funny, that.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Beakyobit: Keith Mitchell

He'll be remembered for his acting rather than his strange pop career, of course: Keith Mitchell has died.

The story of Captain Beaky is probably more interesting than the tale of Captain Beaky as sung by Mitchell.

On the long-lost Captain Beaky website, Jeremy Lloyd tells how Keith, a freak accident and Start The Week came together in 1977 to give Beaky wings:

"Keith and I met when we were working together in Robert and Elizabeth at The Lyric. He being the leading man while I clanked on and off stage in Household Cavalry armour, as a dotty lover of his girlfriend's sister. To pass the time I would scribble about the trials and tribulations of a lonely frog or a penniless French mouse (both situations closely akin to my circumstances at the time) and Keith, an excellent artist with a great sense of humour, illustrated them. Our collaboration ceased abruptly when the Management allowed me to appear in a film, on the condition I would be back for the evening performance. All my part required was that I should stand in front of a
cannon and be shot. The explosion blew me across the studio, resulting in a lot of surgery and a get well slowly card from my understudy. I convalesced for part of the time in Jamaica and wrote Dilys the Dachshund on the back of an old record cover, which I received intact, minus Joe Loss's Greatest Hits, 12 years later.

"The reason I was suddenly trying to recover the poems was due to Lance Percival reading one on the radio show 'Start the Week'. A publisher expressed interest, but I was told that at least 30 would be required to make up a book. About this time I got a call from Keith: could he read some on a TV show? Delighted, and please could I have them back? Fate was obviously taking a hand, for a few days later I met Jonathan Rowlands, whom I had known in LA when I was writing 'Laugh In'. I discovered that together with his partner, Hugh Murphy, his company had produced the Sir John Betjeman albums, of which he gave me copies. I was enchanted by Jim Parker's music, to which the poems were read, and showed him mine. In between writing 'Are You Being Served?', Jim, Hugh and I worked together for a year, with me writing new poems, Jim composing the music and Hugh producing the album. I still find it hard to believe that these characters have come to life as a book and a record album, but they have and I'm delighted as they are."
For younger readers: in case it's not obvious, Start The Week was a very different sort of programme in 1977.

The album didn't set the world alight; but in 1980, it was to get a second wind from Radio 1. Which was also a different sort of place in those days.

Tony Blackburn played it first on Radio One - in his internal exile on Junior Choice era; Noel Edmonds then grabbed the record and played it on his Sunday morning proto-House Party show. This snowballed into a Hissing Sid Is Innocent campaign - borrowing both from the George Davis Is Innocent graffiti protests, and the Who Shot JR tropes of the same era. It was enough to catapult Beaky - and with it, Keith Mitchell - into the Top Five.

Embed & Breakfast Man: Little Joy

That rundown of ten years ago reminded us that we miss Little Joy, the Strokes spin-off project...

Officially, they're on hiatus (because no band ever ends these days, does it? Even when the lead singer is punching the face of the drummer, their manager is booking the comeback tour), but they've not done anything since 2009. There's still a MySpace page for them.

This week just gone

Five years ago - the most read stories this day in 2010:

1. R Kelly sex video to get an airing in court
2. Underworld cover King Creosote (sort-of, except it wasn't and has now gone)
3. Kenny Everett dug up, cut up
4. McFly remove their pants
5. Gordon Smart fixates on Dolly Parton's breasts
6. Other people's best-of-2010 lists
7. The American Music Awards
8. Amy Lee describes how she'd kill Britney Spears
9. Strokes side project to include Binki Shapiro
10. Gordon Smart creates chart battle between Take That & Foster & Allen; world ignores it

These were, well, recent-ish releases:

Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts - Manhattan

Download Los Bolts

The Chills - Silver Bullets

Download Silver Bullets

Ryan Adams - 1989

Download 1989

El Vy - Return To The Moon

Download Return To The Moon

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mercury Music Prize 2015

It's interesting to note that the Mercury has reached a point where it's not got a sponsor as such, any more, and is "in association with BBC Music". It's a fair enough way to spend a small slice of licence fee (probably a better return on investment than the BBC Music Awards) but must be strange that the second highest profile music award in the UK can't attract an above the line sponsor.

Anyway, this year's winner is Benjamin Clementine's At Least For Now. It might be coincidence, but a lot of the BBC Four coverage found space to celebrate the 'curse of the Mercury' winners - Speech Debelle, Roni Size, Ms Dynamite - and in a way that challenged the 'last seen leaving the ceremony with a cheque for £20k, and disappeared' narrative. Perhaps a partnership with a cultural organisation like the BBC rather than the marketing department of a bank is allowing the Mercury to at last be comfortable about not caring about sales, and focus on the value of the recordings.

Benjamin was so warm in his victory, too - first inviting all the other shortlisted artists on stage; then dedicating his win to the victims of the Paris Attacks, before being overcome with emotion. Genuinely, you feel that the prize couldn't have gone to a nicer man.

Eurovision 2016: First homophobic artist selected

For some reason, every round of Eurovision seems to come with some far-right tosspot or another being selected to go and do a song. This time round, it's Germany who have put forward a homophobic anti-semite to sing for them.

Xavier Naidoo, an R&B singer of mixed Indian, African and German heritage, was named by the ARD public broadcaster as Germany’s entry for the 2016 Eurovision contest in Stockholm.
But the choice was criticised by politicians and activists who said his lyrics suggest homosexuals are paedophiles and contain anti-Semitic slurs.
Xavier appeared at a Far Right rally for Germans who believe that somehow Germany is shaped like the Hitler vision of Germany, and that the Weimar German constitution remains in force. (If they really believed this, they'd be trying to pay for bread with pianos.)

Oddly, not everyone has suggested that it's a terrible idea:
“I am sure Xavier will be a worthy representative at the Eurovision,” Nicole, a German singer who won the contest in 1982, said.

“I like his music a lot and I find it great that an established artist has the courage to compete on the international stage.”
Nicole's Eurovision winner was, obviously, a Little Peace. Which turns out to have meant a little piece of Poland.

I wish I was on Ken Bruce (With rotation on Jo Whiley)

Sandi Thom's heart-string-tugging video complaining that she wasn't on Radio 2 got a bit overshadowed by events last weekend.

To be fair, 'Sandi Thom posts self-pitying video to Facebook' is the sort of story which would have been overshadowed by reports of a fifteen-minute delay to services on the Cambridge guided busway, so it's not surprising her pleas for fairness didn't get full attention as stories started to come in from Paris.

Thom has, in case you missed it, pulled a Status Quo, assuming she had some sort of divine right to be on Radio 2's playlist with her new single. Her birthright denied her, she has elected to stop making music (or, in other words, bring her life into line with the position we'd assumed she'd reached several years back):

“I am done with this industry. I am fucking sick and tired of having to sit on the edge of my seat waiting for these people to come back and tell me their verdict of whether this song is going to be a success,” she said in the video, which was later taken down from the social network.

"Honest to God I'm fucking sick to death of the bullshit this industry pulls on people like me and I've had it. Enough. I'm done.

"Fuck you Radio 2. Fuck you Bauer network and fuck the lot of you."
The suggestion that maybe she might try to make a better single next time seems to have passed her by.

Are Radio 2 being unfair? Not really; Thom hasn't released a single since 2013; she hasn't scraped the top 40 singles since 2006; and nobody's bothered to update the list of her albums on Wikipedia since 2012. It's not really Radio 2 saying that the new record won't be a success; it's the form book.

What's especially toothsome about this whole thing is that Thom was launched - well, relaunched - as a vanguard of How The Internet Changes Things, with those live stream sessions in her basement online years back. I say "her basement" - notably, the basement was constructed on the same backlot they used to fake the moon landings. But to go from sitting on MySpace disrupting the music industry to swearing on Facebook because the music industry has disrupted you back is the circle of life.

As you'd expect, Thom has received a backlash, some of which has been bullying and unfair, some of it fair comment. Thom seems vaguely surprised there was any response at all. She told The National:
“A lot of the people commenting were men and a lot of them, which is sad to me, were Scottish.
I'm not sure Thom really would prefer it if people who didn't like her came exclusively from Wales.
“It has been mad. I had to tell myself not to take a lot of it personally. I have been here before and I didn’t do anything to deserve it – it just feels like ‘round two, ding ding’. It’s tough for my family – my mum has really struggled with reading some of the things about me.
That must be hard, and - this being the internet - a lot of people went too far, too harshly, and too quickly. But...
Thom, who plays in London tonight, added: “I’m pretty outspoken, I don’t tend to teeter round the edges and smile in all the right places. It’s easier to say nothing than it is to speak out.
You can't, surely, put a video out telling the BBC, the commercial networks and "the lot of you" to get fucked, and praise yourself for being blunt speaking and unafraid to take a stand, while also complaining that people take a stand back at you, can you?
“I was called a brat – I’ve worked my arse off for years and these people don’t appreciate that. They don’t know about my life and how hard I’ve worked.
But this is, sadly, irrelevant. The guy who plays the drums night after night after night on a cabaret cruise liner is also working really hard in music, but that doesn't mean that Chris Evans should have him on the programme to drum. And if you're putting so much effort in, and not getting anywhere... well, it's harsh, but maybe you're wasting that effort?
“I don’t know how many people have messaged me privately and said they agree, but they won’t say it publicly. Everybody shoots the messenger.”
This is a lovely - the implication that there might be thousand upon thousand of secret Thom supporters, quivering in seclusion; uncountable even to Thom such are their numbers.

It might have been better if she'd not accidentally implied that she'd shot the people who had contacted her via Messenger, but let's set that aside and just breathe in that claim:

Everybody shoots the messenger.

This is often true; but it's a phrase usually used when a person has attempted to reveal something unpleasant but important. Thom seems to think that "waaah waaah Radio 2 won't play my song" is a communication on a par with the dangers of thalidomide, or the risk of global warming, or bullying in the Tory Party, or sexual misconduct in the Liberal Democrats.

She seems to be saying that the people who responded to her video by comparing her to Les from Creme Brulee are punishing her because the truth that Jeremy Vine won't be cueing her up to lead into a discussion of the Autumn Spending Review is a truth too harsh for us to look at directly.

Maybe time will prove her right.

(It won't.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Folding magazines: Three titles shutter

None music magazines, although all had connections (greater or lesser) with music - Details, FHM and Zoo have all run out of time today.

Bauer is officially only suspending FHM and Zoo, although it's pretty clear that they're not coming back in any meaningful form. FHM long ago lost its ability to write about music in an interesting way; Zoo never had it.

Meanwhile, in the US, Conde Nast has decided that maintaining Details and GQ is one aftershave-and-cufflink title too many, so it won't sweat the Details any longer. Around the turn of the century, Details would do a regular music issue, and ran a series of sampler CDs, but recently it's been focusing more firmly on the 'men who have an ironing board' market.

He probably did think the song was about him, and correctly so

Carly Simon has surprised nobody by confirming that, in part, You're So Vain is about Warren Beatty:

The singer, 70, tells PEOPLE that the second verse of her famous song refers to none other than Warren Beatty.

"I have confirmed that the second verse is Warren," she tells PEOPLE in an interview pegged to her much-anticipated memoir, Boys in the Trees, to be released later this month.
Nobody surprised, perhaps, apart from the poor sap who paid a fortune in an auction to be told the secret of the song. He might want a refund now.

Monday, November 16, 2015

This isn't a post about the Bataclan

This isn't a post about the Bataclan.

This isn't a post about the Bataclan, because there shouldn't need to be one.

This isn't a post about the Bataclan, because what do you say?

This isn't a post about the Bataclan, because anything you could say is redundant.

This isn't a post about the Bataclan, because why would you need to write a blogpost to say that shooting people in a venue is cruel and evil.

This isn't a post about the Bataclan, because we're humans, and it should be taken as read that our hearts weight heavy, our senses appalled, that we embrace all who lost dear friends and sweet relatives that night.

This isn't a post about the Bataclan, because there is nothing we can say to take away the pain,, to unwind what happened.

This isn't a post about the Bataclan, because they wanted us to focus on what they did; how easily, how lazily they attacked the softest of targets.

This isn't a post about the Bataclan, because they want it to be.

This isn't a post about the Bataclan, because it's a post about the future, about saying 'fuck you' to people who want to steal away our experiences.

This isn't a post about the Bataclan, because it's an affirmation of life, of love, of enjoyment, of going to places in the dark to watch bands, of helping the people next to you when the audience surge lifts them off their feet or when a too-drunk man tries to get through to the front; of being giddy with the joy of getting lost in the moment, in the crowd, in the music, in the dark.

This isn't a post about the Bataclan. This is a post about love.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What now for McBusted?

Ah, the sweet joy of BBC News innocently exploring how Charlie Simpson decided to rejoin Busted without once including the phrase "it can be embarrassing to have all your credit cards declined while trying to buy a donut". But that's almost certainly closer to the answer than the "offical" explanation:

On all that Newsbeat interview where he said he would never get back with Busted, Simpson said: "I reckon I said it 20 more times than that, privately and publicly, and I meant it every single time.

"But as I say I have changed my mind and that has been down to the circumstances changing. I never thought we would get to a point where we were in a studio writing music we all got behind creatively and that was a huge shock to me.
"also, it was nice to be in a room where there was heating. I'd forgotten central heating."

I'm probably being unfair. I'm sure the desire to pick up artistically from where that Thunderbirds movie theme left off was the overwhelming desire.

The big question, though, is where does this leave McBusted? Because there was a project which had "we wouldn't be doing this if we didn't have to" scrawled all over it, and now they don't.

Someone is trying to sell a CD/Vinyl Fightstar release for £65 on ebay. It's signed, so that's probably knocked a few quid off the asking price, but still doesn't seem to be priced to move. (It claims it's the first ever vinyl/CD release, but I'm sure Peel played one of those in the 1990s).

An old friend reappears

Ah, it's been a while since we've sighted someone saying "hey, why does everyone think Morrissey's glum, he's actually very funny" as if that's not the whole point of Morrissey - in effect the "why does everyone focus on how wet the sea is, because if you taste it, it's actually quite salty" of music.

Turns out the thought isn't extinct, though. NME has one in the wild this week:

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Nick McCabe is literally a NIMBY

Nick McCabe, out of Verve and The Verve, has recently moved to Shropshire. He's not entirely happy, though, as builders are trying to smash into his view:

The site, between the Beechfields estate and the A41 Newport Bypass, is one of 100 areas supposed to be protected from development by Telford & Wrekin Council.

But that has not stopped developers Redrow from consulting the estate’s residents on a scheme for two, three and four bedroom houses.
McCabe is worried:
“When I was growing up I would be climbing trees and playing outside with friends, rather than sat at home watching TV and that is what I want for my son,” said Mr McCabe, 44
When you were a kid, Nick, there were only three channels and little choice but to go outside. It's not entirely clear that a field out the back is the thing that will swing the difference between playing on an X Box or not.

Busta Rhymes admits his crimes

Busta Rhymes has pleaded guilty to the most dull crime in the world, that of throwing a protein drink at a gym employee who wouldn't let him film his workouts. The case didn't come before a jury, because, jesus, who could give a hoot about it, seriously?:

On August 5th, Rhymes threw a protein shake at a Steel Gym employee who ran the gym's front desk, a culmination of two days of arguments between Rhymes and the victim. After the rapper wasn't allowed to bring in a videographer to tape his workouts, Rhymes returned the following day and once again got into a heated disagreement with the employee. After purchasing the beverage – later confirmed to be a chocolate-flavored Muscle Milk – the rapper splashed water in the employee's face, who responded by throwing water back in Rhymes' direction.
The Muscle Milk ended up being thrown at the gym bloke, giving him a tiny cut.

Rhymes will attend anger management classes as part of a plea deal. Let's hope he doesn't try to take a videographer to film his anger managing. And the incident won't appear on Rhymes' record:
"The criminal charges, especially charging him with a felony, was a bunch of bull," Rhymes' lawyer Scott Leemon told the New York Times. "Busta and I are glad the district attorney's office agreed to drop all the criminal charges."
Hmm. Sounds like someone else could do with some help to manage their anger.

Ozzy Osbourne apologises for pissing on the Alamo

Perhaps the most creative thing Ozzy has ever done in his career advertising butter substitutes and staggering around a house in perpetual confusion like some sort of highly-drugged performing bear is pissing on the Alamo.

Now, he's said sorry for doing that. Although he's not doing it through contrition, but to help promote a godawful history programme he's doing for The History Channel:

Osbourne told 'The Pulse of Radio' "Anything past World War II, I'm clueless. I'm kind of up on World War II 'cause I was born a couple of years after. So I know quite a lot about World War II and Hitler and the Nazis and all that."

"But anything from before or after I don't know anything about. So we're going to Mount Rushmore, we're going to the abandoned silos where you guys, America used to have their Minutemen missiles and all that. It's quite educational for me, actually."
This is bollocksy stuff - you don't really need to understand the history of a national monument to decide not to piss all over it. Museums and visitor attractions, it's fairly safe to assume, aren't really set up on a dual mission - there's no sign outside Mesa Verde saying "understand the Ancestral Puebloans a little better, or take a dump if you've never heard of them".

More to the point, given how wasted Osbourne was during those years, even if he'd been at an animatronic reconstruction of the Yalta Conference, it's likely he'd still have whizzed all over it, despite remembering when Nazis weren't quite history.

Osbourne has yet to apologise for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.

SXSW killer gets life

A jury has found Rashad Owens guilty of capital murder.

Owens drove his car into crowds at last year's SXSW, killing four and injuring dozens. His defence team argued that he hadn't intended to kill, but had merely panicked after being chased by police, but jurors were convinced by prosecution arguments that, had this been true, he would have stopped when he started hitting people. Owens had actually sped up once he hit the crowd.

He will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole.

There's a new Coldplay album, everyone

At first, I assumed this from the BBC website was an early review of A Head Full Of Dreams:

- but then I realised that there's going to be a lot more boring songs on the album than that.

There was a useful capsule review on Twitter, though:

Horrifying as this news is, it makes a bit of sense and you can't help wishing that maybe Coldplay and Oasis had merged back in the early days of the century, so we could have concentrated on avoiding just one lumbering beast.

Could the prospect be made any less appealing, though, than this hooking up of Gallagher with Coldplay? Oh, yes. Yes, it can:
Coldplay have explained how Guns N' Roses influenced their new track 'Adventure Of A Lifetime'.
Now, you're probably thinking what I did - "presumably like Guns N Roses they realised they'd reached the end of what their basic talents would allow, and decided to try and disguise it with overblown pomposity?" - but that's not quite it:
Martin continued: "I’d been begging Jonny [Buckland] our guitarist for years to make a riff that I like as much as 'Sweet Child O' Mine' by Guns N' Roses, then he showed me that one, and I was like, 'That's it!' So those elements all came together, and we just wanted to kind of embrace our love of joyful music and sort of let it free."
"Why don't you write something I like as much as Sweet Child O' Mine" shows a surprising level of self-awareness on Martin's part, assuming that he realises he's admitting that nothing Coldplay have yet recorded is as good as that. (To be fair, he could also ask Buckland why he doesn't do something as good as Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats And Dogs for the same reason.)

So, a bright new Coldplay album out at the start of December. Start practising your "oh, this gift is just what I wanted" faces, gang.

Punkobit: Brandon Carlisle

Brandon Carlisle, drummer with Teenage Bottlerocket, has died.

His twin and co-Bottlerocket Ray Carlisle announced on Facebook:

With a heavy heart I regret to inform everyone that my twin brother Brandon Carlisle didn't make it. This is the saddest day of my life. I'm having a difficult time accepting the reality of all of this. We lost Brandon. I don't even know what to write. I feel so sad. I'm going to come up with something better to say when I'm more collected. I will let everyone know when and where the funeral will be. The amount of support Brandon has gotten during the last 72 hours has been crazy! Thank you to everyone for the kind words and prayers for my brother and for my family. So many good vibes were sent our way and it really helped all of us through everything. I can't stop crying.
Brandon had been found in a coma by his roommate on Tuesday; a crowdsourced medical bills page had been established.

Teenage Bottlerocket formed in Laramie, Wyoming in 2001. Ray recalled the band's early days in an interview with Vanyaland earlier this year:
My brother Brandon and I were in a band called Homeless Wonders and we started out sort of sounding like Screeching Weasel, then we got into ska music so we were writing songs that sounded like Less Than Jake and Slapstick and when the band broke up we were doing something in the veil of Fugazi and At The Drive-In. We sort of saw the scene follow that and we got mixed up as far as writing music was concerned because we were mixed up thinking that showing off how good you were at your instrument and using words in your lyrics that people didn’t understand. A lot of things started to be prevalent in the scene and we thought it was OK to that too.

When we started Teenage Bottlerocket, we were just like “Screw that, we’re gonna wear leather jackets, we’re putting our Chuck Taylors back on and we’re writing songs that are meaningful to us and it’s gonna sound like this.” We stuck to a three chord format and since it was a new band at the time we knew we had the opportunity to sound like whatever the hell we wanted to sound like. Especially in Colorado and Wyoming, we came out in a time where people we like “Oh my god, you guys sound like that, what’s this?”. The older people like Chad Price in All and our friends in The Nobodys down in Colorado Springs, they all paid attention right away. They were all like “Holy crap, we really love this new 7″, this new band you have is sensational.” A lot of those older guys encouraged us to keep on going and it meant the world to us that people like Chad Price liked our band. Like you said, I think Teenage Bottlerocket came across at a time where whole Ramones three chord thing was done. That kind of helps inspire the songs as well.
The band has released six albums and toured with NOFX and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. They were also part of last year's Warped Tour - something that the earlier version of the band might have raised a surprised eyebrow at.

Brandon had another band, That Guy, for whom he sang.

Friday, November 06, 2015


The lovely Ash boys are currently offering one of those tracks-for-emails deals whereby you drop off an email, and they give you a small acoustic collection from their new album.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Stone Roses drag out new announcement like they dragged out that second album

Mysterious (not that mysterious) posters have appeared around Manchester, causing Stone Roses fans to forget how bad Ian Brown's voice is live all over again. Look-In ("NME") reports:

Fans of The Stone Roses are speculating this morning about activity from the band after a series of posters carrying the band's lemon logo appeared around Manchester.

Images of the lemon, which has appeared on the band's posters and album artwork in the past, have appeared around Manchester with sightings confirmed at Close barber's shop on Greater Ancoats Street and the Vinyl Revival record store on Hilton Street.

Eagle eyed fans have spotted that there are 16 lemons on each poster and are speculating that this means an announcement about 2016 is imminent.
Well, yes. Of course it's going to be about 2016, unless they're going to haul ass in a very non-Stone Roses way.
The posters appear in several shops in the Northern Quarter area of the city. One shop keeper told Manchester Evening News that he had been "sworn to secrecy about an announcement due in the next 24 hours".
Telling the MEN that there's an announcement coming in 24 hours isn't really suggesting you've got the hang of this "sworn to secrecy" business.

Of course, last time round, it was Gordon Smart who got most excited. Is he excited now?
Gordon Smart, editor of the Scottish Sun, has also speculated that two gigs at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium could be in the pipeline. "I've felt a disturbance in the force @thestonerosesofficial blue seats, two nights, baggy jeans and a beanie hat...", he wrote on Instagram.
So two nights at Man City's ground, then? That's probably ruined all the speculation, hasn't it?

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Touting is okay if you're a business, right?

The business of "secondary ticketing" - which might look like touting to you or I, except it's done by men in suits sitting in offices rather than shady looking blokes outside stations bellowing "One Direction BIIIIII OR SELLLL" - is being investigated by the government right now.

The Line of Best Fit has everything you need to know, including the depressing likely outcome:

Unfortunately, it looks like a lot of major businesses and MPs are already attempting to sweep the consulation under the carpet, thus removing the public's right to share their opinion. Sajid Javid - the UK's Business Secretary, no less - even describes touts as "classic entrepreneurs".
Philip Davies is also expressing his opinions:
He says of secondary ticketing regulations: "Needless intervention is not the answer and will only serve to drive many consumers away from safe online platforms and into the arms of street touts."
Davies, you might remember, is the hooting arse-arrangement who most recently filibustered to stop carers being able to park free at hospitals, so it's perhaps unsurprising that someone incapable of compassion is going to bring much to the table in the way of common sense.

TLOBF also report on another shady bit of activity:
StubHub is also resorting to unscrupulous practices. They've created Fan Freedom UK to lobby for further reforms - and, apparently, "analysis of their Twitter shows that over 90% of their followers are fake".
Now, Fan Freedom started out as US thing - hilariously, they've allowed their domain name to lapse in the last couple of days, but has a grab, and they're still active on Facebook. They have a discussion policy which includes a ban of spam, which is ironic for an organisation which is basically one huge advert. They have a petition, which - while acknowledging their origins as floating on a sea of StubHub cash, starts by enthusing over their supporters:
Fan Freedom is supported by more than 150,000 live event fans, and is backed by leading consumer and business organizations such as the American Conservative Union, National Consumers League, Consumer Action, the Institute for Liberty, and the League of Fans.
Yes, that's right. Almost as if they forgot the whole "we're the voice of the fans" schtick, they start their list of supporters with a right-wing lobbying organisation.

What of the British cousin? They actually have managed to keep control of their own website, so that's a plus.
Fan Freedom UK is an organisation dedicated to fighting for the consumer rights of fans, specifically around ticketing issues. As part of this, we represent all kinds of people who enjoy live entertainment – from fans who sit in the rain week in and week out to watch their team, to music fans who stay out until the early hours to enjoy the bands they love.
From the fans who get up in the middle of the night to check their money is still there, to the fans who spend a lot of time talking to accountants and lobbyists to protect the money they love.

Like their American model, though, they don't do very much to hide the fact that they're actually a bunch of lobbyists - there's a proud "supported by Parliament Street" banner on their site, and Parliament Street are a swivel-eyed right-wing thinky tank:
We are a think tank rooted in the values of freedom. We think beyond the current policy agenda and look towards the debates that are likely to be formed by the next generation in government. We don’t have a corporate view beyond our values.
They're chaired by Craig Rimmer, who, his bio proudly proclaims:
He was Head of Information at Conservative Central Office during William Hague’s leadership.
You'll remember amongst the "information" that came out of the Tory party during what I suppose we could loosely describe as Hague's leadership was the claim that voting for Tony Blair would result in the abandonment of the pound. This was only a marginally less credible claim about losing pounds than those of Marjorie Dawes.

So, somehow, on both sides of the Atlantic, the authentic voice of people who go to gigs seems to be being filtered through extremely well-paid lobbyists, all of whom are hell-bent on right-wing, state-shrinking policies.

If these "voices" get their way, it's not going to make secondary ticketing any better. We're more likely to end up with only secondary agencies being allowed to buy tickets directly. To save us from the touts, of course.

Stop this bollocks from happening by adding your actual voice to the consultation. Don't let right wing thinky tanks steal your front row slot.

This week just gone

The most-read October things:

1. The Mercury Prize shortlist
2. Ugly Kid Joe have returned
3. What the pop papers say: NME bigs Moyles
4. Lauren Mayberry doesn't want your proposals
5. Joe Elliott doesn't like streaming
6. RIP: Carey Lander
7. The iPod is 14
8. RIP: Joe Moss
9. Gene Simmons doesn't like the modern world
10. RIP: Jim Diamond

These were the interesting releases from the Friday before:

Mogwai - Central Belters

Download Central Belters

Julien Baker - Sprained Ankle

Download Sprained Ankle

Various - Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia Presents Pyzk

Joanna Newsom - Divers

Download Divers

Tracey Thorn - Solo

Download Solo

Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars

Download Thank Your Lucky Stars

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Justin Bieber mops, then mopes

Terrible scenes from Oslo, where a Justin Bieber gig ends early after, um, fans wouldn't let him mop up some water:

Justin Bieber left fans in Oslo disappointed when he stormed off stage after performing just one song, due to a spilled water incident.

After the water was spilt, the singer bent down in an attempt at cleaning it up.

He asked fans to leave him alone, but video shows girls in the front rows filming him and grabbing at his clothes as he tried to mop the water up.
The failure to allow him to demonstrate his mopping skills frustrated wee Justin, who flounced offstage and didn't come back.

Later, he issued a statement via Instagram (Instagram!) where he looked like he might take responsibility for his actions but... well, obviously it was the fault of the people at the front:
Sadly it's Been a rough week for me, long days no sleep, while having to be "on" as they would say for cameras fans etc. In no way did I mean to come across mean, but chose to end the show as the people in the front row would not listen. Hopefully people will understand where I am coming from. I don't always handle things the right way but I'm human and I'm working on getting better at responding not reacting. Unfortunately people were affected by this as am I. For the people in the back I am so sorry and for anyone I may have disappointed im sorry. Sorry for wasting the tv people's time I'll be sure to make it up to you next time on tour.. With love Justin.
Man, all he wanted to do was mop the floor, but people wouldn't let him mop the floor. This might be the first time in history a child has thrown a tantrum because they weren't allowed to clean up their own mess.