Friday, July 29, 2016

Pono is Dying a Slow Death




The Pono died a little bit more this week:

Pono’s companion music site, at ponomusic.com, abruptly went down over the weekend with apparently zero warning to users.  According to details now posted on the site, a broad range of higher-end downloads will be completely unavailable for several weeks, with no firm return date.

In a notice posted online, Pono blamed a backend problem with Omnifone, which has now been acquired.  Apparently the rugged got ripped out under Pono’s music hosting and delivery as a result, with the company scrambling to move backend providers.

Whether Omnifone reneged on a deal as a result of its acquisition, a renegotiation flatly failed, or some fight broke out between the companies is unclear.  Either way, Pono believers are now paying the price.  In a notice that has now replaced an entire store of higher-end downloads, Pono assured users that its core licensing with major labels remains in place.  But storing, delivering, and encoding all of those songs is the responsibility of the service, with Pono opted to outsource.

I don't know of any websites that send you a warning before they go belly up, but there it is. Someone decided to start their own ponosucks.com site and the general consensus is, thanks for nothing.

The Pono music player is based on the faulty notion that Baby Boomer ears are more sensitive and special than yours and can hear things in the music that normal human beings cannot comprehend. This has not lead to anything other than an offline website and a bunch of people who "own" some albums that they aren't going to be able to play anywhere else.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Waiting on the Replacements




Oh, so that's what's really going on with the Replacements:

How often do you speak with Paul Westerberg and are you two working on anything together? There was some talk of another Replacements record before the reunion ended.

You know, we exchange texts now that he’s actually got a cell phone. We exchange goofy pictures and texts about once a month. We never lost touch. We never went years without talking to one another. We always talked and had that sort of thing. It’s like your brother that you have a lot of history with — good and bad.

He’s a little bit older than me. There are certain witticisms that I reach out to him for. We did our thing. As far as anything together, we’ll probably play something together again. We never said we wouldn’t.

As for anything in the works? Not a thing.

I don't know about you, but the way I read that is that when everything settles down, the Replacements will probably put something out or go on tour again. There's nothing definite there, but there's nothing final in those remarks either.

In the interim, anything that Tommy Stinson puts out is going to be good, so you should just get it without questioning it first.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The George Harrison Estate Hits Back at Ivanka Trump




It's getting to be an epidemic. The Republicans are so loathsome and unpopular that no one decent wants them to use their music. Donald Trump refuses to stop using the music of the Rolling Stones. Last night, Ivanka Trump used a George Harrison song without seeking permission.

George Harrison's estate has condemned Donald Trump and the US Republican party for use of The Beatles' classic 'Here Comes The Sun' at the 2016 Republican National Convention. 

The song in question featured on the Fab Four's 1969 album 'Abbey Road' and was penned by Harrison. It was played to accompany Trump's daughter, Ivanka, onto the stage as she introduced her father. 

The ideas of the Republican Party are so reprehensible, even dead Beatles condemn them for stealing their message.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Jam Will Never Reform




This is a bit misleading:

The Jam nearly reunited last year for the first time since 1982, bassist Bruce Foxton has revealed.

Since splitting at their height 35 years ago, Paul Weller has remained adamant that the trio – also featuring drummer Rick Buckler - will never get back together.

But Foxton has revealed that there was an opportunity for the band to be seen together for the first time in public at The Jam’s memorabilia exhibition About The Young Idea, which ran at London’s Somerset House in 2015.

Asked if he, Weller and Buckler would ever be in the same room again, Foxton told Classic Pop: “That should have happened at Somerset House for the exhibition. I went with Paul on the press night, but Rick went when no-one else was there. That was a golden opportunity for Rick to turn up. No-one would have argued with the guy. We’d have posed for photos as the three of us and it would have been great. That was a near miss, and it’s a shame Rick didn’t show up.”

Foxton has renewed his friendship with Weller, who guests on Foxton’s recent solo album ‘Smash The Clock’. Foxton also played on Weller’s 2010 album ‘Wake Up The Nation’ and appeared on stage with him at London’s Royal Albert Hall that year.

The bassist had also been friends with Buckler, playing Jam songs together in the band From The Jam. But Buckler quit From The Jam shortly after Foxton and Weller became friends again.

Foxton said: “I don’t think I’ve ever fallen out with Rick, but he’d probably say differently. Now I’m good mates with Paul, it’s ironic that it’s gone awry with Rick. But I wish him all the best.”

There are two bands that are never, ever getting back together - The Smiths and The Jam. Everyone else is fair game for the reunion rumors. A reunion of the Jam would be one where they play songs together or record new music. Having the three of them in the same room is a press event, not a reunion.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Never Piss Off the Turtles




The first rule of show business is: Never Piss Off The Turtles.

Howard Kaylan of the Turtles and Flo and Eddie said in a post on Twitter July 18 there could be legal action against the Republican National Committee for its use of “Happy Together” at the Republican National Convention, which opened today in Cleveland, Ohio. “We never approved this use. Now we call the lawyers,” Kaylan, the Turtles' lead singer on the song, wrote.USA Today reported the song was played shortly after “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “The Pledge of Allegiance” to open the convention.

The Turtles are fierce litigators of their legacy, having been ripped off by AM Radio and everyone else since the late 1960s. You steal from the Turtles and you pull back a bloody stump with three lawyers and an entertainment judge strapped to your bloody stump.

The default setting for Republican politicians should be to play public domain patriotic music and nothing else. Everyone in the music business hates Republicans, even the self-professed Republicans who claim to have worked in the music business.

Oh My God No




Can't someone stop this?

Since 1999’s ‘Brand New Day’, Sting has recorded albums of lute music, classical music and Christmas carols, as well as reforming The Police for a two-year tour and writing Broadway musical The Last Ship.

The new album includes ‘Inshallah’ about refugees travelling to Europe and ‘One Fine Day’ about climate change. Sting said: “The biggest engine for migration will be climate. Millions of people will be looking for somewhere safe. I’m still in a bit of a depression about Britain leaving the EU for no good reason. At least the EU has a program to tackle climate change.”

The album will be out before the end of the year, and its guests include Jerry Fuentes and Diego Navaira of Tex-Mex band The Last Bandoleros as well as drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and guitarist Dominic Miller from Sting’s live band.

You know what this means, don't you? It means that Don Henley and Rod Stewart have to put out albums, too. Something tells me that Phil Collins is going to drop something on an unsuspecting public as well.

And, for the record, it's not a "pop" record if you've got a song about refugees on there. It's a political statement and you should probably just call it a concept album.

Led Zeppelin Are Coming After More of Your Money




I vaguely remember this being a pretty good collection of BBC session tracks:

Led Zeppelin are to release ‘The Complete BBC Sessions’, which includes a song not heard since it was first broadcast in 1969.

The 33-song album features a three-song session from March 1969, which had been unheard since it was first broadcast the following month. A fan who taped it from AM radio in Europe has come forward with a recording, which has been restored to releasable quality by guitarist Jimmy Page.

The session features the only performance of ‘Sunshine Woman’, which Led Zeppelin never otherwise recorded, as well as ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ and ‘You Shook Me’.

They've expanded this set to make it more "complete" after putting it out about twenty years ago. What's changed is that there is a market for the vinyl release, and so they're going to go after that without regard for anything else.  I'll probably acquire it by default, but, really--there are a slew of great Zeppelin shows that have only ever been available as bootlegs. Why not put those out instead?

Still missing is a complete accounting for everything that the Police did on the BBC (several concerts, numerous sessions, things of that nature) and an official release of BBC sessions by the Verve. I am a huge fan of the Ride and the House of Love releases, so we need more of this to come out. If you don't have the Jam or XTC at the BBC, you should probably get all of that, too.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bono Put His Hands Up Like Everyone Else




There's something a bit misleading about this article. It suggests that the police rushed to Bono's aid. That is simply not the case:

U2 frontman Bono was reportedly rescued by armed police while dining in a restaurant in Nice during last week's terror attacks in the French city.

Last Thursday night (July 14), a truck ploughed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the southern city. The crash left 85 people dead and 202 others injured. The driver of the truck Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was later shot dead by police and the incident is being treated as a terror attack.

The Mirror reports that Bono was on the terrace of La Petite Maison, a restaurant on the Nice seafront and near where the attack took place.

Bono was not given celebrity treatment, however. Once the police worked their way through the area, they had him put his hands on his head like everyone else before they let him go. There was a real fear in Nice on the night of the attack that there were others involved.

 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Azealia Banks is One of the Saddest People in Music




She's no mere troll--she's full on delusional:

Azealia Banks appears to have accused both Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga of plagiarism.

The rapper recently courted controversial after aiming racial and homophobic slurs towards Zayn Malik. She later apologised but not before being dropped from a UK festival booking.

Writing on Facebook, Banks has now alleged that Swift co-opted a nickname she invented for her 'Bad Blood' video and that Gaga took influence from her for the title of her 'Artpop' album.

In one Facebook post, Banks writes, "FUN FACT: "SLAY-Z" is a nickname given to Azealia Banks by one of her fans in 2014. a play on the Z in Banks' name, and her propensity to release consistently awesome music, the nickname was lifted from her twitter account and featured as one of the characters in Taylor Swift's 'Bad Blood' video. Azealia Banks reclaimed the nickname upon the arrival of of her self-released 2016 mixtape titled 'SLAY-Z'."

In a genre with virtually no originality whatsoever, accusing others of plagiarism is like calling out the water for being wet. This is about as much attention as Banks deserves.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

No Oasis Reunion For Now




The official symbol of Oasis is now a potato, for obvious reasons. And Noel Gallagher came out today and said that he would have let the other members carry on with the name Oasis if they had asked him.

I don't know if I buy that. I think the main condition would have been, "if you play my songs and call yourselves Oasis, then you will pay me."

And, what's more, who could blame him for insisting on being paid for the work that he did?

There will be an Oasis reunion one day. It'll probably be accidental or for charity (Warchild being only one example of their generosity), but it'll shock Britain and leave people scratching their heads. The only band you can guarantee won't reform are the Jam. If the Smiths reform in the next five years, it will be because some miracle happened.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Origami




Lush can have all my money.

This is an impressive set, and it compares favorably with the Chorus box set, which I absolutely love. There aren't many bands who can say that they're able to deliver their discography in one package anymore because there is the usual label switch to contend with. Lush, thankfully, did not leave 4AD and try to continue with a different music label so it makes it easy to put out something beautiful like this and have it be "complete" in every sense of the word. Now would be a good time for the BBC to issue a double or triple disc of their sessions and live shows.

All three of the studio albums and the two compilations? Wow.

 

Friday, July 8, 2016

People Are Noticing That YouTube Steals Stuff




It's about time:

The music industry’s latest effort to fight piracy might very well turn into a 21st century milestone for the Western world. But despite all the headlines, it can still be difficult to put a finger on what this dispute is about. After all, it can be framed in so many different ways. It’s a push for copyright law reform in the United States and Europe by massive coalitions of musicians, managers, labels, and organizations. It’s the latest struggle by artists and creators to control their work, wresting it back from the users and platforms they consider exploitative. And in perhaps its most controversial form, it’s The Music Industry vs. YouTube.

This issue hit the public consciousness in an unprecedented way in late June, largely thanks to artists of varying genres and levels of prominence calling for legislative change. In America, 180 musicians, along with major labels and a variety of music organizations, petitioned Congress to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which was enacted in 1998. Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, U2, and Lady Gaga signed it and so did ZHU, Gallant, Krewella, and Troye Sivan. A little over a week later, a whopping 1,000 artists signed a letter to the president of the European Commission, asking that the EC clarify “safe harbor” laws that “are misapplied to corporations that distribute and monetise our works,” the letter reads.

This kind of mass mobilization came on the heels of well-publicized comments by frustrated artists (some more so than others), including Nikki SixxBlondie’s Debbie HarryNelly FurtadoTrent Reznor, and The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney. These musicians have become the public faces of an industry-wide movement that has been snowballing for months, starting with the US Copyright Office’s call for a round of public comments on the DMCA’s “safe harbor” laws for a study announced in December 2015. They collected 92,400 comments in four months, including filings by music industry figures determined to have their say.

Twenty music organizations, including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, filed a joint comment as the “Music Community.” The three major labels – Universal Music GroupWarner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment – made their own filings. Separate comments also came from music managersrecording artists and songwriters, and a group of music creators led by T Bone Burnett. (Some prominent platforms that feature music and media uploaded by users – such as Google and SoundCloud – also filed comments.)

YouTube is really Google, and Google has more money than God, so good luck. There's plenty of content on YouTube that generates revenue. Music content should be removed unless it is of direct benefit to the artist who owns the recording. Paying royalties to a record company that inherited the rights to songs made thirty years ago is not exactly "artist friendly" either.

If you wrote the goddamned song, you should own the song. There's no reason why an album recorded in the late 1970s is still being used to generate revenue for a company that has found a way to avoid paying the artist who made the record a royalty. This is part of the mountain of bullshit, too. Not only is YouTube stealing from artists but so are the companies eager to make a quick deal with YouTube. Ownership belongs to the artist. There is no "record business" anymore, just conglomerates that ended up owning everything.

Break them up and distribute the rights and the revenue to the people who made the music in the first place.

 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Top Twenty Best Selling Albums in the UK




How many of these albums do you have?

I have seven of these - both of the Beatles' albums, Bob Marley, Oasis, Verve, Dire Straits and Pink Floyd. I do not own any of the others.

Two things shock me about this list. One, Shania Twain has a huge following in Britain and, two, the Simply Red album Stars was much more massive there than anywhere else. In America, it sold just north of 500,000 copies and this was from an album that didn't have a worldwide smash hit single. But, hey, lots of people bought it, so what do I know?

The Verve slip to number 18. If there is a massive re-release of Urban Hymns next year and a Verve reunion to push sales, it could climb back up there. I'm not especially counting on it, but the re-release of their first two albums this summer indicates to me that there is something special being planned. What that is, I do not know.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ginger Baker Blames John Bonham For His Heart Surgery




No, he did not:

Cream drummer Ginger Baker has undergone open heart surgery after being diagnosed with a heart condition.

Baker had revealed in March he was due to face the surgery, saying at the time that he hoped to be able to carry on drumming.

The drummer’s daughter Leda Baker said her father is “on the road to recovery” and was able to have a conversation the day after his surgery.
Read more at

Here's hoping the greatest of all the gadflies has a speedy recovery.