Monday, February 25, 2019

Bombay Bicycle Club

I have always maintained a curious interest in Bombay Bicycle Club. Flirting with the oblivion offered by the flu gave me the opportunity to acquire three of their albums/cds/releases in a way that did not bankrupt me, so I am going to give them a proper evaluation.

Bands come and go, and their impact is difficult to gauge. I know that in the 2000s I had a healthy liking for a band called Goldrush, but it would seem that they have disappeared. The rest of the music from that era just passed me by. I never got into the Arctic Monkeys or The Libertines like I probably should have, and everything else from that whole decade just seemed weird. Then there are these albums and I don’t even know when they were made. I think this is a band that straddled the 2000s and 2010s, from what I see on the labels, but who knows anymore?

I always give the new stuff a chance. There aren’t enough great bands! You have to keep searching for new music. I know, I’m an idiot. But I have new music to listen to, so I can’t be all bad.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Peter Tork 1942-2019

If you preferred the Monkees to the Beatles, who could blame you?

The reason why the Monkees were successful is because the Beatles started to become “difficult.” They went from straightforward pop songs to experimental psychedelia, and into that stepped the so-called “fake band” that was designed to milk an American audience that couldn’t get enough of the British Invasion.

I preferred the Monkees, of course, because I was exposed to them as something that was already finished. I grew up in the 70s, and we experienced The Monkees as a syndicated TV show. There was more of it to consume because of that. You could watch the shows and be entertained in a way that was more immediate. There wasn’t really the same thing for the Beatles, who were above syndicated TV. For everyone seeing them in prime time in the late 1960s, I guess they were something else. You could find their records in their shops, next to the ones everyone else was putting out. Why be snobbish about it? Plenty of people liked Herman’s Hermits more than the Beatles and the Stones. We have allowed the likes of Rolling Stone to change history on us. Pop music used to be fun. There didn’t have to be a hierarchy of things, a list of the best records of all time, a bullshit accounting of what was good and what should be ignored.

If you completely re-examine everything, and ignore what Jann Wenner incorporated has to say about the popular music of the 1960s, you come away with the belief that it’s okay to like what you like. The hell with whether it’s cool or not.

Well, the Monkees were real artists, real musicians, and really real, man. They were exactly that—the real deal, and they never got the credit they deserved for trying to make art at a time when selling out was frowned upon. They could have given the people what they wanted, but they refused. They became more difficult than the Beatles! But that’s okay.

Peter Tork was in the mix for all of it. His contributions were immense to the group’s success. But he was his own person and his own character. He wasn’t just some actor hired to be part of a rip-off TV show. He wrote songs, played a banjo in Greenwich Village, and lived the life of a Sixties musician.

This touching profile will tell you all you need to know. Peter was never the pain in the ass that Mike Nesmith became, and that’s okay. You can love the Monkees more than the Beatles and you can forgive them all for being “difficult” because that’s what art is. Art that isn’t difficult doesn’t last.

The Monkees? They have lasted.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Bob Mould Sunshine Rock

Leave it to Bob Mould to bring us yet another perfect album of hard hitting rock and roll songs.

Look at this thing. It’s beautiful.

I can’t wait to get this.

R.E.M. Should Reform and Protest Trump

If there is one thing that should get your old band back together, it should be to protest Trump and raise money for Democratic candidates.

R.E.M have responded to the fact that President Trump used their music in a meme on Twitter.

Trump had posted a meme that positions his latest State of the Union address against down-cast looking politicians including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders. The post was soundtracked to R.E.M’s 1993 track “Everybody Hurts.”

However, the clip posted from Trump’s account has since been removed from Twitter.

And the band weren’t happy about the use of their 1993 hit, making their thoughts about the American president clear.

They tweeted: “World Leader PRETEND!!! Congress, Media–ghost this faker!!! Love, R.E.M.”

Given the way they ended their time as a band, I don’t think it is feasible or possible to expect anything from them beyond what we’ve just seen (which is plenty!).

Thank goodness they spoke out and said what they said.

As for a reunion, well, don’t count on it. To me, it just seems like there is nothing that could bring R.E.M. back together. But, if there was one thing that could, it would be a desire to reform and make new music solely with the purpose of opposing Trumpism. I could see that as a justification for properly getting back together, given the band’s long history of being aligned with common sense and decency.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Sophie Ellis-Bextor The Song Diaries

There is new music on the way from Sophie Ellis-Bextor in March:

Sophie Ellis-Bextor ‘The Song Diaries’ – the new album out 15th March 2019

The Orchestral Greatest Hits

Pre-order the new album now & receive 5 tracks immediately including ‘Love Is You’ plus the Orchestral and Orchestral Disco Versions of ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ and ‘Take Me Home’. 19 incredible tracks including ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’, ‘GrooveJet’, Take Me Home’ plus ‘Love Is You’ 

The album includes orchestral versions of 6 x Top 10 hits plus many more fan favourites

“Joyous, exhilarating reinvention and reminiscence” - Evening Standard ****

Available on CD, Limited Deluxe Digipack CD, 180g Gatefold Double LP and Limited Edition Gatefold ‘Baby Blue’ Coloured Double LP

140g double LP, gatefold

1. GrooveJet (Orchestral Version)­­
2. Take Me Home (Orchestral Version)
3. Murder On The Dancefloor (Orchestral Version)
4. Move This Mountain (Orchestral Version) 
5. Music Gets The Best of Me (Orchestral Version)
6. Mixed Up World (Orchestral Version)
7. Catch You (Orchestral Version)
8. Me and My Imagination (Orchestral Version)
9. Today The Sun's On Us (Orchestral Version)
10. Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer) (Orchestral Version)
11. Bittersweet (Orchestral Version)
12. Not Giving Up On Love (Orchestral Version)
13. Young Blood (Orchestral Version)
14.Love Is a Camera (Orchestral Version)
15. Wild Forever (Orchestral Version)
16. A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed (Orchestral Version) (Bonus Track)
17. Love Is You (Bonus Track)
18. Take Me Home (Orchestral Disco Version) (Bonus Track) 
19. Murder On The Dancefloor (Orchestral Disco Version) (Bonus Track)

She has never been given her due in America, and sort of reminds me of another version of Kylie Minogue - a tremendous artist who lives in the pop/dance music/fashion world who should really be a bigger star but sort of already is.

Every band should sell their own tea towel.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Your Money is Gone

Pledge Music took money from fans and was supposed to turn around and give that to bands so they could make music. Guess what? That money is either all gone or mostly gone because it’s 2019 and motherfuckers like to spend cash on stuff no honest person can afford:

"These conversations, if successful....would allow us to meet all of our outstanding obligations"

Crowdfunding website PledgeMusic has issued a further statement in response to musicians claiming that they haven’t received the money they’d fundraised via the platform.

Since its formation in 2009, the website has offered a platform for artists to receive funding from their fans for upcoming projects. Artists including WeezerSum 41 and Slash have all successfully launched albums using the platform in the past.

As Pitchfork reports, US band OhGr claimed that they were owed $100,000. Fastball also alleged that they were still owed over $21,000.

PledgeMusic issued a fresh statement on Saturday (February 1) to inform the public about its progress after formerly vowing to directly address the funding problems.

Part of the statement reads: “We are in discussions with several interested parties about a potential partnership with or acquisition of PledgeMusic. These conversations, if successful, would lead to a transaction which would allow us to meet all of our outstanding obligations. As a result, we are hopeful that, as long as the company is given some breathing space to operate, a solution to these current problems will be found.

Let me interpret all of that for you.

  • Pledge Music took your money.

  • They didn’t give it to the band you wanted to give it to.

  • They spent your money making their site, their headquarters, some shit they didn’t need, that guy’s salary, some nights on the town, the party they didn’t tell anyone about, the trips and bullshit that sounded cool, some computers, some servers, hey, shouldn’t we have someone control what we’re spending, nah, it’s a pyramid scheme, someone will bail us out, quit being a killjoy.

  • The money’s gone.

  • Some dudes might be cool and bail us out but guess what they’ll own us, aw, shit.

  • Hey, don’t call the cops, bro.

Reputable companies are going to take the hit because of what happened here, and some great bands are going to see their futures evaporate. Live within your margins! Make due with the gear you have. Live your best life and make music and don’t wait for someone to bail you out. Make shit happen for yourself.

Oh, and that pyramid scheme on the Internet? It’s a fucking pyramid scheme. I know that people don’t usually fall for pyramid schemes anymore, but, here’s the thing, if you are adamant that what you’re doing is not a pyramid scheme and that everyone is going to get their money eventually, it’s a pyramid scheme. Did I happen to mention that taking in money and then counting on people giving you money forever is just a form of pyramid scheme when you don’t have controls in place to ensure that all of the money taken in is separated out so that no one loses more than 10% of their investment? This form of cheating people seems to be a form of pyramid scheme, at least to some individuals. Did we cover that already? I’m sorry, I just didn’t want to repeat myself and fuel suspicion that what happened here might have possibly been what could be interpreted by some not all as a kind of pyramid scheme.