Showing posts with label Artists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Artists. Show all posts

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Fake It Flowers

There is nothing retro, fake or contrived about Beabadobee:

Two years ago, Beabadobee released ‘Coffee’, a spindly tale recorded in her bedroom in London. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a love for lo-fi heroes Daniel Johnston and Elliot Smith, its lullaby melodies and sweet lyrics of devotion (“I like it when you hold me tight”) depicted an attempt to abate the roughest of hangovers. The results are fairly unremarkable, a tentative display of the diary entry songwriting the teenager was beginning to explore. 

 Earlier this year, a dreary TikTok-favoured remix by Canadian lo-fi artist Powfu – in which he samples the twee chorus – brought the song and 20-year-old Beatrice Kristi to a wider audience; it was played a reported 4.1 billion times in March 2020. But the mantra for Bea has changed. No longer satisfied with playing it understated or the idea that her voice should be subdued, she’s got the guitars plugged in, the drums heavy and the influences outrageously blatant. As she put it at this year’s NME Awards: “We need more chicks on stage.”

The timing has been fortuitous. Finding inspiration in the home environment is now commonplace for the foreseeable future, but last year’s gnarly ‘Space Cadet’ EP saw her embrace her inner rock star beyond air guitaring in the bedroom mirror. The unashamed ‘I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus’ saw her pay her dues to the Pavement frontman, while Sonic Youth got a stylistic look-in (though no name check) on ‘She Plays Bass’ and ‘Are You Sure’. A handful of headline shows – one had enough ticket requests to fill Brixton Academy, not the 150-capacity upstairs room of the London pub in which they were actually held – saw her capitalise on the hype, as did arena support slots with Dirty Hit label mates The 1975.

Getting five stars from the NME is still a big deal so that's why I wanted to highlight this brand new artist. Music is about looking forward and looking for new artists. It's great when your favorite band from thirty years ago gets a chance to put out new music. It's even better when you can mix all that in with someone who is a legitimate artistic talent.  

Monday, August 24, 2020

I Wanna Destroy You

This is the sort of thing I can get behind. 

Out 8/29 for @recordstoreday’s RSD Drop: 40th anniversary gatefold double 45 of #TheSoftBoys’ 𝗜 𝗪𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗮 𝗗𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗼𝘆 𝗬𝗼𝘂 single and 𝗡𝗲𝗮𝗿 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗼𝗳𝘁 𝗕𝗼𝘆𝘀. Latter includes two @RobynHitchcock-penned originals & a #SydBarrett cover.

A wonderful double single by The Soft Boys, courtesy of one of the best record labels in America, Yep Roc.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Tim's Twitter Listening Parties

Tim Burgess of the Charlatans (and a fair number of solo endeavors) has been entertaining the hell out of people by hosting his listening parties online. This has turned into a huge deal, and artists are receiving real-time feedback on things they recorded decades ago.
Tim's Twitter Listening Party, the interactive listening parties for classic albums featuring commentary from the artists who made them, was created by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans and have been going since COVID-19 lockdown took hold in March. The western world is starting to open back up, but the listening parties are still going, almost daily, with events going though June and a few scheduled for July.
New additions since our last post include: Arab Strap's Philophobia (6/14), Stars' Set Yourself on Fire(6/18) The Magic Numbers' self-titled debut (6/19), Gruff Rhys' Pang! (6/21), 808 State's Ex:El (6/24), Kate Nash's Made of Bricks (6/25), ABC's Beauty Stab (6/26), Maximo Park's A Certain Trigger (6/27), The Pogues' Red Roses for Me (6/27), The Waterboys' Fisherman's Blues (6/28), David Bowie's Aladdin Sane (6/28) and Joy Division's Closer (7/18).
What I love about the listening parties is the diversity and the emphasis on eliminating negativity. Burgess is a perfect host with great taste. You don't need anything else.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Why is Radiohead Going After Lana Del Rey?

Anyone who has ever used an F chord should probably run and hide because Radiohead's lawyers are going to come after them:

Lana Del Rey has responded to reports that she is being sued by Radiohead for copyright infringement.

This weekend, it was alleged that the ‘Born To Die’ singer was accused of copying elements of their 1993 hit ‘Creep’ on her ‘Lust For Life’ album track ‘Get Free’. It’s the final song on the number one record, which also includes the single ‘Love’.

According to The Sun, “both teams are trying to thrash it out behind the scenes to prevent it going to court.”

The source added: “It’s understood that Radiohead’s team are hoping for the band to either receive compensation or be credited on the list of songwriters to receive royalties.”

I say, go to court.

The songs, while similar, are certainly not identical. Radiohead's Creep is based on the formula that the Pixies used--soft, then loud, with crunchy guitars and dark subject matter. And, since it came out on 1993, you could even lay it at the feet of grunge.

Lana Del Rey's track uses a very similar chord progression, but, to me, this is not a rip-off by any stretch of the imagination. What throws people is the pace of the song. Suffice it to say, without the distorted, slashing guitar break before the chorus, no one would remember Creep at all. Lana Del Rey didn't copy the most identifiable aspect of Radiohead's song.

This has to be something the lawyers cooked up. Why would anyone in Radiohead need to go after Del Rey's money? This is crazy. She should have never offered them a penny and she should have forced them to sue her in open court. I hope their suit crashes and I hope she wins.


Well, is there a lawsuit or not? Is there a dispute or not? If Lana Del Rey says that she's being sued, why would anyone doubt that? Apparently, she isn't being sued. She's being shaken down, or that's what it looks like to me.

Who the hell knows? This article does not shed any light on the matter, other than pointing out Radiohead did, in fact, steal Creep from the Hollies.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

How Can Wolf Alice Make it in America?

Wolf Alice are set to play huge festivals in 2018. They are coming off the release of their second album, Visions of a Life, and this tour should be the one that breaks them in the U.S.

Notice anything?

Eleven days in North America? Really?

They're back in 2018:

Eight days, this time.

How do you expect to make it in America if you're only willing to spend 19 days promoting your latest album? I would hope that popular demand would leave room to add some shows. I don't understand this strategy. I would think that this is a band that could pull in a huge crowd in the Northeast. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought they were bigger than this.

They're playing with Guns and Roses, Foo Fighters, and Queens of the Stone Age, to name a few. And that's great--I hope they win people over. Why aren't they headlining?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stop Nagging the Man Already

I think that, from now on, Noel Gallagher should just walk out of interviews when the subject of an Oasis reunion comes up:

“I’ve been very consistent about it,” Noel told Q. “I don’t need the money, I don’t need the glory, I don’t need to relive the memories. If I was to get Oasis back together tomorrow and then do a tour, I’d have a hundred million dollars in the bank but I’d have learnt fuck all.”

“I’d have actually wasted a year of being in the studio with a person like David Holmes. It would be the death of me as a person.”

Gallagher added: “I could understand if we were a band who’d been going for five years and were just at out peak, but Oasis have got no unfinished business. We did it. We fucking did it, and then some. It’s done.”

He's been very even-keeled about it over the years, and with every new project, the subject is always going to dominate the coverage of what he's doing. 2018 is clearly going to be about touring the third solo album and watching to see if it sells in America. And there's nothing wrong with that--why would there be?

The way to elevate Oasis, in Gallagher's mind, seems to be in how he's going about the discussions of the possibility of reuniting. He wants Oasis to join The Jam and The Smiths at the pinnacle of great bands who moved on with things and never got back together. That's really the only thing that explains it for me.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A War Upon the Arts is Brewing

One of the inherent dangers of normalizing the Trump Regime is that it will be possible to attack the arts when they reflect the evil that has been unleash on America:

An inflatable pig with Donald Trump's face on the side. Screens that show doctored images of the President throwing up. Photos of Trump with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a big baby, and as Hitler.

They're just a few of the images music fans can catch on Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters' 54-date North American tour, "Us + Them," which kicked off on May 26 and coincides with the release of Water's first studio album in 25 years, "Is This the Life We Really Want?"

The political nature of his show, Waters told CNN, is a calculated and defiant response to what he calls the "charade" of the American presidency.

In an interview with Michael Smerconish, the 73-year-old Waters said he has no regrets about turning parts of his 2 1/2-hour performance into what the CNN host described as just "as much an anti-Trump rally as a rock concert."

"It would be a lot easier to be on tour if I wasn't doing any of this, if I didn't have opinions," said Waters, a longtime Trump critic.

The positions that Waters has taken are no different than they were in the early 1980s. He is an artist who has consistently skewered politics and fascism and cults of personality. The danger for Waters is that his stance on Israel can be weaponized against him. The Trump people could easily paint him as an anti-Semite (quite a few people have tried over the years) and the media will probably let them get away with it.

Why would Waters sit down with a turd like Michael Smerconish? I have no idea. But the demonization of anyone who uses art to explain the damage Trump has done to America is well underway.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Is Anybody Ever Really Happy?

Run screaming from a real band with real guitars, you pop star freaks:

And yet, here we are, almost exactly a decade after their first comeback gig, discussing the new Jesus and Mary Chain album, Damage and Joy: Jim nursing a cup of coffee in a nondescript west-London hotel bar and William over the phone from his home in Los Angeles. They are, according to Jim, “getting on better, to the point where it’s almost like it was before we were in the band, when we were the opposite of what everyone thinks we are now; we were really good mates”.

Indeed, even separated by 5,000 miles, it’s hard not to be struck by how alike the pair seem. They’re both polite and friendly – a far cry from the Jesus and Mary Chain you can see in old clips on YouTube, answering questions with contemptuous monosyllables – if they can be bothered to answer them at all – and clearly incredibly shy. William apologises in advance for his shortcomings as an interviewee (“I’m not very articulate over the phone”) and his answers frequently tail off, his attempts to find the right words replaced by frustrated muttering involving much exasperated deployment of the word “fuck”.

As their manager, Alan McGee, has pointed out more than once, they share an ability to make rather heavy weather of life in a band, and indeed life generally. I ask them both if, given the fraternal fighting, the constant battles with a record company that kept trying to get them to work with producers who had made hits for Tears for Fears or U2, and their fabled antipathy to touring, they ever actually enjoyed being in the Jesus and Mary Chain. “Was I ever happy, full stop?” frowns Jim. “In the Mary Chain, I guess, as in life, happiness is just fleeting.”

His brother goes further: “Is anybody ever really happy? I mean, isn’t the whole world just stressed out? We’re all going to die and nobody knows where we’re going. How can you be happy knowing that you’re going to fall off the end of a cliff someday?”

Everyone is fixated on the pull away quotes--pop music really is, basically, shit made on someone's laptop, so why bother with it at all? The Jesus and Mary Chain are back, and that's all you need to know.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Weather Diaries

Ride have named their new album and they're getting read to give this a go:

Ride have announced details of their long-awaited new album ‘Weather Diaries’.

The four-piece, considered to be pioneers of shoegaze, last released a full-length record, ‘Tarantula’, back in March 1996. The band broke up later that year.

Having already shared two new songs from the LP, ‘Charm Assault’ and ‘Home Is A Feeling’, the band have now confirmed details of the new record, which will be released on June 16 via Wichita Recordings. See the album’s artwork beneath.

A new Ride album scares me.

The last new album from Ride arrived when I was in the thick of a Minnesota winter. I was in a dead-end job, I was commuting a great distance to that same job, I was holding down a second job, and nothing was going right. I felt pretty isolated and alone. And then Tarantula arrives, and the sticker on it said, and I'm paraphrasing, "The Ride Ends Here."

Now, I'm a fan of all four Ride albums because they're unique and they're very much of that time. The upheaval that arrived after Tarantula saw me spending most of 1996 trying to figure out what to do next. Goodbye job, goodbye Twin Cities, hello new job, hello Rochester, goodbye Rochester in the blink of an eye, hello United States Army. What a whirlwind--just like a new Ride album.

Those four albums sustain me to this day. I have worked by way through them--and through every single B-side, every BBC session track, and every live track I can get my hands on--so this is innately special to me. I'm not worried about whether or not I'm going to like this album. I'm worried all kinds of crazy shit is going to happen (and, of course, that's all because of Steve).

Anyway, out with the album, and on with the tour. I hope they find a way to make this the first of many "comeback" albums.



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Robyn Hitchcock

He's everywhere, and what's not to love? Psychedelic album covers, cats, and fantastic shirts on a man who sings and plays guitar while writing his own songs. This is a rare Earth mineral of fine quality that should be held in your hands for all time. 

I would love to see him again, but schedules being what they are, who knows? You should go see Robyn and buy his new album.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sleeper Inbetweener Single Cover



Single features a fantastic piece of commercial art, and it works on so many levels.

The song, in and of itself, is a novel set to music, and it is so intelligently rendered as to demand the sort of packaging and artwork seen here.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Echo and the Bunnymen Never Stop EP

I find it hard to believe that there aren't more (and better) images than this of Echo and the Bunnymen's Never Stop EP. I have cleaned this up and I tried to enhance it a bit. Somewhere, I can probably dig out a better version.

The Greatest Comeback Album Ever

It's easy to forget just how reviled they were.

Mother Jones Magazine: Let me read you a recent quote from Randy Newman: "I used to be against world peace until U2 came out for it. Then the scales just fell from my eyes.... And when they're singing with those black people? Do you know that black people just love their music? Bono's conducting those black people and they're doing just what he says!...
BONO: I had heard that. Randy Newman is a very funny man, though I think he's written far funnier lines than those.
MJ: Are you interested that criticisms like his have been leveled a lot lately, particularly at "Rattle and Hum?"
B: I suppose. What's uninteresting about that is that we are such an easy target, from the word go, because we perform from our own point of view. I sing about the way I see things. Some people write songs about the way characters see things. Some artists perform with a wink. That's just not the way with U2. When people perform from their gut -- when John Lennon sang a song called "Mother" -- that was not a hip thing to do. He was exposing himself. It's performers like that I admire.... If you're going to spend your whole life worrying about dropping your guard and exposing yourself, worrying that working with a gospel choir might look like imperialism, that would be dumb.
MJ: But the criticisms I read of the film are that it was too guarded. Let me read, if I could, another criticism ....
Well, I'm really not interested.
MJ: I just want to give you the opportunity to respond ....
B: What this suggests is that the music is not enough. That is my expression -- the music -- and within that music I can take my clothes off. Not for the press, not for the TV shows, not for the film. That film was about music, and in that music was everything that we have to say and offer. Now people want it made easy for them. They want it spelled out. Why can't people just accept the music? You know the real reason? It's that people don't listen to the music anymore, and a lot of critics don't.... I think our fans know all the songs on our albums, and I don't think many critics do. I really don't.
MJ: Were there any criticisms that did sting, that hit home, that taught you anything?
B: No. I must say I was generally very disappointed in the community of critics. It's funny. I would've thought that what people would have expected us to do would've been to put out a double live LP, and cash in on "The Joshua Tree," and make a lot of money for very little work. That is what big rock bands do.
When we didn't do that, I expected people to recognize that. When we put the records out at low price, stripped away the U2 sound, then just went with our instincts as fans, and just lost ourselves in this [American R&B] music, in a very un-self-conscious way...
MJ: But if the LP has been unfairly and stupidly criticized by people who aren't listening carefully ...
B: No. It's not even that. It's that the spirit of it has been completely and utterly missed. The spirit of it is unlike any record of a major group, for a long time. That spirit is the very essence of why people get into bands and make music. And it's not about being careful. And it's not about watching your ass....

Achtung Baby

is the result of being torn apart and reduced to having to plead for understanding. I don't think people understand that context. This is the album that only an angry band could make and that's why it still resonates.

U2 needs to make another one of these and come back, fully, into the world with some anger instead of some wry comments about the bar scene.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Liam Gallagher Returns to Music

I wouldn't ask our kid what he's up to--you're liable to get a Twitter screen full of invective. But it's good for him to be back making music.

Liam Gallagher's return to music appears to have been confirmed, speaking about a "new chapter" and getting his "life back together" in an upcoming interview.

Gallagher also reportedly spoke about experiencing a "crisis" after his post-Oasis band Beady Eye broke up. The group, led by Gallagher and featuring former members of Oasis and Kasabian, released two albums since their formation in 2009. They announced their split in 2014.

In May, Gallagher hinted at his return to music. It followed a denial from the frontman that he would go solo, with Liam arguing that he wouldn't do so because he is "not a c**t".

Now Q Magazine has teased a new interview with Gallagher, in which he allegedly speaks of how he "got his life back together" after finding himself "in crisis after the split of Beady Eye". 

He's Liam fucking Gallagher--how do you know when his life is back together? Is there a device that measures these things?

I have always thought of him as the perfect guest vocalist and a great collaborator for artists who don't have a lot of mainstream appeal. Gallagher can sing like a real Everyman and make anything his own. Is there a better front man out there? No, there probably isn't. All the greats are gone, save Gallagher.

Monday, August 8, 2016


A new album? Really?

The return of Slowdive was easily 2014’s best reunion. Now, following their comeback tour, the English shoegaze outfit are on the verge of releasing a new album — their first in over two decades.

In a recent interview with Danish publication Undertoner (via Reddit), drummer Simon Scott revealed that Slowdive have completed recording sessions for the new album, their fourth overall and the very long-waited follow-up to 1995’s Pygmalion. “We’re finished recording the album and it will be mixed this summer, but we do not know when it is released.”

Scott continued, describing how the band has incorporated more manipulated field recordings into its latest material: “It’s Neil, who is the primary songwriter, but what has changed since the ’90s, is that he asked me to manipulate some of the sounds we have recorded. It’s not that the album is going to sound electronically. We’ve played together for two years after the restoration, and Neil wanted to capture how well a live band, we are, in the studio. So in that way it’s a live record.”

There were a whole slew of Mojave 3 albums in the 90's and 2000's, and those could properly have been considered part of the story of Slowdive. Halstead's solo albums are incredible, so here's to the idea that the next Slowdive album will be a continuation of this incredibly beautiful journey we've been on for so long.


What About Sgt. Pepper?

Revisionist history at work:

Released 50 years ago (it came out on August 5, 1966 in the UK and three days later in the us), ‘Revolver’ is considered by many to be The Beatles’ finest work – and yes, we know they’re all good – but come on, this one is really something. A huge leap in the band’s creativity and inspiration, their seventh studio album saw them drawing on their experiences with drugs as well as their interest in eastern religion. Here are 20 things you probably didn’t know about it. 

Herman's Hermits sold more records in the states than the Beatles, so I don't know why everyone suddenly proclaims Revolver as the "best" out of what should really be one long continuous series of recording sessions. Albums meant something vastly different in the 1960s than they do today. In three years, the Beatles would put out five, six or seven different albums; nowadays, they'd be putting them out once every four or five years, if that.

Rolling Stone championed Sgt. Pepper as the greatest Beatles album. You couldn't go anywhere in 1987 without being clobbered over the head with proclamations about how Sgt. Pepper was the greatest thing ever made. It's all so foolish. And then you get into the maturation of Rubber Soul, the majesty of Abbey Road, and the innovation of the White Album. Really, there is no "best" Beatles album. There are only different ones.

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.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


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.