Thursday, June 30, 2005

Various artisans

Something that occurred to me while doing my usual browse recently is how compilations, usually the spawn of Polygram TV, have started really digging deep to fill out two CD's worth of barely on-message themed hits. With that in mind, here's your buyer's guide to the current top ten compilation chart, and moreover what people buying them for the obvious are being introduced to:

1 Hairbrush Divas Presents Sing-a-long Summer

TARGET AUDIENCE : Either apprentice pop kids or girls on a night out they hope will turn up on a Sky One docusoap. Three CDs!
COME FOR : Take A Chance On Me, I'm Every Woman, Crazy In Love, Fame... christ, their idea of filler is La Bamba
BE PRESENTED WITH : The Liberty/Richard battle of the Xs, Le Freak (original title: Fuck Studio 54) and that Box favourite, Long Train Running

2 The Bands 05 II

TARGET AUDIENCE : People too young for Shine
COME FOR : Speed Of Sound, Wires, Feel Good Inc, Shot You Down, Golden Touch, Dakota
BE PRESENTED WITH : Morning Runner and Clor test the average listener to see how far they can get into the slower CD2, having already hit them with Karma Police followed by KT Tunstall

3 Driving Rock Ballads

TARGET AUDIENCE : Your lorry driving soundtrack. What is a driving ballad anyway?
COME FOR : I Drove All Night - ooh, cheers - Don't Fear The Reaper, the usual Richard Allinson selection CD2 starts with Whitesnake, Boston and Yes, but who's going to be willingly found listening to T'Pau or John Waite while driving? As for Mike And The Mechanics...
BE PRESENTED WITH : REM's Don't Go Back To Rockville, the Raspberries and Half The World Away, surely more of a song for sitting under a verandah looking wistful

4 Clubbers Guide Summer 2005

TARGET AUDIENCE : Those who believe in Ayia Napa. Pete Tong should be warming up his vocal chords for hundreds of similarly themed album advert VOs as you read this. A lady nearly shows her breasts on the cover, as expected
COME FOR : The CDs start with the Owner Of A Lonely Heart and Why? reworkings, the former following that with the I See Girls cover while Star To Fall is track 5, which kind of sums up where dance music stands now. There's a sodding Pump Up The Jam remix!
BE PRESENTED WITH : We Interrupt This Program by Coburn, which sounds intriguing. Fatboy Slim remixed by Jupiter Ace, too. We hope Made Of Stone by Dario G isn't a Stone Roses cover

5 Dad Rocks

TARGET AUDIENCE : Wasn't Father's Day last week?
COME FOR : Well, my dad likes Jim Reeves, but cliche has it that he should actually like We Will Rock You, All Right Now, Since You've Been Gone, ZZ Top and them bloody Mechanics
BE PRESENTED WITH : Even this first disc of all the loose talents digs out Silver Machine and Paranoid, counter-cultural not that many years ago, while disc 2 goes mad with Road To Nowhere, The Passenger, Brass In Pocket, Oliver's Army, Eton Rifles, Song 2 (track 6), the Buzzcocks' Promises and, who knows under what logic, EMF

6 Happy Songs

TARGET AUDIENCE : Twenty reworkings of Quickspace's best known song. Not really, an attempt at aural Prozac with a cover that's styled, for some reason, on the Bridget Jones film posters. Described by an Amazon reviewer as "absolutely fabby"
COME FOR : Happy seems to be a subjective feeling - does Ronan Keating make you happy? Brown Eyed Girl's presence suggests it doesn't necessarily apply to the artist. Shaggy's version of In The Summertime is here instead of Mungo Jerry's - jug player allergy?
BE PRESENTED WITH : In a field of relentless touring speaker-style positivism it's just best to surrender to the acknowleged gems of studio work - Good Vibrations, Happy Together, Higher And Higher etc. Plus Make Me Smile, half of which isn't positive at all, Osibisa, a rare occcurence, and House Of Fun, which is about buying condoms

7 Ultimate 70's Pop

TARGET AUDIENCE : Dave Haslam-baiting three CDs of mass-produced pop schlop with A Question Of Sport-styled line divided cover lettering
COME FOR : The ABBA track is SOS, thank god, not Dancing Queen or Take A Chance On Me. Bye Bye Baby opens, Annie's Song closes
BE PRESENTED WITH : The world's tallest dwarfs, given this appears to just be the playlist of a Gold FM station that probably simulcasts whenever DLT is presenting now. When did you last hear ELO's Roll Over Beethoven?

8 Massive R&B

TARGET AUDIENCE : Ho's in low riders. Cover shot is just a picture of a woman looking a bit fierce
COME FOR : Massive R&B. Akon kicks us off, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Kanye, Black Eyed Peazzzzz... oh look, Crazy In Love
BE PRESENTED WITH : The actually remarkable rhythm track of Drop It Like It's Hot is as close to a surprise you're going to get, bar a random appearance by De La Soul and someone called Malik Yusef (feat. Kanye West & Common, obviously)

9 Pop Jr

TARGET AUDIENCE : Not the Minipops covering Freak Scene, but the spinoff of the pop for pre-secondary school channel somewhere around the 620s on Sky
COME FOR : Aqua, Bob The Builder, Hi 5, Busted's Thunderbirds Are Go (also The Reason Why Nobody's Still Playing Fightstar), Vengaboys, Fast Food Rockers, even the Nick Jr Lunch Time Song. Plus McFly and Sugababes for the older kids
BE PRESENTED WITH : Amarillo? For kids? Schnappi Da Kleine Krokodil is brave given it's the spin-off from a German ringtones commercial we haven't had here, while I wonder who's really going to connect with the Archies' Sugar Sugar. Most of all, though, hats off for Engie Benjy Engine Man, the theme to the ITV series by, and still sounding like, the Clint Boon Experience

10 Tidy Euphoria

TARGET AUDIENCE : Not a home cleaning trance diva service but the Tidy Trax vresion of the longrunning dance mix series
COME FOR : Hard trance, as a rule
BE PRESENTED WITH : I've never heard of anything on this, so if you like Lee Haslam's deck skills you're in luck. Tell you what, let's sneak number 11 in here...

11 The New Indie

TARGET AUDIENCE : Ah, I feel right at home with this whitebread sub-The Bands deal subtitled Alive And Amplified despite the fact that record did nothing in the charts
COME FOR : Oh My God, Somewhere Else, Killamanjiro, Hounds Of Love completing the double, Mr Brightside, Honest Mistake plus loose Snow Patrol and Keane
BE PRESENTED WITH : For some reason there's a second CD of eight tracks not listed on the reverse tracklisting, which include Joy Zipper, Duke Spirit and six bands you needn't care about. The main tracklisting sneaks the Engineers and Black Velvets in, but also exciting new music in the shape of the Kills, which actually makes it more entertaining than Carl Barat's new Under The Influence mixtape.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Everyone's had sport with the results of that chart battle, but say what you like about Coldplay, they don't send their fans advertising text messages at £3 a shot. There's talk Jamster could have their premium rate licence revoked, which by our estimations would bugger up Gusto records' plans for the next year and a half.

Timeless malady

Presumably having insisted the conversation be written on authentic 60s notepaper, Lee Mavers has given an interview (registration required), although obviously not much of one before becoming bored and/or too irate. He's still none too keen on the album as it stands, of course, and excellently calls the Coral "a Vernon Kay type of La's".

Monday, June 27, 2005

The land lies fallow

Yeah, I got my broadband sorted today, we've had things to do, copyrights to break* etc.

Actually, didn't see too much of last night's coverage live, bar Murray linking out of Bobby Gillespie's buttoned-down mind of a set by acting like he'd stood too close to the stage and inhaled all the band's Class A's. Nice hat, Mr Shields. Mark and Lauren were making a decent pairing on BBC2 and there's assorted folderol on Radio 1's mini-site. You know, Brian Wilson must really be in a state if his eyes are still glued to the autocue after two years' constant touring with this set.

(* Not really, RIAA)

Single File : w/c 26/6

Let us consider the career of sometime Post Office salesman Elton John, and more precisely the seven number ones he has now put his name to. A duet with Kiki Dee, a song the label were going to abandon until Simon Bates started playing it, a duet with George Michael, Candle In The Wind 1997, a duet with Blue, a Norman Cook remix and now being sampled on a 2Pac record. Ghetto Gospel is the new number one, Mr Shakur's sixteenth posthumous top 75 single sampling Indian Sunset off Madman Across The Water, released in the same year our late man was born. Whether there's any extra significance there I don't know but 2005 now has four posthumous number ones to its name, albeit three by the same person.

A mixed bag among other top 10 new entries - Bobby Valentino stakes his R Kelly You Can Take Home To Introduce To Your Mum claims at 4 and comprehensively outdoes mentor Ludacris in the process, someone called MVP fills a video full of bikini'd ladies and gets to 5, Missy Elliott's at 7, Hard-Fi at 9 and 50 Cent makes it six top ten singles out of six at 10. This means the Stereophonics perhaps surprisingly only enter at 13, buyers possibly put off by Kelly Jones' falsetto. Bizarre, worthwhile as light relief but unsellable on his own, is at 17.

So how come the brothers in the Subways are called Billy Lunn and Josh Morgan? They and their denim skirt magnate of a bassist enter at 22, perhaps not the development the label were looking for, although maybe Lunn should have been quieter about Rock & Roll Queen being the first song he ever wrote as it sounds like it is too. Damien Rice is at 24 with a new song co-credited to long time vocal oppo Lisa Hannigan, not on O but selling about as well as the singles from that anyway. Erasure are at 25, actually something of a letdown by their quietly impressive standards, and Gavin De Graw's theme to something called One Tree Hill is at 38. The idea some bought it thinking it was a pseudonym for Maroon 5 cannot be ruled out. Some oddities in the album chart caused by this week's HMV sale (Sales Pitch on Monday), which don't affect Coldplay but do see Jem reach a high of 6, Razorlight climb 44 to 29 (my local store had a sticker on its stock of Up All Night reading 'ONLY ONE SOLD PER CUSTOMER' which suggests someone got to the counter with 500 on the first day of the sale) and the Jam's 1983 Aren't These CDs Wonderful Innovations You Can Spread Marmalade On Them And They'll Still Play Y'Know posthumous compilation Compact Snap re-enters at 39 with its new £1.99 sticker. This of course is the one that features the demo of That's Entertainment because it "has a certain quality that was never captured again". A certain comparatively shitty quality, yes.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

"Why would I want to repeat something they did twenty years ago?"

Two intriguing pieces of news in today's Sunday Times as we properly count down to Live 8 Saturday, not least that the whole shebang will be opened by Paul McCartney and U2 doing Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in costume. Leaving aside the logistics - will Adam Clayton have to stay behind? - you can't get over how poor an idea this seems, like the silly end of late night attempted lateral thinking made flesh. (I'll deny you the details of what Sting's planning if you don't want to directly read them.)

Meanwhile, the organiser of the Edinburgh gig on G8 day itself has had a bit of a go at Geldof over wanting to play a set there. While they're ignored here, I definitely remember reading that Franz Ferdinand said they would take part if there was a Scottish event, but apparently they're not as popular as the Zutons. Unfortunately, the Sunday Times have gone and got a quote from Status Quo, who can fuck off with their boasting about how they don't remember a thing about their great contributions to pop history because of how many drugs they'd taken.
The one bit I got to see of live Coldplay featured Chris seemingly making a joke about Gay Dad, so I'll leave that for the time being.

Clearly there's a budgetary requirement on BBC cameras, as there's been nothing from the Peel tent today, not even the Magic Numbers, but the Jazz World stage has been rediscovered for some curious go-go goings on. There seems to be no gap small enough tonight that Razorlight or New Order cannot be fitted into, and none of them seem to have been all that exciting - the latter seem to have been attempting to sabotage their own set, what with Barney whooping at all opportunities, Hooky doing his No, Look At How Many Places I Can Play Melodic Bass In! act and Keith Allen turning up with a pantomime cow to ensure it fell at the last. Athlete borrowed Teenage Fanclub's idea of kicking specially printed footballs into the crowd, none of which seemed to come straight back. Ross Futureheads appears to have lost his glasses somewhere.

Briggie Smale is on BBC3's coverage today. Why, I'm not so sure. There's plenty of live stuff happening on BBC2 now, including Chas and Dave oddly with acoustic guitars doing Ain't No Pleasing You. Whither Rockney?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Kay's catalogue of errors

In 1998 the Trouble teen satellite channel ran a filler programme called Vern'n'Laverne, wherein our Lauren and the then little known Mr Kay bantered for a couple of minutes with a variety of props. Nobody asked for a reunion, but at 4pm there it was, Kay trying far too hard as usual, plus Radcliffe reliving his helicopter trip from this time last year. Nouvelle Vague were in the studio playing well, the Kaisers were on stage with what seemed to be a slightly dull mix. Ricky tried, bless him, and put one in the eye of the Independent writer praising Pete Doherty for such today by successfully crowdsurfing. This evening Colin and Edith have had a varied selection of guests alongside Tom Chaplin swearing - Ian McCulloch refusing to watch himself and so going off to discuss Liverpool with Colin instead, but not before muttering oaths in Edith's direction about Man Utd, a spectacularly ill-kept David Tennant and Leigh Francis - no, not Avid Merrion, the actual Leigh Francis, no more likeable but nearly pleasing. Nobody thought to ask why Interpol's bassist had turned up as an apprentice Nazi.

Last of the Friday thoughts

So, as usual, Colin and Edith didn't make it through the night, replaced at about 12.30 by some bloke called Rufus Hound who will now be christened the Lidl Amstell and Imran Ahmed, the NME bloke who never actually appears to write anything for the NME but is their representative for all media. It did look like they were going to show more extensive highlights from the stages, but they managed this only as far as Be Your Own Pet. Meanwhile the Phill'n'Lauren show was restarting on BBC2, the annual late night event that makes you wonder why neither seems to be as easy-going and off the cuff like this at any other stage in their broadcasting lives. Jupitus even went to the trouble this year of not having massive bags under his eyes, although when Bloc Party's Like Eating Glass was captioned as Helicopter Lauren linked out with "Like Eating Glass! That was Bloc Party with Helicopter..." Russell owns a lot of badges.

You have to hunt around a bit for it, but the NME reviews hit squad has been on the case. In what Costello fan world Radio Radio is a rarity and Clubland a classic isn't made clear, mind. It's interesting that Hot Hot Heat are suddenly getting the promotion at the moment, MTV's Advance Warning sticking them on as a hot new band at the exact moment their hype fire appeared to have been accidentally stuck in an enclosed oxidised space. Also, what was going on with the Peel Tent billing? All done long in advance, of course, but Be Your Own Pet and yourcodenameis:milo ahead of Maximo Park and Nine Black Alps?

A super non-stop, uber-rocking disco party

Brakes, the Electric Tenderfoot Power superofsortsgroup, release 16 track 29 minute album Give Blood a week on Monday, or you could just listen to it via the miracle of WMV on their website, right down to Cheney and Comma Comma Comma Full Stop, which total 17 seconds.

By the way, how come is the official Kosheen website?

One word Friday Glasto reviews via BBC Interactive

White Stripes : trying (xylophone/drum duet excellent, extreme Zepisms less so)
Doves : bedraggled
The Zutons : OK
The Killers : meh
Elvis Costello : hardworking (they messed the start up on Interactive - haven't seen BBC4's coverage yet - but he hardly seemed to be catering to the audience by starting with Uncomplicated off 1986's Blood And Chocolate)
Babyshambles : shambolic (stagediving inclusive; lack of onstage Kate or Carl probably ruined 96% of all rumours so far)
Bloc Party : awkward
Secret Machines : hypnotic
MIA : energetic
Royksopp : worked
Fatboy Slim : populist (how did they get 3D glasses to everyone at the front?)

The BBC2 set's been reclaimed and appears to have a pot plant in the middle. Eliza Carthy's on live in there as I type. I always get the feeling Carthy should be more adventurous than she is, but she's doing an Irving Berlin number accompanying herself on a squeezebox which is bewitching. I hope a half-cut John Cooper Clarke turns up for no apparent reason at the end of the night as he did last year. Looking at their website the Jazz World Stage appears to be as random as ever, featuring sub-Winehouse nu-jazzer Tyler James (next single a cover of Your Woman, which I can wait to hear), Alabama 3, Roots Manuva, Roy Ayers and, gulp, The Nigel Kennedy Jazz Project. One Dudley Sutton was on a cabaret stage, hopefully the same one who was Tinker in Lovejoy.

Friday, June 24, 2005

BBC2 at Glasto: A Jools-free zone

My living god, what is that on top of Phill Jupitus' head?

BBC2 have also had their bijou awning destroyed, although they've erected some sort of temporary gazebo for Mark Radcliffe to do the first programme from. Radcliffe has an odd history with televised Glastonbury, Shirehorses in 1997 aside - he did Channel 4's coverage in 1994 and 1995, the first year with Lard where Sam Brady on Teletext asked "who on earth were those two alternative comedians?" then some gubbins with Lamarr and the long forgotten Sonya Saul, then he came back last year he said because they feared Peel would walk off at some stage. Now he's in the midst of all this watching an abortive KT Tunstall song. Lauren Laverne's out there too, proving that she really should be doing more studio work rather than being in the field trying to explain who John Peel was. Huw Stephens was entrusted with introducing that stage, it seems. Of course they don't play anything from the Undertones' set, but then they only play two proper live tracks in the whole half hour, and Whiley and Jupitus (seriously, is it some sort of sleeping squirrel effect?) appeared not to know what the second one was going to be. BBC4 are showing one set a night, a weary looking Costello (who has said that one of his worst experiences was playing to an unresponsive British festival crowd at V a couple of years ago) chiefly notable for being presented by Andrea Oliver, the key in the soon popular quiz question of how to get from Daniel Bedingfield to The Pop Group in three moves * and someone who only ever seems to do this one programme every year. How does she blag that?

(Bedingfield - Popworld's Daniel Bedingfield Gold - Miquita Oliver - Miquita's father, I think, is Sean Oliver of the Pop Group)

The Weekly Sweep

Arab Strap - The First Big Weekend
The Boy Least Likely To - Be Gentle With Me
The Loft - Over The Hill And Down The Slope
We Are Scientists - Nobody Move Nobody Gets Hurt
Architecture In Helsinki - It's 5!
The Young Knives - Weekends And Bleak Days
Roxy Music - In Every Dream Home A Heartache
Shout Out Louds - Very Loud
MIA - Bucky Done Gun
Prince Buster - Barrister Pardon

A river runs through it

The BBC 6 O'Clock News report from Glastonbury voiceover started "The Glastonbury Festival" and left it at that for about ten seconds, which at least brings an end to four or five festivals of declaring sunshine unlikely weather. BBC3 have apparently been flooded out of their entire set, which does mean they can't do their loosely defined chats and impromptu performances - anyone else recall Wayne Coyne and Tim DeLaughter doing Willie Nelson's Good Hearted Woman a couple of years ago? - but on the flipside means there is now a more likely chance of Colin Murray being struck by lightning. Sweetest moment of this so far is Bloc Party opening with Like Eating Glass and Kele nearly being silenced halfway through his first line as thousands upon thousands sang it back at him. Not quite as sure about Matt Tong having 'HELLO MUM' written up his forearm.

Where do they get all those flags from?

Just do it (and never mind the copyright laws)

Fair to say that Ian MacKaye, a probably only surprise to the casual listener top ten entry in Radio 1's Most Punk People Of The Last Thirty Years list last week (yeah, shitty list, I know, but what can you do?), has never been noted for his carefree attitude towards big business and commercialised branding, accidentally starting the straight edge philosophy along the way. Cue Nike!

The rainy season

Cooler, wetter weather, Met Office? You don't say.

I can't get to a radio at the moment, so someone inform all of us - has Chris Moyles really been told to keep going on Radio 1 until furter notice?

Tor of duty

Of course, it always rains heavily at Glastonbury! Apart from the all but two years that the whole of Pilton hasn't turned into the Somme, obviously. Anyway, from within a building with a lightning conductor on the side it's worth reporting the BBC teaming up with Playlouder for live webcasts of twelve sets and one song each being archived afterwards, which is no good - they kept the whole sets online last year!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Try this trick and Spin it

If it's not a spurious Q 100 greatest albums list, it's a spurious list by Spin, this of the best albums of the last twenty years to celebrate their own china anniversary. Worth a look at the BBC News report, which seems surprised the Beatles, Stones and Beach Boys haven't had any new albums judged to be good enough released since 1985 and features the unmissable line "record sales did not affect the choices. The Pixies... did not sell millions before their initial split".

100 Strokes - Is This It
Toto, we're not in early 2002 now.

99 Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen
This is the sort of position Leftism generally get to in UK magazine polls, and nobody really owns that either.

98 Cornershop - When I Was Born For The Seventh Time
This never gets into UK magazine polls, conversely, presumably because they're hardly aware of the remix in America.

97 Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
Responsible for about 38% of US indie at the moment, so fair enough.

96 The Pogues - Rum, Sodomy And The Lash
Mojo's Best Album Ever Ever Ever last week, of course.

95 Elastica - Elastica
What? Not to suggest this wasn't hugely exciting in its day, but it's hardly been something held up as a signpost for future directions since.

94 Slint - Spiderland
Mogwai's block vote arrived late. This would have been top 30 five years ago, I bet.

93 Pearl Jam - Ten
92 Big Black - Atomizer
91 XTC - Skylarking
Andy Partridge's British pastoral album, produced by an American (Todd Rundgren), giving them their US breakthrough. Sense takes a holiday.

90 Sonic Youth - Sister
89 Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell
Well, you can understand how it's outlasting the Vines, but despite what mad people reviewing Kelly Clarkson will try and tell you it's not as if we're now drowing in Karen O-alikes. Their animated appearance in the Guardian Music Monthly advert is good, though.

88 Stereolab - Emperor Tomato Ketchup
Pleasant surprises, that's this list. Isn't there some convoluted reasoning behind this title?

87 Blur - Parklife
But they weren't cared about in America! I want to see this write-up, unless it's indicative of where all these British bands are coming out of.

86 Meat Puppets - Up On The Sun
85 REM - Automatic For The People
REM's only showing, bearing in mind the period covered starts with Fables Of The Reconstruction. When you're down in reputation, you're down.

84 Soundgarden - Superunknown
83 At The Drive-In - Relationship Of Command
82 Jeff Buckley - Grace
Is it Coldplay's fault?

81 Beck - Mellow Gold
80 D'Angelo - Voodoo
79 Moby - Everything Is Wrong
Ahead of Play, which is simultaneously very right and very wrong.

78 The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
77 Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Surely more read about than heard.

76 Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
75 Le Tigre - Le Tigre
Hot Topic a moment of seasonal greatness, of course. Latter day attempted selling to pop kids via TKO being playlisted on viewer's choice satellite channels less successful.

74 Portishead - Dummy
73 Pulp - Different Class
72 Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Wu-Tang in full effect, as you can tell from the otherwise inexplicable title.

71 The Jesus & Mary Chain - Psychocandy
70 Jay-Z - The Blueprint
69 DJ Shadow - Entroducing
68 Tricky - Maxinquaye
67 Slayer - Reign In Blood
And indeed, bloody hell.

66 Outkast - Aquemini
The album before Stankonia, which idiots do refer to as their debut.

65 Basement Jaxx - Remedy
64 Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP
63 Pavement - Crooked Rain Crooked Rain
62 Missy Elliott - Supa Dupa Fly
61 Weezer - Pinkerton
I thought everyone wrote this off these days, and indeed at the time, yet there's no genre-inventing Blue Album on the list.

60 De La Soul - De La Soul Is Dead
59 Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West
Matadoria 1996 breakthrough of sorts, well before Float On ended up deemed "kid-friendly" enough for Kidz Bop 7 (apologies if it's your upload I've just stolen, but hardly anyone reads this so you won't be that pushed for bandwidth) The next edition includes Take Me Out and Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, which is just trying too hard for WTF?-spawning mp3 blog entries and JK & Joel picking up an import copy.

58 Metallica - Master Of Puppets
57 The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
56 PJ Harvey - To Bring You My Love
Mmm? No Dry, but this neither one thing nor the other transitional record?

55 The Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole
54 The Breeders - Last Splash
53 Rage Against The Machine - The Battle Of Los Angeles
Oh, piss off.

52 Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill
51 Nirvana - In Utero
50 New Order - Low Life
49 Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
48 Radiohead - Kid A
Still surviving despite critical question marks of late by people who pretend to hate The Wire.

47 Eric B & Rakim - Paid In Full
46 The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace
Almost this poll's saving grace, frankly

45 Kanye West - The College Dropout
The only entry from 2004. Just think about that, in relation to all those end of year polls you read.

44 Green Day - Dookie
43 Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded
Invented gangsta rap pretty much single-handedly; ended up referenced on Guns Don't Kill People Rappers Do. Such is life.

42 Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking
41 Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
40 Run DMC - Raising Hell
39 Lucinda Williams - Lucinda Williams
Ah, somewhere in these critic polls is an element that will forever remain Word.

38 A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
The high end theory? Lord knows how this is up here, actually. Q-Tip's passport to no end of guest vocals, all of which do better than records he's put his name to.

37 Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand
36 Pixies - Doolittle
I see, it's Surfer Rosa's turn this year.

35 Dr Dre - The Chronic
34 Elliott Smith - Either/Or
33 Ice Cube - AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted
32 The Replacements - Tim
Again with the juxtaposition, given everyone else thinks Let It Be was their classic.

31 Dinosaur Jr - You're Living All Over Me
30 The Notorious BIG - Ready To Die
Wouldn't be up here if he actually hadn't, of course.

29 Fugazi - 13 Songs
28 Oasis - Definitely Maybe
27 The Cure - The Head On The Door
Yeah, I know they're popular now, but that's no excuse for picking one from when Robert was full into the panstick/hair/pies accessorising.

26 Bjork - Post
25 Nine Ince Nails - The Downward Spiral
24 Sleater Kinney - Dig Me Out
Who's compiled this, Robert Christgau?

23 Outkast - Stankonia
22 My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
21 Public Enemy - Fear Of A Black Planet
20 Wu Tang Clan - Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers)
19 Hole - Live Through This
See this? It's a stare of incomprehension. Unless Courtney bartered top 20 for a photoshoot next month.

18 Guns 'N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction
17 Nas - Illmatic
16 Beck - Odelay
15 Liz Phair - Exile In Guyville
Much like everyone else round about her last album, I've never quite got what Phair does that elevates her above, say, Juliana Hatfield, Lisa Germano and sundry others.

14 Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
13 Husker Du - New Day Rising
Zen Arcade being so last year.

12 Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
11 U2 - Achtung Baby
10 NWA - Straight Outta Compton
9 PJ Harvey - Rid Of Me
There was presumably a scare factor included.

8 Prince - Sign O' The Times
7 De La Soul - 3 Feet High And Rising
6 Pixies - Surfer Rosa
5 The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
Not, you'd imagine, their most palatable album to American ears, but something has to explain Ben Gibbard's popularity.

4 Pavement - Slanted And Enchanted
Once got 2 out of 5 in a retrospective piece in Q where Terror Twilight got 4. Written by John Aizlewood, probably.

3 Nirvana - Nevermind
Spin virtually admit they didn't want to put this at number one *again*. Needless to say, their choice for number one is an album that far more people are willing to take issue with.

2 Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
The greatest album ever to open with a sample of Dave Pearce. Imagine the kudos he must have with US PE fans.

1 Radiohead - OK Computer
These kind of polls are often decried with a reference to the Q list that put OK Computer top less than a year after its release. Those people don't appear to have much to say on that front any more, I'd suggest. Still not as good as the unfeatured Bends.

So there they are

Wait a moment, how come Bloc Party are trying to sneak a remix album past us in late August? I knew there had to be a reason why they seem to be doing a big hall tour already.

Blame Canada

Yeah, OK, last thing about Live 8, but I'm particularly intrigued by the Canadian line-up announced today. Bryan Adams, of course, and he might want to recreate the atmosphere of his 1985 performance by creating his own static electricity. Motley Crue... well, if you want, although as their recent sales figures show nobody's interested in their work if it's not written up or performed around bikini'd fire eaters on hydraulic platforms. Suitable for an anti-poverty gig, I'm sure you'll agree. Celine Dion via satellite? Could she not get out of Vegas for one day? Is Gordon Lightfoot still going? Hang on, does that really say Deep Purple?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

John Peel Is Not Enough

The Cuban Boys' reformation for Peel tribute The Nation Needs You has come at a time when the great man's legacy seems to be spreading across the blogsphere. Teenage Kicks 3000 is resurrecting entire shows and has a link to a torrent of the whole 1986 Festive 50, The Peel Tapes is using Yousendit and the like to collate similar, The Perfumed Garden sticks with session tracks and The John Peel Tape And File Project is proving to be another fine compendium when the owner isn't accidentally deleting it all.

Let's get physical

...or at least this week's top 20 as expressed in actual sales of CDs and 7"s with downloads taken back out (actual chart position in brackets):

1 (1) Crazy Frog
2 (4) Akon
3 (7) DJ Sammy
4 (3) Audio Bullys
5 (2) James Blunt
6 (6) Nelly
7 (8) Green Day
8 (5) Gorillaz
9 (9) Fightstar
10 (10) Amerie
11 (17) Pondlife
12 (13) U2
13 (11) Black Eyed Peas
14 (16) Jem
15 (19) Tony Christie
16 (20) Shakin' Stevens
17 (15) Gwen Stefani
18 (12) Foo Fighters
19 (14) Bodyrockers
20 (18) Jamiroquai

So while James Blunt and Audio Bullys have benefitted from download sales their records would be going up anyway - how come Blunt's selling more on download anyway? On the positive download addition press side Akon would really still be annoying the hell out of everyone, DJ Sammy would have an enormous hit and Pondlife would have been number 4 last week rather than 11.

Borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties

Man alive, it's LCD Soundsystem's snooker shilling Losing My Edge plus mp3 references. No mp3 of Losing My Edge is included, of course, but that's what illegal p2p software is for, right? (NB. Home ripping is killing music. Do not listen to 128kbps versions of Losing My Edge, or anything James Murphy has touched, on an oil rig.)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

Probably bollocks given there's been no official statement as I type, but the idea the Sex Pistols might be playing at Live 8 really does give the outright lie to Geldof's quotes about only wanting the biggest bands, doesn't it? Basement Jaxx said on Popworld yesterday they'd approached Bob and been turned down for not being big enough (cf Razorlight being on the bill), so essentially now it's not so much the world's biggest stars as those who might get the event into the Star.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Single File : w/c 19/6

Beverley Hills Cop was on against Dr Who last night, which might explain why you know what is still number one. Oh, it was on ITV, nobody noticed.

Top Of The Pops declared a great leap forward for the charts on Friday being facilitated by downloads being included, which we can't say for certain until the physical sales chart is out, but also, kids, records used to do this all the time. So that's James Blunt's sensitive himbo qualities sending him up to 2 and Audio Bullys finding the original of Bang Bang on the BBC Wimbledon trailer helping them up to 3. So not many new entries this week yet U2 still slip from 2 to 13, which makes you wonder where all that went. This all means that bizarre Nelly song that samples True not as well as PM Dawn did is the highest new entry at 6. Still four new entries in the top 10, DJ Sammy drags Annie Lennox round the block to 7, Green Day overemote at 8 and Charlie Simpson discovers the exact meaning of mixed blessings as the first proper Fightstar single charts at 9. What do you think the divide in sales between emo fans and Busted fans is?

Those of you who were keen on the airplay chart will be thrilled to know Jem's Just A Ride, possibly the least buoyant Bill Hicks tribute ever, climbed to the top of the list this week, which somehow didn't help it chart higher than 16. Another Jem record is being used as the title music to Celebrity Love Island, so you won't have heard it. It's the independents all round this week as Hit Me Baby One More Time winner Shakin' Stevens charts at 20, which was probably people just noticing there was a new Shaky record in the charts after all that. It's a double A side of This Ole House and Pink's Trouble, which I haven't heard and hardly wish to. Garbage enter at 24, Studio B's I See Girls bafflingly climbs for a third week running, Basement Jaxx's obligatory second Singles album new single is only at 26 - shits on everything the Bellrays have done chartwise, mind - both the Cribs (27) and Dead 60s (28) fail to make any advance and Slipknot are in at 35 with a single taken from an album released over a year ago.

The entry you'll be reading about tomorrow, however, is Melanie Brown - that's right, full name - whose Today limps in at 41. In fairness it hardly seems she was that bothered about it, radio turning its back at the crucial moment and it being released on a label called Amber Cafe which I suspect might be her own as they have no other web presence. Plus there's the Spice Girls Back Together/Not Back Together/Sod 'Em, Then story which has already engulfed the Geri single. A friend/source/onlooker will be claiming on her alleged behalf to the tabloids that it didn't sell as it wasn't credited to Mel B in the next few days.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Mojo rising

And so to Friday's Mojo awards, wherein the idea of rock history apparently changes from year to year and we see the ultimate collection of alternate names for lifetime achievement awards:

Icon award - Siouxsie Sioux
Presumably this is the leather/eyeshadow iconography rather than the Nazi armband/breasts one. The Banshees seem easily forgotten, so good to see someone remembers her particular role in women in punk. Chicken chow mein and chop su-ay!

Inspiration award - Gang of Four
Go on, Mitch Benn, write a song called Everything Sounds Like The Gang Of Four Now. When's this remix album coming out?

Songwriter award - Paul Weller
Surely he should have had this before now? This is the grandee's event, after all.

Hall of fame - Madness
Recording and touring again, as previously mentioned. Often misunderstood, of course, not least by most of the people who went to their musical.

Best new act - The Magic Numbers
Voted for by 6 Music listeners, it says here, ahead of that well known newcomer Rufus 'fourth album' Wainwright. Frankly it's not that much of a beard, is it?

Classic album - The Pogues' Rum, Sodomy and The Lash
The second ever award, which suggests they've missed a few. Wonder if Shane turned up.

Merit award - Sly and Robbie
In London at the moment, perchance? Almost certainly in better shape than Lee Scratch Perry, at least.

Hero award - Roy Harper
Hats off to him.

Lifetime achievement award - Robert Wyatt
Not a lot of coverage for this one in the press reports, which probably saved them quite a few paragraphs. Maybe they thought the sight of him would scare kids again.

Legend award - Dr John
Is there a new album from him coming? I ask as there was a Channel 4 documentary on late the other night. Does this one involve half of Supergrass again?

Maverick award - Steve Earle
A long awaited award for the former Leicester goal poacher. Not really, just more subtly impressive beardage from the country renegade possibly doing a Campaign For A Landmine Free World benefit as you read this

Image award - Jim Marshall
Not the Georgian Democrat senator, Leicester South Labour MP who died last year or NFL defensive legend famous for wrong way running but the founder of Marshall Amplification. What image is that, then?

Roots award - Chris Hillman
Yeah, he's in the country. Original Byrd and ex-Flying Burrito, as Mojo readers will well know, who was on Radcliffe the other night and appeared to need cajoling into admitting this.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Weekly Sweep

A new feature which lists ten favourite tracks playing around here this week with little extra folderol, whether old, new or ridiculous:

Spoon - I Turn My Camera On
Decemberists - The Sporting Life
Department S - Is Vic There?
Mew - Apocalypso
Maximo Park - Postcard Of A Painting
Cuban Boys - Your Country Needs You
The Shortwave Set - Is It Any Wonder
Steve Burns - Mighty Little Man
Brakes - All Night Disco Party
Devo - Mongoloid

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What's shifting in Boise, Idaho

Out of slight interest, here's this week's Billboard album top 30:

1 Coldplay - X & Y
737,300 sold, compared to 464,000 here (FWIW, Parachutes 51, Rush Of Blood 5) They're a worldwide concern now, I take it.

2 Black Eyed Peas - Monkey Business

3 White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
Already bettering Elephant by six places

4 Shakira - Fijacion Oral Vol. 1
Hmm, how do you suspect her Spanish language album will do in the partisan UK? The top four are all new entries, remarkably for Billboard

5 Mariah Carey - The Emancipation Of Mimi

6 System Of A Down - Mezmerize
After four weeks having entered at the top. Not surprisingly, it's not this high in the UK charts

7 Toby Keith - Honkytonk University

8 Gwen Stefani - Love Angel Music Baby

9 Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway
Oh, I see, breaking away from her American Idol goody two shoes image with her Avril-but-with-sessioneers-who-wish-they-were-Interpol direction, yes?

10 Audioslave - Out Of Exile

11 50 Cent - The Massacre

12 Dave Matthews Band - Stand Up
Possibly regretting that self-titling 'Who Is Dave Matthews?' British poster campaign from three years back or so

13 Various - Vans Warped Tour 2005
Annual skate punk jamboree and proof that someone really has called their band Big D And The Kids Table. Tracks of most immediate interest: It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door (Underoath) and Me Vs Morrissey In The Pretentious Contest, The Ladder Match (A Wilhelm Scream)

14 Common - Be

15 Killers - Hot Fuss
It's been number seven too, and Mr Brightside has been top ten very recently

16 Rascal Flatts - Feels Like Today
Pop-country himbo trio described on one fan site as 'country music's newest group'. What, anywhere?

17 Gorillaz - Demon Days

18 Keith Urban - Be Here

19 Il Divo - Il Divo
Oh christ. It entered at number four, Cowell probably doing all their promo in America too

20 Various - The Longest Yard Soundtrack
Adam Sandler-starring remake of prison gridiron film, remade by Vinnie Jones as The Mean Machine four years ago. Nelly's in it too, so this is essentially him and his mates

21 Mike Jones - Who Is Mike Jones?
Dave Matthews' sleepless London hotel nights come back to haunt him. Southern rapper who has been number 3. Gimmicks: a) rhyming really slowly, b) giving out his mobile number, c) including name in lyrics

22 Weezer - Make Believe

23 Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams
No James Blunt yet, though

24 Finch - Say Hello To Sunshine
Beat Geri in the UK album charts, and here too

25 Kem - Album II
Inventive. Can't we get used to album I yet? Let's call him the new d'Angelo for the hell of it

26 Green Day - American Idiot

27 Jodeci - Back To The Future: The Very Best Of Jodeci
Possibly only works in America as a concept, this

28 Pretty Ricky - Bluestars
We'll be the judges of prettiness, cheers. R&B foursome with a single called Grind With Me, which demonstrates everything you need to know

29 Ciara - Goodies

30 Avenged Sevenfold - City Of Evil
Metal, perhaps? Of other interest, Oasis entered at 12 and immediately hurtled down to 37, a Def Leppard Definitive Collection has been top ten and is now 42, Van Morrison is hanging around, The Bravery have been number 18 (now 84) and Paul Anka has a new album called Rock Swings, which enters at 125. It is not a golf-related album. It is an album of swing versions of songs including Eye Of The Tiger, Everybody Hurts, Wonderwall, Black Hole Sun, It's A Sin, The Love Cats and, inevitably, Smells Like Teen Spirit. Will the last person to sub-ironically cover Smells Like Teen Spirit please turn out the lights?

Storm to defeat

Little regarded digital radio station The Storm is looking at renaming itself XFM after its owners merged with the Capital Group (Media Guardian, so login required) Have you heard The Storm? 'Modern Rock Radio' apparently means rolling news and nothing stronger than Good Charlotte 24 hours a day. About right for XFM, then. (Plus it's a waste of former Student Broadcast Network star in waiting Craig Pilling.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The amazing self-punchlining news story

A club DJ punched by Kid Rock for playing bad music - I'm sure there are easier ways of getting the music choices changed, but anyway - files a suit claiming "a loss of enjoyment of life." And together - just like people who listen to Kid Rock's records!!!!!!!

Update: Punk dead after all

Radio 1 are doing a Punk Week at the moment to celebrate, oh, something, which seems mostly to consist of trailers featuring men shouting. If you have evidence Scott Mills has been playing the Subway Sect, do let us all know. The specialist shows have managed an angle, The Lock-Up last night revealing its listener voted top 30 punk-influenced songs ever. Given modern punk's American preoccupation, and with the nearest young British music is currently getting being the likes of Dogs you can see why, it shouldn't be that much of a shock that it's full of ten a penny US rabble rousers that seem tailor made for skating videos. White Man in Hammersmith Palais down at 26 is somewhat akin to ridiculous, though, especially as the next band up are Capdown, who are actually British and you've still never heard of. And how did Firestarter get in? At least The Exploited made no appearance.

Get behind me Waterstones

Not that I'd ever buy one, but I do find the world of unofficial books fascinating - usually large, thin volumes full of live photos and typo-strewn text regurgitating early interviews, and straight into The Works within weeks. Jack White is less keen, and is particularly not keen on two books, the admittedly horrible looking Fell In Love With A Band (yes, yes) and Everett True's latest stop in his quest to prove he is solely responsible for the success of all US rock music ever - that's three books about Nirvana on the basis of knowing Courtney. He's the music world's own Stafford Hildred!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Just like the old days

James Blunt and Audio Bullys 2 and 3 in the midweeks? Is that right?

Typical American judiciary, always favouring the white man

Same time next decade, then?

An expert on Breakfast (not like the expert use on 5 Live last night of Beverley Turner, yes, the one who wrote the book about how sexist Formula 1 is) was already predicting a tearful Jackson/Winfrey special in the next couple of months, which of course won't change a thing - if you think he's been proven rightfully innocent you're with the dove breeding woman, if you're seeing a whitewash nothing will soften your resolve. If you're somewhere in the middle you're probably as bored as most of America supposedly was throughout - how can you have big trial fatigue for the Jackson case? He's not exactly of the Robert Blake stature! Unfortunately I only caught the very end of the debate, such as they can do one, on GMTV, but I did see a man in Santa Monica give a very camp wave to camera when being left.

What odds his showing up at Phildelphia Live 8, then?

Monday, June 13, 2005

One More Time for the road

OK, even though it had ratings on ITV which made Celebrity Wrestling look like Diana's funeral (less than 2m for at least one heat), I can take Hit Me Baby One More Time going on to NBC.

But look who's presenting it (via 'About'). What must they think of us?

Listen to me, I'm on the stereo

I made reference in Single File to the airplay chart, and as it's circulating through UKMix and the like, why not take this week's top 20 of 'listener impressions' Web-wide:

1 Coldplay - Speed Of Sound
2 U2 - City Of Blinding Lights
3 The Coral - In The Morning
4 Black Eyed Peas - Don't Phunk With My Heart
5 Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc
6 Jem - Just A Ride
7 Charlotte Church - Crazy Chick
8 Natalie Imbruglia - Shiver
9 Snoop Dogg - Signs
10 Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl
11 Rob Thomas - Lonely No More
12 Oasis - Lyla
13 James Blunt - You're Beautiful
14 Amerie - 1 Thing
15 Green Day - Wake Me Up When September Ends
16 Ben Folds - Landed
17 KT Tunstall - Other Side Of The World
18 Robert Cray - Poor Johnny
19 Mylo - In My Arms
20 John Legend - Ordinary People

No surprise about the number one, of course, but there is in a way about how much effect Radio 2, which does have a proper new music playlist but seems not to play a great deal of it during daytimes, has on the list, with the likes of Jack Johnson and Lisa Miskovsky, whoever she is, just outside this list and Folds and Cray inside. Commercial radio must be hammering The Coral, whose listeners probably think they're a new band. Note no Foo Fighters, which shows the lack of wider impact Radio 1's playlist has these days.

Leave those kids alone

So Live 8's getting the classic line-up of Pink Floyd, is it? Given the proper Syd-centric psychedelia Arnold Layne/See Emily Play era now has more critical cachet than Dark Side lugubriousness - well, Wizard Of Oz hasn't been available on video for a while - it's all in the eye of the beholder, unless they're really planning something surprising. You do wonder, though, how the Hyde Park kids are going to take to this. Another Brick In The Wall they could get away with, but with Roger Waters involved I fear the full neoprog effect may be in evidence. Twelve minutes of guitar exploration around Breathe complete with full light show and pyrotechnics will leave us all hoping Robbie's on next just so he has to follow it.

By the way, what was Bob's quote about only wanting bands who'd be assured of millions of record sales these days again?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Single File: w/c 12/06/05

The MD of Gusto Records raised the possibility of a Cr*zy Fr*g album in Music Week this week. I sense someone's missed the point of the differences between the singles and albums market.

So the week before last it was Coldplay, now U2 line up for ritual pisstaking at the idea they couldn't outsell a novelty record that's still shifting 70,000 a week. It's easy to miss that How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb is the first U2 album to produce two number ones, so church mice need not fear paucity. To be honest I'm not sure I know what this sounds like, but it's in the radio airplay top five so there you go. Akon, Gorillaz (whose album is in the next position to Black Eyed Peas' Monkey Business in that chart this week), Amerie and then James Blunt. Kids, you'll have to believe me when I say records always used to increase sales in their second week, but now Blunt may well be lauded from rooftops when someone works out what he looks like as You're Beautiful climbs six to 6. Audio Bullys are up three to seven, oddly, unless it's because the original of Bang Bang is on the BBC Wimbledon trailer that's bound to be banned soon.

Jamiroquai enters at 8 with a single everyone admires the flashy effects in the video before but nobody appears hugely bothered about otherwise. You know, like most of his career. (Oh fuck it, I quite liked his Space Cowboy period.) The other Frog chorus, which this site got a couple of hits for in the week so best not mention that again, is at 11, which for an already proven ultra-popular sample base must prove that everyone really does hate Wes Butters. Bodyrockers are up a couple at 14 on the way to 16, where we meet Summer Of Ska, Yes, Again members The Ordinary Boys. As I recall a Q review of No Doubt mentioning, they don't realise the Specials did Ghost Town as well as Gangstas, despite having Ranking Roger from the Beat's son, um, Ranking Junior on guest toasting. Birmingham cottage industry to the Prince's Trust gentry UB40 enter at 19. It's probably a cover.

John Legend, the soul boy who plays a white piano - you've seen it - is in at 27, Good Charlotte's mystifying specific popularity with the punk-pop kids sees them in at 30, The Departure's All Mapped out charts three places lower than it did last August and they haven't even had a bigger single since to justify this release, Saint Etienne make an always pleasing return at 36 and yes, I would like to see one of Bob and Pete's NFT pop film evenings but I'm not in the area, Ashanti apparently had a new single out which charts at 38 and Audioslave's mess of rock is at 40.

The final score, by the way - X&Y 464,471. The biggest selling first week for an album since Be Here Now, also a third album by a UK stadium band making minor if significant US inroads although with more ecstatic music press reviews and markedly less likely to have been recorded in a blizzard of coke with hundreds of overdubs.

Live on arrival

Famously, for both Band Aid and Live Aid Bob Geldof announced acts were involved and that would be the first they knew of it. Of course, now we all have compassion fatigue and people aren't afraid to speak out. Bloggers, for a start. Damon Albarn famously did, and now Jay Kay has said "what? Paris? When?"

Friday, June 10, 2005

Single File Retro

It is June. A band with their best days behind them are comfortably number one new entrants in the album chart. The singles chart sees an act which annoyed the hell out of many on television achieve massive crossover success ahead of a landmark new entry by one of Britain's biggest guitar bands. Yes, it's the top twenties from w/c 10th June 1995...


1 Unchained Melody/White Cliffs Of Dover - Robson & Jerome
Simon Cowell's doing, of course. Hard now to think they had three number ones from three singles, all insufferable in a way even Steve Brookstein could never be

2 Common People - Pulp
Second week at number two. I remember the radio premiere of this well, Lamacq wondering if this really was a new single in a white sleeve with just the title and a date written on

3 Scream - Michael & Janet Jackson
Much wailing and gnashing of teeth when this wasn't immediately chart topping, as I recall, and yes, you'll note the juxtaposition with who's immediately above Michael here. Still the highest new entry, as previewed a few weeks before simultaneously around the world, including on the Big Breakfast with everyone in the crew immediately declaring it a hit, record company heavies just out of shot and on Chris Evans' breakfast show. Until he decided he couldn't be arsed and shoved it forward half an hour, that is. Still the most expensive video ever made, although only number 20 on VH1's Most Famous Videos Ever countdown

4 (Everybody's Got To Learn Sometimes) I Need Your Love - Baby D
In those days the samples from the decade before last's MOR were attached to trance rather than obvious beats

5 Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop) - Scatman John
Jimmy Saville would be unhappy if the brackets were left off. Dead now, sadly. I always preferred Scatman's World

6 Guaglione - Perez 'Prez' Prado
Off the dancing fool Guinness advert, of course, as seen round about now in Eskimo form. Because it's cold, you see

7 This Ain't A Love Song - Bon Jovi
Sounded like one, though. One of three new singles off their Best Of, which is chancing it in anyone's terms

8 That Look In Your Eye - Ali Campbell
Proto-swingbeat UB40 side project with uncredited female singer who co-starred in the video and everything. Maybe she didn't want her parents to know

9 Reverend Black Grape - Black Grape
Tell kids today that three top 10 new entries was a remarkable feat at this time and they'd laugh. Papal libelling, "fucking tennis" playing Ryderese, noted by Danny Baker as a close vocal cousin to Grampa Simpson

10 Your Loving Arms - Billie Ray Martin
Superior Euro-house one hit wonder, kind of

11 Yes - McAlmont & Butler
"I couldn't tell it was until she started singing" quoth Evans upon accidentally crashing the vocal one morning. David McAlmont's vocal, yes. Far better than Refugees

12 Think Of You - Whigfield
Her third (and last) top 10 single, it's worth noting, from the oft-quoted as archetypal summer one hit wonder renamed after her music teacher

13 Surrender Your Love - Nightcrawlers
From the 'christ, I'd forgotten about them' file, Stringfellow-haired John Reid goes from MOR songwriter to club producer du jour for a bit

14 Right In The Night - Jam & Spoon featuring Plavka
Supposed names: Jam El Mar, Mark Spoon. And to think all those history lessons have faded from my brain but I can remember that

15 Swing Low Sweet Chariot - Ladysmith Black Mambazo Featuring China Black
Bet that credit didn't get on the Best Of sleevenotes. There was a rugby world cup on, you'll have guessed

16 A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Annie Lennox
You can guess how this went. From covers album Medusa, which also featured the Clash's Train In Vain. What the hell did that sound like?

17 Naked - Reef
Music to throw Sony MiniDiscs out of record company windows by

18 Dreamer - Livin' Joy
Former number one I used to take quite violently against for no good reason

19 Staying Out For The Summer - Dodgy
Flying camper van video antics ahoy for what they used to call pop from threesome chiefly remembered for rotund, life and soul of party, hat-sporting, Never Mind The Buzzcocks life pass holding drummer Math (now of the Electric Soft Parade, stylistic footnote fans)

20 This Is How We Do It - Montell Jordan
Did anyone else hear the 'Montell Jordan's dead' rumour a couple of years ago? Paul Is Dead is one thing, but...


1 Pulse - Pink Floyd
The only thing I know about this new entry is that there was a constantly flashing red bulb in the middle of the cover. Sit down now, Mr Thorgerson

2 Singles - Alison Moyet
Amenable Southend favourite surely due a renaissance soon, as long as Dawn French keeps out of her videos

3 Stanley Road - Paul Weller
Just last week reissued in tenth anniversary deluxe form, the boxy packaging making Peter Blake's artwork look even clumsier

4 The Colour Of My Love - Celine Dion
Easy to forget about Celine if you don't have one of those Gold stations that plays Think Twice every hour on the hour to hand, but her albums would regularly top 10m worldwide at this point

5 A Spanner In The Works - Rod Stewart
Rod's albums of new material have been pretty much interchangeable for 25 years now. Followed live album Unplugged...And Seated, worded like he was trying to impress us

6 Nobody Else - Take That
The last That album, of course, Back For Good on its final top 40 week over in the singles chart, 37 days away from 'I QUIT'

7 Grand Prix - Teenage Fanclub
Maconie's right when he calls this a great British guitar album for the ages, you know. Simtek F1 car on cover, melodies in collective hearts, McGee probably having his back turned to stare out Noel at the wrong moment

8 Natural Mystic - Bob Marley And The Wailers
David Baddiel considered putting Iron Lion Zion in Room 101, lest we forget

9 Picture This - Wet Wet Wet
Still in post-Love Is All Around clover, which lest we forget was the single immediately after their Greatest Hits. D'oh

10 No Need To Argue - Cranberries
When it's Dolores O'Riordan involved? This is the one that ruined them as a chart force, largely due to half-arsed lead single Salvation

11 Tuesday Night Music Club - Sheryl Crow
Apparently getting an entire city confused with a disco and/or country club. Much cheer recently when I discovered John Harris, like myself, thought it was a new direction for Jamiroquai when he first heard All I Wanna Do

12 The Complete Stone Roses - Stone Roses
I bet it wasn't. Not reforming at all now, largely because people didn't recognise John Squire's joke as a joke when they read it

13 Medusa - Annie Lennox
It also featured Marley's Waiting In Vain, which she should have done with the aforementioned as a medley

14 Blues For Greeny - Gary Moore
Laborious guitar virtuoso of a type you luckily don't get any more pays tribute to then still indisposed Peter Green

15 The Bends - Radiohead
Only ever reached number six on initial release before later climbing to 4, let the records show. Fake Plastic Trees was on its way out of the 40, meaning we were not far from Thom in the aqueous helmet as sneered at on Sky News (see Meeting People Is Easy)

16 Definitely Maybe - Oasis
Some Might Say had been a recent number one, at which this rocketed back up to number five after three quarters of a year. Props to Word magazine for their New Oasis Album Magic Pie Charts showing which tracks steal from where, apparently co-written by Robyn Hitchcock

17 Dummy - Portishead
New album this year. Yeah, we've all heard that one before

18 I Should Coco - Supergrass
This is a fertile area this week, isn't it? Yet to make number one as Alright was a month away, the much forgotten Lenny having just been and gone

19 PHUQ - The Wildhearts
Yes, yes. What did happen to Ginger? Don't answer that

20 Greatest Hits - Bruce Springsteen
Then, of course, Word go and devote four pages to a Broooce live review, not the first time they've done that either. Parklife was at 21 after more than a year while the country's 24th best selling LP that week, and tenth best selling four weeks earlier, was Pan Pipe Inspirations. Robson and Jerome, Pink Floyd and pan pipe albums. What was that about 1995 being the year Britpop swept all before it again?

Did I dream this?

Comments box-related confirmation required - was I in a particularly hazy state this afternoon, or is there really a new advert for Cathedral City cheddar doing the TV rounds soundtracked by Devendra Banhart?

Missing your own bandwagon

The NME's been building up this Summer Of Ska idea slowly, largely around Hard-Fi, who sound as much like a ska outfit as G4 do. Just to ruin the momentum immediately, though, comes news of the Dead 60s' album being moved back more than three months apparently due to US success, which I've never heard anyone do before. You might recall Riot Radio going top 20 towards the end of last year, a breakthrough they've completely failed to capitalise on.

In the meantime Madness bring out a covers album, The Dangermen Sessions, featuring the original seven members on July 18th and are doing this year's National Forests tour, albeit without Chrissy Boy who's seemingly fallen out with them. Well, it's been 26 years.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Most bands tour incessantly and give many trees' worth of interviews around a new album. Six By Seven and Kinesis, on the other hand, both marked new album releases this week by splitting.

Attn: Frengers

I had Mew's UK debut Frengers down as the album of 2003 - near enough ignored by most, it had a power and emotion that few have matched before or since. They're about to return with a new single called Apocalypso (streaming Windows Media), which sounds much like Mew produced by someone who's worked with Soundgarden, Marilyn Manson, Korn, Chilli Peppers, Hole and Soul Asylum (and Herbie Hancock) would, largely because it's Michael Beinhorn at the controls. They aren't really calling the album The Saviours Of Jazzballet, are they?

Such a lot of fools trying to anaesthetise the way that you feel

Time, then, to have a proper look at the Radio Times curated poll of the 40 most powerful DJs in British radio, and see what it all means for us as music fans:

1 Jonathan Ross (Radio 2)

Lets Andy Davies choose the non-Bowie records, which is a good thing given his ridiculously broad tastes which have in recent months included Radio 2 plays for the Kills and the Rakes. Vague memories here of the Electric Soft Parade delaying virtually the whole show thanks to a broken keyboard.

2 Terry Wogan (Radio 2)

It were all Clifford T Ward and Eva Cassidy round here. Perhaps the last place on British radio where you'll hear Christopher Cross, he appears to have played a Zucchero record featuring Mark Knopfler yesterday morning. Do you think he really likes all those British Eurovision songs?

3 John Humphrys (Radio 4)
4 Christian O’Connell (Xfm and Radio 5 Live)

Late Radio 1-era Chris Evans without the affability. What in god's name is going on here?

5 Eddie Mair (Radio 4)
6 Peter Allen (Radio 5 Live)
7 Chris Moyles (Radio 1)

Bizarrely, once managed to get Sarah McLachlan as his record of the week. May not have heard of any new bands.

8 Zane Lowe (Radio 1)

I'm glad the industry bods like him, because nobody else seems to. It's all that shouting and whooping, which long ago crossed the line marked 'knowing'.

9 Jane Garvey (Radio 5 Live)
10 Chris Evans

Most recent Radio 2 special show playlist reveals a) complete breakdown towards the end, b) lack of Ivor Cutler albums, c) a lot of cheap TV-advertised compilations.

11 James Naughtie (Radio 4)
12 Rob Cowan (Radio 3)
13 Humphrey Lyttelton (Radio 2 and Radio 4)

Within a gnat's crochet of the original.

14 Johnnie Walker (Radio 2)

Perhaps the last of the ex-pirates to still be on music radio, even if he appears to actually notice the music less and less.

15 Steve Wright (Radio 2)

16 Nick Ferrari (LBC 97.3)
17 Harriet Cass (Radio 4)
18 Fi Glover (Radio 4)
19 Clive Bull (LBC 97.3)

Well, I know he was the observer of Peter Cook's Sven monologues, but beyond that the relevance escapes me.

20 Nick Clarke (Radio 4)
21 Simon Mayo (Radio 5 Live)

Often characterised as a typical nothing to say 80s Radio 1 DJ, but his final show handpicked playlist included Nick Drake and the Ramones, and he attempted to launch the Flaming Lips in the UK.

22 Ian McMillan (Radio 2, Radio 3 and Radio 4)

Of the Shirehorses' A Girl Like You (Hiya) guest vocal fame.

23 Paul Gambaccini (Radio 2)

Possibly this high on reputation alone, but his big book of Billboard Chart facts still keeping up to date on America's Greatest Hits, which meant him introducing early evening Radio 2 slumberers to System Of A Down last Saturday. Who knew?

24 Danny Baker (previously BBC London 94.9)

A primary influence on at least two of the top ten, of course, which you'd have thought might have counted for something. Launched the Spin Doctors in the UK, and nearly Hootie and the Blowfish too. Remains something akin to genius, however. Not having heard his final LDN show, we hope he played out with Sinatra's How About You? as usual.

25 Garry Richardson (Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live)
26 Gerry Anderson (Radio Foyle/Radio Ulster)
27 Mark Radcliffe (Radio 2)

Now appears to select his track selections via a brantub and his new release choices from a Norwegian chart. Still hugely entertaining, of course, although I do tend to get an early night when Sally Lindsay's on.

28 Alan Green (Radio 5 Live)
29 Martha Kearney (Radio 4)
30 Sarah Kennedy (Radio 2)

Music to throw stones at Ken Livingstone's house by.

31 Allan Little (Radio 4)
32 Jeremy Vine (Radio 2)

I was in a cheapo bookshop that has Radio 2 on the other day and Vine was playing Hayseed Dixie's new cover of Outkast's Roses, "shit don't stick" there unedited. This by the looks of it is one of the few times the part of him that picked the Joy Division T-shirt out of the wardrobe for his first R2 publicity photo gets a look-in. No Mark Lamarr, by the way?

33 Tim Westwood (Radio 1)

He's a white bishop's son who talks all funny, you know. He's also credited with being Britain's first rap DJ - not radio DJ, actual DJ - so I doubt he cares. Perhaps playing up to the image a bit these days.

34 Andy Kershaw (Radio 3)

Well, Zimbabwe had to run out of new bands one day.

35 Colin Murray (Radio 1)

No, seriously. Never mind no Edith, not even Steve Lamacq makes it in, and surely he's had more influence over radio from an Evening Session power base. And isn't a twat, obviously.

36 Andrew Marr (Radio 4)
37 Nicky Campbell (Radio 5 Live)

Yeah, OK, I liked the Teasingly Topical Triple Tracker.

38 Edward Stourton (Radio 4)
39 Jenni Murray (Radio 4)
40 Jonathan Pearce (Radio 5 Live)

Er... he's on Three Lions '98? Anyway, proof as if it were needed that industry experts are the last people one should ask about the industry itself.

The greater rock'n'roll swindle

Never mind the Babyshambles album details - oh look, the next single's got a swear word in the title, how big of them - I'm intrigued by his reading of the Libertines as "probably the most manufactured band ever" on the basis that, um, he and Carl decided to be a bit like the Strokes and recruit other people to be band members. Leaving aside the fact this makes 90% of bands manufactured, correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't they gigging from about 1997?

NB. Those of you with hardier constitutions may like to compare and contrast Pete's quotes to Vanity Fair about drugs'n'Kate (warning: Ananova entertainment section writing style ahead) with the Babyshambles tour feature in the new NME.

The public image belongs to me

It was inevitable a major label would eventually launch a band via the medium of drama given a lot of producers remember Rock Follies and Breaking Glass, not to mention Endemol's involvement (Xenomania too, but they have to have a clunker eventually) One odd note, though - the band include the daughter of Jah Wobble, who of course came to prominence in Public Image Ltd, the overlying idea of which was band as production company. Now it's vice versa.

Say you'll (not) be there

It's called getting yourself out of a tight hole - Geldof patiently explains the Spice Girls would not be invited to Live 8 as they currently aren't popular enough. One might suggest the blanket coverage of this last week seemingly suggesting the event wouldn't be complete without a half-arsed once-over of Wannabe - they "hoped to reform" now, allegedly - would feed into popularity, but no matter. "If I get people who are currently selling 15 million albums, then there's an audience of at least 15 million people for the concert. It's a question of who is popular right now; that's the way it is" is Bob's explanation, which does leave some great big plot holes - how many did Annie Lennox's last album sell? Sting's? Have Razorlight, Velvet Revolver or the Killers hit seven figures at all? More prosaically, if it's about attracting the very biggest names to their country's event, why are the Kaiser Chiefs playing Philadelphia when Employment peaked at 83 in the Billboard chart?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Speed equals distance over time of sound

Sign the 'Let's all get Coldplay on Radio One' petition. Peter Robinson's work, yes. Wonder how many will miss the gag.

While we're on the subject, the choral bit at the end of Fix You - is anyone else reminded of the High Fidelity's I Thank U?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Into battle

As expected X&Y is pissing on the album opposition from a great height this week, word being it might be the fastest first week seller since Be Here Now, which was also a third album with ridiculous levels of hype, which leads me to wonder where the NME's idea this week's new releases form a three way battle for the hearts and minds of the record buying public came from. The Tears are number ten in the midweeks, hardly six figure contention.

Monday, June 06, 2005

I know major labels move in mysterious ways...

...but why are Parlophone re-releasing The Departure's All Mapped Out this week? The industry standard now is to re-release earlier, lesser singles after the breakthrough, but All Mapped Out is still their biggest hit and hardly anyone's playlisted it! Let's take it as a tax loss.

It's a regatta trap, baby

Maybe it's the sting of criticism, and the criticism of Sting's participation, but Geldof has actually gone nuts now, adopting a jaunty Greek fisherman's cap to publicise Sail 8. This is part of his Million Man March on Edinburgh in the hope the G8 leaders might talk about poverty - I understand the previous anti-globalisation protests meant immediate switches of agenda - in which he wants boat owners to sail across the channel to collect protestors. Not sure he's quite got the hang of basic British Isles geography there, but we'll run with it as far as his line about wanting to "recreate Dunkirk", a reference to the battle in which getting a large number of allied boats out of the way of the advancing Nazis was deemed a triumph even though Churchill disagreed, as well as causing an irreperable cross-Channel rift that Geldof seems to have missed in referring to "French cousins". Given the Eiffel Tower leg of Live 8 is headlined by Jamiroquai and Craig David, it doesn't appear to be healing any time soon.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Single File: w/c 5/6/05

Yeah, still there. And the one involving Wes and Daryl Denham, truly horsemen of the apocalypse, is out tomorrow. Snipers should be made legal for such occasions. Ladies and gentlemen, this could last for some time.

Here's a thing, though. How come, with the size they are and the wide audience their albums attract, singles by Oasis and Coldplay have now failed to hang on to anything like a good sales pattern after week one? Last week Lyla went 1-6, now Speed Of Sound goes 2-8, meaning Akon and Gorillaz climb places for no decent reason. The Foo Fighters' new Nickelback direction gets the highest new entry at 4, beating their previous best by a place, only really notable for the fact this was co-held by This Is A Call, their first single now from all of ten years ago. Whatever did happen to Pat Smear? The White Stripes are next on the new entry roll call at 9, although Blue Orchid is hardly destined for Magic FM's playlist.

James Blunt, who almost by post-Gray/Rice osmosis now spends a second week in the album top five, enters at 12 on the back of a Times piece that tried to paint him as a renegade because he's an ex-soldier who makes reference to Kosovo in an album track. Funeral For A Friend are still going apparently and they're at 15, while Ben Adams is at 18. Oh, you do. He was in A1, the boyband that started out as a less complex Big Fun and grew into a band that made a big thing out of playing their own instruments and writing their own songs, because just imagine how much bigger the Beatles could have been if they did that. Now he's become Justin Timberlake manque, and nobody cares.

But more care than Geri Halliwell's fanbase. Now, we're led to believe that Ride It failed to make the top five last time out because people didn't know who it was by, being credited just to Geri and having her face on the single cover. She's gone back to her full name for Desire and in it crashes at... 22. Her first single, out of nine, to miss the top ten, it's hardly her fault that it's out in the week
everyone's more concerned about her old band but it is her fault that her promotion seems to have been Look Everyone It's The Famous Geri Halliwell rather than the Rachel Stevens cast-off of the song and its disturbing video she's been inordinately proud to call her own idea. The UN might want to make a phone call tomorrow.

What else? The Noise Next Door's final single - not announced as such yet, of course, but you watch - limps in at 27, Embrace make an even duller record than usual at 28, Groove Coverage cover Alice Cooper's Poison to little effect at 32 and somehow Studio B creep back in at 40. Triple 8, the boy band you thought had split given they were less successful than V, who have, will surely do so anyway after their 42 entry, only two ahead of The Kills.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Stephenson's ricket

Were you aware Debra Stephenson had an album out? Having finished sixth in Celebrity Fame Academy - no, nobody else in it has bothered yet - Stephenson clearly feels it's time to start declaring that music has always been her first love, and as such has made for the most available ballad writers around as well as going for the Terry Wogan audience covers route (as well as, bless her, Babooshka) As if to prove Amazon shoppers will praise anything nakedly commercial with a beat it's had two five star reviews, one apparently straight-facedly declaring it "should leave Kylie looking over her shoulder at soe formidable competition.Probably the best album by a female soloist since 'Like a prayer'. I predict HUGE things for the future for Debra, Corrie won't be able to keep hold of her once this career takes off." As it entered the album charts at 82 the week before last, I doubt it.

Friday, June 03, 2005

If they can't get the Spice Girls...

Having virtually excommunicated Geldof for not personally intervening in the non-Spice 'row' a couple of days ago, the Mirror are launching a campaign to get Status Quo onto the Live 8 bill. You know, hopefully in the four weeks between then and now they'll get the point of the event.

Anglia will happen

This is probably bugger all use now but Elvis Costello is on top live form at the moment - I saw him just last Monday blitz through a two hour set virtually without stopping, full of family favourites and making the new Nashville stuff nobody really admires all that much come alive. This is probably the least of the thoughts on the minds of University of East Anglia gig-goers wanting a refund because Costello was watching the Champions League final when he should have been onstage. The reason why this has broken a full eight days late is largely because he wrote it up for the Times, which actually muddies the waters a little in terms of when he started and what allowances were made, but got the local press angry anyway as they're wont to do (cf Norwich council's regular complaints to the BBC about Alan Partridge)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Pump up the Jamster

So, as reports reach us that the current number one record, he types in a Googler-thwarting way, sold as much in the first half of the week as it did last week - well, we all know what all publicity is - the Advertising Standards Authority special complaints inbox hits 800. As decreed by 'you might be annoyed by it, but it's outselling that Gwyneth Paltrow's husband's band!!!!!!' newspaper pieces three quarters are complaints about frequency, but a good 200 suggest it's targeting children as customers for an expensive mobile subscription service. Jamster might be able to deny this - after all, Axel F is hardly a Box favourite - but just last week HMV's spokesman put the single sales down to the character's popularity among kids.

Meanwhile, an entirely different character tops the Swedish charts. When people describe this situation as just Vienna/Shaddap You Face all over again, they don't account for how Joe Dolce wasn't followed by every major label bringing out its own single featuring an Australian comedian playing on basic national stereotypes to a zither backing.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Sales Pitch : HMV 2 For £10 special

HMV's head pricing office must have been aware of our sale buyer's guide feature, as the range in this latest offer is just ridiculous. You could dip in and pull out, from my random and by no means thorough sample, It Takes A Nation Of Millions..., The Queen Is Dead, All Mod Cons, all three Nick Drake studio albums, classic Echo and the Bunnymen, best ofs by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Ash and the Teardrop Explodes, Snow Patrol (seriously, it's not that bad, honest)... the celebrated £50 Man might well clear himself out. Let's opt for the time being for just the tenner on two albums aware of the funk - the greatest of all the post-punk live albums, and plausibly the greatest live album full stop...

...and the Motown creative performing genius let loose with a box full of exciting new instruments and their Moog sounds plus lyrical confidence full of agendas and playfulness, which was behind a load of cheap Love Songs compilations in the local racks: