Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Where did you last see it?

Not that he's ever struck anyone as the most organised of men, but having done so three years ago, Guy Garvey has managed to lose another notebook full of future Elbow song ideas. Unless, with the album release coming up, it's the least elaborate publicity stunt ever.

Monday, August 29, 2005

To whoever put our preview of BBC7's Purely Peel on its UKNova torrent...'s not that accurate, you know. And it's still on Listen Again. Not a lot else doing on this bank holiday Monday bar Stylus' MTV VMA review. Seriously, we're not telling you again about Since U Been Gone being shreiking rubbish.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Crimes Against Music

It almost had to happen - Mitch Benn is releasing his Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now as a single on 5th September. If it's responsible for another half-arsed Independent article don't blame us.

A couple more links while we're about it - Insound's mp3 page has recently been updated with much goodness, and the Gang Of Four's re-recordings album Return The Gift is being streamed.

Billboard beauty

Time for our irregular look at America's hottest twenty albums this week:

20 Gwen Stefani - Love Angel Music Baby
These bananas are shit. Also worth a mention, the aforementioned here Kidz Bop 8 at 31 having entered at 6.

19 Sugarland - Twice The Speed Of Life
A surprising amount of new bands around this week. This lot are a country singing-songwriting trio from Atlanta and therefore are unlikely to cross over here.

18 Bow Wow - Wanted
Formerly of Lil' status, although we stopped caring when he grew up.

17 Fall Out Boy - From Under The Cork Tree
Pop-punk's not dead! Contains song called 'I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me'.

16 Rascal Flatts - Feels Like Today
Not Dizzee's newly purchased apartment block but another country hoedown trio, experiencing a sales renaissance after an American Idol guest spot.

15 The Click Five - Greetings From Imrie House
A new entry, and watch out for these, not least as they were on Popjustice the other week. The American McFly, essentially.

14 Gorillaz - Demon Days
Shaun returns from the embalmers'.

13 Green Day - American Idiot
Wake Me Up When September Ends is currently making a huge impact on US MTV, their audiences perhaps appreciating the sap quotient more.

12 Coldplay - X & Y
Out of the top ten after ten weeks. In that gig shown in the Fix You video, which looks like it's their Bolton concert from early July, did Chris actually have to go off stage halfway through that song so he could be filmed coming back on?

11 Killers - Hot Fuss
Not sure why this has just climbed back up 18 places as All These Things That I've Done hasn't taken off as a US single just yet. Were you aware Brandon Flowers is a Mormon? (no, The Bravery, we wrote 'Mormon')

10 Young Jeezy - Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101
Charming. Def Jam Atlantan who's featured Jay-Z on a remix, as with every other rap record of the last five years.

9 Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway
Stop screeching, girl!

8 Faith Hill - Fireflies
Christ (literally), is she still going? This is her return to roots country after her spell as a pop-Nashville diva, which having been in The Stepford Wives she should know all about.

7 Staind - Chapter V
Nu-metal will never die! This was actually number one last week, scarily. Even mentors Limp Bizkit would struggle for that these days.

6 Black Eyed Peas - Monkey Business
Facts That First Hand Evidence Bears Out But Still Can't Possibly Be True: Fergie was the voice of Sally in Charlie Brown & Snoopy.

5 311 - Don't Tread On Me
A hundred short of the Mary J Blige album and already forgotten girl group, a full six hundred behind the Bodyshakin' auteurs, the veteran rap-rockers enter.

4 Various - Now 19
1 Thing, Hollaback Girl, Switch, Girlfight, Speed Of Sound, Feel Good Inc. Only one CD, which isn't keeping to the original Now! spirit. Our Now 19 came out in March 1991, the lightweights.

3 Mariah Carey - The Emancipation Of Mimi
We came across her appearance in Ant and Dec's final Chums (you know, off SMTV) the other day, where she deals manfully with pretending to know who any of these people were. Even we didn't recognise some of them five years on.

2 Brad Paisley - Time Well Wasted not usually spent listening to new entries by makeweight country singers, we find.

1 Hilary Duff - Most Wanted
A new entry, so the brand extension has been successful. We must check with celebrity picture sites whether she has accomplished the 'skank ho' tag yet.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The slightly late Weekly Sweep

Lord Beginner - Victory Test Match
Victorian English Gentlemen's Club - The Tales Of Hermit Mark
Danger Doom feat. Ghostface - The Mask
Smog - I Feel Like The Mother Of The World
Zutons - Creepin' And A Crawlin'
Animal Collective - Grass
The New Pornographers - Sing Me Spanish Techno
Rodney P - The Nice Up
The Blood Arm - Want X 3
Coco Rosie - Noah's Ark

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Starts quietly

The John Peel memorial bandwagon seems to be picking up speed at the moment following the Peel Day announcement, which we note is the day before the anniversary of his last Radio 1 show. His semi-autobiography has a title, cover and release date of the 17th October confirmed and more imminently this Saturday on BBC7 sees Lamacq present Purely Peel at 9am with an 8pm repeat, a three hour special featuring: an episode of Peeling Back The Years, the 1987 Peel/Walters session nostalgia (a later clip featuring New Order discussion here in fabulous mp3), a John Walters interview, something called Radio Radio from 1986 which might be a Radio Active episode, David Gedge interviewing him for Radio 5's Chain Reaction in 1992, him interviewing, we think, Kenny 'God - an informal pose' Dalglish the next day, and to close a 2003 end of year Home Truths. And it'll all be on Listen Again for a week afterwards.


New CD:UK presenters have been announced for the programme's impending relaunch on a press release that brings to mind the only ever occasion when Dave Berry will be comparable with Trotsky. You'll note how well Myleene Klass' attempt to turn kids onto classical music has gone, and the new bloke having a stupidly spelt first name and singular surname, seemingly like everyone now. However, if you know this blog at all you'll be able to join in on the coda: Lauren, Lauren, Lauren! The day after her former UK Play kind-of-straight man Chris Addison gets a Perrier Award nomination, we again ask: what type of career development does Laverne have in mind?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Something only they know

Spot the odd one out in the official Keane Hopes And Fears transcription book. And then, play it all on flute!

24 hour garage people

For most people, stopping off at every service station on the M4 on a bank holiday Monday constitutes the average family outing. For The International Karate Plus (Dinosaur Jnr-esque phoenix from the Mo-Ho-Bish-O-Pi ashes) it's a tour.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The links effect

Radio 1 announce the first annual John Peel Day for Thursday 13th October; Leonard Cohen is cleaned out and by the sounds of it in a whole heap of legal trouble; charts the fall of Top Of The Pops over the last year; and MTV2 take a look round Maximo Park's Ibiza crib (hi/lo), mostly worth it for Paul Smith's shorts.


...fuck off, Richard Bacon.

Attention tall ships in the Thames Barrier area

You may wish to pass by on September 6th when Texas gig on Tower Bridge as part of a tourist/Virgin Radio initiative. The internal arse-quoting contest features a strong candidate in Ken's description of it as "a combination of the modern and the best of the old" - which one is which he didn't say - but Sharleen effortlessly trumps him with "we've played some of the top locations all over the world and this one is right up there with the best of them, quite literally". We hope that's someone quoting on her behalf.

What's wrong with being sexy?

Ah, the silly season. After yesterday's Independent big front page picture of Joss Stone, perhaps added when someone realised there's not a lot of pictorial detail about Vioxx, today's Guardian ponders how successful sex would be while listening to the new Goldfrapp album. We expect to see this factored into all music reviews within a month.

In related news, both parties deny the Love/Coogan story, linked here purely because of the accompanying picture of the latter suggesting he's gone into hiding by disguising himself as Wayne Coyne.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Stone free

Something curious turns up in the report that the Live 8 DVD is being thoroughly Auto-Tuned (which the Sunday Times seems to think is all because of Pete Doherty, although surely they'd have to have another singer adding bits in for that - and also, in what way is the idea singers' vocals don't get tweaked a "trade secret"? Most people seem surprised nowadays when the singer credited with vocals turns out to have actually sung on the recorded track), namely Keith Richards' explanation as to why the Rolling Stones didn't play: "I heartily applaud what they were trying to do, except that it was tied in with government policy and I always try and separate politics and music." Right. So this much talked about track Neo Con on the new Stones album, and the largely forgotten 1991 anti-Gulf War single High Wire...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

V and E

Of course there's a reason why the BBC are much better at sprawlingly long televisual events - they're three to four minutes long and Bill Hicks wanted everyone involved in making them to kill themselves. Nobody else has really tried a live linkup with festivals because there's no way of keeping the music flowing when you've got to cut away every so often. E4's V Festival coverage started yesterday and proved why it was thought such a bad idea. (Actually we're not sure ITV2 didn't do Reading terribly a few years ago, but the point stands.)

Or maybe it's just the production values. Quite a few times songs were cut into by pointless links or adverts without warning, making it look like they had no idea that this music was supposed to be continuous. At one stage Dave Berry, who half-shouted everything in a most unbecoming way and you couldn't get away from it as he was the only host for all six hours (for some reason, C4's highlights show had a strong Deeley/Kay V/Bowman line-up and then stuck it out at nearly midnight) linked to Jet, waited a good ten seconds and then realised they were going back to the Streets set they'd just cut away from as Mike Skinner was introducing Has It Come To This?, which seemed apt. Indeed, picking bits almost a random from live sets meant we saw loads of Streets but not Dry Your Eyes, quite a bit of Doves but none of their big hits, the Chemical Brothers but not the bit where the Magic Numbers came on and, worst of all, the Kaiser Chiefs set cutting off just as I Predict A Riot got started, going straight into Born To Be A Dancer, so they could show it a couple of hours later in full, after it had been billed as live coverage. On the positive side they showed ten minutes of Sonic Youth and every band from the main two stages (even if this did mean two Stands tracks), but you get the feeling that the most artificial of all the UK festivals has got the digital coverage it deserves.

The only chart that counted

So yesterday ten years ago was the climax of the central point of Britpop, the end of a week of battle that Treusteppers vs Spiller - sorry, Posh vs Sophie - could only dream of in desperation. But how did the chart actually look in that week beginning 20/8/05?

1 Blur - Country House
Seriously, people loved this at the time. There's clearly the germination of something - apparently Damon worked from the "blow, blow me out" backing vocals outwards, which is strange - but then the music hall gene took over. Matt Lucas was in the Hirst-directed video before anyone knew who he was. Worth noting in the light of the hype, and given the hosannahs the record industry gave when James Blunt made it to about 60,000 a few weeks back, that 274,000 was only the fifth biggest sales week of 1995, beaten by Take That's Back For Good and Robson & Jerome's Unchained Melody three times. What constitution was buying singles at that point?

2 Oasis - Roll With It
And this was eighth, 216,000 putting it behind Robson & Jerome's Up On The Roof and, ironically for Britpop week as it'd turn out, Earth Song. Invited to comment on Chris Evans' Radio 1 show, Damon was heard singing Rockin' All Over The World over this, which led to Noel having a 'Quoasis' T-shirt made, which led to collapse of very few stout parties. Exited the chart quicker too.

3 The Original - I Luv U Baby
Had the above not happened this would have climbed to number one, already unusual enough by mid-1995. Soul jazz singer Everett Bradley repeats the title over the work of one Walter Taieb, now a classical composer who's worked with Vanessa Mae. How strange the potency of cheap music.

4 Take That - Never Forget
Billed at the time as their big salute to their fans to demonstrate how they were still as together and as powerful as ever, stymied by the giveaway "we've had success, we've had good times" lyrics and, more notably, Robbie leaving the week before release. Being shoved into a reservoir by Paula Hamilton was just round the corner.

5 TLC - Waterfalls
So, right, in the video, how come they're perfectly able to perform on top of the water in the middle of the ocean but when it moves to an actual waterfall there are only aqueous representations of the girls?

6 Clock - Everybody
The Eurohouse chart act of champions, who it says here had only just got to number four with a version of Whoomph! There It Is, which followed a cover of Axel F. Both of these are covered on the Crazy Frog album Crazy Hits. Hmmm.

7 JX - Son Of A Gun
Official lyrics: "A man just on the run (x42)/Damn near son of a gun (x60)". People became a little cynical of the charts at this stage, as you can imagine.

8 Madonna - Human Nature
This was Madge's answer song to accusations she'd pimped herself out, not that setting the video around bondage helped her answer reach many ears. After this the forgotten ballads album and then Evita. Wonder if she ever gets these albums out at home.

9 Seal - Kiss From A Rose
Reissued from a year earlier, when it had made number 20 on the back of a Batman film. And they say guitar bands are milked now.

10 Corona - Try Me Out
And another hurrah for Eurodance, an era of pre-eminence meaning at least two sets of men behind decks in white tracksuits next to two women singing while twirling around in cut-off black on TOTP every week. Producer called Francesco Bontempi, which is worth a cheap laugh.

11 Diana King - Shy Guy
She don't want no fly guy. From the Bad Boys soundtrack, if anyone dares to remember that.

12 Charlatans - Just When You're Thinkin' Things Over
Became part of Britpop without actually changing that much, people just noticed they were still around, still lugging a Hammond around and on their third album, you know, like Parklife was.

13 Deuce - On The Bible
Steps before their time, in that they were the property of a famous svengali (Tom Watkins - where he now?), were mixed gender, knowingly kitsch and did Abba inaccurately. Only ever come up in conversation as part of the sentence "Ant McPartlin, whose long time girlfriend is former Deuce singer Lisa Armstrong..."

14 Xpansions - Move Your Body
Armstrong was actually linked with the Live & Kicking job after Emma Forbes left, the Star putting her in the final three on the shortlist with Sally-Anne Marsh, who sang on this, and... Louise Wener! Can you imagine if Zoe Ball was stuck on CBBC while Wener became massively famous?

15 Michelle Gayle - Happy Just To Be With You
No Sweetness, but perfectly respectable pop-soul from one of the few UK soap actors to actually pull off the crossover. Still married to Mark Bright, since you ask.

16 Suggs - I'm Only Sleeping
Thing was, he went on Danny Baker After All the previous year and did this and Suedehead with the Mark Kermode-fronted house band, and apparently the reaction was such that he recorded it as his first solo single. His original go's much better.

17 Boyzone - So Good
Their third single (not counting Working My Way Back To You, obviously). Four of them are still hanging around, which is more than you can say for Take That.

18 Outhere Brothers - Boom Boom Boom
Easy to forget about their reign of terror, less easy to forget the rude lyrics that did the rounds of every classroom. Way-oh!

19 The Real McCoy - Come And Get Your Love
Mad Stuntman not pictured.

20 Supergrass - Alright
Heading down after setting their image in stone for the rest of their career. Gaz has had to grow an unpleasant beard before anyone would take them seriously.

21 Connells - '74-'75
Richard Allinson playlist staple one hit wonders

22 Alanis Morrissette - You Oughta Know
We've never seen such one star-esque marks across the board as we did for Jagged Little Pill Acoustic.

23 Bjork - Isobel
24 Felix - Don't You Want Me
Rollo, in other words. A remix re-release, much like JX (see above) from the same label.

25 Ali Campbell - Let Your Yeah Be Yeah
Clearly not some great concept side project which demanded seperation from UB40 given it's a weak reggae cover, Jimmy Cliff in this case

26 U2 - Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me
Best single in ages, not that it made them cool just yet.

27 Happy Clappers - Hold On
Piano house will never die. Except it has.

28 The Shamen - Destination Eschaton
29 Levellers - Hope Street
Everyone got pulled into the Britpop wave in mid-1995.

30 Moist - Push
Despite the revionism, US rock didn't fully curl up and die the day Parklife was released. You probably got these confused with Cracker.

31 Ash - Girl From Mars
Possibly the very week when Tim announced his A-level results on the Evening Session.

32 Eusebe - Summertime Healing
Proto-Love City Groove, as we recall. Bet it sampled Sexual Healing.

33 Tina Arena - Heaven Help My Heart
The Delta Goodrem of the 90s.

34 Smokie feat. Roy 'Chubby' Brown - Living Next Door To Alice (Who The F**k Is Alice)
Right, what happened was veteran Dutch songwriter Peter Koelewijn and a couple of friends put together, for no good reason, a version of the Chinn/Chapman MOR classic with a crowd chanting the obscenity back after each namecheck. Massive in Holland, obviously, and picked up some British notice in much the same way we would occasionally laugh at the funny foreigners and their odd buying patterns (cf Jordy Lemoine). As if to prove some people miss the point altogether, the then chicken in a basket touring version of Smokie featuring few original members roped Chubby Brown in to cover the cover. It entered in this week and became one of the last records to slowly climb the chart, peaking at number three, two higher than the original. Then Gompie's version, which had made a small chart impact a couple of months before, got re-released and made it to 17. Then everybody slapped themselves round the face.

35 Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You
Now back at home, thankfully

36 A.D.A.M. featuring Amy - Zombie
A not at all point-missing Eurohouse cover of the Cranberries' tanks/guns/guns/bombs decrying.

37 Shiva - Freedom
38 Shaggy feat. Rayvon - In The Summertime
Plenty of Carribean rap coolness, no jug playing.

39 Cyndi Lauper - Come On Home
40 Matt Goss - The Key
And that was as far as it got, as they used to say on Pick Of The Pops. Goss has released four solo singles in the last ten years, each preceded by excited talk of a comeback. It was Luke that was in Blade II.

Is *this* cool?

To quote from I'm Alan Partridge series 1's Towering Alan:

Alan: So, who's your favourite singer, then?
Ben: Oh, anything, really, you know. Frank Sinatra, Kurt Cobain...
Alan: Who's he?
Ben: Nirvana. Blew his head off with a gun?
Alan: Why?
Ben: He was depressed.
Alan: Why, were they not very good?
Ben: No, they were great.
Alan: Oh. Someone should've told him.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Weekly Sweep

Patrick Wolf - Teignmouth
Elbow - Mexican Standoff
Infadels - Jagger 67
Sonics - Strychnine
William Campbell & Kevin MacNeil - Local Man Ruins Everything
We Are Scientists - The Great Escape
Antony & The Johnsons - For Today I Am A Boy
Orange Juice - Consolation Prize
Sons & Daughters - Rama Lama
Blur - Popscene

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Everybody get random

Pulled out of the URL pile - My Old Kentucky Blog collects the Decemberists' live covers, Wikipedia's breakdown of Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire reminds us of how H2G2 did the same for Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3, you'll be surprised nobody thought of a video blog before now, and the Channel 4 Music site now linked over on the right brings to our attention a John Lydon career spanning Best Of that all but ignores the Pistols. It's got Sun on it! Yes!

Feed the world...or treat!

Of course someone was going to do a song called Do They Know It's Hallowe'en eventually, although suggesting it "stems from a frustration with other benefit songs' misguided, somewhat patronizing attitude, and Western-centric worldview" does seem to be overegging the satirical pudding somewhat. Ridiculous guest list, mind, including Beck, Thurston Moore, the Arcade Fire, Geno Washington, Devendra Banhart, Rilo Kiley, Russell Mael, Peaches, Karen O, Roky Erikson, Elvira (is she still going?), Feist, Buck 65 and, oh bloody hell, Malcolm McLaren.

It's like some big competition for unlikely comebacks

The Sultans Of Ping FC?!

There's also word Carter USM are doing a one-off just before Christmas - an invite to This Morning is not expected - and following their re-exposure on Britpop Now! comes rumours that Jaime Harding, who you may recall went to prison for stealing garden gnomes three years ago, has formed a new version of Marion that's about to start gigging. Quick, someone pin Stump's members to the floor before it's too late.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Northern Uproar revival starts here

Last night's John Harris Britpop documentary on BBC4 fulfilled all the requirements of a Britpop retrospective - everyone listened to grunge until Suede came along, then Blur reclaimed the flag, Oasis arrived and fought everyone, Pulp were there too, then Be Here Now happened and the result of it all was Thirteen Senses.

Like all chronological summaries, of course, it was badly flawed. Where do Suede, for example, fit into the accepted 1994-96 timeline of Britpop given Bernard Butler was being sacked at the start and all they really did during the period was have a ludicrous argument over headlining the Phoenix festival over Bob Dylan - if they're thrown in as an influence you might as well mention the Smiths, whose critical revival really started around 1992-93 as Morrissey started his time away from the NME and the Best Ofs started. Modern Life Is Rubbish wasn't as critically panned as many would have you believe but didn't sell a lot in album or single form, while Jarvis got a lot of slightly bemused press at this point but not much in the way of public note until, bizarrely, he appeared on Chris Tarrant's BBC1 Pop Quiz revival, which was still 18 months ahead of Common People. There's hope for you yet, Eddie Argos. Oasis of course flew out of the blocks, but not without hype that almost equalled that given to Suede and the Manics (who initially stood aside themselves with the very anti-New Britain The Holy Bible but after Richey disappeared worked slowly back up to Everything Must Go speed) and later Menswear. Who, as the following Britpop Now reminded us, weren't all that bad.

As for lasting effects, which seems to be the crucial issue whenever Britpop is discussed in a way punk is never subjected to even though some of its main players were immediately trying to get away from it at the time, surely there's a lot of Britpop's internal logic around at the moment - a small area of London being a creative hub for a lot of chancers, most of the influences being boiled down to one small period, trace elements of glam and androgyny, even the way it's come out of a US-centric movement which swept the music press in the shape of the so-called New Rock Revolution, even if the current participants are happier to acknowledge the Strokes'n'Stripes. What it might all boil down to in the end is a theory long held by some that the middle of the decade sees a movement emerge for a couple of years that has no real function other than to excite a new generation of kids - Elvis and nascent rock'n'roll, the Beatles/Stones counterculture, punk, the Smiths and birth of indie, Britpop and now The Scene Which Nobody Dare Risk Putting A Name To. Born largely out of frustration with surrounding conditions both social and musical, providing a few albums for the ages (let's not overlook that Radiohead were successful with The Bends as much due to timing as their nationality) as well as a heap of transience, and subject to overanalysis for years to follow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

They'll be lucky

Five stars out of five for an album unlikely to have been fully recorded yet?

Summer Sundae: just to round things up...

Stuff we missed

- The Magic Numbers, as you'll have spotted
- Clor's set being curtailed by power failure
- The Scratch Perverts, playing 70s soul to 200 people talking amongst themselves when we passed through, packing out the indoor stage with revellers before long by playing Smells Like Teen Spirit
- Minotaur Shock - heard literally seconds of their Friday set which sounded like gorgeous folktronica but couldn't stop
- Former Top Of The Pops scourge Ric Blaxhill, who was observed dancing to the Dirty Backbeats
- Rico Rodriguez and The Pressure Tenets' roots reggae overflowing the acoustic stage as the last act on the Sunday

The Sundae Sweep - the best live tracks we saw

British Sea Power - Carrion
Emiliana Torrini - Sunny Road
The Bees - Chicken Payback
Sondre Lerche - Dead Passengers
Patrick Wolf - London
The Earlies - Morning Wonder
Battle - Tendency
Luke Haines - Unsolved Child Murder
Yo La Tengo - Today Is The Day
Wedding Present - Kennedy

Monday, August 15, 2005

Summer Sundae Sunday review : too much apple pie?

And of course we're going to have warm weather all next week. Not that the elements were holding some rain back for today, the odd shower aside for the last day of the very well run festival. Certainly the Dirty Backbeats were ready to wake people up with their feral Nuggets garage rock update, singer with Justin Hawkins-esque premature ageing and keyboard player with a remarkable head of hair we hope wasn't a wig. A slow morning followed, taking in Bellowhead's folk dance and songs about men trapped in gorse that led to spontaneous Irish jogs breaking out all over, The Have Nots' harmonic country nothingness, Owsley Sunshine, who claim in the programme to be equal parts Gomez and the Stone Roses which suggests they've managed to miss out on Starsailor for all these years, and staking out the 6 Music caravan broadcast area and winnebago. We can report Andrew Collins was wearing three quarter length trousers.

Sondre Lerche is worried. "This is my first festival on British soil and if I take too long it wouldn't be a great way to start my festival experience here for myself or my team" he tells the crowd, who appreciate the irony as he's playing solo. Going onto the main stage with nobody to back you up is a brave move as it throws the spotlight on your lyrics as much as anything, and this is where Lerche excels, occasionally wonky as is the wont of Scandinavians writing in English ("I'm optionless and turkey-free", sir!) but often full of florid ideas and imagery even if occasionally sounding like the result of online translation. Nice line in self-depreciation too, covering The Only Flame In Town by Elvis Costello, who he's supported, despite admitting to not knowing all the words "but I'll just repeat the words I do know again" and apologising for not having had time to do much with his hair. A filling field is his reward. Food follows, having ensured no massively successful sibling-based bands have been booked for the next hour.

Back in time for Patrick Wolf indoors, and really his cult following should be a lot bigger than it is. Firstly, he has a curious attitude to stage wear, perhaps making his song The Gypsy King more relevant by default. Secondly, he plays piano, ukelele and viola, and yes, you can sing at the same time as play viola. Mostly, however, he has spellbinding stage presence without having to make a show of himself, creating poetic worlds often as if viewed from a stagecoach or overlooking shorefront landscapes, covering Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill as if it were his own and, a rarity indoors, getting complete audience attention when starting The Shadowsea acapella. Remarkable.

Oddly, the Earlies seem to have got the best non-headliner daytime turnout of any band. It's probably no coincidence that their appearance coincides with the warmest part of the three days, as their psych-folk-prog-pop is perfect for kicking back in a field. Obviously we're far too hyper for this so off to Battle we head. Of course this art-rock explosion's going to have a fierce backlash eventually and this level of angular post-punks are going to be swept back in the surf, but they're trying their damnedst while they're still on the up, crafting heavy riffs onto spiralling frameworks that fit snugly between Bloc Party and Editors. Glorious early vinyl single Tendency turns stratospheric as the tent goes from a third full to start to rammed within four songs, although we never did quite establish whether the woman in front of us really was Edith Bowman (it's possible - she goes out with him out of Editors and might have fancied a weekend at a festival out of London after they'd played there on the Saturday and so blagged a BBC pass). We'd intended to flit between this and Alfie but forgot and ended up seeing the second half of their last song. Mind you, three of them had walked right past us earlier while the organiser was showing them round the field, Lee taking particular interest in the stall selling glowsticks, and then later while waiting for Patti Smith we nipped to the loo and washed our hands next to guitarist Ian before watching him turn the wrong way out and try to exit through a locked private room.

Average quality noodles were taken in to the accompaniment of the Duke Spirit giving the garage rock 'revolution' a pounding it still just manages to recover from, a later glance into the signing tent finally revealing who Liela looks like - 65% Sally Lindsay 35% Emma Bunton, before our appointment with a man of black heartedness. Longtime Sweeping The Nation readers - yeah, right - will know we're big fans of Luke Haines, if not his new look which with receding hairline and nascent handlebar moustache reminds us of nobody so much as David Crosby. Oddly, a man right at the front had a young baby on his shoulders, possibly the same one Devendra Banhart spotted, which began crying on cue at the end of The Death Of Sarah Lucas, to which Haines remarked "are you sure he should be here?", this having followed new song Bad Reputation, about "popular 70s sex criminal Gary Glitter" and the guilt by association he imagines has befallen The Glitter Band (not to be confused with The Walton Hop, about "unpopular 70s sex criminal Jonathan King".) Haines was on top badinage form, remarking on the way acts enter the stage from behind a curtain at the back by suggesting he was actually the Stars In Their Eyes Luke Haines and pausing at the "weren't the 90s great" line in The Rubetts to ponder "actually, I have a theory that the 90s weren't bad - I made a lot of records in the 90s." That got a cheer. What passes for family favourites in the Auteurs back catalogue got a runout, New French Girlfriend even segueing into Black Box Recorder's Child Psychology, while after Unsolved Child Murder he notes "about fifty people left the tent during that. Fuck 'em, it sorts the wheat from the chaff". He even got an encore, which lasted one song.

The best thing about there only being four stages was that there was less likely to be a clash between, say, Yo La Tengo and the Wedding Present, both bands who know how to treat a guitar. In the end we got to see half an hour of YLT, who compere Jane Gazzo claimed were the most popular band of the festival based on band T-shirts she'd seen. Actually, we'd only seen one, and presumably she can't have been on site on Friday when the BSP battalions descended. YLT themselves were on top form, comfortable playing intuitively while allowing Ira Kaplan to go off on one in the middle of their awkwardly melodic songs. They hadn't done Sugarcube by the time the Weddoes started, but it's their loss, especially as ver Present were on similarly decibel level-flouting form, full of fire as if Albini's spirit was still among David Gedge and co, pulling out tracks from across their history - who knew we'd hear The Queen Of Outer Space again? Kennedy got the weekend's biggest mosh pit going, narrowly edging out Dalliance and closer Flying Saucer. Worryingly, Gedge appears to be getting younger in the face as time progresses.

That finished comfortably early so the festival could impose a three line whip for Patti Smith and a band featuring Lenny Kaye and, it's said, Tom Verlaine sitting in the corner behind several crib sheets. Frankly, it wasn't going to go wrong. Smith, who would praise Leicester as "I've always been a big fan of bricks" and suggested we all club together and buy a city centre tower block for nefarious purposes, prophesised, prosthletized and when all else failed rocked out, shimmying across the stage, attempting to asphyxiate her guitar or attempting to sing from under a towel. Like A Rolling Stone and Not Fade Away made appearances before Gloria threatened to bring not just the festival but the entire grounds down.

Summer Sundae 2005, then. Excellently organised, great venue, top sound system, constantly intriguing bill. That was, purely, a real event.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Summer Sundae Saturday review: all the ducks are swimming in the rainwater

From feverishly following five day forecasts and the like, we knew it would rain. Indeed, nearly as bad as yesterday, it started raining on our way to the site. Heavily. Literally driven back from the main stage by the rain as much as by The Traces' fag-end of Britpop revivalism, I ended up using my local knowledge to find shelter in nearby buildings.

Coming back fifty minutes later just in time for the self-kicking spree that was the last piece of superior post-emo from local lads Redcarsgofaster, we're in time to see your afternoon host Lammo introduce Editors, Tom Smith unwisely pausing three songs in to console us with the thought that at least the rain's stopped when it clearly hasn't. Actually, a bit of a shower seems to do wonders for a band so wracked with self-doubt as they, the Interpolisms of the album largely excised through noise even with Will Sergeant riffs and Smith's Ian Curtis-esque spasmodic calisthenics with guitar. A wander inside finds the hall nearly packed out as early as the day's third band Clor, Barry Dobbin all in red leading a charge towards the art rock with keyboard effects that the album never quite makes and instead gets bogged down in electronica. They're enjoying themselves, which is more than the audience are.

By now it's absolutely tipping it down, sheets of rain falling vertically and about five rows back from the front getting an extra surprise when the rain building up on the canopy of the main stage dislodged itself every few minutes. In truth, it'd take something biblical to keep most of those down the front away from Art Brut, the eagle eyed having already had a preview of Eddie Argos chatting to everyone near out the back of the stage late in the Editors set. Of course they're a transient affair but that's not to say they can't be worthwhile in a slightly shameless way, from opening with the Back In Black riff into Formed A Band to Argos' rakish moustache and especially the moment during Blame It On The Trains when Ian Catskillin's big guitar solo fails to arrive due to technical problems, hardly helped by his flicking the Vs to the back of his tech, so Argos decides they need to stop the song and start it just before the solo. This he achieves by getting the entire field to turn their backs for a moment - which, fantastically, they do, Argos not quite believing this himself - and turning back round when they're ready to pretend the first go never happened. Top of the pops, yes.

Clearly, though, having been drenched through the mac, it's necessary to repair to a venue with a roof. Here we find Emiliana Torrini, who a friend has been going on about for ages but we've never quite seen the USP of. That's until now, where even though upstairs security is turning people away there's plenty of space downstairs, and despite half the downstairs audience not paying the blindest bit of attention she enchants those listening with gorgeous songs and vocals, part-Bjork (well, yes) part-Harriet Wheeler, with a band including a multiskilling drummer who takes to a bowed saw at one point. Her anecdotes have a leftfield charm of their own, one taking in Janet Jackson, tapes of university radio shows and a delivery to Beck, and another that starts "I heard this 60s song on the radio" and ends "he stabbed me under the arm with a pen". Meanwhile it's still pissing down, not that Tom Vek minds as he applies the rock to his take on Talking Heads recorded underground. The conditions don't help it much, but he does get some synchronised umbrella bobbing up and down going at one point.

After this comes a choice - food and a sit down/dry off or watching the Magic Numbers behind the best part of 5,000 people. We feel, in settling for a sit down chippy, we've let Richard Bacon win. Suffice to say not only, in the great cliche that is actually true this time, did the rain stop ten minutes before they took to the stage and the sun come out actually at the scheduled stage time but two other bands on the main stage bill asked "did you see the Magic Numbers?", the first person to speak to me after my return asked "did you see the Magic Numbers?" and the signing tent queue had to be curtailed after 45 minutes. We, meanwhile, return as they walk off and fall directly onto our arse. Bah.

Recovering in a cubicle (come on, it's a civilised festival) to the strains of the Chalets proving not to be as Younger Younger 28s revivalist as some of their output suggests - indeed we passed at least two of them taking pints from indoor bar to outdoor stage - we missed a bit of Devendra Banhart's even more popular set. There are many things you don't even expect Banhart to indulge in. The latter part of his 'folk-rock' tag, for one. Busting moves, for another. Yet there they were, as backed by various Espers he shimmied, ran round his mike stand, adored a baby in one of the front rows, tried choogling and generally fought a largely successful battle against the numbers at the back whose chatter could be heard during songs in the balcony. Little Yellow Spider for one benefitted from the rest of the band providing sound effects and dancing in the shadows - the lengthy interpretation of the happy squid moving so psychedelically will remain ingrained on our memory for some time. A triumph to close his European tour on.

Abandoning Amusement Parks On Fire when their brave attempt to fuse post-grunge and shoegazing was exposed as having just the one idea, we settled for watching ominous dark clouds fortunately amount to nothing while the Bees did their knowing retro-rock thing. Taking the stabs at going somewhere with their influences out after the first album is an odd move, one that has led to Ocean Colour Scene jibes being thrown their way from the cynical likes of us, but they're highly skilled musicians and turn out to be just the thing as dusk breaks. By Wash In The Rain there's clear dancing going on in various parts of the audience, by Chicken Payback it's about 80% movement. An oddly long gap sees us reject the Duhks as workaday fiddle dance folkies, South San Gabriel, the latest project from the men that brought you the under-rated Centromatic a few years back, as an uninspiring twitch of the post-Uncle Tupelo alt-country corpse and a walk in Victoria Park next door as much more amenable at the time.

It's sometimes difficult to tell which dance acts will take well to the live arena. How come the Orb, with nuts Alex Patterson, have never been as well received live as Orbital with their funny glasses? Lemon Jelly were always going to be great, what with their designing background and playful sampling, and although there seems to be a core who remain unimpressed there's a lot of moving going on at the crowded front and down the back where children are experimenting with their new glow in the dark toys and half-cut women are doing a fair impression of the bogle. This to reworked early stuff, pumped up basslines and, as seems de rigeur now, Nick and Fred taking to sundry acoustic guitars and keyboards to prove they aren't just DJs, despite the traditional DJ arts of hyper pointing and shouting about having a good time. More people there than for Idlewild? Well, there were probably more there full stop, but despite the conditions underfoot most seemed more up for it than Friday night. You end up feeling sorry for those who went indoors for Mylo.

Tomorrow, we try the noodle bar.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Summer Sundae Friday report: how do you get this wristband off, then?

There actually aren't that many festivals bigger than Summer Sundae, especially with the bill they've attracted this year - Glasto, Reading & Leeds, T In The Park & Oxegen (virtually the same, aren't they?), V, possibly that mobile-flogging Wireless thing in London, then you're stretching a bit with the definition of the term. There certainly aren't that many in all inclusive surroundings as well heeled as this - when you go to Somerset House Summer Set gigs they're just big events outside an old house, whereas this is a proper near-arena venue plus a big stage and two stage-housing marquees in the garden.

We knew it'd rain throughout the weekend all along, but we thought the gods of meterology would give it some leeway rather than starting the heavy shower just as we made it through the gates. People either braved the conditions or ran for appropriate wear stalls, avoiding the likes of the tarpaulin around the electrics on the ground that in such conditions could easily be slipped over on by people wearing inappropriate footwear.

Luckily, there were washbasins.

And there is a keen public ready to watch bands, as local boys Post War Years played to a packed Rising Stage as the first proper band of the event. And we really did think we'd hit on something here as their opener, an organ-driven post-punk exploration that veered into New Prog territory accompanied by dub echo vocals, was followed by Departure-level snappy angularity with harmonies. As almost expected the set mostly followed the latter path and as such you do get the thought this is already a well trodden road here in August 2005. But, while it's not all together quite yet, even if allowing for monitor problems, but there's definitely something in the ideas of interplay and the like that could in time become something bigger.

Popping inside for a sitdown and read of the £3 programme the flat size of a blank video box, an announcement was heard from outside about Acoustic Ladyland. We hadn't intended to catch them having filed them under beyond the limit after their Jools appearance, but curiosity got the better of us, as well as there actually being music on. It did seem a lot more palatable in terms of groove and song structure as opposed to whacking instruments as fast as possible, but it's still loose jazz. Top drumming, though, and top hair on the bloke too (the one who formed Mercury nominated Polar Bear in his spare time, we know). For no good reason four men in a cow outfit made their way across the floor at one point.

It had stopped raining by this point, ten minutes before the first big outdoor stage band, and it didn't return all night, which was nice. Being on a big stage is never going to be the right venue for Sons And Daughters' malevolent hoedown, though, or at least as much as a sweatbox of a small venue. There's definitely something of the PJ Harvey about Adele Bethel's strutting and all out vocal assaults on the mike coupled with Scott Paterson's arrythmic guitar which makes them hypnotic viewing, but the sound lets them down, starting with Adele virtually inaudible and about halfway through turning Scott down.

Malcolm Middleton is nervous. Well, forgetting what chord his third song started with is a good indication of either extreme drunkenness, and that was Aidan Moffatt's job, or mild stage fright. Not that it showed during the songs, his dark material playing out beautifully with a couple of ex-Delgados in support, and had I not wanted to catch Sons & Daughters in the signing tent I'd have stopped for more than four songs. I'm certain 6 Music's Jane Gazzo, who is apparently there, walked past me on the way out after the first song.

Marc Riley, who I later spot in the second hand record stall with a stack of 12"s in one hand and a pint in the other, thus defining his raison d'etre perfectly, introduces British Sea Power, most of whose fanbase seem to have turned up with T-shirts proud and branches in tow. Whatever you know about their live show doesn't prepare you for when Yan takes the stage in red stained near-jodhpurs playing a tambourine with a plastic heron, which he throws into the crowd, sparking an actually unseemly rolling around incident between two women, followed by Hamilton with leaves in his hair, to a backdrop of Marshall stacks covered in foliage. They're a band of few words but lots of action for just eight songs, Noble an underrated guitarist, Yan a disturbing focus of attention even when swapping instruments so Hamilton can have a go singing. Lately lasts 18 minutes and doesn't feel like it, and we're pleased to report the eight foot bear is back, receiving the biggest cheer of the set, as they come to their usual chaotic end. They're in the signing tent later, notable for two things: a man I assume to be the bear is signing with them, and the bloke in the queue behind me has the actual heron to be signed. Needless to say, this and the scarf he also offered somewhat takes the wind out of the sails of the amusing badinage I was about to partake in with Yan.

The Infadels weren't a band I'd heard of before, possibly because they're fairly difficult to define. The best I can come up with is one of those punk-funk bands from when the DFA were first making their name - the Rapture, Radio 4, that lot - but having grown up on rave culture. There's a scrap metal percussion jam to start before guitars stab, bass probes, beats break, what might well be a home made electronic drum kit is thrown in and a bald man in a suit leaps about the place. Actually, it works, the sheer enthusiasm of all playing - the guitarist breaks into some spectacularly ill-advised moves upon the dropping of an acid house backing - and relentlessness of the riffage mixed with club beats getting everyone downstairs moving. God knows what it sounds like on record, though.

It's Roddy Woomble of Idlewild's birthday tomorrow but he's celebrating with us, Steve Lamacq informs us. Maybe the advancing years are playing on his mind as there seems to be that certain spark lacking from their performance, even if everyone bar the drummer (obviously) and once hyperactive Roddy are throwing themselves around the stage, Rod taking a leap off the band's packing cases at one point. Tellingly it's the older songs that get the biggest cheers, the encore notably consisting of a reworked Self Healer, I'm A Message and Film For The Future. There are people asleep at the top of the field, which shouldn't be happening with Idlewild a few yards away. We wander off to the Scratch Perverts - just blokes playing soul for all I saw - and Four Tet, who we catch at the start in one of those phases of playing random bleeps in the hope they'll turn into something rhythmic the longer they go on - they don't - and later when he's actually got his twisted breaks going and people are dancing together outside the tent. The community spirit's off to a flyer.

Tomorrow, alea iacta est, or 'I'm not bloody watching Circulus'.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Pre-Festival Weekly Sweep

Mew - Special
Rakes - Retreat
Decemberists - We Both Go Down Together
Broken Social Scene - 7/4 (Shoreline)
Bikini Atoll - Cheap Trick
Can - I Want More
Architecture In Helsinki - In Case We Die (Parts 1-4)
Lord Beginner - Victory Test Match
Super Furry Animals - Hometown Unicorn
British Sea Power - Oh Larsen B

And with that, off we go to Summer Sundae for the weekend (note how it's sunny tomorrow, sunny at the start of next week and pissing it down all weekend) Actually, we will be within range of a computer, so there'll be a daily review of the festivities posted, possibly in a disembodied state, every night. Possibly.

Practising what you preach

29th July: Kele Okereke slams - slams! - bands who launch into public arguments

30th July: Kele Okereke has a public fight with Eddie Argos, but literally. Leaving aside everything else, where's the point in picking a fight with Art Brut? Did the Jesus And Mary Chain ever have a frank exchange of views with Stump?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Rock and roll reaches its ultimate conclusion

The U2 Tower?!?

Fearne Cotton's appeal becoming more selective

Even if she has forgotten how to read an autocue since Top Of The Pops' move to BBC2, the Heat types still seem to like her, so it was only a matter of time until her and former TOTP colleague Reggie Yates were given a permanent slot. How 4am-7am on Fridays was sold to them will have to remain a mystery to outsiders.

By the way, here's the dictionary definition of protesting too much: Cotton is quoted here as "obsessing about music", Yates adds they both have "a genuine love of music" and the station spokesman claims "they are passionate about different types of new music". Well, it's more than JK & Joel have ever managed.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

One day in your life

News of plans for a second Help album ten years after the first should remind people of an album that does tend to get forgotten about despite coming at an optimum time for British music. The challenge for 20 acts was to record one song each on September 4th 1995 for an album raising money for children affected by the Yugoslav war that went on sale on the 9th and selling 71,000 on its first day. It actually got nominated for the Mercury Music Prize the following year, Pulp beating it and then giving them the money anyway. What with technology they're looking to get it out quicker this time, following the new immunable law that all big charity events must be followed up on the first available anniversary. Still available via Warchild's music store, those initial pressings didn't have a tracklisting, such was the rush, so...

Oasis - Fade Away re-recorded B-side with all their mates of the time, Weller, Depp and Moss included

Boo Radleys - Oh Brother new Martin Carr song actually about his brother

Stone Roses - Love Spreads really rubbish jam re-recording of the single. Well, they'd taken long enough already with new material

Radiohead - Lucky The same version as on OK Computer, it was actually released on a Warchild Help EP but Radio 1 refused to play it, citing it as being "too depressing". All over them since, obviously

Orbital - Adnans Later turned up re-recorded for In Sides, here using TV news samples mixed in live

Portishead - Mourning Air Re-recorded for their second album two years later, which makes you wonder how short of ideas they were if they had to go back to this even then

Massive Attack - Fake The Aroma Karmacoma, essentially, but produced by Brian Eno

Suede - Shipbuilding That Shipbuilding, yes, produced by Elvis Costello's co-writer Clive Langer. I was once asked by an interested party if this was an Anderson/Butler original

Charlatans & The Chemical Brothers - Time For Livin' What photos does Tim Burgess have of Tom and Ed? Chosen ahead of Silver Machine, a cover of Sly and the Family Stone's last US top 40 single, from a time when Sly was in no mood for livin' with anyone.

Stereo MC's - The Sweetest Truth Four years after Connected, six before their next album. I see.

Sinead O'Connor - Ode To Billy Joe Bobbie Gentry's mawkish ballad given the Celtic twist, despite there being no Tallahatchie Bridge in Limerick that I know of

Levellers - Search Light Well, of course. A cover of a song by mate Rev Hammer

Manic Street Preachers - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head Their first post-Richey recording, they'd done this Bacharach song live. Wire seemingly not wanted in the studio that day

Terrorvision - Tom Petty Loves Veruca Salt Surely they've done a sold out reformation tour by now?

One World Orchestra - The Magnificent Featuring The Massed Pipes And Drums Of The Children's Free Revolutionary Volunteer Guard, indeed. Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, in fact, with a Clash/film-sampling track later adopted as the anthem of Serbian rebel station Radio B92

Planet 4 Folk Quartet - Message To Crommie Andrew Wetherall's go, alongside On-U's Dave Harrow. Crommie was on answerphone, sadly.

Terry Hall & Salad - Dream A Little Dream Of Me Grumpster then in a career spike and eventual winners of most games of remembering makeweight Britpop bands do Mama Cass

Neneh Cherry & Trout - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 No idea either what this is or who Trout are, although their being named after Neneh's 1992 Michael Stipe duet is surely more than coincidence

Blur - Eine Kleine Lift Muzik Yes, we see what you've done there. An instrumental reworking of a Seymour-era song, apparently.

Smokin' Mojo Filters - Come Together Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, Paul McCartney, Steve Craddock, Carleen Anderson (whither?) and Steve White, if you must know, doing the Beatles song. Radio played this one when it was on an EP.

Numbers up

Given the Magic Numbers walked out on Top Of The Pops on the basis that Richard Bacon called them fat, we're sure Bacon won't mind if our readers are reminded that Bacon only got into adult television after being sacked as a kids' TV host for doing coke. I'm sure he'll take the reminders that he's essentially not progressed his smirking talent from that basic starting point in the spirit it's intended.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Documentary evidence

This Radio 1 series of legacy documentaries is turning into a neat bluffers' guide, now they've profiled New Order and Gang Of Four (by the way, OneClick, that picture's of Radio 4, which is close, but...)

Conjecture Corner

I'm not sure which is genuinely more likely - the possibility of David Bowie using the Arcade Fire as his backing band or Shaun Ryder actually making new records with the Happy Mondays. Or more precisely, Ryder still being able to write songs that other people think have worth.

Sales Pitch

HMV have gone straight from their Biggest Ever Summer Sale into a loosely defined Essential Albums selection - if you think Transvision Vamp are essential, HMV... What this does mean is most of David Bowie's imperial phase, trend changing product is down to £4.99. Like this one...

...and this one...

...oh, and...

Also at this price is It Takes A Nation Of Millions..., the cheap alternative to that new greatest hits.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

We'd like to hear Shirley Bassey have a go

Monty Norman is to re-record his James Bond theme with the original lyrics. Don't dwell on it, you know the tune, imagine these words being added I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue-style:

"I was born with this unlucky sneeze
And what is worse I came into the world the wrong way round
Pundits all agree I am the reason why
My father fell into the village pond and drowned."


Single File: w/c 7/8

Blunt's still up there, of course, and with Stephen Fretwell being declared The New James Blunt on CD:UK this morning (not to be confused with Daniel Powter, still at 2, who is The New Maroon 5) the future is very much acoustic and wistful. Ah. Futurism is represented by Ciara at 4. According to Wikipedia crunk is "a mix of repetitive chants and drum machine rhythms", which sounds to the untrained musical layman - hello - like all machine turned soul groove. Kelly Clarkson's Strokes Lavigne act climbs back into the top five after five weeks as Texas enter at 6. Did you know Texas were back? Maybe this explains Chris Evans' return to radio. The Game enters at 8, people still unable to care that much about him when disavowed from 50 Cent.

Now here's chart ignominy. Lemar's first five singles charted at 2, 5, 9, 3 and 6, and everyone forgot where he came from. They'll remember now, as his paen to Straight Edge, or something similar, enters at 21. The Bodyrockers are hanging around for a ridiculous length of time as I Like The Way climbs back to 23 16 weeks in, which still makes them more popular than the Rakes, who slip back in the running with an entry at 28.

We were wondering the other day whether the forthcoming re-release of I Predict A Riot might be a proper number one challenger - it's their big anthem, it's getting a pile of airplay - but alongside a massive amount of new singles out on the same day we speculated that its current existance as a download might take the wind out of its sales prior to physical entry. And lookee here, it's back at 31. Why Speed Of Sound's back up 6 to 33, Amarillo's still hanging around or the Foos' Best Of You is back in we don't know, but Morning Runner have leapt upon this slowness of sale to enter at 39. Over in the albums charts Lee Ryan's been outsold by Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds, which equals its October 1978 best position of number 5. The chances of something coming back into the charts are a million... times more likely after the film's success, actually.

Friday, August 05, 2005

It's a picture of Paul Smith out of Maximo Park when he looked slightly different!

When he was in instrumental post-rock outfit Meandthetwins, in fact.

The Weekly Sweep

Lady Sovereign - 9 To 5
Elbow - Forget Myself
Prefab Sprout - Cars And Girls
Wedding Present - Once More
Ben Gibbard - Complicated (live)
Clarence 'Frogman' Henry - Ain't Got No Home
Baader Meinhof - Meet Me At The Airport
Jose Gonzalez - Stay In The Shade
White Stripes - The Nurse
Amusement Parks On Fire - Smokescreen

Haines manual

STN has something of a yen for Luke Haines, as it likes to think it takes after him as a black-hearted misanthrope with tongue approaching cheek. Not least when he's releasing a free download live album recorded in 1999, mp3s arriving online throughout August, called No Dialogue With Cunts.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

English as a foreign language

As if calling your album Mew And The Glass Handed Kites (released 27th September) wasn't enough of a warning that in Mew we're dealing with a band who work in an entirely alternate way to most, the tracklisting's just been announced:

Circuitry Of The Wolf
Chinaberry Tree
Why Are You Looking Grave?
Fox Cub
The Zookeeper's Boy
A Dark Design
Saviours Of Jazz Ballet (Fear Me, December)
An Envoy To The Open Fields
Small Ambulance
The Seething Rain Weeps For You (Uda Pruda)
White Lips Kissed
Louise Louisa

More excellence in store to tide over those increasingly cold winter months: a Pixies reformation tour live DVD, the Elbow album we're calling better than the last one, Neutral Milk Hotel's US indie standard In The Aeroplane Over The Sea getting an extended reissue on Domino and All Tomorrow's Parties' Don't Look Back series of classic album live run-throughs including Entertainment!, If You're Feeling Sinister and Superfuzz Bigmuff

Chart challenge

The one bright spot in the very dark ointment of news that Chris Moyles' listenership is growing and growing - according to today's Rajar figures, JK & Joel have lost the chart show 170,000 listeners.

You watch, they'll only put it down to how 'the singles chart doesn't matter any more'. We're sure that when EMI get round to cutting a fifth of their artist roster this year singles chart positions will be the last factor they'll turn to.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Children of Apocalyptic Techstep

Andy Kershaw once said that Half Man Half Biscuit are Britain's finest folk band, assuming that folk is the telling of stories about the life around the singer. After a couple of Peel and Kershaw sessions last year there's a new album on the way in September called Achtung Bono. Top tracklisting:

Restless Legs
Corgi Registered Friends
For What Is Chatteris...
Shit Arm, Bad Tattoo
Surging Out Of Convalescence
Upon Westminster Bridge
Joy Division Oven Gloves
Mate Of The Bloke
Asparagus Next Left
Depressed Beyond Tablets
Bogus Official
Letters Sent
Twydale's Lament
We Built This Village On A Trad. Arr. Tune

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Going Dutch

It occurs that Fabchannel has never been mentioned on here - basically a massive archive of live sets from Amsterdam's Paradiso and Melkweg (not Prag Vec, no), some of which are by people you'll have heard of. Chiefly the Arcade Fire, Doves, Wire, the Wedding Present, British Sea Power, the Bellrays, the Last Poets, Bright Eyes, Ani Di Franco, Damien Rice, De La Soul, DFA1979, John Cale, Nada Surf, Patrick Wolf, Roisin Murphy, Ron Sexsmith, Madness from last month... Hell, they've even got three years' worth of World Air Guitar Championships.

La la la payooooola

Everyone else has covered the Sony pay for play affair so essentially I don't have to. Luckily Jon Stewart on The Daily Show's covered it too, and he's much better than me. (The Daily Show coming to the soon come More4 channel, UK kids!)

Mars bar not included

There must be a book coming out or something, as two stories about the details of late 60s drug busts have been released in the last two days. Lennon and Yoko in 1968 came first, got at by notorious pop-favouring drug squad DCI 'Nobby' Pilcher, who brought seven policemen and two dogs with him because he expected "large numbers of people present taking part in unusual parties". There were two present and they were both asleep, but ended up waiting for half an hour while the dogs, Lennon's lawyers and the press pack arrived. A year later the same squad went for Mick Jagger - this after the more famous Redlands bust - who later claimed in a police statement that an attempt was made to plant heroin on him but was dismissed as being "on the fringe, if not embroiled in the world of users of dangerous drugs". The irony is, of course, that although we know both bands were deep in the counterculture of the day, only cannabis was discovered in their properties.

Monday, August 01, 2005

This is not an mp3 blog...

...but it is a blog willing to link to mp3s. Notably an anthology of Belle and Sebastian live covers, acoustic Live Tent recordings from Oxegen and news of Franz Ferdinand arranged for banjos. I blame Hayseed Dixie.

The official book of Live 8 is out today

If you see a copy, have a look at the band photos on page 49. Precisely what sort of faces are Keane trying to pull?

(If you have the inclination, flick on a bit more and admire the top class glossing over job done on Doherty)


Inevitably, having dispatched Top Of The Pops to the sidelines CD:UK is now under threat (link from a female magazine, which explains why the picture of Cat Deeley is twice as big as the story). It does appear, indeed, that the programme has been completely unsure of itself since Cat left, not least how it's suddenly decided to decamp to the former Celebrity Wrestling graveyard of the old Sunday morning god slot for the summer, ostensibly to get out of the way of Formula 1 qualifying instead of doing what it used to do and pre-recording a half hour show. Oddly, even after four months the show's website still lists the unlikeable Dave Berry as 'permanent guest presenter', as if when they announced he would be the new main host they forgot to mention that they didn't mean it like that, alongside a series of co-hosts, just to prove they don't trust him on his own, seemingly picked with an agency list and pin.

There's a wider point, of course - if it did go, with TOTP let out to dry out and Five quietly forgetting they ever tried a music show there would be no new music specific year-round programming bar Popworld, which people don't watch for the music (Later, yes, but the proper series is only on for 12 weeks of the year) at a time when the whole of ITV's Saturday night schedule is about amateur singing.