Sep 9, 2004 · 1 minute read
There's a new Nirvana box set coming out, featuring over fifty unreleased recordings, rarities, and b-sides. Plus a DVD featuring performances by the band. No word yet as to whether the box will, in fact, be shaped like a heart (I'm so sorry).
If you have iTunes, , this link will take you to a three-minute preview of the new R.E.M. album. I'm reserving judgement until I hear the whole thing.
Nashville finally gets back at rap and hip-hop.
New Order work on Gwen Stefani's new album, and are almost finished mixing the follow-up to 2001's Get Ready.
Problems with iTunes Japan.
For everybody in America: the new Saturday Looks Good To Me album is out now. I have an advance copy and I assure that it's great. Buy it!
Sep 8, 2004 · 1 minute read
Sep 7, 2004 · 2 minute read
It's time for Animaniacs
And we're zany to the max
So just sit back and relax
You'll laugh 'til you collapse
Come join the Warner Brothers
And the Warner Sister, Dot
Just for fun we run around the Warner movie lot.
They lock us in the tower whenever we get caught
But we break loose and then vamoose
And now you know the plot!
Dot is cute and Yakko yaks.
Wakko packs away the snacks
While Bill Clinton plays the sax.
Meet Pinky and the Brain who want to rule the universe.
Goodfeathers flock together; Slappy whacks 'em with her purse.
Buttons chases Mindy, while Rita sings a verse.
The writers flipped; we have no script
Why bother to rehearse?
We have pay-or-play contracts.
We're zany to the max
There's baloney in our slacks.
Here's the show's namey
Pinky and The Brainy
Come back, Shaney
The rain in Spainy
Where's Lon Chaney?
Chicken Chow Meiny
No pain, no gainy
Money down the drainy
Tarzan and Janey
Here's the Flamey
Meet Mark Twainy
Hunchback of Notre Damey
Those are the facts.
Sep 5, 2004 · 2 minute read
I What Do You Want From Me?
Released: March 1997
Highest UK Chart Position: 11
Available on: Music For Pleasure
It's 1993 and the August Bank Holiday. Peter Hook is on the verge of tears. New Order have just come off the stage, seemingly never to play again. After fifteen years, everybody hates one another; it's just not fun anymore. Pete is mixing together the tape for the set, and he's on the verge of tears. Because it was a great gig.
Four years later, and Peter Hook assembled another band, Monaco. He teamed up with David Potts, who he had worked with before in his 1980s side-project, Revenge, and joined the Britpop craze. The first single was What Do You Want From Me?
The song is a departure from New Order, in that it doesn't have a Peter Saville cover. Apart from that, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this was a track from their 1993 album Republic (listen to Regret alongside this. They're not the same song by any means, but you can tell that they sprang from the same minds). Peter Hook's signature bass sound stomps all over the song from the first few seconds onwards, as if to say "I'm still here. And you still want me." Then the vocals kick in, and David Potts does a convincing impression of Bernard Sumner. And yes, the first time I heard it, I thought New Order had made a surprise return.
It's rumoured that the song is about the break-up of Hook's marriage with comedienne Caroline Ahern, but it's easy to read this song as a plea to his original band. to the image of the New Order that exists independent of the members themselves. How it ruined their lives, from having their singer hang himself, to burning out the survivors to the point where even best friends could no longer stand to be in the same room as each other. "What do you want from me? It's not how it used to be. You've taken my life away. Ruining everything." And despite it all, he'd go back in a heartbeat.
Monaco's first album, Music For Pleasure was well-received, both in the UK and America, but the band didn't last long, failing to match or improve on the performance of this single. They broke up in 2000, and Hook was once again left in the wilderness.
All of New Order was doomed to recreate New Order. They realised they missed each other, reformed, and released Get Ready. Back for the 21st century.
Sep 5, 2004 · 2 minute read
Imagine, if you will, that Snoopy and the rest of the cast of Peanuts were moved from their idyllic home of Anytown, USA, and dropped into an 1970s New York Project. Sally and Linus playing double-dutch next to a fire-hydrant, Charlie Brown and Lucy in a game of basketball, and Schroeder's piano replaced by a set of turntables in the park. And the music produced would sound like The Go! Team, a UK band that borrows from Glen Miller as much as Grandmaster Flash.
The Go! Team — Bottle Rocket
How to explain? A song jam-packed with joy and excitement, mixing a bubble-gum rap with a homage to children's TV themes that brings to mind the Children's Foundation Films of the 1970s; all oversaturated film stock and riding on the sidewalks (hey, it is New York), mowing past girls playing hopscotch and four squares on an endless summer day. It's the childhood we secretly wished for while watching rain pounding on the windows on a cold August afternoon, wrapped up in three minutes and forty-two seconds of glee. Listen and smile.
The Go! Team's debut album, Thunder, Lightning, Strike is out next week, drawing influences from Bollywood, 1940s swing, and rap. By the end of Junior Kickstart, you will be bouncing around the room…
Sep 4, 2004 · 1 minute read
You're making me cry…I think we should form a posse, kidnap her and put her in a recording studio to prevent any further embarrassment. Dammit, I wanted to hear the real versions of Open
Apologies to any non-UK readers, or non-Kenickie fans, who don't know what I'm talking about. But the pain…the pain!
Sep 3, 2004 · 1 minute read
Sep 2, 2004 · 6 minute read
It's been a quiet morning so far — WAIT! COMING IN FROM THE TIME-STREAM, IT'S ZELL MILLER OF 2001! HE'S COME TO KICK KERRY'S ASS! Oh, wait
My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders – and a good friend.
He was once a lieutenant governor – but he didn't stay in that office 16 years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984.
In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington.
Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so.
John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its "Digital Dozen."
The press got bored with the lack of Democrat rebuttal last night, and decided to get their serve on. I give you: the adventures of Zell Miller, wherein he wishes that duels were still in fashion so he could kill a journalist. Plus it turns out that Dick Cheney as Defense Secretary, also opposed several of the military programmes that were mentioned in last night's speech.
We'll let you out when the Republicans have gone home. And not a moment beforehand.
Oh, and Mary Cheney is at the Convention. But was conspicuously absent from the family stage get-together at the end of last night.
If you're looking for baseless rumours, the word is that the reason that nobody has been making any policy statements this week is because the GOP has found their magic bullet. They really are going to dismantle the IRS, and replace general taxation with a flat tax. At this point, I still have some hope that someone in the Republican Party has the sense not to throw the country away, not to decimate people's savings, and not to destabilise the US Treasury. It sounds great (NO MORE TAXES!) except it turns out that the rich, who tend to spend less as a percentage of their income, end up paying less tax. By a considerable margin. On the other hand, the current Administration likes those types of tax cuts.
Uh? What is this line-up? A bunch of Olympic medallists (that'll go down well with the IOC), Michael Williams, the Governor of New York and Bush? Is that it? An intriguing change from this conventions ten-minute speeches, I feel.
Courtesy of Bonnie Queen of The Couch (All hail her Iron Fist that controls the Remote!), I've learnt that Kerry will be holding a rally in Ohio immediately after Bush's speech tonight. Which might explain why Democrats have been a lesser-spotted affair this week.
Incidentally — I know celebrity endorsements are not the best way to chose a candidate, but this picture is Cool:
The Labour Party is quietly aligning itself to Kerry.
Here come the Olympians and football players! Because, er, well, the Right likes celebrity endorsements when it gets them, despite decrying the Liberal Hollywood Bias.
Hmm. There's just stopped singing. What's going on? Laura Bush is coming back. Only she's not. She's standing in the crowd waving. That was pointless.
And now the military. Is there anyone below General on the stage? Here's Tommy Franks. Getting a rousing reception. They really are praising FDR this week. Considering he was the great liberal president of the last century, it seems a little strange (but obviously not - they're trying to associate Bush with the war-time image). "We've taken the fight to the terrorists!" And some other people who got in the way. "Some people think we should retreat to a defensive position." I'd love to meet these people, because they're not represented by either the Democrat or Republican platforms. By the way, been outside Kabul recently? I hear it's quite nice. Aww, we've just been thanked for taking part in the Iraq invasion. Yes, and if you had bothered to listen to the inspectors, you might have realised that you wouldn't have found any nuclear weapons.
IT'S BARBARA BUSH! Giving support to the Bush Twins. And introducing a Twins-presented documentary on the Bush family. LOOK AT THE CUTE BABY BUSHES!
Call Martha Reeves. And The Vandellas. Dancing In The Street?. They're currently being taken away in zip-cuffs in the street, you know.
Ah, Michael Williams is the assistant organiser of the Convention. The "some of my best friends are black people!" speech.
Aha. Laura Bush lifted the spirits of Afghanistan women. Is it just me who finds that a little arrogant and insulting?
My God! PIERCE BUSH? They are just like the Kennedys! Only without the predilection for dying young.
Stephen Colbert! Hehe.
Oh, please. Does it really matter anymore about Cuba? I mean, I know Castro isn't a saint, not be any means. But there's far worse out there, and he's not doing you any harm.
AND NOW! THE YEARNING BALLAD! WITH TEARS! AMERICAN FLAGS! AND WESTLIFE SITTING ON CHAIRS!
And now the Governor of NY. Thanking everybody for their help on 9/11. Quite sweet, actually.
I've just read Bush's speech. As expected, he's left most of the attacks to the Vice-President OH GOD! PATAKI'S JUST MENTIONED BIN LADEN! In an attack on Clinton. For not protecting America, and blaming 9/11 on Bill. Wonderful. Of course, the 9/11 commission found that the Clinton Administration stopped the Millennium Attack.
Anyway, ignoring Pataki's shameless attempt to position himself for 2008, the Bush speech is fairly ordinary on paper; a few references to his difficulties in talking, promoting his achievements in the past four years, a big name-check for Blair, and a small section attacking Kerry on the same subjects (voting for and against bills and so forth), but nothing stirring.
Time for Bush. Another Law & Order actor introducing (Fred Thompson). Some more trading on 9/11 for the introductory video. Wow, he threw a ball with an armoured jacket. (yes yes, symbolism, but they made out like he single-handedly revived New York's spirit)
Huge applause. 'Four more years' And the speech itself. I suppose the thing with Bush is that your expectations are so low, anything that sounds coherent seems like an improvement. He is much better when talking from a script. Oh, and the flat tax thing isn't in the speech. He does mention reform and simplification of the code, would could be a hint, but the speech, like all speeches, is light on the details.
I really don't have much more to say, bar Bush turning into a Space Squirrel at the end. It ends with a whimper. But Kerry's coming up in an hour, and I might just hang around for that…
'activist judges', attacks on Hollywood, the marriage amendment. It's not a speech for undecided voters.
HEY! I'm on realplayer now - did people just try and rush the stage?
A resounding endorsement of democracy! Well, I suppose you do owe your presidency to voter fraud, after all…
Look, I know he acts like a Conservative, but Tony Blair really isn't your friend.
John? I like you and everything, but I don't think that worked…
Sep 1, 2004 · 6 minute read
MISSING: The Democrat Party. Last Seen: Sometime last week. HAVE YOU SEEN THE DONKEY? The GOP was all over the Democrat Convention, but the response to the past two days has been timid to say the least. Perhaps they're waiting to spring a big surprise at the end of the week. Or maybe they're running around like headless chickens.
But first. THE GOD OF CONTEXT. Or, "how you can vote for a bill, then vote against it when people tack on $20 million to build a lamppost in Baker, California."
Meanwhile, the thorough fact-checkers of Unfit for Command failed to notify several of the 300 Veterans that they had used their names in support of their book. They're happy about it. Honest.
Oh, and welcome to Pier 57. Razorwire pens, protestors held without charge, without access to lawyers, and some suffering chemical burns from the strange substance on the floor of the former Manhattan Transit Authority building. Well, if the campaign is going to relive Vietnam, revisiting 1968's Chicago is inevitable…
I'm not in the best frame of mind for this tonight, and rumours abound that the speakers will be going all out to attack Kerry. So expect heart-crushing and weary commentary.
By the way — two days in, and no-one's mentioned the guy who carried out the attacks on New York and Washington. A little curious.
Wow, did Microsoft just photocopy iTunes for their new music website, or what?
And now! Rick Santorum! Will he compare homosexuals to bestiality again? Ah, culture wars. Damn those rappers. Comparing them to the Great Depression is a bit much though. Strong marriages! Because THE GAY would cause them all to collapse, as every man and woman in America would be forced to marry someone of the same sex. Well, it must be true. Why else would they be so worried? Damn that Kerry standing up for the Constitution.
I must have missed the Karl Rove/Barney The Dog skits. Oh, because the Dean Scream didn't get old, like back in February. Yes, they are just as bad as you can imagine. Oh, the Kerry dog is a French Poodle. It's like the Bouncer episode of Neighbours. Only that was funny.
James Brown. I Feel Good. Someone tell the Texas delegates to stop dancing. It's just SCARY.
Bono on O'Reilly! He's going around telling America that it's great, apparently. Bill can't pronounce Geldof, and he's slagging off Live Aid. Muahaha.Unprotected sex is rife in Africa because they think it's "macho"? EH? Or perhaps it's the Catholic Church.
It's not our fault! It's Clinton's fault we had a recession!
KERRY WILL TAX THE AIR, THE SEA, AND THE SKY!
The woman speaking is rather annoying. But thankfully we're leaving Pennsylvania now.
The convention has just been ordered to get on its feet by a band called Third Day. *googles* Oh, a Christian rock band. I know it's highly judgemental, but I just can't take Christian Rock seriously. The oxymoron is too big for me to ignore. But! The RNC pulls out its first big gun! "You got the slightly-fey Reagan! OUR ONE IS ALL MAN, BABY!"
Chances of Iran-Contra turning up in this tribute? Oh, well, it was just a thought. Or perhaps his gutting of anti-trust laws? Or setting up the conditions for the S&L collapse? Or Nicaragua? AAAAAA THATCHER! KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT! *pause to laugh at Mark Thatcher* Gorbachev, naturally, just sat on the sidelines while Reagan dismantled the Soviet Union WITH HIS BARE HANDS.
The big speakers should be up soon. Firstly, we're going to have the Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Massachusetts, presumably to bash Kerry's record as Senator. Then Senator Zell Miller (D) who will be selling out his party for a packet of Rolos and an option on Michael Owen. Finally, the Cheney double team. Fun fun fun.
Today's fun fact! Kerry voted to increase taxes 126 times. You'll hear it many times. Hmm, I seem to remember that being a Conservative tactic in past elections over here. It's worked like a charm. Assuming that they wanted eight years of Labour rule. Yawn, 'activist judges' yet again. Oh, a Heinz joke. "we don't want a President who comes in 57 varieties" Now, supposedly, there was a rumour that Romney's speech would drop a bombshell. HAHAHAHAHHAAHA. Surely they have to give up their claims for 'fiscal conservatism' by now, after creating a deficit so large its gravity affects the tides. But no bombshell.
Like the devil, the Democrats have the best tunes (I'll gloss over the PMRC). Soul Man. With all the life sucked out through a straw.
So, what does the Democrat have to say? Ah, Kerry has no backbone. He's jumped because "my family is more important than my party." Oh, so the Democrats shouldn't make national security a partisan issue. Well, let's be fair. Tom Ridge started it. THAT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE DEMOCRATS! THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO OPPOSE THE REPUBLICANS! IT'S HOW A PARTY SYSTEM WORKS, DIMWIT! Oh, and Americans freed Europe all. by. themselves. Naturally. Next up, reporters, artists, and dissenters are worthless compared to a soldier. And now a list of military hardware that Kerry opposed. He's working the crowd quite well, depressingly. "Kerry would let Paris decide when to use force." And Bush has a "spine of tempered steel" GO WEAPON BUSH! BESERKER RAGE!
I will send someone a crisp £10 to the first prime-time speaker that doesn't mention 9/11. Lynne. It's getting beyond a joke now.
THE MAIN EVENT! I don't know what it is; Cheney is like a genetically engineered version of a Republican. All compassion selected and removed at the basic DNA level, leaving only a core of pure, well, evil (yeah, yeah, he's not really evil. But to look at him, he'd crush you underfoot without a second thought). This is definitely the second most depressing thing of the not. Wait - people are being bundled down in front? What's that about? The Taliban have been driven from power! Or Kabul. But don't worry! almost eleven million people have registered to vote. Sure, only nine million are eligible to register, but hey, we're skipping to Tamany Hall-era democracy.
Meanwhile, on NBC, John McCain on Miller:
I just don't agree that Democrats are unpatriotic.... I believe John Kerry is qualified to be commander-in-chief.
Oh, and no, Cheney hasn't mentioned bin Laden either. Now we're getting into Kerry-bashing, along with UN bashing on the side. Hurrah! Oh, for God's sake, even Bush talked about sensitivity! It's pretty much the usual — Kerry's a wuss who would ask France for permission to go to war, and so on. I really hope that SOMEONE, SOMEONE from the opposition will explain how a bill can voted for, and against. And…no…I've just had too much. See you tomorrow for the finale.