A cover feature

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Hi fans!

Sorry for being quiet again. After unleashing all that rage in the last post I thought I’d give it a rest for a bit.

Anyway, I have news.

There is going to be a magazine, an actual magazine, a printed thing, with my words in it. Better than that, my feature’s on the cover. No laughing at the back – this is a big thing!

Anyway the big thing is Trisickle magazine and you can order it online from, well, now, and it’ll land in a few days. How exciting is that? It’s very exciting.

My feature is about the revival of rock music from the north-east of the country and has an interview with Kingsley from the Chapman Family. I do say so myself, but it’s worth reading. If I was the sort of person to use such words – and let’s face it, I am – I’d call it explosive. BOOM! Like that. Yeah.

Elsewhere in the magazine, you get an interview with a chap called Neil Blender, another with another chap called Ali Menzies, another with Benjamin Sniddlegrass from Cockfosters, some words about Tess Burnet, some words about graffiti, some stuff about games from Scott Goodacre, some horoscopes almost as funny as the ones we used to run in Degrees North (ask your parents, oh actually they won’t know), reviews and all that usual magazine stuff AND a picture of the editor’s cat.

All for less than £3. Please buy it.


Chapman Family live review

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Distinct lack of proper updates on here recently so sorry for that, but here’s a live review of The Chapman Family live in Manchester last week.

It’s for Trisickle magazine and there will also be a feature in the new issue.

Clicky clicky linky linky.

How to be the future of music

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If you’re in a band, a not very successful one, chances are you’re wondering what you can do to get ahead.

Fortunately, Kingsley from the Chapman Family shared some tips with me after I asked a fairly innocuous question about hype and the NME…

“I’m fed up of “ones to watch lists” and people telling me which bands I should be listening to for the next six months – music is not a competition or something that should be decided by committee. Furthermore it’s not about some corporate industry executives buying their little starlets a fast track to fame so they can continue in their greedy wanker lifestyle.

“The pattern is established and it goes something like this:

“Start a band by combining the sounds of two or more previously critically acclaimed hype bands from recent years and crudely mash them together to give you a new unique sound;

“Create make believe buzz hype in the autumn in London to get the suits’ tongues wagging;

“Get a famous influential celebrity radio tastemaking DJ “onboard”; get a slot on Jools Holland as “the ones to watch” in October despite only ever playing in the capital to your influential mates;

“Do a small sold out tour in tiny venues to get the provincial towns onside powered by hype and your one good song;

“Do interviews but be careful not to be too opinionated (at least until your marketing team has done studies and has decided which demographic you’re going to be aimed at);

“Release a pretend DIY single even though you’re funded by a major; get a slot on the BBC Sounds of… list and hopefully a cheeky slot on Jools’ Hootenanny if you’re lucky;

“With a bit of luck get the prestigious opening band slot on the NME Awards Tour; release your slightly hastily put together album in March;

“Play an understated slot at Glasto but with maximum TV coverage, ideally play an exclusive acoustic set to Jo Whiley whilst wearing wellies and a fucking straw hat;

“Play a triumphant slot at Leeds/Reading just as “the big single” drops.

“Job done. You are the future of music.”

So there you have it. Remember where you heard it first.

You can hear more from Kingsley in the next issue of Trisickle magazine, the presence of which I shall alert you to in due course…

Why do all bands eventually become shit?

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I wrote a thing on bands becoming shit for Trisickle.

You can read it here.

Glasvegas are back. Yay!

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I have cured my addiction to Once by Diana Vickers, you will be pleased to hear. Unfortunately, it has been replaced with a fresh addiction, for the new single by Glasvegas.

Now, me and Glasvegas have a bit of history I should probably share before we go any further. When they first appeared, I went a teensy bit over the top in praise for them.

I wrote reams of rubbish about how the NME had finally got one right, how Glasvegas were going to change the world, how the sun shone out of their arse, etc etc, you get the picture.

I even carried out a blatant misuse of my power on the magazine I was editing for the Students’ Union, Degrees North, slapping the band on the cover for one of the four issues we produced. I thought it was a good idea. Nobody else did. I was in charge. I won. None of my minions has ever stopped reminding me of it. I should have them killed, really.

It was a bad idea. Nobody else in the north-east of the country, let alone at the University of Sunderland, had seemed to have heard of the band, let alone liked them enough to pick up a magazine with them on the cover, proclaiming them to be the best new band in Britain (which they were, definitely, I am insistent on that point).

Anyway, I’ve lost my thread. Glasvegas are back. YAY! I think I loved them from the first bar I heard of any of their music – it was one of those. So I was surprised when I *hated* the new single the first time I heard it.

All that came through was some naff electro-guitar thing, like they’d noticed the critical praise lavished upon Foals this last year and gone ‘ooh yeah, let’s have a bit of that’. But then I listened to it again. And again. And then a few times in a row. And now I love it. Magic, eh?

It’s got all the old Glasvegas reference points (James hates himself, you’re great etc) and the sound seems somehow more beefed up, the bass is throatier, the new female drummer is thumpier, bashier and smashier and it’s all glorious lovely, even in the breakdown bit where James mutters away to himself for a bit as if he’s forgotten he’s supposed to be MAKING A HIT RECORD COME BACK TO US JAMES, COME BACK, STAY AWAY FROM THE LIGHT.

Ahem. Anyway, I’ve not done this track justice at all – I’m rushing because How I Met Your Mother is on – but it bodes well for the album, which has a title so staggeringly awful/amazing (I haven’t decided yet, will let you know when I do) it surely suggests James has spent the last year gakked up to his massive fringe. As the rumours say. Allegedly.

In defence of…Once by Diana Vickers

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My name is Jamie Smith and I am addicted to the song Once by Diana Vickers.

Phew, that felt good. It’s a few days since I ‘came out’ to my followers on Twitter about my being a fan of said song and to be honest, I’ve only just got over the unnecessarily cruel reaction I got.

Let me explain myself. This is not my fault. That may seem like I’m passing the blame, but it’s true, it really is.

It’s Popjustice’s fault. Let me explain. A while ago, the music mogul chap did a piece for his excellent pop website about the best pop singles of 2010.

As I spent much of 2010 without internet access, due to my own spoddyness and the rubbishness of every single internet service provider on the face of the earth, I missed a lot of the great music that was released last year.

So I looked at the list. And I subscribed to the list on Spotify. And then I listened to it. And then it happened.

It was when I first heard the song Once by Diana Vickers. I’m quite pleased I’d managed to avoid it, since I only started watching The X Factor again last winter and avoided a lot of it due to having a life occasionally (I was watching Arcade Fire when the semi-final was on, so I do like some good music, just so you know…), as if I hadn’t, I’d be even more of a gibbering wreck by now.

Since I first started listening to Once by Diana Vickers, there have been very few moments when I have not been listening to Once by Diana Vickers. It is starting to affect my life in a major way. I wake up and Once by Diana Vickers is in my head. I try to go to sleep…and Once by Diana Vickers is in my head. At most times of the day, Once by Diana Vickers is in my head, otherwise it’s in my ears, as I’m listening to it.

It’s not even a great song. I mean, sure, the piano twinkly bit at the start and the end is a nice bookend, and her vocal is lovely and breathy and honest and believable, and the lyric is nice and hooky and basic and memorable, but apart from all those great things it’s just okay.

So why can’t I get it out of my sodding head? I don’t know. Ask Popjustice.

In defence of…rabid Biffy Clyro fans

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Okay, so I’m a few weeks late to the party on this one, but I never got my head around all the stick the Biffy Clyro fans who were upset at the X Factor winner covering one of the band’s songs got.

Many of Horror was nowhere near the best track the group has ever committed to record, but it was one of the brighter cuts from recent “MAKE US FAMOUS PLEASE” album Only Revolutions. After 15 years or so of knocking about in the rock and roll wildernesses, you couldn’t really begrudge them a shot at the mainstream.

But perhaps Matt Cardle’s version of the song – bafflingly retitled When We Collide – was a step too far. Not only did it change the name of the track for no apparent reason (would the word HORROR put off the tweens and certified morons that are the programme’s target market?), but it made it a saccharine weepfest, rather than the emotional rocker it was intended to be by the Scots.

Which got me thinking. How would I feel if one of my favourite bands gave permission for The X Factor winner to do a shit cover of it, therefore making millions of people think it was never actually their song, making them a few quid but ruining any reputation they might have had? I would be pissed off at least, gutted at worst.

If the song in question was Roseability by Idlewild (the only track I’ve ever been tempted to get a tattoo of the words of), I’d probably do something CRAZY against the man like START AN ONLINE PETITION or something. I wouldn’t be happy. Most of us like our favourite things to be a bit of a secret from everyone else. It’s no fun when you go to see a band you’ve liked for ten years and because they’ve had a song used on a car advert the venue is full of people nattering among themselves instead of watching the act play their older, usually better, material.

And it’s no fun when the author you’ve liked since their first book starts doing documentaries about sausages. It’s no fun at all.

So I can kind of see where the complaining Biffy Clyro fans are coming from. But then if you’re a rabid fan of a band who wear pink jeans on stage, frankly you deserve everything you get.

Well, as a defence of them, that didn’t go so well *cancels plans for this to be a regular feature*

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