Monday, 10 July 2017
Nostalgic fans who are only interested in Neil Young’s boring old material will be thrilled to learn than the cantankerous Canadian will finally release one of his long-lost albums on July 14. Hitchhiker was originally recorded in 1976 but the material was binned when Young became distracted with other projects such as cocaine.
Young isn’t the only musician with an album or twelve tucked away at the back of his audio pantry. Here are six more records that have yet to see the light of day that it would literally be worth injecting your own grandmother with a lethal dose of diamorphine to hear.
Green Day - Cigarettes And Valentines And The Same Three Chords
The Californian trio abandoned this album when its master tapes were stolen by a benevolent Robin Hood figure hoping to spare the masses from yet more Green Day. Instead, Billy Bobby Thornton and co. dusted themselves off and wrote the bloated concept album American American. But what would that original album have sounded like? Pop-punk, obviously. Working titles included ‘Oi Oi’, ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’, ‘Boohoo Ballad’, ‘Spank Spank’ and ‘Mickey The Mohawk’s Tragic Tale Of Social Security Woe (Woe, Woe, Woah)’.
U2 - Trilogy
According to Bono’s water-polo partner George W. Bush, U2 have at least three albums worth of unreleased material which ranges from bombastic arena rock to acoustic arena rock. I’m not surprised because one of them once slipped down the back of Bono’s sofa only to find its way into my iTunes library and now I can’t delete it without the webcam taking my picture without permission and automatically adding my name to a secret government list of known atheists.
Donald J. Trump - The Art Of Making A Really Really Great Album Like A True Champ
Much like Jesus, little is known about Donald Trump’s teenage years other than he was almost certainly a precocious tool. One theory is that the young Donald spent much of that time working on an ambitious space-prog concept album inspired by Orson Welles, golden shiny things and several books he hasn’t read. It is thought that Trump abandoned his musical aspirations when it finally dawned on him that he could not operate any grown-up instruments with such tiny hands. He then decided to focus on his second dream of becoming America’s least qualified human.
Billy Joel - Everything Since 1993
In a reversal of the hideous portrait in Dorian Gray’s attic, the songs Billy Joel records in his secluded basement are as sprightly and vibrant as the work of his youth while, externally speaking, Joel slowly transforms into a pink fleshy egg. In concert, Joel’s piano has to be secured to the stage floor with extra reinforced bolts to prevent it from being sucked into the air by the force of an entire arena crowd gasping in unison at this upsetting reminder of mortal decline.
Gary Barlow - Eyebrow Of The Tiger
At the nadir of his portly wilderness years, Gary Barlow recorded an entire concept album dedicated to his own right eyebrow. Tracks included ‘Back For Eyebrow’, ‘Everything Eyebrows’, ‘A Million Eyebrows’, ‘How Deep Is Your Eyebrow’, ‘It Only Takes An Eyebrow’, ‘I Will Eviscerate Robbie Williams And Feed His Gunky Entrails To That Prickhole Max Beesley’ and ‘Relight My Eyebrow’. Gary Barlow’s right eyebrow was so touched by the gesture that it has remained raised in erotic stimulation ever since.
Noel Gallagher, John Zorn and Autechre - Vol. 1: Definitely Quabungzizz-X
A couple of years ago, word got out that the ex-Oasis songwriter had recorded a whole album in collaboration with the avant-garde composer John Zorn and groundbreaking electronic duo Autechre. Regrettably, Gallagher shelved the project when he suddenly remembered that it could jeopardise his long-cultivated reputation as Britain’s dullest musician.
Saturday, 8 April 2017
Most of the time the phrase “Easter egg” will make you think of stuffing your insatiably greedy face with Lindt rabbits while intravenously injecting the gunk from a Cadbury’s Creme Egg directly into your bloodstream. However, in the world of video games, films and software, “Easter egg” doesn’t have anything to do with the resurrection of Christ. It basically means hidden messages or secret quirks, like when pressing up-down-left-right-left-right-start-up-up-up-down-up-down-up-poweroff-start-pause-pause during Level Three of Desert Strike for the Sega Megadrive would reveal a bonus cut scene in which defenceless Iraqi hostages were murdered in cold blood by Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe.
There are plenty of them in music too, including secret songs, backwards voices and loads of other rubbish. Here are five of the best Easter eggs in music. Please don’t tell us your own favourites in the comments below.
The Beatles - ‘Her Majesty’
Nirvana - ‘Endless Nameless Pointless Celebrities’
Tool - 10,000 Days
If you play all the tracks on Tool’s 2006 album 10,000 Days at the same time while simultaneously holding separate sleeves of the LP up to windows on opposite sides of the room, then a hologram of lead singer Maynard James Keenan (pictured above) will appear and gleefully announce that there will be eight Pucifer records, another A Perfect Circle reformation and three more appearances of Halley’s Comet before the next Tool album arrives, you patient maggots.
Desert Sessions - ‘Shepherd’s Pie’
Absent from some copies of the album, this piss-around track was reputedly inspired by the delicious shepherd’s pie that PJ Harvey (pictured above) cooked for Josh Homme, Twiggy Ramirez, Chris Goss and other rockin’ rockers as they recorded together in the Californian desert. I wish PJ Harvey would cook some shepherd’s pie for me. Why does PJ Harvey never cook shephard’s pie for me? God I’m lonely.
Radiohead - 0 to 10
OK Computer and In Rainbows both have ten letters in their title. The latter was released a decade after OK Computer, on October 10th. The band made it available for download on ten servers. When touring the album, Radiohead’s support slots were given to Tenpole Tudor, The Three Tenors and Ten Inch Nails. What’s the significance of the number ten? Create a playlist that alternates the tracks of OK Computer with those of In Rainbows, and you end up with one massive seamless Radiohead album. Unfortunately though, it’s still a Radiohead album which is 10 million per cent less enjoyable than Jason Donovan’s seminal debut record Ten Good Reasons.
Sunday, 22 January 2017
Following the success of their atmospheric movie soundtracks, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have been hired to provide the backing music to the forthcoming series of the BBC’s toughest cookery competition.
In what looks to be the biggest shake-up of the show’s ambience since it was rebranded MasterChef Goes Large and then quickly re-rebranded back to MasterChef again, its producers felt that Cave and Ellis’ gothic soundscapes could bring a sense of drama and class to the format which has recently suffered from an over-reliance on thumping house music to embellish the acts of dicing up carrots and deconstructing a fish pie.
A statement from their management said that both musicians are huge fans of the show, even though Cave’s own diet is limited strictly to snakeskin soup, washed down with the crimson blood of virgins.
MasterChef co-presenter Gregg Wallace was also deeply involved in the recording process, advising, guiding and critiquing the composers despite possessing zero musical ability of his own. Producers felt that by shouting “you’ve got three minutes” at Cave and Ellis as they approached the desired running time, Wallace made a valuable contribution in his own special way.
Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Christine & The Stephen Kings - Beep Beep Yeah
Manufactured in a factory built on top of an ancient Indian gas station, it was only a matter of time before this automobile named “Christine” developed a mind of its own and went on a bloodthirsty rampage. The spooky car honked its horn, screeched its wheels, tried as best it could to learn some very complex choreography and mercilessly ran over anyone who stood in the way of its ambition to transgress the limitations of its metallic chassis and blossom into a precocious French pop star.
David Bowie - Blackstar
As David Bowie shuffled off this mortal coil he left a parting gift to us in the form of Blackstar, widely recognised as his greatest accomplishment since 1998’s Mechanical Animals. As it turned out, Blackstar was the gift that kept on giving, especially in its vinyl format. As investigative fans soon discovered, if you leave the gatefold sleeve in the sun, the “black star” image transforms into a glowing constellation. Not only that, when exposed to a blacklight, the cover’s colour changes to fluorescent blue. Finally, if you reflect lava-lamp light off one side of the record at a specific angle while standing on one leg, humming like Noel Fielding in a leotard and juggling pineapples using telekinesis, then a projection appears on the ceiling declaring: “Cease dicking around with this tawdry old LP jacket, go out in the fresh air and start living a little, yeah? Love David xx”
Francis Drake - Sea Views
At a whopping 20 tracks long, Francis Drake’s fourth full length felt longer than circumnavigating the globe in a creaky galleon. Essentially it was yet another album of Renaissance bangerz about how dreadfully tough it is being Francis Drake, covering the usual subject matter of scurvy, tobacco, mutineers, Spanish treasure, lethal dysentery and the mixed messages he’s been getting at Queen Elizabeth’s pool parties.
Iggy Pop - Post Homme Depression
The greatest trick Josh Homme ever pulled was convincing the world he was a hip rockin’ dude as cool as a cryogenic Fonze. In reality, the man is a curse. A malevolent scourge of all that is musical. A hex put on our planet to ruin, diminish or destroy any artist he touches, like an MOR King Midas. Screaming Trees never managed another album after touring with Homme. Alex Turner hasn’t written a single relatable lyric or nifty riff since Homme began co-producing The Arctic Monkeys. And the less said about The Eagles Of Death Metal the better. Then came the turn of Iggy Pop. It takes a special sort of genius to make the most wildly badass, permanently half-naked feral frontman of all time sound like a pampered bloodhound crooning over a discarded Thin Lizzy demo reel, but Josh Homme managed it all right. For that, he should be applauded. Then promptly exiled back to the desert to think about what he’s done.
The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It And It Also Means That I Can Just Talk Uninterrupted Which Suits Me Fine Because As You Can Tell From The Length Of This Album Title I Am The Most Important Man On The Planet
Sounds more like 1985 to me. Specifically INXS, Simple Minds and all those prats who enjoy a good yacht.
Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch
Did you know that if you book a group of avant-garde musicians into a single recording studio, they all start their period concept albums at the same time? Jenny Hval’s LP wasn’t just about menstruation of course. It also explored gender politics, capitalism, madness, failure, infatuation, love, loneliness, art, identity and vampires. Sadly, after the first appearance of the P word most male listeners went immediately pink in the face, stared into the distance pretending not to hear and hoping the conversation would swiftly return to the masculine merits of the latest Radiohead video.
Biffy Clyro - Ellipses
Craig David - Following Meh Intuition
2016 had its fair share of disasters, from America electing its first furiously illiterate tangerine president to the UK referendum on whether there should be a 12.5% hike in the price of Marmite (in the end, the “Marmexiters” triumphed, leaving many “Remarmiters” feeling distraught, hopeless and drastically less yeasty). It was a good year for R&B, however, especially thanks to the pioneering work coming out of the US. Rather than getting too bogged down in Beyoncé’s black power break-up record, Frank Ocean’s jazzy weed jams or The Weeknd’s subversive cocaine pop, here in the UK we welcomed the return of Craaaaaig David. He had a hit single in collaboration with Notorious Big Daddy, his album debuted and number one and he won best male at the ceaselessly credible MOBO awards. Like everything else that happened in this year, Craig David’s comeback showed us that British culture is only ever truly interested in getting a re-rewind.
Billy Corgan - Siddhartha
Let’s be honest, this release was way better than David Bowie, Radiohead, Frank Ocean, Savages, Swans, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, The Avalanches, Bat For Lashes, Bon Iver, Angel Olsen, Leonard Cohen, Shirley Collins, Michael Kiwanuka, Kendrick Lamar and Suede all put together. A five-vinyl box set recording of Corgan’s solo ambient synthesizer jam inspired by Hermann Hesse and retailing at a mere $375? What’s not to like?
Remember, this is the guy who released an album for free on the internet before most of his contemporaries had even signed up for a Hotmail account, hooked up with Courtney Love, fell out with Courtney Love, got back together with Courtney Love, wrote some songs with Courtney Love, posed on the cover of a magazine for cat lovers, thinks that words such as “Smashing Pumpkins” and “Zwan” are serviceable band names, once made an acoustic-based pop-goth album while addicted to amphetamines, went viral simply by sitting on a rollercoaster looking a like a sad child, founded his own pro-wrestling company, was appointed Senior Producer of another pro-wrestling company only to fall out with them and start suing them a few months later, believes that swine flu was a part of a government conspiracy and runs his own tea shop called Madame ZuZu’s.
At last year’s Glastonbury Festival, Kanye West claimed to be the “greatest living rock star on the planet”. Yeezy remains light years behind the pure batshit genius that is William Patrick Corgan.
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Some album covers are just iconic, like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon or that Guns N’ Roses one with the spaghetti. The sleeve is a visual representation of the record, so artists are usually picky about what graces the cover. Often it’s a moody picture of the musicians themselves or a pretentious piece of artwork. But sometimes the band chooses a random photograph of some other idiot.
So whatever happened to the stars of these iconic covers? You’ll be amazed that the biological ageing process has taken its toll on the physical appearance of these human beings!
Ah, the year 1999. Dawson’s Creek was still cool, Christina Aguilera released ‘Genie In A Bottle’ and Oliver Reed failed to complete filming Gladiator due to a fatal drinking binge with some Royal Navy sailors. It was also the year of Blink-182’s puerile masterpiece Enema Of The State and who can forget that cover with the hot nurse snapping on a rubber glove? But what does she look like today?
The years have not been kind.
David Fox threatened to sue Placebo for the inclusion of his image on their debut album. He claims he was bullied at school for appearing on the cover but it could’ve been worse. The New Radicals, Stereophonics and Texas all had albums out in 1999. Imagine the stick you’d get for being on the front of one of those atrocities. Performance And Cocktails would get your head flushed down the toilet at the very least.
Who would’ve thought that the little boy on Placebo’s debut was as susceptible to aging as you, me and every person who ever lived? Here he is today, his skin ravaged by time, the lines on his face like craters on the surface of a distant planet with hardly a glimmer of hope in those dead, dead eyes. The decaying fool.
Everyone smoked in the 1980s, as accurately depicted in the period drama Mad Men which I reckon was set then or thereabouts. Even the babies smoked. Well at least the coolest babies did, like the one on the front of Van Halen’s 1984.
It was based on a photograph of four-year-old Carter Helm. And get this, that baby is no longer a baby but has since grown and matured and sleepwalked through life just like we all do and one day he will die, just like we all will die, probably from lung cancer or some other merciless disease.
This could be the most iconic album cover ever, but at the time photographer Kirk Weddle didn’t have a clue who Nirvana were or what a success the band and their album would become, the shortsighted fool.
So what’s that baby up to today? Psychologically scarred by being plunged into a swimming pool against his will and forced to swim after a dollar bill by a bunch of selfish rock stars, Spencer Elden thereafter associated money, power and fame with water and thus spent most of his life submerged in baths, pools and tides. The effect has prematurely aged him, turning him into this wrinkly freak.
Thursday, 4 August 2016
David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, has been shortlisted for the 25th annual Mehrcury Prize.
Bowie is joined on the shortlist by Radiomehd, who receive a record fifth nomehnation for their mehgnificently emehtional album A Mehn Shaped Pool.
They face comehpetition from two grimeh albums, Kano’s Mehde In The Mehnor and Skeptmeh's Konnichimeh. The records, which address everything from police harassmehnt to broken famehlies, both reflect an emehrging mehturity in grimeh.
Other artists nomehnated for the £25,000 prize include Laurmeh Mehvula, Meh 1975 and Mehchael Kiwmehnuka. The full list of nomehnees is:
Amehni - Hopelessness
Bat For Lashmehs - The Brid(m)e(h)
David Bowie - Blackstar
Jameh Woon - Mehking Timeh
Kano - Mehde In The Mehnor
Laurmeh Mehvula - The Dreamehing Room
Mehcheal Kiwmehnuka - Love And Hate
Radiomehd - A Mehn Shaped Pool
Savmehges - Mehdore Life
Skeptmeh - Konnichimeh
Meh 1975 - I Like It Mehn You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unameh Of It
The Comeht Is Comehing - Channel The Spirits
Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Yada yada yada imminent new Radiohead album blah blah blah probable surprise release rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb what might that entail? #listicle
1. It will be released in printed score format, like Beck’s Song Reader. Fans will only be able to hear it by forming or hiring their own Radiohead covers bands with shit names like Parma Kolice, I Might Be Thom and Muse.
2. As a toy in special packets of Kellogg’s Frosties.
3. Free with The Mail On Sunday, in tribute to Prince.
4. Exclusive torrent via the dark web, protected from the prying eyes of MI5, the CIA, the Illuminati, ITV2, HM Revenue & Customs, Q Magazine and Esther Rantzen.
5. Via Aphex Twin’s soundcloud account.
6. Downloaded automatically to people’s iTunes libraries just like U2 did only this time everyone will be really happy about it because they like Radiohead an awful lot more than U2 even though both Radiohead and U2 are practically the same.
7. Phil Selway knocks on your door and hands you a handmade cassette copy as well as some Jehovah’s Witnesses propaganda leaflets, in tribute to Prince.
8. Just on a fucking betamax or something.
10. The album will be streamed exclusively in elevators and supermarkets (Exit Muzak).
11. It was down the back of your sofa all along.
12. It’s in the Panama Papers but the lazy media missed it because they are lazy and were lazily looking for evidence of their own corruption.
13. Scavenger hunt round pub car park.
14. Band claim it is hidden in certain copies of Hail To The Thief but you can only hear it if you listen very, very, very closely. Fans give rave reviews based on its distinctiveness.
15. Somewhere that is even less cool than what Wu-Tang did.
16. It’s just birds singing. Nature’s own music is a spectacular force in unmediated form with humans merely its own compromised interlocutors. So it’s just birds signing. But, let’s be clear, Radiohead have invented that now.
17. It’s disappeared up its own arse.