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REM Week – From the Vault

hindulovegodsThe latest in our series of unbelievably wonderful live events takes place Saturday 20th April at the 13th Note in Glasgow. The event is headlined by It Crawled From The South, a celebration of IRS-years era REM. We’re marking the occasion with a special REM week here on Extreme Listening Mode. Today, we look at a productive  partnership from back in that period.

For a band with such a delicious sense of mystery about them, REM weren’t slow to help out their fellow musos during the 80s. For a while, it seemed it was compulsory for at least one record in the Melody Maker to have featured a member of the band. By the decades close, their quality control was being called into question, with NME nailing it brilliantly by describing the raggle-taggle of acts they guested with as ‘the sad friends of REM.’

Continue reading

From the Vault – Bob Dylan

Well, we’ve got to this week, haven’t we? Here’s Sir Robert performing ‘You Gotta Serve Somebody’ at the 1980 Grammys. Corporate whore!

Dylan at 70 – Why he matters most

Bob Dylan is, unarguably, the single most important artist in the history of modern popular music. As he turns 70, we asked BSC, our resident Bobcat (horrible name, but they gave it to themselves) to tell us why.

Why is Bob Dylan important? Where is the line where an icon, a superstar and a legend becomes a cliche, overrated and a myth? Well maybe to answer those questions you have to enter into the world where appreciation veers into obsession. Yes I have to confess I am a recovering Dylanologist and like an alcoholic you’re never really cured. Yes I’ve seen the man live countless times, I’ve had the fanzine subscriptions, I’ve read over 60 books on Dylan and I suppose I’ve listened to him more than any other artist. As I once remarked to a fellow Scottish Dylan fan both lost in the hell of a massive London Dylan gig that I simply had to give those habits up, he took that to mean the expense..no I simply thought about Bob Dylan too much and too often. Continue reading

Dylan banned from playing China

Western ray of sunshine Bob Dylan has axed a series of dates in east Asia after being refused entry to perform in China.

The veteran folk God had lined up dates in Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong this month after finishing a string of dates in Japan. Continue reading

Simply the Worst # 4: Lola

What’s this? It can’t be! Has ELM gone mad? In our run-down of rubbish there appears to be a song by The Kinks! There must be some mistake! No, it is indeed Ray Davies’ ode to getting jiggy with a transvestite. Explain yourself!

Sacred cow – Something too highly regarded to be open to criticism or curtailment.

It’s fair to say received wisdom suggests that the Beatles are the most important band in the history of pop music. They are virtually inescapable, even today. Re-issues, books, magazine covers…they seem almost as of this time as they do their own. This doesn’t please everyone, of course. The Fabs sheer omnipresence makes many scream in frustration. Continue reading

This Week’s News Nuggets from the ELM Newsroom

BONG!

One strives to avoid clichés when one is writing for such cultured readers as you lot.

BONG!

And, when the central conceit of the article is a metaphysical newsroom, there’s one really obvious one that we should strive to avoid.

BONG!

And that is undoubtedly the ‘News at Ten’ style bell chimes at the start. It fails in the big/clever possibility axis and, frankly, has been done to death.

BONG!

But we couldn’t resist it.

Anyhoo, what, I hear you ask, is happening in the wide, wide world of rock? Oh. lots and lots. Here are a few of the stories which caught our eye;

From the ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore’ category comes news of Britain’s favourite non-Pete Doherty tabloid druggie, Amy Winehouse. She has pleaded not guilty to assaulting a woman in central London last year. The 25-year-old singer appeared at Westminster magistrates court earlier this week to deny the charge, which relates to an alleged incident after a charity ball in September. Amy bravely decided that a unique and positive approach to getting off was to

a) turn up late and
b) be wearing a party frock.

Now, I know it’s suitably rock’n’roll to keep the audience waiting, but in this case it may well have been better to try to get them onside. Secondly, while she looked lovely, everybody knows you go sombre and sorrowful in front of the beaks. Amy may well have taken inspiration from Ian Brown, who turned up every day for his assault trial a few years back dressed in a hoodie and baggy jeans. May well be worth reminding they found him guilty and sent him down for six weeks at the end of it, mind.

Bob Dylan’s Malibu neighbours have complained about a smell coming from his Malibu mansion. Turns out it was not Bob rehearsing a full run-out of ‘Saved’, but rather a portable toilet. Can I get away with a Blowin’ in the Wind gag here? No? We’ll move on then.

The Stone Roses re-union looks unlikely after Ian Brown said rumours of it were ‘unfounded’ and John Squire, rather more directly, released a picture on his website of artwork which contained the words ‘I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group the Stone Roses 18.03.09’. See it at www.johnsquire.co.uk

The PRS has said that last year marked the first time that live music was worth more than recorded music. Been coming for a while that one, but with the live market seemingly starting to sag, we may see it change back the way. Or illegal downloading just run away with the prize, as seems ever more likely.

And finally….Slash is to make a record with an act from Britain’s Got Talent. The former Guns N’ Roses guitarist is to cover Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir with Simon Cowell’s classical quartet Escala. For anyone saying that long-term drug use doesn’t royally mess with your mind, laydeez and gennelmun of the jury, Exhibit A.

Good night, sleep tight and here’s Tom with the weather.

Nuggets from the ELM Newsroom

Welcome to the metaphysical ELM newsroom, dedicated to bringing you the most interesting morsels of information from Planet Rock. Presented to you by a distinguished bloke with a posh-but-hints-of-regional accent and a mumsy but strangely alluring lady who looks respectable but gives you the strong impression she’s no stranger to backdoor loving, we’ve noticed a few things going on that may be of interest to you. Or maybe not. But, hey, we’ll leave you to be the judges;
 
Novelty dance tunesmith Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook, has released yet another album under an assumed name, this time as the Brighton Port Authority. Initial listenings confirm it’s the usual half-arsed mash-up widdle from the talent-free Brighton resident and latest celebrity casualty to enter rehab, thus yet again confirming his most telling contribution to music remains playing bass in the Housemartins. Which leads nicely on to…

The Beautiful South have reformed as The NEW Beautiful South, but without Paul Heaton and the birds who sang, that ginger one then the pudgy-yet-still-worth-one one. Kinda like The Smiths reforming without Morrissey and Marr. Well, except they’d still be able to play good material, whereas the New Beautiful South will be playing the old Beautiful South material presumably, which remains as appetising as a cup of cold sick.

Bob Dylan is to release a ‘surprise’ new album in April, which will be a bit rubbish but be given five stars in all the music monthlies. Frankly, he could record himself pissing in a bucket these days and journalists would still be giving him awards. That said, it would still be better than ‘Self-Portrait’.

A University – it says here – in Liverpool is to do a degree course on the Beatles. Liverpool Hope University – dunno ’bout you but the word ‘polytechnic’ is running with confidence to the front of my thoughts – will give students the chance to complete an MA on the Fab Four which will in no way be a complete waste of time, leaving the student virtually unemployable and crippled with debt. Interestingly, I know an awful lot about the Beatles. I learned it in an area of my life called ‘spare time’. Might be worth prospective candidates investigating that before applying to UCAS.

Riot Grrrrlll may be making a comeback. Fuck me….

Jerry Dammers claims he was deliberately excluded from The Specials re-union tour, which is a bit offside if true. Terry Hall says he is mistaken. FIGHT!

Michael Jackson has announced a residency at London’s o2 Arena, which will see the (insert your own paedophile gag here) singer trouser a whacking great £1.5m per show. Strangely, MJ could actually do with the cash after all his travails over recent years. Still, (insert your own paedophile gag here #2.) Actually, I should shut up about Michael as his fans are always, always nutbars so I’ll simply say I quite liked the guitar on ‘Black and White’ (insert own skin colour gag here.) Something something something Gary Glitter.

And finally…Iggy Pop is to release jazz album steeped in French literature. No, honest. ‘An unlikely cocktail of Michel Houellebecq and Jelly Roll Morton is the inspiration for Stooges legend’s new francophile album, Préliminaires’ according to The Guardian. That’s just brill. I’d usually rather eat my own sex pee than listen to jazz, especially jazz made by the foreign types – I didn’t die in two world wars etc. – but I’ll be giving that one a whirl.

Anyhoo, that’s yer lot. Cue dramatic music and shuffling of papers…