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What’s colder than cold? Not the NME Cool List

It’s that time of year again, when the NME attempts to prove how hip and wit’ it they are by selecting the coolest people in music and creating a neat, numbered list. Everyone knows the devil has all the best tunes, but apparently he also likes to be very organised and make sure he has all his information in neat little formats which can be quickly jotted down in an exercise book.

You see, that’s the problem; when the NME tries to be cool, it’s like when your dad tries to talk to you about ‘the twitter’ or your Prime Minister tries to pretend he likes the Arctic Monkeys. It just sets your teeth on edge and utterly confirms how painfully uncool they are.

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What’s the point of the NME Awards these days?

10,000 Maniacs had a song back in the day called ‘Planned Obsolescence’. One wonders if it’s time to dust down that concept and usher it towards the NME Awards after this years awards. As Muse and Kasabian swept the boards, much as they had at the Brits, it’s tough to offer up much argument for the venerable old mag’s awards being anything other than just another excuse for a party. Continue reading

The Brits 2010 – Your brief guide to the new musical landscape

The Brits are a bit like the monarchy – they seem to have fans but no-one you talk to can point you in the direction of one. What are they for? Lazy people. What’s that you say? ‘But ELM, surely they act as a facile excuse for industry people to get coked up and talk about ‘vision’ and ‘profile’ while trying to get close proximity to the winners?’ Well, yes, obviously. But that’s not their primary purpose. They exist to allow people who don’t like music but think they do to buy a few currentish albums for the CD rack next to the hi-fi. Don’t mock – the Mercury is the same but with better PR. Continue reading

Another reason to hate Kasabian – England kit launch

You are Umbro. You are a venerable manufacturer of sportswear, and you enjoy an exclusive deal with the England team which, in World Cup year, is effectively a licence to print money. You are about to launch the England away strip, the red one made famous by Bobby Moore as he lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in a iconic image that the English will never let anyone forget. So who do and where do you pick to launch it? David Beckham at Wembley? Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford? John Terry at Relate?

No, don’t be stupid. That’s what they expect you to do. Some blue-sky thinking and bosh! There it is! It’s been starting you in the fucking face. You’ll get Kasabian to launch it! At a gig! In France!

I’m not making this up. Continue reading

Noel Gallagher: Solo Artist – What the world’s been waiting for?

He probably wouldn’t thank you for the comparison, but Noel Gallagher has been the Ryan Giggs of music for years now: although he played for someone you couldn’t stand, you always thought he seemed a good bloke personally. If you want to torture this one out further, you could say both of them started brilliantly, dipped severely in form but then came back to reach vaunted elder statesman level late in the day.

But the news today that Gallagher’s first shows as a solo artist – as opposed to solo shows, which he’s been doing for years now – will be held next month in London for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Always a musical classicist (or conservative, depending on your viewpoint) is it too late to expect much more than the status quo?
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More reasons to be cheerful…

Ill - yay!It really isn’t difficult to work out why morale is low in Summer 2009. The capital markets are stalling, the banks are barely lending, the government appears to have little understanding of what happened or how to deal with it, and job losses are mounting. Incumbent politicians promise that things are getting better, but not in your city, where it still rains (despite what we were told by the weathermen) and everybody hunches against the wind and wonders where they are going. Bleak? It’s like a Joe Orton play out there.

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Festival Season Spotters Guide

It’s Glastonbury this week folks. And even though the nights are drawing in and the credit crunch is biting, it is sure to be a wonderful experience as usual. The line-up may be tosh, the Eavises may be more up their own arse than Leslie Grantham’s finger but there is the special magic and air of mystery which surrounds it. Me, I think that may just be the odour of the patrons, but what do I know? ELM is booked up for one festival, Connect at Inverary Castle, though had bought our tickets before the line-up was announced and probably wouldn’t have rushed to Ticketmaster had we seen it, but hey-ho, there was an oxygen tent and a steady stream of Tuborg last year, so let’s make the best of it. Plus, Kasabian are playing, and we are already wondering what the prize is for the first one to throw a bottle of piss just so that it lands on a live mic and causes some damage. Not really. Well, maybe a bit really.

So, armed with your Baby Wipes, ill-fitting waterproofs and amusing-if-impractical wellies, we head off to our festival of choice. Not just us, but the whole gamut of music followers. You really do get all sorts at one of these events, which is great. It can reinforce prejudices, help you make new enemies and generally provide you with a snapshot of why people are doomed as a species. And there is a bad side too, but we will gloss over that.

So here goes the Essential ELM guide to who you’ll see fumbling at a festival this season. Remember, a lot of these people are young, and may adapt. Others have no such excuse. Proceed with extreme caution…..

Professional hippy – Glastonbury-faves, these wacky, kerrazy funsters POINT BLANK REFUSE TO KOW-TOW TO THE MAN, MAN. Except when signing on. Dirtier than a cocaine and treacle orgy with Christina Aguilera, they play didgeridoos and smoke foul-smelling weed, while embracing the cosmos and lying down in front of trucks to stop roads. Very conscious of the futility of avarice, yet always seem to have enough cash for a Special Brew. Often to be seen at Levellers gigs, ELM’s view that all white people with dreadlocks are unsalvageable cunts is primarily based on people like these. And we stand by it folks.

Kewl Middle-Class Indie Kids – Like, Olly totally got this old hippy record from his Uncle, yeah? Like, The Stone Roses, yeah? Sounds a bit like Kasabian? But not as good, obviously? And Natasha, like, went to see this gig at the Carling, and it was, like, totally crazy? The Kooks were total riot squad. And we had like Diesel, which is, like, a cocktail for rock shows? But, like, my Mum got me tickets for Sex and the City The Movie, and I was all ‘Mother!’ because that was like, soooo 5 years ago? I mean, I’ll go, but just because, like, they are so me?

Mid-30’s Couple with kids and/or dog – Seriously. What the fuck do you think you are doing? Your kid does not want to see Vashti Bunyan. And if he does, he literally has no fucking chance of surviving this society of ours. Stop being so gauche and confident! You offend me! And get his fucking hair cut. Jesus. That people died in wars to let you live this way makes me sad.

Pissed up gang of teenage boys – I FUCKING LOVE THIS SONG! IT’S MAGIC! I’M DANCING! FUCK IT, I’M GOING DOWN THE FRONT! BLEUUUUUURGH! Fuck, don’t remember eating that…..

Irritating Teenage Couple in Love – So young and happy. Cunts. There’s nothing to look forward to, you know. it’s all downhill from here. He really wants to go and see Elbow love, he’s merely pretending to want to see the Pigeon Detectives because he wants to finger your dirty doughnut. Once he’s done it til he’s bored, next year you will be in that Slam Tent on your own while he’s off enjoying something else which you don’t get. And he’ll mock you for that. Run while you can!

Fat Lass Getting Her Massive Wobbly Norrks Out – Always one. Always alabaster white, always looks like what I imagine Robert Maxwell’s body looked like when they found him. Nobody wants to see it love. Do us all a favour.

I can’t wait!