Archive for March, 2011

March 26, 2011

Radiohead to enter newspaper business!

Hold on a minute!  Just when we’re told the newspaper industry is dying with dwindling sales and mass exodus online along come Radiohead to prove themselves contrary yet again.  One of the most pioneering bands of our generation, who have pushed the boundaries of music distribution and mainstream experimental acceptance are releasing a newspaper,  The Universal Sigh, to coincide with the hard copy release of the ‘King of Limbs’.   Isn’t this just plain old mass marketing, old style?  Will the newspaper really have anything to say?

For a band that are so vocal in their support for carbon reduction and driven by new technologies isn’t this a bit of a volte face?


The Radiohead album ‘The King of Limbs’ will be available for purchase in all good record stores everywhere on Monday 28th March, except in the United States of America and in Canada, where for reasons beyond the purview of this writer it will be available from Tuesday 29th March. On VINYL! OnCOMPACT DISC! As a DOWNLOAD!

To commemorate this momentous occasion, Radiohead have produced a newspaper which will be given away, free, gratis, without cost to the consumer by accredited vendors from a multitude of locationsWORLDWIDE!In the USA, in the Netherlands, in Belgium, Poland, Germany, Austria, in the Czech Republic, in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Ireland, France, Italy, Slovakia, Finland, Greece, Norway, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Australia, Latvia, Iceland, Romania, New Zealand, the UK and a load of other places around the globe, our dedicated teams of newspaper delivery people will be handing out copies of THE UNIVERSAL SIGH to anyone who wants one, until we run out!

In conjunction with this unbelievable offer, Radiohead have established THEUNIVERSAL SIGH as a website on the internet, where details of your nearest vendor can be found, as well as more informations and a photogallery where we will be posting photos and the lucky owners of the gratis tabloid are invited to post pictures of themselves and their friends reading the newspaper in locations diverse and unusual. There will be other stuff too, but we haven’t thought of it yet.




This newspaper IS NOT the newspaper that accompanies the Newspaper Album version of The King of Limbs.

This event WILL NOT be repeated.

This event IS NOT a live performance by Radiohead.

March 17, 2011

The Strokes stream, Justice dabble with a football team

In the year 2011 it is not necessarily what you release it is more a question of how you release it?  Tantamount to what Radiohead have achieved with their latest release, ‘King of Limbs’, substantiating the demand for fast web release, they are not the only one’s flirting with new channels of distribution.

The Strokes are now streaming their new album ‘Angles’ for free on their website, a week before global release. This could backfire if many listeners decide it’s not up to usual standards!  They clearly have faith in their product, it helps that their record company – Rough Trade – is an independent label. The majors certainly wouldn’t want to dabble with this practice. Elbow’s latest release, ‘Build a Rocket Boys’ – through Universal, didn’t want to risk first week sales by using altruistic methods.

Justice have announced the release of a new single, ‘Civilisation’, to be aired to the public through an Adidas advert, stylishly juxtaposed with Lionel Messi and the Argentinian football team.   Bands showcasing music through advertising is certainly not a new idea although in most cases the artist has already released the material and they’re looking for increased exposure.  Justice haven’t even announced the release date for their latest piece of work, this is a clear ploy to create maximum exposure through a cross-platform brand partnership.  Forget the CD single!                                                                                                                                  Mentor’s Daft Punk are similarly about to release new music through a brand partnership with Coca Cola, with limited edition bottle artwork and an advert deal.

The distribution lines are becoming increasingly blurred leading to multi-media deals and innovative practices.  Cloud based services such as Spotify and Last Fm often have pre-release specials from lesser known bands, although the record labels do recoup some money from these outlets.  It will change the landscape dramatically when iTunes and Google launch their respective streaming services, mooted for this year?       They have much more clout than any of the record labels and the most powerful distribution lines in the world, where will that leave the artists?

March 15, 2011

Radiohead Confessions

Now the dust has settled on the conjecture surrounding Radiohead’s latest release, ‘King of Limbs’, it’s time to face the truth…………………..?


March 10, 2011

Arctic Monkeys – ‘Suck it and See!’

The Arctic Monkeys have just announced the release of their fourth album, ‘Suck it and See’. It will be released through Domino Records on 6 June, just in time for their summer home-coming gigs in Sheffield. If lead off single Brick by Brick is a precursor of what’s to come then Arctic’s fans are going to be very disappointed. A turgid rock standard that displays none of the lyrical nous or jangly riffs of yesteryear. A song that seems to scream out Neanderthal rhythm and chorus repetition. Judging by the new promo picture of the lads it seems that they’ve all gone Kings of Leon in reverse and grown the artist beard, not Alex Turner though! Let’s hope they haven’t got completely Americanized?


Cast your opinion on the new song –

March 2, 2011

History Dictating. Colonel Gadhafi’s love of pop revealed!

With the recent furore surrounding Nelly Furtado’s pledge to give up her $1m performance fee from troubled tyrant Moammar Gadhafi, it casts a light on other past performers and their dalliances with dictators.

Gadhafi and his families love of pop has lined the pockets of several global artists, chosen to perform at his many recent parties and so-called charity events?  Mariah Carey, Usher, Lionel Ritchie and Beyonce, with Jay Z in attendance, have all performed for the military leader.

Musicians performing for military regimes and their leaders is certainly not a recent activity. In 1966 the Beatles once performed for Philippines dictator, President Marcos although they had the audacity or stupidity, call it what you like, to decline Mrs Marcos’s formal breakfast invitation the following morning! Huge protests followed and the Beatles fled the country!

In he 70’s James Brown performed at a festival that was hosted by President Mobutu of Congo, previously Zaire. Fellow African autocrat, Mugabe, witnessed a performance by the late, great, Bob Marley, although his first choice was Cliff Richard!

In 1991 the Manic Street Preachers played a gig for Fidel Castro, becoming the first westrern band to play to the Cuban leader since 1979.  Although criticized for his human rights record, Fidel and the sloganeering Welsh punks had a fair amount of mutual respect, and if anyone was going to perform for the communist leader it was going to be the socialist iconclasts.

Of course back in the golden era of pop where naivety and innocence was plentiful and the despots of the future had yet to fully exercise their reign of terror it is forgivable to allow the stars an error of judgment.  In the current era of the internet and mass communication it is slightly less forgivable for exceedingly well paid performers to stack up their wealth with hand outs from well-known tyrants, especially if the artist espouses goodwill to all men.  Which leads us to Sting performing for Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan’s autocrat leader. With a long list of human rights violations, including torture, media censorship and fake elections it is surprising that human rights activist Sting would appear at Karimov’s daughters arts festival! Surely it wasn’t for the money?