Friday, 23 July 2010


The shortlist was announced earlier this week, and it has now been revealed that the panel set to cast the final decision on which album will receive this year’s prestigious Mercury Music Prize will consist entirely of aurally challenged judges. The appointment of the hard-of-hearing jury is speculated to have been instigated in response to last year’s competition problems, during which several panel members were struck down with sickness and nausea caused by intense and prolonged exposure to Kasabian’s West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Further alarm bells were triggered in the process of compiling the shortlist for 2010’s award when several listeners contracted symptoms of bilharzial dysentery upon being forced to listen to the debut album of Mumford & Sons for the third time in a row.

The employment of deaf people in judging the prize may effect the criteria for winning the award, although nobody at the Mercury Prize has ever revealed what the criteria may consist of, or if there is any criteria at all. However, it seems that quality of the albums’ artwork will hold more sway than usual this year, as well as the quality of the lyrics (at least for those of the nominees who bothered to reproduce them in the liner notes). It is perhaps for reasons of aesthetics, then, that since the announcement of the deaf judges, the betting odds on the prize have changed rather dramatically. Previous favourites The xx have slipped to 200/1 on account of their cheap haircuts, visible zits, and inability to appear non-monochrome, whereas Laura Marling and Corrine Bailey Rae have shot up to joint favourites as the panel, although being all-deaf, is still ninety per cent male and are therefore expected to admire the view of both Marling and Rae’s seductively crossed, long, luscious, young legs as each takes her turn to timidly and unenthusiastically strum her acoustic guitar whilst sat atop the traditional female singer-songwriter quite-high-stool.

Fears that the panel might accidentally pick an album that might not in fact the best British record of the year on account of their deafness are said not be troubling the organisers of the prize; previous winners have included Suede, Elbow and M People.

Monday, 19 July 2010


Minor Threat/Fugazi/The Evens frontman Ian MacKaye has shocked the rock world today by announcing in a fanzine interview that he plans to “undoubtedly sell out before 2023.” Formerly obsessed with integrity and ethics, MacKaye has been infamous for his stringent, some might say fundamentalist, principles which include militant vegetarianism, teetotalism, releasing all records through his own Dischord label rather than through any major label or distributor, endeavoring to charge as little as possible for records and concert tickets, refusing to manufacture official merchandise, and encouraging illegal downloading.

All this looks set to end, however, as MacKaye aims to eventually whore himself to the man after all. The first stage of this will see MacKaye sign a deal with Universal, towards the end of the year 2022. Universal will embark on an extensive reissuing campaign, re-releasing the entire Dischord back-catalogue as a set of deluxe packages featuring b-sides, previously unheard live tracks, unpublished Glen E. Friedman black-and-white photographs, and brand new remixes from A-list producers such as Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, and Dappy out of the N-Dubz. At the same time, the song ‘Merchandise’ will be licensed for use in a worldwide advertising campaign by multinational clothing retailer The GAP.

The move looks set to please MacKaye’s fans, many of whom have been angrily calling for the post-hardcore singer to abandon his frivolous principles for nigh on twenty years. Fugazi fans, for example, were notorious within the ’80s and ’90s rock and punk communities for loudly campaigning for the singer/guitarist to reach out to the untapped mainstream audience, and to spread his net as wide as possible.
“This is a most encouraging move,” Evens fan Chester Budd told us from a Washington D.C. Starbucks outlet, “MacKaye deserves recognition, he deserves to be on MTV, he deserves to appear in Rolling Stone, he deserves the monetary rewards, he deserves the top billing at European festivals along with his balding reformed contemporaries, and his followers, like me, can’t wait to be freed from this horrible little elitist cult. We just want to be like normal human beings.”

This is not the first time MacKaye has attempted to sell out, or at least dip his emotional-hardcore toes into murky big business sewage. In 1992, for example, he guested on the Sonic Youth track ‘Youth Against Fascism’, which was released on the David Geffen label. Yet this stab at trying to appease his frustrated fans appeared to backfire, with many criticizing that MacKaye had not gone far enough. “I mean one track on a Sonic Youth album? What the hell is that? How many people even heard that record? He should have been rocking out with Slash or Kravitz, not jerking around with those arty douche bags. He’s better than that,” said Mr. Budd.

A source said the move has been postponed until 2023 in order for MacKaye to “get a few things in order, to milk his last few years of credibility and enjoy his last moments of anonymity as much as possible, as well as to psychologically prepare himself for his imminent supping of the sweat that drips from the scabbed and hairy balls of capitalism.”

Sunday, 4 July 2010


He won the 2003 Mercury Music Prize at the tender age of 18, picked up the NME Award for Innovation the following year, was Best British Male at last year’s Brits, and has probably won several MOBOs if anybody still takes any notice of them. But those achievements have done little to quench Dizzee Rascal’s ambition and thrust to win further honours and smash yet more records. It therefore comes as no surprise that Mr. Rascal has risen to a new, almost entirely unrealistic and perhaps even foolhardy challenge. It has been revealed that Dizzee is embarking on a quest in which he hopes to beat the world record for largest number successive toe-curlingly embarrassing collaborations (and still maintain a career at the end of it all). The current record holder is ex-Fugee Wyclef Jean who in the late nineties and early noughties released tracks featuring the “talents” of country twerp Kenny Rogers, welsh windbag Tom Jones, homophobic dancehall star Buju Banton, oily wrestling bimbo The Rock, and even Brian Harvey from East-17.

Dizzee Rascal, rising to the challenge, already has a number of embarrassing collaborations under his belt, including those with Lilly Allen, Alex Turner, and his 2009 No.1 single with pasty-faced poor man’s James Murphy weekend-obsessed eighties-loving disco cretin Calvin Harris. At the time of the latter’s release, critics assumed Dizzee had suffered a serious lapse in quality control, that he had lost his mind, or had been led astray by manipulative management and/or intense record company pressure. Now, it seems, he had a greater scheme in mind. Since metaphorically bedding Harris, Rascal has picked up the pace immensely having hooked up with obese and squealing excitable comedy actor (not comedian) James Cordon for a world cup song which proved even worse than the England team’s performance as well as twig-faced compulsive You Got the Love coverer Florence Welch at this year’s Glastonbury bland-fest.

Dizzee is set for a bumpy ride, however, as a certain Mr. Jean is unlikely to take this challenge to his crown of disgrace lying down. Rumours have already emerged that Wyclef’s epic new album will consist entirely of duets and feature completely intolerable guest spots from the likes of Jamie Cullum, Gareth Gates, Geri Halliwell, Gary Barlow, Danii Minogue, Peter Andre, Sharleen Spiteri, Paloma Faith, Johnny Borrell, Bret Michaels, Billy Joel, Mick Hucknall, Boy George, Jason Donovan, Fred Durst, Craig David, Kelly Osbourne, Kelly Jones, Kate Nash, K-Fed, someone from Kasabian, Pete Doherty, Peaches Geldof, Bob Geldof, Limahl from Kajagoogoo, Brian May, 4 Poofs and a Piano, Simon Le Bon, Mika, Jim Davidson, Nickleback, Donny Osmond, some other Osmonds, Dane Bowers, David Hasselhoff, David Cassidy, David Bellamy, John McCririck, Rik Waller, Rick Witter, the bloke from Embrace, Amanda Holden, Cheryl Baker, Whigfield, both Appleton sisters, the other three quarters of East-17, and Mr. FUCKING Hudson.

Dizzee Rascal’s management, in the meantime, seem untroubled by the possibility of the phoenix of indignity rising from the blushing flames of shame, as Dizzee has a number of unbearable collaborations in the pipeline, including what they claim to be “the embarrassing team-up to end all embarrassing team-ups.” We can’t say at this time exactly who it will be or exactly how bad it will be. As a teaser, however, we can reveal that the certain someone begins with a 'B' and ends in 'ono from U2'.