Jay-Z and Obama: Potential BFFs?

So, Barack Obama came out (pun intended) recently saying he supported equal marriage rights for gay couples.

Not long after, prolific rap artist Jay-Z also announced his support for gay marriage, citing it as an issue that “was still holding the country back.”

Only a few days before, the rapper announced that he wanted to invite the President to perform at the Budweiser Made In America festival, which he was hosting.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, he said “I’m gonna give him a call and I’m gonna try to get him to perform – do a little rendition of Al Green – but I doubt it.”

Seriously, I think our Jay might have a bit of a bro crush going on.

I mean, its sweet and all, but does it strike anyone else as being a bit… creepy?

Cross posted from the Pure Tunes blog.

Taylor Momsen: “Marilyn Manson told me to worship Satan”

Taylor Momsen has joked in an interview with Kerrang magazine that Marilyn Manson told her to “worship Satan.”

Note the use of the word “joked” here.

Momsen, who is on tour supporting Manson, said that she had to make some sacrifices in order to play the tour.

“Sacrifices!” I hear you yell. “You mean, like, human sacrifices cause she worships Satan and such?”

No, I mean she had to cancel a few of her own tour dates to get the slot.

Seriously, though. The Satan thing was the headline of the story when I read it.

It really let me down after that…

Cross posted from the Pure Tunes blog.

Iranian cleric calls for killing of “apostate” rap artist

The fact that I can still regularly find these kind of stories in the god damn 21st Century is far too ridiculous to mention.

A Shi’ite cleric based in Qom, Iran, has issued a death sentence against rapper Shahin Najafi this week, on the charge of apostasy.

This is due to a song he released entitled “Naqi” which is, apparently, a reference to Imam Naqi, the tenth Imam of Shi’ite Islam.

For those who are unsure of what apostasy entails, wikipedia defines it as “the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person.”

Now, I’ve been unable to find the track in question, and, it being in Persian anyway, I can’t really make a judgement as to whether or not this song is particularly blasphemous or offensive or whatever.

But come on guys. I mean, really? In this day and age?

Please guys, no one throw any stones just yet… not even if someone says Jehovah, ok?

Cross posted from the Pure Tune blog.

Will Young’s “Evergreen” biggest selling single of 21st Century. World promptly ends.

So, we’re 12 years in to the new century, and already I’m rooting for Armageddon.

Lets look at the scores as they stand just now. Tories in government, a double dip recession, a ton of dead rockstars and still no sign of Half Life: Episode 3 (I mean, seriously, Gabe, get on to that, kthx) or a crowdfunded second season of Firefly (Joss, lets get together on this one. I’ve got somebrilliant ideas…)

But lets top it off with this little bombshell.

Will Young’s cover of “Evergreen” is currently the biggest selling single of the 21st Century.

His first single.

From 2002.

Sold 1.8 million copies.

OK, so for starters, its not even the worst song in the top 10. All the usual offenders are there: Adele, Black Eyed Peas, even Kings of Leon get a shout.

And to be fair, its not that bad a song.

But its just so tame. So timid and flat and boring and inoffensive. Much like the rest of his career.

Apologies in advance for the somewhat gender specific nature of the following comment, but does anyone remember when music in the charts at least had some cajones!?

So, if anyone spots any of the four horsemen rattling around, let me know. I’m preparing the end of the world street party as we speak…

Cross posted from the Pure Tunes blog.

Barr/Nelson for the White House

So, here’s a thing that happened.

Roseanne Barr has filed all the necessary documents to stand as the presidential nominee for the Green Party in the US.

Speaking on Twitter, Barr had said she’d be announcing her running mate at a debate in San Francisco a few days later.

Her preferred candidate?

Oh, no one special. Just some obscure country singer. Guy called Willie Nelson.

Yes, Willie Nelson.

The red headed stranger.

Yeah, that Willie Nelson!

Nelson eventually declined the offer via twitter, but wished Barr all the best for her campaign.

Seriously, though. You couldn’t make this shit up.

In all honesty, speaking as a non-American who really has nothing to do with it, that’s the one ticket that would make me vote against Obama.

(I mean, can you imagine their policies!?)

Cross posted from the Pure Tunes blog.

Carnivores – Scottish Football/Horses Of The Galaxy Review

There are few bands operating in Scotland today that I give a shit about. There, I said it. It’s out there. Get over it, OK?

Fact is, we’ve had so many great bands come through this tiny island that I expect better from this generation. But since Biffy Clyro broke through a few years ago, few other bands have come close to meeting my expectations as far as a good Scottish rock band goes.

Carnivores, however, are one of those fantastic few.

(Fanboy alert: I kinda am one. Kinda.)

The band’s new double A side single Scottish Football/Horses Of The Galaxy is a delightfully meaty sample of what we can expect from the band’s forthcoming début album, which I am most excited about its arrival in early 2012. It’s a clashing affair, with Scottish Football, itself a decidedly anti-sectarian anthem of sorts, sounding like a mix of the aforementioned Biffy Clyro meets Anti-Flag, while Horses Of The Galaxy sounds, dare I say, poppy in comparison, with a mash of synths and electro beats adding a deliciously delicate texture to the band’s generally grungy sound.

Clearly, the boys from Paisley are well aware of their influences (guitarist Kenny cites Queen and Refused, I can hear plenty of QOTSA amongst others), and aren’t afraid to wear them on their sleeves. My only real complaint with the band is that everything I’ve heard from them comes from the realm of the punchy, in-your-face school of rock, and, while much of their music betrays a poppy sense of melody and structure, makes me wonder if the band could keep up this level of punch for long.

However, the band just don’t seem to be willing to slow down any time soon. An absolute belter of a year, 2011 has seen the band touring with Sucioperro and The Blackout, giving top notch performances at T In The Park and Belladrum, and building themselves a reputation as one of the fiercest live acts in the country today. With this sort of momentum behind them, I’d be really surprised if 2012 isn’t even better for these boys.

‘Scottish Football/Horses of the Galaxy’ is available from all major digital stores and physically from carnivores1.bandcamp.com and at gigs.

 Contact carnivoresuk@hotmail.com for more information

RE: Con (pro) fessional

Tony Lee, a graphic novelist of some renown (who, I’ll admit, I’d never heard of till this evening), echoes something I’ve often said musicians should consider.

From his blog:

So I was having a conversation in a bar in San Diego with what I would call an A-list writer, and we were discussing conventions. He turned to me and said‘don’t you hate it when fans come up to you at a convention when you’re off duty and hassle you?’

I said no, I didn’t hate that. And I went on to say how if I was at a convention, I’d expect them to do that. The A lister looked at me like I was insane. And over the last week I’ve spoken to a couple of other creators, asking their opinions on this, and it seems that I’m in a minority of convention guests, in that I activelyencourage fans to come sit with me, drink with me, chat to me.

It seems alien to me not to do so.

Unless it’s entirely impossible to do so – which, in a world of last trains and buses and early rises for work, happens – I’ve always made a big effort to make sure I can stick around and talk to people from the audience after a show. Like Tony and his convention uniform, I go to my shows wearing a suit, mostly cause I think it makes me look like a dapper gentleman and all that, and because it instantly marks me out as being that guy who was up on stage before (as if the rubbish haircut and guitar didn’t make this obvious beforehand).

But I’ve worked with tons of musicians who come off stage, get their gear together and bugger off after every show, never staying to socialise or meet their fans or even to chill out with their bandmates. That’s just ridiculous. Sometimes they just end up buggering off to some other pub for the evening, which is extra ridiculous. I mean, I know people have lives and jobs and families to get home to, I get that, but at least occasionally make an effort to engage with your audience, yeah?

Having said that, I’ve also seen a ton of artists and musicians go the extra mile when it comes to interacting with their fans. Frank Turner, from day one, always made sure to stick around after his shows to meet his fans, even crashing on their couches in the early years. I’m also reminded of the first time I saw the BMX Bandits at the Captains Rest in Glasgow, where members of the band handed out home made baked goods to the audience between acts.

I’m not saying you need to make big huge gestures guys, far from it, but people respect you when you make an effort.

So try it some time.

A Couple of Drinking Songs – How it happened…

Over the last few months, I have produced a collection of songs based loosely on the surreal events occurring on a night out in Glasgow. The collection, entitled “A Couple of Drinking Songs”, was written by me over the course of 3 weeks, then recorded and produced between the studios at University Campus Ayr and my own home studio in Glasgow. The tracks produced as part of this project would act as demos for a full length album to be released later in the year. What follows is a critical account of the writing and production process, from the initial stimulus to the finished product. Continue reading