The only thing more buzz-generating for an artist than having a video directed by Johnny Depp is to have that video banned. Sheffield workhorses Babybird (of “You’re Gorgeous” fame) have the singular good fortune of Depp’s friendship, which led to his playing guitar on the single “Unloveable”, and then directing the video. It’s depiction of frontman Stephen Jones’ hanging has met with some controversy, which can only benefit Babybird. And since “Unloveable” is a great song and “You’re Gorgeous” came out way back in 1996, let’s hope so.
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Marina and the Diamonds
The Family Jewels
Releasing: 22 February (UK) / 25 May (US)
On Marina Diamandis’ MySpace, she asks herself a simple yet penetrating question, one any young artist who is looking to build a fan base without having to submit to the confines of the tabloid mainstream might ask themselves: “Can you be within popular culture without becoming it?”
The query could be considered rhetorical. However, after close inspection of Diamandis’ lyrics, you slowly begin to think otherwise. (Case in point: on her song “Hollywood” she boasts “I’m obsessed with the mess that’s America”.) Marina Diamandis, better known as Marina and the Diamonds (she is a solo act; the Diamonds is a reference to her fans), is a burgeoning singer-songwriter of Greek-Welsh descent who has already made a big splash on the UK pop music scene. Her first studio album, The Family Jewels, debuted at number five on the Britain charts back in February. The record will see its US release on May 25.
01 Are You Satisfied?
03 I Am Not a Robot
05 Mowgli’s Road
08 The Outsider
09 Hermit the Frog
10 Oh No!
14 The Family Jewels (iTunes Bonus Track)
And you thought trees were just… trees. Apparently they can also be musical instruments, at least when some human is banging on them with various implements. Diego Stocco creates an electronic sounding tune from loops he generates by tapping, flicking and, yes, bowing certain bits of a little bonsai tree. It’s actually rather good.
The Silent Comedy are getting ready to launch their latest full-length, Common Faults, in April 2010. Check out this acoustic alternate version of the track “‘49”. It’s a little spooky, and a lot awesome. Can’t wait to see these guys give the Avett Brothers and Mountain Goats a run for their money.
04 The Well
10 All Saints Day
Nine Inch Nails svengali Trent Reznor is no stranger to controversy, whether it’s the aggro lyrics to “Closer” (made somehow more compelling with a fan-made Star Trek video on YouTube) right up through Apple’s rejection of an iPhone app due to the “objectionable” contents of 1994’s The Downward Spiral.
But perhaps the greatest outlet for Reznor’s angst over the last year-plus has been Twitter. Reznor has long publicly championed his fans, and while his tweets have certainly shown signs of that, he’s also used the outlet as a place for - depending on your perspective - razor sharp witticisms or infantile hissy fits.
If, as some believe, we’re peering through a small window into the soul when reading a public person’s tweets, a trio of posts from Reznor on June 5, 2009 might seem revealing…
Easy: encountering real people in the real world mostly = love. Reading bullshit online from anonymous cowards = hate.
7:45 PM Jun 5th, 2009 via TweetDeck
The price of attempting to engage an online community is high and probably ultimately not worth weeding through the sewage.
7:46 PM Jun 5th, 2009 via TweetDeck
and with that.. BLOW ME! - I’m going to go play a show!
7:48 PM Jun 5th, 2009 via TweetDeck
By then, Reznor had already used his official Twitter page for engaging the online community hundreds of times. He’s also no stranger to using his band’s official website and other online outlets to reach out to both fans and foes alike.
Sometimes, the messages have been so cuddly, it’s hard to imagine they came from a guy like Reznor, who built his reputation on barely (or rarely) contained fury.
Just hung out with some cool fans, played a show that felt great and there’s only one thing missing…
10:14 PM Jun 3rd, 2009 via TweetDeck
This “being madly in love” thing is weird. Feels bad being apart.
10:33 PM Jun 3rd, 2009 via TweetDeck
It’s true - I’ve gone soft. Sorry everyone.
10:46 PM Jun 3rd, 2009 via TweetDeck
Other times, the tweets have seen Reznor come off like an everyday, ordinary music fan, touting releases by everyone from Grizzly Bear to Mew to the Horrors, or showing giddiness over touring with Tom Morello or Jane’s Addiction.
There’s the occasional randomness that’s either TMI or tongue-in-cheek levity…
Fuckit. I just bought a LOT of Viagra.
6:22 PM Apr 14th, 2009 via TweetDeck
And there are the inevitable spasms of rage, like his now infamous criticism of former-and-now-again Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s album Scream, recorded with Timbaland…
You know that feeling you get when somebody embarrasses themselves so badly YOU feel uncomfortable? Heard Chris Cornell’s record? Jesus.
7:16 PM Mar 11th, 2009 via TweetDeck
For two straight years, Reznor’s used Twitter to bash the Grammy Awards, a target so obvious the criticism feels a little cheap…
Grammy asshole weekend in LA. Yuck.
10:43 PM Jan 30th via Tweetie
The Grammys = the old guard / old media propping up their puppets trying to convince the outside world (and each other) they’re relevant.
10:56 PM Jan 30th via Tweetie
But after month after month of tweet after tweet, Reznor’s been mostly quiet of late. His lone tweet in February, which came on the first day of the month, may explain why he’s fallen into relative silence…
1st official day of work in the studio.
8:54 PM Feb 1st via Tweetie
An update in mid-March was the next recording insight, and was the last until this appeared within the past day…
http://twitpic.com/1ar1wt - Last day of the session!
about 11 hours ago via TwitPic
For fans of Reznor and Nine Inch Nails, the post and its associated picture, which sees an out of focus Reznor leaning, arms crossed, against a keyboard in a recording studio, must have been terribly exciting. Two presumed confederates are seen in focus, their faces lit by a computer screen.
After being seemingly unable to stop himself from tweeting for a year, Reznor suddenly got all quiet. And now this. Whatever the future holds for Nine Inch Nails, entering the next stage of their career as a non-touring band, it looks like it’s happening soon. Whether Reznor continues to tweet about it - or other possibly more entertaining topics - remains to be seen.