Page 1

April 2009

No.1

Rokmag

the magazine element of Rokpool the magazine element of Rokpool

Editorial

audience – exactly as they were. Of course,

plus talking of which, our Beatles columnist

where possible either I, or the original journal-

Mark Lackey brings his monthly column that

ist will explain the context of the piece, and

will leave no stone unturned where the fab

perhaps update on what has happened to the

four is concerned . There’s classic reprints

artist since. We’ve signed deals to reproduce

from punk fanzine “National Anthem” and

a number of classic magazines and fanzines

interviews from a young bunch of upstarts

from the past 40 years, and we’re looking

called Elbow (wonder what happened to

forward to sharing them with you.

them?!) and a career retrospective of XTC that nearly got a certain young journalist sued. And

Welcome to Rokmag, the magazine element

I’ll let you guess who that was.

of Rokpool. By now, you’ll have discovered

But it’s not all old stuff. We’ll also be producing

that Rokpool is chock-full of amazing content

our unique Top-10 service, a mixture of sen-

from years gone by. It’s a very different type of

sible, silly and user generated charts designed

There’ll be more added as the weeks go by.

music site, and it needed a very special type

to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s new,

But if there’s any artists you’d like covered, or

of magazine. So here’s what we’ve come up

what’s hip, and what’s just plain stupid in this

any subjects you think we should tackle, then

with. You’ve probably bought hundreds of

business we call “pop”. Plus we’ve got some

think of me as the chummy manager – my

magazines in your life, yeah? But how many

columnists who’ll be blogging from the top of

door is always open, my feet will be on the

of them do you go back to and look at again?

their game on specialist subjects, giving you

desk, and I’ll probably have a bottle of Jim

Not many. They tend to gather dust under the

unrivalled coverage of music past and present.

Beam and a packet of Jelly Babies in my desk. You can contact me at chris@rokpool.com.

bed and provide a useful doorstop when piled high enough. Which is a shame because, over

The magazine will be “refreshed” with new

the past 15 years, I’ve written hundreds of

content every week, on a 4 weekly cycle, so

great pieces with some amazing people – and

there’s always something new to come back

I’m just one journalist. There are thousands of

to, and a brand new magazine once a month.

journalists out there whose work is read and

I’ll be using this page to share my own

then used to prop up a sagging mattress or (in

thoughts on life as a music hack, dj and maga-

my case) just sits in box after box that only

zine editor. Elsewhere in our launch content,

sees the light of day during house moves. So

there’s our Top 10 new releases, Angela

Rokmag is all about digging out some of those

Williams takes a wry look at the world of

classic pieces and presenting them to a new

foreign language songs and Beatles covers,

Enjoy the mag – and the site!

Chris Merriman Editor – Rokmag


Top 10 – Albums of the month Welcome to our monthly gathering of the ten best albums we’ve had into the office this month. If you’d like to write reviews for us, or you’re a PR or artist that wants to be included, please contact chris@rokpool.com with a recent example of your work. All reviews by Chris unless otherwise stated.

Rokmag’s Angela Williams looks beyond the annual Eurovision Bunfight, and discovers that there’s a whole world of songs in funny languagues to be found, all year round.

Gomez – A New Tide – Eat Sleep Having basked in the warm currents of critical acclaim generated by their 1998 debut, Gomez seemingly have been content to drift without ever troubling the shallower waters of superstardom. Fresh from their 10th anniversary tour, they heave into view on “A New Tide”. So what is new? Ummm, nothing, actually. They’re still oozing bluesy talent, still purveyors of occasionally gorgeous whimsy, and still blessed with some of the finest whisky-soaked vocals around. They’re also still fond of a musical tangent, unable to complete a song without shooting off in several stylistic directions, and give the overall impression that there is nobody steering the boat - not that this matters, as they demonstrate once again that design by committee can still do the business. Unfortunately, the songs (such as Bone Tired’s bleeping melancholy and the jolly Jack-Johnson-isms of If You Ask Nicely) don’t quite match their best work. However, a not-quite-cresting Gomez are still great value. Dive in, the water’s lovely... Luke Broadhurst

THIN LIZZY – STILL DANGEROUS – Thin Lizzy Produc-

The Long Lost are husband and wife Alfred (aka dance-dandy

tions

Daedelus) and Laura (Flying Lotus) Dartington. The songs are

No, you haven’t bought a time-travelling delorian – this is, in fact

beautiful summery laments – the sound of Astrid Gilberto without

a recording of the legends’ classic show in Philadelphia from

the samba rhythms or Feist without the cash registers. Stunning.

1977. All the hits are here, as you’d expect, and the collection serves as a timely reminder of just want a genius Phil Lynott

OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT – UNDERSTANDING ELEC-

was.

TRICITY – One Little Indian Much touted Leeds based post-punkers who have leapt from

THE DECEMBERISTS – THE HAZARDS OF LOVE –

breeding-ground for the good and the great, Weekender, to One

Rough Trade

Little Indian. Distinctive tunes, distinctive vocals, subtle electronic

High concept mish-mash of British Folk and hard rock. The

twangs fantastic production, and a overwhelming feeling of a

concept in question is a woman who dreams about being

well-rounded album. Fine stuff indeed.

terrorised by a shape-shifter and a rake. In spite of this nonsense (or possibly genius – I leave you to decide), the result

LILLIES ON MARS – LILLIES ON MARS – Lilies On Mars

is an extremely adept fifth album, the one that the band have

Two girlies with high-pitched voices, an acoustic guitar and some

been trying to make for some time.

swirly-whirly instruments. The result is an often unsettling mix of tortured souls and etheralism. It all smacks of a stripped-down,

MILES HUNT & ERICA NOCKALLS – CATCHING MORE

experimental version of Lush, which is no bad thing, but go in

THAN WE MISS – IRL.

with that knowledge as this is not always easy, or even comfort-

Part-time Wonder Stuff frontman returns with another accom-

able listening,

plished album, flanked by his equal-billed and highly talented violinist Nockalls. Fans of the ‘Stuffies will have a fair idea what

MRSVEE ARTISTS & COLLABORATORS – MANI-

to expect, and can be assured that this is a strong collection of

FESTO – Mrsvee

songs by a man who now makes music with the benefit of two

A very groovy 21 century idea this one – acts are selected on

decades in the biz.

artistic integrity alone, and their songs released under a Creative Commons licence, allowing people to copy, share and use their

HE WONDER STUFF – THE EIGHT LEGGED GROOVE

songs as much as they like. Of course that doesn’t leave much

MACHINE (20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION) – IRL

room for making money, but surely that’s a good thing. Show

The legendary album comes out of retirement for this newly

your support at www.mrsvee.co.uk

embellished edition, complete with bonus b-sides and an accompanying tour. Expect to see the surviving Stuffies at a

DIAMOND WATCH WRISTS – ICE CAPPED AT BOTH

festival near you this summer.

ENDS – Warp A side-step to the left for hip-hop terrorist Prefuse 73, as with

THE LONG LOST – THE LONG LOST – Ninjatune

this, his new band format, and flanked by acclaimed drummer

It’s notable that, given that there are reviews in here from Warp

Zach Hill, he performs ghostly, challenging songs, with the

and Ninjatune records (known for being dance labels) that

sophisticated production values you would expect from one of

there’s a certain amorphosness to the music scene these days.

the most important musicians around today.

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C’mon – You Know The Words! 10 Foreign Language Songs.

1.Joe Le Taxi – Vanessa Paradis Jailbait French girl sings about a saxophone-playing taxi driver who likes rum and mambo. Has anyone thought to ask where her parents are? 2. La Bamba – Ritchie Valens ”I’m not a sailor, I am a captain”. Well done, mate! Fact: Valens got his grandmother to translate the words phonetically from Spanish to English. 3. Je T’Aime (Moi Non Plus) – Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin Dirty old French man stinking of Gitanes whispers sweet nothings into sultry English girl’s ear about her coming and going through his kidneys. Whatever floats your boat, love. 4. Sexy Boy – Air Debut UK single for France’s premier export. A song about the shallow nature of fashion and the unrealistic media ideal of beauty. 5. Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien – Edith Piaf Arguably her biggest legacy, this song is made all the more poignant given Piaf’s well documented addictions to alcohol and morphine and her premature demise. 6. Lambada – Kaoma It’s the dance where you shove your knee between your partner’s legs and jiggle around. All well and good if you’re not 13 and trying to cop off with someone with their parents watching. 7. La Vie en Rose – Edith Piaf Second entry for La Môme Piaf (the ‘little sparrow’). Just as much a part of France’s musical heritage as La Marseillaise. The song also lends its name to a film biopic of Piaf’s life. 8. Comment Te Dire Adieu – Francoise Hardy Another Gainsbourg-penned love song for the queen of Gallic cool. Later given a disco make-over by Jimmy Somerville. 9. Ne Me Quitte Pas – Jacques Brel Heart-breaking lament from Belgian-born Brel, made famous by the English translation - ‘If You Go Away’ – by Nina Simone. Avoid if you have suicidal tendencies. 10. The Ketchup Song – Las Ketchup More phonetic Spanish-English translation as a night-club punter asks the DJ for ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by the Sugarhill Gang. Cue confusing dance routine only known by girls.

Rokmag

the magazine element of Rokpool


Punk Fanzine

There’s very little you can say to annotate punk fanzines. Neglected for years, and now, suddenly an almost must-have for every fashionista muso, these artefacts of a zeitgeist were produced by perhaps one of two people, hours of sweat and toil round a manual typewriter, and photocopied by Dave’s mate who works at the council but didn’t like their cryptofacist tendancies and was keen to subvert it. This month, we revisit 1977’s nihilist slanted “National Anthem” – a series of streams of consiousness committed to paper, and a clear example that, when it comes to incriminating the establishment, Adobe Photoshop is a good 20 years away.

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Rokmag

the magazine element of Rokpool


The Rokpool FM Top 10

Rokpool fm is our very own radio station. It broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no adverts, no djs – just great song after great song. Each month, we’ll compile a chart based on your votes – simply tune in to Rokpool fm, and use the rating system to score each song out of 5. We’ll use your scores to find out what you love about Rokpool fm – and tailor the tracks we choose accordingly. And remember, you can order any music you hear, just by clicking the “buy” button.

1.

Paul McCartney - No Other Baby

2.

Boo Radleys - Run My Way Runway

3.

They Might Be Giants - Hearing Aid

4.

Dusty Springfield - You`ve Got A Friend

5.

The Beatles - Happiness Is a Warm Gun

6.

Prince & The Revolution - Purple Rain

And the most listened to song this month? Talk Talk by Talk Talk. Rokpool says: “Macca’s stellar rise to the top of the first chart may have been aided by the fact that the big boss has the station on all day on his computer, and he loves anything Beatles related. Still it’s nice to see that our eclectic station policy has yielded some fascinating results – The Boo Radleys representing the nineties at number 2, and North Americans well represented courtesy of They Might Be Giants, The

7.

The New Pornographers - All The Old Showstoppers

New Pornographers and The Hidden Cameras. Plus there’s the odd

8.

The Hidden Cameras - She's Gone

classic too. Remember, this chart can be exactly what you want it to be – tune in, vote and take part, and shape the results next month! We also

9.

John Mellencamp - Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)

10. Paul Simon - The Boy In The Bubble

use this data to play the songs you love more, and the ones you hate less….”

Analytics courtesy of amptracker.com Rokpool fm is a Shoutcast station. You can listen to it, without a media player by clicking the link. If you prefer to listen to it through a media streamer, wifi radio or media player on your PC, then please go to www.rokpoolfm.co.uk for details.

Rokmag

the magazine element of Rokpool


The Beatles MTV, Harmonix and The Beatles' Apple Corps LTD have come together to create a video game based on the music of The Beatles. The game will feature input from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison and will be the first time Beatles music has been presented in this way. The plan is for the game to feature the entire Beatles catalog.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr take the stage at NYC: History was in the making this past April 4th when Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr took the stage together at Radio City Music Hall, New York. The event, sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation, was a charity benefit to further the organization's cause to teach one million children the techniques of Transcendental Meditation (TM). As most know, The Beatles traveled to India in 1968 to meet the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and learn about TM. Donovan, Mike Love and Paul Horn, who had accompanied The Beatles on this pilgrimage, were also present for the show along with other major performers including Eddie Vedder, Moby, Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Bettye LaVette, Jim James, Howard Stern and Jerry Seinfeld. Ringo Starr hit the stage just before 10pm, backed by Ben Harper's band Relentless 7, and opened with an energetic performance of "It Don't Come Easy". Taking his place at the drum kit he continued with "Boys" originally covered with The Beatles on their first UK album Please Please Me. I'm not sure if it had anything to do with Ringo's impeccable drumming but no one seemed to mind his error of opening with the second verse of the song and then repeating the second verse afterwards. Eddie Vedder and Sheryl Crow joined in next to sing along with Ringo on "Yellow Submarine". After a short break, Paul McCartney took the stage and performed "Drive My Car", "Jet", "Got To Get You Into My Life", "Let It Be", "Lady Madonna", "Blackbird", "Here Today" (as a tribute to John Lennon), "Band On The Run" and then (as A Hard Day's Night film clips were displayed behind him) "Can't Buy Me Love". At this point Paul introduced "Billy Shears" to the crowd and Ringo came onstage and led Paul's band through "With A Little Help From My Friends" as Paul flawlessly recreated his famous bass lines from 1967. After a quick break, Ringo returned to the drum kit and played through "Cosmically Conscious" with Paul's band. This song had appeared as a snippet at the end of Paul's 1993 Off The Ground CD and he explained to the audience that he had written it in India in 1968. To end the show, David Lynch took the stage to read some farewell poetry while Donovan played guitar, after which Paul led the band and cast through "I Saw Her Standing There" while Ringo pounded the drums as if he were in his twenties once more. The event raised about 3 million dollars for the cause.

A look back... Let's take a look back at August 29, 1966, when The Beatles performed their last gig on their final tour at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA. Touring had taken its toll on The Beatles. The way things had been developing over the previous couple of years had rendered it unbearable for the band. With the primitive equipment of the time they were not even able to hear themselves play over the mania and they recognized that this was making it hard not to get sloppy. The added complexity of the arrangements on their latest album, Revolver, was such that it could not be reproduced on stage to their satisfaction anyway given the technology of the day. This discouraged them so much that they didn't even bother with performing anything from Revolver during any of their summer tour.

apology, there were Beatle album burnings going on in the South and threats made on their lives. In reflecting back on the whole situation John Lennon said in an interview: One night on a show in the South somewhere, somebody let off a firecracker while we were on stage. There had been threats to shoot us, the Klan were burning Beatle records outside and a lot of the crew-cut kids were joining in with them. Somebody let off a firecracker and every one of us - I think it's on film look at each other, because each thought it was the other that had been shot. It was that bad. In another interview he said: I didn't want to tour again, especially after having been accused of crucifying Jesus when all I'd made was a flippant remark and having to stand with the Klan outside and firecrackers going on inside. I couldn't take it anymore. George Harrison got so uneasy about being shot that he said, "If everyone who had a gun just shot themselves, there wouldn't be a problem." In the previous month, while touring in the Philippines, another fiasco had occurred that had the band fearing for their life. They were accused of snubbing the first lady, Madame Marcos, by declining an invitation to see her at the palace, and it had been all over the local televised news that she had been let down by them. Although they made it out of there alive, they were subjected to a lot of harassment and bullying and getting shoved around before they were allowed to even get on the airplane to depart. Touring had really become a drag, and although there was no official announcement, it stopped and I can't really say I blame them.

A look ahead... MTV, Harmonix and The Beatles' Apple Corps LTD have come together to create a video game based on the music of The Beatles. The game will feature input from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison and will be the first time Beatles music has been presented in this way. The plan is for the game to feature the entire Beatles catalog. McCartney was quoted as saying, "The project is a fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music. I like people having the opportunity to get to know the music from the inside out." The release is planned to be in time for this year's Christmas holiday season. Trivia: When Tony Sheridan recorded "My Bonnie (Lies Over The Ocean)" with The Beatles in Hamburg in 1961, he wasn't the first to cover the song with a rock arrangement. Who had done it before? The answer will be in the next edition of "The Beatles: Yesterday, Today, Forever".

Mark Lackey, April, 2009

Then there was all the furor caused by John's recent "Jesus" remark taken completely out of context by an American teen magazine. Despite John's public

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Rokmag

the magazine element of Rokpool


Top 10 – Beatles Covers

So, by now, you’ll have read our fantastic Beatles column. Accept no imitations! Speaking of which, here’s Rokmag’s own Angela Williams with her list of the songs that have come closest to usurping the fab four from their own masterpieces.

1. With a Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker Gravel-voiced Cocker with an unforgettable rendition of the Sergeant Pepper album track. Revived famously as the theme tune to nostalgia-com The Wonder Years

5. Got To Get You Into My Life – Earth Wind & Fire The Elements come out with all horns blaring, injecting a breezy swing to an already positive song. So good was the cover that it earned EWF a Grammy in 1978

2. We Can Work It Out – Stevie Wonder

6. Something – Shirley Bassey

A deceptively intricate tune about trying to patch up a relationship is infused with Motown sunshine and harmonicas by Wonder. A soulful toe-tapper from a true legend.

Bassey added her own dramatic Midas touch to this George Harrison-penned lovesong. ‘Something’ is the second most covered Beatles track after ‘Yesterday’.

3. Dear Prudence – Siouxsie & the Banshees

7. Here Comes The Sun – Nina Simone

The original featured on the Beatles’ White Album in 1968. The sinister darkness of the Banshees’ cover and Siouxsie’s haunting voice make it a classic.

Just when you think the song can’t get sunnier, along comes Simone with her warm voice and delicate ivory-tinkling. If the original is like the dawn, Nina’s version is more a summer picnic on the heath at sundown.

4. Ticket To Ride – The Carpenters Jangly guitars are replaced with lush swirling strings and the heartfelt longing in Karen Carpenter’s voice expressing the sad sentiment of the song. A cosy warm blanket of a tune.

9. Strawberry Fields Forever – Candy Flip Reworked during the ‘Second Summer of Love’, two blokes with bowl haircuts and baggy jeans throw in Ecstasy and the then-ubiquitous Funky Drummer beat to a pretty faithful version of the original. 10. Come Together – Michael Jackson This track appeared in Jackson’s film Moonwalker. McCartney’s bass has turned into electro-slap, the drums are ‘Bad’ and the vocals have more ‘uh’ noises than a porn film. That said, boy, it works!

8. A Hard Day’s Night – Peter Sellers A hilariously hammy rendition in the style of Laurence Oliver in Shakespeare’s Richard III. Sellers scored a Top 20 when it was released as a single in 1965.

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