A representative for British rockers the Stone Roses has fuelled rumours suggesting the band is preparing to split again by refusing to comment on the break-up reports. A user on discussion forum I Am Without Shoes Too posted a message on the blog on Monday (19May14), claiming he had received insider information suggesting the Fools Gold hitmakers will officially reveal plans to disband next week (begs26May14).
The note read in part: "Just had word from a friend who works at (their label) Universal Records and announcement will be made next week regarding the bands (sic) future. Says the band's representatives and Universal's are working on ending the contract and the guys (are) going their separate ways..."
Frontman Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary 'Mani' Mounfield and drummer Alan 'Reni' John Wren have remained silent on the split speculation, and now a spokesperson for the group has also failed to put a stop to the gossip.
When approached for a response by NME.com editors, the representative declined, simply stating, "No comment".
The news emerges eight months after rumours surfaced alleging the Stone Roses were working on new material, with Mani raising fans' hopes of a 2015 release by saying, "Yeah we've been working on a few bits... 2015 man, 2015!"
The rockers reformed in 2011, 15 years after their original split, and embarked on a global comeback tour which kept them on the road throughout 2012 and 2013.
"Breaker of Chains" opens exactly where "The Lion and the Rose" closed: on Joffrey's purple, breathless face, his lifeless eyes staring up at his screaming mother.
It's a good place to kick off the events of the episode, a unifying theme for many of the disjointed segments that make up this week's Game of Thrones, and one that helps remind the audience of the chaos that has now gripped Westeros once again. The king is dead, his uncle is arrested for the crime and King's landing has been closed off to prevent any more conspirators from getting away while the shock waves ripple out towards the rest of the kingdom, leaving everyone scrambling to react.
It's the citizens in King's Landings who understandably react most strongly to those waves, starting with Sansa, who is spirited away from the wedding feast by Ser Dontos to a ship that's waiting for her in the harbor. The plot, it turns out, was devised by Littlefinger, who returns briefly with a distractingly awkward accent to take care of the witnesses (Ser Dontos, we barely knew ye) and fulfill the promise he made to Catelyn Stark to protect her daughters. As he guides her below deck to sail off somewhere safer, it's hard to feel as if Sansa is truly safe with him, no matter how many times he tries to reiterate that she is. She's finally out of the Lannisters' clutches, and with Joffrey dead, there's no longer the imminent threat of death and torture hanging over her head... but Littlefinger has never been a man to be trusted, so it doesn't look like poor Sansa is out of the woods just yet.
Meanwhile, her husband is in prison, awaiting news about his upcoming trial. Tyrion's been imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit before, and he's frantically efficient in laying out an attempted plan of defense with Podrick, who comes to bring him food and some basic accoutrements, and - more importantly - news about the ways Tyrion's family intends to take him down. Peter Dinklage bounces from beat to beat within the scene with the kind of effortlessness that make all of his scenes such a delight to watch, and it's when he's pacing around his cell, trading barbs and plots with Pod that the episode truly comes alive. Hopefully the the date of his trial arrives quickly, as Game of Thrones really does need him to give the episode a shot in the arm every so often, and his imprisonment will drastically cut down on Dinklage's screentime.
But what starts as a manic conversation exploring possible options for escape and defense eventually slows its pace as Tyrion learns that Pod has been asked to testify against him. He's resolute in his decision to send his squire away for his own protection, and Dinklage's blank stare as he gives his last orders betray just how badly this particular blow has hurt him. Pod's reluctant to leave his master behind prove he truly is the most loyal squire who ever lived, but we're hoping that he won't be gone for too long. What would we do with all of our "Pod for the Iron Throne" buttons otherwise?
Meanwhile, the rest of the Lannisters are coping with Joffrey's sudden death in different ways. Tywin is, as expected, all business, lecturing Tommen about what makes a good king over the body of his dead grandson. Tywin is all about power, and this tragedy gives him plenty of opportunities to gain more, as everybody is in far too much shock to stop him from digging his claws into the new king. Charles Dance tears into his big monologue in the sept with relish and tackles his conversation with Oberyn with the same kind of zeal. Tywin is usually a despicable character, and his all-encompassing desire for the throne blinds him to the feelings or morals of others, and while Dance never shies away from these aspects of Tywin, he is always wonderful to watch.
Which brings us to the other Lannister children, and that terrible, uncomfortable, unnecessary scene. After Tywin finishes his first royal lesson, he escorts Tommen out of the sept while Jaime makes his way in, sending all of the priests and guards away. It's ostensibly to give Cersei a moment alone with Joffrey, but it's really a chance for them to mourn their child together, and it turns into a rape scene, as Cersei confronts Jaime about killing Tyrion to avenge the king and Jaime confronts the fact that the woman he loves is a hateful one. Of course, that doesn't explain why a man who has thus far established himself to be against sexual violence to attack his sister/lover right next to the body of their dead son, but nothing about this scene seems to make any sense.
In the books, Jaime and Cersei's encounter is a consensual one — although it is regarded by fans as being uncomfortably comical — a jarring expression of grief from two characters who don't know how to react to things the way normal people might. Here, it seems gratuitous, a horrific act added in for the sake of being shocking and appalling. It changes everything we know about Jaime, the Kingslayer who killed people for the right reasons, even knowing what it would do for his reputation. It takes any kind of affection out of his twisted love affair with his sister, and undoes all of the work that both the books and the show do to re-frame him as a complex, flawed human being rather than a complete monster. And it's a unnecessary and cruel punishment for Cersei, as regardless of the writers' intentions, it does read as a punishment for Cersei's wickedness, despite the fact that nobody deserves to endure such a horror, no matter what evils they themselves have committed.
"Breaker of Chains" leaves you reeling from that scene, but never follows up on it, leaving you shocked and uncomfortable for the rest of the episode, forcing you to attempt to pay attention to whatever the Wildlings are up to through the outrage you're still feeling. The fact that it's left completely unacknowledged colors the rest of the episode, which is already all over the place in terms of story and tone.
The ripples of discontent that Joffrey's death causes reach Dragonstone first, giving Stannis the perfect opportunity to attack the throne and reclaim his birthright. Davos, as usual, attempts to use logic against Stannis' religious fanaticism, as he's convinced that he can simply have Melisandre pray for his army to take the city and it will become true. His hand, however, understands that armies take money, and it's Shireen who gives him the idea of where to get it. The bond between Davos and Shireen continues to gives the show some much-needed sweetness, but we're still a bit worried about what might happen to the princess now that Melisandre has set her sights on her. Davos is the only one who would be be able to protect her from the Red Priestess, but we're hoping tht things won't get to a point where he needs to. Is it too much to ask for one child to make it through the series without being traumatized and corrupted?
Word about Joffrey's death hasn't seemed to make its way too far North or South, as neither Arya and the Hound (whose double act had the unfortunate task of serving as comic relief after Jamie and Cersei's scene this week) nor the Brothers of the Nightswatch seem to be concerned about the ramifications the lack of king could have on the land. Granted, with the Wildlings terrorizing villages and slaughtering whole families within running distance of Castle Black, they might have more pressing matters to attend to at the moment. Unfortunately, both plots seem to be spinning their wheels at the moment, waiting for the right moment to steal attention away from King's Landing.
And on the other side of the sea, Daenerys and her army have finally stopped their seemingly-endless marching to challenge the people of Mereen and attempt to free their slaves. Daario effortlessly takes down Mereen's champion with two quick slashes of his knife, impressing the Khaleesi in a way that foreshadows some major romantic developments. I'm less impressed by him, as there's still something about Daario that just screams "sleazy." The big ending moment of the episode came when Dany catapulted the broken chains of her former slaves, and while it was meant to be a major iconic moment, it felt flat and repetitive, which meant "Breaker of Chains" went out with a whimper.
With so many characters and plots running simultaneously on Game of Thrones, there's never going to be an easy way to keep every storyline moving without completely overwhelming the audience. The show is still having difficulty finding the right balance between action and exposition, resulting in episodes like "Breaker of Chains," which feature one or two big moments surrounded by long stretches of tiny developments. Any kind of frustration felt about that pace is only exacerbated by episodes like this one, where there shoehorned-in shock factor doesn't make up for the way the rest of the episode stalls. "Breaker of Chains" started out as a solid episode, but devolved into a perfect example of so many criticisms that fans have about the show.
Episode grade: C, or Two Pouting Jon Snows
"In some ways I knew the way it worked. Many of the other people who were on that short list with us had been nominated before, and I figured that unless you're in Nirvana you're not going to get in the first year, so there you go. I'm not too disappointed. I'm sure it'll come up again." Yes star Chris Squire on his band's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame snub.
Former Oasis star Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs, Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery and ex-Inspiral Carpets star Tom Hingley teamed up in Manchester, England on Wednesday night (19Mar14) to perform at Stone Roses guitarist Aziz Ibrahim's 50th birthday party. The man who replaced John Squire in the iconic Manchester band turned his birthday bash into a charity gig for Comprehensive Disaster Response Services - and it turned into a star-studded affair.
Ibrahim performed with friends and artists he has collaborated with at Manchester's Roadhouse venue.
He told NME.com, "I've never celebrated with big parties before, but, as I approached the big 5-0, I started looking at what I'd achieved, and I wanted to celebrate the musicians, the music and the people who've helped me. And I wanted to give something back."
Stone Roses star Ian Brown was in the audience for the birthday gig and told the website, "I'm lucky that I met him (Ibrahim). He's an unsung hero. Everybody says they've never met a better guitar player - you ask anybody who's collaborated with him.
"By rights, he should be swimming in a guitar-shaped pool, but he doesn't want that. For him, it's about the music. He's not in it for the dough (money), unlike 99.9 per cent of musicians."
He added, "It makes it extra special for me that this is happening in The Roadhouse, because it's where we played my first solo shows. It's got a history."
Guitar greats including SLASH, Brian May, Peter Green, and Jeff Beck have been photographed with their most beloved instrument for a new charity exhibition. The rockers joined other stars including Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera, MC5 rocker Wayne Kramer, and the Stone Roses' axeman John Squire for the display, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.
They all posed for snapper Scarlet Page while clutching their most treasured guitar, and the images will be exhibited at London's Royal Albert Hall during the Teenage Cancer Trust gigs later this month (Mar14).
Page confesses one of the hardest stars to convince to take part was Fleetwood Mac's Green, telling Mojo magazine, "I felt truly honoured that he said yes and, aware that photography is not one of his favourite things, I tried to keep it as quick and painless as possible."
Former Dire Straits rocker Alan Clark has joined forces with the band's one-time tour saxophonist to launch a new group called The Straits. British keyboardist Clark joined the Money For Nothing hitmakers in 1980 and remained a key member until frontman Mark Knopfler announced the band's split in 1995, and now he has called on fellow musician Chris White, who performed on the road with Dire Straits from 1985 to 1995, to play a series of live shows with him later this year (14).
Clark reveals the idea for the mini-reunion has been two years in the making as the two musicians first discussed their plans while in Rome, Italy.
He says, "Chris and I were having breakfast beside a pool one beautiful, sunny morning when I declared we were going to form The Straits."
The duo has also recruited Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' drummer Steve Ferrone, singer Terrence Reis, bassist Mickey Feat and pianist Jamie Squire.
Clark admits he and White almost formed the band exclusively from old Dire Straits members and associates.
He adds, "We'd briefly considered using a line-up of ex Dire Straits players - and believe me, there were plenty of offers - but we decided to go our own way, to hand-pick the absolute best."
The Straits will kick off a North American tour in Michigan on 28 February (14).
Dire Straits co-founders, including frontman Mark Knopfler and bassist John Illsley, have yet to comment on the news.
With founding frontman Jon Anderson seemingly out of the picture permanently, it's about time for an anthological assessment of the classic Yes years, i.e. the groundbreaking British band's 18-year tenure on Atco/Atlantic. Towards that end, we have The Studio Albums: 1969-1987. As the group that, in many people's eyes, defines prog rock, Yes never did anything small -- their fusion of rock, classical, folk, and jazz was writ large across their entire discography. On their very first album, they expanded Beatles and Byrds songs into outsized, psychedelia-tinged epic blowouts, and milestone outings like Close to the Edge found them crafting their own prog-rock mini-symphonies. 1973's Tales from Topographic Oceans was one of rock's first double-length concept albums, a single suite that initially stretched across four sides of vinyl.
Accordingly, the only way to do right by the Yes catalog in presenting it as a box set is to completely eschew moderation and go all-out. That's why this 13-disc collection is the biggest, most comprehensive Yes release ever assembled. Not only does it allow fans to follow the trajectory of the band's career from one ambitious album to the next through a multitude of evolutionary phases, each album has been given a vivid remastering, and some fetching bonus cuts are appended to each original album (all the records are packaged with original artwork in individual digipak format). And let's face it, if you're the sort who's after the whole megillah instead of just a few select reissues, you want that bonus material.
As you might expect, it's a kick to hear the band's creative process come into focus via items like a working version of Going for the One's epic fan favorite "Awaken," or to hear tunes seemingly intended for the perennially underrated Drama album that didn't see the light of day for decades. But it's just as much fun to immerse yourself in the innovation and luxuriousness of classic albums like Fragile and Relayer in optimum fidelity, as part of an aesthetic continuum. The Yes story didn't end where this set leaves off, but only a fool would argue the fact that this box is comprised of the tale's most important chapters.
Pop star Katy Perry had a very special date for Sunday's (24Nov13) American Music Awards in Los Angeles - an Arizona teen with Down Syndrome. The singer was moved by a video Megan Squire had sent in as part of a U.S. TV competition to win a private concert from Perry at her high school, and although she did not win, the I Kissed A Girl hitmaker decided to treat the youngster and her family to a trip to Los Angeles to attend the AMAs with her, walking the red carpet together and even sitting behind Lady Gaga at the ceremony.
Progressive rock bands Yes and Marillion have announced plans to set sail together for gigs at sea next spring (14). The British acts' Cruise to the Edge will depart from Miami, Florida for a five-day trip to South America on 7 April (13).
The two groups will perform onboard the MSC Divina, which will dock at Isla de Roatan, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico.
In total more than 25 bands and artists, including former Genesis star Steve Hackett, Queensryche, Tangerine Dream and Renaissance, will make the trip, and Roger Dean, the artist who created Yes' iconic album covers, will also be onboard.
Yes star Chris Squire tells WENN, "YES will once again host Cruise to the Edge this coming April 2014. Our first cruise turned out to be a lot of fun and I thoroughly recommend the experience. If you're a Prog Rock fan, even better as we have amassed a spectacular array of support talent for the cruise."
Rockers Yes are to host their own Yestival in New Jersey this summer (13). The group's inaugural event will take place at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden on 3 August (13).
The band will perform their classic early 1970s albums The Yes Album and Close to the Edge in their entirety at the festival, which will also feature acclaimed Genesis tribute band The Musical Box, Renaissance featuring Anne Haslam, Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy and other acts to be confirmed.
Yes bassist Chris Squire tells WENN, "This is a concept we've been trying to put into motion for some time, and only now have we been able to turn it into reality."
The band also has plans to stage a second Yestival in Pennsylvania, which Squire calls "a Yes stronghold since the '70s".