CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 23rd September
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Mail On Sunday launch SMiLE with 4Play
- Stones to play Wembley stadium
- Elton plans retirement
- Britney makes Kevin sign pre-nup
- Hear REM's new album for free
- Gruff goes solo
- Catch some Solaar
- Play at Glasto!
- Album Review: Duran Duran - Astronaut
- SonyBMG merger to be completed within the year
- Coldplay, REM. and U2 on a mission to free Aung San Suu Kyi
- Keith Flint's new oufit plan live debut
- Arnie signs new anti-piracy law
- Brighton 'supergroup' launch debut
- Ozzy to stop swearing to help Children In Need
- Aguilera gives teens sex advice

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Late again today - sorry - we're very busy! If you want to know why buy today's Evening Standard. If you're not in London buy this weekend's Mail On Sunday. If you're not in the UK, erm, go to www.bigtime.tv/lmn. If that's no good I'll see if I can get a note from my mother.

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BLATANT PLUGGING

*** PREVIEW THIS SEASON'S HOTTEST RELEASES TODAY

Want to hear the tracks we most rate from forthcoming albums this season? CMU has teamed up with BigTime.tv to launch the London Music Network with the Evening Standard and BT Rich Media - a new digital music service showcasing great new music.

You can check out how London Music Network works on Fashion Rock, an enhanced CD free with this Thursday's Evening Standard - featuring tracks from Elefant, Freeform Five, Two Culture Clash, Nostalgia 55, Lazyboy, Mylo, Client, The Go! Team, Kasabian and The Killers. Get your copy of the CD today free with the Evening Standard.

More info at http://www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/lmn

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MAIL ON SUNDAY LAUNCH SMILE WITH 4PLAY
Next Monday is an important day in pop history because one of the most anticipated albums of all time is finally released. Way back in 1967 the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson penned and recorded a radical new album called SMiLE. With the personal tragedies that followed in Wilson's life the album was never released, and Wilson / Beach Boys fans have been waiting ever since.

Earlier this year, of course, that wait ended when Brian Wilson staged a series of shows at London's Festival Hall performing SMiLE in its entirety. Following that event Wilson went back into the studio to put the album to tape once and for all. It is released on Warners label Nonesuch on Monday.

To celebrate the release our friends at BigTime.tv have teamed up with the Mail On Sunday to release a special Brian Wilson CD - Good Vibrations - featuring an exclusive 4Play preview of the first movement of the album. As previously reported, 4Play enables readers to listen to those tracks on demand in full up to four times, after which they have the option to buy it.

To set the scene the CD also features Brian Wilson performing ten of his best known tracks and clips from two recent DVD releases featuring live performances by Wilson.

This multi-faceted promotion is being positioned as a tribute to one of the greatest pop artists and composers of the twentieth century and includes a rare interview with Brian Wilson and a high impact TV campaign to set the scene.

Commenting on the album and the 4Play promotion, Ronnie Lippin, who co-manages Brian Wilson along with her partner Jean Sievers, told CMU: "People have waited nearly four decades for this. It's a very exciting time for Brian and we're all hoping for great reaction to the music."

The Good Vibrations CD will be distributed free with the Mail On Sunday this Sunday. SMiLE is released on Monday.

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STONES TO PLAY WEMBLEY STADIUM
The Rolling Stones will be the first band to play at the new Wembley Stadium when it reopens for business in 2006 (assuming it opens on time presumably - unless JCBs are part of the set). According to The Sun, the veteran rockers are planning another tour in 2006 and are scheduled to make history by being the debut act to play at the relaunched £750million venue stadium - what is set to become London's flagship sports and concert arena.

A source at Wembley told the paper: "The Stones are determined to tour again in 2006. They will warm up in Toronto and have their homecoming at Wembley. It has been planned so they will be the first band to play at the new stadium. In front of 90,000 people the noise will be deafening. It will be such a special experience for the fans and the band. Their last tour was to celebrate 40 years together and they enjoyed it so much they all feel they have another left in them. People might joke about them being wrinkly old blokes but they are still one of the best - if not the best - rock 'n' roll group out there. The atmosphere will be electric and Mick and the boys can't wait."

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ELTON PLANS RETIREMENT
Talking of old timers touring, Elton John has admitted he is finding touring exhausting and is looking forward to his retirement. Elton is contracted to perform 75 concerts over the next three years at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, but he told Femalefirst that he's finding it heavy going: "I'm not going to be like The Who and do a farewell tour for the next 15 years, but I am finding it harder, emotionally, to stay on the road. There will come a time when my lifestyle has to change. Why I'm still trying to prove something to myself, I don't know. I have a lovely private life with David but we don't spend enough time together."

Elton also spoke about opening a retirement home for him and all his showbiz pals, including the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant and artist Sam Taylor Wood. He said: "I always wanted to buy a big retirement home and live in it with all my friends. An old department store in the King's Road would be perfect. I could run the CD shop, Neil Tennant the bookshop and Sam Taylor-Wood the art shop. Either that or buy a big chateau in France and just walk around in kaftans eating doughnuts all day."

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BRITNEY MAKES KEVIN SIGN PRE-NUP
Well, according to this morning's press Britney is not, in fact, married. It was originally thought last weekend's last minute wedding was a bid to beat the press expected to swamp her scheduled wedding date of 16 Oct. However some people are now saying that wedding was a bluff - to throw the press off the scent of the real wedding which will go ahead as planned next month. Who knows? Perhaps Britney is just going for the record of most weddings in one year.

Elsewhere in 'Britney getting married' news, word is Ms Spears has made Kevin Federline sign a pre-nuptial deal to prevent him getting to her $60 million fortune. According to the ever reliable Daily Star, Britney was initially reluctant to ask Kevin to sign up, saying they were "truly in love" and would never split. But her legal team pointed out that she could be left broke (and that 48 hour marriage earlier this year wouldn't have helped convince too many lawyers). The singer was also under pressure from her family, who feared her husband would try to cash in if the marriage failed.

A source said: "Britney thought the idea of a pre-nup was vile, because she is loved-up with Kevin and cannot envisage breaking up. However, it was made clear to her that no one in Hollywood these days get married without brokering a deal. She finally agreed that she ought to protect her fortune. She had a long chat with Kevin and he was cool about it." The couple are currently staying at the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles and are expected to jet off on their (maybe) honeymoon in the next few days.

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CAT STEVENS REFUSED ENTRY TO US
We all know there are some small groups of fundamentalist terrorists that follow Islam, but I think that's the religion, not the man. Anyways, FBI agents felt the need to refuse Cat Stevens - better known these days as Yusef Islam - entry to the US. They escorted him off a plane bound for Washington earlier this week because he is on a security "watch list".

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said that the singer, who converted to Islam in the '70s, was denied access to the US "on national security grounds" and would be returned to Britain on Wednesday.

Flight 919 from London to Washington diverted 600 miles to Bangor International Airport on Tuesday, landing at around 7.30pm British time, after US security officials were told Stevens was aboard. United Airlines officials in London initially failed to spot his name, which he has changed to Yusef Islam - on the watch list.

Passengers, including pop veterans Marillion, were at first told the diversion was due to refuelling. It eventually arrived in Washington six hours late. Stevens, who was denied access to Israel four years ago, was detained and questioned, the TSA said. His 21-year-old daughter was allowed into the US.

Cat Stevens had a string of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, including 'Wild World' and 'Morning Has Broken'. He abandoned his music career in the late 1970's and changed his name after being converted to Islam. He has since angered some politicians in the West by being a nice guy with a moderate take on his religion, speaking out against Islamic terrorists. Wonderful.

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HEAR REM'S NEW ALBUM FOR FREE
REM are previewing their forthcoming album 'Around The Sun' online.

According to Reuters the band are offering fans the chance to listen to tracks from the album for free on http://www.MySpace.com. The preview also provides links to iTunes clips, ringtones, photographs, wallpaper and tour dates.

MySpace chief Chris DeWolfe says: "REM is one of those legendary bands that create an event-like atmosphere on our site. This is a unique chance to get millions of people talking, simultaneously, about the new album. We expect many more deals like this in the future," DeWolfe continued. "It's a new way for indie and major labels to get their music out to the masses, and we believe it will work out well for the labels, MySpace and for music fans."

The album is officially released on 4 Oct, preceded by first single 'Leaving New York' on 27 Sep.

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GRUFF GOES SOLO
Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys is to release his debut solo album - 'Yr Atal Genhedlaeth' - on Jan 2005. The album's 11 songs were recorded with Gorwel Owen at Stiwdio Ofn at various points during spring and summer 2004.

Meanwhile, the Super Furries have also released full details of their sold-out Lightning Fryday event, which will take place on 1 Oct at London's Royal Festival Hall. It starts at 6.30pm, and SFA will play two sets across three rooms in the venue. The band will be joined by a supporting cast featuring Zabrinski, bravecaptain, Richard James from Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and Mugison. There will also be a chance for fans to confess all sins to Howard Marks in the Howard Marks Confessional Booth. Surprise guest DJs will appear, and there will be visual performances and art installations by Pete Fowler and Mark James. A few extra tickets will be released at 3pm on the day of the show. The band will also appear at Cardiff Point Theatre on 30 Sep as a warm up for Lightning Fryday. Tickets, priced will go on sale at 9am on Friday (24 Sep) exclusively from Spillers Records in Cardiff.

SFA are also hard at work on their seventh studio album - the follow up to 2003's 'Phantom Power' - to be released during spring 2005. Frontman Rhys told NME recently that the album "has an orchestral feel to it". The band's hits compilation 'Songbook - The Singles Volume One' is released on 4 Oct.

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CATCH SOME SOLAAR
French hip-hop artist MC Solaar is to return to the UK for the first time since 1995 in support of his sixth studio album. He will play three dates in October, coinciding the tour with the release of new single 'La Vie Est Belle' on 27 Sep. The single is taken from the 'Mach 6' album, which was released in May. The album sees Solaar working with long-time collaborators Black Rose Corporation.

The dates are:
1 Oct: Manchester Academy
2 Oct: London Shepherds Bush Empire
3 Oct: Bristol Academy

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PLAY AT GLASTO!
Michael Eavis is inviting unsigned bands to compete for an opportunity to play at Glastonbury next year. This year's Glasto has the first ever onsite unsigned bands' competition - it was won by The Subways.

On the look out for new talent, Eavis has written on the Glastonbury website: "You're musical, you're brilliant, you're not signed (yet) and you're up for playing one of the biggest stages in the world. Following the huge success of the 2004 inaugural Unsigned Performers Competition, Glastonbury Festival offers further opportunities for new bands and artistes to grace the hallowed fields of Worthy Farm in 2005 - subject of course to a Public Entertainment Licence."

The Subways, and other winners like Bristol's Blackbud, have since secured record deals as well as playing a host of other festivals over the summer.

Those interested in entering need to send in a demo - full info and an application form is online at http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/. Entries should be received no later than 10 Jan 2005.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Duran Duran - Astronaut (Sony/Epic)
The way the media have been reporting this new Duran Duran album (the first with the original, 'classic' early 80s line up for two decades), you'd think that the group hadn't released anything new at all since 1985, let alone anything of note. There's no denying that the five piece made the best music of their career between 1981 and 1985 but, post-85 (and following the arrival of now-banished guitarist Warren Cuccurullo), the group released some fantastic stuff at times - witness 1988's 'Big Thing' (possibly their strongest, most cohesive album), or 1993's 'The Wedding Album' (including 'Ordinary World', the track that revitalised their career for a time). This recent reformation is in some ways curious but at least the band are releasing new material, rather than just being content to tour endlessly on nostalgia circuits. Inevitably though, 'Astronaut' sadly proves a disappointment. Although good in places, the overall feeling is one of rich old men desperately grafting and wheezing in an attempt to recreate the magical formula of 20 years ago and, for the most part, failing. Although comeback single 'Sunrise' is a punchy opener, whilst moody closing track 'Still Breathing' is vaguely reminiscent of the majestic 'The Chauffeur', in between it's just too comfortable, lacking the killer melodies and that edgy feel that defined all their best songs. It's by no means a bad album (other highlights being the funk-lite of 'Bedroom Toys', or the lovely, string-laden 'What Happens Tomorrow' - classic Duran, redolent of Suede's 'Everything Will Flow' in places), just one that you'll never really feel the need to listen to. A shame really - it could've been so much better. MS
Release date: 4 Oct
Press contact: Sony IH [all]

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SONY BMG MERGER TO BE COMPLETED WITHIN THE YEAR
The consolidation of the recently merged SonyBMG should be completed by the end of June 2006, or so says the company's Chief Operating Officer. With the top global team now in place - four regional heads were appointed on Monday - work on merging the two major labels in each regional territory and country is likely to begin in the next few months. Top executives in each country are likely to be appointed in the next few days - Sony UK boss Rob Stringer is likely to get the top SonyBMG job in Britain.

This is likely to mean to closure of several offices around the world - rumour has it the first office to go will be Sony's German HQ in Berlin. Each closure will bring with it job losses and roster culls. Exactly how many jobs will go, and what will happen to the label structure in each territory, is still to be confirmed.

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COLDPLAY, REM AND U2 ON A MISSION TO FREE AUNG SAN SUU KYI
U2, Coldplay and REM are among the artists donating tracks to a new benefit album for Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese humanitarian, pro-democracy leader.

The double album entitled 'For the Lady: Dedicated to Freeing Aung San Suu Kyi and the Courageous People of Burma' aims to raise awareness of Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has been imprisoned many times by the Burmese government.

The record features previously released songs by Coldplay, Bright Eyes, Travis and Avril Lavigne, alongside exclusive, unreleased live tracks from Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Damien Rice and Better Than Ezra. There is also an exclusive track by Audioslave / Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello's solo incarnation, The Nightwatchman, called 'Let Freedom Ring'. U2's contribution, 'Walk On', was originally dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi on the album 'All That You Can't Leave Behind'. Proceeds from the sale of the album will benefit the non-profit organization US Campaign for Burma.

'For the Lady: Dedicated to Freeing Aung San Suu Kyi and the Courageous People of Burma' is due out on 26 Oct.

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KEITH FLINT'S NEW OUFIT PLAN LIVE DEBUT
Prodigy frontman Keith Flint will make his live debut with new side project Clever Brains Frying this Friday (24 Sep) at Neighbourhood in West London with some special guests also promised.

Speaking to Xfm he has described how his new collective is breaks-oriented: "It's called Clever Brains Frying and involves Sir Real who's worked with The Freestylers and his MC partner Bad Manner, myself and a breaks DJ Jay Laidback. I'm doing that to get out the lyrics I didn't get chance to get out on the Prod album. I'm just hungry and my head's full of imagery, music and beats. I'm schizophrenic at the moment - there's probably four different personalities inside of me."

Keith's band will appear at the first of a new night called Ride The Walrus which will be monthly at Neighbourhood. This month's opening night will also feature a live set from Har Mar Superstar and DJ sets from The Insurgents and Xfm's Eddy TM.

Ride The Walrus kicks off this Friday, 24 Sep at Neighbourhood, W10 8pm - 2:30am (free before 8:30pm / £10 / £12 after 10:30pm)

Talking of Friday night - don't forget Kill All Hippies - full info in tomorrow's Daily.

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ARNIE SIGNS NEW ANTI-PIRACY LAW
Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed in a new state law which will make it a crime to distribute any movie, song or game over the internet without including a source e-mail address.

The new law aims to ensure all digitally distributed material is traceable so that it is easy to check if the originator had the right to share the content in the first place. It mirrors an existing law in the non-virtual domain which says any video or DVD being distributed must include the name and address of where it originated.

Anyone found to be digitally distributing content files without a genuine email contact address are liable to a year in jail and $2500 in fines.

The law demonstrates California's stand against internet piracy, although the new law will be difficult to enforce given that it can be difficult to trace the origins of a file shared over the internet - while a file may start and end in California it has potentially been transported all over the world on its journey. Ironically the reason the law is needed is the same reason it will be impossible to always enforce.

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BRIGHTON 'SUPERGROUP' LAUNCH DEBUT
The Brakes, Brighton's first supergroup which contains members of British Sea Power, The Tenderfoot and Electric Soft Parade, release their debut single 'Pick Up the Phone' / 'I Can't Stand To Stand Beside You' this week.

Eamon (by day BSP's keyboard player, by night singer and guitarist for The Brakes) told Xfm how the super group formed: "We were just in this bar in Brighton, me, Tom and Alex [White of Electric Soft Parade] and Mark [Beatty of The Tenderfoot], and we thought 'What's the best way to capitalise on all of our fame and rake in some money?' So we thought let's form a Brighton uber-band. We purely business partners, we're not really even friends..."

Meanwhile British Sea Power are currently working on their second studio album: "We're currently recording in our basement and it sounds fucking amazing. We'll be in the studio in October, so it should be coming out around February time. There's seven stormers so far and five that need some work, but my favourite so far is 'Elegiac Stanzas' that's about people that've found God - It's beautiful. We're thinking about doing some kind of event for all the Brighton bands - we'd get Electrelane and 80's Matchbox involved as well - and perhaps take over Brighton beach or maybe a big tour. We'll see, but I would love that."

The Brakes are also on tour this week at the following venues:
23 Sep: Liverpool Barfly
24 Sep: London Camden Barfly
25 Sep: Cardiff Barfly
26 Sep: Brighton Freebutt

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OZZY TO STOP SWEARING TO HELP CHILREN IN NEED
Ozzy Osbourne has vowed to stop swearing to raise money for Children In Need. The Prince of Darkness has had his mouth taped shut for the fundraising stunt, in which he hopes to "raise a fortune" by cutting out bad language for 24 hours. Ozzy can be seen gagged with black tape on a TV commercial for UK charity Children In Need in the run up to the BBC's fundraising show in November. His wife, Sharon, also appears in the advert, saying: "Ozzy is going to raise a fortune by not using swear words for 24 hours." In the ad Ozzy old rips off his tape and shouts: "No swear f*ucking words? You've got to be fucking joking! I'm the Prince of Darkness - they expect me to fucking swear."

Meanwhile, Sharon and Ozzy are desperate for Hollywood star Johnny Depp to play the eccentric rocker in a film of his life. Sharon is eager to make the movie and believes Depp would be perfect for the role. She said: "We're talking to Johnny but it's not 100 per cent yet." They are currently in talks with ITV to host a style chat show and have already agreed to appear in An Audience With The Osbournes this autumn.

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AGUILERA GIVES TEENS SEX ADVICE
Christina Aguilera is to host a new MTV documentary about sexual abstinence. The new programme will give teenagers a deeper knowledge about political issues and US laws, as well as information about sex. During the documentary, 'Sex, Votes and Higher Power', which airs next week, she will speak to youngsters who have promised to remain virgins until they are married. Aguilera was apparently very keen to be a part of the programme, which deals with sex education, abortion and domestic violence, after reading up on some shocking statistics. She said: "Every year one in four sexually active teens gets a sexually transmitted disease and more than one in three young women gets pregnant before aged 20, almost always by accident." So now you know.

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