CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 8th February

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Avril tops Juno nominations
- New Order keeping session tracks for future album
- Differing explanations for Houston self-harm incident
- Single Review: M83 - Don’t Save Us From The Flames
- Doherty to be released today, probably
- Kelly Osbourne on the importance of rehab
- More delays in Jacko case
- Album Review: Doves - Some Cities
- Embrace and Snow Patrol on IOW bill
- Scissor Sisters headline V Fest
- Oasis announce US dates
- Olympus grab most attention in Superbowl digital music ads
- Telegraph journalists to vote on strike action over job cuts
- Album Review: Fu Manchu - Start The Machine
- Instores update
- Sharon Osbourne: “they just didn’t get it”
- Cowell: “Usher’s better than Justin”
- Bunton’s US ambitions dashed

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SAME SIX QUESTIONS: Arthur Baker

How did you start out making music for a living?
I moved to NYC from Boston in 1980 after having cut a few tracks in 78-79, which definitely didn’t make me a living! I’d worked in record stores, DJed a bit and helped other DJs stay motivated at night. When I got to New York I had none of that, so I started working for a record distributor.The other guys in the warehouse couldn’t believe that I had records being sold there, yet there I was working in the warehouse. I quit a few months before 'Planet Rock’ and 'Rockers Revenge’ came out.

What inspired your recent tracks? And what process do you go through in creating tracks?
I usually get motivated by a good night out hearing other people play music, or in other cases, getting my heart broken. Depression or a drunken party always works. I sit at my computer with all my synths around me and I try to make tracks that I’d love to hear out. I try to play the stuff out, test it to a crowd. Been doing that since I brought tapes to Jellybean Benitez at the Funhouse back in the day.

Which artists influence your work?
Hearing a great current dance track - be it Mylo, Alter Ego, etc - or hearing a great DJ - like Erol Alkan or 2 Many DJs - influence my dance music. Or hearing a great old disco thing. Old rap, too.ăIn the past, producers like Norman Whitfield-Temps, 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone’ etc, Gamble and Huff, The Stones 64-74, Sly, Al Green Ö late 70s, early 70s, my childhood stuff.

What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Don’t judge me on 'Spaceman’ or 'Down The Pub’ - even though I stand behind all my stuff - even the shit... I’d love to put out a compilation that really shows the entirety of my music. God that sounds pretentious.

What are your ambitions for your latest record, and for the future?
I'd love 'This Feeling’ to be a big club hit to start - my DJ booking agent claims he could get me more gigs with a hit (like to see him do it). And having it on the radio or on an ad might be nice. Still trying to finish an album I started seven years ago. I'm almost done. Getting the track I did with Tim Wheeler from Ash finished would be a start. And just getting my restaurant Harlem up and running in Brixton - then get the world’s first DJ/music biz members club dex above it happening...

Arthur Baker’s new single with Dave Clarke - 'This Feelin’ - is out on 21 Feb on Southern Fried - press info from Emms Publicity.

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AVRIL TOPS JUNO NOMINATIONS
With the Brits getting very close now, the Canadian music industry yesterday announced the nominations for their annual back-slapping bash, the Junos.

Avril Lavinge led the proceedings with five nominations, for Artist Of The Year, Best Songwriter, Album Of The Year, Pop Album Of The Year and in the Fan’s Choice category.

Next up in the nomination stakes came Jazz star Diana Krall who appears on four shortlists, while Shania Twain, Billy Talent, Simple Plan, k-os, Feist, The Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and, of course, Celine Dion, each get three nominations. Good for them. Usher, U2, Eminem, Green Day and Norah Jones are all up for the title of Best International Album - though this award is based on record sales, so that perhaps comes as no surprise.

The Junos will be presented on 3 Apr.

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NEW ORDER KEEPING SESSION TRACKS FOR FUTURE ALBUM
New Order’s Bernard Sumner has revealed that the band are so pleased with seven of the new tracks that haven’t made it on to upcoming new album 'Waiting For The Sirens’ that they plan to lock them away for use on a future album. Sumner told reporters: "We usually do just enough for an album, ten songs and it's done. The seven tracks left off 'Sirens'' are so strong that they are likely to form the basis of a future LP".

The new album, due out in Apr, features the production talents of three producers as well as the band themselves - Stephen Street (Blur, The Smiths), John Leckie (Pink Floyd, Stone Roses) and Stuart Price (Madonna). The band reckon that the title track, described as “wistful and sublime”, is one of the best tracks they’ve ever done.

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DIFFERING EXPLANATIONS FOR HOUSTON SELF-HARM INCIDENT
A number of different explanations doing the rounds as to why American R&B singer Houston gouged his own eye out while staying in a London hotel last week.

MTV reported this weekend that the singer’s bodyguard said the self-harming incident was an attempt by the “devout Christian” singer to cleanse himself from the “sins and devils” of the music business. The bodyguard reportedly added that Houston “showed no pain and had no remorse”.

Reno Rankin and Andrew Rowe of On Point Productions, who used to manage the singer, say he is a diagnosed schizophrenic and that they suspect the incident was a result of him not receiving sufficient treatment for the condition.

Meanwhile Houston’s sister, Billie Summers, insists the incident was an accident, adding “he knows that if he attempted anything like that he'd be doomed”. She says that Rankin and Rowe are “slandering” her brother with the schizophrenia claims.

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SINGLE REVIEW: M83 - Don’t Save Us From The Flames (Gooom)
'Don’t Save Us From The Flames’ is a glorious slice of cosmic synth rock from the French Riviera’s M83, and is the first single to be taken from the superb album 'Before The Dawn Heals Us’, released last month. M83, which is essentially Anthony Gonzalez, are sonic pioneers whose spacey sound utilises a variety of futuristic instruments including a theremin, which on this track sounds particularly ecstatic. Mystical lyrics and heavenly vocals add to the magic. This ambitious music could equally be categorised as electro, prog rock or psychedelia, but whatever you call it, it is very good indeed. JW
Release date: 7 Feb
Press contact: Gooom IH [CP, RP, NP] Anglo [CR, RR, NR]

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DOHERTY TO BE RELEASED TODAY, PROBABLY
Well, we managed to get down to story four with out mentioning him. Here’s your Daily Doherty Digest. The former Libertine spent another night in jail last night after his £150,000 bail money again did not materialize. Word is he will be released today - though with all those bail conditions reported on yesterday (10pm - 7am curfew, no passport, daily reporting to police station). He will return to court on 21 Feb to face those burglary and blackmail charges which he continues to deny. Consider yourself updated.

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KELLY OSBOURNE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF REHAB
Talking of unhinged pop stars, which we do sometimes, Kelly Osbourne has said she would probably be dead by now if she hadn’t checked into rehab. Kelly: "I did so many different types of pills that the stuff in them was rotting my liver and stomach. I'd be throwing up blood in between smoking, drinking and taking whatever I could get my hands on."

Speaking to Heat magazine, Ms Osbourne also says that while her mother had that very public run in with Simon Cowell, she personally dislikes Louis Walsh more: "Louis said he hated me and he thought I sucked. Two years later I was in the same room as him and he didn't even have the balls to introduce himself to me. If you're going to be on a show where you slate people, at least have the guts to say "hello" to someone you slagged off."

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MORE DELAYS IN JACKO CASE
And talking of pop stars in court, which we do an awful lot, the Jacko trial is still on hold and is now likely to be delayed into next week following the news that the sister of Jackson’s key lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, has died. The jury selection process that kicked off the trial is now expected to resume on 14 Feb.

Although the case is essentially on hold, Judge Rodney Melville did yesterday consider the request by the Associated Press that copies of the questionnaires filled out by the jury as part of their selection process should be made public. The media organisation said the information should be released so that the selection process is seen to be accountable to the wider public. Despite protests from Jacko’s defense to that request, Melville said that he would read through the questionnaires of jury members, black out any confidential information, and then release them to the media.

The media, meanwhile, is busy concerning itself with the rumours on which celebs might be called as witnesses in the trial. Judge Rodney Melville doesn’t seem to convinced by claims made by former ITV journalist Martin Bashir that he should not have to give a testimony on the grounds that his contact with Jackson was in his professional capacity as a journalist (an excuse that is backed up to a certain extend by Californian law). But Bashir is unlikely to be the most famous witness to take the stand - rumours has it former child stars (and friends of Jackson) Macaulay Culkin and Emmanuel Lewis, and Jacko’s ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley, may all be called as witnesses.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Doves - Some Cities (EMI/Heavenly)
How do you follow up one of the greatest albums of all time? For Doves, without difficulty, based on this evidence. Making a mockery of 'difficult’, er, third album syndrome, 'Some Cities’ doesn’t try to outdo 'The Last Broadcast’ by being even more epic and breathtaking in scope; instead it’s a slightly more pared-down affair, with no songs much over five minutes and a grimier feel to the sound. The opening drums and barbed guitar lines of the title track could’ve come straight off the Velvet Underground’s first album, as could the pummelling drums and lovely glock of 'Snowden’, although this song is one rare instance of the album quite literally escaping to the country; its expansive windswept guitar riffs reflecting the mountain whose shadow the song was recorded in. The relentless Northern Soul joyride of 'Black And White Town’ works even better in the context of the album; exemplifying that this music is explicitly very much urban (purely geographically), informed by both the frantic pulse of the city and its endless and abrasive concrete and metal. Doves, remember, are from Manchester: birthplace of the industrial revolution. Elsewhere there are plenty of undisguised traces of TLB’s DNA. The jaunty 'Walk In Fire’ echoes 'There Goes The Fear’ whilst the filmic strings of 'The Storm’ evoke how 'Friday’s Dust’ might’ve sounded if it was recorded outside, whilst braving inclement weather. And whilst 'Almost Forgot Myself’, with its metronomic beat, initially seems like a slower version of 'Pounding’, this feeling is soon dispelled by the surprising Shadows-like surf guitars of the chorus: it’s as if Manchester had a beach and they built tower blocks on it in the 50s. 'Some Cities’ reaffirms Doves’ status as Britain’s best current guitar act. Existing fans will love it; if you’re not one, don’t be left out any longer. MS
Release date: 21 Feb
Press contact: EMI IH [all]

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EMBRACE AND SNOW PATROL ON IOW BILL
Festival news, and Snow Patrol and Embrace have joined the line up for this year’s Isle Of Wight music festival which takes place on, erm, the Isle of Wight from 10 - 12 Jun. As previously reported, REM will headline.

Confirming their involvement Embrace frontman Danny McNamara told reporters: "We're on the Sunday night - REM are headlining and then Snow Patrol and then us. I love both of those bands so it should be a good night."

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SCISSOR SISTERS HEADLINE V FEST
This year’s V Festival will be headlined by the wonderful Scissor Sisters - they will play the Staffordshire leg of the festival on 20 Aug and at the Chelmsofrd bit on 21 Aug. Lovely.

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OASIS ANNOUNCE US DATES
More live news, and Oasis have added two extra dates to their UK tour and announced details of five North American dates. The extra UK gigs both take place at the Newcastle Metro Radio Arena - on 12 and 13 Jul. US dates, supported by Jet, as follows:

17 Jun: Toronto-Molson Amphitheatre
18 Jun: Detroit Meadow Brook Amphitheatre
20 Jun: Chicago-UIC Pavilion
22 Jun: NYC Madison Square Garden
25 Jun: Philadelphia- Festival Pier @ Penn’s Landing

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OLYMPUS GRAB MOST ATTENTION IN SUPERBOWL DIGITAL MUSIC ADS
In a survey of “which ads people were talking about the day after the Superbowl” (there really is a company in America that surveys just that), it seems the launch by camera company Olympus of their new MP3-player-come-digital-camera grabbed most attention among the digital music players who invested heavily in mid-Superbowl ad campaigns. The ads advertising the 'M:Robe hybrid MP3 player’ got a 7.27 rating - which means nothing to me, but apparently it’s quite good.

Apple got a 6.01 rating for its Superbowl co-promotion with Pepsi while Napster, who made much of their new Napster-to-go service through a “do the math” campaign (something about how much it would cost to get the entire Napster catalogue on your MP3 player with the iTunes pay-per-track model) scored only 4.37.

That said, Napster say their Superbowl weekend campaign led to a rush of early subscriptions for the new portable service, with the free MP3 players they had for the first 1000 new subscribers being snapped up more or less straight away. Napster critics point out the download company hasn’t, however, been forthcoming with any exact number of new subscribers, though others note Apple likewise haven’t revealed details of any Superbowl-boosted subscriber increases.

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TELEGRAPH JOURNALISTS TO VOTE ON STRIKE ACTION OVER JOB CUTS
Journalists over at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph are due to vote on whether to proceed with industrial action against plans by the papers’ new owners to axe 90 editorial jobs. The National Union of Journalists confirmed they would proceed with the vote yesterday after the deadline the union set for management to reconsider their plans passed. The vote is likely to take a week to organise, and any actual action, which might include a full strike, would most likely take place in a month’s time.

Meanwhile union / management talks continue.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Fu Manchu - Start The Machine (DRT Entertainment)
It’s a wonder how after ten albums and fourteen years, Fu Manchu can still manifest this much inspiration and aggression. It’s only a wonder because few others are as good after so much time. How many of today’s acts will still be providing the goods in ten years time? The Foo Fighters (to pick another Fu) may have been good for a while, but it remains to be seen whether they can last the distance or not. This is how rock records should be - an 80/20 ratio of hard rocking riff-led tracks to floating, dulcet acoustic numbers. The latter aren’t filler here, they are just as loaded with heart and soul and musicality. And suddenly it doesn’t seem such a surprise that these guys have been around for so long. JG
Release date: 1 Feb
Press contact: Pure Press [all]

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INSTORES UPDATE
Some free in store gigs for those of you in the North. Warp’s Maximo Park will be playing HMV Newcastle on 21 Feb at 5pm, while the Kaiser Chiefs will play free shows in both the Sheffield and Leeds branches of HMV on 21 Feb - press info from Coalition.

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SHARON OSBOURNE: THEY JUST DIDN’T GET IT
Back to the Osbournes, and Sharon has told reporters she reckons her US chat show was axed because the American audience didn’t get her British sense of humour. Despite previously saying she had finished the show to spend more time with her family and a then recuperating Ozzy, she has now given a different reason for the end of the show.

"They said I was a loose cannon. The last straw was when there was this actor from New Zealand coming on the show... New Zealand is a huge, huge country, with about four people that live there and about 10 billion sheep. So there's this thing in England that we say about people from New Zealand are sheep-shaggers. So (I had to speak to) this young gentleman, who I didn't really know much about and the interview that they gave me was boring... "So I cut right to the chase and I said, 'Tell me. Are you a sheep-shagger?' And he said, 'Excuse me?' And I said, 'You know, do you have sex with sheep?' "His mouth dropped and he didn't know what to say. After that, they basically told me to pack up and go home."

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COWELL: USHER’S BETTER THAN JUSTIN
Sharon’s good mate Simon Cowell has given his take on the old Usher / Justin debate (old, in that people kinda stopped comparing Usher and Justin about a year ago). Cowell told reporters: "If I had to have one of the two, I would take Usher any day. The interesting thing about Justin is, he is a white boy who has tried hard to make himself black over the years. So you get the impression sometimes that he wants to be something he's not."

However, before Usher gets all complacent, Cowell continued by dissing those who say Usher is the “new Michael Jackson”. Cowell: "I don't think he's as good as Michael Jackson at his peak, because you're not going to be listening to the Usher records in 10 years in the same way we listen to Thriller and Billie Jean, because they still sound amazing. But he's at the top of his game at the moment."

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BUNTON’S US AMBITIONS DASHED
From the top of the game, to the bottom. Emma Bunton’s hopes to break America as a solo artist have been dashed a little after her album 'Free Me’ failed to reach even the lower bit of the Billboard Top 200. Word is the album, originally released here in 2003, only sold 5380 copies in the whole of America.

However, a source told the Mirror: "It often takes a long time to gain recognition in the States and Emma's determined to see it through. But there's no denying she faces an uphill battle."

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QUICK CORRECTION
Oh yes, well done to the more observant readers who noticed that Hondo Maclean were referred to as Mondo Maclean in the title line on the review of their new album in a recent CMU Daily. In our defence, the 'M’ key is very close to the 'H’ key on the key board. In my defence, it was Gill’s fault.

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