CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 1st March

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Jacko update
- Neptunes man to collaborate with Cullum
- Extra U2 date
- Coldplay gigs
- Album Review: Jazztronik - Samurai
- Prodigy added to V bill
- New Order added to T bill
- Clickmusic showcase Rock Idol finalists
- Snow Patrol working on new album
- SonyBMG plan to expand copy protection
- Moves afoot to increase the download price point
- New date set for merged CD and download sales chart
- Album Review: The Arcade Fire - Funeral
- Teenage Kicks limited edition re-release
- Morrissey live album
- Pink Grease single and tour
- Andy Williams tour
- Teenage Fanclub gigs
- Single Review: Pnau - We Love The Fresh Kills
- Record number of UK companies to go to SxSW
- AIM announce details of finance fair

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JACKO UPDATE
Just think of us as your daily Jacko catch up service. Yes, things got going proper in the Jacko child abuse case yesterday as lawyers for both the defence and prosecution presented their opening statements to the court in Santa Maria, California.

First things first, Judge Rodney S. Melville confirmed the accuser in the new case was one Gavin Arvizo, adding that it was OK for the media to report that fact. Strangely, despite the fact the media have been calling for a relaxation of the strict media regulations surrounding the case for months, and even though it was widely reported that Arvizo was most likely the accuser when the new allegations first surfaced in late 2003, many media outlets chose not to name Arvizo, though presumably they won't be able to keep that up for the full six months the trial is expected to run. Jackson, of course, first met Arvizo when he was suffering from cancer as part of a programme that gives young cancer patients the opportunity to meet their heroes.

Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon, a long term adversary of Jackson, spoke for the prosecution. He alleged a number of ways in which Jacko had behaved inappropriately with Arvizo - giving him alcoholic drinks, discussing masturbation, surfing porn websites together. These events, Sneddon argued, were designed to attack the young teenagers 'moral antenna', providing Jackson the opportunity to subsequently abuse the boy. "It was a calculated attempt to desensitise and change his moral antenna and to add the trust and attention of an adult voice to convince him that what was being done was alright, and it worked. The private world of Michael Jackson is quite different from what he reveals in the Martin Bashir video and instead of 'cookies and milk' you can substitute 'wine, vodka and bourbon'". This behaviour, the prosecution argue, was the forerunner for something more sinister - Arvizo's younger brother, it is alleged, twice stumbled into Jacko's secret bedroom to see the singer abusing Gavin. More details on those particular allegations are sure to be presented in the coming weeks, with the prosecution saying Arvizo himself will take to the witness stand to describe his experiences with Jackson.

In a bid to discredit a video that shows the Arvizo family saying that Jacko had never acted inappropriately around the two young brothers, the prosecution were keen to stress the threats that had been made against the family by Jacko's people. The prosecution claim the family were forced to make the video against their wishes as Jackson panicked after his reputation fell to pieces after the screening of Martin Bashir's controversial Jacko documentary. As the family became less and less compliant with the Jackson clan's demands the threats to their safety increased, it is alleged.

Speaking for the defence, Jacko's lawyer Thomas Mesereau said the charges were fake, silly and "they never happened", adding that Jackson's Neverland ranch "is not a lure for molestation, a magnet for crime - we will prove that in this case". As expected, Mesereau set out the argument that Arvizo's mother is a con-artist who has used her son's former illness and past sexual abuse allegations to make money. Mesereau: "There is a pattern by [the mother] and her children to ensnare people for money. The best known celebrity and the most vulnerable celebrity became the mark". As an aside he also accused Martin Bashir, whose documentary is likely to be a regular feature in this case, of also profiting by attacking the vulnerable Jackson.
The case, as they say, continues.

Meanwhile, the Rev Jesse Jackson has said the jury who will make the final judgement on this case is "flawed" because it doesn't include any black people. In a 'letter to the American people', Jackson wrote: "It is simply inconceivable that, in a high profile and highly sensitive case like this, that African Americans would be omitted from the jury. What could the lawyers have been thinking? If nothing else, it presents the appearance of unfairness".

He continues: "Michael Jackson, like every other American, deserves his day in court, and a fair and even playing field. But the lack of inclusion of even one African American on the jury casts a cloud of reasonable doubt on the fundamental promise and purpose of the courts: to provide a fair trial by a jury of one's peers. Imagine another scenario: what if a Caucasian was on trial and accused of molesting Black children, and faced a jury composed of seven African Americans, four Hispanics, one Asian and omitted Whites? Would that not appear unfair and imbalanced?"

Jackson also commented on the media circus that surrounds the case: "From the beginning, this case has suffered from a barrage of high profile accusations, a constant flow of leaks, and the politicisation of the process by the prosecution. These factors, and now the flawed jury selection process, will continue to raise questions about whether this case is being conducted in a fair and unbiased manner".

Ah well, more fair and unbiased reporting on the Jacko trial in tomorrow's CMU Daily. Can't wait.

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NEPTUNES MAN TO COLLABORATE WITH CULLUM
Pharrell Williams is obviously in need of a credibility boost, so he's hoping to gain a bit of cool by being seen with, erm, Jamie Cullum. Yep, the Neptunes man is set to work with Cullum on his new album after being impressed with the easy listening troll's version of his hit 'Frontin'. Williams isn't the only interesting choice of collaborator for Cullum's next album - Gorillaz/ Handsome Boy Modeling School man Dan The Automator is also reportedly going to work on some tracks.

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EXTRA U2 DATE
Loads of live news for ya. First up, U2 have added a second Manchester date on their forthcoming UK tour. They will play the City Of Manchester Stadium on 15 Jun in addition to the existing 14 Jun date. So now you know.

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COLDPLAY GIGS
Next up, Coldplay have confirmed five UK dates for this summer. According to Xfm they will play the following:

27 & 28 Jun: Crystal Palace Athletics Stadium
1 Jul: Bellahouston Park, Glasgow
4 & 5 Jul: Reebok Stadium, Bolton

Tickets go on sale for all dates this Saturday.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Jazztronik - Samurai (Pantone Music)
One of Tokyo's finest nu-jazz keyboardists hits us with a stormer of an LP. Utilizing his classical training to good effect, Jazztronik (real name Ryota Nozaki) combines classical influences with dance rhythms to great effect. From the rather abstract chants of 'Muddy Muddy' to the superb keys-over-a-house-montage of the title track, the word 'stunning' comes to mind on more than one occasion. Elsewhere 'Phoenix', slightly more housey but with elements of a Detroit sound, is exquisite. 'Things We Like' has a rap / urban thing going on, 'Nana' brings in a bit of Braziliance, 'Froro' has an afrobeat aspect to it while 'Colour of Days' is pure jazz (and something Gilles Peterson will delight in, and crafted - aloha). 'Piano' is a good crossover track, something of a hip hop instrumental with a breaksy edge, while last track 'Dance With Me'is a dancefloor orientated number that MaW would be proud off. Needless to say, it's a great little album; Nozaki is one to keep an eye on, a new Louis Vega from Japan. Any backers here? PV
Release date: 4 April
Press contact: Mukatsuku PR

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PRODIGY ADDED TO V BILL
More gig dates in a minute, but over to the festivals desk now and news that the Prodigy will headline the second stage at this year's V Festival. They will play the festival's Weston Park site on 20 Aug and at the Hylands Park site on 21 Aug, alternating with the Chemical Brothers.

Commenting on the latest addition, V Fest director Bob Angus told reporters: "With the Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers now confirmed to headline the second stage, we are headed for a really stellar line-up. We pride ourselves on putting on an unbeatable live music experience and V Festival 2005 will not disappoint."

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NEW ORDER ADDED TO T BILL
In Scotland, meanwhile, New Order have been added to the bill of the already sold out T In The Park. They join an already packed bill featuring fellow headliners Green Day and Foo Fighters, plus The Killers, Prodigy, Audioslave, Razorlight, Biffy Clyro, Embrace, Ian Brown, Kasabian, Keane, The Streets, Beautiful South and The Coral.

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CLICKMUSIC SHOWCASE ROCK IDOL FINALISTS
Clickmusic.com will be providing some backstage coverage to upcoming finals of Rock Idols, which is a national student battle of the bands type thing (not to be confused with the National Student Music Awards, though similar!).

Following a string of heats around the country seven finalists will bid for the overall Rock Idol prize at the final at ULU on 6 Mar. If you're interested to know what the final seven are like, then you can stream tracks from each of them at http://www.clickmusic.com. You can also watch interviews with each of the finalist via Click's video-on-demand bit Click TV.

Rock Idol organiser Jonathan Stoddern explains: "This is great exposure for bands from all over the UK, who have fought hard through ten qualifying heats. There is so much exciting talent among the finalists. This will give them the recognition they rightly deserve."

As the finals for this year's awards approach organisers are already inviting bands to submit demos for consideration for next year's competition. More details at http://rock-idols.co.uk or http://clickmusic.com.

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SNOW PATROL WORKING ON NEW ALBUM
Snow Patrol have begun work on the follow up to 'Final Straw', now in the tricky position of having to write an album which they know will be very much under the spotlight when it is released later this year. A spokesman for Polydor told Billboard: "We hope to have a new record later this year, but it'll be ready when it's ready. We're not putting any pressure on the guys to deliver it. They've got a few tunes in the pipeline and they're pretty confident about them." The band hope to get the album together during an eight week writing and recording stint in Dingle, South West Ireland.

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SONYBMG PLAN TO EXPAND COPY PROTECTION
Does anyone else find that the copy-protected promo CDs that come from EMI knacker your computer, go all crazy when you try to open Microsoft Office and frequently crash Windows when you eject them? Ah well, at least they give the CMU IT team something to do - they love nothing more than hacking copy protected CDs, not because they want to rip the tracks, but just because they like hacking things. Anyway - all this talk of copy protected disks because SonyBMG has confirmed it will be adding such technology to some major forthcoming releases, despite Sony saying last year that they were going to stop using copy-protection because most such systems were flawed.

Copy-protection technology prevents consumers from ripping copies of tracks off CDs onto their PCs of course. The use of such technology has been controversial for two reasons. Firstly, many of the early types of copy-protection technology interfered with the way CDs played, meaning they did not play at all on certain CD player systems. Secondly, others argue that music fans should be able to make duplicate copies of CDs for their own personal use once they have bought the full album. Those objections came under the spotlight last year when Belgium-based consumer group Test-Achats, albeit unsuccessfully, sued the record labels over their use of copy-protection technology, arguing they were violating consumer rights.

Nevertheless, SonyBMG will extend the use of new copy-protection technologies following its seemingly successful implementation on the recent Velvet Revolver release. New albums from The Chieftains, Kasabian, and Susie Suh will now all feature such technology - either SunnComm's MediaMax or First4Internet's XCP - and if there are no major reported problems after those releases the technology is likely to be used a wider range of SonyBMG releases.

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MOVES AFOOT TO INCREASE THE DOWNLOAD PRICE POINT
While Apple are under pressure from consumer rights groups to reduce the price of downloads on the UK version of iTunes (to bring them in line with the prices on the French and German versions), others are mounting a bid to get them to increase prices. According to the Financial Times, EMI and Warner Music are both pushing the legitimate download platforms to consider increasing the price of downloads across the board.

Many inside labels fear that if mainstream download retailers like Walmart in the US and Woolworths in the UK initiate a price war in the digital music space, that will eventually kick back on the record labels who will be pressured into reducing their per-track revenue. Meanwhile others still resent the fact that Apple essentially set the rate record labels can expect to earn from download sales when they first launched iTunes. Others also point out that price points in the mobile music space - for both ring tones and mobile downloads - are higher. Some execs wonder how long the market can sustain such price anomalies.

However Apple, in particular, have always resisted attempts to raise the price point on their download sales. Last year the download platform wouldn't even alter its one-price-fits-all policy for the charity single 'Do They Know Its Christmas', which was retailing elsewhere for £1.49 (GBP) rather than iTunes' UK price of 79p per track.

But moves to increase download prices don't even have unanimous support across the music industry. Universal Music and SonyBMG are both said to be wary of price increases, fearing that altering prices now could negatively impact on legitimate download sales just as they are properly taking off.

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NEW DATE SET FOR MERGED CD AND DOWNLOAD SALES CHART
Talking of downloads and stuff, the new date for the merging of download sales data into the UK singles chart is 17 Apr. As previously reported, that date has been pushed back from 20 Mar because the BPI is concerned many independent labels are yet to get their tracks sold on a sufficient number of download platforms to ensure they have the same access to music consumers as the majors.

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Arcade Fire - Funeral (Rough Trade)
I heard a lot of great things about this album before I listened to it: certainly it had ecstatic reviews when it was released in the US last year. Perhaps inevitably, on first listen it was a bit disappointing, but many of the best records are an acquired taste and this proves to be the case with The Arcade Fire. It's a record which brings more pleasure with each play. The Montreal band have made an emotional and heartfelt album. Layer upon layer of instrumentation is built up to create a rich, orchestral sound. There's a great range of instruments from the delicate tinkle of the xylophone to fast, choppy guitars. The swelling violins on 'Crown of Love' even create a waltz like effect. Some songs build up to a traditional crescendo but there are frequent changes of pace to keep things interesting. The album's title refers to recent deaths in the families of band members but the mood is uplifting rather than sombre, and lyrically there are hints of magic realism. The words to 'Tunnels' run; "And if my parents are crying I'll dig a tunnel from my window to yours. You climb out of the chimney and meet me in the middle." 'Laika' is about a brother who was bit by a vampire and has his tears collected in a cup, while in 'Power Cut' the parents' eyes are covered in ice. The vocals of Win Butler are affecting and his wife/band member Regine Chassagne also contributes her sweet girlish voice to several tracks. This album was clearly a cathartic experience for the band to make and it's a rewarding, magical record for the listener. JW
Release date: 28 Feb
Press contact: Cool Delta

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TEENAGE KICKS LIMITED EDITION RE-RELEASE
Sanctuary Records are releasing a new compilation on 4 Apr celebrating the glory days of punk and new wave. Called 'Teenage Kicks' it features more or less everyone you'd expect to see on there - The Jam, The Clash, The Buzzcocks, The Specials, The Undertones, Blondie, Joy Division and Madness to name a few.

To promote it Sanctuary will re-release the four track EP which first brought the title track, 'Teenage Kicks', and The Undertones to wider attention back in 1978 (the EP which introduced one John Peel to the band - and the rest, as they say, is history). The EP features four tracks - Teenage Kicks, Smarter Than U, True Confessions and Emergency Cases. The EP will be only be available in 7" vinyl, and only 1000 will be pressed, so they should be quite collectable.

Press info from Noble PR.

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MORRISSEY LIVE ALBUM
Talking of releases from the Sanctuary stable, a live Morrissey album will be released, also on 4 Apr. A recording of the Earls Court date of his UK tour last year it features previously unperformed b-sides plus solo and Smiths hits. According to NME the full tracklisting runs thus: 'How Soon Is Now', 'First Of The Gang To Die', 'November Spawned A Monster', 'Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice', 'Bigmouth Strikes Again', 'I Like You', 'Redando Beach', 'Let Me Kiss You', 'Munich Air Disaster', 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out', 'The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get', 'Friday Mourning', 'I Have Forgiven Jesus', 'The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores', 'Shoplifters Of The World Unite', 'Irish Blood, English Heart', 'You Know I Couldn't Last' and 'Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me'.

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PINK GREASE SINGLE AND TOUR
When you are releasing a new single called 'Peaches' one would assume at the top of your remix wish list would be, erm, Peaches. Well, that bit of marketing logic has worked out for Pink Grease - the single release of their excellent new single of that name does in deed feature a remix courtesy of Peaches. Hurrah. The single, which also features a very fine remix from Riton, is out on 28 Mar.

While were on Pink Grease, let's get back into the live music news domain, because here are the band's upcoming gig dates:

4 Mar: London, Club Nme: Koko, 1a Camden High Street, NW1
24 Mar: Nottingham, Club Nme: Stealth,
25 Mar: Leeds, The Cockpit
26 Mar: Stoke, Club Nme: Underground
28 Mar: Cardiff, Barfly
29 Mar: Birmingham, The Academy
30 Mar: Liverpool, The Academy
1 Apr: Newcastle, Cluny
2 Apr: Glasgow, G2
4 Apr: Manchester, Club Nme: Bierkeller
6 Apr: Wolverhampton, Little Civic
7 Apr: Brighton
9 Apr: Cambridge, Anglia University

Press info from Pomona or Mute IH.

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ANDY WILLIAMS TOUR
More tour news, and Mr. Andy Williams is going to be touring the UK this Jun - hurrah.

Dates as follows, press info from Noble PR.

19 Jun: Southend Cliffs Pavilion
20 Jun: Birmingham Symphony Hall
21 Jun: Glasgow Clyde Auditorium
22 Jun: Newcastle City Hall
24 Jun: Manchester Bridgewater Hall
25 Jun: Brighton Centre
26 Jun: Cardiff International Arena
27 Jun: Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
28 Jun: Liverpool Big Top Arena
29 Jun: Ipswich Regent
30 Jun: London Royal Albert Hall

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TEENAGE FANCLUB GIGS
Last bit of live news, and Teenage Fanclub will mark the release of their new album 'Man-Made' with two special shows in Glasgow and London later this month. They will play the London Scala on 29 Mar and the Mitchell Theatre in Glasgow on 31 Mar - press info from Triad.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Pnau - We Love The Fresh Kills (Underwater)
Well Pnau, the antipodean electro-maniacs are at it again! Following the previous electronic fiend of a track 'Again', the men, also known as Nick Littlemore and Peter Mayes, unleash 'We Love The Fresh Kills'. The great name is apparently an ode to Peter's band, The Fresh Kills, who are "Sydney's most fucked-up band"(in case you didn't know) and the track stays true by being pretty fucked-up itself - good to stay with the theme I guess. Having said that, this little beauty is that little bit lighter than the techno we heard with 'Again' and probably more palatable for many, though this is still not one for the kids! After the long bleepy intro gently coaxes you in, an incredibly intoxicating breaks pattern and deep, head-bopping bass-line appears, that then makes no hesitation in cheekily dragging you into the naughty end of the track; chock-a-block with dirty, electro thrills. A noisy break pauses the acidic, synth-heavy action briefly, before it all kicks back in with a wallop, making this excellent production a shady club beast - one that I would have a bloody good bop to at my local discoth'que! I say! OG
Release date: 21 Mar
Press contact: Darling

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RECORD NUMBER OF UK COMPANIES TO GO TO SXSW
A record number of UK companies are receiving support to attend this year's South By South West festival in Austin, Texas thanks to an initiative from the Association Of Independent Music, backed by UK Trade & Investment, a government organisation that provides support services for UK companies trading overseas.

Labels and music companies receiving some financial assistance in their promotion at the convention include Bella Union, Cherry Red, Cooking Vinyl, Drowned in Sound, Fat Fox, Mercenary PR, Moshi Moshi Records, Muirhead Management, No Half Measures, Record of the Day, Sincere Management, Smekkleysa/Bad Taste SM, The Band Agency, The Sound Foundation, Truck Records, UZ Events and Wichita.

All in all no less than 56 UK companies will be on show at the convention this year, with bands like American Music Club, Best Fwends, Bikini Atoll, Black Moses, Blanche, Bloc Party, Heavy Deviance, Freedom Republic, Hobotalk, Hot Chip, Jawbone, Jetscreamer, Khus, Mary Lou Lord, Mandarin, Midlake, Anna Neale, Nizlopi, SKE, The Arlenes, The Cribs, The Czars, The Dears, Martha Wainright and Willard Grant Conspiracy among those appearing in showcases.

Commenting on the funding programme, Phil Patterson of UK Trade & Investment told CMU: "We are very pleased to continue our support for the British delegation at South by South West for the third year running and particularly pleased to be supporting directly 56 companies through our International Business Scheme, attending via the AIM trade mission to the event. We are also delighted to be involved in the largest ever programme of British events taking place in Austin, to highlight the continued strength and depth of British music, artists and composers available to the world!"

AIM boss Alison Wenham added: "With SxSW establishing itself as the most important event in the international A&R calendar, it's increasingly important that promising new acts have the opportunity to attend. And these grants are helping more British companies to showcase their acts at SxSW each year."

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AIM ANNOUNCE DETAILS OF FINANCE FAIR
Talking of AIM, the industry organisation will be staging its annual Finance Fair on 9 Mar, bringing the UK music industry together with finance types who are interested in the music business. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? As well as bringing music and money people together the event will also feature a number of workshops and seminars on business and finance type topics.

On that event AIM's Alison Wenham told us: "Against a backdrop of culture gaps between the music business and the city, complexity in music contracts and difficulties in valuing intangibles, this event will help foster valuable relationships between UK music companies and the financiers. With UK record sales rising for the second year running, the live industry flourishing and some very substantial funds being raised for music acquisitions, its timing is particularly auspicious."

Admission to the event is free for AIM members, £25 for members of other trade bodies, and £30 for everyone else. It all takes place at ULU from 2 - 6pm.

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