CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 26th January
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- SonyBMG launch UK frontline divisions
- Live Nation to manage Wembley arena
- Napster comment on job losses
- Rapper Cassidy jailed for manslaughter
- Village People policeman fails to show for court hearing
- Doherty may face police action
- West criticised for Christly antics
- Domino make more CDs shock
- Notting Hill sign publishing deal with Fightstar
- Universal enter into global partnership with Concord
- Weezer record Velvet Underground track
- Album review: The Most Terrifying Thing - Victoriana
- Embrace album and tour
- Foo Fighters to tour acoustic stuff
- Humanzi announce tour
- Duels tour. That's all really.
- Wolfmother album and tour
- Soledad album, tour
- Elbow join Manchester gig
- Franz confirmed for Roskilde
- Tunetribe enter into partnership to expand across Europe
- Apples to get their own zone in Tesco
- Fiddy to appear in Pink video?
- J-Lo pregnancy likely/unlikely*
- Charlotte says gobby is good
- McCartney ordered to get rid of log cabin
- Maximo Park shunned by Arctic Army


I wish I could explain my unfaltering love for Delays, but I can't. I know others who share the love, and I know others still who just can't see it. But I can't tell you why 'Long Time Coming' remains one of my very favourite singles of all time, why I became so excited when debut album 'Faded Seaside Glamour' was initially released back in 2004, and why I am now so excited about the imminent arrival of new long player 'You See Colours' (out on Rough Trade on 6 Mar) and their upcoming gig at Ministry Of Sound's Crossover night tomorrow night. Perhaps it's because they are masters of one of my favourite sub-genres - what I like to call 'indie - kids - with - computers'. Perhaps it's because they make well produced indie pop that is emotional, moving and happy all at the same time. Perhaps it's because I first stumbled across their uplifting sound during a period when indie was going through one of its 'music to slit your wrists by' stages. But I think it's more than that. I just can't tell you why. I'm not sure my chat with the band's Aaron Gilbert last week provided any answers either, but it did fill me in on where the band is coming from and going to, and when a band is this good, you owe it to yourself to be in the know.

Check the interview:


SonyBMG's UK division has confirmed that the group will be organised around two 'frontline music divisions' as of the end of the month. The move completes the restructuring that took place at the label after the merger of Sony and BMG, and uses one of the main 'label brands' from each of the former music companies - Sony brand 'Columbia' and BMG brand 'RCA'. The other SonyBMG labels, including US labels like Epic, Jive and J Records, and UK labels Cheeky, Deltasonic, Modest, Phonogenic and Syco Music, will operate as imprints of the main two divisions.

It's not entirely clear how the announcement will affect the workforce at SonyBMG's London HQ. Historically both Sony Music and BMG in the UK split their operations around two labels (Columbia and Epic at Sony, Arista and RCA at BMG), but by the time of the merger both majors ran integrated operations where label distinctions were less relevant. Since the merger SonyBMG seem to have been running similarly integrated operations, with staff grouped around informal genre groups.

Confirming the new divisions, SonyBMG Music UK CEO Rob Stringer told reporters: "In less than a year we have successfully merged two large UK companies. This has been greatly the result of a huge internal effort by our staff. We now want to give our company and its phenomenal roster a greater external identity through two distinct label groups. We want to become the definitive music entertainment company, therefore we are expanding our creative sources in many areas and the label structuring is part of this process. Over the coming months there will be more creatively based ventures announced as we grow our business"

The major has recruited Craig Logan, former Bros bass player (yes, that Craig Logan) and more recently the manager for the likes of Tina Turner, Sade, Joe Cocker and Pink, to the post of MD of the RCA Label Group. Mike Smith, formerly a senior A&R player at both EMI's record and publishing companies, will be MD of the Columbia Label Group.

Confirming those appointments, Ged Doherty, President of the SonyBMG UK Music Division, told reporters: "I'm excited about reactivating two of the most successful music brands in history with Columbia and RCA, and delighted about the calibre of people we've brought in to lead them."


Live Nation, the spin off live entertainment company of the Clear Channel group, has announced a fifteen year agreement to manage and promote London's Wembley Arena.

The deal was done through Hamsard 2786, a joint venture company owned by Live Nation and Gaiety Investments Limited, and will bring the running of the Wembley venue into the same group who own and/or manage London venues The Astoria, The Mean Fiddler, Apollo Hammersmith and The Forum, and Cardiff's International Arena and Sheffield's Hallam FM Arena. The seventy year old venue in North West London has recently undergone a £50 million refurbishment, which it owners, Quintain Estates, say has restored the venue to "the pinnacle of international touring".

Confirming the deal, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino told CMU: "Wembley Arena is one of the great icons of live entertainment. We're thrilled to add Wembley Arena to our roster of globally operated venues and know that we can continue to keep the brand of this magnificently restored venue in the highest light."


Following those reports yesterday that Napster had laid off ten percent of its workforce, the download company has been playing down the downsize. According to Digital Music News, they confirmed there had been "approximately ten middle management redundancies worldwide", which, with a global workforce of 153, is not quite 10%. The company's spokesman said that "rumors of major or significant layoffs were misleading and greatly exaggerated", adding that the job losses had been part of a restructure necessary for the planned consolidation of the existing Napster subscription service with a planned 'music destination' website, and that the company expected its headcount to rise back above 153 in the next year. The company's CEO Chris Gorog is expected to provide more insight into both the download platform's financial performance and what exactly that music destination site is all about when he makes a report to investment types on 8 Feb.


US rapper Cassidy, real name Barry Reese, has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault over an incident which took place in the Spring of last year.

One Desmond Hawkins was killed in an alleyway behind Reese's home in Philadelphia on 15 Apr 2005 with guns which were apparently being stored at the rapper's home. The prosecution explained that that Reese had kept arms and ammunition at the home he shared with his girlfriend and two year old son in expectation of a shootout, but that, in fact, Desmond Hawkins had gone to Reese's home to act as a peacemaker and he was shot by mistake.

Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan told Reese that he was grossly negligent for supplying the guns that killed Hawkins, adding "you could be a leader in the community. All those guns - that's why Desmond is gone now, because of all those guns."

Cassidy, whose debut album 'Split Personality' went to number 2 in the US, was sentenced to eleven and a half to twenty three months in prison, although he has already served part of that time, being in custody since June. He told the court: "It's a tragic situation for me too. I didn't set up for this to happen. Desmond Hawkins was my friend, one of my closest friends."


Victor Willis - he was the original policeman in the Village People by the way - has skipped a court hearing where he was due to be sentenced on drug and gun charges.

As previously reported, Willis was arrested last July after police in California found a 45 calibre handgun as well as rock cocaine and drug paraphernalia when they stopped him in his car. He had been expected to surrender to the authorities on Tuesday after four months dodging prosecutors, but failed to show for the scheduled hearing.

It was the second time he'd not shown up at such a hearing, and officials say that he is now facing three years in prison - the sentence for the drugs and arms charges he had pleaded guilty to originally would have only led to a maximum of 16 months in jail.


I wonder what it costs to insure yourself against damage incurred whilst in the same room as Pete Doherty? Probably a lot less than it costs to actually be Pete Doherty right now, who may be on the receiving end of more police action, if one fan has his way.

Billy Brooks, 17, who was at that Babyshambles gig in Whitechapel last week, has apparently told The Sun that he is considering going to the police over injuries he received whilst at the concert, during which Doherty got into a contretemps with a member of the audience.

As far as I can tell, Brooks isn't the fan who inspired the scrap, but just so happened to get in the way when Doherty threw that mic stand as he was being dragged away by bouncers, and as a result ended up with cuts on his face and two black eyes. He allegedly told the tabloid: "Doherty took the mic off and pelted the stand on me. It was like a javelin smashed in your face. He was out of order."


What a shocker. Some American types are getting a bit worked up over an image of Kanye West on the cover of the new issue of Rolling Stone, in which the hip-hopper poses as Jesus Christ, complete with crown of thorns and trickling blood.

William Donohue of the Catholic League, however, seemed to blame the photographer, and not West, who he depicts as an amoral idiot. "This kind of thing has become commonplace. It's one thing to rip off Catholic iconography. It's quite another to exploit a poor soul like Kanye West. Anyone who is this morally and mentally challenged deserves our sympathy not our derision."

A representative for the magazine said, "Rolling Stone covers have always been an outlet for artistic expression; we certainly do not intend to offend religious groups, or anyone else for that matter."

In West's interview in the magazine, the rapper admitted to an addiction to porn, due to a formative experience with one of his father's Playboys, saying that he first came across the girly mag when he was five. "Right then," he laughed. "it was like, 'Houston, we have a problem.'" He also said he doesn't get why people want to knock him for his confidence (arrogance?) saying "In America, they want you to accomplish these great feats, to pull off these David Copperfield-type stunts. You want me to be great, but you don't ever want me to say I'm great?"

He kind of has a point, you know.


According to reports, Domino Records have had to get a whole lot more Arctic Monkey albums pressed, following the early success of the 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' long player. As previously reported, the band look set to exceed sales of 200,000 in the first week, and may even break Hear'Say's debut album sales record set five years ago.


London based music publishing company Notting Hill Music Group has signed up the lovely Fightstar for a publishing deal, ahead of the release of the band's debut album 'Grand Unification' on 6 Mar.

Confirming the deal, Fightstar manager Craig Jennings told CMU: "We are delighted to have joined forces with the Notting Hill Music Group. They were very enthusiastic about signing the band and demonstrated that they had the desire and the ability to take the band to where they wanted to be."

Notting Hill Music boss Andy McQueen added: "Fightstar are a group of extremely talented songwriters and we are thrilled to be working with them. Their new album is amazing and we think their potential is unlimited. It's a great start to 2006 for us!"


The international bit of the Universal Music Group has entered into a distribution and licensing agreement with the Concord Music Group - expanding a relationship between the major and independent that has existed in the US since July 2004. Concord artists the major will be marketing and distributing include John Fogerty, Peter Cincotti, Sergio Mendes, Isaac Hayes, Chick Corea, and Curtis Stigers.

Confirming the deal, Universal Music Group International Executive Vice President Marketing And A&R (he must have a very long business card), Max Hole, told CMU: "Concord has artists of superior talent and range on their roster, which is why we're so pleased to be in business with them around the world. And when you consider that the company is not only a force in contemporary music, but also embraces the heritage of such classic labels as Stax, Fantasy, Specialty, and Riverside, this partnership is the best that anyone could imagine. I know a lot of people in our companies around the globe can't wait to get going with these artists and these catalogues".


Weezer's Brian Bell and Patrick Wilson have recorded a cover of the classic Velvet Underground track 'Heroin' to feature in upcoming Edie Sedgwick biopic 'Factory Girl'.

Bell said on the band's official website: "Working on this project with Pat was a blast. There was no premeditated plan, no rehearsal, there was barely even a discussion of how to approach this seven-minute ride."

He added: "My reservation going into this was that no matter how good it turned out, criticism would soon follow. You can't attempt a rock classic (especially a cult band like the Velvets) and not get a few sneers. But the important thing here is that maybe we might help turn a new generation on to this amazing art rock band and change the perspectives of a few unknowing listeners. If your music has steered too far from the aesthetic of The Velvet Underground you have to ask yourself, 'What the hell am I trying to do?'"


ALBUM REVIEW: The Most Terrifying Thing - Victoriana (Seeca Records)
OK, so good name for a band, good name for an album. So far, so Poe. Further, the music is epic pain, the lyrics are mental anguish, singer Chris Price is a ballsy Eddie Vedder. And they're from Liverpool. Cool. However, much like the perfect boyfriend, there is a difference between what a band looks like on paper and how they actually are. And although this ticks all the right boxes, it's just not outstanding. The songs are catchy enough. 'Pain And Problematics' is almost great. The chorus of 'Pop Song' ("don't you ever change/you don't need to change") has, it is true, clung to my brain like a fly to flypaper. But it's just all a little too familiar, a bit too Seattle circa 1991. Truly, for TMTT nothing has changed since then. You can stick this in with your Mudhoney, your Soundgarden and your Pearl Jam, and it will play as a worthy contemporary. Better yet, if you were too young to experience it first time round, go to see these guys live in your DMs and a lumberjack. But if you do remember 1991, prepare for deja-vu. What is sad about this is the tangible waste of talent. There is genuine feeling in Price's voice, and a real urgency to the music. These guys might come back to surprise us yet, but to do that they need to feel their original voice. On their debut, TMTT are to Seattle was Lenny Kravitz was to the 60s. A perfectly great replica, but ultimately no more than that. SIA
Release date: 30 Jan
Press contact: Seeca Records IH [all]


Embrace are set to release a new album, 'This New Day', on 3 Apr, preceded by a single of the same name, I think, on 20 Mar. To coincide with the album release, they'll tour Scotland in the first half of April. Tickets on sale from Friday, dates as follows:

8 Apr: Oban Corran Halls
9 Apr: Stirling Albert Halls
10 Apr: Dundee Fat Sams
12 Apr: Aberdeen Music Hall
13 Apr: Glasgow Barrowland
14 Apr: Edinburgh Corn Exchange


Foo Fighters have revealed they're planning to tour the acoustic bits of recent double album 'In Your Honor', but dates are yet to be confirmed, according to MTV.

Drummer Taylor Hawkins said: "We told everybody we're gonna do some acoustic touring, so I guess we'd better. Instead of going out there and sweating my butt off every night, I'll be playing with my brushes quietly and stuff. I think it'll be good for us, though, as musicians, to go out and explore that dynamic."

Hawkins also spoke about the release of the band's next single, 'No Way Back' on 13 Mar: "We might do one of those Bon Jovi-on-the-road videos (where) you're sitting in the private jet. You know, before we go onstage, all slow motion. I just remember those videos back in the '80s. Bon Jovi's sitting on his private jet, (thinking) 'I miss my mansion.' Sorry, Bon. Got no beef with you. Like your videos. We're gonna rip them off."


The rather good Humanzi have announced a series of tour dates for next month. The gigs precede the release of their second single 'Long Life Coming'.

The dates are as follows:

9 Feb: Cardiff, Barfly
10 Feb: Walsall, 10 Wharf Bar
11 Feb: Leeds, Brighton Beach
12 Feb: London, Koko
15 Feb: York, Barfly
16 Feb: Birmingham, Barfly
17 Feb: Glasgow, Barfly
19 Feb: Manchester, Roadhouse


Duels having just finished their debut album. No news on a title or release date, but they have announced a headline tour to follow their upcoming support dates with The Rakes. Here you go:

7 Mar: Huddersfield, Tokyo
9 Mar: Bournemouth, Consortium
10 Mar: Northampton, Soundhaus
11 Mar: Oldham, Castle
12 Mar: York, Barfly
21 Mar: Oxford Zodiac
22 Mar: Sheffield, Leadmill
23 Mar: Nottingham, Stealth
25 Mar: Glasgow, Barfly
26 Mar: Dundee, Reading Rooms
27 Mar: Newcastle, Digital
29 Mar: Cambridge, Soul Tree
30 Mar: Birmingham, Barfly
31 Mar: Liverpool, Barfly
1 Apr: Stoke, Sugarmill
3 Apr: Southend, Chinnerys
4 Apr: London, 100 Club
5 Apr: Manchester, Music Box
6 Apr: Leeds, Cockpit
8 Apr: Wakefield, Escobar


Wolfmother say their eponymous debut will get a UK release shortly. The LP went on sale in the band's home country of Australia at the end of last year, going platinum in the space of a couple of weeks, which makes one think they're probably alright. Anyway, they'll precede that release, on 24 Apr, with a series of gigs, as follows:

25 Feb: Oxford, Zodiac
26 Feb: Leeds, Cockpit
27 Feb: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
2 Feb: Liverpool, Academy 2
3 Feb: Newcastle, Academy
4 Feb: Glasgow, King Tuts
5 Feb: Manchester, Roadhouse
7 Feb: London, Scala


Soledad Brothers have announced a UK tour to precede the release of a new album, 'The Hardest Walk' on 6 Mar. The tour is preceded by the release of a single 'Good Feeling' on 20 Feb. Here are the dates:

22 Feb: Birmingham Barfly
23 Feb: Glasgow Nice N Sleazy
24 Feb: Newcastle Cluny
25 Feb: York Fibbers
27 Feb: London Barfly


In my head they were already playing. Various sources report that Elbow have been added to the bill of that previously reported charity gig Manchester Vs Cancer, organised by lovely former Smiths bassist Andy Rourke. They join a lineup that already boasts acts such as New Order, Mani, Badly Drawn and Doves. The event takes place at the MEN Arena on 28 Jan.


Franz Ferdinand are one of the first bands to be confirmed for this year's Roskilde Festival. Kanye West is also on the bill, with more acts due to be announced in the next few weeks. The festival, in its 35th year, takes place in Denmark from 29 Jun to 2 Jul, tickets on sale now.


UK based independent download platform TuneTribe has announced a new deal at MIDEM which will enable it to operate elsewhere in Europe. The company has entered a partnership with DOCdata, a leading independent CD/DVD manufacturer who also provides e-commerce services to etailers, retail chains and computer firms.

TuneTribe plan to use DOCdata's contacts and systems to make its download service available in a number of different European countries, starting with the Benelux countries. The partnership should also help TuneTribe, who currently sell music from over 900 UK independent labels as well as EMI, Warner and SonyBMG, to build relationships with hundreds of European record labels.

Confirming the deal, TuneTribe CEO John Stickland told CMU: "This is a very exciting deal for TuneTribe. Using DOCdata's strong European base, we can expand across borders into the heart of Europe."


Apple Computers have entered into a unique deal with Tesco which might mean the IT firm will have their own little areas in the supermarket chain's stores to flog iPods and Apple Macs to the masses. It's the first time Tesco has given a non-food brand its own area. The concept will be piloted in a Milton Keynes store and, if successful, will be rolled out to other Tesco Extra stores later this year.


According to reports, 50 Cent is to appear in the video for Pink's new single. The promo apparently mocks LA types such as needless celebrity Paris Hilton and actress Lindsay Lohan, as well as taking a pop at Jessica Simpson by parodying her 'These Boots Are Made For Walking' video. Pink's saying, well, not much really. She told MTV: "I don't think I need to name names. I live in LA so it's obvious what I'm surrounded by."


* Delete as appropriate. There have been quite a lot of rumours flying recently about a possible J-Lo pregnancy, so it's possibly time to fill you in. Not that anything is confirmed, or even concrete. But you have a right to know what they're all saying, right? Well, the latest on this is that the singer and husband Marc Anthony have been seen buying baby type items in an LA shop. According to IMDB, a source said of some item or other: "[Marc Anthony] said something that made it pretty clear that it wasn't a gift - that he intended to use it."


Wow. There hasn't been much Charlotte Church news in a while. Never mind, here's some now. The singer has allegedly said that people like her because she's got a big mouth and that other, more politically correct celebrities are just boring. According to The Sun, she says: "Everyone is too PC but I think people like me because I'm quite ballsy and say just what I think. No one ever says anything interesting apart from Robbie Williams and Liam Gallagher. The rest spout boring rubbish and are nicey-nicey about everyone."


Well, we've all been there, haven't we? You build a log cabin in the grounds of your luxurious East Sussex estate, but then the local planning committee decide to retrospectively refuse permission for it and you have to raze it to the ground. That's what happened to Paul McCartney, who has been told by Rother District Council that the timber two bedroom lodge in the grounds of his farm in Peasemarsh must be removed.

A statement from Macca's people to the council said: "The owner has a requirement for privacy, seclusion and security that the buildings at Woodlands Farm cannot provide. This is due to the proximity of the public footpath that passes by the farmhouse and through the farmyard and also the activities connected with the working farm and machinery movements creating noise disturbance and safety issues. The lodge provides quiet, secluded and secure accommodation and is used only in lieu of the farmhouse, which will always be vacant when the lodge is occupied. The intention is not to increase the amount of residential property."

The committee remained unmoved, however, judging that: "No compelling justification for such a location has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority. The proposal harms the intrinsic landscape quality and character of the High Weald. The new dwelling is not essential to the running of an enterprise which must be in a countryside location."

McCartney is expected to appeal the decision before getting out the bulldozers. So there you go.


Maximo Park were shunned by Arctic Army types at the opening gig of the NME Awards Tour, according to The Sun, who report that up to a fifth of the audience left once Arctic Monkeys finished their set at Dublin Ambassadors and vacated the stage for headliners Maximo Park.

You may remember that towards the end of last year Arctic Monkey fans booed Test Icicles off the stage when they played a support slot. Although, if I remember correctly, that was kind of fair enough, because even Test Icicles themselves admitted they were rubbish.

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