CMU Daily - on the inside Monday 6th February
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- UK independents merge operations
- Three die as crowds amass for Mexican pop group
- Rollers cleared over drugs charges
- Love's home detention lifted
- Man killed in shoot out near Busta Rhymes video
- Mussolini's son dies
- Auf Der Maur confirms Smashing reunion
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs get new guitarist
- AIM head for Oz
- Sanctuary confirm share sale plans
- US copyright office report on orphan works
- Epstein movie in the works
- U2 triumph at Irish music awards
- Songwriting competition announces 2005 finalists
- Album review: White Rose Movement - Kick
- SunnComm make concessions to IT community concerns
- Sirius look to FCC to help them protect Stern show
- C4 not interested in long term Morning Glory
- ITV appoint events and music man
- Dirty Pretty Things announce Mexico show
- Daft Punk play Coachella
- Editors confirmed for IOW
- The Who plan world tour
- Tour of the Dead! Dead! Dead!
- Subways announce live dates
- Snowbombing announce budget packages
- Album review: Sparks - Hello Young Lovers
- Chart update
- This week's Student Radio Chart
- Subshot playlist
- Arctic Monkeys defend cover
- X Factor winner might get voice box surgery
- Richie Sambora and Heather Locklear to divorce
- Crow and Armstrong separate
- Madonna denies marriage troubles again
- Mclaren compares Doherty to other people


Welcome to possibly the longest CMU Daily ever. Sorry about that. We'll cut things back tomorrow, promise. Meantime... if indie kids followed the career paths of record producers in quite the same way those into the dance genre do, then they'd all have posters of one Paul Epworth on their walls, because this one producer has been involved in the debut albums of many an emerging indie star in the last twelve months - Bloc Party, The Rakes, The Futureheads and Maximo Park among them. The latest Epworth produced debut comes from another aspiring band of the moment - the White Rose Movement - and once again he's picked a fine outfit to work with, the resulting long player, 'Kick', surely one of the stand out albums of the year so far - fusing together electronics and guitars in that way we love so much round here. Such was our interest in 'Kick' and the story behind the band and the album, we tracked down the band's Finn Vine while he sound checked for his band's first support slot on The Rakes tour to find out more.

Check the interview:


The UK division of pan-European record company PIAS will today announce a new joint venture with London based label Wall Of Sound which will see the two independents combining their operations.

The new company, PIAS Wall Of Sound, will take on responsibility for all of PIAS's UK roster, including Mogwai, Soulwax, Tiga, Little Barrie and Iain Archer, as well as key Wall Of Sound signings Royksopp and Infadels. Negotiations are reportedly "in progress" regarding the inclusion of other WOS acts Diefenbach, The Girls and Blak Twang in the deal. WOS top man Mark Jones will be MD of the new company, working closely with Nick Hartley, CEO of the PIAS UK Group, and Kenny Gates, Co-President of the overall PIAS Group.

Confirming the deal, Gates told CMU: "I have known Mark Jones since 1996 when we first entered into a European licensing agreement which saw Propellerheads' album 'Decksandrumsandrockandroll' sell in excess of 300,000 copies in Europe, including gold-status sales in France. I am delighted to be in partnership with Mark in this new venture - our ambition being to mirror the success of our independent models and peers; Beggars Group or Domino for instance. Mark has the drive, energy, vision and sheer personality that are all too often lacking in an industry which has become frequently led by major label accountants and lawyers. The combination of Mark's skills with our own expertise makes a compelling formula, and together we can boast a tremendous roster with great music."

Jones himself added: "It is an incredibly exciting prospect to be creating a new company with PIAS, fusing the complementary strengths of all of those concerned. With an amazing roster of established talent and developing artists poised to break, PIAS / Wall Of Sound starts off in an enviable position for a new label. The new venture gives us the chance to actively compete in the market for new acts at a time when the independent option is proving a natural and successful route for so many artists. On a musical, business and personal level I feel it is the right time to move on and challenge myself and other people's perceptions to create a new force in the sector. Music Is Life."


Three people have died in Brazil after a security barrier collapsed while music fans waited to catch a glimpse of Mexican pop group RBD.

The group, who have become very popular in a number of South American countries after appearing in a TV soap opera, were making a public appearance at a shopping centre in San Paulo. Although only 100 fans had tickets to the autograph session, some 5000 people amassed outside the shopping mall.

The incident occurred after the amassed fans surged towards a van that they believed housed the band. According to reports in the Associated Press, in the crush that followed a woman and two teenage girls were killed, while thirty others were hurt.


Former Bay City Rollers Les McKeown and Patrick McGlynn have been cleared of dealing drugs at Basildon Crown Court.

As previously reported, McKeown was accused of setting up the deal between McGlynn and an associate, Alistair Murray, and two other men. McGlynn was found in a hotel car park in Waltham Abbey with £16,500 on him, whilst the two other men, also in the car park, were in possession of sixteen thousand pounds worth of cocaine. It sounds like a recipe for a guilty verdict, but having seen all the evidence available the jury believed the defendants' claims that the meeting was set up to arrange the sale of a car. The presence of the drugs was just a coincidence, apparently.

The pair are understandably quite pleased to have been cleared of the charges. McGlynn said: "The relief is unbelievable. It feels like I've won the lottery three times over. I don't know how I feel exactly. It's just a relief that this dreadful ordeal is over. I shall now be going to have a glass of champagne and then I'm looking forward to going on tour again."


Elsewhere in the pop courts, an LA judge has released Courtney Love from a home detention order because of her efforts to combat drug addiction. The singer was told to stay home last November after completing her court ordered rehab as part of an ongoing probation relating to that much previously reported assault charge stemming from an incident at an ex-boyfriend's home back in April 2004.

While extending her probation to March 2007, Judge Rand Rubin gave Love permission to leave her home when she wished, providing she attended regular counselling sessions, continued to attend twice-weekly drug and alcohol tests and steered clear of establishments where the main thing for sale was alcohol.

Speaking at the court hearing on Friday, Love, who faces a civil lawsuit relating to that 2004 incident, said: "I feel like I'm getting my creativity back... and that I've put a very gnarly drug problem behind me".


A man was killed in a shooting at a Busta Rhymes video shoot this weekend. Well, I say that, some reports say the shooting just took place "near" the video shoot, which would be a different story altogether. Either way, the 29 year old man who was killed did work, as a security guard, for Kiss The Cactus Productions, who were hosting the video shoot. Police say 14 shots were fired during the incident, but would not comment on whether there were any links between the shooting and people involved in the video shoot - except to say Rhymes himself was not affected.


Mussolini's son Romano has died in Italy at the age of 79. Why is this music news, you ask? Well, the youngest son and last surviving child of the Italian dictator was in fact an accomplished jazz pianist. Romano began his career under an assumed name, but took back his real surname when he achieved success and critical acclaim in the sixties with his All Stars Ensemble. The musician, who was married to Anna Maria Scicilone, Sophia Loren's sister, over the course of his career worked with a number of jazz greats, including Chet Baker, Dizzie Gillespie and Duke Ellington.


Smashing Pumpkin Melissa Auf Der Maur has confirmed that her former band are to reform.

She told MTV News: "From what I understand, Billy [will be] making a Pumpkins record over the next little while. Everyone knows Billy doesn't need too many people to make a Pumpkins record, other than Jimmy [Chamberlin, drummer] - who he has on board."

Auf Der Maur, who joined the band in 1999 following original bassist D'Arcy Wretzky's departure, revealed that she is not sure if Corgan has approached Wretzky over the reunion, but confirmed that she would be happy to get involved herself: "My services are there for him whenever he needs them. Assuming I'm not on tour - but even then, we can cross paths. I love the Pumpkins, and to play those songs again would be nothing but fun for me. It was a big part of my life. The coolest thing would be if D'Arcy was around, but I don't know where she's at and I don't think [Corgan or Chamberlin] do either. But I feel very comfortable being second best."


Yeah Yeah Yeahs have recruited a new guitarist, Imaad Wasif, who will join them on their upcoming US tour. I'm not quite clear whether the fourth member is a permanent addition, to be honest, but what I do know is that the band will be heading this way in May, following the release of their new album 'Show Your Bones' on 27 Mar.


The UK's Association Of Independent Music will this week embark on one of those 'trade missions' to Australia. Organised in association with the UK Trade & Investment body and the Australian Independent Record Labels Association, the mission, called 'AIM For Australia', will see representatives from nine UK music companies meeting a number of key players from the Aussie music industry.

Commenting on the venture, AIM boss Alison Wenham told CMU: "With the China office facility firmly established and successful missions to the USA, China and India under AIM's belt in 2005, the next logical step, especially given the vibrancy of the current UK indie scene, is to explore new avenues to promote UK independent music worldwide. Australia is a natural choice based on its thriving independent sector, a proven taste for UK artists, and our shared cultural heritage."


More on Sanctuary Music's plans to stage a share sale to raise funds to help it recover from recent financial hardships. In a statement to the good old London Stock Exchange last week the company said it would make 220 million shares available at an opening price of fifty pence each, which, we're told, is a 67% discount on the group's share price as of close of play Friday.

Commenting on the share sale, Billboard quote Sanctuary boss Andy Taylor as saying: "The underlying businesses that are going on are as strong as they've ever been. With the new financial structure of the company, in truth it's probably the strongest its ever been".


The US Copyright Office last week published a report dealing with so called "orphan works". These are creative assets, possibly music, that for various reasons become of unclear ownership - ie it isn't obvious who, if anyone, owns the copyright on them.

The report, initiated by US Senators Orrin Hatch and Patrick Leahy, says that "orphan works" are a problem because the ambiguity in ownership stops many people from using them, in case doing so opens them to the risk of future copyright violation charges. The report notes: "Many users of copyrighted works who have limited resources or are particularly risk-averse have indicated that the risk of liability for copyright infringement, however remote, is enough to prompt them simply to not make use of the work. Such an outcome is not in the public interest."

The Office's report to the Senate Judiciary Committee proposes a number of ways to improve copyright database and search services, as well legislative moves to stop some of the tax and bankruptcy systems than create "orphan works" in the first place. It remains to be seen how the Committee acts on the Office's findings.


A film about legendary Beatles manager Brian Epstein is in the works, and is expected to be released in 2008 to coincide with the whole Liverpool city of culture thingummy. The screenplay for the movie, entitled 'The Fifth Beatle', and written by Broadway producer Vivek Tiwary, will not feature any Beatles music but will portray Epstein's work through a series of historical scenes, hallucinations and dream sequences. On the decision to avoid the band's music in the film, Tiwary says: "That would overshadow the fact that I'm trying to tell Brian's story, not The Beatles story."


U2 (or rather, Adam Clayton, as he was the only member of the band to turn up) walked away with three awards at Ireland's Meteor Music Awards in Dublin last week, for Best Irish Band, Best Irish Album for 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb' and Best Live Performance. Elsewhere, Westlife got the best Irish Pop Act for the sixth year running, The Pogues got a lifetime achievement award, and Gwen Stefani, Kanye West and Kaiser Chiefs were all victors in the international categories.

The event, hosted by personality black hole Patrick Kielty, included performances from McFly, Jamie Cullum, The Darkness, newly appointed CMU favourites Bell X1, and Sugababes, who appeared with their new third member Amelle Berrabah, and ended with a performance of Irish Rover by The Dubliners and The Pogues. Shane McGowan, commenting on his group's award, said at the end of the evening: "It is nice to be a legend when you are still alive. A lifetime achievement award is not part of any job really."


The International Songwriting Competition has announced the finalists for its 2005 competition. The Competition's judging panel, which includes Loretta Lynn, Sonny Rollins, Tom Waits, Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), Steve Vai and Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC), will now pick 50 overall winners, who will be announced in March and who will, between them, win over $150,000 in cash and merchandise.

There are quite a lot of those there finalists, so we won't list them all here. Instead, you can check them out at


ALBUM REVIEW: White Rose Movement - Kick (Independiente)
Since I heard White Rose Movement's blistering single 'Alsatian' last year I had been looking forward to hearing this album, and I'm not disappointed. The angular rockers from East Anglia are named after anti-Nazi student activists in Germany during WW2, and their songs are a beguiling mix of arty, angsty, atmospheric new wave and (punk) funk dance numbers. The title track is an unusual song, with anguished vocals from Finn Vine, and dreamy backing vocals from keyboardist Taxxi who also provides some New Romantic style synths. Fast paced former single and indie dance floor favourite 'Love Is A Number' is reminiscent of A Flock of Seagulls. 'London's Mine' is an anthemic tune with tribal beats, while 'Pig Hail Jam' has a gloomy New Order inspired bass line. If Franz Ferdinand's manifesto was to make music for girls to dance to, WRM could be the band to make boys dance, particularly upcoming single 'Girls In The Back'. Like Franz, White Rose Movement also have a strong visual style, and of the current crop of bands they look the most likely to break into the mainstream. This is a cracking album, full of great tunes, inventive touches and much originality. WRM are a very exciting band indeed. JW
Release date: 6 Mar
Press contact: Darling [CP, RP, NP] Independiente IH [CR, RR, NR]


American software firm SunnComm, who made one of the copy-protection technologies that got SonyBMG into hot water last year (though, not the rootkit technology that got the major into the hottest water), have made a number of concessions in response to criticism among the IT community, and in particular from those lovable techie campaigners, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Among the criticisms the EFF made of SunnComm was the fact that their copy-protection software installs automatically, even if a user declines the end user licensing agreement, and that once installed it was hard to uninstall. The Foundation also called on SunnComm to say it would not take legal action against techies who hack into their software in a bid to look for the kinds of flaws found in those used by SonyBMG last year (technically programmers could be sued under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act for such hacking, especially if they publish their findings).

In a statement last week SunnComm said it would stop the automatic install on future releases of its software, that it would include uninstall kits on all CDs and that it would submit all new copy-protection technology to a third party security-testing firm who would publish their findings. It also said it would speak to EFF regarding possible legal protection for other security testers who investigate its software after release.

SunnComm CEO Kevin Clement told reporters: "As a software company, we are committed to developing high-quality products and promptly addressing any potential vulnerability, and we appreciate this opportunity to help lead the industry in the development of best practices for both quality and security".


Of course when you hire a famous rebel to front one of your key radio shows, it seems a little hypocritical when you start threatening other rebels with legal action, but that's what's happening over at Sirius. The US satellite radio network are threatening to sue a number of websites and pirate radio stations who are illegally re-broadcasting their Howard Stern radio show.

Stern moved to the satellite broadcaster last month in a bid to escape some of the stricter rules set by US media regulator the FCC. Fans of the shock jock now need to pay to subscribe to Sirius to hear Stern's shows - unless they can access one of the websites, P2P networks or pirate stations making recordings of Stern's shows available for free.

Sirius are now looking to the FCC to help them crack down on the unofficial broadcasts. A number of websites and pirate stations illegally broadcasting Stern have now, apparently, been shut down, though recordings are still prevalent in P2P land.


Channel 4 have said they will not be commissioning Dermot O'Leary's breakfast show 'Morning Glory' on a long term basis.

The 30 minute magazine programme was piloted last month for three weeks, and was touted by some as a possible permanent fixture for the C4 morning slot which has been filled primarily with US sitcom repeats since the demise of The Big Breakfast and RI:SE. But the show failed to improve on the slot's 200,000 average audience so, according to Broadcast magazine, C4's Director Of Television Kevin Lygo doesn't see it having a permanent future on his station.

You might think that a three week trial run is hardly long enough to build an audience for a new show, and you'd be right, but it seems that C4 bosses think that if 'Morning Glory' can't get decent audience figures when it was directly preceded in the schedule by the O'Leary fronted 'Big Brother's Little Brother' then it would never work as a stand alone. Shame really.

Broadcast quote Lygo as saying: "Most ideas for breakfast are just a variation of Rise and The Big Breakfast and I don't think we're going to do that. It won't be a man and a woman in a studio talking about the papers. A big idea needs to come along."


ITV has appointed Guy Freeman to the brand new job of Controller Of Music And Events. He'll control music and events. Well, ITV's music and events, not all music and events, because that would be quite a responsibility.

Announcing the appointment, ITV Director Of Entertainment And Comedy Paul Jackson told reporters: "The creation of this new role reflects a new emphasis on major one-off entertainment evenings. ITV is the home of big, talked-about events that unite mass audiences and we are keen to find more new and exciting opportunities in this area."


Carl Barat's band Dirty Pretty Things have announced that they will play a special gig in Mexico City on 12 Feb which will include various guests and a DJ set from The Charlatans' Tim Burgess. Tickets are relatively cheap, at a cost of 200 pesos (£10.70), but the cost of the flight might bump the cost up a bit if you fancy going.


Daft Punk are the latest act to be confirmed for Coachella. The dance duo join a bill which already includes, as previously reported, Depeche Mode, The Magic Numbers, Ladytron, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Editors, The Duke Spirit and Bloc Party. The festival takes place, of course, in California, 29 - 30 Apr. Tickets went on sale on Saturday.


Editors are the latest addition to the line-up for the 2006 Isle Of Wight Festival. They join previously announced acts The Prodigy, Placebo, Goldfrapp and The Rakes for the event, which, as you probably know by now, takes place this year from 9 - 11 Jun Seaclose Park in Newport.


The Who have announced that they are planning a world tour for 2006 and 2007. Guitarist Pete Townshend confirmed the news on his official website, saying: "There will be a tour. We already have European festival dates slotted in June and July. We go on to the rest of the world in 2007."

He also indicated that a new album would be shortly forthcoming: "There will be a new CD sometime in the early summer. I know I've cried wolf a few times, but this time I have committed because I have about enough music for a new CD, and I'm still producing."


Crazy name, crazy band. Maybe. Dead! Dead! Dead! have announced a series of tour dates to coincide with the release of their limited edition vinyl double A side release 'George Lassoes The Moon/Mightiest Melodrama Of Them All' out on 13 Mar. The tour dates are as follows:

9 Mar: Middlesbrough, Empire
10 Mar: Bournemouth, Opera House
11 Mar: Southampton, Joiners
12 Mar: London, Roxy
13 Mar: Brighton, Free Butt
14 Mar: London, Dublin Castle
15 Mar: Bognor Regis, Mud Club
16 Mar: Cambridge, The Academy
17 Mar: Leeds, Primrose
18 Mar: Bristol, Louisiana
25 Mar: Jersey, Live Lounge
27 Mar: London, Water Rats
29 Mar: Dublin, Temple Bar
31 Mar: Dundalk, The Spirit Store
1 Apr: Blackpool, West Coast
2 Apr: Cardiff, Barfly


The Subways have announced a handful of UK Live dates for later in the year. As follows:

6 Apr: Glasgow, ABC
7 Apr: Birmingham, Carling Academy
8 Apr: Liverpool, Carling Academy
9 Apr: Bristol, Carling Academy
11 Apr: London, Shepherds Bush Empire


The Snowbombing people have just told us about their special budget travel package. Well I say just told us. They told us weeks ago, we just haven't got round to telling you. Sorry.

As previously reported, Snowbombing is the rather fine ski, board and music festival which takes place at Mayrhofen in Austria from 2 - 8 Apr and which features on its bill the likes of Dave Clarke, London Elektricity, Norman Jay, The Cuban Brothers, Meat Katie, Justin Robertson, Bugz In The Attic, DJ Yoda, Krafty Kuts, High Contrast and Kid Carpet.

The budget offer includes travel, accommodation and access to the whole festival from just £279 - with pick ups from cities all over the UK. Accommodation wise you can choose from a number of different options, including self-catering apartments and four star hotels.

You'll find all the info you'll be needing over there at


ALBUM REVIEW: Sparks - Hello Young Lovers (Gut)
I don't always 'get' Sparks. Maybe it's because of my pathological hatred towards musicals, a genre Sparks clearly love with passion, that the duo's music can feel like hard work. Certainly, the first track here confirmed my worst fears that they'd taken their operatic excesses to a new level. 'Dick Around', an exceptionally wordy piece of overblown rock opera that sounds like five different songs glued together, goes on a bit, frankly, and by the end you're just begging for it to stop. Things improve thereafter though, as Ron and Russell tone things down (only slightly, mind) and get on with the business of making wonderfully arch, melodramatic cinematic pop, so much so that, mid way through the album, the realisation hits you that you're suddenly having a whale of a time with the Mael brothers. The jaunty '(Baby Baby) Can I Invade Your Country?' will have you singing its chorus deliriously, and would nicely soundtrack footage of US marines piling into Iran, which probably wasn't quite the intention admittedly. Meanwhile, the likes of 'Rock Rock Rock' and 'Metaphor' are simply fantastic: nicely knowing, orchestral delights, which, for all their post-modern cleverness, teem with affection and humanity. Are they being deadly serious or just taking the piss? Who knows? 'Hello Young Lovers' proves to be a lovingly crafted, intelligent album from a duo who remain unique. As twentieth albums go, not bad at all. MS
Release date: 6 Feb
Press contact: Republic Media [all]


So that Notorious BIG / P Diddy / Nelly thang is still atop the singles chart this week - third week in the chart, second at number one. Chris Brown and Juelz Santana have the highest new entry at 2 with 'Run It', with the Ordinary Boys' 'Boy Will Be Boys' sliding up to 3 as Preston hits the post-Big Brother promo trail. Talking of which, Dead Or Alive's 'You Spin Me Round' goes in at 5.

Other new entries run thus: Ashlee Simpson's 'Boyfriend' at 12, 50 Cent's 'Hustler's Ambition' at 13, Lee Ryan's 'When I Think Of You' at 15, Jesse McCartney's 'Beautiful Soul' at 17, Bon Jovi's 'Welcome To Wherever You Are' at 19, Go! Team's wonderful 'Ladyflash' at 26 and Mogwai's 'Friend Of The Night' at 38.

The Arctic Monkeys hype is enough to keep 'Whatever People Say...' atop the albums chart for a second week, which is nice. Richard Ashcroft is also refusing to move - staying at 2.

Actually, not much to report at all at the top of the albums chart - new entries coming lower down as follows: Rod Stewart's 'If We Fall In Love Tonight at 16, Michael Buble's 'Caught In The Act' at 25, the Johnny Cash hits package at 27, Kubb's 'Mother' at 32, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan's 'Ballad Of The Broken Seas' at 38 and Mary J Blige's 'The Breakthrough' at 40.


1. [1] Arctic Monkeys - When the Sun Goes Down (Domino)
2. [3] Goldfrapp - Ride a White Horse (EMI/Mute)
3. [4] Maximo Park - I Want You to Stay (Warp)
4. [17] The Go! Team - Ladyflash (Memphis Industries)
5. [7] The Kooks - You Don't Know Me (EMI/Virgin)
6. [5] Fall Out Boy - Sugar We're Going Down (Universal/Mercury)
7. [2] Editors - Munich (SonyBMG/Kitchenware)
8. [6] Kubb - Grow (Universal/Mercury)
9. [8] Richard Ashcroft - Break the Night With Colour (EMI/Parlophone)
10. [15] The Crimea - Lottery Winners on Acid (Warner)
11. [24] Mystery Jets - The Boy Who Ran Away (679)
12. [11] Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On (EMI)
13. [9] The Magic Numbers - I See You, You See Me (EMI/Heavenly)
14. [NE] Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah - In This Home On Ice (Wichita)
15. [10] Belle And Sebastian - Funny Frog (Rough Trade)
16. [16] Coldplay - Talk (EMI)
17. [14] El Presidente - Turn This Thing Around (SonyBMG)
18. [NE] Graham Coxon - Standing On My Own Again (EMI/Parlophone)
19. [NE] The Strokes - Heart in Cage (Rough Trade)
20. [12] Saucy Monkey - I Touch Myself (Measured Records)
21. [19] Starsailor - This Time (EMI)
22. [22] Madonna - Hung Up (Warner/Maverick)
23. [NE] Beth Orton - Conceived (EMI)
24. [NE] The Concretes - Chosen One (Licking Fingers)
25. [20] Test Icicles - Whats Your Damage? (Domino)
26. [NE] Morning Runner - Burning Benches (EMI/Parlophone)
27. [26] Living Things - Bom Bom Bom (SonyBMG)
28. [NE] We Are Scientists - It's a Hit (EMI/Virgin)
29. [NE] Hybrasil - We Got Music (Fifa)
30. [NE] Bell X1 - Flame (Universal/Island)


The videos being played on the SUBtv network in union bars all over the country this week. Adds marked with a **.

50 Cent - Hustler Ambition (Universal/Interscope)
Arctic Monkeys - When The Sun Goes Down (Domino)
Beck - Hell Yes (Universal/Polydor)
Beyonce - Check It On (SonyBMG/Columbia)
Chris Brown - Run It (SonyBMG)
El Presidente - Turn This Things Around (One Records)
Fall Out Boy - Sugar, We're Going Down (Universal/Mercury)
**Freemasons Ft. Amanda Wilson - Watchin (Skint)
Hi Tack - Say Say Say (Waiting 4 U) (Gusto)
The Go! Team - Ladyflash (Memphis Industries)

**Alkaline Trio - Burn (Vagrant)
Belle & Sebastian - Funny Little Frog (Rough Trade)
Boy Kill Boy - Back Again (Universal/Island)
Infadels - Can't Get Enough (Wall Of Sound)
Living Things - Bom Bom Bom (Red Ink)
Martin Solveig - Jealousy (Defected)
Mew - Why Are You Looking Grave (SonyBMG/Epic)
Nickelback - Far Away (Roadrunner)
Regina Spektor - Us (Transgressive)
**The Delays - Valentine (Rough Trade)
**The Mystery Jets - Boy Who Ran Away (679)
**The Noisettes - Iwe (Transgressive)
The Upper Room - All Over This Town (SonyBMG)
Three 6 Mafia - Stay Fly (SonyBMG)
Ying Yang Twins Feat. Pitbull - Shake (TVT)


Arctic Monkeys have defended their cover art against the slightly inevitable allegations that the image of a man smoking a cigarette is promoting the filthy habit. Dr Laurence Gruer of NHS Health Scotland said that the artwork on the cover of the band's debut 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' reinforces the idea that smoking is OK, and told the Glasgow Herald newspaper: "Although the band is from Sheffield, thousands of youngsters in Scotland will buy it because it is good music. It is the fastest-selling album in British history, but it gives out the wrong image. With a blatant image of a guy smoking, it will be seen by many as a cool thing to do."

The band's product manager, however, says that the image doesn't particularly portray smoking in a positive light; Johnny Bradshaw said: "You can see from the image smoking is not doing him the world of good," adding "We have not had any complaints from supermarkets or places where the album has been stocked."


According to the People, X Factor winner Shayne Ward will have to undergo surgery on his voice box after doctors discovered 'growths' that could risk his singing voice in the future. X Factor judge and Ward's manager Louis Walsh told the tabloid: "It's serious. We're waiting to hear what the specialists say."

Ward could have the surgery in the next few weeks, pushing back the release date of his debut album to June, which is very serious, I'm not sure the fickle viewing public will still remember who he is by then.


Back to the pop courts, this time the divorce division. Which is a shame, because they were doing so well, as well.

Actress Heather Locklear and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora are to divorce after eleven years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences. It comes a mere two months after the pair released a statement denying reports that claimed that their relationship was on the rocks, which read "The real story is that there is no story. The truth is that after 11 years together, we are still happily married. Boring but true."

Locklear's publicist refused to comment, saying "This is a private matter and there will be no further statement at this time."


More divorces. Well, OK, not a divorce, because they never actually got married. But Sheryl Crow has confirmed she is breaking up with cyclist Lance Armstrong just five months after they announced their engagement. In a joint statement the couple gave no reason for their "very tough decision" but asked for privacy "at this very difficult time". So, frankly, we shouldn't be talking about it.

Anyway, the statement read: "After much thought and consideration we have made a very tough decision to split up. We both have a deep love and respect for each other and we ask that everyone respect our privacy during this very difficult time."


Talking of statements regarding happy marriages (which we were, briefly), Madonna's people have been busy denying tabloid claims that her relationship with 'Confessions On A Dancefloor' producer Stuart Price, aka Jaques Lu Cont/Les Rythmes digitales, is less than innocent.

A source recently told The Mirror: "It's no secret that Madonna and Stuart have developed a special working relationship. They enjoy each other's company and respect each other. She confides in him and regards him as one of the most important people in her life."

Madonna's UK spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg insists: "There's no strain in Madonna's marriage. Her relationship with Guy is good. They are happy." On Price, she continued: "She treats him like a little brother. They have fun and talk a lot."


Malcolm McLaren says Pete Doherty is like Sid Vicious, Morrissey, William Blake and Thomas De Quincy. Well, I can sort of see the De Quincy comparison, I suppose.

Not one to encourage anyone in their destructive patterns of behaviour, McLaren enthused: "Pete is fabulous. He's like a combination of Sid Vicious and Morrissey. He's William Blake, he's Thomas De Quincy, even if he only in part knows it. I can understand why Kate would fall for him. He needs people around him with sufficient intellect that can enthuse him and help him climb over the rocks that stand in his way due to his personality disorder and problems with drugs. Not sure Kate is the one to do that."

Sufficient intellect, huh? Well, he can have a piece of my mind any time he likes.

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