CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 23rd June
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Seal ordered to pay former manager royalties cut
- Universal buy Spain's leading independent
- JJ72 split
- Townshend criticised over sex story
- Single review: Akala - Shakespeare
- Roger Waters performs in Israel
- Eminem in depression since death of Proof
- Mars Volta release third album details
- Clash film out on DVD
- Jet on new album
- Coxon covers Libertines
- Strokes cover Lou Reed at Wireless
- Bluetones tour
- Max Sedgley, Loose Cannons at Chibuku
- Midge Ure gets another degree
- Universal digital man exits
- MusicNet branch out of music
- New corp comms head at The Orchard
- Warner indie distributor launches in UK
- Plan B goes monthly
- C4 to simulcast
- GCap extend limited ads policy to Planet Rock
- Album review: Love Is All - Nine Times That Same Song
- Will Young to tread the boards
- Madonna denies schadenfreude
- Art brut TOTP petition
- Mcfly cover Queen

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TOP BIT>>
Now, one for all our student readers today. We've probably mentioned once, twice, may be thrice before that every August the good ship UnLimited heads North to cover more or less every aspect of the Edinburgh Festival through ThreeWeeks in Edinburgh. We recruit and train 80 odd students (that is to say, around about 80, they're not odd) who between them review more or less every show at the Festival. We publish their content in a weekly newspaper and daily reviews sheet, and via our website and eDaily. The reviewer roles are voluntary, but everyone involved gets free training and a fantastic skills-enhancing real-world media experience. Now, having worked our way through 200 odd applications (that is to say, around about 200, they weren't all odd), we have our review team more or less in place. However, we are now recruiting the ThreeWeeks 2006 podcast team. We launched the podcast bit of our Edinburgh Festival coverage last summer, when no one really new what a podcast was. This year we will be really stepping up our podcast coverage, interviewing 100s of performers appearing at the festival and making those audio interviews available via the web, mobile or, of course, podcast. If you are a college radio person, or are doing a broadcast journalism course, or you have always wanted to do some radio style interviewing and think you might just have the knack, then you should go to http://www.collegemedianetwork.co.uk/3weeksedinburgh where you will find full information on how to apply to join the podcast team plus an application form. And if you're interested in our Edinburgh podcasts more as a listener than an interviewer, needless to say, we'll be plugging them to death here in the Daily once they start going live in August - so watch this space.

PS: Daily later than usual today because of smtp issues. We've got some ointment for it, so fingers crossed it will be a short term problem!

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JOBS N STUFF>>

Sanctuary Group - Senior Label Manager
Do you have a feel for creating back catalogue CDs from Sanctuary's vaults - from the Kinks and Black Sabbath to Grandmaster Flash and Sham 69? Sanctuary Records Group, based in West London is currently recruiting for an experienced Product Manager with a proven ability to creatively market and promote a variety of artist projects. Working on our extensive back catalogue, energy, enthusiasm and tenacity is essential, as our heavy release schedule will demand meticulous planning and attention to detail. If you have at least 3 years experience in a similar role and feel that you can make an impact at Sanctuary Records Group, go to the Recruitment section of the Sanctuary Group website, www.sanctuarygroup.com and apply online. Alternatively post your details to Anna Young, Human Resources Administrator, Sanctuary House, 45-53 Sinclair Road, London, W14 0NS.

Warner Music - Press Officer
Warner Music are looking for a Press Officer to join their existing team. The successful applicant will have a minimum of six months experience in a press or related role, with impeccable writing abilities and a confidence in using Microsoft Office applications. A genuine knowledge and enthusiasm for music is imperative. If you would like to apply for this role, please send a covering letter which includes details of salary expectations and notice period to Victoria Carpenter by e-mailing hr.consultant@warnermusic.com or post to The Warner Building, 28 Kensington Church Street, London W8 4EP.

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ON AIR>>

TODAY ON TOTALROCK
Talita's at the Hellfest in France - and she'll be reporting in regularly, starting today, with Redd ('Metal Lunchbox', noon to 3pm). Redd will also be chatting to Arnocorps. The Mighty Twang' welcomes Jem Godfrey, from new proggies Frost, which means the show is gonna be a prog-tastic experience ('Helldrive', 3-6pm). On Saturday, June 24, Malcolm Dome is joined by Neal Kay for the 'Rock 'N' Roll Roundtable Circus' ('Doom & Co.', 6-9pm). On Sunday, June 25, The Mighty Twang is joined by The Glitterati ('The Twang Show', noon to 3pm). Listen live at http://www.totalrock.com.

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RIGHT NOW IN THE CMU BEATS BAR>>

MySpace Of The Day: Thomas Truax
MySpace has its limitations as a way of discovering new artists, and no more so than with New Yorker Thomas Truax, and this is despite that fact that Mr Truax seems more adept than most at keeping his page populated with current tour dates and blog-type messages. But, you see, Thomas' USP is that he not only writes and performs refreshingly quirky songs, but he invents the instruments that he plays them on. These inventions create all sorts of wondrous sounds, but the whole thing really comes to life when you see him perform live, because his stage looks a little bit like a mad inventor's laboratory, and you get to spend the show guessing what exactly each machine will be used for, and what kind of sound it will make, which is really really fun. And that's why the Thomas Truax MySpace will always be a little bit limited - because even blog interfaces much cleverer than this could not properly recreate the wonder of this guy's live shows. Still, the two tracks that are streaming are rather good in themselves, 'Inside The Internet' in particular, and there's a link to his website where some of the instruments he's made are introduced (the Hornicator is my favourite). Plus, of course, there are some live listings which, for those of you in the capital, include an upcoming London date, I notice. So go check this guy out via MySpace today, but then go and check out his show in person next month.

http://www.myspace.com/thomastruax

This and more at http://www.thebeatsbar.co.uk

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CMU FRIDAY TIPS

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: B Live at Cargo
We reported on this one as a news story the other day, but I think it deserves to be tipped too, so here goes. Bacardi's B-bar/B-Live tours have always been pretty good and tonight seems to be no exception. Everbody's favourite Yoruban Priest and house music demi god, Osunlade, will perform live bits of his forthcoming album 'Aquarian Moon'. His set will feature the Yoruba Soul Orchestra and a special live performance by the sublimely voiced Nadirah Shakoor. Back to back will be Tortured Soul, a three piece outfit who play live - perhaps similar to the mighty The Bays but with no DJs, loops or sequencers. The trio have been gaining much acclaim with their brand of what they call Live Soulful House, with Uncle Gilles Peterson commenting that they are "the future of house music". Should be a good one - and the BBE man Pete Adarkwah and will be Djing with his All stars to round it off.

Friday 23 Jun, Cargo London, Rivington Street, London. EC2A, kicks off at 8pm, free before 9pm, £10 after, press info from Get Involved.

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SEAL ORDERED TO PAY FORMER MANAGER ROYALTIES CUT
Seal has been ordered to pay his former manager £500,000 as a preliminary commission on the earnings from his first two albums.

As previously reported, former manager John Wadlow claimed that he played a crucial role in launching Seal's career and that he was due a share of the royalties from the singer's first two albums, both called 'Seal', based on a 1995 agreement. Seal contested those claims, but yesterday Judge Charles Gray ruled against him.

Two agreements between Seal and Wadlow came under the spotlight during the case. Some questions were raised about an initial agreement in 1991 in which the manager could have been argued to have exercised undue influence over his then inexperienced client. However the 1995 agreement, which brought to an end the two men's working relationship, was the crucial contract with regards to Wadlow's royalties claim and that agreement, Judge Gray ruled, was perfectly legitimate.

Gray: "I found Mr Wadlow to be a reliable witness. His recollection of events, whilst far from perfect, was for understandable reasons better than that of Seal. I suspect that his involvement in the music business came about as a result of his love of music rather than a desire to make money."

Judge Gray was not charged with the task of assessing the value of Wadlow's royalties claim, merely Seal's liability, so the half a million Seal has been ordered to pay is just a preliminary payment until a separate hearing can assess the total sum that Wadlow is due.

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UNIVERSAL BUY SPAIN'S LEADING INDEPENDENT
Universal Music have acquired one of Spain's leading independent labels, Vale Music, whose roster includes David Bisbal, Bustamente, Rosa and Chenoa. The acquisition follows Universal's recent rejig of its Latin America regional management, and aims to expand the major's Spanish-language repertoire both within Spain and around the world.

Confirming the purchase, Pascal Negre, Universal's President for the Mediterranean, South America & Middle East Regions, told reporters: "Vale Music is an amazing success story, in the great tradition of the music industry's pioneering labels. It has also enhanced Spain's reputation as one of Europe's most creative music markets, whose musicians and artists reach well beyond national boundaries in popularity and influence. I'm confident that this new partnership promises much for both companies in future."

Vale Music's founder, Ricardo Campoy, who will continue to head up the label, commented: "If I had to define the uniqueness of Vale Music, it would be the passion of our ideas. That's why the company is a dynamic, creative force in talent and music in Spain. Passion is what makes us believe, and what equips us for future challenges. Now, in partnership with Universal Music, we are ready to truly propel Vale Music and our artists into the international marketplace."

The exact terms of the deal are not known, and the takeover will have to be approved by the Spanish competition authorities before it can be completed.

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JJ72 SPLIT
Those of you who thought these guys split up years ago would be carelessly ignoring last year's hit single (52's a hit, right?) 'Coming Home'. Anyway, JJ72 have announced they are calling it a day, seemingly because a dispute with their record label, the once BMG funded Lakota, has prevented them from releasing a third album which is, we hear, actually pretty much complete.

A statement issued on behalf of the band yesterday read: "JJ72 decided it was the end as it did not want to undermine its achievements by continuing a ridiculous argument with a label that would not be able to support the release and touring of the third JJ opus - a label who lost funding from SonyBMG some time ago".

A personal message from the band added: "We remember everything, from mechanical birds in Japan to angels in arid Arizona, from broken bones and Berlin birthdays to predatory Portsmouth spiders. For those who disliked and perhaps despised (gasp) JJ72, thank you - how did beautiful photographs exist without a negative?! We crafted two monuments of magnificence for the future aural pleasure and pain of all would be JJ believers and doubters...and for those who care not for the passing of the petulant yet powerful pup....shame on you! Thank you to [former band member] Hilary Woods for being a dazzling damsel and thank you to all who played music in/with the band. You know who you are".

The band's Mark Greaney is reportedly working on a new project, details of which should be announced shortly.

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TOWNSHEND CRITICISED OVER SEX STORY
Pete Townshend has removed a story from his website that dealt with a fictional sexual relationship between two sixteen year olds, following complaints from children's charities. Kidscape director Michele Elliot said: "It's just a form of titillation. Responsible adults should not put graphic details of teenagers having sex on the web."

Townshend, of course received a caution over accessing child pornography three years ago, but at the time said that he had accessed a child pornography site as part of research for his autobiography. On the new controversy, he has written a message on his website saying that he accepted that the story had "upset certain people, and I sincerely do not wish to offend anyone", whilst also apologising to "those of you who were beginning to enjoy it". He added: "I have to accept that even if I write fiction I do so as someone who is well known and carry my past and controversy with me."

Tink Palmer, of children's charity Stop It Now! commented: "Bearing in mind that he is on the sex offender's register and received a caution, it is most ill-advised, especially considering the popularity of his music and the fact lots of people look up to him."

It's possibly fair comment to say that his actions are 'ill-advised', under the circumstances. But the last time I looked, sixteen was, in fact, the age of consent.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Akala - Shakespeare (Illastate)
This track starts with an incredible intensity, and then doesn't slacken the pace for 3 and a-half minutes. It's a really appropriate single if you're being introduced to Akala for the first time. Using Tomcraft's 'Loneliness' as a sample works really well, as it drives the lyrics on mercilessly. Apparently the track was borne out of Akala freestyling to the song on a night out, comparing himself to a modern-day Shakespeare. It's relentless, intense, flowing and done with real conviction. I suppose you could say all rappers rap with conviction, but it's rare that you get someone who can actually back up the hype and bluster with real talent, especially in the mainstream. Akala is someone who can. Let's hope he makes it big and shows people what real UK hip-hop artists/rappers can do. TH
Release Date: 3 Jul
Press Contact: Emms Publicity [all]

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ROGER WATERS PERFORMS IN ISRAEL
Roger Waters performed that previously reported gig in Israel last night. You will remember that his decision to play the concert drew criticism from a variety of sources when the concert was announced, given his history of opposition to Israel's policies towards Palestinians. But the musician refused to appear in any usual venues in Tel Aviv, citing his aforementioned opposition, agreeing instead to appear in a field halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In the hours preceding the performance, cars were backed up for miles as tens of thousands of fans made their way to the gig.

Appearing at the outdoor event near the Jewish-Arab village of Neveh Shalom, Waters began by urging Israel to tear down the West Bank barrier, constructed by the Israeli state, they claim, to keep out Palestinian suicide bombers. Following his arrival in the country on Wednesday, the former Pink Floyd man had visited a section of the wall that runs through the Palestinian settlement of Bethlehem, and spray-painted a line from 'The Wall' - "no thought control" on it. He told reporters at the site: "It fills me with horror. You can see photographs of something like this, but until you've seen the actual edifice itself and seen what it's doing to these communities ... it's hard to comprehend that they could be doing this."

A staff member at the gig told Israel Radio that the monks at the Trappist monastery close to where the concert was staged had given their blessing, both for the concert, and for Waters' message of coexistence but added that, given that it's a silent order "it's not likely that they'll sing along."

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EMINEM IN DEPRESSION SINCE DEATH OF PROOF
Interscope's head of publicity Dennis Denehy has told the New York Daily News that Eminem has not recovered from the death of his close friend and mentor, late D12 member Proof. Denehy said: "Obviously, he's grieving. He is depressed as anyone would be if they lost someone that close. He had announced he was taking time off before this happened. It's his downtime." He added that the rap superstar had not taken any anti-depressants to help him through this period, however.

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MARS VOLTA RELEASE THIRD ALBUM DETAILS
The Mars Volta have announced the name of their upcoming third album, the follow up to 2005's 'Frances The Mute'. The new long player will be entitled 'Amputechture', but no release date has been fixed as yet. Say what you like about The Mars Volta, they do create a more interesting than usual tracklisting. Here it is for your perusal.

Vicarious Atonement
Tetragrammaton
Vermicide
Meccamputechture
Asilos Magdalena
Viscera Eyes
Day Of The Baphomets
El Ciervo Vulnerado

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CLASH FILM OUT ON DVD
According to Billboard, 'Rude Boy', the 1980 film that starred The Clash, is to be released on DVD this summer. The film, out on 1 Aug via Epic/Legacy, is a fictional documentary centring around a sex shop worker who quits his job to be a roadie for the band. Musical footage for the movie was filmed during the course of the 'Clash on Patrol' and 'Sort It Out' UK tours.

Special features on the DVD include live performances that didn't appear in the original film, four deleted scenes, and interviews with writer and star Ray Gange, directors Jack Hazan and David Mingay and Clash road manager Johnny Green.

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JET ON NEW ALBUM
Jet have spoken to Rolling Stone about working on their new album and the effect that the death from cancer of the father of frontman Nick Cester and drummer Chris Cester has had on the tone of the long player, which will be released some time this year.

Nick Cester said: "The ballads are a lot deeper. It's all resulted in a journey. It was a way to vent a lot of issues, feelings and anger. We ran a whole gamut of emotions over the last few years. You don't bury dad and go out and write the fucking party classic."

He added that, following the success of their debut album, 'Get Born', the band felt under a bit of pressure over the second: "The first time around, we were a pop band from Melbourne, and this time around we're playing much bigger venues. We wanted to make sure the new album was going to be five times better... Obviously, we're still Jet. We're still a rock band."

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COXON COVERS LIBERTINES
Graham Coxon is to include a cover of Libertines track 'Time For Heroes' on his latest single release from his recent album 'Love Travels At Illegal Speeds'. Actually, releases, I think, because he seems to be doing more than one. Oh, but the Libertines cover will only appear on one of them. Both are out on 7" vinyl on 17 Jul, one features album tracks 'I Can't Look At Your Skin' and 'What's He Got', the other one consists of the aforementioned cover and a new track, 'Outta My League, Dear'

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STROKES COVER LOU REED AT WIRELESS
More covers, and The Strokes played a cover of Lou Reed's 'Walk On The Wild Side' when they appeared at the opening night at the Wireless festival in Hyde Park on Wednesday. Which is nice. What's more, you've not missed the Wireless festival just yet - there are still three more days to go in London, and two days in Leeds, and acts such as Massive Attack, Damien Marley, The Flaming Lips, James Blunt, Killa Kela, King Creosote, The Fratellis, Mystery Jests and the mighty Depeche Mode are still to perform. See http://www.wirelessfestival.co.uk/lineup/

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BLUETONES TOUR
The Bluetones, set to release a fifth album in October, have announced a series of UK tour dates, as follows:

14 Sep: Brighton, Concorde 2
15 Sep: York, Fibbers
16 Sep: Southampton, Joiners Arms
18 Sep: London, Spitz
19 Sep: Wigan, Nirvana
20 Sep: Holmfirth, Picturedome
22 Sep: Cardiff, Barfly
23 Sep: Leicester, Charlotte
24 Sep: Oxford, Zodiac

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MAX SEDGLEY, LOOSE CANNONS AT CHIBUKU
Chibuku and Sunday Best are teaming up to stage a wonderful sounding night at 93 Feet East in London's Brick Lane on 22 Jul. In fact, the press release contains five magic words: The Loose Cannons, Max Sedgley. I'm there. Both acts will be previewing tracks from their upcoming album releases, so how can you say no?

Takes place, as indicated, Saturday 22nd July at 93 Feet East, Brick Lane, 7pm - 2am, free before 9pm / £5 after, press info from Get Involved.

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MIDGE URE GETS ANOTHER DEGREE
Midge Ure is getting another honorary degree, this time from the University of Edinburgh. The Live 8 organiser (yes, it's not just Bob, remember) is to be made an honorary doctor of music, a similar accolade to that awarded to him by the University of Abertay Dundee last year.

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UNIVERSAL DIGITAL MAN EXITS
Billboard reports that Barney Wragg, Senior VP of Universal Music's digital music development unit eLabs, and one of the major's main digital strategy blokes, has left the company. They're citing sources, so presumably no official word from either Wragg or Universal on this one just yet.

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MUSICNET BRANCH OUT OF MUSIC
With Apple's iTunes rapidly expanding into the distribution of TV shows and currently negotiating with the major studios about adding movies into the mix, the company who provides the back end to a number of other high profile download services, including Virgin Digital, HMV Digital, MTV Urge and Yahoo Music, has announced it has launched a division to deal with non-music related digital content.

MusicNet's new division, called MediaNet, will look to licence the digital rights to book and video content which will then be made available to its consumer facing clients, should they wish to expand into that space. MusicNet will also be hoping, of course, that the new division will help them secure new consumer facing clients looking to operate in the non-music digital content space.

Confirming the new division MusicNet CEO Alan McGlade told reporters: "MediaNet will build upon our strong licensing relationships and facilitate new partnerships that will bring today's most popular properties into the digital world".

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NEW CORP COMMS HEAD AT THE ORCHARD
The much talked about (round here, anyway) independent digital distribution company The Orchard have got themselves a new Director Of Corporate Communications, Paul Verna, who boasts a CV which, as well as PR type stuff, includes editing roles at Mix and Billboard plus work as an independent producer/engineer. In his new role he will head up The Orchard's global media relations and marketing communications initiatives.

Confirming the new appointment, The Orchard boss Greg Scholl told CMU: "Paul's broad-based experience as a PR professional, journalist, and author will serve us well. We're delighted to have Paul on board, and we're looking forward to the contributions he will make toward our continued success".

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WARNER INDIE DISTRIBUTOR LAUNCHES IN UK
Warner's US based independent music distribution division, the Alternative Distribution Alliance, has opened up a UK office from which it hopes to expand its operations around Europe. Susan Rush, formerly GM at UK based indie distributor Pinnacle, will be MD of the UK office, reporting to ADA president Andy Allen. Among the artists the UK office is set to work on in the coming months are Mohair on Ear Candy, M Craft on 679 Recordings and the really rather buzzy Justice on Ed Banger Records.

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PLAN B GOES MONTHLY
Independent music magazine Plan B, currently a bi-monthly title, is going monthly and is stepping up its distribution in a bid to take on the mainstream titles in the music mag space.

The magazine's founder Everett True has told Press Gazette that he has been speaking to lots of young music fans in recent months while recruiting new editorial staff, and that that experience has furthered his belief there is room in the market for another big selling music title. He told the Gazette: "Our applicants seem to perceive a massive gap on music coverage in this country - that you've got NME and Q, which aren't really perceived as having much to do with music at all, which are just gossip magazines to shift papers and make their publishers rich. Obviously we're not as popular or as well-known as those other titles at the moment, but that's what we're aiming to be by going monthly."

Plan B is arguably more akin to the also independently owned The Word than the other mainstream music mags, but True reckons that the two titles are very much distinguished by their music policies. "The Word is put together by 50- and 60-year olds for other 50- and 60-year-olds, and I don't quite see what relevance that has to do with what we've got. That's not to slag the magazine off - they do what they do and that's fine but it's not the place to discover new bands, not even remotely."

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C4 TO SIMULCAST
Channel 4 have announced that they will "simulcast" their TV channels on the net - ie make them available via the web at the same time they air on the TV in the same way most radio stations make their services available via a simultaneous web stream. Most webcasts from TV companies to date have been of the 'watch again' kind - although the Beeb have done some simulcasting, mainly with sports content. Not all Channel 4 shows will be immediately available via the simulcast service because certain licensing issues still remain, especially for US shows, but the move is quite significant all the same.

C4 boss Andy Duncan told a conference this week that his network planned "to build on what Channel 4 has always done - stimulate, infuriate, debate, create. The difference is we're doing it in many more ways than just via broadcast these days, because we have to engage with the public wherever they are".

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GCAP EXTEND LIMITED ADS POLICY TO PLANET ROCK
GCap Media have announced they will be extending the "no more than two ads in a row" policy that it applied to Capital Radio earlier this year to its national digital station Planet Rock. The move follows Ipsos research commissioned by the radio company that claimed that "advertising effectiveness" had improved by 38% since the two ad rule was launched on its flagship London station.

The Guardian quote GCap's National Sales Director as saying: "We believe it provides a cleaner clutter-free environment for both advertisers and listeners and further encapsulates GCap Media's pledge to drive radio's digital future."

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ALBUM REVIEW: Love Is All - Nine Times That Same Song (EMI/Parlophone)
After hearing The Zutons' sub-Commitments pub-rock, you'd swear there's no room for the saxophone in pop music. But here to challenge these prejudices are the Swedish quintet, Love Is All, with their infectious blend of post-punk, Riot Grrrl and lo-fi indie, which has already been championed by the cultural barometer of taste that is Pitchforkmedia.com. The first thing you notice is the distinctive shrill of vocalist Josephine Olausson, which allied to the band's sound recall the female-fronted bands of the late 70s, such as The Slits and X-Ray Spex. Like these bands, Love Is All offers something more unique than their peers. The opening track 'Talk Talk Talk' sets the tone early; a frenetic and dizzying starter with the title yelped hysterically whilst all sorts of rhythms are merged in the background. This is a perfect example of the saxophone at the forefront of the record, following its own path like some freeform jazz experiment. However, Love Is All is able to compose wonderful jangly and melodic pieces such as 'Turn Off The Radio', which uses xylophones to good effect. The likes of 'Make Out Fall Out Fall Up' and 'Felt Tip' also stand out; the former is highly charged and frenzied, with the title shouted as a celebration, whilst the latter is based around an intricate bassline, but is striking for its endearing melody. If there is a criticism to make of 'Nine Times The Same Song', it's that it's such a brief listening experience, barely clocking over the half-hour mark. The ten tracks are over so quickly, but it's better to be economical than meandering for no reason. Love Is All are a band with numerous obvious influences, and whilst their sound seems no different to what many others are currently trying, not only are they offering something personal and distinctive, but they have created an album as much for the dancefloor as the earphones. KW
Release date: 3 July
Press contact: Darling Department [RP, NP] EMI IH [CP, CR, RR, NR]

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WILL YOUNG TO TREAD THE BOARDS
Following the success of his role in Judi Dench film 'Mrs Henderson Presents', Will Young has landed another acting role, and will this time take the lead role in a new stage production of Noel Coward's 'The Vortex' at the Royal Exchange in Manchester in the new year.

The singer said: "I'm really excited to be involved in this project. I'm sure it will be a fairly daunting experience initially, but I want to be able to grow and learn more in this field so I'll continue to enjoy what I do and also offer something new to my fans."

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MADONNA DENIES SCHADENFREUDE
A spokeswoman for Madonna has denied claims that she "laughed hysterically" on hearing news of poor ticket sales for Mariah Carey's upcoming US tour.

The New York Daily News claimed that Madge (oh, we're not supposed to call her that, are we?) has a grudge against Carey due to a contretemps that took place earlier in their respective careers, and cite a source as saying "Madonna laughed hysterically. She has been asking her tour promoters to email her Mariah's sales."

Madonna's spokeswoman, however, said: "She has no negative feelings toward Mariah."

Mariah's meanwhile, says that her tour sales are not remotely risible. "Her tour is selling well," a spokeswoman said, "she's cancelled a few dates so she can add shows in larger cities."

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ART BRUT TOTP PETITION
A campaign is under way to get CMU favourites Art Brut on to Top Of The Pops before the BBC kick it out of the schedules.

The band, self confessed TOTP fans, claim in their quirky track 'Formed A Band' that they will write a song as "universal as Happy Birthday" which they will play on Top Of The Pops "8 weeks in a row". Obviously that ain't going to happen, given that there aren't eight weeks of the pop show left, but fans of the band think it would only be fair to get them on the programme just once before its untimely demise. To that end they are staging an online petition demanding the Beeb comply.

You can add your name to the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/abtotp. Go on, add your name to it, I was signature 960. And if anyone from the TOTP production team is out there, go on, get Art Brut on before the axe falls. Do it for us - after all, we said all those nice things about your production skills in yesterday's Top Bit.

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MCFLY COVER QUEEN
Oh dear, this has filled me with a sense of foreboding. Why can't McFly write a new song to be the charity single release for Sport Relief 2006? They did that for Comic Relief, and it was a lovely little number. This time they are covering Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now', which is one of my very favourite songs of all time and, as much as we love McFly round here, I'm just not sure up to doing a good version of this song. Though their live cover of 'Pinball Wizard' rocks, so perhaps they'll prove me wrong.

Anyway, the cover will appear on the flip side to new single 'Please Please' which is out on 17 Jul, and all the cash raised through the single will go to the Sports Relief charity thing. Kevin Cahill of Comic Relief/Sports Relief told reporters: "We are delighted to have the support of McFly and Island Records once again. 'Don't Stop Me Now' is a true classic and perfectly sums up the mood of the Sport Relief Mile. We hope the single will help us raise as much money as possible for people in real trouble at home in the UK and in the poorest countries in the world."

Harry McFly added: "I went out to India for Sport Relief, and having seen what a difference the money raised makes to people's lives I'm so excited that me and the guys are able to make even more of a difference by doing the Sport Relief single!"

Meanwhile Tom McFly has been talking about the pop promo to the aforementioned 'Please Please', which apparently features the band playing naked in a cupboard. On that he says: "I wasn't at all embarrassed about being naked - we're used to stripping off in front of each other. But there was one sticky moment where I didn't realise how low my guitar was and I almost flashed everything on camera!"

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