CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 19th July
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- It's only the Mercury Music Prize shortlist
- Arctic Monkeys collaborate with 747s on next single
- Richard Hawley, single, tour
- We Are Scientists and Art Brut cover each other
- Janet gets fans to design a cover
- Annie picks her A-Z
- Seafood, download, tour
- Magic Mumbers play bingo hall
- Rising ticket prices may deter festival audiences
- Hong Kong authorities recruit teenagers to police copyright theft
- HMV appoint new top man
- Indie retailers formally protest over VAT loophole
- C4 concerned about Gcap's digital advantage
- C4 to broadcast Abbey Road sessions
- C4 to broadcast rather a lot of Razorlight
- Jimmy to appear on final TOTP
- BBC announce digital revamp
- McFly set for number one
- Willis having solo concerns?


So, a long top bit ramble pulling to pieces the Mercury Music Prize shortlist? No. Choosing just twelve from every single British album released in every genre over the last twelve months is an illogical (albeit fun) thing to do - so why do we ever expect a logical list? So, no Mercury ranting, instead a logistical call for information. We will be putting together a guide to college related tours or music events for the new term (they call them semesters now, you know), and are looking for your help in doing this. Whether you're a promoter or a label or a publicist or a union, if you have a college based tour coming up in the Autumn (it doesn't have to be entirely students' union based - just very much aimed at the college audience) then email over the info to [email protected] and we'll get you listed in our guide, which we'll launch in early September. There. Simple. Except, why exactly isn't Coldcut's tremendous comeback album on that shortlist. And Jim Noir. And King Creosote. And Archie Bronson Outfit.



Get ready ... the next edition of Remix Night takes place this week, yep, this Friday, 21 Jul. This one is going to be extra special because Remix favourite Space Cowboy will be launching his storming new album 'Digital Rock' (out 31 Jul) with a live set. Plus, on the decks, we will have Coldcut, Stone Lions, Slim Jim and, of course, Eddy TM. It all takes place at Cargo from 8pm to 3am. Admission this time is free before 9pm - after then it's a tenner, although you can get in for £8 if you guest list in advance at

More info:



Chloe's guests today will be young punks Brand B ('Metal Lunchbox', noon to 3pm). Betty and Jen tackle Twin Zero ('Helldrive', 3-6pm). Listen live at



MySpace Of The Day: Ox
See, we have a quick response time when it's required. Only yesterday was our attention drawn to Brighton band Ox, and here they are now as MySpace Of The Day. I'm liking 'Disco Love' best myself, but it is their track 'Broken Silver' which is being used on the soundtrack of US TV drama 'Rescue Me' while 'Domino' appears on the covermount of this month's Notion magazine. All three of those are available to preview here on the MySpace, while you also find a bit of blogging and a video to watch. And also that they are playing at the Beautiful Days festival in Devon this weekend. But if you're too busy to absorb all of that, just go straight to the aforementioned 'Disco Love' - it's great. I'm going to download it for the next CMU radio show.

This and more at


So, ladies and gentlemen, just to clarify, in case there was any confusion, these are the best twelve albums of the last twelve months.

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Ballad of the Broken Seas
Editors - The Back Room
Guillemots - Through the Windowpane
Richard Hawley - Coles Corner
Hot Chip - The Warning
Muse - Black Holes & Revelations
Zoe Rahman - Melting Pot
Lou Rhodes - Beloved One
Scritti Politti- White Bread Black Beer
Sway - This is My Demo
Thom Yorke - The Eraser

And there was me thinking the best album of the last twelve months was Infadels' 'We Are Not The Infadels'. Yep, the judging panel of the Mercury Music Prize yesterday fulfilled their main role in the UK music calendar - that is to make everyone working in music utter the line, "oh for fucks sake, what about [insert your favourite album of the year]".

Despite criticism from some music types that the list was pretty poor, and not representative of the great British music that has been released in the last twelve months, judging panel chair Simon Frith defended the shortlist, telling reporters: "I think it does reflect a good year in music. We could probably have come up with three different lists, which would equally have been credible. One of the criteria we do have is that these are records you could say quite honestly to all your friends that these are really worth listening to".

Needless to say, more or less immediately the bookies declared Arctic Monkeys' 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' the 7/2 favourite to win the £20,000 prize. But then, Mercury judges rarely go with the favourite, so all eyes are probably on the less high profile releases in the list - from the likes of Isobel Campbell, Richard Hawley, Zoe Rahman and Lou Rhodes. Then again, it would be so obvious for the Arctic Monkeys to be declared album of the year, it isn't the obvious candidate to win the Mercury Music Prize, so that probably means it will win - if you follow.

By that logic, Alex Turner et al will be banking their twenty grand on 5 Sep (well, they'll win it on the evening of the 5 Sep, I'm guessing the banks will be shut by then, so it will have to be banked on the 6 Sep).

PS: Apologies to Plan B - me foolishly tipping him to win the Prize this year meant, of course, his album 'Who Needs Action...' doesn't even appear on the shortlist.

PPS: The winner of our sure to become annual 'quickest issue of a Mercury Music Prize related press release' award goes to Serena at Nile On, whose Mercury nomination name-checking press release for the Arctic Monkeys arrived at 12.10pm yesterday, just 18 minutes after the shortlist arrived from the Mercury people themselves. Runner up was Sarah from Mute, whose 'Richard Hawley a nominee' press release arrived at 12.20pm. Well done to both of you. Alas, no twenty grand for you, though you do get your press releases edited up as stories here in the CMU Daily.


The next single from Mercury Music Prize nominated Arctic Monkeys will be 'Leave Before The Lights Come On', which will come out on 14 Aug on Domino. On the flipside will be a cover version of 'Baby I Am Yours', originally performed by Barbara Lewis back in the sixties.

That track is a collaboration with the 747s, who have told CMU how the two bands came to work together. Singer and guitarist Oisin Leech says: "Arctic Monkeys first heard us when they were working on their first tracks with Mike Crossey in Liverpool. He had been working with us in the same studio and played the band some of our tracks which they thought were 'really cool', especially 'Set Me Free'. Then we met the Arctic Monkeys at Reading and Leeds festival last year and got on really well. Alex phoned Mike and asked him to ask us if we'd like to collaborate on a Barbara Lewis cover for their next b-side. We were in the studio in London so we worked out the harmonies. When we called Alex Turner back to accept the offer he was onstage in Japan so we left him a voicemail singing the harmonies down the phone. He just texted back 'incredible'."

Unfortunately 747s guitarist Freddie Stitz couldn't participate in the recording of the track, which includes Oisin on vocals for the second verse, because he is, as previously reported, currently suffering from the chicken pox.


The next single from Mercury Music Prize nominated Richard Hawley will be 'Hotel Room', which will come out on 7 Sep on Mute. Late comers to the nominated album, 'Coles Corner', might want to catch Mr Hawley live. He will be performing an acoustic set at the Curzon Soho in London at 1pm on 6 Aug before introducing one of his favourite films, 'Zulu' (part of the Curzon's My Favourite Film series). He will then play the following festival dates:

11 Aug: Summer Sundae, Leicester
13 Aug: T on the Fringe, Edinburgh
19 Aug: V Festival Stafford
20 Aug: V Festival Chelmsford
3 Sep: Dublin Electric Picnic Festival
17 Sep: End Of The Road, Dorset


Talking of bands collaborating on cover version type projects, which we were a minute ago, Art Brut and We Are Scientists have announced they will release a double a-side single to coincide with their upcoming co-headline US tour, with each band covering a track from the other.

We Are Scientists have told the NME they are planning on covering Art Brut's 'Bang Bang Rock & Roll', while Art Brut will do a version of 'The Great Escape'. Apparently both bands are keen to keep details of their respective covers a secret from the other until the single is actually released.

NME quote We Are Scientists' Keith Murray as saying: "When we saw Art Brut in Germany the other day, they could barely contain themselves with the excitement of revealing their cover to us. Several times, Eddie [Argos] had to actually kind of bite his own fist to keep from revealing its secrets. We do know that it's a version of 'The Great Escape', it's something like nine minutes long and it will 'make us shit our pants', but what happens during those extra six minutes of the song is anybody's guess."

He added: "If Art Brut have done any harm to our precious little tune, I will slice them from nape to 'nads'".

The single will be sold at shows on the tour - whether it will get a wider release over here is not yet clear.


Well, those of you not quite talented enough to participate in one of those online 'remix the tune' competitions might want to do this instead. Though the rules say only US fans can enter, so you'd need to get yourself a mailing address Stateside to take part.

Janet Jackson is giving fans the chance to design a cover for her upcoming album '20 Years Old'. You can download pictures from, which you can then edit to your heart's content to create a cover. Uploaded covers will be given a unique URL so entrants can show off their work, while Janet herself (apparently) will pick out her 16 favourites. The designers of the chosen 16 will each get Janet's back catalogue on CD, while a final four will actually see limited releases of the new album with there artwork on the cover.


Sunday Best have announced that Radio 1's Annie Mac is the next person to pick out her A-Z of music. She has picked out 26 tracks to appear on the second edition of the Sunday Best compo series, launched with the Cuban Brothers earlier this year. It'll be released on 11 Sep, and the tunes chosen for each letter of the alphabet run thus (and damn her for securing Justice v Simian for a compo album - I wanted that on my compo album, not that I've got one, obviously, but that shouldn't stop me from compiling occasional track listings should it?):

Disc One:
A: Roy Ayers - Everybody Loves The Sunshine
B: Ashley Beedle - The Balloon Room
C: High Contrast - Racing Green
D: Johnny Dangerous - King Of Clubs
E: Exit Music - Just (Feat. Alex Greenwald)
F: The Futureheads - Hounds Of Love (Phones' Wolf At The Door Mix)
G: Goldfrapp - Slide In (DFA Mix)
H: Hot Chip - And I Was A Boy From School
I: Cass & Mangan - I Gotta Thang (Uh Huh)
J: Justice Vs Simian - We Are Your Friends (Edison Mix)
K: The Knife - Heartbeats (Rex The Dog Mix)
L: Jamie Lidell - Multiply

Disc Two:
M: Metric - Monster Hospital (MSTRKRFT Mix)
N: Nu Shooz - I Can't Wait
O: Orbital - Belfast
P: Phoenix - Lost & Found
Q: Q-Tip - Let's Ride
R: Royksopp - What Else Is There? (Thin White Duke Mix)
S: The Similou - All This Love
T: Womack & Womack - Teardrops
U: Althea & Donna - Uptown Top Rankin'
V: Kris Menace - Voyage
W: Til West - Same Man
X: Xpress 2 - London Xpress
Y: Young AX - Something Wonderful
Z: Cut Copy - ZZ

You'll get press info on this from Get Involved.


Seafood have one of those brand new albums - 'The Last Outpost' - coming out on 4 Sep, with a single called 'Signal Sparks' out on 31 Jul. To celebrate you can get a track off the album as a free download from our good friends at - the track in question is 'Paper Crown King'.

The band are also playing the following live dates:

23 Jul: Abingdon, Truck Festival
27 Jul: Leicester, Princess Charlotte
28 Jul: London, Metro - Sold Out
29 Jul: Southampton, Joiners Arms
30 Jul: Bristol, Academy
31 Jul: Birmingham, Academy
1 Aug: Norwich, Arts Centre
2 Aug: Liverpool, Korova
3 Aug: Glasgow, King Tuts
4 Aug: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
5 Aug: Oxford, Zodiac
6 Aug: Manchester, Club Fandango


The Magic Numbers are playing a gig in a disused bingo hall in Manchester as part of T Mobiles 'hey, let's stage gigs in quirky venues' programme (that might not be what it's actually called). Manchester's New Century Hall will be converted into a casino for the night on 28 Jul, with the Numbers providing the musical entertainment. Tickets, I guess, can be won somehow. Really should of found out how.


And today's 'dubious survey of the day' (dubious because just over 1000 people were surveyed) is on festivals. And, it seems, the prospect of bad toilets and poor weather and, more importantly, high ticket prices are the main reasons why UK music fans might decide not to go to a music festival. Yep, despite the fact the British music festival market is still seemingly booming, a new survey from research firm TNS says that consumers are expressing some concern at rising ticket prices, particularly when at the same time brands, radio stations and local authorities are staging more free-to-enter music events.

The survey also showed that the 55 to 64 age group were potentially a lucrative market for festival promoters, though they were most sensitive about price. A quarter of the people interviewed in that age group said they would like to attend a music festival, but the average sum they would be willing to pay for a weekend ticket was just £59, with only 3% saying they would consider paying more than £100. In the more traditional festival demographic, 16-24 year olds, the average price interviewees said they would pay was £81, while 22% said they would pay over £100.

Commenting on the survey, Sue Homeyard of TNS said: "Festivals are an intrinsic part of the British summer - and the grey market is no exception. [But] it's sad to see that the rising ticket prices are beginning to deter even the hardiest of fans. And with the growing popularity of free events, we expect to see a gradual shift away from the all-weekend events in favour of these. The big festival organisers need to listen to their customers - and recognise that the under-25s aren't the only market with festival cash to flash."


Authorities in Hong Kong have launched an interesting programme which hopes to use young web surfers to police the illegal sharing of copyright content online.

According to the New York Times, some 1600 young people have been signed up as part of the Youth Ambassadors campaign, and they will police message boards, chat rooms and websites looking for illegally posted content. They will then be able to login to a secure website to report any violations, with that information passed on to the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry or Motion Picture Association, as relevant. The trade organisations will then issue cease and desist letters to the offending websites.

What the kids involved get for their snitching - other than a slap from their filesharing school friends - isn't entirely clear. The identities of young people participating in the scheme will be kept secret, though some critics question a scheme which relies on young people to police the activity of their peers. But others say it will ensure a percentage of the youth population recognise the value of copyright, and, they hope, that message might spread through that demographic by word of mouth.


OK, pay attention, retail news everybody. HMV have announced that Simon Fox will takeover as their Chief Executive when Alan Giles retires in September (Giles, you'll remember, announced his intention to leave earlier this year, at the same time as revealing just how much the music and book retailer is struggling to compete with supermarkets and web mail order companies).

Fox comes to HMV from Kesa Electricals, a company you've probably never heard of, but who own electronics chain Comet, which Fox has been leading in his role as COO for the entire Kesa group. Confirming the appointment, HMV non-exec chairman Carl Symon told the London Stock Exchange that Fox had a "strong strategic mind combined with a first-rate track record in all aspects of retailing", and that he would transform the struggling HMV into a "truly world class multi-channel retailer", which is all very exciting.


More retail news, and more than 100 companies affiliated to the Forum of Private Business, including indie record chains MusicZone and Fopp, have written to the Treasury to protest about that much previously reported loop hole that enables major retailers to avoid paying VAT on CDs and DVDs sold via their mail order outfits by basing those outfits on the Channel Island of Jersey (capitalising on a VAT loophole caused because Jersey is part of the British Isles, but isn't part of the UK or the EU).

Tesco, Asda and online retailers like are among the major players who benefit from basing mail order operations in Jersey - meaning they do not have to charge VAT on anything up to £18. Independent retailers claim that that gives the big players an unfair advantage - enabling them to undercut the smaller music and DVD sellers without effecting their profit margins - and are therefore calling on the government to change the rules so that only goods under £6.80 (10 euros) would be exempt from VAT - meaning most CDs and DVDs would no longer be exempt.

FPB boss Nick Goulding told reporters: "Firms who sell goods such as DVDs and CDs from UK high streets are being driven out of business simply because they cannot compete with their rivals' artificially low prices. In simple terms all retailers want, surely not unreasonably, is for the re-introduction of a level playing field. The situation is unsustainable and there are small retailers across the country who can't continue to be undermined in this way".

The government of Jersey (who licences UK companies who have bases there) have said they won't allow any new companies to base themselves on the island simply for the VAT loophole, and that as licences for those companies already there come up for renewal that they'll look to "gradually reduce and eventually discontinue" VAT avoiding operations. However, the FPB want more conclusive action sooner - and see the British government as being the people with the responsibility to act.


Channel 4 have accused GCap of employing spoiling tactics regarding the expansion of digital radio in the UK.

As previously reported, OfCom is currently planning to launch a second national commercial digital radio multiplex, which means another company can operate a national digital radio network as well as Digital One, who own the current national commercial multiplex and who, in turn, are 63% ownered by GCap.

GCap weren't too happy when OfCom announced those plans, because they had been promised when they invested in the Digital One network that it would be the only national digital multiplex in the commercial radio market. They threatened to sue OfCom over the plans, but seem to have been placated by OfCom insisting that whoever takes on the second multiplex must provide services that complement rather than compete with those operated by Digital One.

Channel 4, who are among the bidders for the new multiplex, essentially say that puts GCap in an unfair position - because they can launch every possible commercially viable radio format on their multiplex before the new one is awarded, and then stop the new multiplex owners from operating the formats which are most likely to be profitable. They point to the fact that GCap have just added their golden oldies station Capital Gold to the Digital One network as evidence that bosses there have a strategy to use OfCom's 'you must complement' rule to their competitive advantage.

Channel 4 have formally aired their concerns in their submission to OfCom on the expansion of digital radio. OfCom and GCap are yet to comment.


Another day, another new music show on Channel 4. The TV network are planning on filming a series of gigs from London's Abbey Road studios, which will be aired on Channel 4 under the 'Live From Abbey Road' banner. Each participating band will perform three songs for the show - which will have no presenter or audience. Bands set to participate include The Who, Massive Attack, Paul Simon, The Killers, Richard Ashcroft and Diana Ross. The shows should air in November.


This weekend is Razorlight weekend on Channel 4. Tomorrow there's a Vodafone TBA: Razorlight show, featuring a live gig recorded in Brighton last week. On Friday they will be the guest band on The Friday Night Project. On Saturday night Miquita Oliver will hosts '4Music Presents... Razorlight', while on Sunday their performance at the recent T4 On The Beach will be repeated. Anyone would think the band's new album was released on Monday.


From new music shows on Channel 4, to axed music shows on the Beeb. And Jimmy Saville has confirmed he will co-host the final edition of Top Of The Pops, which dies on 30 Jul. Saville has told reporters that he said yes as soon as he was asked to appear on the final show: "I did the first one, and I'll do the last". Broadcast magazine report that former hosts Pat Sharp, Tony Blackburn and Mike Read will also all appear on the final show.

What you won't see is Alex Kapranos' t-shirt. Apparently midway through a recent TOTP performance the Franz Ferdinand frontman unveiled a t-shirt that reads 'Franz Fucking Ferdinand'. But the performance was a pre-record, and bosses assure us the disgraceful slogan will not be seen when the set airs. Thank fuck for that.


Staying with the BBC - they've just announced a big structural revamp that supposedly makes digital and new media type things more important. It's too hot round here for me to process the press release just now - so we'll run a proper report on it tomorrow!


Midweek chart stats suggest McFly are on course for their fifth number one this weekend with the Sports Relief fundraising double a-side 'Don't Stop Me Now'/'Please Please'. Now, as you know, we love McFly here at CMU, so we won't be going around saying that the fact there's behind-the-scenes footage of the band's naked video shoot on the DVD version of the single is helping shift extra copies of the release among their teen audience. Though we will say that comments by the band in a recent interview (with the Daily Mail I think) that they thought last album 'Wonderland' was too rocky, and that they're going to go more pop on album number three, are a crying shame. 'Wonderland' might not have sold as well as debut 'Room On The 3rd Floor', but it was flippin marvelous.


If reports are true that former Busted boy Matt Willis is concerned about how his solo career is going, perhaps he should try the naked pop promo thing, I mean, it worked so well for Adam Rickitt. Though I'm not convinced these reports are true anyway, after all his debut album isn't even out yet, and response to debut single 'Up All Night' seemed pretty good to me.

Anyway, the tabloids say those concerns have sent Matt back to the drink, and as a result he spent last weekend back in rehab. A source told The Sun: "When Matt gets stressed about his career he deals with it by hitting the bottle. He checked himself in on Thursday because he realised he needed help and wanted to tackle his problems before they got out of hand".

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