CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 6th October
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- SonyBMG appeal EU ruling
- Vivendi restructure BMG Publishing purchase
- R Kelly sued by former employee
- Private jet firm sue J Lo
- Rapper Cassidy in critical condition
- Brandon Flowers might be a killer
- Travis Barker's arm is broken
- Infadels man dislocates knee
- Pulp release their Peel sessions
- White Stripes made orchestral
- Ray Davies hints at Kinks reunion
- Lavelle launches new label, club nights to celebrate
- Kooks resume UK tour
- Yet more Electric Proms stuff
- Hammond Jr announces tour dates
- INXS to play secret gig - so don't tell anyone
- Scorsese making Rolling Stones film, maybe
- EP Review: Stig Of The Dump - The Homeless Microphonist
- Apple enter into partnership with Starbucks
- Ringtone sales decline
- Xfm Programme Director stands down
- Church show recommissioned
- Ashlee Simpson says she hasn't slept with Nick Carter
- Prince don't like strippers

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TOP BIT>>
Hmmm, not much to rant about today from team CMU - we're all too tired frankly. But here are some random things that I'd like to air.

To everyone telling me this morning how good Chris Martin was on Extras last night while adopting that "ha, and you're always dissing him, I bet you feel stupid now" tone of voice, I'd just like to stress that we here at CMU have nothing against Martin and his fellow Coldplayers. Granted, he named his first born after a computer, which was stupid, but he named his second child in honour of one of the CMU publishers, and that is to be commended. And we are more than aware that Mr Martin is widely renowned as a nice guy, that he is invariably a humorous interviewee, that he supports lots of the causes we ourselves champion, and that he made a good point about James Blunt at the Brits this year. We just think his music's a bit bland, and nowhere near as good as everyone pretends.

Much better than everyone pretends are McFly. Ah yes - our McFly love is surely as frequently referenced here in the Daily as our Coldplay indifference - and just for the record on that, it is genuine. They rocked as usual when we saw them play Wembley the other week and I've just got my hands on a copy of their upcoming new album, and it's really great. And don't bother trying - no one will tell me otherwise.

Also great in the 'Chris and Caro do intend to review one day' bag right now is the lovely debut long player from Jeremy Warmsley, the wonderful brand new CD from Big Strides, the very lovely album from 747s, the brilliant new Krafty Kuts album, the storming Ibiza Rocks compilation, the awesome new Infadels live DVD and that nostalgia-filled Freddie Mercury best of that came out a few weeks back. Oh, and the new Ben Folds album. We are so excited about that you can take every adjective out of the previous sentence and apply it twice. We'd lend you our copy but [a] it's copy protected with our name on it and [b] we'll be playing it on a loop for the next few days.

And that's all I have to say today. Oh, except, had you too forgotten just how brilliant this Kon Kan track is? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W41ZPVrwiu8

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CLASSIFIEDS>>

TICKETWEB HAVE GOT YOUR AUTUMN GIG SCHEDULE COVERED,
...with a host of fantastic bands making their way across the country. Buy online now for punk legends the New York Dolls, Kiwi rockers the Datsuns, electro-dance troupe CSS, slacker pin-up Evan Dando and his Lemonheads, TOTP obsessives Art Brut, soulful rock divas The Gossip, indie supergroup Dirty Pretty Things and much much more. http://www.ticketweb.co.uk.

Promoters - contact clients@ticketweb.co.uk to find out how TicketWeb can help you sell tickets.

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1 OR 2 DESKS AVAILABLE, £50 p/w...
in bright, secure office with high ceilings and wooden floor, with lively Street Marketing & Club Promotions company, within converted warehouse. Kitchen/WCs shared with graphic designers, stylists, architects & similar businesses. Near Old Street tube and trendy Hoxton. Access to Wi-Fi, printers & fax included. Applicants should enjoy listening to CMU-style bands & BBC 6Music. Approx. Contact: chris@xk8organisation.com

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ADVERTISE YOUR SERVICES & PRODUCTS here for just £50 a week, or £150 for two weeks in the Daily and four weeks on the web. Email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for details.

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JOBS N STUFF>>

LABEL MANAGER AT LEADING INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTOR
A rare opportunity to join our label management team. The successful applicant will be a highly motivated & organised individual with relative retail / record label experience. Responsibilities will include day to day co-ordination of retail marketing, stock control, scheduling and basic production duties. Applicants must have the ability to work under pressure and to deadlines. Good understanding of current market essential, knowledge of Punk / Rock / Emo scene an advantage. If you're the person we're looking for contact: kelly.renda@vitaluk.com

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ADVERTISE YOUR JOBS here for just £50 a week, or £150 for two weeks in the Daily and four weeks on the web. Email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for details.

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CMU FRIDAY TIPS

CHRIS' CLUB TIP #1: TCR meets Purple Monkey
The Purple Monkey boys join up with the legendary breaks label TCR to host a joint night south of the river, and together they put on a right impressive line up. TCR chief Rennie Pilgrem and Purple Monkey residents JDS will be joined by BLIM and General Midi making this something of a must go night for any London based breaks fans. TCR's Pippa will also be on the decks - and the night is essentially her leaving do before departing from the label, so TCR fans should get on down there to say goodbye!

Saturday 7 Oct, Babalou, Brixton, 10pm - 6am, £10 (£5 with flyer), info from http://www.thepurplemonkey.net

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Talkin Loud/Sunday Afternoon at Dingwalls with Gilles Peterson & Patrick Forge at Dingwalls
Two of my favourite influences come together at this one: Radio 1's Gilles Peterson and Kiss FM's Patrick Forge return to their legendary stomping ground for the launch of their 'Sunday Afternoon At
Dingwalls' compo, which is released on Monday. Peterson and Forge's Talkin' Loud Sayin' Something club at Dingwalls (known to many simply by the venue name) ran from 1986 to 1991, of course, and this event should prove to be something of a reunion for those that remember it fondly. Expect jazz, of every ilk: funk, Brasilero, Latin jazz, hip hop, AfroBeat, with some of the UK's finest
jazz dancers and a real nostalgic vibe.

Sunday 8 Oct, Dingwalls, Camden, NW1, 12.30pm - 6.30pm, £5, info at http://www.ethermusic.net
and http://www.dingwalls.com.

CHRIS' CLUB TIP #2: Bestival Reunion at The Bedford, Balham
It hardly seems a month has gone by since Bestival itself, which is possibly because it hasn't, but hey, that's no reason to not reunite already. For those who are having withdrawal symptoms from the whole Bestival thing (or for those that didn't make it to the fest itself), the Sunday Best people are staging a Bestival Reunion this weekend featuring all that fancy dress and morris dancing nonsense plus, we're told, a Bestivale drinking competition, DIY DJing and rude karaoke. Music/DJ wise, you'll get Dub Pistols Soundsystem featuring Rodney P, Chris Morphitis, Sombrero Sound System and, of course, Rob da Bank. By the way, while we're talking Bestival, don't forget the early bird discount tickets for 2007 are on sale until midnight on Monday - http://www.bestival.net for info.

Sunday 8 Oct, The Bedford, Balham, SW12, 5pm - midnight, £8 on the door.

CARO'S LIVE TIP #1: Big Strides at Pressure Point, Brighton
Well, you know that I love Big Strides. I don't think I need to labour that point anymore. Well, maybe a bit. They're great, and if you've been ignoring my pleas to check out their live set, their current album 'Cry It All Out', as well as their earlier work and their MySpace page, now is surely the time to take note. This weekend they're playing a date at Pressure Point in Brighton, and as you know, we here at CMU love Brighton, so it would be a good excuse to visit, wouldn't it? Although in theory, it is a school night, it happening on Sunday and all - so perhaps just one for all you Brightonites (not sure how many read the Daily but there you are). Londonites, don't despair, you can see them on Tuesday at London's Metro, with the also-brilliant Milk Kan and The Mighty Roars. Hurrah.

Sunday 8 Oct, Pressure Point, 33 Richmond Place, Brighton, 8pm - 12midnight, £4/£3, info at http://www.pressurepoint.me.uk/
Tuesday 10 Oct, Metro, 19 - 23 Oxford Street, London, 7.30pm - 10.30pm, £5adv, info at http://www.blowupmetro.com/index.aspx
Press info on Big Strides from Rood Media, roo@roodmedia.com

CARO'S LIVE TIP #2: Archie Bronson Outfit
So, I thought I'd just throw in another one for you London types. One of my recently appointed favourites Archie Bronson Outfit are playing two dates at London's ICA this week ahead of a US tour. They're great. If you don't know what they sound like, check out their sound at their very pretty MySpace page, http://www.myspace.com/archiebronsonoutfit. They're playing Tuesday and Wednesday, so it's more school nights, sorry. Well, sorry to those of you who work proper office hours, anyway.

Tuesday 10 & Wednesday 11 Oct, ICA, Carlton House Terrace/The Mall, London, 7pm, info at http://www.ica.org.uk. I suspect you can procure press info on these chaps from Nile-On or Domino IH.

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SONYBMG APPEAL EU RULING
SonyBMG owners Sony Corp and Bertelsmann yesterday appealed against the annulment of the merger that created the joint venture record company.

The appeal was a response to that much reported ruling in the European Court Of First Instance earlier this year which backed claims by pan-European independents trade body IMPALA that the European Commission were wrong to give the go ahead to the 2004 merger given the evidence available to them at that time regarding the possible impact of further consolidation in the global music industry.

The specifics of Sony and Bertelsmann's appeal are not known, although the latter yesterday confirmed the appeal had been lodged with the European Courts, adding that "the EU Commission's 2004 decision to clear the Sony BMG recorded music joint venture was correctly decided on both the law and the facts".

The Court Of First Instance's reason for annulling the merger was primarily based on the claim that the European Commission too readily accepted Sony and BMG's response to their original Statement Of Objections to the merger proposals, without carrying out fresh market investigations. Sony, Bertelsmann and the Commission will say that as extensive investigations as possible were carried out given the four month timeline allowed for merger proposals, though it is unclear if that alone would be sufficient means for appeal.

The appeal process is likely to take about a year. Meanwhile the European Commission will concurrently undertake a renewed review of Sony and Bertelsmann's original merger proposals, because the annulment issued by the Court Of First Instance simply overturned the original approval on procedural grounds, it did not actually state whether the merger itself was, in fact, anti-competitive - that is for the Commission to decide anew, this time fulfilling the Court's procedural requirements. Commissioners could still OK the merger without contravening the Court's ruling.

Regarding that review, Bertelsmann said yesterday: "In connection with that process, the parties will be providing current market data and other information requested by the Commission in the next few weeks".

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VIVENDI RESTRUCTURE BMG PUBLISHING PURCHASE
Elsewhere in European officials getting in the way of Bertelsmann deals news, we hear that Vivendi is going to restructure the way it buys BMG Music Publishing after EC officials expressed concerns regarding the conglom's existing plans.

As previously reported, Universal Music owner Vivendi successfully bid for Bertelsmann's publishing company earlier this year. Bertelsmann are keen to get their hands on Vivendi's cash asap (as you'll remember, they need it to help pay for a recent deal which saw them buy out a major shareholder), but the sale, and therefore the paying bit, cannot go ahead until European officials give the takeover the go ahead (such approval is needed given Universal's existing music and music publishing assets).

Vivendi has proposed a solution to this problem using what those not always corrupt city types call the "hell or high water clause". Basically, they'd pay the money to a third party, probably a bank, who would pass it on to Bertelsmann. The third party would then actually own BMG Music Publishing, until EC approval is achieved (assuming it is, of course), and then ownership of the company passes to Vivendi.

However, EC officials are apparently not very keen on this increasingly used trick, and have let it be known that they would not be especially happy if Vivendi were to use it. While the EC couldn't stop Vivendi from doing so, the conglom doesn't really want to be pissing off the people whose approval they need in order for the deal to go ahead at all, so are likely to comply.

Which means Bertelsmann are going to wait for a little bit longer for their cash. Although Reuters reports that Vivendi have assured the German conglom that they will have their cash by the end of the year, even if the EC approval process drags on into 2007. In that circumstance it would seem that Vivendi would pay for the publishing firm, but that Bertelsmann would continue to officially own it, in essence acting as a "custodian" of a company they have actually sold.

Of course all these tactics of getting Bertelsmann their money quicker throw up interesting challenges should EU approval of the takeover be ultimately denied. None of the majors seem to think this will happen, though IMPALA are opposing it, and none of the majors thought the indie trade group would be successful in blocking the SonyBMG merger either, so who knows?

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R KELLY SUED BY FORMER EMPLOYEE
A former employee of America's current favourite alleged paedophile, Mr R Kelly, is suing the R&B star over allegations he beat him up in a dispute over song-writing royalties.

Henry 'Love' Vaughn claims that he was a long-time "mentor and guide" to Kelly and, more importantly, that Kelly's 2003 hit 'Step In The Name Of Love' was his idea and that, as a result, he had been promised half the royalties from it. He received none. But the incident at the heart of the lawsuit took place earlier this year, on 19 Feb, when Vaughn called by at Kelly's home. It is unclear if any argument about the royalties took place at that time, but Vaughn says that while at Kelly's house the singer and his entourage dragged him into a basement room where Kelly struck him "about the face and body with his fists".

Kelly's lawyer, Allan Mayer, has described Vaughn's lawsuit as "a pathetic collection of half-truths, distortions, and outright lies", denying both the royalty and assault claims. He stresses that police dismissed the assault allegations at the time of the incident because, he says, "there was nothing to them", while on the royalty claim Mayer says that Kelly has written some 2000 songs without ever using a co-writer, so to suggest he did so on this track is, he says, ridiculous: "To suggest that he needed Mr. Vaughn's help to write a song - or that he offered him any portion of his songwriting royalties - is ludicrous."

Kelly, of course, has been fighting allegations of making and possessing pornography featuring girls in their early teens, and of having sex with underage girls, for as long as anyone can remember (well, specifically since a video seemingly showing him having sex with an underage girl surfaced in February 2002, which is before the CMU Daily launched, so as far as we're concerned they've been around since the start of time). Some of the charges relating those allegations have, of course, been dropped over the years, more often than not due to technicalities. The singer is expected to face the remaining charges in court this month.

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PRIVATE JET FIRM SUE J LO
A private jet company is suing Jennifer Lopez over allegations she is late on payments for two chartered flights. It's a shame for J Lo that said company didn't try and secretly record her conversations, then they'd be too busy being jailed to notice the late payments. But alas, they didn't, so she is being sued for $35,000 for two flights she took from New York (one to Puerto Rico and another to Burbank) earlier this year. Lopez is yet to comment on the lawsuits.

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RAPPER CASSIDY IN CRITICAL CONDITION
US hip-hop star Cassidy is in a critical condition in hospital after he was involved in a car crash on Wednesday night. The rapper was en route from New Jersey to a recording studio in Yonkers, New York, when a truck swerved into oncoming traffic, crashing into the side of the SUV he was travelling in. A representative from Cassidy's label, SonyBMG, confirmed: "He was the only one that suffered critical injuries, a fractured skull and broken bones on the left side of his face."

Cassidy is, however, expected to recover. He is currently heavily sedated but is displaying normal brain activity. Friend and colleague Swizz Beatz has said in a statement: "Cass is like my brother, and this has been such a rough year for him. We're all praying and staying positive during this time. Thanks to everyone for their continued support, and please keep Cassidy and his family in your prayers."

The comment about the 'rough year' will relate, of course, to his recent prison time. As previously reported, the rapper was arrested back in June 2005 and charged with murdering one Desmond Hawkins following a shootout close to his home in Philadelphia in April that year. A key witness in that case recanted statements that he'd made indicating that he'd seen Cassidy fire a gun, saying "I only told the police what they wanted to hear, because they wouldn't let me leave, and I had a bullet in my leg". The rapper was, however, convicted of involuntary manslaughter and assault charges, and served eight months in prison.

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BRANDON FLOWERS MIGHT BE A KILLER
The Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers has admitted that he once ran someone over - and doesn't know if they survived or not. However, before you start calling him a killer, and everything, it really wasn't his fault, by the sound of things. He told GQ: "I hit him pretty fast, I was going about 50, he was drunk, he just walked into my lane on the freeway. I was honking and hitting the breaks but I couldn't stop in time. I hit him. It was terrible. Pretty traumatic. He hit my windshield, smashed it up... His shoes fell off. Their shoes fall off, did you know that?"

He added that he never found out what happened to the man, explaining: "They never told me what happened to him."

The band's second album, is, of course, out now. In the same interview, Flowers commented on the conflict between being rock, and being religious. Shit, I didn't know he was a Mormon. "I think Bob Dylan said you can't be a Mormon and be cool," he says, "But I don't know. I feel pretty cool sometimes."

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TRAVIS BARKER'S ARM IS BROKEN
Former Blink 182 now +44 man Travis Barker has broken his right arm whilst shooting a video promo for the title track from upcoming +44 album 'When Your Heart Stops Beating'. Publicist Dvora Vener confirmed the injury but didn't explain how it happened, and added that no tour dates had been cancelled, despite the fact that the band are scheduled to start a series of US tour dates on 23 Oct.

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INFADELS MAN DISLOCATES KNEE
More physical injury news. Richie Vermin of CMU favourites Infadels dislocated his knee at a gig at the Paradiso venue in Amsterdam at the weekend. Not sure whether he was drunk or not, but actually, he must have been, because he tried to fix it by karate chopping it back into place, a move which seemed to give him some relief, but then, surprise surprise, he woke up the next morning in agony. A subsequent x-ray revealed some serious damage, and the leg is now in a cast.

Infadels hope it won't mean any tour cancellations, but Richie now also has a fever and may be forced to return home. The band say they'll wheel him onstage in a wheelbarrow if he feels better soon. And, because things like this happen nowadays, here's a link to a brief clip of him in hospital. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly9V23L1V2A

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PULP RELEASE THEIR PEEL SESSIONS
Pulp are to release a two disc collection featuring Peel sessions recorded between 1981 and 2001. CD1 comprises 14 tracks recorded for legendary DJ John Peel's Radio 1 show, whilst the second CD features live tracks taken from a concert marking Peel's fortieth anniversary as a broadcaster. Here is the tracklisting:

CD1:
Turkey Mambo Momma
Please Don't Worry
Wishful Thinking
Refuse To Be Blind
Pink Glove
You're A Nightmare
Acrylic Afternoons
Underwear
Common People
Pencil Skirt
Sunrise
Weeds
I Love Life
Duck Diving

CD2:
Theme From Peter Gunn
Sorted For E's & Wizz
Help The Aged
This Is Hardcore
Sunrise
Mile End
Do You Remember The First Time?
Babies
Weeds
Weeds II (The Origin Of The Species)
The Fear
The Trees
I Love Life
Party Hard
Common People

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WHITE STRIPES MADE ORCHESTRAL
A collection of classically reworked White Stripes tracks is to be released. Actually 'classically reworked' is a stupid and misleading phrase. Here's what they've done: they've taken ten White Stripes tracks and got classical musicians to play them. See, that spelled it out better.

'Aluminium' was devised by XL Recording's Richard Russell who enlisted composer Joby Talbot to bring together some of the UK's "finest young classical musicians" to work on the project. Russell says: "I've grown up on popular music, but in the last couple of years I've begun to appreciate classical music, and for some reason I've often thought of The White Stripes when I've heard it: the hypnotic, repetitious, enigmatic nature of it."

Explaining why he chose to go with the British spelling for the title of the album, he adds: "I decided to call the album 'Aluminium'- the English spelling, with the 'i', because this is going to be an album of English interpretations of great American songs written by a great American songwriter, and someone who's inspired me constantly, Jack White (the song 'Aluminum' will retain its American spelling - no 'i')".

'Aluminium' will be released on 6 Nov, via the album's own website, on a limited edition run of 3,333 CDs and 999 vinyl albums. It is also expected to be made available via download. The tracklisting is as follows:

Aluminum
I'm Bound To Pack It Up
Why Cant You Be Nicer To Me?
Astro
Never Far Away
Little Bird
Let's Build A Home
Who's A Big Baby?
The Hardest Button To Button
Forever For Her (Is Over For Me)

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RAY DAVIES HINTS AT KINKS REUNION
Yeah, but I'm sure he's done that before. Kinks man Ray Davies has implied to BBC 6Music that he'd like to work again with his brother Dave, who suffered a stroke back in 2004. Ray said "I'm trying to track down my brother, see how he's doing. Maybe he could guest on a few tracks. But we'll see. I spoke to him before I went on my last tour in America, and he's really on the mend. He's playing again, so it's a good sign."

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LAVELLE LAUNCHES NEW LABEL, CLUB NIGHTS TO CELEBRATE
That James Lavelle fella is launching a new record label come fashion house come art house called Surrender All, and he's celebrating with a series of club nights under the same name. These are taking place all around the world, but this being the global village, and you all being global villagers, I thought I'd list them all. First one tonight for all you Berlin types.

6 Oct: Berlin, Watergate
13 Oct: London, Fabric
1 Dec: Brighton, Flawless
Tbc Dec: Liverpool, Chibuku
12 Jan: Singapore, Zouk
3 Jan: Tokyo, Womb
9 Feb: Los Angeles, Zanzibar

Music wise, Surrender's first release will be the brand new UNKLE album, which has been produced by Queens Of The Stone Age producer Chris Goss. More on that when we get it. Meanwhile, more info from heatherfinlay@saintedpr.com

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KOOKS RESUME UK TOUR
The Kooks have resumed their UK tour, which, as previously reported, was put on hold because singer Luke Pritchard was suffering from tonsillitis. The band were forced to cancel five dates, but were back on the road this week, appearing at the Sheffield Octagon on Wednesday. No news yet on when the postponed dates will happen, but the band promise they'll let us all know soon. In fact, why don't you read what they had to say in a statement on the band's official website:

"Luke's doctor has said he can continue the tour in Sheffield... hopefully he will have no setbacks. In terms of the re-scheduled shows, we will be able to tell you the new dates soon. The band are really excited to be back and were very upset about not seeing everybody last week, but will make up for it come December."

Here are the remaining tour dates:

6 Oct: Manchester Academy
7 Oct: Manchester Academy
9 Oct: Exeter University
10 Oct: Cardiff University
11 Oct: Birmingham Carling Academy
13 Oct: Cambridge Corn Exchange
14 Oct: Glasgow Barrowlands
15 Oct: Aberdeen Music Hall
17 Oct: London Forum
18 Oct: London Astoria
19 Oct: London Shepherds Bush Empire

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YET MORE ELECTRIC PROMS STUFF
Yes, more news about the BBC's Electric Proms line up. As part of a series of films set to screen alonsgside the live music events, a new documentary about Pete Doherty will be shown at a free premiere at Camden's Roundhouse on 25 Oct. The programme, 'Arena: Pete Doherty', which follows the singer from early in 2006 to pretty much now, will then screen on BBC2 in November.

Other films to be shown as part of the line up include the much reported Beastie Boys live music movie, 'Awesome: I Fuckin' Shot That!', 'loudQUIETloud: A Film About The Pixies' and 'Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man'.

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HAMMOND JR ANNOUNCES TOUR DATES
Albert Hammond, Jr. has announced a series of UK tour dates. The Strokes man has also revealed that '101' will be the first single release proper from his debut solo LP 'Yours To Keep'. The album is out on 9 Oct, with the single to follow on 27 Nov.

22 Nov: Birmingham Academy 2
24 Nov: Leeds Cockpit
25 Nov: Manchester Academy 3
27 Nov: Glasgow ABC 2
28 Nov: Nottingham Rescue Rooms
29 Nov: London Scala

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INXS TO PLAY SECRET GIG - SO DON'T TELL ANYONE
Now, don't go telling anyone, alright, because this is a secret. The all new INXS will perform a secret gig this coming Wednesday at a Soho venue, ahead of their sell out gig at Shepherds Bush Empire on Thursday night. The secret gig, to an audience of about 100, will feature a thirty minute stripped down set, followed by a Q&A session.

The two live shows precede the UK release of new studio album 'Switch' on 16 Oct, which is coming out over here via MX3 Records through Universal (ie not SonyBMG as in the US and Australia). The UK version of the album will include additional tracks to releases elsewhere in the world, including live track 'Taste It', and dance remixes of 'Afterglow' and 'Never Let You Go'.

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SCORSESE MAKING ROLLING STONES FILM, MAYBE
Martin Scorsese is reportedly making a documentary about The Rolling Stones and will film their forthcoming shows at the Beacon Theatre in New York as part of the project. It's not clear, though, if the film, if, indeed, there really is one, will be about the Stones' current tour or, rather, a rockumentary about the band's entire career (Scorsese's recent film on Bob Dylan focused on just his earlier career, of course).

Elsewhere in Stones news, Keith Richards has spoken about that palm tree incident that caused the latest Stones tour to start late. He says: "It's embarrassing, really. I was sitting on this gnarled shrub about six feet off the ground. I was wet - I'd been swimming. I hit the ground the wrong way, my head hit the trunk, and that was that. It's not the first brush with death I've had. I guess what I learnt is, don't sit in trees anymore".

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EP REVIEW: Stig Of The Dump - The Homeless Microphonist (Beer & Rap)
A seasoned and formidable battle MC, Stig Of The Dump's debut release could have degenerated into a collection of petty diss tracks, especially after the opening skit where he talks about how much fun it is to insult people. Fortunately, both for the listener, Stig, and the UK hip-hop scene, the album quickly changes to a stomp around a night-out that's insightful, intelligent and hilarious, all backed by some stomping beats that marks out some producers to watch. Coming over like a cross between Sage Francis's cunning word play and Johnny Vegas's lifestyle and philosophy, this geordie is equally impressive on the mic whether keeping heads nodding with an 'Ill Billys' anthem, getting dizzy with head-spinning double time spits while sharing wine with an old blues sample on 'Rhite Whino' or rocking a ferociously dark bad trip like on 'On a Rampage'. But a special highlight, over an especially swinging beat rapped around a female vocal sample, comes when the mad scientist Dr. Syntax jumps up to trade insults with Stig on the slow-dance duo 'Fatty & Specky' and tells him "you ate all the pi while I memorised it". In a time when mainstream and underground hip-hop are becoming completely separate entities, the UK looked to be in danger of taking grime for granted and not really producing anything interesting, but with this homeless microphonist going beserk on Newky Brown, we might just pull through. AM
Release Date: 30 Oct
Press Contact: Trailer Media [all]

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APPLE ENTER INTO PARTNERSHIP WITH STARBUCKS
Apple Computers and Starbucks announced a joint venture yesterday which will see the launch of a Starbucks branded area within the iTunes Music Store (in the US at least, not sure about here).

The special iTunes section will promote the Hear Music catalogue which has been built by Starbucks' entertainments division. That catalogue includes albums by new and classic artists that have been promoted through the Starbucks stores, as well as compilations and playlists chosen by Starbucks staff.

It's not yet clear how much cross-promotion will come from the new partnership, though Starbucks Entertainment president Ken Lombard did confirm to Billboard that "significant signage" of the new online venture would be posted in the coffee chain's stores.

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RINGTONE SALES DECLINE
A number of industry experts in the UK have said that the until recently booming ringtone market is slowly going into decline, citing competition from full track mobile download platforms, consumer concern about certain ringtone operators' practices, and the growth in illegitimate sources of ringtones as reasons for the market shift.

Research firm MusicAlly report that while UK ringtone sales grew from £34.8 million in 2000 to £177.3 million in 2005, this year revenues are expected to fall to £143.5million. The company reckons that trend will continue, and the UK market will be worth just £78.8 million by 2011. Meanwhile, global revenues at Jamba, a leading ringtone company, are expected to fall from $500 million to $300 million this year.

The Guardian quote Universal Music UK's New Media chief Rob Wells as saying: "The ringtone business in the UK has stalled and is now in decline. You can put it down to price, piracy and the Crazy Frog effect".

While the Crazy Frog phenomenon provided a boost to sales last year, some reckon it also caused consumers to become tired of novelty ringtones. Meanwhile younger music fans are using software that enables them to create their own ringtones from MP3s, which they can then share with friends via Bluetooth. More affluent early adopters, previously big customers of ringtones, are also spending more money downloading full tracks to the music players that are now installed on their phones.

Paul Goode of mobile research firm M:Metrics told the Guardian: "The ringtone market is experiencing a significant shift. The availability of tools to make user-created ringtones more accessible to the masses poses an even greater threat to companies who can offer no additional value to a consumer who buys a ringtone in lieu of making one themselves."

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XFM PROGRAMME DIRECTOR STANDS DOWN
Xfm's Programme Director Andy Ashton is leaving the GCap owned station after five years with the company, during which time the Xfm brand has grown within London and, especially, on a nationwide basis.

Confirming his departure, which has immediate effect, Ashton said this week: "I have had a fantastic time at Xfm over the last five years building one of the world's best radio brands. I have some amazing achievements and memories to look back on, and I look forward to watching Xfm go from strength to strength. The time is now right for me to embrace an exciting future".

The station's Network Managing Director Nick Davidson added: "I would like to thank Andy for his significant contribution and commitment to Xfm. He is a talented programmer and I wish him the very best for the future".

There are no details as yet regarding a replacement.

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CHURCH SHOW RECOMMISSIONED
Channel 4 has recommissioned another two series of the Charlotte Church Show, which is a damn good idea - they might have figured out how to make it good by a third series (OK, it's not that bad, but it's not that great either, though that is more down to the quality of programming ideas than its presenter - and the theme tune thing is rather good, I must admit).

Confirming the new deal, Channel 4 entertainment and comedy boss Andrew Newman said: "Charlotte has proved herself to be a hugely talented star and has got better and better each week. She has become an incredibly charismatic all-round entertainer while remaining 100% natural, relaxed, down to earth and completely unfazed by her stardom."

Church herself said she is excited about the expanded opportunities at Channel 4, even though it will mean putting her pop career on hold: "I've loved the experience so much that I'm going to take a year out from making records to concentrate on the show, so that's it even better when it returns next year".

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ASHLEE SIMPSON SAYS SHE HASN'T SLEPT WITH NICK CARTER
Ashlee Simpson has said that Backstreet Boy Nick Carter's claims to have slept with her are complete rubbish. According to reports, Carter said he'd done Simpson in order to get back at his ex, needless celebrity heiress Paris Hilton.

Asked if the claim was true, she said: "No, it's not true. That is so random. When I heard that, I was dying laughing."

Yeah, but she would say that, wouldn't she?

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PRINCE DON'T LIKE STRIPPERS
Prince doesn't like strip clubs but still goes to them, apparently, which is odd. Well, I say "apparently", but this news was reported by The Sun, so only believe it if you believe that if it's in The Sun it's so. The story is that the pop star was in a strip club in Hollywood and offered the dancers double their wages to stop gyrating, reportedly telling them that it was "wrong to dance like that", and adding "What would your parents think if they could see you now? You're too good for this. You shouldn't be selling yourself so cheap."

The dancers refused, so Prince, a regular at the club, by all accounts, looked away. A fellow punter said: "No-one knows why he comes here. He doesn't drink, doesn't like the music and now doesn't like the dancers."

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