CMU Daily - on the inside Monday 12th March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- V2 enter IMPALA/Warner debate
- UK branch of Al Gore backed youth TV network launches
- Busta Rhymes banned from film set
- Love sued for outstanding cash
- Brown's body finally moved
- Jackson visits US airbase
- Boston singer Brad Delp dies
- Blige and Foxx triumph at Soul Train Awards
- Man arrested after shooting at students' union
- Album reviews: Various Artists - To Mum With Love, Various Artists - Celtic Dreams, Various Artists - You're Beautiful
- Manics, Keane and Feeder to play new Welsh festival
- Arctic Monkey outfits to be auctioned by Christie's
- All Saints plan to continue
- REM to start work on new album
- SMD to hook up with Monkey and Klaxons
- Snow Patrol tunes to feature in Spidey Man
- Squeeze announce live dates
- Single review: Cortney Tidwell - Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up
- Universal reach deal with Bolt.com
- Wembley Arena launch new Ticketmaster services
- The Orchard sign up Greensleeves
- US senate committee set date to review XM Sirius proposals
- Webcasters start political fight against latest royalty ruling
- Chart update
- Total Rock world album chart
- This week's Student Radio Chart
- Subshot playlist
- Beth Ditto is proud to be a fat ugly bitch
- Hatherley says she was pushed from Ash
- Louis Walsh says he's been stabbed in the back
- Albarn asks Gallagher to get involved in anti-nuke campaign

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TOP BIT>>
OK, so here's a round up of some of the UK type things happening over there at that SXSW thing, which is now well and truly up and running in good old Austin, Texas, with the music showcases bit kicking off proper on Wednesday. In no particular order (well, slightly chronological)...

Beggars imprint 4AD will stage its first ever SXSW showcase this year. They're taking over Emo's Main Stage on the opening day of the music festival bit (Wednesday, 14 Mar) with sets from Blonde Redhead, the Mountain Goats, Beirut, Emma Pollock and Wolf & Cub.

Also on Wednesday (14 Mar) is the Victory Records showcase, which isn't strictly a UK label, though we were PRed by their UK office, so that's OK! It takes place at Emo's Annexe from 8pm with 1997 (8pm), A Day To Remember (9pm), Moros Eros (10pm), The Forecast (11pm), Spitalfield (midnight) and Bayside (1am) all playing.

The previously reported Showcase Scotland event bringing together a stack of Scottish music talent will take place on Friday, 16 Mar, at the Lava Lounge (405 E 7th Street) with the following playing: Emma Pollock, The Fratellis, Paolo Nutini, The Hedrons, Jo Mango, My Latest Novel and The Twilight Sad.

Three of CMU's favourite labels, Memphis Industries, Saddle Creek and Team Love, will join forces to stage a showcase, at The Beauty Bar Patio (617 East 7th Street) on Saturday 17 Mar. It kicks off at 8pm with the line up as follows: Art In Manilla 8pm, Field Music 9pm, Tilly And The Wall at 10pm, The Pipettes at 11pm, Tokyo Police Club at 12pm and Cursive at 1am.

And also on Saturday, 17 Mar, there's the must go Envision Management / Ninja Tune Showcase at The Parish which will feature Amon Tobin, Kid Koala and Yppah - kicks off 9.45pm ish.

Some bands who've been plugging us now. Firstly, CMU favourites of old, Electric Soft Parade, who play the Honeypot Party at Moonshine 51 (303 Red River Street) on Thursday, 15 Mar at 4.45pm, and then on Friday 16 Mar at Dermot O'Leary's Radio 2 show recording at the Radisson Hotel (111 E Cesar Chavez Street) at 2ish, and then at the East West Showcase that night at Maggie Mays, and then on Saturday, 17 Mar, at the Filter Party, which kicks off at 8pm at Cedar Street Courtyard.

The Pierces ("Songs that are pitched on that crucial, yet unspoilt outcrop where Tom Waits plays bluegrass 78s to TLC" say Word Magazine) play the ILG Showcase at Maggie Mae's Rooftop on Friday, 16 Mar, at 11pm.

Next The Oohlas, ("bittersweet guitar pop that's both absurdly listenable and unapologetically grand'" say Blender) are playing the Baeble Music Party @ Red 7 Club on 15 Mar at 3.30pm, and the Stolen Transmission Party at Red Eyed Fly that night at midnight, and the DirectTV show at 'Bat Bar' Austin Convention Centre on 16 Mar at 5pm, and the Indie Click / Absolutepunk.net party at The Six Lounge / Tap Room on 17 Mar at 2pm, and at Blender House at 4ish on the same day. Phew, they're going to be busy.

And finally Huddersfield band Kava Kava (http://www.myspace.com/kavakavamusic) who play the Emoto Party at GSD&M (828 W. 6th St) at 5pm tomorrow (13 Mar), then the official SXSW showcase on 14 Mar at Maggie Mae's at 10.30pm, and on Friday 16 Mar at The Luck Media and National Recorder party at The Parish (214 E. 6th S (above Jazz Kitchen) which kicks off at midday.

And that's enough for the time being. If you're heading to SXSW have a great time and if you stumble across a CMU correspondent called Duncan, do say hello.

PS: Extra late and extra long today - I don't know what we were thinking.

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TELL US WHAT U THINK>>
We are currently staging our first ever reader survey. We would really appreciate it if you could spare 10 minutes to answer some questions about CMU and the music world in general. Go on, it's not difficult and it will really help us improve the CMU Daily service. And we'll love you forever if you do it. Well, until the next time we do a survey, anyway. To participate all you have to do it follow this link...
http://www.songpeople.co.uk/cmu

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CLASSIFIEDS>>

MUSIC WITH MEANING
'Music With Meaning' is an opportunity to reach other like-minded musicians, fans and media, open the discussion further and bring intelligent music back to the forefront. Music is the most powerful medium the world has ever known. Nothing else can influence the way we feel, think, behave and live like music can. We can no longer endure the empty-headed, emotionally-stunted, soulless, meaningless music being spewed out by the production line. We have had our fill of manufactured muppets and their pointless songs cluttering up popular culture leaving little room for those with something to say to be heard. We are not alone. Real music lovers of the world: it's time to unite and make a stand.

Together we have the power to demand more inspiration from our music and fight for music with a message and the power to move hearts and minds. We have the power to ensure the pop stratosphere is populated by real artists and meaningful music, not chinless talent vacuums striving for fifteen minutes of forgettable fame. What happened to true musical role models? Why should we be forced to seek solace in the achievements of eras gone by? We need inspirational music icons for this generation and generations to come; people who can highlight injustice in the world rather than draw attention to their own mundane pseudo-celebrity antics.

The Campaign For Music With Meaning is here to support artists who have something to say; who say it because they mean it; and who mean it because they care. Join us, and together we can crush the pretenders and make music with meaning the sovereign soundtrack of our lives.

If You Stand for Nothing, You'll Fall for Anything

http://www.musicwithmeaning.co.uk
http://www.myspace.com/jointhestruggle

DESKSPACE IN SUNNY CENTRAL SOHO OFFICES
We are a young, fun creative agency based slap bang in the middle of Soho with 4 spare desks in a spacious, dedicated office. Fabulous location, £75 per week per desk all in, including insurance, rates, 24/7 access, superfast internet, and the added bonus of working alongside other lovely and stimulating people. Email Giles on sohodeskspace@gmail.com for more info.

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JOBS N STUFF>>

!K7 ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOKING AGENCY MANAGER BASED IN BERLIN
We require someone experienced to start a new !K7 booking agency in our central office representing a mixed roster of artists ranging from DJs to indie / rock bands, all requiring full international touring
schedules. Some artists would be signed to !K7, some not. We are an english-speaking company therefore a full grasp of the English language is required. Salary: negotiable. Closing date for applications: End March. Reply in writing to: Marie Clausen, !K7 Records GmbH, Heidestrasse 52, 10557 Berlin, Germany or via email to marie@k7.com

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CMU RECOMMENDS>>

INSOMNIACS BALL
The third Insomniacs Ball will take over London's seOne Club on 5 Apr, with another storming line up of bands and DJs and, this time, ballroom decor and fancy dress. Already on the bill are Brakes, Blood Red Shoes, Pull TigerTail, Fear of Flying, The Officers, Goose, These New Puritans, The Longcut, Bolt Action 5, Headland and Black Daniel, plus DJ sets from Eddy Temple Morris (Xfm), Jack Knife Lee, Marsha (Xfm), Mark Beaumont (NME) and the Artrocker DJs. Plus Wall Of Sound presents the Shock Rock arena featuring live sets from A Human, Shakes, Shy Child and Reverend and the Makers and DJ sets from Riotous Rockers, Mekon, Alvin C and Infadels. Tickets are a mere £21.50, with a limited number of student tickets available for NUS card holders at just £15. VIP golden tickets which offer access to an exclusive VIP area are also available for sixty quid. Ticket type stuff can be found at http://www.ticketweb.co.uk, line up info will appear over the coming weeks at http://www.insomniacsball.co.uk, and for press info you need to drop an email to laura@scruffybird.com.

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MYSPACE OF THE DAY: JACK PENATE

You know, I have a real weakness for the phrase 'young turk'. So it's no surprise that I would be interested in the output of a record label/management outfit called Young Turks. One of those contributing to the company's output is one Jack Penate, who, I'm sure you all know (well, some of you) is one of those eclectic singer-songwriters that I'm always quite fond of. Eclectic in the sense of 'taking his influences from a wide range of genres', by the way, not eclectic in the sense of 'crap'. Anyway, I like him, his stuff is catchy and interesting and worth your having a listen if you haven't already. Now's a good time to acquaint yourself, because he's got a massive amount of tour dates upcoming, plus appearances at SXSW and, I believe, an EP coming out in April, so watch that space. That MySpace, to be precise. Ha. I'm so very, very funny.

http://www.myspace.com/jackpenate

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V2 ENTER IMPALA/WARNER DEBATE
V2 ploughed into the UK indie sector's ongoing and much reported (here, anyway) IMPALA/Warner debate on Friday by issuing a statement in support of the pan-European trade body and their dealings with Warner Music.

The statement follows that fortnight of infighting in the UK indie sector, with fellow London independent Ministry Of Sound most proactively against moves by IMPALA to offer its blessing to any Warner takeover of EMI in return for a series of unconfirmed 'remedies' in support of the independent sector, known to include support for the indie sector's new digital rights agency Merlin. Ministry object to the concept of supporting further consolidation in the major label sector, and at what they argue is the overly secretive way the IMPALA/Warner deal has been reached. As previously reported, they also accuse IMPALA chiefs of having a conflict of interest in their deals with Warner because of their own involvement in Merlin, and have called for those chiefs to resign the trade body board.

But in what I think we could probably call a metaphor-tastic statement, V2's Tony Harlow and David Steele, CEO and MD respectively, said on Friday that while lending support to Warner in its bid to acquire EMI may not be ideal, the remedies Warner were offering amounted to a good deal, and would ensure that a market place with three similarly sized majors would be better than the current less than ideal situation of two major majors, and two smaller ones. On the need for individual independent label owners to enter into a non-disclosure agreement in order to get access to the specifics of the IMPALA/Warner deal, they added that, while again that might not be ideal, labels owed IMPALA chiefs, who have been working hard to better opportunities for European indies, the benefit of the doubt, and that they should agree to the NDA terms in order to properly assess the deal on the table.

As we published Ministry's most recent statement on the issue in full, I suppose it would only be fair to offer the same courtesy to V2. So here it is. And enjoy - it's not often you get corporate statements referencing Don Quixote, Michael Caine movies and legendary moments of FA Cup history in a bid to communicate their point of view...

"The time has come for us to comment on the ridiculous situation which seems to be dividing the independent sector. We believe this is a total distraction created by certain parties who, in squabbling over constitutional details, fail to recognise that the war is actually being lost on all sides.

The independent sector, despite its small victory in the matter of Sony/BMG, is under attack everywhere. The reality is even harsher in Continental Europe than in the UK, but we can be confident that the pressure is coming soon. It is of course right to say that fast moving, free thinking parties still have much to offer the business, but increasingly they are playing uphill and into the wind, and their successes are becoming like those of Hereford in the FA Cup. Rarely do we win the tournament, and even the pyrrhic victories are few and far between.

The fight for IMPALA (and therefore AIM) has never been a zero sum game, it has always been about the creation of the fairest playing field possible. This may not end up being totally fair, but at least it must be better than what we face in the year 2007 without any remedies and with two monoliths dominating the business. This has been the stated goal since the year 2000, and we have always offered to sit and talk to any party who would be prepared to acknowledge the impact of increased concentration in the market and was prepared to deal with it sensibly and profoundly. Now this moment has been earned and has arrived, we are suddenly besieged with nay-sayers.

We have to say on behalf of V2, that we have never been interested in tilting at windmills. As soon as someone is prepared to acknowledge us and talk, it seems obvious that we would do so even if talking comes with the necessary compromises to market protocol that non-disclosure agreements present. We are of the view that even Rourkes Drift could have been avoided if the Zulu nation had been prepared to wave the white flag. It would have been a shame for Michael Caine but there you go.

As such, IMPALA is right to go and hear what is on offer, and we were prepared (even in our position as members of the merger committee and significant funders) to delegate these matters to named and trusted parties within our community. Without doing this, we simply couldn't have heard the peace terms. Of course we discussed it first, and everyone noted that as a trade organisation, IMPALA could not mandate its members and needed to assume that some may choose to dissent, and even continue fighting. That would be their prerogative, but it doesn't stop the process. To disagree with an offer is no sin, to fail to hear it is pure folly. As such, those who chose to refuse to sign a non-disclosure and hear the peace terms, deserve no sympathy. They have chosen their own position as outsiders throwing stones, but they have ceded their right to input constructively.

This has been a long and drawn out process. It has relied on a singularly united front amongst independent companies who compete in business and whose interests lie right across the huge diversity of different elements that are the significant characteristic of our ever changing and ever challenging business. That we have a position at all has been the result of the amazing contributions of key parties who have given up their time and expertise to undertake it and to win whatever victories they can. We at V2 know that whilst we have been willing, interested and financial participants, we have had to step back from the real hard work of litigation and lobbying because we have our own business to take care of and we have to defer to greater expertise in matters of European lobbying, law and economics. We should all be thanking those who haven't been so selfish, and if we choose to name Michel Lambot, Patrick Zelnik and Martin Mills as particularly deserving of this praise, it is because they have fought tooth and nail from the beginning. Although they are not the only ones, we do notice that the dissenters have never been amongst the prime movers. Who is being opportunistic in suddenly appearing profoundly interested?

We live and operate in a complex world, but one that has strict business rules guiding it. We constantly claim to be a "grown up" business and yet this needless squabble seems to reflect our inability to accept that these rules are bigger than us and bind us like any other business. No-one has been signed up to anything, and everyone has the right to dissent. Even members of the merger committee who could not see the terms of the agreement until the same time as the AIM and IMPALA Boards, but were prepared to support the good intentions of their peers. But to complain over matters of process seems to us to be fiddling whilst Rome burns, and their dissent alone does not destroy the validity of the process. In short, it is destructive, not creative.

We need redress now or, to avoid mixing metaphors, the Barbarians will be at the gates. For this, the independent sector needs to show its strength and be united in accepting that being consulted, even with constraints, is far better than being routinely ignored which is the reality of the three previous merger efforts".

So there you go, it will be interesting to see if and how Ministry now respond, and whether any other major indies will formally come out against the IMPALA/Warner deal.

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UK BRANCH OF AL GORE BACKED YOUTH TV NETWORK LAUNCHES
So, there's a reason why today's CMU Daily is a bit late. You know, when Al Gore invites you over for pastries, you can't really say no, can you? So I didn't. Which is why my bits of the Daily were submitted so late. Al Gore was throwing a breakfast press conference to announce the UK launch of his radical new TV venture Current TV, which goes live on Sky and Virgin Media today (yes, Sky and Virgin Media representatives were in the same room, and no fist fight ensued, not even one pastry was thrown).

Current TV is the Gore backed venture which aims to give young film makers and broadcast journalists a platform to distribute their work - a bit like YouTube except there is some editorial control as to what goes on air, and it's a proper TV station rather than a web based platform. About a third of the network's programmes come directly from viewers, while the rest come from a network of alternative filmmakers around the world. Some programming appears as part of ongoing strands, including a music strand, while others are stand alone shows (or 'pods' as they like to call them) that are randomly placed into the schedule. Each show lasts just a few minutes, on the basis that viewers in the 18-35 generation haven't got the concentration span required to watch traditional fuller, erm, thingys... what was I talking about? Can't remember. Anyway, the shows are short and randomly distributed and stuff. Good for people with poor... whatnots.

Viewers are invited to submit potential 'pods' through various routes. A stack of resources are provided via the network's website to help those filmmakers make their programmes as cool looking as possible (including a library of copyright cleared music) and additional support will be offered by the Current TV's full time team to get the pods ready to air. Pods are then initially posted online where viewers can vote for which ones should go properly to air. The network then licences the content from the people who created it to them, paying them a fee for airing their content.

Leading the launch Gore said Current TV, which has been live in the US for 18 months, was "democratising TV", making the television medium, the most popular medium with consumers, more accessible to independent content generators who can now, thanks to revolutions in digital film making technology, make their own shows but who still suffer from being refused access to the TV audience because of the relatively small number of gate keepers who control that access - ie the traditional TV networks. Gore: "We are opening up a medium that has traditionally had a one-way conversation with its audience, and making it have a dynamic multi-way conversation".

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BUSTA RHYMES BANNED FROM FILM SET
According to reports, Busta Rhymes has been banned from the set of a film he's working on because of security fears. The New York Mayoral Office Of Film, Theatre And Broadcasting has agreed to keep the rap star away from the NYC filming of 'Order of Redemption' after "the Police Department raised public safety concerns". The New York Times claim the reason behind that decision is that the movie's producers were unable to afford the cost of the extra officers police deemed necessary on account of the hip hopper's "celebrity status".

Rhymes, aka Trevor Smith Jr, has, as previously reported, had recent run-ins with the police and has of course maintained his silence over the killing of his bodyguard Israel Ramirez in New York last year, refusing to speak to the police about witnessing the incident, which took place on another set, that time for one of Rhymes' own music promos.

Order of Redemption's director Jeff Celentano says: "This is tremendously unfair to Busta, who has been nothing but professional during this project. This is a bigger loss for the city of New York".

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LOVE SUED FOR OUTSTANDING CASH
Courtney Love is being sued by drug rehab center The Beau Monde over an allegedly unpaid bill of $181,000. The facility say that they've made repeated requests for the singer to settle the bill, which was incurred back in 2005, when Love was ordered by a judge to undertake a drugs treatment programme on account of her probation violations. The Beau Monde say that the singer made an upfront payment of $10,000 but did not stump up the outstanding money.

Love's lawyer says that the action, filed at the Orange County Superior Court, "will be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties shortly".

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BROWN'S BODY FINALLY MOVED
The body of the late James Brown has finally been moved to a tomb at the home of one of his daughters, Deanna Brown Thomas, in South Carolina. He's not to get too comfy, however, as according to reports, the soul star's body may be moved once a public mausoleum is built for him.

Anyway Brown's partner Tomi Rae Hynie, his children and some close friends were present at a private interment ceremony on Saturday presided over by the Rev Al Sharpton. Hynie said: "James would have been very proud and happy to see that all of the family was together, and it was just beautiful. Rev Sharpton had some very, very beautiful things to say."

As previously reported, legal disputes over Brown's estate continue, and it was those disputes which led to the eleven week delay in laying him to rest, but all parties finally agreed on a resting place, his children agreeing that they "wanted their father entombed with dignity".

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JACKSON VISITS US AIRBASE
Michael Jackson visited a US airbase during his recent trip to Tokyo. Jackson addressed a crowd of around 3000 troops and family members at Camp Zama, telling them that they were "some of the most special people in the world". He continued: "It is because of you in here today, and others who so valiantly have given their lives to protect us, that we enjoy our freedom".

Jackson also attended a ceremony to see an army officer promoted, and placed a pin on his uniform. He was presented with a framed certificate thanking him for his visit by garrison commander Colonel Robert Waltemeyer.

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BOSTON SINGER BRAD DELP DIES
Brad Delp, lead singer with US band Boston, has been found dead at his home in New Hampshire. Police confirmed that on Friday afternoon they responded to a call for help, and found Delp's body at his house some time later. No cause of death has been officially confirmed but a police spokesman called the death 'untimely', and indicated that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident.

Delp joined Boston back in the early 70s when he met the band's driving force - guitarist, songwriter and producer Tom Scholz. Later signed to Epic, the group met with huge success with their eponymous debut, but Scholz's attention to detail and disputes with the label meant that subsequent albums were slow in coming, and over the years the band's line up changed constantly. Delp himself left the band in 1991, although rejoined for a subsequent tour, and is said to have been involved in a new Boston album variously rumoured to be in the pipeline.

A statement from the singer's family read: "On behalf of the Delp family and Brad's fiancee, Pamela Sullivan, it is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Bradley Delp, the legendary vocalist of the rock band 'Boston'. Brad was admired and loved by many, known as the 'man with the golden voice' and recognized throughout the music community as 'the nicest man in rock and roll'. Brad will be deeply missed by his family, friends, fans and the entire music community".

A statement from Tom Scholz on the band's website reads: "As you all know by now, Boston's lead singer, Brad Delp, was found dead in his home on Friday, March 9th 2007. Plans for live Boston performances this summer have, of course, been cancelled. My heart goes out to his wonderful fiancee Pamela, his two children and other family members, his close friends and band mates, and to the millions of people whose lives were made a little brighter by the sound of his voice. He will be dearly missed".

Delp's family are planning a private funeral but there are plans for a public memorial service at a later date. Donations can be made in the singer's memory to The American Heart Association.

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BLIGE AND FOXX TRIUMPH AT SOUL TRAIN AWARDS
Mary J Blige and Jamie Foxx have taken the top gongs at the US's Soul Train Awards, with Blige winning Best R&B/Soul Album By A Female Artist for 'The Breakthrough' and actor Foxx taking the equivalent male award with 'Unpredictable'. Neither artist was there to pick up their award, however.

Elsewhere, The Isley Brothers took Best Album By A Group for 'Baby Makin' Music', Beyonce was awarded with Best Single By A Female for 'Irreplaceable' and John Legend got Best Single By A Male for 'Save Room'. Gnarls Barkley got Best Group Single for 'Crazy', whilst Ne-Yo was named best new R&B, Soul Or Rap Artist. Jay-Z took the Best Video award for 'Show Me What You Got'.

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MAN ARRESTED AFTER SHOOTING AT STUDENTS' UNION
A 22 year old man has been arrested after a student was shot during a club night at Loughborough Students' Union on Saturday night. The victim, named as Aaron Weller, was working as a security guard at an urban music night staged by external promoters Touch n Tease. Weller's injuries are not thought to be life threatening and he is currently recovering in a local hospital.

The shooting took place at about 2.45am after a performance from headline act Pretty Ricky. Reports suggest the incident began when two club-goers started fighting. Someone involved in the fracas then set off CS gas, shortly after which the shots were fired. Needless to say chaos ensued as security staff cleared the building while awaiting the arrival of armed police who subsequently sealed off the building and reportedly found two guns at the scene of the crime. The 22 year old arrested in relation to the shooting is not a student at the university - the union's Saturday night club being open to non-students.

Loughborough Vice Chancellor, Professor Shirley Pearce, said in a statement yesterday that the university and the students' union were working closely with the police in relation to the incident, adding: "The incident this morning has shocked us all at the university and union - we are a small close knit community and events such as this are, thankfully, incredibly rare. Our first thoughts are with the victim and their family".

Despite the shock on campus, where the union building is still closed, the consensus is that the union's security staff coped pretty well in evacuating their venue given the fact incidents such as these are very rare in students' unions. It's not clear how long it will be before the union will reopen though, in the only upside to this story, the current closure meant last night's DJ booking, Fearne Cotton, had to be cancelled.

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ALBUM REVIEWS: Various Artists - To Mum With Love (UMTV), Various Artists - Celtic Dreams (UCJ), Various Artists - You're Beautiful (UCJ)
OK, so these three compilations have all been released just in time for Mothers' Day, which is next Sunday by the way (consider this your advance warning). One is very blatantly aimed at kids short on ideas for Mothering Sunday gifts, the others are designed to be given prominent racking as the day of mothers approaches, for kids who want to appear a little more committed than just picking up a random Mothers' Day compilation, but who aren't committed enough to go seek a totally original gift from outside the record store. Of course any compilation album designed for the 'generic mother' is always in danger of being hit and miss, given that mothers form quite a large demographic, and there is a certain flaw in the logic that just because a female music fan has children that she'll suddenly adhere to certain musical stereotypes. Given that wide demographic I possibly should have consulted a wider sample group before writing this review, but only one mother - my mother - was at the other end of the phone at the opportune moment, so let's take her thoughts as gospel.

Though that doesn't necessarily favour 'To Mum With Love' which has opted to overcome the wide demographic challenge of a compilation for mothers by going for a 'let's try to please everyone' selection which, when taken as a whole, tends to please no one. I must admit, I was a little surprised to see James, Keane and especially the Ordinary Boys on this Mothers' Day package, though, as my mum admits, younger mums would probably appreciate such inclusions. My mum wasn't that appreciative. And I think she could have done without Girls Aloud, Sugababes and Pussycat Dolls also. There were some tracks on here that she did like - from the likes of Will Young, Nancy Griffiths, The Commodores, Cat Stevens and even Wet Wet Wet's 'Love Is All Around'. Oh, and Katie Melua's 'Closest Thing To Crazy', but that must have been on several million compilation albums by now. And I suspect the Ordinary Boys loving mother could do without Melua warbling out of their stereo. So for any one mother this album provides a handful of songs for ripping into their MP3 collection (should your mother have such a thing), but as a whole it's probably not the perfect soundtrack to any one mother's special day. Though, if you've got a houseful of mothers of several generations, then perhaps it would work. And a note for UMTV's design team - my Mum likes the packaging. So award yourself a gold star.

'Celtic Dreams', as you'd probably assume, is two CDs of music from artists who can somehow claim to be the thing of dreams of the Celtic kind - ie they hark from Scotland, Ireland or Wales, they know their way round the pan pipes, and they write music ready made for the death scene in some weepy movie. Which is the problem with this CD as a Mothers Day gift. These aren't the upbeat songs our Celtic brethren like to riotously sing on their way home from their pubs, but the maudlin, haunting type that they like to sing to send their listeners into a mild state of depression. Which possibly isn't what you Mum wants to be listening to on Mothers' Day though, presumably, this compilation has a life expectancy after the Mothers' Day market also and, for fans of kind this stuff, it is probably worth checking out, but I'd check you're Mum is a fan of this kind of stuff before assuming it would make a good Mothering Sunday gift.

If my mum was going to stick the CMU Recommended sticker on one of these three (and on this occasion we might allow her to do so) then it would be 'You're Beautiful', which seems to have approached the 'wide demographic' challenge by ignoring it and opting for all the Magic/Heart type songs your stereotypical mother might enjoy. And as a result this stereotypical mother did enjoy it. Despite the rather dull packaging (no gold stars for this one) and the fact that the Tom Jones song listed on the Amazon track listing for this album doesn't seem to have made it to the final cut (much to my Mum's disappointment, Mr Jones' version of 'Green Green Grass Of Home' being a Celtic release she definitely does have time for), this is the one my Mum would genuinely like to receive, thanks to appearances from the likes of Andrea Bocelli, Michael Ball, Joe Cocker, Jennifer Warnes, the Fron Male Voice Choir and the ubiquitous Katie Melua, again. Oh, and a track from my Mum's fave of the moment, previous MySpace Of The Dayer Patrizio Buanne, whose appearance was such a welcome surprise, my Mum almost crashed the car when it came on. Which is a commendation if ever I heard one.

Conclusion? Buy 'You're Beautiful' if your Mum's like mine. Buy 'Celtic Dreams' if they like being depressed on Mothering Sunday. Buy 'To Mum With Love' if your mum likes her Ordinary Boys and Pussycat Dolls as much as her Commodores, Cocker & Warners and Melua. Or, alternatively, think of something a bit more original than a compilation album. When, exactly, did people start giving CDs as Mother's Day gifts anyway? What, exactly, was wrong with the fairy liquid bottle pencil pot holder? Coloured in highlighter pen yellow. Now that's a Mothers Day gift. CC
Release dates: 5 Mar
Press contacts: PPR ('To Mum With Love'), Hyperlaunch or UCJ IH (the others)

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MANICS, KEANE AND FEEDER TO PLAY NEW WELSH FESTIVAL
A new major festival is set to take place in Wales this year and it's just announced its headliners. The Manic Street Preachers, Keane and Feeder will top the bill for the Fflam festival, taking place in Swansea's Singleton Park from 13 -15 Jul. They will be joined by the likes of Levellers, Enter Shikari and Placebo. More than fifty bands are expected to play on four stages to an audience of around 30,000 festival goers, with further acts to be announced in the coming weeks.

John Curd, of promoters Straight Music, said: "Our aim is that Fflam will become to Wales what T in the Park is to Scotland. We see this as a long-term investment in Wales, driven by our passion for quality music and giving great value for money. As well as giving locals the chance to see some of the best live bands around, we are also dedicated to nurturing new talent and the full line up will reflect that. Fflam will put Wales firmly on the festival map for years to come".

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ARCTIC MONKEY OUTFITS TO BE AUCTIONED BY CHRISTIE'S
Outfits worn by Arctic Monkeys on their video acceptance speeches shown at last months Brit Awards are to be auctioned off by Christie's. As possibly previously reported, the band appeared in the first video - their acceptance speech for Best British Group - dressed as characters from The Wizard Of Oz, and in the second - for Best British Album - dressed as the members of The Village People. There is no construction worker's outfit, however, as the person who appeared in that acceptance video was not the band's guitarist Nick O'Malley but a real life construction worker asked to appear as a joke.

The seven outfits, being auctioned by an anonymous seller, are expected to raise in the region of £600-£800 as one lot in Christie's pop memorabilia sale taking place on 26 Apr in London. Other lots going on sale that day include a Gibson guitar once used by Marc Bolan and a costume worn by David Bowie during his last Ziggy Stardust performance back in 1973.

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ALL SAINTS PLAN TO CONTINUE
All Saints have assured fans that they'll continue as a band, despite the fact that they've been dropped by Parlophone, as previously reported.

In a post on their MySpace the girls say this: "First of all the four of us just want to say that we're really sorry you didn't get to know about the recent news ie the split from our label before anyone else. It really wasn't that clear cut for a while and we wanted to let things settle for a while and give ourselves a break. As usual the press seems hell bent on repeating their negative reporting and we just felt it was time to say something official."

"Of course we're really disappointed that things didn't work out with our album, 'Studio 1', on Parlophone. We've just hit some very weird turns along the way with some of the media which is such a shame for our fans as we know you love our music. We're going to continue making our music and we'll keep you in the picture as things go".

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REM TO START WORK ON NEW ALBUM
According to reports, REM are to start recording their next studio album shortly, and will be working with U2/Snow Patrol/Bloc Party and CMU fave producer Jacknife Lee on it.

Guitarist Mike Mills says: "We are psyched to work with Jacknife Lee. We've got a great batch of new songs, and can't wait to put them down."

Lee adds: "There is no model for REM. Consistently one of the Great Bands, if not the greatest. They push themselves further than most, doing every time what is the goal for any artist - explore. These new songs are some of their most exciting and visceral yet."

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SMD TO HOOK UP WITH MONKEY AND KLAXONS
According to Gigwise, Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford has said that he and music partner James Shaw might collaborate with Klaxons and Arctic Monkey Alex Turner at some point in the future. Ford has recently produced for both Arctic Monkeys and Klaxons, and says that whilst they had no desire to include such collaborations in SMD's upcoming debut album, he wouldn't say never.

He's quoted as saying: "We didn't want to go too far down the vocal collaboration route because it starts going a bit like UNKLE or something like that where it's more about the singers than the actual group or the music. I mean obviously with me producing I've got opportunities of getting Alex (Arctic Monkeys) and Klaxons on it but we thought we'd stay away from that until a bit later in the game."

He continued: "Yeah I reckon we probably will because they're all really talented and I'm sure we could do something really good, but just for this album we thought we'd make it more interesting instrumentals at this moment in time you know?"

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SNOW PATROL TUNES TO FEATURE IN SPIDEY MAN
According to reports, Snow Patrol have contributed a song to the soundtrack of the upcoming third Spiderman movie. That's it, really.

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SQUEEZE ANNOUNCE LIVE DATES
Squeeze have announced their first reunion dates since 1999. Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook will play eight gigs in November and December, following Tillbrook's solo dates in Australia this month. Here are't dates.

27 Nov: Southampton Guildhall
29 Nov: Glasgow Carling Academy
30 Nov: Newcastle City Hall
1 Dec: Wolverhampton Civic Hall
3 Dec: Bristol Colston Hall
4 Dec: London Hammersmith Apollo
7 Dec: Manchester Apollo
8 Dec: Liverpool Philharmonic

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SINGLE REVIEW: Cortney Tidwell - Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up (Ever Records)
The main event on this download only package is the lush 12 minute remix by acclaimed producer, DJ, remixologist and all round good bloke Ewan Pearson, who slaps a whacking great pair of shiny disco boots on the track before sending it off to a glistening subterranean cave packed full of glitterballs and, like, weird but cute little creatures. It's a thing of haunting spectral beauty, with elfin vocals (could be a boy, could be a girl) that recall Mum and other merchants of spooky twee. The original track is helpfully included here too, which is no use for grooving to but still very fine indeed, and good enough to suggest further investigation of Tidwell's two albums for Ever is definitely warranted. MS
Release date: 19 Mar
Press contact: Tailored Communications [CP, RP, NP] Cool Badge [CR, RR, NR] Motion [O]

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UNIVERSAL REACH DEAL WITH BOLT.COM
As expected, the Universal Music Group confirmed last week that it had reached an agreement with video sharing website Bolt.com, the YouTube style service it launched copyright violation proceedings against last year. According to a report in the Financial Times, the deal will see the major gain up to half the proceeds of the video sharing site's recent sale to rivals GoFish, as well as a royalty payment for all future sharing of the major's content via the Bolt.com platform, which seems rather generous, given it may as yet face similar action for the other majors, and won't have much left to offer them if they come knocking. Unless I'm failing to understand something crucial about the whole arrangement. Whatever. Bolt.com have pledged to have a tracking system in place within three months which will monitor the posting of Universal owned content on its site.

Confirming the deal with Bolt.com, and alluding to other similar ongoing litigation with other networking sites like Sony Corp owned Grouper and Murdoch's MySpace, Universal Music Group chief Doug Morris said in a statement last week: "While our preference is to work out similar arrangements with other user-generated sites so that we can bring our music to the widest possible audience, we will continue to be vigilant in protecting our rights and those of our artists and songwriters".

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WEMBLEY ARENA LAUNCH NEW TICKETMASTER SERVICES
Ticketmaster announced on Friday the introduction of two new services at London's Wembley Arena both aiming to combat ticket touting, including the resale of tickets on auction sites like eBay.

The first service is called TicketExchange which enables customers who, for legitimate reasons, have unwanted tickets to sold out Wembley Arena events to sell them on to other fans at face value. Any sale is conducted through the Ticketmaster system, so provides less risk to those who buy the tickets that way. The first concert to offer the resale service will be a sold out Shakira concert taking place this week.

Ticketmaster have also announced that Wembley Arena is the latest venue to install that previously reported AccessManager system which allows customers to download and print out bar coded tickets via the internet, and for the venue to better spot forged tickets, and to be able to provide more promotional information alongside their tickets, which are printed out by customers on an A4 sheet.

Announcing the launch of the new services at Wembley Arena, the venue's Ticketing Manager Emily Thorpe told CMU: "Wembley Arena is famous for being the 'must play' venue in the UK. With a capacity of 12,000 and a reputation for presenting some of the most in-demand acts in the world, we often see fans who have been let down by unscrupulous re-sellers on the un-authorised secondary market. We are delighted to be able to offer a legitimate TicketExchange service to our customers and look forward to providing that service across a wide range of our events".

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THE ORCHARD SIGN UP GREENSLEEVES
Digital content aggregator types The Orchard have just announced a marketing and digital distribution deal with London's leading reggae/dancehall label Greensleeves, which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year. The partnership will see the indie's catalogue now made available to all the digital music services The Orchard deals with - that includes music from the likes of Shaggy, Shabba Ranks, Gregory Isaacs, Pato Banton, Yellowman, Beenie Man, Eek-A-Mouse, Freddy MacGregor, Barrington Levy, Wailing Souls, Sizzla, Scientist and U-Roy.

Confirming the deal, Steve Weltman, CEO of Greensleeves parent The Zest, told CMU: "The Orchard has proven its leadership as a distribution and marketing company that puts the music first and understands how to market it. That's why we chose The Orchard, and we believe that they're better suited than any other company to help us maximise our catalogue. This is a big year for both Greensleeves and The Orchard, and we're looking forward to working together to turn new and old fans on to some of the best reggae sounds on the planet".

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US SENATE COMMITTEE SET DATE TO REVIEW XM SIRIUS PROPOSALS
The catchily titled US senate committee - The Judiciary Subcommittee On Antitrust, Competition Policy And Consumer Rights - has confirmed it will have a session to discuss the proposed merger of US satellite radio broadcasters XM and Sirius on 20 Mar.

As previously reported, the two radio companies announced their intention to merge last month, but the merger faces considerable opposition from within US media regulator the FCC, and within the wider political arena, with the terrestrial radio firms lobbying hard to stop there being one united major satellite player which they fear would be a stronger competitor (and which they will argue would be an unfairly strong competitor). A presentation from Sirius chief Mel Karmazin, who would lead the merged company, is likely to be the main event within the session. T

he Senate Committee is just one stop of the regulatory journey Karmazin et al are headed - both the FCC and US Department Of Justice will need to investigate the merger proposals before the companies will be allowed to merge.

FCC chief Kevin Martin has been a critic of the merger ever since such an alliance was first rumoured, and although he doesn't seem to be quite so adamant as he was that the merger will not happen he is still sounding a bit negative about the proposal. He told the New York Times last week: "[We] will need to determine the benefits to consumers of this deal, and in doing that, we will need to carefully look at what price will be frozen and what consumers will be getting for that price".

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WEBCASTERS START POLITICAL FIGHT AGAINST LATEST ROYALTY RULING
Elsewhere in US radio news, and another area of the broadcasting sector that is getting political - internet radio. The web radio sector was dealt a blow last week when the US Copyright Royalty Board, the independent body that sets rates for blanket music licensing, agreed to proposals by the record industry to raise the rates charged to internet stations from eight cents to nineteen cents a track by 2010. It's a rise which many internet radio stations, including the increasingly popular and soon to arrive in Europe Pandora, say could well put them out of business.

Which is why internet radio types are going political, as well as legal, in a bid to find a political route to force the Copyright Royalty Board to change its mind. Their claim is that internet royalty rates are unfair because they end up paying much higher fees than traditional terrestrial broadcasters when you take into account how much bigger revenues those traditional players make.

Digital Music News quote Rags Gupta, formerly of internet broadcaster Live365 and now with internet TV provider Brightcove, who says: "It may take an act of Congress to fix this. Given the volume of streaming done each year by the large webcasters, I'm sure they will exhaust the appeals process".

Meanwhile, giving his company's official testimony on the issue last week, Real Networks Senior VP Legal, Bob Kimball, argued that Congress should be less concerned about getting involved in setting one royalty rate or another, and instead deal with the more general issue of ensuring webcasters get the same deal as the traditional broadcasters. He said: "In a mobile world, every radio will receive 'over-the-air' broadcasts, and whether these broadcasts are FM, satellite, or WiFi should be entirely irrelevant under the law. Congress should not pick the winners and losers in this competition".

There is some political support for the webcasters, with US Representative Edward Markey saying in an early Congress debate on the issue last week: "This represents a body blow to many nascent internet radio broadcasters and further exacerbates the marketplace imbalance between what different industries pay".

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CHART UPDATE
So, little change atop the singles chart this week, except for a little swapping around in the second and third places. So that Take That are still number one with 'Shine', Gwen Stefani and Akon are now number two with 'The Sweet Escape' and Kaiser Chiefs are at three with 'Ruby'. New entries wise we have Biffy Clyro with 'Saturday Superhouse' at 13, Robbie and the Pet Shop Boys with 'She's Madonna' at 16, Madness with 'Sorry' at 23, Christina Aguilera with 'Candyman' at 24, Enter Shakari with 'Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour' at 27, Joss Stone with 'Tell Me 'Bout It' at 28, Scissor Sisters with 'She's My Man' at 29, Simply Red with 'So Not Over You' at 34, Paolo Nutini with 'New Shoes' at 35, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly with 'I Spy' at 37, and LCD Soundsystem with 'North American Scum' at 40.

Albums wise, and no change at the top where Kaiser Chiefs are still number one with 'Yours Truly Angry Mob', though hurrah for this, Arcade Fire have the highest new entry with 'Neon Bible' at 2. Other new entries go like this: Russell Watson with 'That's Life' at 4, Bryan Ferry with 'Dylanesque' at 5, Cascada with 'Everytime We Touch - The Album' at 6, Donny Osmond with 'Love Songs Of The 70s' at 7, Dolly Parton with 'Best Of' at 9, Air with 'Pocket Symphony' at 22, Grinderman with 'Grinderman' at 23, Idlewild with 'Make Another World' at 24, Marty Wilde with 'Born To Rock & Roll' at 27, Willy Mason with 'If The Ocean Gets Rough' at 33, The Horrors with 'Strange House' at 37 and Tracey Thorn with 'Out Of The Woods' at 38.

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TOTAL ROCK WORLD ALBUM CHART
As counted down on Total Rock over the weekend - http://www.totalrock.com. New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (Warner Bros)
2. Evanescence - The Open Door (SonyBMG)
3. Fall Out Boy - Infinity On High (Universal/Island)
4. My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade (Warner Bros)
5. Nickelback - All The Right Reasons (Warner/Roadrunner)
6. Muse - Black Holes & Revelations (Warner Bros)
7. Queen - Greatest Hits 1,2,3 (EMI)
8. Hinder - Extreme Behavior (Republic)
9. 30 Seconds To Mars - A Beautiful Life (EMI/Virgin)
10. Billy Talent - Billy Talent II (Warner/Atlantic)
11. Incubus - Light Grenades (SonyBMG)
12. Saliva - Blood Stained Love Song (Universal/Island)
13. Guns n Roses - Greatest Hits (Universal/Geffen)
14. Razorlight - Razorlight (Vertigo)
15. Stone Sour - Come What(ever) May (Warner/Roadrunner)
16. The Used - Berth (Warner Bros)
17. Killswitch Engage - As Daylight Dies (Warner/Roadrunner)
18. Blue October - Foiled (Island)*
19. Disturbed - Ten Thousand Fists (Giant)
20. Audioslave - Revelations (SonyBMG/Epic)

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THIS WEEK'S STUDENT RADIO CHART
The most played tracks on student radio last week. Info on all things Student Radio Chart from Al-B - music@studentradio.org.uk

1. [1] Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
2. [5] Maximo Park - Our Velocity
3. [2] Gossip - Standing in the Way of Control
4. [4] The Killers - Read My Mind
5. [7] Little Fray - How to Save a Life
6. [14] The Fratellis - Baby Fratelli
7. [NE] The Rakes - We Danced Together
8. [RE] Idlewild - No Emotion
9. [3] Bloc Party - The Prayer
10. [12] Joss Stone - Tell Me Bout It
11. [9] Gwen Stefani - Arcade Fire
12. [8] Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running
13. [23] Biffy Clyro - Saturday Superhouse
14. [6] Mika - Grace Kelly
15. [NE] The Rumble Strips - Alarm Clock
16. [NE] Ghosts - Stay the Night
17. [20] Lily Allen - Alfie
18. [13] Willy Mason - Save Myself
19. [NE] Razorlight - Cant Stop This Feeling I've Got
20. [10] The Bees - Who Cares What the Question Is
21. [17] Fall Out Boy - This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race
22. [RE] Switches - Drama Queen
23. [11] Klaxons - Golden Skans
24. [16] Just Jack - Starz In Their Eyes
25. [28] New Young Pony Club - The Bomb
26. [NE] Example - You Cant Rap
27. [15] The Twang - Wide Awake
28. [25] Get Cape, Wear Cape. Fly - I Spy
29. [30] Modest Mouse - Dashboard
30. [21] The Shins - Australia

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SUBSHOT PLAYLIST
The videos appearing on the SUBtv network of screens in students' union bars this week. New entries marked with a *.

A-List
Alex Gaudino feat Crystal Waters - Destination Calabria (Ministry/Data)
Biffy Clyro - Saturday Superhouse (Warner/14th Floor)
Bloc Party - I Still Remember (Wichita)*
Camille Jones vs Fedde Le Grand - The Creeps (Ministry/Data)
Enter Shikari - Anything Can Happen (Ambush Reality)
The Fratellis - Baby Fratelli (Universal/Fallout)
The Fray - How To Save A Life (SonyBMG/RCA)
Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control (Back Yard)
Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby (B-Unique)
Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow (Universal/Polydor)*
Maximo Park - Our Velocity (Warp)
Paolo Nutini - New Shoes (Warner/Atlantic)
The Rakes - We Danced Together (V2)
The Rumble Strips - Alarm Clock (Universal/Fallout)
The Twang - Wide Awake (B-Unique)

B-List
Air Traffic - Charlotte (EMI)
Ash - You Can't Have It All (Warner/Infectious)*
Fear Of Flying - Three's A Crowd (NA)
Ghosts - Stay The Night (Warner/Atlantic)*
Houzecrushers - Touch Me (Nebula)
Jamelia - No More (EMI/Parlophone)
J Dilla - Nothing Like This (Stones Throw)*
The Little Flames - Isobella (Deltasonic)
Madina Lake - House of Cards (Warner/Roadrunner)
Nathan - Do Without My Love (Mona)
New Young Pony Club - The Bomb (Modular)
Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position (Universal/Polydor)
Tiny Dancers - I Will Wait For You (EMI/Parlophone)*
Thirteen Senses - All The Love In Your Hands (Universal/Vertigo)*
yourcodenameis:milo - Understand (V2)*

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BETH DITTO IS PROUD TO BE A FAT UGLY BITCH
She said it, not me. The Gossip's Beth Ditto says she's proud of being a "fat ugly bitch". Honestly. She said it. Well, according to The Sun she did. In an interview. Look: "I read things where people call me a 'fat ugly bitch' and, you know what? I am a fat ugly bitch and it's amazing! I feel like ugly is beautiful. I am at the point where I can take that as a real compliment. If normal people don't get it and aren't open to it then that's fine. I have lots of people who understand".

To be fair, she is not actually what I would call ugly. She is a big lass though. That's undeniable. I don't know whether she's a bitch or not because I've never met her.

Anyway, in the same interview she commends Britney Spears for her recent choice of coiffure, saying: "I'm loving it. If you think what her hair meant to her and what it did to a generation of little girls - she did really turn out a generation of little Britneys. And for this to happen is one of the most radical things ever. It's sad and she is sick, but it can also be amazing and empowering. I am going to post her a copy of 'Rebel Girl' lyrics by Bikini Kill."

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HATHERLEY SAYS SHE WAS PUSHED FROM ASH
Charlotte Hatherley has said that it wasn't really her choice to leave Ash, as you might have thought, given that she was spending time on her solo career just before it happened and all that. Implying that she actually had nothing to do with the decision she told The Independent: "In the end it was the boys' choice. They wanted to go back to being a three-piece. They knew I wasn't happy in the band any more so they assumed that I'd be fine with the decision. I did find it was a bit weird. I left the conversation thinking: 'What just happened there? Did I leave or was I fired?' But it was all very nice and there were no hard feelings".

She also spoke, however, about Ash's 2004 album 'Meltdown', and said that she didn't enjoy making it - implying that she might have moved on anyway at some point. Hatherley: "The boys were really in love with American music and with America. After years of touring the States they were listening to a lot of Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, stuff I've never really been into. I found recording 'Meltdown' really difficult. Basically I couldn't relate to it. Things were getting a bit stale and I think we all needed something to change".

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LOUIS WALSH SAYS HE'S BEEN STABBED IN THE BACK
Louis Walsh has said that he was stabbed in the back regarding his departure from The X-Factor. Which is odd, because I'm sure I read a statement in which he said that it was time for him to move on. But you know what they say - the truth will out via the tabloids. Or do they? Possibly not.

Anyway, the pop manager has also criticised the removal of host Kate Thornton from the show. Personally, I think it's an inspired move as she's incredibly annoying, but there you go. Here's what the Walshster apparently told The Sun: "It was a bad move sacking Kate. She was like a mother figure for all the acts. She will be a big loss. It was made worse because Simon and ITV kept telling Kate she was safe, that she'd be staying. But it would seem Simon's word is not his bond. I was really shocked, I have to admit that. I did feel like I had been stabbed in the back. With Simon, it's all about work. He told me, 'It's nothing personal.'"

Simon Cowell has responded that the decision was out of his hands, however, and that ITV overruled him. Here's what he says: "Much like Coronation Street, we have to make changes to a long-running hit show - and sometimes, the most popular people have to go. Louis has been in discussions about the commitment he could offer, and he was so busy with his management career. It just worked out that it would be better if we got a new judge. I did put up arguments for Louis and Kate to stay, but ITV put up their arguments for them to go and it was their ultimate decision."

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ALBARN ASKS GALLAGHER TO GET INVOLVED IN ANTI-NUKE CAMPAIGN
Damon Albarn has asked erstwhile Britpop nemesis Noel Gallagher to join him in campaigning against the UK government's decision to renew Trident.

As previously reported, Albarn recently appeared at a gig aboard a Greenpeace boat moored at Tower Bridge, joined by the likes of Massive Attack's Robert '3-D' Del Naja and Brian Eno. The night of that event, a journalist point outed Gallagher's recent praise for Albarn's new project 'The Good, The Bad & The Queen'. Which moved Albarn to respond as follows: "I'd respect him enormously if he came and added his very articulate and acerbic wit to trying to get the government to rethink spending £25 billion of our money on a totally and utterly useless defence system. I'm trying to get everyone to come on to the Greenpeace boat and make a noise. Not necessarily music, but a noise."

He continued: "I haven't worked out how I can do it, but anyone who wants to... come along in the next few weeks when it moors up and shout over the river at the government. The more people, the louder the noise".

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