CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 16th March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Bertelsmann win appeal in ongoing Napster lawsuit
- Universal offer concessions to clear BMG publishing acquisition
- Music Week award winners
- The Horrors gig cut short by Elvis smash
- Stevie Wonder named in unfair dismissal lawsuit
- Kid Rock accused of assault
- Details of Delp's suicide emerge
- Single review: Rotating Leslie - Radio/Stop
- Elton hits album upcoming
- Alice C, Motorhead, Joan Jett tour UK
- Razorlight to appear at anti-slavery gig
- Art Brut announce tour
- Good Charlotte tour
- Seasick Steve dates
- SXSW: Thursday roundup
- McFly add more up close dates
- Dream Theater Download warm up
- Deftones signings
- EMI rejig global marketing team
- Three US indies sign up to Snocap's MySpace download service
- IMPALA want US style music radio review in Europe
- Digital turnoff dates set
- ITV may replace Play with movies
- Single review: Five O'Clock Heroes - Skin Deep
- Pet Shop Boy likes his IT investigations
- Robbie Williams still officially Take That member
- Kate Moss got Pete Doherty high
- Bucks Fizz reunite for one off
- Jo O'Meara shows her face
- Snoop Dogg loves Man U, or so he says

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TOP BIT: INSOMNIACS BALL UPDATE - THE TWANG ADDED>>
Can I just take this opportunity, here in the good old Top Bit, to announce something more than a bit exciting. Our friends at Leyline have just confirmed that the buzzy, buzzy, buzzy The Twang will be playing at next month's CMU Recommended Insomniacs Ball - how exciting is that? And look, here's the latest line up as of five minutes ago: The Twang, Brakes, Blood Red Shoes, Fear of Flying, The Officers, Goose, These New Puritans, The Longcut, Dandy Wind, Bolt Action Five, Headland, Black Daniel, AHuman, Shakes, Shy Child and Reverend And The Makers all live, plus on the old decks the Artrocker DJs, Marsha (Xfm), Mark Beaumont (NME), Eddy Temple Morris (Xfm), No Pain In Pop, Gavin Nugent, Mekon, Riotous Rockers, Alvin C and the wonderful wonderful Infadels.

As you all surely know by now, this all takes place in the vaults beneath London Bridge station - ie the seOne Club - on 5 Apr. And the vaults will be dressed to impress for the proceedings this time round, with velvet curtains, candle sticks and dodgy portraits, and Ball attendees are encouraged to dress accordingly - cravats, tweeds and bowlers for the boys and sequins and tiaras for the girls (or vice versa if you prefer, I doubt anyone will complain).

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 type nonsense you need to drop an email to laura@scruffybird.com.

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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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HOT OFF THE PRESS>>

NEW PLAYMUSIC
Good news: Playmusic's April issue hits the streets this week with Maximo Park on the cover, brilliant interviews with Klaxons, Gossip, CSS, Enter Shikari, Charlotte Hatherley & !!! (interestingly no bands starting with 'The...' this month). They've gone all sporty on yo' ass and have the inaugural GigOlympics and interband drinking chess (well draughts) and the free CD is the ultimate 12 unduly unsigned bands, so for £3.50 you get a small slice of paradise. Buy it! Or even better go to www.playmusic.tv and subscribe for only £28 (a massive 33.33% off the cover price, Christ they're generous!)

Bad News: Beer still isn't free

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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 The Twng, Brakes, Blood Red Shoes, 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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CMU FRIDAY TIPS

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Goodlife and Tickled Pink at Sin
The Good Life night has joined forces with Tickled Pink once again at the newly refurbished Sin (formerly Rouge) on the Charing Cross Road. I know this well because the advert has been caned by London house pirate, Unknown FM, who will be supplying many a DJ: DJ Lewi, Crazy D with Miss Behaviour, Gary L'voe and the rather good DJ 303 all in the Electro/Tech room. Pete Doyle, Rob Dowie, Jonny Lee, Travis and Robin Samuels will be in the 'Dirty Pumping' House room, with Richie Fingers, Junior, Pete Lewis and Ross Miller in the Deep Tech Soul room. And then there's Chris Fry, Stevie B, Rossco and Gav in the Vocal and Classic House room. Phew. The theme for this bash is 'A Night At The Playboy Mansion' so ladies, be warned: dress as centerfolds or bunnies, and guys, smoking jackets are the order of the day. Other attractions include live sax, percussion, themed dancers, visuals and indian head massage!! Should be a mad one.

Sat 17 Mar, Club Sin, 144 Charing Cross Road, London, 10pm-6am, £10 in advance, £12 conc, £15 on the door. Press info info@goodlifelondon.com or that advert on 90.2fm, info 07877 264 505

CHRIS' CLUB TIP: Remix Night at Cargo
Already done this yesterday really, but in case you forgot, I'll go through it again. Tonight's Xfm Remix Night is doubling up as an upfront launch party for 'Dance Rocks' - the 'I know I mentioned it yesterday but can I say again how feckin good it is' upcoming new album from Remix supremo Eddy TM. And with that in mind two of the artists on the album - Future Funk Squad and Atomic Hooligan - will be playing live, while Eddy TM will be on fire on the decks no doubt giving you a sneaky preview of some of the brilliant tracks and remixes (many exclusives) that appear on the compo. Should be a hot one - and not just because of this weirdly warm March weather.

Friday 16 Mar, Cargo, Rivington Street, London, 8pm-3am, £10 (£8 if guest list yourself at http://www.leylinepromotions.com/theremix), press info from Leyline

SAM'S CLUB TIP: Music Is My Boyfriend at The Good Ship
This is a new night from the Music Is My Boyfriend DJs. A massive dose of electro, indie, grime and punk with a polysexual flavour. Promising enough oomph to satisfy everyone, live acts include punk-carnival sounds from Ebony Bones, Hackney's own pop queen thecocknbullkid ("if Morrissey and Neneh Cherry had a child, this is what she'd sound like") and Junkplant, the Omnicore kings from Brainlove Records.

Friday 16 Mar, The Good Ship, 289 Kilburn High Road, 7.30pm-4am, £5/£4 concessions/
Flyer, more at www.myspace.com/musicismyboy

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BERTELSMANN WIN APPEAL IN ONGOING NAPSTER LAWSUIT
The long running and much previously reported legal fight between BMG owners Bertelsmann on the one side, and EMI and a consortium of music publishers on the other, over the former's financial support of the original Napster, continued this week with an appeal court ruling in favour of the German media conglom on the need to disclose, or not, confidential client-attorney documents relating to the case.

As previously reported, this dispute relates from 2000 and 2001 when BMG decided to loan funds to the original Napster company as they attempted to translate their then huge illegal P2P network into a legitimate licensed service. In the end that attempt was unsuccessful because lawsuits from other major record companies and content owners sent the firm into bankruptcy before any thing could be launched. After the bankruptcy, some of those who had been suing the P2P firm began legal proceedings against those who had funded Napster in its latter period of existence, on the basis that their financial support had enabled the service to continue to operate, allowing the further illegal sharing of millions of music files, and that therefore they were guilty of secondary copyright infringement.

As part of their litigation against Bertelsmann, in November 2005 EMI and the publishers asked the federal District Court in San Francisco to order the German firm to hand over attorney-client documentation relating to their Napster agreement. Normally the confidentiality of such documents is protected by US law, but not if they are believed to provide evidence of fraudulent activities. The claimants allege that Bertelsmann secretly took equity in the P2P firm in return for the monies they advanced which is important on two grounds - firstly it would strengthen the copyright infringement case against them and secondly it would suggest the confidential legal documents may discuss such an equity deal and how to keep it secret, in what possibly amounts to a fraud. All of which means there was a case for having the documents released and a chance they would strengthen the case against Bertelsmann.

In April 2006 the District Court sided with the claimants and ordered Bertelsmann to hand over the documents, but the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeal, hearing the conglom's appeal, this week ruled EMI and the publishers had not provided conclusive evidence of any fraudulent activity on Bertelsmann's part, and therefore ruled the defendant was not required to hand over confidential legal communications.

Universal Music was originally one of the claimants in this case, of course, but they reached an out of court settlement with Bertelsmann as part of its deal to buy the German company's publishing firm, BMG Music Publishing. Talking of which...

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UNIVERSAL OFFER CONCESSIONS TO CLEAR BMG PUBLISHING ACQUISITION
Universal Music has reportedly offered to sell two key music publishing catalogues in order to secure regulator approval for its previously reported (and just mentioned in fact) takeover of BMG Music Publishing. European competition officials are still considering whether or not to allow Universal to merge BMG's publishing company with its own to create a new company of similar to size to current market leader, EMI Music Publishing.

Despite both Universal and Bertelsmann stating they are optimistic their merger proposals will win regulator approval, doing so is not a foregone conclusion given the continuing concerns regarding the further consolidation of the major music companies, especially in light of the European court ruling last year that said EC officials should not have allowed the 2004 merger of Sony and BMG's recorded music companies. Pan-European trade body IMPALA, whose opposition to the SonyBMG merger led to that court ruling, are also opposing the Universal BMG publisher merger.

In a bid to convince regulators their merged publishing firm would not be too dominant in the market place, insiders say Universal have said they will commit to sell off two key catalogues currently owned by BMG - the Zomba catalogue originally established by Clive Calder and the 19 Songs catalogue originally established by Simon Fuller - both subsequently acquired by BMG and including songs written or made famous by the likes of Britney Spears, Bryan Adams, Backstreet Boys and various winners of the Pop Idol TV shows.

The European Commission says it will not comment on its discussions with Universal before the publication of its report on the merger on 1 Jun, although insiders say officials are currently assessing the views of the major's competitors on the merger in light of the concessions being offered.

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MUSIC WEEK AWARD WINNERS
It was the Music Week Awards in London last night celebrating those that work back stage in this old music business of ours (well, yours really, I just write about it sometimes). And the winners were...

Independent Store of the Year: Sister Ray, London
Digital Store of the Year: iTunes
Music Retail Chain of the Year: HMV
Sales Force of the Year: Universal
Distributor of the Year: EMI
Digital Music Service of the Year: 3 Music Store
Music Programmer of the Year: Emma Scrafton - Kerrang! Radio
Radio Station of the Year (sponsored by PPL): BBC Radio 2
Regional Promotions Team of the Year (sponsored by Nielsen Music Control): Polydor Regional
National Promotions Team of the Year: Island Records Group
Booking Agent of the Year: Paul Boswell, Free Trade
Concert Promoter of the Year: Simon Moran, SJM
Venue of the Year (sponsored by Red Stripe): The Luminaire
Publisher of the Year: EMI
Producer of the Year: Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Robbie Williams, Lily Allen)
The A&R Award (sponsored by MTV Networks UK & Ireland): Polydor
PR Campaign of the Year: Sundraj Sreenivasan (for The Sound of Girls Aloud)
International Marketing Campaign of the Year (Supported by T-Mobile): Mike Allen, Kevin Brown & Caitlin Gibbons - Corinne Bailey Rae
Catalogue Marketing Campaign on the Year: Chas Chandler - Slade Remastered
UK Marketing Campaign of the Year (sponsored by Yahoo! Music): Katherine Parrott and Dan Duncombe - Lily Allen
Independent Record Label of the Year (sponsored by VidZone Digital Media): Domino
Record Label of the Year: Polydor
Manager of the Year (sponsored by Sony Ericsson): Neale Easterby/Richard Ramsey - Empire
The Strat Award: Jazz Summers

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THE HORRORS GIG CUT SHORT BY ELVIS SMASH
This is a funny one - though only because no one seemingly got hurt, which they could have done, and I suspect then it might have been less funny.

Anyway, a gig by those The Horrors boys in Boston came to an abrupt end this week when frontman Faris (Badwan) Rotter committed the sacrilegious crime of smashing a bust of The King. King Elvis that is. Reports suggest that the incident occurred as Rotter did one of those climbing the wall type things about three quarters of the way into his band's set at the Great Scott venue in Boston.

It's not clear whether he deliberately pushed over the two foot high porcelain bust of Elvis that was on a ledge near the venue's roof, or whether he knocked it over my mistake, but either way it was soon in many many pieces all over the front of the stage, with many bits of the bust ricocheting into the front row. Fortuitously no one seems to have been hurt, but the venue's management didn't seem too impressed with Rotter's treatment of their heirlooms, so they pulled the gig and evicted the band. Can't say I blame them really - as much as I'm sure the Elvis smashing was quite a spectacle to be seen.

Here's an eye witness account of the whole thing that has appeared on a Boston Herald blog: "No one was seemingly hurt, but this action caused the set to be instantly aborted and the UK neo-goths were told to evacuate the venue immediately. Badwan left Great Scott in a huff, claiming he was spit on by one of venue's staff. I wouldn't doubt it happened, as there was a brief scuffle once the bust was destroyed, though I didn't see it occur. It was a shame, because while you won't be humming the band's songs in your head anytime soon, the creepy five-piece sure know how to put on a show".

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STEVIE WONDER NAMED IN UNFAIR DISMISSAL LAWSUIT
Stevie Wonder is facing a $3.5 million lawsuit after a former employee accused the legendary singer of unfair dismissal - or, rather, he's accusing the LA radio station Wonder co-owns of unfair dismissal, but naming Wonder in the lawsuit.

Reginald Thomas Jr claims he was fired from his sales exec job at KJLH after raising concerns about possible 'plugola' and sexual harassment going on at the company with his boss, General Manager Karen Slade.

Plugola is a practice similar to payola, only it's advertisers who offer radio station employees perks, in return for station execs finding excuses to plug the advertiser's company on air.

The sexual harassment allegations seem to involve Wonder himself. Though Thomas doesn't accuse Wonder of anything specific, he says he did discuss with his bosses the fact that the singer called one of his female sales colleagues on her mobile one evening and claims that, when he questioned whether that might amount to sexual harassment, one of the station's management (possibly Slade, I can't quite work it out) said "You never know who he's fucking around here. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen".

Thomas claims that it was as a direct result of that conversation that he was dismissed from the company - hence the lawsuit. Neither Wonder's people nor KJLH have, as yet, commented on the allegations made against them.

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KID ROCK ACCUSED OF ASSAULT
According to reports, a twenty eight year woman from California has filed a complaint to Oakland County Sheriff department, claiming that Kid Rock has assaulted her. The incident is alleged to have taken place at the star's home, after Rock, aka Robert Ritchie, invited the woman and a male companion back to his house to listen to music after he met them at a local bar and restaurant.

According to Oakland County Under-Sheriff Michael McCabe, the woman, whose name has not been revealed, attempted to leave the house, allegedly enraging Kid Rock, who wanted her to stay the night. Ritchie is accused of grabbing her by the back of the neck and pushing her towards her car, and causing her to fall into a snow bank.

The musician has admitted that he had indeed invited the woman to his home to listen to his new album, but claims that she became obnoxious and so he asked her to leave, at which point she threatened to get him charged with assault. The man who accompanied the woman that evening disagrees with that version of events, corroboratuing her claim of assault; however, a third man who claims to have been a witness to the incident has backed up Rock's story.

McCabe said that those involved admitted to drinking the night of the incident, and added: "At this point, we have two people who say one thing and two other people who say something else. Once the investigation is completed, a report will be given to the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office."

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DETAILS OF DELP'S SUICIDE EMERGE
Police reports have been released which reveal more details about the death of Boston singer Brad Delp, who, as previously reported, committed suicide last week.

Toxicology tests show that Delp died from carbon monoxide poisoning after sealing himself inside a bathroom with two charcoal grills, some time after 11.30pm on Thursday night. He was found the following afternoon by fiancee Pamela Sullivan on the floor of the bathroom, his head on a pillow, and a note attached to his shirt which read "Mr Brad Delp. J'ai une ame solitaire. I am a lonely soul".

Sullivan called the police when she noticed a dryer vent tube connected to the exhaust pipe of Delp's car - in the garage, there was another note, saying "To whoever finds this I have hopefully committed suicide. Plan B was to asphyxiate myself in my car."

A third note, found inside the house, read "I take complete and sole responsibility for my present situation. I have lost my desire to live", and included details of how to contact Sullivan - "Unfortunately she is totally unaware of what I have done", he wrote. Along with the note were a number of sealed letters addressed to Sullivan and Delp's family.

Delp has been cremated, and a private funeral has been held.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Rotating Leslie - Radio/Stop (Hand Made Rave)
'Radio/Stop' is a bopping indie track which is getting an early limited edition release on blue 7 inch on 23 Mar. I always think those limited edition vinyl releases amounts to a band blowing its own trumpet - because isn't it assuming that they are going to be so big one day that these vinyl limited editions are going to be worth a mint? Or perhaps not. Anyway, Rotating Leslie's apparent successes while supporting the likes of The Rifles, The View and Goldie Lookin Chain (obviously) are more or less justified here in this well chosen single that mixes a catchy hook with adventurous percussion, and boasts varied guitar skills that keep you on your toes. Though that said, the ironic lyrics about songs ending up as radio kill aren't particularly inspiring. AW
Release Date: 2 April
Press Contact: Covert PR [all]

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ELTON HITS ALBUM UPCOMING
That Elton John bloke will release a greatest hits type package - Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits - on 26 Mar featuring all the songs below, plus a bonus DVD featuring five previously unreleased live tracks and five classic videos.

The press release references the fact that John's 1971 song 'Tiny Dancer', which appeared on the soundtrack to the Cameron Crowe film 'Almost Famous', is on this release. I'm not sure why that's especially relevant, though possibly it hasn't appeared on previous Elton hits packages (it not really being a big hit when released, though I notice Wikipedia reckons it is now "considered by many Elton John fans to be one of his greatest songs"). Mention of it does remind me how good the Ben Folds cover of it is, which in turn reminds me that a DVD of Ben Fold's previously mentioned MySpace Session is meant to be coming out soon, which is very exciting, though possibly not relevant to this story. At all.

What is relevant is the related news that as the hits package arrives in record shops Elton's entire back catalogue - nearly 500 tracks of it - will be available to buy from legit download platforms - the first time all 90 singles and 32 albums have all been available to legitimately download.

Anyway, here's the track listing...

Bennie And The Jets
Philadelphia Freedom
Daniel
Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be A Long Long Time)
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
Tiny Dancer
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
I Want Love
Candle In The Wind
Bitch Is Back
I'm Still Standing
Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
Your Song
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Can You Feel The Love Tonight
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Tinderbox
Are You Ready For Love

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ALICE C, MOTORHEAD, JOAN JETT TOUR UK
Alice Cooper, Motorhead and Joan Jett And The Blackhearts Team are to stage a joint UK tour at the end of this year. Golly, that's good value for money, even at a cost of £32+. If you like that kind of thing, of course. Here are the dates, press info from The Publicity Connection.

6 Nov: Sheffield Hallam Arena
7 Nov: Glasgow SECC
9 Nov: Newcastle Metro Arena
10 Nov: Birmingham NEC
11 Nov: Nottingham Arena
13 Nov: Brighton Centre
14 Nov: Bournemouth BIC
16 Nov: Cardiff Arena
17 Nov: London Wembley
18 Nov: Manchester MEN Arena

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RAZORLIGHT TO APPEAR AT ANTI-SLAVERY GIG
I have just discovered that Razorlight and Nerina Pallot are also to appear at that previously reported 'Voice Of Slavery' gig taking place at the Forum later this month. I'm not sure if they were always set to appear at this event, but certainly we didn't mention them the last time we reported on it, so we didn't know they were going to be there.

Anyway, as we said the last time, Supergrass, Ed Harcourt and Finley Quaye are all also going to be there on the 25 Mar - which is the 200 year anniversary of the UK abolition of slavery. The event seeks to highlight modern day slavery and to support the work of anti-slavery charities. See http://www.thevoiceofslavery.com for more information.

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ART BRUT ANNOUNCE TOUR
Hurrah. CMU favourites Art Brut have announced details of a summer tour. Yay. They are, as we may have previously reported, also appearing on the Maximo Park tour during April and May. They're also going to be at this year's Great Escape, 18 May.

Here are the tour dates, tickets on sale now:

13 Jun: London Astoria
14 Jun: Birmingham Academy 2
15 Jun: Manchester Academy 3
16 Jun: Glasgow Oran Mor
18 Jun: Leeds Cockpit

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GOOD CHARLOTTE TOUR
Good Charlotte have announced a series of UK tour dates to follow the release of new single 'Keep Your Hands Off My Girl', out this week, and new album 'Good Morning Revival', out 19 Mar.

Tour dates as follows, tickets on sale as of this morning at 9am.

16 May: Newcastle Academy
17 May: Manchester Apollo
18 May: Brixton Academy
21 May: Leeds University
22 May: Birmingham Academy
23 May: Glasgow Carling Academy
24 May: Dublin Ambassador

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SEASICK STEVE DATES
You know, I don't know much about bluesman Steven Wold, aka Seasick Steve. Actually, I'm not sure I know anything about him. But I've been thinking for a while I should try and found out more, so perhaps I, and maybe even you, should try and check out one of his upcoming UK tour dates, which run as follows.

24 & 25 Mar: London Borderline
13 Apr: Manchester Night and Day Cafe
14 Apr: Sheffield Boardwalk
17 Apr: Bristol Thekla
18 Apr: Nottingham Rescue Rooms
20 Apr: London Spitz*
21 Apr: Brighton Komedia

Or if you're a lazy type you could just check out this clip of him playing of Jools Holland's Hootenanny back at New Year - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GvoqSx0ReI

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SXSW: THURSDAY ROUNDUP
Texas is a beautiful place - don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Austin, in particular, is a wonderful city - and they really care deeply about live music - SXSW alone contributes over $38.5 million to the local economy.

SXSW isn't just a series of gigs, though, of course. During the daytime, there are all those panel discussion type things. I managed to get myself to three of them today - starting with 'A&R Before, During And After the Deal'. A number of experienced A&R types spoke on how their trade is changing in this new digital music age, with general agreement that things are getting more difficult for A&Rs in an industry where short-term successes were expected from artists, and where bands were given fewer chances to develop once being signed. All of which means that bands wanting to be signed now need more than just great songs. Exactly what that 'more' is was a subject of some debate, though some said that bands should now endeavour to build a considerable fan base and get some serious touring under their belts before looking to sign to a label. And band's need to remember that getting signed is not, as many new bands think, 'the end', rather it's the beginning - the point at which the hard work begins.

Next 'China's Emerging Music Market'. Promoters and label owners experienced in the Chinese music space, and even a former member of a Chinese rock band, spoke about this increasingly important market, though concentrating in the main on the subject of bringing Western rock bands into China. Record labels have it very difficult in China of course, what, with pirated records accounting for around 95% of music sales, and new releases generally being pirated, copied and distributed throughout the country within days of completion. And download revenues aren't any higher due to widespread file-sharing and the lack of credit-card penetration. And touring almost always loses money as venues are unable to charge music fans large amounts commensurate to the amount it costs to fly bands in from the rest of the world. None of which sounds especially optimistic. It was a mostly pedestrian discussion though things livened up a bit in the questions section when an irate American started lambasting the panel for being 'ugly Americans' and for inflicting Western culture on the Chinese market, arguing that the panelists should instead be working closer to the grassroots and involving young Chinese people in the growing music industry in the country. He might have a point.

Last of the panels for today was the most interesting for me - 'Greening the Music Industry' - discussing ways in which labels and large live events can offset their carbon emissions, to become, as is the fashion these days, 'carbon neutral'. A number of examples were offered, from Perry Farrell's Lollapalooza to SXSW itself. There was more optimism here - with panel members very optimistic that a sea-change in attitudes towards the environment is currently taking place, and that the music industry has a large role to play. It was pointed out that what the climate change movement needs is to change our culture while being seen as 'cool' - and this is exactly what music has been doing for decades.

Panels over for the day, the gigs started. First up were Stardeath And The White Dwarves - proof that one of the 'mores' that can get you established as a band is family connections, the uncle of the lead singer of this lot being none other than Mr Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips. Sadly, the vocals of said lead singer were weak, the sound was muddy, and confused noodling replaced any notions of psychedelia in the music. Though Stardeath are supporting the Flaming Lips on their forthcoming American tour, so they may succeed despite those limitations.

After some dinner, I proceeded to Dirty Dog bar for their showcase. Kicking things off, Boston's Apollo Sunshine were deeply unmemorable. My feet started to feel tired, my back began to ache, and I started to really feel the dodgy Mexican food I'd recently consumed. Luckily, California's 'Melee' saved the evening. A fantastic frontman combined with tremendously accessible stadium rock songs won the crowd over almost immediately and by the time Melee's set was over, the band enjoyed huge applause. Melee is a band to watch out for, in a U2/Killers/Keane sort of way.

Mutemath, who followed Melee, are also a band I recommend you watch out for - they've got some of the best live drumming I've seen in a long time. They were powerful, tight, and crisp - like listening to Kasabian without the slightly dirty feeling, or a dancier Secret Machines perahps. If you're a fan of that sort of thing, I'd highly recommend looking Mutemath up and trying to see them live. Be prepared, however, for the aforementioned drums to completely overshadow the other three members of the band.

The considerable crowd that Mutemath drew had dwindled by the time Mando Diao took to the stage, but they didn't seem to mind too much, as they brought their large bowl of Swedish Rock'n'Roll to the proceedings. In perfect synchonicity, the two frontmen belted out powerful garage rock anthems, much like the Hives, but without the gimmicky arrogance. Mando Diao have long been a hot new band, but how long can they be 'new', without breaking through?

Finally, the Fratellis brought a close to the evening. The Glasgow trio played through a relatively mundane set - omitting their biggest British hit 'Creeping Down The Back Stairs' but including single 'Chelsea Dagger', which was duly well received by their SXSW audience. It wasn't a storming set, but it was solid - great for the fans, though not really winning any new converts I suspect.

CMU fans who have been closely following this column (well, read this one and yesterday's) may have noticed I didn't manage to see any of the shows I was intending to see today. Not sure what happened there. Tomorrow (or, by the time you read this, today) I'm hoping to see the Polyphonic Spree, Sound Team, Pete & The Pirates and the Sterns. We'll see how that goes. Your next report from me will most likely be in your inboxes on Monday morning, by which time there should be some more detailed showcase reviews on the website. Meantime, goodnight from Texas! DG

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MCFLY ADD MORE UP CLOSE DATES
I hear McFly were on Blue Peter the other day, but I can't confirm that one way or another, because I daren't watch that show any more - you never know what trick those phone in rip off merchants will pull next, and I'm just not willing to take the risk.

I'm guessing the McFly boys were doing something Comic Relief related - it being Red Nose Day today - though they may have been plugging the fact they have added another nine dates to their previously reported Up Close And Personal smaller venues tour, or that they were letting us all know that the release date of their next single, 'Transylvania', has been pushed back to 7 May, and that it will be backed with a cover version of Jellyfish's 'Baby's Coming Back'. But look, I've told you it all now, so there's no need for you to tune in to any random kids TV show to get your McFly update - which is good news for anyone with a sensitive phone bill.

Anyway, here's the extra live dates, tickets go on sale tomorrow morning. You'll probably end up paying an extortionate booking fee on your tickets, but there are only so many of the rip offs of the modern age I can protect you from, I'm not superman or anything.

23 Apr: Llandudno Venue Cymru
24 Apr: Blackburn King Georges Hall
28 Apr: Leicester De Montfort Hall
29 Apr: Southend Cliffs Pavilion
30 Apr: Brighton Dome
1 May: Gloucester Leisure Centre
4 May: Reading Hexagon
5 May: Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall
6 May: Margate Winter Gardens

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DREAM THEATER DOWNLOAD WARM UP
I admitted to knowing nothing about prog metal legends Dream Theater when they signed to Roadrunner Records last month, an admission that got much derision from CMU reviewer Tom who has been giving me 'how can you call yourself a music fan when you've never heard of Dream Theater' looks every time I've seen him since. But at least collectively Team CMU were up to speed of all things Dream Theater, which hopefully makes my embarrassing admission slightly less so.

Anyhow, the news here is that not only are Dream Theater playing this year's Download Festival, but they will play a warm up show at Newcastle's City Hall on 9 Jun also. Tickets are on sale now and we hear they're selling fast, which doesn't surprise me in the slightest, given the size of their fan base. Tom. His brother. Erm? I don't know - though they are one of the most commercially successful progressive metal bands ever, so lots of other people presumably. Just no one I've ever met.

The band's first album for Roadrunner, by the way, is called 'Systematic Chaos' and is set for release on 4 Jun.

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DEFTONES SIGNINGS
Deftones are to appear at two instore sessions next week to meet fans and sign copies of their new single 'Mein', out this week. The band will appear from 5pm on 19 March at HMV in Portsmouth, and again from 5pm on 20 Mar at HMV on London's Oxford Street.

To get access to the signings, fans can pick up wristbands from the relevant shop from 9am on the day of each event, one pair of wristbands per customer. Special Deftones posters will be given free to fans with copies of the CD.

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EMI REJIG GLOBAL MARKETING TEAM
EMI Music's global marketing team is to undergo a major reshuffle, or so Billboard reports. Six people are set to leave the team - three moving internally, three exiting the major altogether, with current global marketing team chief Matthieu Lauriot-Prevost among those expected to leave.

Three new people will be brought into the team - Susie Smith, a previous member of the team between 2003 and 2005, will become Senior VP Global Marketing; Jiampietro Paravella will be promoted from the Continental Europe marketing team to the role of Senior VP International Marketing for EMI Music International; and Laurent Chapeau, currently MD for Virgin Music France, will become VP International Marketing, for Continental Europe, reporting to Paravella.

One existing team member will also be promoted - James Bradbury will become VP Global Catalogue Marketing. All bar Chapeau will report to the recently appointed boss of the new EMI Music International division JF Cecillon, who has overseen the rejig of the global marketing team.

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THREE US INDIES SIGN UP TO SNOCAP'S MYSPACE DOWNLOAD SERVICE
Three US indie labels - Sub Pop, New Line and Dangerbird Records - have signed up to the previously reported MySpace MP3 download service that is being established by SnoCap, the company of original Napster founder Shawn Fanning. The deal has been done by US indie distribution outfit the Alternative Distribution Alliance.

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IMPALA WANT US STYLE MUSIC RADIO REVIEW IN EUROPE
Pan-European independent labels trade body IMPALA has called on European radio stations to make commitments to independent music similar to those recently agreed to by the major radio firms in the US.

As previously reported, American broadcasters Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio, Entercom Communications and Citadel Broadcasting all last week confirmed they had signed up to 'terms of engagement' regarding how they would work with music companies as set out by the US indie trade body A2IM. The four radio groups also committed to setting aside specific air time for independent and local artists.

The radio companies made the commitments as part of their settlement with media regulator the FCC regarding past payola practices in the US music radio promotions sector, where major radio firms and record companies broke rules regarding the linking of track playlisting to commercial or promotional relationships - practices uncovered by the much reported investigation launched by former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Calling for a similar review of the relationships between major radio and record companies in Europe, and for a commitment by the former to better support the independent sector, IMPALA President Patrick Zelnik told reporters this week: "A similar assessment should be carried out on European radio. The FCC investigation has shown just how vulnerable the market is when access is not guaranteed. Europe is one of the most diverse regions in the world with extremely talented artists and its airwaves should reflect this".

IMPALA chairman and Beggars Group chief Martin Mills added: "This is a very significant first step in this area, and A2IM has done an amazing job in achieving this - now we need to build on this".

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DIGITAL TURNOFF DATES SET
Now, if I was charged with the task of picking the place where I would turn off the analogue TV signal first I wouldn't pick somewhere so remote that the Freeview digital TV service isn't accessible there, but presumably that's why I'm not in charge of the country's airwaves. Analogue TV signals will disappear in the Whitehaven area of Western Cumbria on 17 Oct this year - yep, in just over six months time - after which date residents there will need a satellite dish to pick up even the basic free to air channels. Analogue signals will then start to disappear all over the country, until everyone is watching digital by 2012.

Now, I don't want to keep wittering on about this (though, I'm going to), but while about 79% of UK households now have access to digital TV (though I note its only 73% in Whitehaven) surely nearly every one of those households still has at least one or more extra TVs still relying on analogue signals, most digital systems not being very good at servicing more than one set, especially if people want to watch different channels in different rooms (which they do). Plus many people still switch over to analogue for the purposes of recording things to video or to access the vastly superior teletext system that analogue provides instead of that fancy and fun but ultimately rather irritating interactive text content service you get on digital. Now, either there's something going on in the background I don't know about, or this thing is going to be a complete disaster.

To what extent the turn off in Whitehaven in October will be a disaster remains to be seen. Obviously the government are making an extra special effort to ensure everybody is informed about the switch over there, and that they are able (technically and economically) to switch to digital - and I think we can expect a considerable government spend on the first switchover initiative in a bid to ensure it's not a PR disaster that could threaten the government's wider digital switchover schedule. Personally I think it would be better if it was a PR disaster, given that the wider schedule seems wholly unrealistic, but then I did say I was going to stop wittering on about this stuff, so I will. Promise.

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ITV MAY REPLACE PLAY WITH MOVIES
Rumour has it ITV will replace ITV Play with a movie channel. As previously reported, ITV closed down its phone in rip off channel this week for "commercial reasons" putting up a time shift version of ITV2 in its place. But reports suggest that is, in fact, a temporary measure and that ITV is still looking at various other options - with some kind of movie channel currently favourite.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Five O'clock Heroes - Skin Deep (G/L/A/Z/E)
OK, you have been to most of this year's major gigs (maybe partied at the NME Awards?), bought most of the 'wisely recommended' albums and generally 'been there, heard it all'. But what if there was, the slightest, the smallest, chance that even with such a substantial music experience and well-formulated opinion you could have not been aware of the existence of a yet unexplored terrain? Press 'play' and meet the Five O'clock Heroes - for an upcoming band they make quite a strong impression, huh? Strong in terms of absolute rejection if you cannot stand the 'pop punk-meets indie-with 1960s sparkle-kind-of-stuff' or strong as in 'I'm like totally into them!' approval. Wherever you stand on this matter, there is an unquestionable drive and effort put into the boys' new single 'Skin Deep'. And the track is certainly not for standing in the corner against the wall - after a few beats you might consider moving closer to the dance floor, you know, just in case your musically well-trained and experienced ear eventually gives in to the banging fest of these young New Yorkers. OMG
Release date: 19 Mar
Press contact: Ian Cheek [CP, RP]

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PET SHOP BOY LIKES HIS IT INVESTIGATIONS
Popbitch reported yesterday that Pet Shop Boy Chris Lowe last week rang up band mate Neil Tennant very excitedly to tell him to rush out and buy the latest edition of Private Eye because the eight page feature on the NHS IT debacle was "so fascinating". Which isn't very rock n roll, I know, but I read it and it really is fascinating. I look forward to readying Private Eye's special report on the digital switchover debacle in three years time.

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ROBBIE WILLIAMS STILL OFFICIALLY TAKE THAT MEMBER
According to reports, Robbie Williams is still listed on a government registered trademark for his old band Take That. The band have recently renewed their listing with the UK Patents Office and the singer's name has not been removed.

A source has told The Sun that it's because there's a deal still in existence in which all five original members agreed to own the brand name jointly, though a spokesman for Williams says he's not currently earning any money from his association with the band.

So that's all it is. Don't you lot go spreading rumours that Robbie's going to rejoin the band.

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KATE MOSS GOT PETE DOHERTY HIGH
So? "Where's the news there?" you're thinking. Aha. Well, this had nothing to do with drugs. Kate Moss took boyfriend, perhaps fiance, who knows, for a ride in a helicopter to celebrate his 28th birthday this week. Well, it wasn't just the helicopter ride, they had a picnic too, by all accounts.

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BUCKS FIZZ REUNITE FOR ONE OFF
Now this is the kind of reunion news I want to hear, not ugly rumours about Boyzone. It's just a pity it's only for one night. And actually, not all four members have confirmed that they'll appear. But still.

Bucks Fizz - three of them, at least - are to reunite for a performance on Choosing-our-Eurovision-entry-programme 'Making Your Mind Up', which screens this weekend. The only one who hasn't agreed to appear as yet is the band's Bobby G, who is apparently still smarting from years of bickering between the band as to who owns the brand.

A friend says: "Jay, Cheryl and Mike want to put their differences behind them for one last show-stopping performance. They worked on Peter Kay's charity single for Comic Relief and enjoyed catching up. Bobby loved seeing everyone but isn't sure about reforming the band".

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JO O'MEARA SHOWS HER FACE
Former S-Clubber Jo O'Meara attended a gala performance of The New Statesman stage show in aid of Comic Relief recently, and according to reports, it was the first time she had made a public appearance since Big Brother ended and left millions with the impression that she's a shocking racist. Apparently. I don't know what she did, or said, because I didn't see the show, so I don't think I'm really in a position to judge.

On her way in she told reporters: "Comic Relief has always been important to me, it's something I've always done, as a band with S Club, and while solo. It's a nice thing to get involved with."

The singer also added that she hoped the Big Brother race row had now run its course, saying: "I think it's time for me to move on, and concentrate on getting back to work, and I hope the public will feel the same way. I've apologised, I've said sorry if I offended anybody, but nothing racist went on in the house - it was bad editing."

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SNOOP DOGG LOVES MAN U, OR SO HE SAYS
Snoop Dogg says he loves Manchester United and wants to meet the members of the football team and take them out on the town when his tour takes him to Manchester later this month.

He told MTV: "Everybody knows I don't like to discriminate against other teams but everyone knows me and Manchester United got a certain kind of love for each other. They're my boys, they showed me a lot of love. I'm gonna rock with them and they gonna have the best seats in the house. They're coming before the show, after the show and then we're taking them out."

He adds: "I'm down with football, I've been following it for 10 years, going to games, wearing the jerseys and what not."

And yet not discriminating against other teams. Which, as someone just pointed out to me, kind of defeats the purpose of being a Man U fan.

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