CMU Daily - on the inside Monday 2nd April
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- EMI / Apple press call leads to Beatles downloads speculation
- Glastonbury sells out fast, no surprise there then
- Live Nation complete Academy takeover, Mama buys Hammersmith Apollo
- eListeningPost announces label partners and new services
- Rapper dies in shooting
- Youngbloodz(s) clarification
- Breaking news: Jackson not all that ill
- Doors fan wants Morrison's record cleared
- Simonon axes Palais stage
- Pop idol contest unites Iraq, kinda
- Osmond announces marriage split
- Rob Da Bank podcasts go regular
- Sinead O'Connor album
- Jarvis Cocker asks fans for support
- Sandi Thom supports the SNP
- Razorlight confirmed for Fringe
- REM to preview album tracks in Dublin
- Longest concert record set in Japan
- Album review: Trademark - Raise The Stakes
- Gromit to replace Nipper in HMV logo
- ITN On launches music division
- Dermot gets X-Factor
- Chart update
- Total Rock world album chart
- The Student Radio Chart of the term
- Subshot playlist
- Usher engaged
- Myleene Klass expecting
- Paul Weller spits on Sting
- Buena says she was pressured into leaving Babes
- Mika on Cowell

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TOP BIT: INSOMNIACS BALL THIS THURSDAY>>
Are you counting? Well are you? I am, because the countdown is now officially on for the third outing of the much talked about Insomniacs Ball. I've told you all about it before, but one last time, let me run you through everything you need to know once more.

This is London's bestest in door all night mini-festival, presenting a stack of CMU favourites of the band and DJ variety throughout the cavernous vaults beneath London Bridge station at that there seOne club. Those NME cover stars of the moment, The Twang, will top the bill, with the likes of 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 appearing at somepoint during the night, while 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 will all be putting on records - in that they'll be 'putting them on' record players, not that they'll be wearing them as fashion accessories.

Talking of fashion accessories - the aforementioned 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).

This all takes place this Thursday running into the wee small hours of Good Good Friday. 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.

PS: CMU's news-gathering team were on high alert over the weekend keeping an eye out for those hilarious April Fools stories to ensure we didn't report on any as 'news' today (in this age where every website reports on every other website's news stories all the time, made up stories can appear in some pretty credible places pretty quickly). Fingers crossed nothing slipped through - if it did, well, erm, "April Fools" I guess. As an aside, the CMU Award For Best Music Based April Fools Story this year goes to Aussie website Undercover - the news that Abba were reforming having recruiting Madonna as a new frontwoman - the new band was to be called Mabba and their debut album would be out 1 Apr 2008 - obviously.

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JOBS N STUFF>>

EDITORIAL, DESIGN, SALES AND MANAGEMENT ROLES ON NEW CAREERS WEBSITE
We are looking for motivated people to take on editorial, design, sales and management roles at an exciting new graduate careers website which will launch in Autumn 2007. This is a brand new graduate careers website, and a brand new kind of graduates careers website. Full time roles would suit second or third job media people looking for the opportunity to work for a vibrant company on an exciting new venture. Starting salaries from £18-22K depending on role. If you are interested email a CV and an short outline of the kind of roles you're after to careerswebsite@gmail.com

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INTERNSHIPS N STUFF>>

JOIN THE THREEWEEKS IN BRIGHTON PRODUCTION TEAM THIS MAY
ThreeWeeks in Brighton is the main media at the vibrant Brighton Festival, that takes place in Brighton throughout May - published by the makers of CMU, UnLimited Media. While our review team is Brighton based, the production of the ThreeWeeks magazine and website takes place at UnLimited's London offices. We are looking for students or recent graduates who might be interested in joining our production team - getting involved in editing, scheduling, admin and design, according to their interests. These are voluntary internships, but are a brilliant opportunity to gain hands on media skills in an exciting environment, working on a well respected magazine that discovers, champions, supports and enables cultural innovation at the Brighton Festival. For more details about ThreeWeeks check http://www.threeweeks.co.uk. To join the production team send a CV to recruitment@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

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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 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. 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: BAT FOR LASHES

We've talked about Bat For Lashes quite a lot, so I was quite surprised to find that it'd never been MySpace Of The Day. I know Chris was very impressed by their performance at last year's Bestival. I say 'they', 'Bat For Lashes' is really the alter-ego of Brighton based songwriter Natasha Kahn. Anyway, she's really good and I urge you to check out the MySpace page as soon as is humanly possible. Perhaps you could even become her friend. She's got quite a lot, but she deserves to have many, many more. There are several videos to watch in addition to the obligatory four tracks to listen to, if not much else, so definitely worth your while to get along and check out her distinctive style.

http://www.myspace.com/batforlashes

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EMI / APPLE PRESS CALL LEADS TO BEATLES DOWNLOADS SPECULATION
Speculation has been rife, that's right, rife, over the weekend following news that Apple chief Steve Jobs and EMI Group boss Eric Nicoli will be announcing an "exciting new digital offering" at an event at EMI's London HQ today at 1pm. Invites to the press conference promise a special live performance from an unconfirmed artist.

Most of the speculation has been that this will be the long awaited announcement that the Beatles catalogue will finally be available digitally via legitimate download platforms for the first time. The Beatles were signed, of course, to EMI label Parlophone.

As much previously reported, The Beatles are one of the very few remaining artists whose catalogue is not currently available from legitimate download services, but its arrival has been expected for a while following implications from Neil Aspinall, the manager of the Beatles' own company, Apple Corps, that work was underway to remaster the band's music ready for a digital release. Speculation that the digital catalogue would premiere on iTunes has been growing ever since the two Apple companies settled their long running trademark dispute in February, after which Aspinall said he looked forward to "many years of peaceful co-operation" with the computer firm.

That said, both Apple and EMI are being tight lipped on exactly what today's announcement will be, and some Mac based websites are speculating that the big news might be that EMI are planning on making their catalogue (or some of it) available via iTunes without DRM - rumours that come after Apple boss Steve Jobs recently called on the majors to lose their obsession with digital rights management technology, and following reports EMI execs were in serious talks about making their music available without such technology.

All will presumably become clear at one.

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GLASTONBURY SELLS OUT FAST, NO SURPRISE THERE THEN
No surprises here then - Glastonbury sold out in record time yesterday - just under two hours. Organisers report that 137,500 tickets went on sale at 9am UK time and were all sold by 10.45am.

The chat rooms were awash with both happy success stories and why-oh-why-oh-why tales of woe as those who had been successful or unsuccessful in securing tickets reported so on their message board of choice. Those who had failed to secure tickets complained of overwhelmed booking lines and websites, though as I think we've said before, when demand for tickets is as high as it is for Glastonbury, there isn't a phone or internet system in the world that won't wobble a little under the pressure - that ain't no one's fault, it's just a fact of life.

And of course Glastonbury organisers really did do their bit this time to try and make things a little more efficient - and because of the previously reported pre-registration system whereby all hopeful ticket buyers had to pre-register supplying their name, contacts and a photo, less people were calling and logging on yesterday, meaning relatively speaking things did run much smoother. That said, there was still 400,000 registered people trying to get their hands on 137,500 tickets - so there was always going to be more sad people than happy.

Commenting on the yesterday's ticket selling, Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis told reporters yesterday: "We had a quarter of a million of people queuing up to get through. It's probably the fastest time we have ever sold out. We had coach package tickets as well and people were forced to buy those at the tail end of the sale".

On the pre-registration system, he continued: "It's a great system. It's the first time it's ever been done - it's just gone so well it's just unbelievable. The system has worked really, really well and it's a first. Unfortunately there will be a lot of people that will be disappointed. Only two in three get through, but such is the demand of the festival - but that is in itself great after 37 years of trying to get it right".

Some further tickets will be available on 22 Apr when tickets from any of yesterday's transactions that fail will be put on sale. The festival itself takes place from 22-24 Jun and will feature The Arctic Monkeys, The Who and Shirley Bassey on the bill.

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LIVE NATION COMPLETE ACADEMY TAKEOVER, MAMA BUYS HAMMERSMITH APOLLO
Live Nation's previously reported acquisition of a majority stake in the Academy Music Group has been completed. The acquisition of 56% of the venue company is through the live entertainment conglom's joint venture with Ireland based Gaiety Investments, the joint venture which also owns UK venue, tour and festival company Mean Fiddler.

The 12 venue Academy Group is expected to continue to operate as normal despite the change in ownership, with the company's CEO saying as much in a statement this weekend. John Northcote told reporters: "Live Nation-Gaeity Holdings are not only investing in the dynamic Academy brand, but are also investing in the management I have built over the years. AMG's commitment to new and emerging talent will continue through its smaller venues and its in-house Academy Events promoting team".

As previously reported, in order to gain regulator approval for the acquisition of the Academy Group, Live Nation were required to sell off two of its own London venues, after concerns were raised by competitors in the live sector that the conglom would become too dominant in the UK capital's music market. Live Nation confirmed last month it was selling the London Forum to the Mama Group, who already own the UK wide Barfly network of smaller gig venues, and it was confirmed this weekend that Mama will also acquire the Hammersmith Apollo.

Confirming that purchase, Mama Group co-CEOs Adam Driscoll and Dean James told CMU: "The Hammersmith Apollo is a landmark venue in London and an important location for live music and live entertainment ranging from gigs by multi-platinum award-winning recording artistes such as the Pet Shop Boys, Bruce Springsteen and Travis through to plays and comedy tours such as Little Britain and Ricky Gervais. The Apollo represents an excellent addition to our expanding live music division".

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ELISTENINGPOST ANNOUNCES LABEL PARTNERS AND NEW SERVICES
'Try and buy' music service eListeningPost has announced that a number of artists and labels are using their service to provide music previews, of both the audio and video kind, via specialist music sites or through viral marketing campaigns.

Among the labels utilising the new viral marketing tool, launched last year, are V2, Independiente and Warner imprint Korova, with music from artists like Travis, The Rakes, Bebel Gilberto, Duke Special and Cornelius all being promoted.

Korova will use eListeningPost to make a preview of the video to Cornelius' song 'Fit Song' available to his fanbase by email, while Travis plan to make previews of their forthcoming single 'Eyes Wide Open' available via music sites like Last.fm, PlayLouder and Drowned in Sound, allowing fans the chance to preview the new single on demand ahead of its release on 9 Apr. Fans who do so will also be able to securely forward the preview onto friends in a viral marketing type fashion.

Confirming the Cornelius promotion, Rhino and Korova UK Digital Manager Olly Walsh told CMU: "Cornelius has created an incredible set of videos for his new album and this is a great way for us to get the fan base buzzing. eListeningPost enables us to deliver video content straight to fans' inboxes, presenting them with direct-to-buy links and artist information".

On the Travis stuff, Independiente's head of all things digital, Owen Farrington, added: "Working with eListeningPost is a really exciting prospect for Independiente, it provides a new avenue through which to access our artist's core fan base. It enables those within the music industry to target fans through a number of different channels such as peer to peer and social networking forums to name but a few. In addition it gives us more control over the way we can promote and seed new releases".

Artists and labels who use the eListeningPost preview service can also opt to include short ads in the mix - meaning they can generate income from their viral marketing. To that end the service has just announced it has entered into a non-exclusive deal with 24/7 Real Media, a global leader in online advertising, who could provide ad revenues to individuals and companies using the service. ELP say they expect to start including advertising into the mix shortly after Easter.

The eListeningPost service is also available to unsigned bands for a small monthly subscription fee, and among the new services available to them are 'try' and 'buy' buttons that can be embedded into websites, emails, blogs or MySpace type things. These allow bands to make ELP previews available to their fans, and also to sell music via the ELP platform, which offers artists (and labels for that matter) the somewhat unprecedented opportunity (as far as I'm aware, and I'm very aware of these things as you all know) to keep 100% of the money generated by a sale (ie only PayPal micro-payment fees are deducted from whatever price an artist chooses to charge).

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RAPPER DIES IN SHOOTING
US rapper Johnny Castaneda, aka Johnny Ca$h, has died from a gunshot wound to the head, after he was shot multiple times in Vallejo, California last week. The hip hopper was signed to the late Mac Dre's Thizz Entertainment label, and his death is the latest in a series of violent incidents seemingly connected with Mac Dre, aka Andre Hicks, who himself was gunned down in Kansas City back in November 2004.

Police believe that the string of events began with the non-fatal shooting of Anthony 'Fat Tone' Watkins, and it was this incident that led to the death of Mac Dre. Six months later Fat Tone was also dead, his body found in a Las Vegas construction site alongside that of an associate, Jermaine 'Cowboy' Akins. Watkins' family claim that he was in Vegas to meet with another rapper, Andre Dow, aka Mac Minister, and Dow is now set to go on trial for Fat Tone's murder.

Whether it's thought that Castaneda's death is specifically related to all of this is not yet clear, as police have not, as yet, revealed any details of the new case.

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YOUNGBLOODZ(S) CLARIFICATION
Ah, clarifications all round, ladies and gentlemen, regarding those reports on Friday that US rap duo The Youngbloodz are suing SonyBMG over unpaid digital royalties. Actually, American folk group The Youngbloods are suing SonyBMG over unpaid digital royalties. Can I just stress that wasn't our mistake? Various US websites were reporting it was the hip hoppers and not the one time folkers who were doing the suing. Had I ever heard of The Youngbloods I might have done some double checking before we ran the story.

The Youngbloods action is part of the ongoing and previously reported litigation by various US artists that argues that the way the majors calculate the digital royalties they pay their talent - which is inline with the way they calculate royalties on physical CD sales - is all kinds of wrong. They argue digital sales are more akin to the way labels licence music to radio than to the way they sell CDs - and artists get a much bigger royalty on radio revenues. Much of that action has been targeted at the Sony labels within SonyBMG, but in February the Allman Brothers Band (one of the most proactive artists in the 'digital royalties should be higher' campaign) and The Youngbloods together quietly kicked off action against the BMG labels also. The Allman Brothers band, though, have dismissed their case against BMG, for reasons I'm not sure on, so last week's litigation was The Youngbloods resubmitting their lawsuit as a stand alone case. So now you know.

And let's all make sure we don't confuse our 's's and 'z's in the future, shall we?

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BREAKING NEWS: JACKSON NOT ALL THAT ILL
Now, when I was feeling ill last week I only got a brief mention of it in the Top Bit, so why Michael Jackson is getting his own stand alone story for being "a bit under the weather" I know not. Except that the news Jacko is a "bit ill" is in response to reports he was very ill and had been admitted to hospital with pneumonia. Responding to those reports, Jacko spokeswoman Raymone K. Bain told reporters over the weekend: "Michael is a little bit under the weather. He is not in the hospital and he has not been in the hospital". Bain added that a few members of Jackson's entourage had also been a bit ill after a recent trip abroad, but said she did not know if doctors had decided what they've been suffering from. Probably the very bad cold I had last week. Typical of Jacko and his people, that, to copy the illness I've had. Just because it got a mention in a CMU Daily Top Bit.

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DOORS FAN WANTS MORRISON'S RECORD CLEARED
According to reports, a fan of The Doors is petitioning the new governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, to clear Jim Morrison's criminal record, which comprises charges of indecent exposure and public profanity dating back to 1969.

Fan Dave Diamond, posting on Doors' fanpage Doors Collectors Magazine, asks that the "ridiculous charges" relating to an incident at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium be reconsidered, adding: "No matter what happened at that concert or how you feel about the man himself, the prosecution and agencies involved in this matter denied James Douglas Morrison his constitutional rights".

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SIMONON AXES PALAIS STAGE
Well, not all of it. The Clash bassist Paul Simonon hacked off a bit of the Hammersmith Palais stage as a souvenir when The Good The Bad And The Queen played there on Saturday. As previously reported, the legendary venue is set to be demolished, the last performance - a gig by The Fall - taking place last night. Simonon had told NME.com earlier in the week: "Before I go I think I've done enough to deserve a piece of the stage". The Clash, of course, gave the West London venue most of its legendary status by name checking it in one of their song titles.

On the somewhat controversial closure of the venue, Damon Albarn added: "It's a real shame they're knocking this place down. It used to be a tea-dance hall, where people would come on their breaks, drink tea and have a dance, that sounds very sophisticated. There is no reason why they should pull it down".

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POP IDOL CONTEST UNITES IRAQ, KINDA
Iraqi Shada Hasoon has won 'Star Academy' - the pan-Arab version of Pop Idol. The clear winner, Hasoon appears to have done more for Iraqi unity than western forces ever have - even if it was only for one night - with seven million Iraqis voting to secure her victory over candidates from across the Islamic world, including contestants from Kuwait, Oman and Lebanon.

Iraqi politician Sabah Ahmed says: "We welcome this woman because she has held the name of Iraq aloft. We needed a voice to unify us. Being an Islamist, I have some reservations about singing. But seven million votes for this woman from all walks of society! With this percentage she outclassed politicians in Iraq. Therefore the victory unites Iraqis".

Random Baghdad teacher Alaa Saber commented: "She excelled where politics failed and is admired by all. She won seven million Iraqi votes by telephone voting. None of the Iraqi politicians scooped that number of votes at the ballot box. Seven million were unanimous about her winning. That number has never been unanimous about anything else".

Hasoon herself, born to an Iraqi father and a Moroccan mother, and having lived most of her life abroad, told CNN: "I really want to thank them so much. Iraq. All Iraqi people for their voting to me, for their love to me, because I can feel it. I can feel them, like, really happy and smiling, especially in that situation they're living. That's why it's my dream to make them happy".

Not everyone thinks it's all happy happy, however. There are rumours that the vote was, in fact, fixed - rumour fuelled by the fact that the male Egyptian vote is normally so strong - of the three previous contests, two were won by Egyptians, and all were won by men.

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OSMOND ANNOUNCES MARRIAGE SPLIT
Marie Osmond has announced that she and husband of 20 years are to divorce. The singer and TV personality married Brian Blosil, a record producer, in a Mormon ceremony back in 1986, and the couple briefly separated in 2000. They have eight children, some adopted.

The couple said in a statement: "Though our marriage is ending, we continue to have a very amicable relationship. Our marriage has always been a faithful one and neither of us is assigning fault for the divorce".

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ROB DA BANK PODCASTS GO REGULAR
Sunday Best and Talking Voices have announced that the Rob da Bank hosted Sunday Best podcasts, which were piloted last year, will be going twice monthly from today, which is all very exciting. You can access it via the iTunes podcast thingimy thing. This week's includes Rob talking to those Dub Pistols - Barry Ashworth and Jason O'Bryan - about their brand new really rather good album 'Speakers And Tweeters', which is out next week and which I really must remember to review this week. In case I forget, here's a quote for the sticker - "CMU didn't think Dub Pistols could better 'Six Million Ways To Live', but bugger me, they have". Done it, good.

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SINEAD O'CONNOR ALBUM
Sinead O'Connor has announced details of her new album, a double disc long player entitled 'Theology' which is set for a June release. The album comprises eight original tracks written by O'Connor herself plus a number of covers. The singer says: "'Theology' is an attempt to create a place of peace in a time of war. It is my own personal response to what has taken place and is affecting everyone around the world since and including September 11, 2001. I simply wanted to make a beautiful thing which inspires me".

So there you go.

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JARVIS COCKER ASKS FANS FOR SUPPORT
That is a misleading headline, in fact. This is actually the story that Mr Jarvis Cocker has asked fans, via a post on his website, to suggest bands to be support acts at his upcoming US and European shows promoting debut solo album 'Jarvis'. He did it last year too, incidentally, as you'll see if you read the following statement.

Cocker writes: "We are playing in North America soon & need support bands for New York (2 shows), San Francisco, Seattle & Vancouver - do you think you could help? Same idea as the Europe shows - you recommend LOCAL bands that would be good for the job (preferably with a link to somewhere I can hear their music) & I'll do the rest. It worked a treat before - let's unleash the magic again!" said Cocker, after making a similar appeal for live dates last year".

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SANDI THOM SUPPORTS THE SNP
Which is a great reason not to buy the woman's records. In my humble opinion. But that's possibly because I used to be sort of politically active in Scotland, and met a lot of SNP members. To be fair, I don't mind leader Alex Salmond so much, but the membership is rife with idiots. I'm sorry, but it's true.

Anyway, Sandi Thom, who rose to fame by apparently simply doing some gigs over the net from her London flat (yes, you'd think she'd rather be in Edinburgh, wouldn't you?) presented Salmond with a souvenir copy of her album 'Smile, It Confuses People', and told the Scottish Sun. "The SNP is the only party that will stand up for Scotland in the forthcoming elections. I firmly believe Alex is the best person to represent Scotland's interests at home and abroad".

Salmond says: "Sandi has been an amazing success story, and it's a special bonus that she comes from my own constituency. Sandi is a great example of a Scottish artist succeeding on the global stage".

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RAZORLIGHT CONFIRMED FOR FRINGE
Razorlight have been confirmed on the line-up for the T On The Fringe strand at this year's Edinburgh Festival. The band play Meadowbank Stadium on 26 August. As previously reported, Kaiser Chiefs and Foo Fighters have already been confirmed to appear.

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REM TO PREVIEW ALBUM TRACKS IN DUBLIN
REM have said that they'll preview songs from their upcoming new album when they play five concerts at Dublin's Olympia Theatre this summer. The band appear at the venue on 30 Jun, and 1, 3, 4, 5 Jul.

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LONGEST CONCERT RECORD SET IN JAPAN
A world record for the longest non-stop concert has been set in the city of Omi in Japan, where hundreds of musicians aged from 6-96 came together to perform a 182 hour gig with breaks of no more than five minutes between acts, and during which around 2000 different songs were played.

The performances began on the evening of 23 Mar, and continued without a hitch despite the fact that a major earthquake hit during the course of the event. Organisers praised the musician who was playing when it hit, saying: "This pianist was amazing. The whole place was shaking quite badly but she went right on playing. Even an earthquake couldn't stop us".

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ALBUM REVIEW: Trademark - Raise The Stakes (Truck Records)
Of all the groups who emerged on the London Synth Pop Scene of late (and there are lots - Vic 20, Riviera, Nemo, Baxendale, Schmoof, Ex-Rental and many more), Trademark always seemed the ones who might actually make something of their career, what with their stellar tunes and fondness for introducing science lectures during their gigs (which reminds me of the time they shared the bill once with New Romantic spoof artist Gary Le Strange, and their line about "Our love is like a sine-wave" deliciously out-spoofed his earlier "Is my toaster sentient?" poser). The sleeve sees them ditch the cold white lab coats of yore, however; their new image (like the album itself, more colourful than its predecessor) takes a leaf out of Veto Silver's book in terms of their electro boy band look, and makes them look more like a group whose poster you'd want adorning your bedroom wall.
As for the music, 'Raise The Stakes' does just that: it's a much more confident and impressive affair than their debut album proper 'Want More'; this is awash with glistening melody and thumping beats and even the odd moment (such as the unexpected choir on 'Stuck In A Rut') of pop genius. Trademark's only weakness is the occasional underwhelming nature of the lyrics and vocals....singer Oliver Horton is no Neil Tennant, say, but then Bernard Sumner sustained a career despite (or possibly because of) his mediocre singing and lyrical abilities so there's no reason why Trademark couldn't flourish. Well, I say that but, despite the fact that I absolutely love synth-pop as great as this, sadly - barring some of my friends and a few obsessives in Germany - no-one much cares for the genre any more. Electroclash was a non-selling fad, the kids today just want more of the same absolute rubbish from The Arctic TwangView, and the fashionable indie groups (Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem) who incorporate electronics into their sound do so without really troubling the charts (all of which means that this fantastic pop album will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears, but what can you do?). Still, this is arguably the finest electronic pop album since Girls Aloud's 'Chemistry', which, of course, constitutes very high praise indeed. MS
Release date: 23 Apr
Press contact: Freeman PR [all]

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GROMIT TO REPLACE NIPPER IN HMV LOGO
Yay, I like this. HMV will be using Gromit (as in Wallace &) in place of Nipper the dog in its 'dog and gramophone' logo for three months as part of a promotional campaign for children's DVDs on sale at its stores. It's an inspired idea by the struggling retailer if you ask me - who can't warm to a brand represented by Gromit? HMV Marketing Director Graham Sim said of the use of the Aardman character in their kids DVD promotions: "I can't imagine that we would have entrusted our brand to anyone other than Aardman, who, in Wallace and Gromit, have created a much-loved British institution. We're delighted that Gromit has agreed to stand in for Nipper on this one occasion".

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ITN ON LAUNCHES MUSIC DIVISION
The mobile and broadband division of news company ITN, ITN On, is launching a music division to be headed by Ross Landau, who has previously been running music sales for ITN Source, the bit of the company that licences content from within the ITN, Reuters, Granada and Channel 4 archives. The new music division will look to offer record labels, mobile firms and broadband operators ITN's production skills to help them find new ways of presenting and selling music assets.

Confirming the new division, ITN On MD Nicholas Wheeler told CMU: "ITN On has made a mark in a wide variety of mobile and broadband content markets away from our traditional news heritage. Launching a music division seems logical seeing as we have a great production unit and music works so well on the new platforms. We're very excited to have attracted someone with Ross's music pedigree to join us".

Landau himself added: "I'm very happy with what we've achieved with ITN Source's music division. In just over two years we launched and built it into a successful business but it was time to find a fresh challenge and with the expansion going on at ITN On there is the potential to work with the record companies to deliver some high quality products".

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DERMOT GETS X-FACTOR
Dermot O'Leary has been given the X Factor presenting job, which is good news me thinks. He will replace Kate Thornton who, as previously reported, has been axed as part of a planned revamp of the show.

Confirming he'd accepted the job, O'Leary told reporters this weekend: "I was very flattered to be offered the job to host such a hugely successful show. I'm really looking forward to working with Simon [Cowell] and the team on the kind of Saturday night entertainment show I grew up watching."

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CHART UPDATE
So, while those Girls Aloud and Sugababes may have dropped out of the top ten with their Comic Relief fund raiser, the Peter Kay staged Proclaimers charity track stays atop the singles chart this week - and hurrah to that (and the Comic Relief version of '(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles' is selling enough to be number one despite the fact a fair few people are still obviously opting to buy the original - enough to put it at 29). Presumably every label with an artist in need of a career boost are courting Peter Kay as we speak about next year's Comic Relief outing.

Elsewhere in the singles chart, not much to report really - just a handful of new entries - Kings Of Leon with 'On Call' at 18, Melanie C with 'I Want Candy' at 24, Air Traffic with 'Charlotte' at 33, and Faithless and Cass Fox with 'Music Matter's at 38.

Albums wise, and Elton's previously reported hits package has sold well, though not well enough to push Take That off the top - he goes in a two. Other album new entries are The Doors' best of at 15, Machine Head's 'The Blackening' at 16, Hilary Duff's 'Dignity' at 25, and The Bees' 'Octopus' at 26.

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TOTAL ROCK WORLD ALBUM CHART
It's the 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. Korn - MTV Unplugged (EMI/Virgin)
5. Nickelback - All The Right Reasons (Warner/Roadrunner)
6. 30 Seconds To Mars - A Beautiful Life (EMI/Virgin)
7. My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade (Warner Bros)
8. Hinder - Extreme Behavior (Republic)
9. Billy Talent - Billy Talent II (Warner/Atlantic)
10. Saliva - Blood Stained Love Song (Universal/Island)
11. Muse - Black Holes & Revelations (Warner Bros)
12. Queen - Greatest Hits 1,2,3 (EMI)
13. Guns n Roses - Greatest Hits (Universal/Geffen)
14. Razorlight - Razorlight (Universal/Vertigo)
15. Chimaira - Resurrection (Nuclear Blast)
16. Electric Light Orchestra - Out Of The Blue (SonyBMG/Epic)
17. Incubus - Light Grenades (SonyBMG)
18. Stone Sour - Come What(ever) May (Warner/Roadrunner)
19. Disturbed - Ten Thousand Fists (Giant)
20. Type O Negative - Dead Again (SPV)*

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THE STUDENT RADIO CHART OF THE TERM
It's Easter fortnight, ladies and gentlemen, which is great news for fans of good Fridays. It's also great news for the majority of the student population who are now sleeping in even long than normal, it being the Easter vacation. Though, before you all start tutting about lazy students, half of them will have coursework deadlines and exams looming, so they'll be very stressed. And there's nothing worse than a stressful lie in. Anyway, with the Easter vacation upon us, here is the Student Radio chart of Spring Term, or the chart of the first two thirds of the Winter/Spring Semester, to be all modern about it. More info on all things Student Radio Chart from Al-B - music@studentradio.org.uk

1. Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
2. Mika - Grace Kelly
3. Bloc Party - The Prayer
4. The Klaxons - Golden Skans
5. Gossip - Standing in the Way of Control
6. Maximo Park - Our Velocity
7. The Killers - Read My Mind
8. Little Fray - How to Save a Life
9. Just Jack - Starz in their Eyes
10. Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running
11. The Long Blondes - Giddy Stratospheres
12. Fall Out Boy - This Aint No Scene This is a Riot
13. Gwen Stefani - Sweet Escape
14. Willy Mason - Save Myself
15. The View - Same Jeans
16. Snow Patrol - Open Your Eyes
17. The Fratellis - Baby Fratelli
18. Switches - Drama Queen
19. Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good
20. Razorlight - Before I Fall to Pieces
21. Joss Stone - Tell Me Bout It
22. Jamie T - Calm Down Dearest
23. The Noisettes - Sister Rosetta (Capture Spirit)
24. My Chemical Romance - Famous Last Words
25. The Twang - Wide Awake
26. Biffy Clyro - Saturday Superhouse
27. Little Barrie - Love You
28. The Bees - Who Cares What the Question Is
29. Ghosts - Stay the Night
30. Idlewild - No Emotion

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

A-List
Amy Winehouse - Back To Black (Universal/Island)*
Arctic Monkeys - Brianstorm (Domino)
Ash - You Can't Have It All (Warner/Infectious)
Bloc Party - I Still Remember (Wichita)
The Enemy - Away From Here (Warner)
The Good, The Bad and The Queen - Green Fields (Live at Wilton Hall) (EMI/Parlophone)
Idlewild - No Emotion SUBsession Exclusive (Sanctuary/Sequel)
Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow (Universal/Polydor)
Lostprophets - 4am (Forever) (Visible Noise)*
Manic Street Preachers - Your Love Alone Is Not Enough (SonyBMG/Columbia)*
My Chemical Romance - I Don't Love You (Warner/Reprise)
Muse - Invincible (Warner)
Seamus Haji feat KayJay - Last Night A DJ Saved My Life (Apollo/Big Love)
Simian Mobile Disco - It's The Beat (Wichita)
Travis - Closer (Independiente)

B-List
1990s - See You At The Lights (Rough Trade)*
The Black Ghosts - Any Way You Choose To Give It (Southern Fried)
De Souza feat Shena - Guilty (HedKandi)
The Dykeenies - New Ideas (Lavolta)
Ghosts - Stay The Night (Warner/Atlantic)
J Dilla - Nothing Like This (Stones Throw)
The Draytones - Keep Loving Me (1965 Records)
Hayseed Dixie - I Don't Feel Like Dancing (Cooking Vinyl)*
The Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations (Vagrant)*
The Kissaway Trail - Smother + Evil = Hurt (Bella Union)*
Little Man Tate - This Must Be Love (V2)
Lady Sovereign - Those Were The Days (Universal/Def Jam)
Loney, Dear - I Am John (EMI/Regal)
Louie - I Know What You're Doing Tonight (N/A)*
Viva Voce - Wrecking Ball (Full Time Hobby)

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USHER ENGAGED
Usher's spokeswoman has confirmed that the R&B star is engaged to long term girlfriend, stylist Tameka Foster. Speculation on the issue has been rife recently, due to the fact that Foster had been seen wearing a diamond ring. Usher had previously admitted the engagement to MTV news, and suggested that he and his fiancee could be married by the end of the year.

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MYLEENE KLASS EXPECTING
What is it with all these people? Baby Spice, Charlotte Church, Atomic Kitten Jenny Frost, Noel Gallagher's girlfriend. I'm sick of it. Honestly. All trying to detract attention from me with their celebrity pregnancies. Well, I just hope they're all as sick as I was.

The latest celebrity music type to announce a pregnancy is Myleene Klass, who is expecting her first child with fiance Graham Quinn. In a statement, she says: "Graham and I are ecstatically happy. We've always wanted a family of our own. I am truly delighted and know Graham will make a fantastic father".

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PAUL WELLER SPITS ON STING
According to reports, Paul Weller spat on a photograph of Sting when he appeared at the Noel Gallagher Teenage Cancer Trust gig at the Royal Albert Hall last week. He's been recently quoted as calling the Police frontman "a fucking horrible man", so perhaps it's not surprising that he would do something like this. He does strike me as a rather angry man.

Anyway, he's supposed to have spotted the photo and... "marched straight up to it, coughed-up as much phlegm as he could muster and planted it plum in the middle of The Police frontman's head...as he walked away, Weller then snarled: 'Fucking twat!'"

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BUENA SAYS SHE WAS PRESSURED INTO LEAVING BABES
Former Sugababe Mutya Buena says she left Sugababes because her bandmates pressured her into it. The singer, set to launch a solo career, of course, says this: "What would have been perfect would be if the girls had left me a tiny bit alone and stopped pressuring me. If they'd just given me a bit more time, I'd love to still be in the Sugababes. Me and Heidi haven't spoken since I left. I did try to make peace by going down to CD:UK but I didn't quite get a good response. I don't read whatever the girls say anymore - I'm not that interested - but I did try to talk to them. Heidi was supposedly too hurt to talk to me".

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MIKA ON COWELL
Mika has mocked Simon Cowell. It's not hard to find a reason to, I suppose. Here's what he told Attitude magazine: "I had a meeting with Simon a few years back. He said my songs weren't very good and I wasn't a songwriter. Then I spotted a gold disc for the Teletubbies single to the left of him and thought, 'This is possibly not the man for me'".

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