CMU Daily - on the inside Tuesday 22nd May
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- EMI board approve private equity bid
- Eminem management sue over digital royalties
- Fats Domino returns to the stage
- Creed frontman in domestic assault fracas
- Liberty X split
- Nelly to host Pimp My Ride SA
- Syd Barrett worth lots of money
- Lordi make horror film
- New Bloc Party single
- UK Music Week kicks off
- Stereophonics tour
- Killing For Company release first single
- It's the Rootsville festival
- It's the Indietracks festival
- Mcfly added to V bill
- Muse announce Wembley line ups
- Single Review: Pigeon Detectives - I'm Not Sorry
- Live Nation UK announce new beer partnership
- Orchard sue still to launch ad funded download service
- Air America relaunches
- Local Radio Company says things are on the up
- Single Review: Yucatan - Un Cyfle
- Robbie returns to London
- Manson on marriage
- Scissor Sister and Gallagher heal the breach
- More on Allen v Tweedy
- Rakes attack politically inclined celebs
- Perez unearths Doherty before the drugs

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TOP BIT>>
So, after over a year of these takeover talks and those takeover talks, and them trying to take over Warner, and Warner trying to take over them, in the end it all happened quite quickly. Assuming the shareholders of EMI follow the Group's board's recommendations, the London based major will fall into the hands of a London based private equity firm called Terra Firma, who also own the Odeon cinema chain and Waste Recycling Group and German service station chain Tank & Rast. Whether that means free cinema tickets, rubbish powered PCs and overpriced pasties for everyone at EMI's West London HQ I don't know. Nor whether a change in ownership will mean any radical changes at the major's recorded music or publishing divisions. Given the takeover is backed by a board already pursuing a quite radical restructure, in recorded music in particular, presumably the people at Terra Firma have expressed some support for the current direction the company is moving in, meaning that if the takeover does go ahead there may be no noticeable overnight changes for the major's employees and roster of artists, and certainly fewer changes than there would have been had a Warner merger gone ahead. Whether, long term, owners who promise their funders that they "deliver consistently high returns" from their investments will affect the creative risk EMI is willing to take I don't know, though in the short term a period of relative stability without the constant trauma of takeover or merger on the horizon may well let the major operate more boldly than in the recent past. Time will tell.

But if the Terra Firma deal does go ahead what does that mean for Warner Music? When Warner and EMI first started to bounce back takeover offers last summer - each trying to take over the other - many commentators initially thought an EMI takeover of Warner was more likely, the consensus being Warner chief Edgar Bronfmann Jr and his financial backers, who had bought Warner Music off Time Warner in 2003, would be ready to cash in and profit from their three year investment. But, as it turned out, Bronfmann knocked back all offers for a quick cash in, and it seemed that it was more than just the offer price that was behind those knock backs - the Warner chief is seemingly in music for the long haul, and merging Warner Music with EMI to create a record company on par with Universal Music, which he created but then lost control of in the late nineties, was very much part of Bronfmann's agenda, and probably had been ever since he first considered acquiring TimeWarner's music assets. So much so that it was Bronfmann who continued to court EMI's shareholders and continued to submit takeover offers, despite the increase in regulatory concerns following the SonyBMG ruling in the European courts. And, of course, it was Bronfmann who courted the indie sector in a bid to quash any opposition to an EMI/Warner merger before such a merger was even on the table.

But assuming Terra Firma's EMI purchase, should it go ahead, means the London major is off the market for a couple of years at least, where next for an obviously acquisition hungry Bronfmann? Well, there's always the strategy of buying up the bigger indies in both the recorded and publishing sectors - with London's Sanctuary Group on obvious takeover target (though one that the private equity types are also known to be considering bidding for). Or, possibly, that strategy we've talked of before here in the Top Bit - using acquisition to diversify, to enter into other sectors of the music business other than recordings and publishing, you know, the ones where the money is these days - in particular live, merchandising and management. I remain convinced such diversification remains the future (despite the somewhat disastrous attempts by the aforementioned Sanctuary to pursue the 100 degree business model), though whether Warner are the label to lead the diversification I don't know. Bronfmann does sometimes come over as one of those stuck-in-the-mud record label types, especially when he talks about DRM, but then again he is also the risk taking maverick who sold off his family business to enter the industry he had a creative passion for, and who surprised many by successfully getting his hands on Warner at all back in 2003. So, perhaps his failure to buy yet another traditional record company may be a blessing in disguise for Bronfmann and Warner. Perhaps it will force him to become the maverick again, and take Warner Music in a totally new direction. Either way, interesting times ahead.

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CLASSIFIEDS>>

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CMU AT THE BRIGHTON FESTIVAL

The Brighton Festival is in its third and final week with even more brilliant theatre, comedy, art, dance, talks, debate, cabaret and music to come. CMU's sister publication, ThreeWeeks, is covering it all, and you can check the coverage at http://www.threeweeks.co.uk, with music reviews here each day in the CMU Daily. Today more from last weekend's The Great Escape, with individual gig reviews from team CMU/ThreeWeeks.

Great Escape At The Brighton Festival (Featuring Nouvelle Vague, Patrick Watson and special guests Hello Saferide and Adjagas)
Sometimes punctuality pays off; those turning up fashionably late to this show missed the first, and most enjoyable, band on the bill. Which is a shame, because after Hello Saferide's catchy, garage-symphonic pop, latecomers contended with two more support acts whose scores tended to the self-indulgent and swampy. The real draw, of course, was the bossa nova punk of Nouvelle Vague; yet although they treated us to the best musicianship of the evening, their upbeat, smiley performance style often stripped away too much of their source material's menace to stay effective with few of their punk and new wave covers managing to avoid sounding like affectionate kitsch. Perhaps if they'd come earlier, too - say, to England in 1980 - they'd have found some positive influences for their own improvement.
Corn Exchange, Brighton Dome, 17 May, 8:00pm, £12.50, festival pp10.
tw rating 3/5
[jb]

Foals
With throbbing beats that seep up through the soles of your feet and tweak every single body muscle, Foals' 'secret' Great Escape performance transformed the crowd into a jerky gyrating mass, to the point where I feared the pier would break and we'd all end up in the sea. The sun still shone on this, the first show that I witnessed during the festival's Friday line up, yet it was impossible not to lose myself in the band's sweetly melodic yet pulsating electro, which really belonged to the night. A sharp and invigorating treat, Foals' angular, startling music sent me on my 'escaping greatly' way with musical standards and expectations that the rest of the evening's acts would have a challenge to live up to.
Horatio's Bar, Brighton Pier, 18 May, 7:00pm.
tw rating 4/5
[md]

Willy Mason
By far the most stunningly beautiful show that I witnessed during the Friday of Great Escape was the set performed by Willy Mason. Whilst the desperately disappointed fans outside who had outnumbered the venue's capacity were treated to Willy's busking skills before the show, the rest of us enjoyed the musician's display of talent at utterly captivating an audience through the sheer loveliness and intelligence of his songs featuring lyrics that seem almost too articulately wise and poignant to be written by someone of his tender years. The backing band, by contrast, succeeded in adding an up-beat vibe to the show, if ever so slightly undermining Mason's vigour as a soloist. The gorgeous 'Oxygen' was his encore, a rendition which plastered irrepressible smiles across the faces of the crowd. A very special singer-songwriter, I was utterly enchanted by him.
Pavilion Theatre, 18 May, 10:45pm.
tw rating 4/5
[md]

Help She Can't Swim
'Can we just enjoy this please?' sang Help She Can't Swim before breaking into a touch of the more hardcore element of their music. I obeyed the request to a point. The band punched their keyboards and played some fast paced guitar creating music peppered with a healthy dose of anger, all of which combined to ensure that this was a relatively enjoyable show which deserved a good fat stomp of a dance. However, the audience was somewhat static and I felt that although Help She Can't Swim had the potential to shock and surprise, they need to push more boundaries and innovate more within their genre before they can become particularly special. An experience that was entertaining, if unvarying - a much better time would have been had by all, if only each song could have differed more from its predecessor.
Arc, 18 May, 8:45pm.
tw rating 3/5
[md]

The Dash
As The Dash finally began their set, it became clear they weren't going to make many friends when the soundman's response to the vocalist's snide remarks was 'I'm not going to enjoy this'. Just as I predicted, the frontman's arrogance and indifference to the crowd made it difficult to enjoy the London trio's performance, with no part of it making me want to abandon my seat in the corner of the venue. However, the band were redeemed a little by catchy lyrics, harmonies tighter than the lead singer's jeans and up-tempo beats which got everyone moving in time to their jerky pop-punk tunes. This was an enjoyable gig, but could have been more so, had The Dash left their attitude at the bar.
Hector's House, 19 May, 7:15pm.
tw rating 3/5
[rw]

Florence And The Machine
Florence soared onto the stage in a whirlwind of eagerness to sing. Caught up in her melodramatic performance, she sang from the gut, exuberantly dishing out her sometimes amusing, on occasion heart-wrenching, lyrics. This dose of soul-food was eagerly digested by a clearly delighted, if taken-aback audience. Accompanied by Matthew Alchin - 'the Machine' - with his jazz-enriched guitar, the two musically bounced off each other to build something utterly complete. It didn't matter that Florence occasionally hit the notes imperfectly - that itself might be explained by her distinct lack of sobriety following the show, when she rather anxiously asked me "if it went all right?" After experiencing her visceral, energising songs, there was nothing I could have honestly said but "It was more than all right".
Pressure Point, 18 May, 1:30am.
tw rating 4/5
[md]

ThreeWeeks in Brighton is only possible because of the kind support of Latest 7 http://www.latest7.co.uk - plus tune into the Latest radio show, every afternoon on Radio Reverb, listen online via http://www.latest7.co.uk/radio

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EMI BOARD APPROVE PRIVATE EQUITY BID
So, that all happened a bit quicker than everyone was expecting. Following all that speculation regarding which private equity firms were considering takeover bids for EMI, and whether they'd be able to outbid Warner Music, the board of EMI Group yesterday announced it was recommending to its investors that they accept a cash offer from a European investment outfit called Terra Firma. They are offering 265 pence per share, five pence per share more than the most recent Warner takeover offer, and ten pence per share more than what other private equity firms were rumoured to be considering offering.

The board told the London Stock Exchange that it considered the offer to be "fair and reasonable" adding that it intends to "recommend unanimously" that EMI shareholders should accept the proposal. In his statement to the LSE, EMI chairman John Gildersleeve said: "The EMI board received a number of proposals from several different parties. Terra Firma's offer is the most attractive proposal received and delivers cash now, without regulatory uncertainty and with the minimum of operational risk to the company". Stock in the major soared by almost 10% on the announcement.

Gildersleeve insisted that EMI was in "good shape", despite the announcement coinciding with the publication of the group's year end financial report which confirmed revenue declines in both the major's recording and publishing divisions. His board's support for the takeover offer was, he said, a move to "safeguard the company's future". He concluded: "The global music industry is undergoing significant change and, whilst EMI is confident in its ability to deliver its recently announced restructuring plans, significant uncertainty exists as to the timing and extent of future market developments".

In a joint statement, Terra Firma's CEO Guy Hands added: "Terra Firma's objective is to build on EMI's current position as one of the world's leading music companies and accelerate the development of its digital and online strategy to fully exploit this long-term growth opportunity".

Assuming EMI's investors follow their board's recommendation, it will be interesting to see how Terra Firma, and Hands, deal with becoming overnight major players in the recording and music publishing sectors. Presumably, given the fact that the deal has board support, Terra Firma has indicated support for the company's current restructuring programme and for the senior execs, some of them only recently appointed, who are overseeing that programme.

That said, on their website Terra Firma say: "We add value through integrating ourselves directly into the companies we buy. Our in-house operational team works closely with our financial team during the due diligence phase of each deal and then, post-acquisition, they go directly into the company, often forming an integral part of interim management. This deep involvement by operational professionals, combined with their alignment of interest, helps us to deliver consistently high returns" - which doesn't sound like an investment house planning to take an entirely back seat role in turning round EMI's financial performance.

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EMINEM MANAGEMENT SUE OVER DIGITAL ROYALTIES
Lawyers representing two companies that manage Eminem - FBT Productions and Em2M - have begun legal proceedings against Universal and its Aftermath and Interscope divisions over a royalties dispute which has, at its heart, the previously discussed issue of what royalty artists should receive on digital sales of their music.

The new lawsuit, which doesn't involve Eminem personally, is seemingly similar to that being pursued by The Allman Brothers, Cheap Trick and Elmo & Patsy against the Sony labels, and by The Youngbloods against the BMG labels, in which the claimants say that revenues generated from digital sales (downloads and realtone ringtones) should be treated more akin to revenues generated by licensing music to broadcasters rather than revenues generated by traditional record sales - which is an important distinction because artists receive a much bigger share of broadcast revenues than record sale revenues.

The cases against SonyBMG primarily involve recording contracts that didn't foresee the sale of digital music and therefore don't really state what the deal is with digital revenues. However, the new lawsuit claims that the 1995 recording contract between the claimants and Universal Music provides for a 50% royalty on digital revenues, although that claim does rely on an "other uses" clause, which may or may not stand in court. But if it does stand, FBT and En2M reckon they have been under paid royalties to the tune of $650,000 for the period 2002-2005 alone.

The SonyBMG lawsuit, which is still working its way through court, has become a class action suit, ie the artists pursuing it claim to represent the wider artist community which, of course, means a judgment in the artists' favour would have a widespread impact on SonyBMG, and possibly all record companies. FBT and Em2M don't seem to have any plans to go the class action route with their lawsuit, but if they are successful in winning a bigger royalty payment from Universal for digital sales a precedent will be set that could have a dramatic impact on the increasingly digital focused record companies' bottom lines.

All of which means all these cases should be interesting to see, if and when they get to court.

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FATS DOMINO RETURNS TO THE STAGE
Fats Domino has returned to public performance for the first time since Hurricane Katrina devastated the blues legend's home city of New Orleans. As previously reported, the 79 year old musician had to be rescued by boat from the flooding that overtook the city back in August of 2005.

Domino last performed in public three months prior to the events of that month, in which he lost his home, gold and platinum records and his pianos. His latest gig, which took place on Saturday, was staged by The Tiptina's Foundation, a not for profit organisation which has also put together a Domino tribute record featuring artists such as Elton John, Paul McCartney and Lenny Kravitz to raise money to help musicians recover from the after-effects of Katrina, as well as providing the city's schools with musical instruments.

Quint Davis, of the city's Jazz And Heritage Festival, said of Domino's performance: "It was emotional. There were a lot of people crying. It wasn't that the music was living again for us. It wasn't about us. It was about Fats. Fats himself got to experience it again".

Fellow musician Art Neville added: "He's been through so much, like a lot of us. It was great to see him out there. It really was".

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CREED FRONTMAN IN DOMESTIC ASSAULT FRACAS
Former Creed rocker Scott Stapp was arrested in Florida on Sunday following a domestic dispute with his wife - former Miss New York Jaclyn Nesheiwat. The singer was initially charged with aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony, but that charge was subsequently reduced to a misdemeanour.

A spokesman for Palm Beach County Sheriff confirmed that nobody had been injured, and explained why the charge had been reduced - "because the allegation is that Stapp threw a bottle of Orangina at his wife, at her head, and missed and the bottle broke. Based on the circumstances, the defense attorney argued that was not a deadly weapon". Nice.

Stapp's attorney Robert Gershman added: "The facts against him are weak. The judge saw that," and went on to confirm that his client was back at home following the incident.

A statement from Stapp's label, Wind-Up, essentially refused to comment on the matter: "This is a private matter between the members of the Stapp family and we would hope that their privacy is respected. Scott and Jaclyn are both well, and any further relevant information will be forthcoming at the appropriate time".

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LIBERTY X SPLIT
Liberty X have announced that they've decided to split up. The band, I'm sure you're aware, were actually the losing band from the reality talent show 'Popstars', but went on to have a much longer lived career than the victors Hear'say.

A statement on the group's website says: "We want to let the fans know that Liberty X won't be doing any more recording together. All of us have separate projects we're working on, and are excited about. We're still the best of friends and we'll still be doing all the dates on the current club tour. Also, we still intend to come together sometimes as Liberty X for one-off special events. Thanks for all the truly magnificent support you fans have given us, and hope to see you at the shows!"

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NELLY TO HOST PIMP MY RIDE SA
As previously reported, US rap star Nelly recently signed a deal with South Africa based company Mojalife to have his Vokal, Applebottom and Pimp Juice brands distributed on the African continent. It seems his South African ventures won't stop there though, as he's also entered talks to host a local version of MTV's Pimp My Ride. Personally, I don't see the point of Pimp My Ride without Xzibit and his winning smile, but there you go. Don't even get me started on Westwood.

The rap star is also reportedly planning to launch an Idol style reality show, with the winner set to sign a two year record deal with Nelly's own label Derrty Ent, which is also about to launch in South Africa.

What is it with these rap stars, wanting to take over the world with their brands and stuff? Actually, you know what, I know what it is; and I just don't think it's healthy.

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SYD BARRETT WORTH LOTS OF MONEY
Actually, it's not that much money in the grand scheme of things. Syd Barrett's estate has been valued at £1.7million, following his death last year from cancer at the age of sixty, contradicting rumour that the former Pink Floyd man had died penniless after living reclusively in Cambridge for thirty years.

His money has been distributed amongst surviving members of his family, amongst them his brothers Alan and Donald and sisters Ruth Brown and Rosemary Breen. Breen, who is said to have cared for her brother in his final years, was also awarded the proceeds from the sale of his home, and an auction of the late musician's possessions.

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LORDI MAKE HORROR FILM
Last year's Finnish Eurovision winners Lordi are apparently shooting a horror film. Group leader Mr Lordi, aka Tomi Putaansuu, has been promoting the flick, an English language movie entitled 'Dark Floors' set to premiere in Finland at the end of the year, at Cannes this week.

The singer said that his be-masked band began shooting this month on the feature, and explained what it's all about. Well, kind of. He didn't give out plot details, or anything. Here's what he said: "In a way it is traditional horror film, but a traditional modern horror film. It has monsters obviously in it. It has some twists in the plot, of course, it has some horrific scenes and a horrific mood, it is more like a psychological thing. Lordi goes to the twilight zone, that is pretty much what you can say".

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NEW BLOC PARTY SINGLE
Bloc Party have announced that they will release their latest single on 9 Jul. 'Hunting For Witches' is the third track to be taken from their second album 'A Weekend In The City' and comes in various packages across the formats. Which I'm kind of too lazy to try and explain properly, except to say that the single will be backed with new tracks as well as some exclusive mixes, depending on what package you go for. The band have also added a second London performance to their clutch of winter tour dates - they'll play Alexandra Palace on the 14 and 15 Dec, as well as Glasgow's SECC on 12 Dec and Manchester's Central on 13 Dec.

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UK MUSIC WEEK KICKS OFF
So, are you all feeling UK Music Week? Well are you? Yes, we are in the middle of UK Music Week - the commercial radio sector's previously reported celebration of all things UK music. Which means there are all sorts of special programmes celebrating British music appearing on all kinds of commercial radio stations this week. It began last night with a special Stereophonics gig in Bristol, they being two-thirds British. I'd run you through everything else being planned, but to be honest you'd be better off checking this MySpace where all the listings are posted...

http://www.myspace.com/ukmwofficial

I will, however, tell you what Andrew Harrison of commercial radio body RadioCentre says about it all: "We're really excited about UK Music Week. The stations have pulled together some fantastic programming offering an incredible breadth of output and it will be a great week to tune into commercial radio".

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STEREOPHONICS TOUR
Talking of Stereophonics, Kelly Jones et al have announced a series of UK arena dates in November, no doubt to follow or coincide with the release of their upcoming new album. And if you buy a ticket for the dates, you get to download a one track taster for the new album, available from 28 May. It's bribery, of the worst kind. Only kidding. Here are the dates:

4 Nov: Bournemouth BIC
5 Nov: Brighton Centre
7 Nov: Manchester MEN Arena
9 Nov: Sheffield Arena
11 Nov: Birmingham NEC
13 Nov: Nottingham Arena
15 Nov: London Wembley Arena
18 Nov: Cardiff Arena
22 Nov: Newcastle Arena
24 Nov: Aberdeen ECC
25 Nov: Glasgow SECC

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KILLING FOR COMPANY RELEASE FIRST SINGLE
And more Stereophonics related news - the band's ex-drummer Stuart Cable's previously reported new band Killing For Company are set to release their debut single 'Enemies' on 4 Jun. They are, of course, also set to support The Who at their gig at Swansea's Liberty Stadium on 1 Jun. Other upcoming dates include these ones, here:

28 May: Cardiff The Point
9 Jun: Hertford The Corn Exchange
12 Jun: Bristol The Thekla
30 Jun: Swansea Sin City
19 Jul: Reading The Fez Club
21 Jul: Newport TJs

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IT'S THE ROOTSVILLE FESTIVAL
How about some news on festivals we've not reported on yet? The Rootsville Festival takes place on 30 Jun at that Custard Factory place in Birmingham. Organiser Kent Davis tells us: "The spirit of Rootsville is hiptripstic and happy with random acts of spontaneous entertainment and explosive cathartic performances in a carnival like atmosphere. And don't think we're saving the best till last either - one of the biggest acts will be before 6pm".

Among the bands booked to play are: Birmingham Community Gospel Choir, Juldeh, Soweto Kinch, Lonesome Dog Blues Band, Thee Single Spy, One Eye, Sugarbeats, Shimm, Cracked Actors, The Dholblasters, The Destroyers, The Lovechild Electric, The Presets, Kubichek!, Misty's Big Adventure and Inspiral Carpets. Full info is at http://rootsvillefestival.com, press info from rootsville@mikedav.co.uk.

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IT'S THE INDIETRACKS FESTIVAL
This one takes place in Derbyshire alongside a heritage railway (hence the 'tracks' bit of Indietracks), meaning that you get to take a steam train the festival site, which sounds like fun to me. It takes place from 28 to 29 Jul at the Midland Railway Butterley in Ripley and among the bands due to play are Arthur & Martha, Bearsuit, The Bobby McGees, Cats On Fire, The Chemistry Experiment, The College Pinks, Countryside, The Cut Outs, Das Wanderlust, The Electric Pop Group, The Felt Tips, Persil, Pete Green, The Gresham Flyers, The Hermit Crabs, MJ Hibbett & The Validators, Horowitz, The Indelicates, Rose McDowell, Roy Moller, The Parallelograms, The Orchids, Santa Dog, Strange Idols, Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring, Wake The President and Wintergreen, which all sounds kind of wonderful. More info at http://www.indietracks.co.uk, press info and the likes from stuart@railcar.co.uk

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MCFLY ADDED TO V BILL
And onto a festival we've reported on lots but which is getting reported on again because they just added McFly to the bill - hurrah! Yep, organisers of the V Festival have just announced five more additions to their line up - The Thrills, Rilo Kiley, Glen Tilbrook And The Fluffers, The Hours and McFly.

Here's what V Fest boss Bob Angus says: "In my mind, the perfect festival features a wide range of acts and this year I'm certain we've achieved that. A line-up featuring artists that range from Foo Fighters to McFly is just what you want; it appeals to everyone! I'm incredibly pleased with the way this year's V Festival is shaping up, and we've still got another great announcement up our sleeves".

Tom McFly adds this: "Me and the boys are really excited about playing this year's V, it always has a
brilliant line up and this year's is no exception. Although we won't be getting naked again, we'll definitely have something up our sleeves!" So, there you go.

The V Festival takes place 18-19 Aug at Hylands Park, Chelmsford and Weston Park, Staffordshire.

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MUSE ANNOUNCE WEMBLEY LINE UPS
Muse have announced the initial line ups to their previously reported Wembley gigs, that take place at the revamped stadium on 16 and 17 Jun. And here they are. Alas, no McFly.

16 Jun: Muse, The Streets, Rodrigo Y Gabriela

17 Jun: Muse, My Chemical Romance, Biffy Clyro

More acts will be announced soon.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Pigeon Detectives - I'm Not Sorry (Dance To The Radio)
'I'm Not Sorry' is one of those songs you're sure you've heard before but will never be able to pinpoint where. Did they steal it from some failed Britpop band's greatest hits compilation that was only available in Burnley, limited to just 1000 copies of which only 200 sold - six to the lead singer's Nan? Or was the riff nicked from a 60s British Cop Show? Perhaps neither on reflection, but such hyperbole does a lot to describe this song because it's instantaneously infectious, sounding like Kaiser Chiefs - their perennial influence - but without the annoying Lad Rock-isms that sound dated after about three listens. And while this still doesn't mean it's up to much in the originality stakes, it is certifiably an indie disco/summer festival hit. The kind you can guarantee will last well into September when it'll get dumped in with the rest of the Toploaders of this world. OS
Release Date: 21 May
Press contact: Motion [all]

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LIVE NATION UK ANNOUNCE NEW BEER PARTNERSHIP
The UK division of live music conglom Live Nation has announced a three year deal with beer brand Tuborg, which will see the drink become the "official beer of Live Nation" across the UK.

The deal will give the drinks brand exclusive pouring rights at Live Nation's 31 music and theatre venues, which include Cardiff International Arena, Liverpool Empire, Manchester Apollo and the Lyceum Theatre in London, as well as at the live music firm's UK festivals, which include Download Festival, O2 Wireless Festival, Global Gathering, Escape Into The Park and Hard Rock's Hyde Park Calling, which means if you're a beer drinker heading to one of those venues or events, you'd better acquire a taste for Tuborg.

The deal is a coup for the Carlsberg owned drink which, while quite high profile in mainland Europe, only launched over here in April. In addition to being stocked at Live Nation venues and festivals, the beer will also sponsor and brand stages, bars and VIP ticket competitions run by the live music firm.

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ORCHARD SUE STILL TO LAUNCH AD FUNDED DOWNLOAD SERVICE
Independent digital music aggregator The Orchard is suing LTDnetwork, the owners of the still to launch ad-supported download service Qtrax. The aggregator says it delivered its catalogue of 400,000 tracks to the download service last year as part of an agreement in with LTDnetwork promised to pay a non-recoupable $160,000 delivery fee. The Orchard says to date only $20,000 has been received, and it is suing for the difference. LTDnetwork is yet to comment on the legal proceedings.

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AIR AMERICA RELAUNCHES
The struggling left-of-centre US radio network Air America has relaunched this week under new ownership. Following the station's previously reported bankruptcy, Air America has been bought by multi-millionaire property investor Stephen Green and he hopes to turn round the talk service's fortunes with more "cultural celebrities" and a greater emphasis on politics. Air America, of course, was launched in 2004 in a bid to provide an alternative to the generally right wing talk shows that appear on mainstream US radio, but fell into financial hardships, alienating listeners through frequent presenter changes. Among the high profile presenters now in place are three Democratic presidential hopefuls, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, plus journalist and US feminist icon Gloria Steinem, and actors Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

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LOCAL RADIO COMPANY SAYS THINGS ARE ON THE UP
The Local Radio Company, which owns over 30 local radio stations, has said it is expecting May to deliver its biggest improvement in revenue since 2005, making the firm "cash positive" for the first time in two years.

Buoyed by recent RAJAR figures, where their stations bucked trends in the local commercial radio market and increased audiences, the company's CEO, Richard Wheatly, told reporters: "The advertising market went down in a big way during 2006 but we now feel confident for the remainder of this financial year. We will now keep moving forward with good momentum and keep an eye out for appropriate acquisitions at the right price".

The company also announced that chairman Graham Parrott was standing down after three years. As I understand it, he won't be replaced, rather, Wheatly will become Executive Chairman.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Yucatan - Un Cyfle (Slacyr Records)
Yucatan aka Dilwyn Llwyd's travels in and around Iceland have inspired him to release an album of particularly subdued beauty. Add to this his friendship with Icelandic ambient rock outfit Sigur Ros and you get a truly original album of eloquent, dream-like music. Sigur Ros' impact on Yucatan is obvious throughout 'Un Cyfle' which is the first single released from the forthcoming album and you can hear this influence in the quiet orchestral arrangements as well in the rousing chorus section. He even employs the peculiar technique of playing certain parts of the song and different notes backwards (a technique used profusely by Sigur Ros) which creates a haunting and alien feeling which sits perfectly at the end of this minimalist track. To non-Welsh speakers 'Un Cyfle' might as well be in Icelandic but to those of us privileged enough to understand the language the beauty of the sound of certain Welsh words is exemplified perfectly in this track about making important life decisions. These words are accompanied by a dense, melodic sound that is a fine example of one of the best emerging artists from Wales at the moment. GM
Release Date: 23 Apr
Press Contact: Plug Two [all]

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ROBBIE RETURNS TO LONDON
According to reports, Robbie Williams is to leave his home in LA and return to London so he can hang out with his best mate Jonathan Wilkes again. As previously reported, Williams based himself in LA because not so many people know who he is out there and he's less hounded by the paps and suchlike.

Anyway, living out there doesn't necessarily seem to have done him much good, if you consider his recent admission to rehab. So it's perhaps a good thing he's going home. A source told The News Of The World: "He wants to have some fun with his friends and concentrate on getting rid of his demons. Some of the best days were back when he lived with Jonathan in their bachelor pad together. He's looking forward to a life of golf and football for a while and being with his mates and family".

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MANSON ON MARRIAGE
Marilyn Manson has been whining about the deleterious effect the break up of his marriage to cheesecake throwback and burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese had on him, which seems a bit kiss-and-tell-ish, in my opinion. And by that I mean I'm not sure I approve of his discussing such personal matters with the media.

Anyway, the goth-rocker told Spin: "I was completely destroyed. I had no soul left. I define myself as a person, a human, an artist, as someone who makes things - writing, painting, music - and I couldn't do anything".

Referring to Von Teese, he added: "She said she had tolerated the lifestyle because she hoped I would change and threatened to leave if I didn't. I was sleeping on the couch in my own home. I was no longer supposed to be a rock star. I was someone who had to be apologized for. I wasn't prepared to be alone. I came out of this naked, a featherless bird".

Oh dear. The poor little thing.

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SCISSOR SISTER AND GALLAGHER HEAL THE BREACH
According to an interview in Metro, Ana Matronic has overcome the dispute between her band Scissor Sisters and the Gallagher brothers, who have, as previously reported, criticised the New York pop band.

Matronic explained how she met the Oasis duo at the Brits earlier this year, telling the paper: "We share the same security company, so when I heard they were hanging out backstage I marched straight up to Noel, pinched him on the cheek and gave him a big hug. If someone says something bad about Scissor Sisters I don't engage them in an argument but try to kill them with kindness and make them love me. Noel referred to me as a 'top bird' to a mutual acquaintance. He was very nice, as was Liam".

Matronic also spoke about an encounter with Paul McCartney at Live 8 back in 2005, saying: "I saw Sir Paul McCartney walk by and thought: 'Now's my chance,' and said: 'Excuse me, Sir Paul, could I...?' But before I could ask, he asked me for my autograph. He was collecting them on his programme for his grandson, I think. It was mind-blowing for a Beatle to be asking me for my autograph".

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MORE ON ALLEN V TWEEDY
Lily Allen has responded to Cheryl Cole nee Tweedy's latest comments in their ongoing war of words. The Girls Aloud star's latest jibe, if you remember, was to the effect that Allen wasn't big enough to play an arena, following Lily's contention that Cheryl doesn't sing live.

Allen wrote on her MySpace page: "I played twice at Wembley Arena last year and I'm playing Wembley Stadium in a couple of months. I'm over here in America where I've sold more than 500,000 albums. I wonder when Girls Aloud last came over here to promote an album? I don't think anyone has even heard of them over there."

She promised, however, that the slanging match would now end: "If she comes out and slags me off again, I'm not going to retaliate. I haven't got time", she says.

Well, if she doesn't respond, I'm sure someone will do it on her behalf. Ricky Wilson, who, as reported yesterday, has been sticking up for Allen. Or The Gossip's Beth Ditto, perhaps, who has told BBC Radio 1: "Fuck Girls Aloud. I'd rather be a fat chick with a dick than an asshole. It's hard to feel good when magazines say you're ugly, so I know how Lily feels".

I hope she told BBC Radio 1 that after the watershed.

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RAKES ATTACK POLITICALLY INCLINED CELEBS
The Rakes have attacked those sort of celebrities who get mouthy about politics. I think they might be making a distinction between those who clearly have their own opinions and agenda, and those who are idiot opportunists, but I'm honestly not that sure.

It all relates to the band's new single 'The World Was A Mess But His Hair Was Perfect', which is all about one of these pseudo political types. Frontman Alan Donohue says: "You get people like Peter Andre on Top of the Pops trying to tell Tony Blair how to dictate foreign policy, it's like 'oh my god!' The song is based on those sort of airheads who jumped on the bandwagon, you know when it was a bit cool to be political for a minute".

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PEREZ UNEARTHS DOHERTY BEFORE THE DRUGS
And finally a bit of fun or, rather, an important public information film from the MTV archives, unearthed by Perez Hilton earlier this week, and featuring our good friend Eddy TM and that other old friend of CMU, Mr Pete Doherty. This one's for all the aspiring rock stars out there - proof why you should stick with croissants and steer clear of the cocaine. Yes, it's a totally coherent pre-Coke Doherty...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Quba72Xli8o

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