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TODAY'S NEWS
Hundred jobs may go at GCap
Winehouse accused of assault (again)
Kanye chased for mum's debts
Phil Spector sued by singers
Doherty and Moss reunited
Hendrix family fail to stop sex tape
Van Halen man caught nut driving
Vedder rewards honest fan
Oasis fall out over new drummer
Lil Wayne to launch champagne
Panic At The Disco not emo

No one reads your reviews

Single review: Sam Sparro – 21st Century Life
Marnie Stern reveals new album
The Streets preview new tracks
Funeral For A Friend free download
Scott Walker announces live shows
Swing Out Sister return
Bjork pulls another show
Belfast music centre gets grant
Universal's Big Life takeover given go ahead
ISP debate continues at BPI AGM
OfCom boss on piracy issues
New iPhone sells out online ahead of UK launch
Album review: Liam Finn - I'll Be Lightning
Madonna, her brother, the book and the marriage
Chris Martin defends weird names
ON THE NETWORK...
CMU Daily Archives
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CMU Directory
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THURSDAY 10TH JULY

DEREK MEINS
Formerly the frontman of Eastern Lanes, Derek Meins now trawls the venues of the UK with a battered acoustic guitar, wowing audiences with his mix of performance poetry and jagged blues.

With his debut mini-album, 'The Famous Poet', out now on 1965 Records, we thought it was about time with found out some more about this warped mind.



 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started writing things, lyrics I suppose you'd call them, when I was very young and then I got a guitar when I was about eleven. So, then I started singing the terrible lyrics badly over the poor guitar playing. That was how it started, I hope that things have progressed!

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Lots of things inspired it but the idea behind it was to mix together music and poetry in a way that could still be accessible and not too pretentious. I was trying to do something with a little brains behind it and prove that not everything has to sound the same.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating an album?
Firstly, I sat alone in my house and wrote all the songs and poems. Then, we rehearsed with the musicians and then we got drunk and recorded it. Not really rocket science.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Ella Fitzgerald, Ivor Cutler, Edgar Allen Poe, Tom Waits, William Soutar, The Sonics, Bruce Nueman, Gertrude Stein, Leadbelly, The Carter Family amongst another endless list.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Take the time to listen, don't be put off immediately if it's not what you expect. And most of all, enjoy it!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album/single, and for the future?
I hope that people enjoy it enough for me to make another. Time is ticking and I still have more I need to do!

More>> www.myspace.com/derekmeins

 

FLYING LOTUS
Another gem from those nice Warp types here, with LA producer Flying Lotus 'collaborating' with that record breaking, self-proclaimed ''greatest rapper alive" fella, Lil' Wayne, for a track called 'Robo Tussin', which I'm assuming is preview to his new release, which is expected in the Autumn. The blogs are already buzzing about it, with FL frequently drawing comparisons to the late J Dilla (which is always a good thing) and Tricky with his exotic, hallucinatory beats. Wayne's whiney vocals – sampled from his single, 'A Milli' - sit well with it, taking what was a left-field hip hop song and twisting it into a more electronic field. Take a listen at the link below.

www.myspace.com/flyinglotus

 


 
 

JOBS AT THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL
We are recruiting for the following four jobs to work on our ThreeWeeks team at the Edinburgh Festival - the largest and most exciting festival on the planet - during August 2008, from Monday 28 July to Tuesday 27 August. All Edinburgh based. They are not the biggest paying jobs in the world, but you get to be part of the team behind one of the most exciting media projects around, a not-for-profit venture that exists to discover, champion and support cultural innovation at the largest arts festival in the world.

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER
To drive our van, and make sure our papers get to our 75 plus distribution points around Edinburgh, and keep our distribution racks nice and tidy. Approx 40 hours a week for four weeks, £1000 fee.

WEB MANAGER
To manage the ThreeWeeks websites and podcasts, including entering lots of content into a CMS, and coordinating our student podcast team. Some Photoshop, CMS and/or sound editing experience an advantage though not essential. Fee approx £500.

REVIEWS COORDINATOR
To manage our team of six student sub-editors and 100 student reviewers, liaise with press offices and PRs, run the massive ThreeWeeks review database and support the Editors. Good organisational and people skills a must, database skills an advantage. Fee approx £750.

LOGISTICS MANAGER
To support the publishers and editors, run the ThreeWeeks Edinburgh office and support the Distribution Manager with the task of getting the newspapers out there. Fee approx £500

To apply for any of these jobs, or for more information about them, email a CV or questions to recruitment@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

Applications to join the student review team at the Edinburgh Festival 2008 are now closed. However, we are still recruiting for student members of our Production and Admin & Liaison teams. These are voluntary roles, but offer unrivalled experience for anyone considering a career in the media. Full details at www.collegemedianetwork.co.uk

   
Advertise your jobs in CMU Daily for just £100 a week (five editions) - more info at www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/advertising, or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk to book.
 

HUNDRED JOBS MAY GO AT GCAP
Following the news earlier in the week that thirty jobs are to go at Global Radio's LBC, Heart and Galaxy stations, reports yesterday that up to 100 jobs could be axed at radio major GCap ahead of Global's acquisition of it, a move that is officially a reaction to the "the credit crunch and the current economic downturn".

Although perhaps not on the same level as the job cuts at EMI, one hundred redundancies would amount to 10% of the workforce leaving the radio firm. The bulk of the cuts are expected to occur in the communications, finance, legal and HR departments, though some programming staff and senior execs are also likely to be cut. The Guardian cites a source as saying the radio firm hoped to complete the redundancy process "in the next few weeks".

A spokeswoman for the radio company has confirmed redundancies are being discussed as part of a mini-restructure, though she told the paper she couldn't comment on how many jobs were at risk. Insiders at both Global and GCap may be further concerned that both sets of job cuts announced this week have been put down to the economic climate rather than the pending merger of the two firms. As mergers generally also mean job cuts, it remains to be seen if there are even more redundancies if and when the Office Of Fair Trading give Global's takeover of GCap the green light.

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WINEHOUSE ACCUSED OF ASSAULT (AGAIN)
That Amy Winehouse wants to be careful, or she'll get herself a reputation. Salesman Wayne Lindsay has accused the singer of hitting him three times without provocation in the Dublin Castle pub in Camden last Saturday. He told The Mirror: "It really stung. I hadn't said a word or touched her. I was just drinking with my friends. She clearly thought I'd done something. She was wild. She just flipped. It was if she had voices in her head".

A source told the paper that Winehouse was reacting after someone pinched her bum. Hours later, she reportedly attacked a fan outside her home after they took her picture. And then on Tuesday night, she was escorted from The Good Mixer in Camden by one of her minders with blood "smeared" all over her hand. A source told The Mirror: "[Amy]'s no shrinking violet and isn't afraid to stand up for herself".

Fans of being punched might like to try their luck at Amy Winehouse's new club night, which is due to launch at The Monarch in Camden tonight. During the course of the evening, Winehouse will have a DJ battle with DJ Bioux, and will play songs that have influenced her own music.

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KANYE CHASED FOR MUM'S DEBTS
Kanye West is reportedly being chased by creditors in Illinois to pay $600,000 worth of debts run up by his mother before her death during plastic surgery last year. According to reports, Donda West did not leave a will. So, as Kayne is co-executor of the mortgage on her home, he is being tapped for the cash now. At the time of writing, Kanye hadn't written anything about it on his blog.

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PHIL SPECTOR SUED BY SINGERS
As if Phil Spector doesn't have enough legal problems already, what with that upcoming retrial for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, he's now being sued by a number of singers who, it is alleged, are owed royalties by the producer. Members of The Crystals, Bobbie Soxx And The Blue Jeans and The Ronettes (including Spector's ex-wife Ronnie Greenfield) claim that Spector has been failing to make their six-monthly payments. The suit was filed on 24 Jun. No news yet on when it will go to court.

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DOHERTY AND MOSS REUNITED
Knife crime, the downturn in CD sales, the war in Iraq and global recession all continue to grow worse and worse. Why? Because Kate split up with Pete, that's why. If only they'd get back together, everything would begin to right itself. Well, we could be in luck. Following reports that The Kills' frontman Jamie Hince was seen moving his belongings out of Moss's London home, The Mirror now report that the model and Pete Doherty are sending each other sexy text messages.

A source told the paper: "Jamie was furious when Pete got in touch about a week ago. And over the last three nights he and Kate have texted each other until the early hours. Pete's been showing the texts to mates and thinks he is on the verge of winning her back but his mates aren't convinced".

It's not that his mates aren't convinced, they're just trying not to get their hopes up because they know what all this could mean to the world.

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HENDRIX FAMILY FAIL TO STOP SEX TAPE
Experience Hendrix, the company set up by Jimi Hendrix's family to control his estate, has failed to halt the sale of a sex tape purported to star the late guitarist after they were unable disprove that it is actually Hendrix in the film. The cunningly-titled 'Jimi Hendrix: The Sex Tape' was released by porn company Vivid Entertainment in May and Experience Hendrix immediately issued a statement announcing that it was fake. Vivid claimed to have gone to great lengths in order to authenticate the tape and offered the guitarist's estate $100,000 if they could prove it was fake within 60 days.

Vivid co-chairman Steven Hirsh said in a statement: "In early May we made a good faith offer through our attorneys to pay $100,000 to Experience Hendrix if it could offer proof within 60 days that our tape was not authentic. We always knew it was real and were confident that the Hendrix heirs would be unable to substantiate their claims".

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VAN HALEN MAN CAUGHT NUT DRIVING
Van Halen's Dave Lee Roth suffered an allergic reaction to nuts he was eating while driving in a town near Ontario recently. Paramedics were called by police officers who pulled him over for speeding.

Constable Larry Plumber said it was an exaggeration to say that he and Constable Chris Thompson saved Roth's life; it was all in a day's work. However, they were surprised when the story got out. Plumber said: "We didn't run anything on it because it's something we come across every day. We try to protect people's privacy when it involves personal information".

Thompson added that they didn't actually have any idea who Roth was, but noticed that there was something different about him, aside from the allergic reaction he was suffering, when they pulled him over. He said: "At the time, I wasn't star-struck. I was just trying to help him. The guy stuck out like a sore thumb. He was wearing a little silk scarf and flashy clothing - it's not something you see in Oakland too often".

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VEDDER REWARDS HONEST FAN
Pearl jam frontman Eddie Vedder has rewarded a fan who found his girlfriend's phone in the back of a taxi in New York. He probably didn't know that the fan had been looking at the photos on the phone at the time though, which are said to have, unsurprisingly, featured Vedder, his girlfriend and their daughter.

While looking at the photos, the unnamed fan apparently received a call from Vedder and then returned it to the Midtown Hotel, where the singer was staying. Vedder then handed out a reward of $500 in cash, an engraved Zippo lighter and a thank you letter. The finder of the phone told the New York Daily News: "Suddenly, the phone started ringing. The caller ID said 'Eddie'".

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OASIS FALL OUT OVER NEW DRUMMER
When Zak Starkey stepped down as Oasis' drummer, it was reported that the split was down to disagreements between him and Noel Gallagher. You'd think they might try to replace him with someone that everyone else in the band gets on with. Not so, it seems. Chris Sharrock's induction into the group proved tricky after Liam Gallagher complained that he had performed with Robbie Williams.

Noel told Mojo: "I have to admit I offered [Sharrock] the gig once before, after Whitey left and Zak was umming and aahing about the gig. Then Zak came in, one thing led to another and I never called Chris back! So I made sure this time I fucking called him. Liam thought we should have got some sixteen year old in. I was like, 'You're ludicrous! I'm fucking 40. I'm not playing in a band with some fucking kid who's gonna be marauding through the first class lounge, throwing heroin everywhere. He's never had free crisps before and he's going mental!' No, I said 'We need to get some who's our fucking age, who's been on big tours', but Liam's still not happy about Chris Sharrock, because he's Robbie Williams' drummer. I went home and I thought about it and it was just too much temptation to piss Robbie Williams and Liam off in one phone call".

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LIL WAYNE TO LAUNCH CHAMPAGNE
US rap type Lil Wayne – who recently sold more than a million records of his latest album in its first week, you'll remember – is to launch his own brand of champagne later this year, apparently. The 'Halo' brand fizz will come in four varieties, Halo Brut, Halo Brut Vintage, Halo Rose and Halo Pinnacle, whether it will be any good or not, I cannot tell. The hip hop star is also branching out into the acting game, as all these rappers seem to be doing lately, with an appearance in a new film, 'Hurricane Seasons', alongside Oscar winning film actor Forrest Whittaker. The story focuses on a Louisiana basketball team in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

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PANIC AT THE DISCO NOT EMO
Panic At The Disco aren't an emo band anymore. So, stop saying they are. Yes, I'm talking to you. Actually, the band say most of you have stopped already since the release of their second album, 'Pretty. Odd'. They told BBC Newsbeat: We haven't been asked about [emo] in a long time. With this new record our main goal was to make people open their eyes and view us as a band and not really as a specific trend".

They also said that their audience is changing: "We've been noticing a more broad audience, not so much young girls that people would think but there's more of a younger audience and the parents that come as well. So that's pretty sweet".

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NO ONE READS YOUR REVIEWS
According to research carried out by Avail Intelligence, music fans no longer look to professional critics to tell them what music to listen to. Although, I'm not certain the majority of the general population ever did read music reviews in the first place. However, eight out of ten consumers apparently seek recommendations from other sources, including user reviews on online music stores and social networking sites. 40 percent of respondents said they seek advice from sources such as Amazon, the iTunes Music Store and the iLike application on Facebook, while top of the list with 41 percent of the vote was the opinions of friends and family.

In addition to this, 51 percent said they prefer to buy their music on CD, while 25 percent favoured downloads. However, the average monthly spend on CDs came up at £9, which was just 38 percent of the monthly spend on downloads. Avail Intelligence's CEO, Dr Rolf Elmer said: "What this research shows is that today's consumer is more informed than ever and that personalisation will be critical for e-tailers looking to stand out".

Anyway, enough of that nonsense, which you probably weren't reading anyway. Time now for a music review.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Sam Sparro – 21st Century Life (Island)
I find it a little hard hiding how great I think Sam Sparro is. Anyone who can write something as slick as 'Black & Gold' will always win points from me, and I like to think that his coolness just kind of oozes from his skin, like he doesn't have to try. '21st Century Life' is a far more disco-friendly, butt-shaking pop song than 'Black & Gold'. It has a mildly cheesy vein coursing through it, and is undeniably infectious and addictive. The song is so lively and unashamedly excitable, it's a great choice of single from his eponymous debut. Also, you have to remember that, he's only 23: there are plenty of artists twice his age who couldn't imagine coming up with this stuff in their wildest dreams. Whether it's his storming beats or incredible voice, Mr Sparro has used is super powers to build a track that is the ultimate mix of pop and funk… he even makes a dash of slap bass acceptable, and that is a real achievement. DH
Release Date: 28 Jul
Press Contact: Darling Dept [all]

BUY ON AMAZON - BUY ON ITUNES

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MARNIE STERN REVEALS NEW ALBUM
Marnie Stern has revealed that the title of her second album will 'This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And It Is It And That Is That'. Hmmm. Anyway, it'll be out via Kill Rock Stars on 7 Oct. And if it's even half as good as her debut, 'In Advance Of The Broken Arm', it will be very good indeed. Stern also appears on Hella drummer Zach Hill's debut solo album, 'Astrological Straits' which is out on 4 Aug through Ipecac.

Meanwhile, if you fancy being a guitar player like Marnie, you could start by bidding on a charity auction to win a guitar lesson with her. The auction, currently running on Ebay, is part of the US end of Independents Day 08. To bid, go here.

Here's the tracklist for 'This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And It Is It And That Is That':

Prime
Transformer
Shea Stadium
Ruler
The Crippled Jazzer
Steely
The Package Is Wrapped
Simon Says
Vault
Clone Cycle
Roads? Where We're Going We Don't Need Roads
The Devil's in the Details

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THE STREETS PREVIEW NEW TRACKS
The Streets have uploaded a megamix of four tracks from the Mike Skinner-fronted project's fourth album, 'Everything Is Borrowed'. Excerpts of the songs 'The Escapist', 'The Way Of The Dodo', 'The Sherry End' and 'On The Flip Of A Coin' all feature in a mix entitled, 'The New Album Deep'.

Check it out here: www.myspace.com/thestreets

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FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND FREE DOWNLOAD
Funeral For A Friend have announced that they will release a new double A-side single as a free download this month. Waterfront Dance Club/Beneath The Burning Tree will be available from www.waterfrontdanceclub.com from Monday. The band's new album, 'Memory And Humanity' will be released on 13 Oct via their own label, Join Us.

Meanwhile, drummer Ryan Richards has been talking about the band's previously reported tour, which features support from Cancer Bats, Attack Attack and In Case Of Fire. He said: "In my opinion this is the most exciting and eclectic touring line-up we've ever put together. Every band brings something extra to the evening and will definitely bring the best out of us and keep us on our toes".

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SCOTT WALKER ANNOUNCES LIVE SHOWS
In what could be the most exciting news this year, or perhaps ever, Scott Walker has announced three performances of songs from his 'Tilt' and 'The Drift' albums. Walker will not perform at the shows himself, but with produce and sound design, while his band, an orchestra and various guest vocalists perform the music.

'Drifting And Tilting: The Songs Of Scott Walker' will run at the Barbican in London for three nights between 13-15 Nov.

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SWING OUT SISTER RETURN
Swing Out Sister, them of the rather good 80s hit single 'Breakout', release their ninth studio album, their first for four years, entitled 'Beautiful Mess' on 8 Sep. It will be preceded by a download-only single, 'Something Every Day' on 1 Sep.

To hear what they're sounding like these days, go to: www.myspace.com/sos06

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BJORK PULLS ANOTHER SHOW
Bjork has been forced to cancel another of her world tour shows due to ill health. The singer recently canned two UK gigs, citing difficulties with her throat, but has also now cancelled an upcoming appearance in Finland. A statement on her official website confirmed: "Sadly, due to medical issues with her voice, Bjork has to cancel the show in Helsinki."

Her next date is expected to take place at Vingio Park in Lithuania on 13 Jul.

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BELFAST MUSIC CENTRE GETS GRANT
The previously reported Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast has received a grant from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation's breakthrough fund for arts entrepreneurs, to the tune of £191,000. The project has been developed by journalist and DJ Stuart Bailie and will see a former whiskey warehouse converted into a dedicated music centre comprising recording studio, exhibition area and offices. It's named 'Oh Yeah' after the 1996 Ash single of the same name, and the band's Tim Wheeler is giving the project his support.

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UNIVERSAL'S BIG LIFE TAKEOVER GIVEN GO AHEAD
According to Billboard, the Office Of Fair Trading has cleared Universal Music Publishing's previously reported acquisition of publishing indie Big Life Music, which will bring songs from the likes of Badly Drawn Boy, The Futureheads and Snow Patrol to the major music firm. The OFT said they did not think the acquisition threw up any anti-competition issues despite the large size of Universal's publishing empire since its acquisition of BMG Music Publishing last year, possibly because rival EMI Music Publishing is just as big. Billboard quote a Universal spokesman as saying: "We are pleased with the OFT's thorough review and decision in this matter. We are delighted to bring Big Life into the UMPG family".

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ISP DEBATE CONTINUES AT BPI AGM
Needless to say, the role of the internet service providers in combating online piracy was a hot topic at the Annual General Meeting of record label trade body the BPI in London yesterday. Though, with the stand off between the record labels and some of the net firms seemingly relaxing – in particular with Virgin Media agreeing to become, at the very least, an educator of its customers regarding copyright laws on the net – there was more optimism in this debate than in the past.

According to Billboard, SonyBMG VP Comms Emma Pike said during one of those panel discussion type things: "We're at a really interesting point. Over the last few years, there has been a standoff between ISPs and the industry. But that is starting to change". BPI vice chair and Dramatico chief Mike Batt meanwhile, added: "We all hope that they [ISPs] will fall in line. We would like the user to continue to buy music cheaply. The operative word being 'buy'. All parties want to find the right balance".

Concluding on the topic – and referencing possibly controversial proposals within the industry (so far resisted by the ISPs) that frequent file sharers be cut off by their net providers, BPI chairman Tony Wadsworth said the industry needed to keep up the pressure on the net firms, but to not lose focus on the wider picture too. The former EMI UK chief remarked: "We're not against digital possibilities. The only issue is that we have to be paid for [the content]. We need to keep our eyes on the prize. The prize is not disconnection. All we want is some good commercial music markets in the digital space".

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OFCOM BOSS ON PIRACY ISSUES
In related news, media regulator OfCom has said that it is keeping a watchful eye on online piracy, and that it is an area in which they may get involved at some point in the future. According to Music Week, OfCom boss Ed Richards told an audience at a recent Intellect Conference: "Piracy is something that affects network operators, ISPs, content creators and consumers – and as the converged regulator we have of course been keeping a watchful eye on developments. The issue is critical. An operator investing in next generation networks will not want it clogged up with illegal peer-to-peer content if that means no-one will pay to ensure a return on the investment, as we have seen in some Asia Pacific markets. And content providers, self evidently, do not want illegal traffic undermining their investment in IPR".

Suggesting a future role for the regulator, he continued: "This is a crucial issue for both network providers and content creators. It has not touched every company in these spheres yet, but it will do. We very much hope that a commercial or voluntary agreement can be found to resolve these difficult issues. As the converged communications regulator, if we can play a constructive role in helping to find a common solution in the best interests of companies and consumers we would be very happy to do so".

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NEW IPHONE SELLS OUT ONLINE AHEAD OF UK LAUNCH
Word has it the previously reported next generation iPhone has already sold out online before it officially goes on sale on the high street tomorrow. So, that's nice. For Apple.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Liam Finn - I'll Be Lightning (Transgressive)
Transgressive is one of those labels that's been painfully hip since its emergence a few years back; to date I've never found any of its acts particularly enthralling, but this debut album from New Zealander Liam Finn (son of Crowded House frontman Neil Finn) has changed that. Finn is a lo-fi singer-songwriter with a pop suss that marks him way above indie losers like Graham Coxon and Stephen Malkmus (who he'll inevitably get compared with). Crucially, Finn doesn't sound like an indie kid who stills fears pop (though you suspect his keen ear for a melody may well have been inherited). Highlights then? Opener 'Better To Be' is simple, jaunty and irrepressibly catchy, but 'I'll Be Lightning' is not just bog-standard rock though - 'Second Chance' starts as the sort of lo fi retrofest that Richard Swift does so well (before surprisingly giving way to some impassioned rocking out), and some experimental leanings here and there suggest that Finn doesn't always choose the path of least resistance. There's moving semi-balladry here too, all shot through with lush vocal harmonies - 'Gather To The Chapel' is warm and tender; 'Fire In Your Belly' is wistful and moving (with spacey guitar sounds used to great effect). At fourteen tracks it could do with trimming a touch (songs like 'Lead Balloon' are just bland) but that's just a small gripe really when set in the context of an exceptionally confident and assured debut. MS
Release Date: 21 Jul
Press Contact: Bang On [all]

BUY ON AMAZON - BUY ON ITUNES

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MADONNA, HER BROTHER, THE BOOK AND THE MARRIAGE
As you're probably very well aware by now, Madonna's brother Christopher Ciccone has written a book called Life With My Sister Madonna. Well, it's not officially out until next week but copies have been released to some US journalists, and so now we can bring you some highlights of what you can find therein, thereby removing the need for you to purchase and plough through your very own copy.

Ciccone writes that Madonna genuinely does love her husband Guy Ritchie, but that she loves herself and her career more. He adds, however, that the pair are very committed to staying together, with the help of Kabbalah, which I'm assured also removes all household stains. The book, co-authored by celebrity biographer Wendy Leigh, also reveals stuff about Madonna's sex life (it claims she 'lost it' to a guy called Russell), and stories about the singer's high profile exes – including Sean Penn and Warren Beatty. Ciccone also claims that he witnessed Bruce Willis hitting on other women whilst married to Demi Moore. He goes on to aver that it was the arrival of Ritchie in his sister's life that led to the breakdown of his own relationship with her. As you may be aware, Christopher at one time worked closely with his sister, designing and directing her 2993 'Girlie Show' tour, and directing 1991 documentary, 'Madonna: Truth or Dare'.

The book coincides, of course, with all this talk of a Madonna/Ritchie split. The most recent reports suggested that she was linked to the break-up of the marriage of New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and his wife Cynthia, having reportedly introduced the sportsman to Kabbalah. The singer issued a statement saying that she had "nothing to do with the state of his marriage or what spiritual path he may choose to study".

Madonna's rep Liz Rosenberg has spoken to the AP about the book, telling them that the singer hasn't read it, but is very upset that her brother has published the work. She adds: "I would have to assume she has come to terms with the fact that they do not have a close and loving relationship. And with the book coming out, I assume that will remove the chances of that ever happening".

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CHRIS MARTIN DEFENDS WEIRD NAMES
Chris Martin has rushed to the defence of celebrities who give their children weird names, following all the hoohaa about Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban naming their new baby Sunday, which isn't even a particularly weird name. Martin is, of course, something of an expert in the area, having named his two children Crabstick and Banjo. No, not really, his children also have not particularly weird names, Apple and Moses.

Speaking to Blender, the Coldplay frontman said: "People make a big fuss over names. Names of babies, names of albums, names of bands. There's nothing weird about calling your baby Chewbacca if that's what you want to call your baby. It's no stranger than Sarah. A name is just a noise, and, if you like it, then fuck what everyone else says".

Quite right. Although, my son Fucktard is struggling a bit at school.

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