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TODAY'S NEWS

Global propose Midlands station sale to win GCap merger approval

Usher re-hires mother
Enemy frontman loses finger on stage
Iron Maiden refuse award nomination
Wolfmother split, long live Wolfmother
Lisa-Marie Presley pregnant with twins
Woman found dead at Lil' Kim's birthday party
Album review: Martha & The Muffins – Danseparc (Cherry Red)
Elvis to release new album
Ozzy to retire
Bomb The Bass return
Shelleyan Orphan return after sixteen years
Sam Sparro announces UK tour
Ladyhawke announces UK tour
Esser announces tour, t-shirt EP and free download
Aerosmith man to write autobiography
Global Gathering moves to Australia
Kaiser sign to Liberator in Australia
Warner, Live Nation financials
Name launch live division
Joss Stone headbutts brother at baptism
Winehouse seeks agony aunt job
Lohan's father in the dark about wedding
Burial's real name revealed
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FRIDAY 8TH AUGUST

THE LEVELLERS
Since forming twenty years ago, The Levellers have become something of a mainstay on the British music scene. Through their chart successes in the 90s, distaste from the mainstream press, the band have nonetheless remained uncompromising in their vision. They're also keen supporters of the Brighton music scene, giving bands, who have included the likes of The Electric Soft Parade and Clearlake, free use of their Medway studios and rehearsal rooms. The band return with a new album, 'Letters From The Underground', next week and a new single, 'Before The End', on 25 Aug. We spoke to fiddle player Jon Sevink.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I never wanted to be in a band. My sister's boyfriend, Mark [Chadwick], came back from the pub saying he was starting up a group with two guys he met that night. One of them wanted a fiddle in the band and I was the only person Mark knew with one. I hadn't seen it in seven years but was persuaded to come along to a rehearsal. After our first gig I was gonna give up, it was too scary, but walked home that night with a couple who said it was one of the best they'd ever seen and made me promise to keep going. The rest, as they say...
 
Q2 What inspired your latest album?
The need for a more overtly political voice in the current music scene. Noel Gallagher once said "There's no room for politics in music". He must have forgotten he loves John Lennon. There's a general unwillingness for bands to tackle difficult subjects. It's almost like punk rock never happened. Shame on you.
 
Q3 What process do you go through in creating an album?
We worked on two basic principles. Firstly, lyrics have to be challenging and uncompromising (see above). Secondly, the tunes have to be danceable. If you're writing a load of heavy words, you better dress them up well or no one's gonna listen.
 
Q4 Which artists influence your work?

I would say we work more from a musical attitude than influences from particular people or bands. We all grew up around the later punk-era and listened to bands like Crass, Subhumans and, of course, The Clash, with direct political and social messages, but we also loved folk music as being a way of communicating news and ideas with rousing tunes.
 
Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
TURN IT UP!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album/single, and for the future?
Having been together, playing live and recording for 20 years, it's less about ambition than the raw, naked truth. We know it's going to be very difficult to sell a lot of albums, but at the same time the numbers of people coming to see us live has gone up in the last ten years. Our latest album is really a way of advertising our live shows, and if people choose to buy it or get it for free, that's entirely up to them. You can't download the experience of a good gig.

MORE>> www.levellers.co.uk and www.myspace.com/levellers

 

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Jalapeno Sound System at Big Chill House
Kings Cross' Big Chill House has yet another interesting night. This Saturday has the Jalapeno Records crew with their hottest stars, Dutch trio Kraak & Smaak. They have been touring hard as a live act after dropping their second LP, 'Plastic People', which
encompassed house, breaks and other dance nuggets. On Saturday they will be gracing the decks with a DJ set smorgasbord of similar electronic treats at this venue deep in Kings Cross.

Sat 9 Aug, 8pm - 3am, The Big Chill House, 257-259 Pentonville Rd, King's
Cross. Free before 10pm, £5 after. More at www.bigchill.net, press info Sam at Big Chill.

 

GLOBAL PROPOSE MIDLANDS STATION SALE TO WIN GCAP MERGER APPROVAL
Word has it that Global Radio will commit to sell some of its stations in the East and West Midlands in order to get Competition Commission approval for its purchase of rivals GCap. As previously reported, commentators have postulated ever since Global began its takeover of GCap that the Midlands would be the place where competition concerns would arise.

Although a combined Global/GCap will also own two of the biggest mainstream music stations in London - Capital and Heart - the radio market in the capital is so much more crowded that isn't generally seen as a major issue. However in Birmingham, where the combined company will own BRMB, the Midlands version of Heart and a Galaxy station, competition issues arise because that will give Global/GCap such a large market share. Specifics on which stations would be sold - and whether the sale would break up the Heart network - have not been revealed.

Radio Today quote the Office Of Fair Trading's mergers man Simon Pritchard thus: "Merger efficiencies benefit customers and put pressure on rivals. In this case, they tipped the balance in favour of clearance in London. This shows that with the right facts, efficiencies can make a difference, even at first phase, and even in a horizontal merger with high market shares. The divestment remedies [proposed by Global Radio] in the Midlands, where efficiencies were not sufficient, are about restoring competition to make sure customers will not be harmed".

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USHER RE-HIRES MOTHER
Usher has fired his manager Benny Medina and re-hired his former representative, Jonnetta Patton. Who also happens to be his mother. The singer ended his fifteen year professional relationship with Patton and her JPat record label in May, but has returned after poor sales of his last album, 'Here I Stand'.

Despite this, Medina says that there is no bad blood, telling People: "With an artist like Usher, the bar is set really high. Whether it was management, marketing or the music, we achieved a number one single and a number one album. It is a completely new day and time in music now. In four years, his audience, demographic, and musical direction has changed. Records like Lil Wayne's 'Lollipop' are the type of phenomena that 'Yeah' was in 2004. I had a great time and we parted ways amicably".

The singer has reportedly also ended his contract with PR firm W&W.

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ENEMY FRONTMAN LOSES FINGER ON STAGE
The Enemy certainly made a lasting impression with their first ever US show at Lollapalooza at the weekend. Frontman Tom Clarke managed to slice off the end of his finger mid-set. He received medical treatment and the band cancelled their appearance at the Osheaga festival in Montreal on Tuesday, but were back on stage again on Wednesday night at the Troubadour in LA.

Clarke told the NME: "I managed to slash the end off my finger playing guitar there was fucking blood everywhere. The doctor looked at it after the set and said I'd have to miss a couple of gigs. I said I'd miss one but I'm not missing LA. I don't really care if my finger's pissing blood - it's not the end of the world, it's an occupational hazard".

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IRON MAIDEN REFUSE AWARD NOMINATION
Iron Maiden have been removed from the list of nominations for Best Live Return in this year's Vodafone Live Awards at the band's own request.

In a message posted on their official website, Iron Maiden said: "As we are not quite sure where we are returning from, we have asked them to remove us from the nominations and they have done this. Very flattering, though".

A spokesman for Vodafone said: "We respect and support the band's decision and have complied with their request to be removed from this year's shortlist. We are also extremely pleased to announce that James will be replacing them in the category of Best Live Return".

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WOLFMOTHER SPLIT, LONG LIVE WOLFMOTHER
As expected, Wolfmother issued a statement yesterday telling us that bassist Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett have left the band. Frontman Andrew Stockdale will now seek out replacements and begin work on the next Wolfmother album.

The band blamed "longstanding frictions" for the split. Although they had begun work on new songs, Ross announced that he was leaving the band, due to "irreconcilable personal and musical differences" after their headline show at Australian festival Splendour In The Grass on Sunday. Heskett then decided to hand in his notice, too. The pair will now form a new band together, for which they have apparently been writing songs for some time.

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LISA-MARIE PRESLEY PREGNANT WITH TWINS
Lisa-Maria Presley and her husband, producer Michael Lockwood, have announced that Preseley is pregnant with twins. The singer and daughter of Elvis already has two children, daughter Riley, 19, and son Benjamin, 15, from her marriage to Danny Keough.

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WOMAN FOUND DEAD AT LIL' KIM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY
A woman has been found dead at the Spotlight Live nightclub in New York, where she was attending rapper Lil' Kim's birthday party on Sunday night. Ingrid Rivera was last seen alive talking to a bouncer. Her body was discovered in a utility room on the roof of the club on Wednesday afternoon.

Early autopsy results apparently showed evidence of "blunt force trauma" – reports state that she had possibly been beaten with a champagne bottle. One investigator also said that the killer was probably very familiar with the layout of the building.

Rivera's cousin told The New York Times: "Ingrid was so excited she even bought Kim flowers".

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ALBUM REVIEW: Martha & The Muffins – Danseparc (Cherry Red)
New wave, of course, was the late 70s/early 80s movement which took the aesthetic of punk and drenched it in synthesizers and futurism. Bands like Blondie, Talking Heads, Devo and The Buggles added shiny pop production to spiky guitars and created a sound that is often dismissed today as silly novelty experimentation, but actually paved the way for synthpop and new romanticism, and whose influence can still be heard in modern dancepunk and electro. Klaxons, for example, have a huge new wave influence. Bear with me, this history lesson has a point. Martha & The Muffins were one of the original proponents of the genre, and this is their fourth studio album. Originally released in 1983, this is a 25th Anniversary re-release, but given the recent reawakening of new wave as an influence on The Faint and The Bravery, it's not a week too soon. Martha & The Muffins never really hit it big in the 80s, although they did score one huge hit with 'Echo Beach', which made it to number 10 in the UK. If you're remotely interested in musical history and the origins of modern bands, then you really ought to get a copy of this, and while you're at it, pick up the Buggles' 'The Age of Plastic' and Devo's 'Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!'. All are fantastic pop music, and all are criminally overlooked on a regular basis. Put on a plastic hat, think about monorails and robots, and enjoy. DG
Release Date: 4 Aug
Press Contact: Noble PR [all]

Buy from Amazon
Buy from iTunes

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ELVIS TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM
Elvis Presley is to record a new album of Christmas duets for release later this year, even though he's dead. Okay, I think his parts might have already been recorded. But this new album, a venture between SonyBMG and Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc, will team him up with some living lady singers.

Using "state-of-the-art recording technology", so that it doesn't sound like some horrific karaoke nightmare, The King's 1957 'Elvis Christmas' album will have extra vocals added by LeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, Gretchen Wilson, Wynonna Judd, Sara Evans, Amy Grant and Anne Murray. Gospel quartet The Jordanaires will also return to re-record the parts they sang on the original album.

Gordon Stoker from The Jordanaires said: "It's amazing what they can do. Elvis sounds great. The recordings sound as if they were done yesterday".

SonyBMG President, John Ingrassia, added: "This is an excellent example of the innovative ways in which we keep Elvis' catalogue fresh for new and existing fans".

'Elvis Presley Christmas Duets' will be released on 14 Oct.

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OZZY TO RETIRE
Ozzy Osbourne has revealed that he will make two more albums and then retire. However, it sounds like it might take him a while to make those albums. He told USA Today: "I am recording another album soon. I've got a ProTools machine downstairs in my house now, I record from home now. I can't turn the fucking thing on. It's like the brain of the house. But when you have somebody who knows what they are doing, it's so easy to make records now, it's not even funny. The art of making records is somewhat diminishing. It's taking the passion out of it. But I will try to give it as much real me as I can. I want to make two albums. Make one and go out on that one, and make another one and go out on that. Time is very valuable to me now. I'm 60 this December. It doesn't seem ten years since I was 50, it really doesn't. My mission now is to do as much as I can".

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BOMB THE BASS RETURN
When I tell you that it's 21 years since Bomb The Bass released 'Beat Dis', you're either going to feel very old or wonder what the hell I'm talking about. If I tell you that it's been thirteen years since the last Bomb The Bass album, it might illicit the same old/confused response. So, just forget all of that and be excited that there's a brand new Bomb The Bass album coming your way very soon.

'Future Chaos' will be released on 15 Sep via !K7 and features guest appearances from Jon Spencer, Mark Lanegan, Fujiya & Miyagi's David Best, Toob and Paul Conboy.

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SHELLEYAN ORPHAN RETURN AFTER SIXTEEN YEARS
Shelleyan Orphan release their first new album since 1992's 'Humroot' on 13 Oct, via One Little Indian. Since that last release, the band's Caroline Crawley and Jem Taylor have performed together rarely, and never under the Shelleyan Orphan moniker. But now they're very much back with 'We Have Everything We Need'.

As well as the standard release, the band will be releasing a five disc box set, featuring all four of their albums, a bonus disc of unreleased material and a DVD. Tour dates will be confirmed shortly.

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SAM SPARRO ANNOUNCES UK TOUR
Sam Sparro will tour the UK next month, with support from former CMU SNAP Of The Day, Sneaky Sound System. Marvellous.

Tour dates:

23 Sep: Glasgow, ABC
24 Sep: Sheffield, Leadmill
25 Sep: Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall
26 Sep: Manchester, Academy 2
28 Sep: Nottingham Trent University
29 Sep: Newcastle, Academy
30 Sep: Bristol, Colston Hall
2 Sep: Norwich, UEA
3 Sep: Brighton, Corn Exchange
4 Sep: London, Shepherds Bush Empire

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LADYHAWKE ANNOUNCES UK TOUR
New Zealand singer Ladyhawke has announced her first ever UK headline tour. She'll be jetting over for dates in September and October.

Tour dates:

30 Sep: Brighton, Komedia
1 Oct: Leeds, Cockpit
2 Oct:Glasgow, ABC 2
3 Oct:Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire
5 Oct:Manchester, Roadhouse
6 Oct:Birmingham, Club 444
7 Oct:London, Scala

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ESSER ANNOUNCES TOUR, T-SHIRT EP AND FREE DOWNLOAD
Esser will play a string of tour dates around the UK this October. At the shows, fans will be able to buy some special T-shirts, each of which will sport a unique barcode and catalogue number. These will give buyers access to three Esser tracks to download. And speaking for Esser downloads, you can download this new single, 'Headlock', for free until Monday at www.esserhq.com/freedownload.

Tour dates:

9 Oct: Portland, Cambridge
10 Oct: Evol, Liverpool
11 Oct: Music Library, Lancaster
12 Oct: Bodega, Nottingham
13 Oct: Night and Day, Manchester
14 Oct: ICA, London
16 Oct: New Slang, Kingston
18 Oct: Lennons, Southampton
20 Oct: Cooler, Bristol
21 Oct: Barfly, Cardiff
22 Oct: Central Station, Wrexham
23 Oct: 53 Degrees, Preston
24 Oct: King Tuts, Glasgow
25 Oct: Faversham, Leeds

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AEROSMITH MAN TO WRITE AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler is writing his autobiography, according to Crain's New York Business. Publisher, Ecco has apparently paid $2 million for the rights to publish the book in a recent auction.

This will be Tyler's second memoir, although his first solo work. He and his bandmates already revealed many tales of their raucous lifestyle in 2003's 'Walk This Way: The Autobiography Of Aerosmith'.

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GLOBAL GATHERING MOVES TO AUSTRALIA
UK dance festival Global Gathering will launch a new tour in Australian this November in a joint venture between founders Angel Music Group, Future Entertainment and Ministry Of Sound Australia.

Speaking to In The Mix, the festivals organisers said the tour could be "the biggest venture of its kind in Australia to date", as well as "a milestone for festival culture in Australia". Details of line-ups, venues and dates are to be announced in the coming weeks.

Global Gathering has already branched out its operations to Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey this summer, with another event in Malaysia also planned.

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KAISERS SIGN TO LIBERATOR IN AUSTRALIA
Kaiser Chiefs have announced a distribution and licensing deal for Australia with Liberator Music, which is interesting mainly because the Chiefs are signed to Universal Music affiliates elsewhere in the world, while Liberator is an independent with a distribution alliance with Warner Music. Liberator will release the band's upcoming third album two days ahead of its UK release via Universal/B-Unique.

Liberator boss Michael Gudinski told reporters: "We're thrilled that the Kaiser Chiefs have signed to Liberator. They are the most important international signing the label has made since its inception and together we're going to take both the band and the label to new heights in Australia and New Zealand".

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WARNER, LIVE NATION FINANCIALS
Talking of Warner, the Warner Music Group has released its third-quarter financials, and with revenues of $848 million the money men are almost smiling because that's a 5% increase on the same quarter last year. Though its 1% down on a constant-currency basis, whatever that means. Overall the major lost $9 million, but that too may result in some smiles given they lost $17 million in the same quarter the previous year and $9 million is less than many city types predicted.

Warner top man Edgar Bronfman Jr told reporters: "This quarter, we continued to outperform our competitors, even in the midst of a challenging recorded music environment. We continue to advance our strategy to lead the recorded music industry's transition with new business models, key partnerships and successful A&R investments. As we transform the business to position it for future growth in an evolving industry, we remain focused on driving profitability and cash flow, while prudently managing capital and costs".

Elsewhere in financial reports, Live Nation has reported second quarter net income of $1.2 million, which is good, it being a positive and all, but not so good, it being down from a net profit of $9.9 million in the same period last year. The top man there, Michael Rapino, told reporters: "We are pleased to report that the live music industry remains healthy, particularly given the continued economic slowdown that has impacted so many consumer-oriented business. As expected, concert attendance and per head revenue has held up very well, and the pace of ticket sales remains robust in the current quarter".

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NAME LAUNCH LIVE DIVISION
Music business PR company Name Music have launched a new division to specialise in the live sector. Called Name Live it will represent the likes of the recently launched Association Of Independent Festivals and leading merchandisers Fireband Live. The launch of the new division will see one John Power join the Name team, bringing with him over six years expereince of promoting live and club events in the UK and across Europe.

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JOSS STONE HEADBUTTS BROTHER AT BAPTISM
Joss Stone reportedly headbutted her half-brother Daniel Skillin at the baptism of his son Louis recently. Stone was supposed to be godmother to the boy, but reportedly arrive half an hour late for the ceremony, refused to read the order of service properly and called elderly relatives who confronted her "old biddies".

According to The Mirror, things turned violent when Skillin later spoke to Stone. A source said: "She was absolutely furious and they had a full-blown argument. They were screaming at each other and the next thing, Joss headbutted him. Other family members ran over to break it up and she stormed off. It turned from a nice family affair into a brawl between Joss and her brother. No one could believe it. You would think as the kid's godmother she'd be on time. And as she recited the order of service, she failed to read what she was given. It showed lack of respect to the family".

My sister once saw Joss Stone open someone's car door against a wall by accident, too. Bloody divas!

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WINEHOUSE SEEKS AGONY AUNT JOB
Responsible pop star Amy Winehouse is keen to score an agony aunt slot when her dad, Mitch, stands in for Danny Baker on BBC Radio London.

A source told The Daily Star: "Amy has always been nifty with the advice. Although she often gets herself into pickles, she is very honest, very caring and very perceptive when it comes to dealing with other people's problems".

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LOHAN'S FATHER IN THE DARK ABOUT WEDDING
Lindsay Lohan's mother Dita may be excited and getting heavily involved in her daughter's upcoming marriage to girlfriend Sam Ronson. But her dad isn't, and says he won't be there, even if Lindsay does get around to telling him about it.

Michael Lohan said: "I haven't heard anything about an upcoming wedding from Lindsay, but if she was marrying Sam, I don't think she'd ask me to walk her down the aisle. She knows about my Christian faith - she just wouldn't ask".

However, he does say that he supports his daughter's relationship, regardless of his beliefs. He continued: "I want her to be happy and healthy and stay on the right path. If I discuss her relationship, I say that I want her to be happy".

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BURIAL'S REAL NAME REVEALED
Because you just can't unmask anonymous producers enough, we thought we should keep the whole 'Burial's identify revealed' story going by informing you that we have discovered that Will Bevan's middle name is Emmanuel (thanks to a reader cleverly looking up his publishing details).

We should probably stop with this story now, though. The Sun's Gordon Smart, who, you might remember, launched a campaign to discover the identity of the dubstep producer, now says that the whole thing's stupid. He wrote in his 'Bizarre' column yesterday: "I hadn't heard of Burial before his [Mercury] nomination. I've now listened to him and love his stuff. Isn't that the point of music?"

I still reckon it's Bono, though.

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