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TODAY'S NEWS

Allman Brothers Band sue Universal

Stone to record official Obama theme
Beatles contract up for sale
Alicia Keys joins Coldplay
Cliff goes for chart record
Bailey Rae performs in tribute to husband
Protestor joins XX teens at festival
Blink 182 man sues over 'stolen' investment
Akon misses court date
Single review: Roots Manuva – Again & Again (Big Dada Recordings)
Franz Ferdinand stream new track
Gabriel completes new album
Shelved Joe Lean album leaks
Lily Allen postpones album release
Starkey forms new band
Field Day branded a disaster
Stereophonics announce best of and tour
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds tour dates
Wogan to quit Eurovision
Italian ISPs block The Pirate Bay
Mechinical revenues down, but overall MCPS-PRS income up
Napster subscribers down
Woolworths appoint new CEO
Keane track breaks label download record
Minotaur Shock offers new pricing structure
Album review: Nightmares on Wax – Thought So... (Warp Records)
Winehouse to release Bond theme
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TUESDAY 12TH AUGUST

CHARLI XCX
Charli XCX recorded her debut album at the tender age of fourteen, with a view to selling it to her classmates to cover the costs. However, the owners of the studio she hired spied greater potential and began touting the recording around various labels. A year or so later, and she's preparing to release that album to the world at large. Her debut single, '!Franchesckaar!', is released on 18 Aug, and is a sassy electro trip into the mind of a teenager. When I was a teenager all we had was Billie bloody Piper talking about running around in crowds. Now teenage pop singers are at home, slaving over a hot synth. I feel like I was short-changed.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I think it kind of just happened. When I was younger, I used to want to be a pony, not a pop star (not that I'm a pop star now... haha, just saying). I had piano lessons, so I used to write songs with a few chords and some girlish words and that was that... Everything evolved when I started listening to more types of music, and now I am here, with my little synth and big hair, and I'm doing what I do.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I'm currently writing and recording my new album at the minute. It's all grand. I like to write about stuff that happens... but I like to write about art too, and fashion. I like looking at people's clothes and images, and writing songs about that. That or music itself, or interesting people... it's all thrown into one really. Art, fashion, individuality... it all sounds too cool, right (I'm a geek really, ha)?

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
For me, it's always real life events. Something has to happen, to me or something around me, and then I react to it through music. I vent my emotions that way... whether it be anger, happiness, love, hate. It's all very heat of the moment, I can't take my time writing, I hate that – it always makes my stuff less powerful. Everything's a rush.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
So many, but if I had to say a few, MIA - her stuff's just so strong! Also, Justice - love the whole Ed Banger thing.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Just think what you wanna think! Would be great if everyone likes it, but there's no way that will happen, it never does, right? If people slag it off, great, it will just fuel me to write something even more powerful, ha... bring it on basically! But yeah, if people like my stuff, grand. It's good to have support too.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single/album, and for the future?
To make it as good as possible, and get it recognised... I don't mind not making any money (although a few quid would be nice, I suppose!), but just getting my name out there really! Also, I've always wanted to find the end of the rainbow, I think that counts as a 'future goal'.

MORE>> www.charlixcx.com and www.myspace.com/charlixcx

 

REX THE DOG
The latest project from producer Jake Williams, Rex The Dog, was born in 2004 out of an obsession with the 1974 synthesiser the Korg 700S. A couple of 12" releases made using only this vintage equipment led to The Knife, The Prodigy and Depeche Mode banging on the door asking for remixes. Debut album, 'The Rex The Dog Show' is released via Cooperative Music/Hundehaus Records on 1 Sep and is already spinning so much in the CMU office that the laser in our CD player is threatening to burn straight through it. I know getting all nostalgic for the 80s and making electro with vintage synths, is nothing new, but few manage to achieve such exciting and uplifting results. Get yourself a free minimix of the album on the MySpace page.

www.myspace.com/rexthedog1980

 

ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND SUE UNIVERSAL
Members of US rock outfit The Allman Brothers Band have sued the Universal Music Group for a sweet ten million dollars. I wish there was someone I could sue for ten million dollars. If only I'd recorded some hit songs in the seventies and been signed to a label not very good at paying me my royalties.

That is what Greg Allman, Jai Johanny 'Jaimoe' Johanson, Butch Trucks and Dickey Betts allege has happened to them in their lawsuit, which relates to royalties allegedly owing on songs the band recorded for Capricorn Records which, presumably, came into Universal's ownership at somepoint.

The legal papers allege that Universal "refuses to pay [the] plaintiffs at the correct royalty rate for its digital exploitation of the Capricorn masters. UMG incurs practically no expenses or risks in connection with the masters, particularly with respect to licensing other companies such as Apple to create and distribute digital downloads ... yet UMG reaps millions of dollars every year from such exploitation".

Universal are yet to respond.

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STONE TO RECORD OFFICIAL OBAMA THEME
Despite the sterling effort made by Ludacris recently, Barack Obama has chosen Joss Stone to write and record the official theme song for his presidential campaign. He should have just used a bit of D:Ream. That always goes down a treat.

A source told The Sun: "Joss is a big supporter of Barack Obama and was very excited to be asked to do this for him. He sent a personal message asking her to get on board. He has always admired her music and thinks she is the perfect choice because of her unique appeal to black and white voters. She believes he is going to be the first black American president and she is honoured to be a part of that".

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BEATLES CONTRACT UP FOR SALE
The Beatles' original management contract with Brian Epstein will go up for auction next month. The document is signed by Epstein and all four members of the band on 24 Jan 1962, as well as George Harrison and Paul McCartney's fathers, as the pair were under 21 at the time.

The contract will be sold at the Idea Generation Gallery in London on 4 Sep and is expected to raise up to £250,000.

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ALICIA KEYS JOINS COLDPLAY
Alicia Keys joined Coldplay to perform the band's song 'Clocks' during their headline slot at the Summer Sonic festival in Tokyo on Sunday. Chris Martin officially introduced Keys onstage by calling her "the most beautiful woman in the world... except for my wife". However, he had already dropped a fairly big hint of what was to come earlier in the set when, during their performance of 'Politik', he changed two lines to "60,000 Japanese people watching us / Let Alicia Keys always play with us".

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CLIFF GOES FOR CHART RECORD
Cliff Richard is aiming to become the first artist to make it to number one in the UK singles chart in six consecutive decades with his new single, 'Thank You For A Lifetime'.

Cliff's first number one was his very first single, 'Move It', in 1959. He almost missed out on have number ones in five consecutive decades, but just squeezed in one in the 90s with the 1999 Christmas number one, 'The Millennuim Prayer'.

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BAILEY RAE PERFORMS IN TRIBUTE TO HUSBAND
Corine Bailey Rae made her first live appearance since the death of her husband, Jason Rae, this weekend. The singer performed for the last 20 minutes of The Soul Daddies' set at the Limetree Festival in Yorkshire. She agreed to perform after the new bands stage at the festival was renamed in tribute to her husband, who died of a suspected drug overdose at the couple's flat in Leeds earlier this year.

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PROTESTOR JOINS XX TEENS AT FESTIVAL
Peace protester Brian Haw joined XX Teens on stage at Friday's Underage festival and delivered a ten minute speech to rapturous response in what was, we're told by one festival-goer, "an oddly inspiring moment". Brian Haw, of course, has been camped outside the Houses Of Parliament in permanent protest for the last seven years. The final track on XX Teens recently released debut album, 'Welcome To Goon Island' is called 'For Brian Haw'.

XX Teens frontman Rich Cash said afterwards: "We didn't know if anyone would know who he was but they recognized him straight away. We're proud to count him as a friend.  Some people think he's mad.  Maybe it's comforting to assume that because he's sacrificed everything he must've had nothing to lose.  It's not true.  He's an ordinary man with a home and a family who went to a protest seven years ago, realized that a tolerated demonstration was infused with impotence; and refused to go home. Since then the government has removed many of our rights and freedoms.  We no longer have the automatic right to peaceful protest.  Brian is now the only man in the world with the right to sustained protest in Parliament Square.  He stands there, day and night, year on year, as a symbol not only of the rights we once had, but also as a symbol of hope, of the freedoms we might one day claw back".

More info on Brian Haw here.

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BLINK 182 MAN SUES OVER 'STOLEN' INVESTMENT
Former Blink 182 bassist Mark Hoppus has launched a lawsuit against San Diego technology company Missicom. Hoppus apparently invested $600,000 in a venture to install automated checkout machines in McDonald's restaurants, but claims that contracts to do so were never in place and that the company's owners, father and son Ed and Jeff Mitchell, instead kept his money for themselves, along with several million dollars from other investors, who included fellow Blink 182 members Tom Delonge and Travis Barker, and golfer Paul Mickelson. The case is scheduled for trial on 8 Sep.

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AKON MISSES COURT DATE
Akon missed a court date in New York last week, where he was due to answer charges of second degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a minor. The charges relate to that incident at a show in the city last year, when the rapper is alleged to have thrown fifteen year old Andrew Smith from the stage into the crowd. Akon has now been ordered to appear on 3 Sep.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Roots Manuva – Again & Again (Big Dada Recordings)
'Again & Again' presents the download-obsessed listener of today with a pitfall: one version, the radio edit produced by Shy FX, is infinitely better than another, the Captain Pugwash/Manuva album production. Make sure you download the right one, won't you? We're also promised a number of other remixes with the single release, most notably a Matt Helder from Arctic Monkeys' reworking, though to be honest 'Again & Again' isn't a brilliant song to start with, so I'm not sure they'll better the Shy FX version. The song sees Mr Manuva rap about how he "don't sell out", which is ironic because 'Again & Again' is an excessively infectious, happy track that is the closest Manuva has ever actually got to selling out - it really sounds like it's been written to be a chart-topping anthem. The offbeat horns and the muted guitar of the Shy FX version make the most of the reggae style riff, but the striped down album version is just the same riff Again & Again & Again & Again. "We just sell a record or two", Manuva claims; he will probably sell a lot more with this track than past ones, even though and probably because it isn't 'Awfully Deep'. RL
Release Date: 25 Aug
Press Contact: Toast Press [NP, RP], Ninja Tune [O], Zzonked [NR, RR]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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FRANZ FERDINAND STREAM NEW TRACK
Franz Ferdinand are streaming a brand new track on their website. Entitled 'Lucid Dreams', it is the first new material to surface from the band's third album, which is expected to be released next year.

Listen here

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GABRIEL COMPLETES NEW ALBUM
'The Chinese Democracy'? Pah! Peter Gabriel has just completed work on his 'Big Blue Ball' album, which he has been working on for eighteen years, after enlisting the help of Waterboys frontamn Karl Mallinger to help finish off the LP, which is made up of material recorded in three sessions in 1991, 1992 and 1995, with various guest musicians, including Sinead O' Connor, Tim Finn, Jah Wobble and Natacha Atlas.

Gabriel told Uncut: "We had this week [in 1991] of invited guests, people from all around the world, fed by music and a 24 hour café. It was a giant playpen, a bring your own studio party. There'd be a studio set up on the lawn, in the garage, in someone's bedroom as well as the seven rooms we had available".

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SHELVED JOE LEAN ALBUM LEAKS
Well, it was bound to happen eventually, given that review copies had already been distributed, but the shelved Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong album has appeared online. It's actually surprising it didn't happen sooner. The album was, of course, pulled just a week before it was due to be released because the band decided it wasn't representative of their sound anymore (and not because they hadn't sold very many copies, okay?). It will now be released early next year with extra tracks.

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LILY ALLEN POSTPONES ALBUM RELEASE
Speaking of shelved, or otherwise delayed, albums, Lily Allen has pushed back the release of her new offering, 'Stuck On The Naughty Step', back to next year too. Apparently her label are afraid that the current success of Katy Perry will impact on Allen's sales. Because, obviously, two female pop stars with very different sounds couldn't exist in the same space at the same time. It's insanity to even imagine it. Oasis are now expected to delay the release of their new album because they heard another band with guitars are planning a new release.

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STARKEY FORMS NEW BAND
Son of Ringo Starr and former drummer for Oasis and The Who, Zak Starkey has formed a new band, Penguins. The band, which features Starkey's girlfriend Sharna Liguz on vocals and his daughter Tatia on bass, unveiled themselves at a the Saint Moritz Club in London last week.

Starkey told the NME: "The first night of many more good times to come, here's hoping. Penguins is about having a good time, and that's what we're doing".

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FIELD DAY BRANDED A DISASTER
Yet another festival has come in for harsh criticism. It seems that, faced with more choice that ever, festival-goers actually want higher quality events. Who'd have guessed?

Anyway, Field Day has become the latest event to receive flack for its organisation. Despite efforts made by organisers Eat Your Own Ears to improve the one-day festival, following some poor reviews from critics and punters alike last year, many seem to have come away unhappy again this year.

With an increased capacity, people complained of queues of up to two hours for toilets and bars, poor sound, unannounced stage time and line-up changes, and a number of advertised attractions not appearing, as well as a heavy presence from police with sniffer dogs. Comments quickly racked up on the official Field Day Facebook and MySpace pages before being deleted and the option to leave such messages was closed on both sites. However, unofficial pages quickly sprang up where bile aplenty has flowed.

Edd Morris, who set up the Facebook page, 'Field Day was RUBBISH - I want my money back!' said: "5000 people, two bars, two sets of toilets, and three awful soundsystems - Queue Day (as it shall henceforth be known) was the worst festival I've ever been to.Run by utterly cynical promoters, the festival had the exact same number of bars and toilets as the previous day's Underage festival (that, er, didn't serve alcohol). Why were soundchecks longer than the actual bands? Why did security have the audacity to pour away drinks on the door when you couldn't even get to the bar? A pile of utter rubbish. Give us our money back you scumbags!"

Another unhappy punter commented: "Field Day was almost a total fun vacuum. It started with a bird shitting on my leg (admittedly, I can't blame them for that) and went down hill from there. Some girl said a guy actually pissed all over her shoes during Justice - obviously he just couldn't hold it in any more!"

All that said, the one person I actually spoke to who attended the festival said it was lots of fun (that, in case you wondered, is my attempt to balance this article out. I think I managed it).

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STEREOPHONICS ANNOUNCE BEST OF AND TOUR
Stereophonics have announced that they will release a 'Best Of' compilation on 17 Nov, followed a by a UK tour, beginning on 2 Dec. The album will feature 20 songs across two CDs, plus a DVD of all the band's music videos.

Tour dates:

2 Dec:Glasgow SECC
4 Dec:Aberdeen AECC
6 Dec:Cardiff International Arena
9 Dec:Liverpool Echo Arena
10 Dec:Manchester MEN Arena
12 Dec:Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
13 Dec:Nottingham Trent Arena
15 Dec:Birmingham NIA
16 Dec:Brighton Centre
17 Dec:Bournemouth International Centre
19 Dec:Sheffield Arena
20 Dec:London O2 Arena

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NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS TOUR DATES
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have announced some UK tour dates for this November. Which is very nice of them, don't you think?

Tour dates:

23 Nov: Brighton Centre
25 Nov: Manchester, Apollo
26 Nov: Edinburgh, Corn Exchange
27 Nov: Sheffield, Academy
29 Nov: London, Troxy
30 Nov: London, Troxy

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WOGAN TO QUIT EUROVISION
In an interview with The Guardian to mark his 70th birthday, Terry Wogan has said that he does not think he'll present the BBC's Eurovision coverage again, following strong hints he dropped earlier this year. He told the paper: "I was considering giving up before Belgrade and now I have to say I'm very doubtful about ever wanting to do Eurovision again. I've had so much fun, but I think it's time for someone else to take over".

He also said he thought that the BBC had lost its position as the world's greatest broadcaster, saying that it no longer has the "old-fashioned thoroughness and commitment" it did in his early career. He said: "When I started, people who worked for the BBC knew they weren't earning as much as people in commercial television, but they did have the satisfaction of knowing that they worked for one of the finest, if not the finest, broadcasting organisation in the whole world. I'm not sure they feel that any more, or at least that it means as much as it used to".

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ITALIAN ISPS BLOCK THE PIRATE BAY
If you're in Italy and hoping to download something from The Pirate Bay later, you can't. All ISPs in the country are now blocking the tracker site which, of course, directs users to illegal BitTorrent files, following orders to do so by Deputy Prosecutor, Giancarlo Mancusi.

However, The Pirate Bay are not ones to lie down without a fight and have already launched measures to get around these blocks. The site's co-founder Peter Sunder wrote on the site: "We're quite used to fascist countries not allowing freedom of speech. A lot of smaller nations that have dictators decide to block our site since we can help spread information that could be harmful to the dictators.This time it's Italy. We have had fights previously in Italy. And, as usual, we won. We will also win this time".

He also told TorrentFreak: "We're working on setting up a really annoying system for them to filter".

Despite what I might have said at the beginning of this piece, the site reports that they have already bypassed at least half of the ISPs blocking it.

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MECHINICAL REVENUES DOWN, BUT OVERALL MCPS-PRS INCOME UP
No surprise here really, publishing collecting society MCPS-PRS has announced that revenues from mechanical royalties were down 9% in the six months to the end of June. Mechanical royalties are what record companies and the like pay the owners of songs (lyrics and score) when they release recordings of them. With record sales down it aint surprising mechnical royalties are down too.

But the collecting society's income overall was up, because while mechanical royalties were down performing royalties, paid by radio stations, TV companies and the ever growing number of legit online music services, were up - broadcast royalties were up 13% while online royalties were up a massive 40% - meaning overall the society saw its revenues rise 6%. And hurrah to that.

PRS chief Steve Porter told reporters: "We are making inroads into the online market with our groundbreaking licensing deals with iTunes, YouTube and Bebo, with further gains anticipated in the year. The decrease of 15% in CD sales was overturned by innovation and growth in licensing in other areas of the business".

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NAPSTER SUBSCRIBERS DOWN
Subscription based music services are, I am told, the future, but no one told the 52,000 Napster members who let their subscriptions lapse in April and May. The digital music company says it had 708,000 subscribers as of 30 Jun, which is down from 760,000 earlier in the year. Revenues for the last quarter were also down, from $30.8 million to $30.3 million, none of which is going to stop those who are chattering about the ultimate demise of Napster from, well, chattering about the ultimate demise of Napster. But Napster boss Chris Gorog remains upbeat, remarking that the move into MP3 in his company's a-la-carte download service has "created positive trends". So that's alright then.

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WOOLWORTHS APPOINT NEW CEO
Woolworths, who we are still considering to be a 'music retailer' for the time being, has announced the appointment of a new CEO to replace the departing Trevor Bish-Jones. The new top man is Steve Johnson, formerly the top man at Focus DIY. He told reporters this morning: "Woolworths is a well-loved high street brand operating in attractive markets, while the EUK and 2 entertain businesses have grown to hold market-leading position in their respective markets. Along with the rest of the Woolworths team, I will be focused on value creation for all stakeholders as we seek to move the group forward".

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KEANE TRACK BREAKS LABEL DOWNLOAD RECORD
The first track from Keane's new album has become Universal/Island's most popular free download track ever, racking up 500,000 downloads in the week it was online. 'Spiralling' was made available for just seven days via www.keanemusic.com earlier this month, before being taken down again and released via digital stores.

It's a way off the two million downloads Coldplay's 'Violet Hill' managed in a week, but the fact that these figures are even available and that the promotions happened at all shows a huge shift in the majors labels' attitudes to free download content.

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MINOTAUR SHOCK OFFERS NEW PRICING STRUCTURE
Just when you thought all possible new ways of selling music had been explored, from pay-what-you-want to pay-for-a-newspaper-you-didn't-want, Minotaur Shock has gone and come up with another one for his new album, 'Amateur Drammatics': pay-what-minotaur-shock-thinks-it's-worth.

Yes, Minotaur Shock has priced up each track on his new album by deciding how much he thinks each track is worth, giving you the chance to download individual tracks for anything from 33p to 75p, or download the whole album for £6.41.

More info here.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Nightmares on Wax – Thought So... (Warp Records)
Nightmares On Wax pioneer George Evelyn, aka DJ Ease, returns with 'Thought So...', in what amounts to his sixth studio album. One of Warp Records' most enduring electronic acts, he delivers an album that is purely conceptual in nature. Evelyn apparently took inspiration for the album from a soul-searching road trip from hometown Leeds to his new home in the middle of Ibiza, taking with him a veritable armada of sound technicians and musicians enabling him to take inspiration directly from his surroundings as he went. The result is an album that is a complete product of its process. Evelyn's brand of hip-hop and electronica fusion, whilst never particularly unique, is both moving and endearingly adventurous. Lead single '195lbs' carries the most of Evelyn's charisma, standing out from the other tracks and evoking images of breakdancing and reggae. 'Hey Ego!' seamlessly blends almost indistinguishable vocal samples with harmonic string and piano segments, an integration so smooth that it clearly illustrates Evelyn's incredible talent for creating songs that have an uncanny sense of beauty within them. The sample-heavy album is moody in nature, but often seems to have too much post-production gloss added to it. 'Calling' provides an excellent mid-album track, if only because it is so slow it almost hurts, and I can't help but think that 'Be There' and 'Bringin' It' could almost be the same song were it not for an appropriately placed saxophone solo separating them. Overall, however, 'Thought So...' is a worthy addition to Evelyn's catalogue, and one which holds at least a few moments of greatness. TA
Release Date: 25 Aug
Press Contact: Warp IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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WINEHOUSE TO RELEASE BOND THEME
Amy Winehouse is still bitter that the song she put forward as the theme for the next James Bond film, 'Quantum Of Solace', was not selected to open the movie. She has now vowed to release her song and go head to head with the official theme song by Jack White and Alicia Keys.

Winehouse told New Magazine: "I guess they are going for clean-cut and boring. When I do release mine - and I am tempted to do it on the same day - this would be the bigger hit. If they change their minds, I'm waiting!"

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