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TODAY'S NEWS

Fielder-Civil out of prison

He points guns at men too: Spector trial update
Paul McCartney to get special MTV award
Carling academies become O2 academies
Deftones bassist in coma after crash
Jimmy Carl black dies
Danny Yarbrough dies
S Club 7 reform. Sort of
Single review: Conor Oberst - I Don't Want To Die (In The Hospital) (Wichita)
Jay-Z et al told to miss Obama party?
Beatles gig film sells to The Beatles for £4000
Marr delivers lecture
New Eminem this year?
Morrissey album details revealed
Belle And Sebastian complete work on new album
My old songs are like sausages and mash, says Jason
EP review: Dr Slagglebury - Tuc Into The Tar! (Crash Records)
Trevor Horn joins The Feeling
Lamb Of God album & 2009 tour dates
Holy Roar announce London shows
Album review: Belle And Sebastian - The BBC Sessions (Jeepster)
Sony launch brand partnership agency
Verdict research says gaming enabling music retailers to succeed
Canadian tracker asks court for clarification on law
XL partner on student video award
Google/Yahoo! ad partnership scrapped
Mojo radio closes
Cream's Bruce says Led Zeppelin are crap
Cole has no plans to renew her vows
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Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
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THURSDAY 6TH NOVEMBER

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS
Psychedelic shoegazers A Place To Bury Strangers, of New York New York, have been affectionately labelled as the city's loudest band by local reviewers. And noisy they are, but it's definitely good noise.

Formed in 2003, the subsequent years have seen the band support Brian Jonestown Massacre, Nine Inch Nails and their heroes The Jesus And Mary Chain. They will also support MGMT this November in the UK.

The band's debut album, 'A Place To Bury Strangers', was released in the US in 2007 on Killer Pimp to much acclaim, and finally gets an official release in the UK this week.

Guitarist Oliver Ackermann answers the SSQ.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started making music to fill the void of good music that I wanted to hear. I think I just didn't have access to much good music growing up in a small town and now realise that there are thousands of amazing bands stuck in similar situations.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
The state of the world.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It is really all different, there isn't any particular way. Some songs are realised, some are crafted, and usually the tools and situations are completely at risk.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Any artist I come in contact with. I find inspiration in creation.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
This stuff sucks, right?

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single, and for the future?
The next single will bring about world harmony and peace and free health care. For the future we will make more fucked up pop songs.

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

 

IT'S CMU'S UNSIGNED MONTH
We here at CMU have teamed up with our good friends at MUZU TV to discover and champion some of the best unsigned and self-releasing artists in the UK and Ireland. Each day this month we will be tipping another unsigned band which has truly impressed the CMU team. For more info and to check out all the bands we've tipped so far, go to www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/unsigned

SNAP OF THE DAY: CRANE BROTHERS
Seemingly London based but originating way north of the capital – Manchester and Leeds I think – Crane Brothers are a five man strong band (none of whom are called Crane) that fill the space between the cockney rhymes of Jamie T and the unhinged happiness of Scouting For Girls. 'Don't Wait' is the video streaming on their Muzu profile, a brass tinged lite reggae-by-indie number that's brash enough in its chorus to be sent straight to the Radio1 playlist. For now, however, they remain unsigned, so make way to the link below for an early sample of, as 6music put it, "fresh, original, exciting music".

Check Crane Brothers out at muzu.tv/cranebrothers or in the Unsigned Month playlist on the CMU-Tube at www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/tube

 
 

 



Don't forget you can now check out CMU favourites old and new on CMU-Tube, our online music video service powered by MUZU.

Set up your own MUZU channel, select tracks from the MUZU catalogue, and embed your own MUZU Player on your own website or blog - simple. Sign up here.

 

 

OFFICE SPACE IN SHOREDITCH, AVAILABLE FROM JANUARY
Self-contained office space available in the centre of Shoreditch, on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Great Eastern Street, next to the CMU HQ. 5-8 minutes walk from Liverpool Street and Old Street tube stations. A top floor workspace with plenty of natural light in an exciting neighbourhood that is home to numerous music, media, PR and creative companies. 764 square feet, with room for 15-20 desks plus its own kitchen area and adjacent toilets. £1000 per month plus service charge and business rates. Includes heating, water and electrics. Available from January 2009 for minimum of six months. For more information contact ashka@unicornjobs.com.

 

 

FIELDER-CIVIL OUT OF PRISON
Amy Winehouse's husband and CMU's favourite thug Blake Fielder-Civil has been released from prison and gone straight to rehab. As previously reported, he was convicted back in July on charges of assault and perverting the course of justice in relation to a 2006 incident at The Macbeth's pub in Hoxton. The nine months he spent incarcerated whilst awaiting sentence was deducted from his twenty-seven month sentence, and it's thought that his immediate admission to a rehab facility is part of the terms of his release.

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HE POINTS GUNS AT MEN TOO: SPECTOR TRIAL UPDATE
Joan Rivers' manager and Phil Spector's ex-girlfriend Dorothy Melvin spent a third day in the witness stand yesterday as the legendary producer's retrial for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson continued.

Having re-told the story of how Spector had turned violent one night in 1993, pistol-whipping her and chasing her off the grounds of his home in Pasadena, Melvin admitted that she continued to see the producer after that incident, albeit never alone. She said Spector was "very charming" and "easy to forgive", adding: "When Phil is not drinking he's the most charming man in the world. He's witty. You want to be with him".

She also admitted she invited Spector back to another of Rivers' Christmas parties, despite seeing him wave a gun in the general direction of a fellow party-goer at a previous festive bash. She said she asked him back on the condition he didn't bring a gun, adding that that time "he had a keyboard and played, and everyone enjoyed it tremendously".

Despite seeing the darker side of Spector, Melvin didn't cut off contact with him until Clarkson's death at his Beverly Hills home in 2003. Under questioning from Spector's defence lawyer, who was presumably keen to suggest that fact meant Spector was never as threatening or scary as the prosecution have claimed, Melvin said of her decision to maintain contact with the producer: "I was stupid. What more can I say?"

While questioning Melvin, Spector's new defence lawyer Doron Weinberg began a new interesting line of questioning. He seems keen to show that while Spector may be prone to violent outbursts, his aggression is not exclusively targeted at women - ie men have been at the receiving end too. Unable to deny his client has been aggressive in the past, Weinberg seems keen to instead downplay the allegations of misogyny, presumably in a bid to improve the jury's overall opinion of the defendant - to combat as best he can the "character assassination" he says the prosecution are relying on in their case.

Melvin admitted that one of the gun waving incidents at Rivers' Christmas party was aimed at a man, and also told the court of another occasion when Spector showed aggression towards another bloke. Weinberg told the court: "It's not raging anger against women", arguing the prosecution were being selective in picking their witnesses' stories in a bid to aid their portrayal of Spector as a dangerous woman hater.

The case continues.

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PAUL MCCARTNEY TO GET SPECIAL MTV AWARD
Paul McCartney is to receive an award created especially for him at the MTV Europe Music Awards tonight. The former Beatle will appear at the event in person to pick up his Ultimate Legend award, although he won't actually be performing.

The event's executive producer, Richard Godfrey, said: "Sir Paul's dedication to sharing his experience and nurturing the next generation of talented artists is remarkable", whilst MTV Networks International chairman Bill Roedy added: "Not only has he has been one of the most formative influences on the music scene on a global scale, but he is one of the founding fathers that has earned Liverpool the recent accolade as most musical city in the UK".

MTV say they expect the televised award show to reach an audience of around 30million people, which is a lot. That audience can expect performances from the likes of Take That, Beyonce, Pink, Duffy and The Killers.

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CARLING ACADEMIES BECOME O2 ACADEMIES
The Carling Academy Brixton, which is, of course, what we all call the Brixton Academy these days, will, from January, be known as the O2 Academy Brixton. Make sure you get that right, won't you? I'd put it in my diary if I was you.

Yes, the Academy Music Group announced yesterday a new sponsorship deal for their network of eleven Academy venues which have carried the Carling name for sometime now. The venue company, whose majority owner is Live Nation, have done a deal with the mobile firm whose name is also attached to one of the UK's biggest venue complexes of course, the former Millennium Dome.

The new deal is good news for O2 customers, who will get the same priority ticket access for the Academy venues that they already enjoy at The O2 dome. It's also presumably good news for lager drinkers, who might be able to get a lager other than Carling at the venues' bars from now on.

It also cements O2's status as the most high profile brand operating in the music space. When CMU did a reader survey early last year Carling still topped the poll as the brand most readers immediately associated with music. But O2 came second in that survey, and with Carling having now withdrawn from two of its most high profile music partnerships, the Reading/Leeds festivals and Academy venues, the phone firm would surely come first this time round.

Confirming their latest music partnership, O2 CEO Ronan Dunne told CMU: "Our customers tell us that they really value having priority access to tickets at The O2, so we want to bring this benefit to even more customers. The O2 Academy venues are a hugely important part of the UK's music scene and we admire their role in musical heritage. Through this partnership we are not only looking to benefit O2 customers, but to also enhance the live experience for all artists and music fans".

The boss of the Academy Music Group, John Northcote, added: "Academy Music Group is the UK's leading live music venue owner and operator and we have successfully built a nationwide network of premier concert venues across the country. It is very important that we continue to improve the artist and customer experience, working with like-minded partners. O2 have a dedicated programme and track record of rewarding their customers and embracing new methods of communication, as well as supporting new and emerging artists".

As I understand it, the new Academy sponsorship is part of partnership between the phone firm and Live Nation, who will be keen to ensure their competitors and The O2 owners AEG Live don't get all the O2 music marketing spend.

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DEFTONES BASSIST IN COMA AFTER CRASH
Deftones bassist Chi Cheng has been left in a coma after being involved in a car crash in Santa Clara, California on Monday, according to the Sacramento Bee newspaper. The news comes as the band complete work on their sixth album, entitled 'Eros', which is due for release next year.

Confirming the news in a post on the band's official website, frontman Chino Moreno said: "It deeply saddens me to inform you all that our brother Chi Cheng was involved in a terrible car accident last night. He is currently in a northern california Hospital in serious, but stable condition. I am on my way up North right now to be by his side along with the rest of our band mates and family. Chi is one of the strongest people I know, and I'm praying that his strength will get him through this. Please say a prayer for him as well".

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JIMMY CARL BLACK DIES
Jimmy Carl Black, former drummer in Frank Zappa's The Mothers Of Invention, has died at the age of seventy. He had been suffering from lung cancer, and his death on Saturday in Germany was confirmed by British musician Roddie Gilliard, who performed with him.

Born James Inkanish Jr in El Paso, Texas, Black was of Cheyenne heritage. He began his career playing backing music for strippers, before moving on to play in an LA band called Soul Giants; it was this group that Zappa took over and renamed The Mothers Of Invention. According to Black, Zappa told them "if you guys learn my music, I'll make you rich and famous", but, adds Black, "he took care of half of that promise, because I'm damn sure I didn't get rich". During this time the band he became known for the line, ad-libbed on the band's third album, "Hi, boys and girls. I'm Jimmy Carl Black and I'm the Indian of the group".

After The Mothers Of Invention disbanded in 1969, Black fell on hard times. He played in a rock and blues band, Geronimo Black for a while, but the band failed, and by 1972, Black was working in a doughnut shop in Texas. He went on, however, to work with Captain Beefhart, as well as working with Zappa again, and moved to Europe in the early nineties, where he found enough work to continue with a musical career.

He's survived by his third wife Monika, three sons and three daughters.

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DANNY YARBROUGH DIES
The former US boss of Sony Music Distribution, Danny Yarbrough, has died in his sleep in Savannah, Georgia, at the age of 64.

Yarbrough joined CBS Records in 1965 as a sales rep in Atlanta, and moved up the ranks to become branch manager of the company's southwest office in Dallas. He subsequently became VP of sales for CBS's Columbia Records, before making the move to Senior VP of sales and distribution in 1989. He became overall head of the distribution division of what was by then Sony Music US in 1994, later becoming its chairman. He left the major in 2003 and joined Musicland, but only stayed for a year before moving on to become an industry consultant and work on other music projects.

A service for Yarbrough will be held in Savannah tomorrow.

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S CLUB 7 REFORM. SORT OF
S Club 7 have reformed, assuming you count a line-up that only includes 21% of the original group as a reformation. Jo O'Meara, Bradley McIntosh and Paul Cattermole will join four new band members for a series of university and nightclub appearances.

Promoter Terry Mills told The Sun: "It's early days. They've got some good songs so I'm sure they will get bookings. Everyone deserves to make some cash in the credit crunch".

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SINGLE REVIEW: Conor Oberst - I Don't Want To Die (In The Hospital) (Wichita)
Conor Oberst, the man with his fingers in seemingly all of the Americana alt-country pies, is perhaps best known for his (veteran) emo-kid friendly folk shenanigans with his Nebraska-based band Bright Eyes. His newest project, Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band, is his long-awaited return to solo work after thirteen years, and lo-and-behold, our pale little indie kid of old has gone all Johnny Cash on us. Not that the vintage country sound was ever lost on Oberst's previous work, but with 'I Don't Want To Die (In The Hospital)' it is more focused than ever before, with a distinct punchy piano melody that sounds a hell of a lot like pal M. Ward's bluegrass-tinted work. Catchy and ironically cheery, this self-confessed "jailbreak song" is a definite shout-along piece of mastery that perfectly showcases Oberst's unique, warbling vocals and ability to prove himself as the chameleon king of US indie. TW
Release Date: 17 Nov
Press Contact: Universal IH [NP, RP], Radar Marker [O], Fore Promo [NR, RR]

Buy from iTunes
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JAY-Z ET AL TOLD TO MISS OBAMA PARTY?
Reports claim that some of Barack Obama's celebrity supporters - most notably Jay-Z - were asked to steer clear of the president elect's victory party at Chicago's Grant Park on Tuesday night, though it's said that he and other high profile supporters like Mary J Blige and P Diddy might be invited to the Democratic candidate's inauguration in January. The Chicago Sun Times say the campaign team didn't want anyone detracting attention from Obama, and quote a source as saying: "There really only needs to be one star in Grant Park, and that's Barack. There will be plenty of time for a new President Obama to be surrounded by famous fans, all hopeful about a new administration".

Elsewhere in music celebrity/Obama news, Madonna has said that the democrat's win made 4 Nov the best day of her life. Those very words. She told the audience at her Petco Park, California gig on Tuesday: "Are you as happy as I am? Let's hear it for Obama. It's the best day of my life". As previously reported, Madonna's had it in for the Republicans during the course of her current tour; she 'banned' Sarah Palin from seeing her shows (don't know whether Palin would have wanted to go or not) and ran a video showing McCain alongside Adolf Hitler.

Finally, from the file marked 'musicians/Barack', Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla has called the president elect a 'revolutionary'. Which you might think is over-egging things a bit. But you might not. Anyway, here's what he wrote on his Rolling Stone blog:

"I feel safe speaking of Barack Obama as a revolutionary. He's got a brilliant analytical mind; a clear, executive control of speech; a kind, open demeanour; a full and complete grasp on the technologies of the day; a photogenic presence and beautiful family; a gift to inspire and involve everyone around him; the ability to lay the groundwork for plans, both big and small, in obvious, common language; a compassionate ear; and the good fortune to have the cultural winds at his back, and the managerial know-how to capitalize on those winds in unprecedented, brilliant ways. All of these are good things, some with more gravity than others, and every politician needs one or two of them to achieve a modicum of success. But to open a national dialogue as big and wide as the one we're in right now requires the whole truckload, in spades, and then some. It takes a leader - and I dress that word in full literal regalia - to show the way forward, to clear the path".

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BEATLES GIG FILM SELLS TO THE BEATLES FOR £4000
A bootleg film of an "unscheduled" Beatles concert recorded in 1964 has been bought at auction by the band's company Apple Corp for £4100.

The silent two minute film was sold by Drew Dimmel, who, then aged 15, smuggled his father's new camera into the Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. He had planned to stand in front of the stage and record the whole show, but was told to go back to his seat, at which point a journalist in the press pit agreed to take over the filming. The concert, in front of 20,000 people, was arranged at the last minute after the band's manager Brian Epstein accepted an offer of $150,000 from the venue.

Dimmel said on Cameo Auctioneers' website: "We cleared out my parent's estate two months ago and there we discovered it at the bottom of the drawer, still lying in its original photo-lab box with 'Beatles 1964' on the back of the box where I'd feverishly scrawled it in blue ballpoint pen. [It is] the one and only motion picture in existence of the one and only concert the Beatles would ever perform in Kansas City".

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MARR DELIVERS LECTURE
Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr has delivered his first public lecture at Salford University, entitled 'Always From The Outside: Mavericks, Innovators And Building Your Own Ark'. In it he criticised the music industry for not being creative, and praised artists such as Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain and The Sex Pistols who "built their own ark".

He said: "I am not a cynic. I am not really down on the British music industry. However, it has never created anything in its history. It never invented anything, although it has done plenty of good things, like good records, but nothing has ever been created of value by the British or American music industries... People out of necessity, rejection or frustration, with talent and vision built their own ark and sailed it ahead of the music industry".

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NEW EMINEM THIS YEAR?
More reports that Eminem's album could be released before the end of the year, maybe the week before Christmas. Following that report that both Amazon and HMV had the new long player listed with a December release date, now Hits Daily Double is reporting it's heard the album will be out in the US on 16 Dec. Other labels will be keeping an eye on those plans, because no one wants to release a priority artist in the week the headlines and charts are likely to be dominated by Slim Shady, especially in America. A 16 Dec release date would put Eminem up against the new Fall Out Boy long player.

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MORRISSEY ALBUM DETAILS REVEALED
Morrissey fansite True To You has revealed release date details for Morrissey's forthcoming album, 'Years Of Refusal', and details of related touring and single releases.

The album will be released on 23 Feb (which is a Saturday, by the way), and will preceded by a single, 'I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris'. B-sides on the single will be 'Because Of My Poor Education' and 'Shame', the latter featuring guest vocals by Chrissie Hynde. Tour dates are planned for the US, New Zealand and Australia, although nothing has been booked in Europe as yet.

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BELLE AND SEBASTIAN COMPLETE WORK ON NEW ALBUM
Belle and Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch has revealed that they are working on a new album, 'God Help The Girl', the follow-up to 2006's 'The Life Pursuit'. The album, which tells the story of three Glasgow teenagers who start a band one summer, or something like that, has been in production since 2007, but updates on its progress have been non-existent since March this year.

However, Murdoch has posted a message on the band's website, saying: "I'm aiming to master all the 'God Help The Girl' songs by the end of November. I think there are 18 of them. It's a good feeling to think about making records. Sleeves and schedules, running orders and what not. It's been so long since I did it that, I suspect the landscape has changed".

Guests on the album include The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon, Asy of Smoosh and three fans, who were selected in online auditions to play the lead characters in the story.

The band release a new compilation of BBC live sessions later this month. See below for our review.

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MY OLD SONGS ARE LIKE SAUSAGES AND MASH, SAYS JASON
Jason Donovan has said that he likes playing his old hit songs like 'Too Many Broken Hearts' and 'Especially For You', because they're like comfort food. The singer is shortly to release a new album 'Let It Be Me', which has a couple of his eighties hits on there, and will perform new tracks as well as those from his back catalogue when he tours to promote the new LP, out 10 Nov.

He told Bang Showbiz: "Those songs have given me a comfortable life. I'm not going to forget the lyrics, put it that way. It's comforting isn't it? It's like eating sausage and mash - sometimes you need a good sausage".

He adds that he was initially reluctant, however, to put 'Sealed With a Kiss' and 'Rhythm In The Rain' on the record, because they have a very different sound to the new material. "I was a little dubious about putting tracks that I had recorded in the past on the album", he said. "But I felt because I'd done those songs with my old producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman they would benefit from the production values of this album, which is about producing late 50s, early 60s songs as they were originally recorded".

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EP REVIEW: Dr Slagglebury - Tuc Into The Tar! (Crash Records)
Dr Slaggleberry are the kind of math-rockish stoner metal-hardcore band that you don't mind your chumpy friend who is too old to go to Reading but loves the metal too much playing in the car. There's weird time signatures and a little bit of Butthole Surfers meets Mastodon guitar love. I thought it was going to be more scary and weird, but they are probably fearsome live. Recorded live for John Kennedy's Xfm X-posure show, it has a charming low quality edge that brings charm to the vociferous fret attack and hardcore drums. The best song is 'Tails Of The Blind Donkey' which jumps around like a hyper kid - like the hyper kids of Rolo Tomassi, perhaps - making growl riffage over rhythm changes, but which then has a chilled out bit (low point alert) that it follows up with even harder stupid riffs. Clever, but wilfully dumb; nonetheless, quite good. PG
Release date: 17 Nov
Press Contact: Manilla PR [all]

Buy from iTunes

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TREVOR HORN JOINS THE FEELING
Legendary producer Trevor Horn joined The Feeling on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo on Tuesday night to perform his former band Buggles' hit 'Video Killed The Radio Star'.

Feeling bassist Richard Jones told CMU: "We bumped into him at an awards ceremony on Monday night. We'd met him before and we asked if he'd like to come along to the Hammersmith Apollo show. It turned out he was already planning to come with his family! He knows that we do the 'Video Killed The Radio Star' cover, so we asked him if he'd like to join us on stage and do lead vocals. Amazingly, he agreed. We didn't have time to rehearse it or anything, but it went really well - he even wore the original specs from the song's video! It was definitely the cherry on top of an amazing show".

What do you mean you don't believe us? Watch it right here.

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LAMB OF GOD ALBUM & 2009 TOUR DATES
Lamb Of God have announced that they will release their fifth album, 'Wrath', on 23 Feb via Roadrunner Records. The band will also be in the UK for some tour dates earlier the same month.

Drummer Chris Adler told CMU: "This album is going to surprise a lot of people. Typically bands that get to where we are in our career, begin to slack off, smell the roses and regurgitate. We chose a different path. No one wants to hear another band member hyping a new record. 'Wrath' needs no hype. We have topped ourselves and on 23 Feb you will feel it".

Tour dates:

8 Feb: Belfast, Mandela Hall
9 Feb: Dublin, Academy
11 Feb: Bristol, Academy
12 Feb: Birmingham, Academy
13 Feb: Manchester, Academy
14 Feb: London, Brixton Academy
15 Feb: Glasgow, Academy

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HOLY ROAR ANNOUNCE LONDON SHOWS
Holy Roar Records have announced two shows in London this month to showcase a fine selection of bands.

Here are those dates:

15 Nov: London, Beyond Retro (East End) - Throats & The_Network free CD launch gig with free beer and snacks (3pm)
23 Nov: London, The Windmill - Holy Roar mini-fest with The_Network, Tortuga, Take A Worm For A Walk Week, No Dice, Hang The Bastard

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ALBUM REVIEW: Belle And Sebastian - The BBC Sessions (Jeepster)
Belle And Sebastian supergeeks and fans alike have been patiently waiting for a follow up to 2006 album 'The Life Pursuit'. This isn't it. But, as you will have seen above, that new album is on the way. Meanwhile, this is a collection of BBC recordings for Mark Radcliffe, Steve Lamacq and John Peel, which span over five years, between 1996 and 2001. Featuring songs from their debut 'Tigermilk', through to their fourth album 'Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like Peasant' the 14 tracks are a wonderful reminder of B&S's formative past, and include alternate versions of favourites 'The Wrong Girl' and 'Lazy Line Painter Jane'. While the compilation is perhaps lacking some of the sessions those aforementioned supergeeks would hope for, it is on the whole a pretty comprehensive collection featuring tracks that built the foundations of the band's cult status. As a special treat, there are also four previously unreleased tracks, including 'The Magic Of A Kind Word' and 'Shoot The Sexual Athlete', which are held in high regard by many fans not only for their degree of rarity, but also because they are the last studio recordings to feature Isobel Campbell. So, while you wait for that new album, this is certainly enough to get your teeth into. DH
Release Date: 17 Nov
Press Contact: Jeepster Recordings [all]

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SONY LAUNCH BRAND PARTNERSHIP AGENCY
Sony Music (you remember them right?) have launched a new communications agency with marketing firm Exposure. The new company will be called SBX, which possibly stands for Sony, erm, Blim, Xylophone. Oh no, perhaps the X stands for (E)xposure? Hmm, perhaps it doesn't stand for anything.

Anyway, SBX will be a pan-European set up looking to partner Sony music and artists with brands, utilising Exposure's brand marketing expertise. The London based agency has been involved in various brand-led music initiatives for companies like Rizla, Levi's and Dr Martens.

Confirming the launch of SBX, Sony Music COO Continental Europe Richard Story told CMU: "SBX is a key pillar of our new business strategy. It delivers on our mission to transform Sony Music from a record label into a global music entertainment partner for our artists and brand clients".

Exposure chief Raoul Shah added: "Since the launch of Exposure in 1993, we have been developing brand communications campaigns that have linked cultural sectors like fashion, film, music and entertainment. The opportunity to create a specific business dedicated to brand entertainment in association with one of the world's most famous music entertainment companies is a privilege and an exciting prospect. Both companies can benefit from leveraging each other's expertise, networks and client portfolios".

While the boss of this new enterprise, Marcel Engh, told us: "The benefit of the two teams' experience will allow SBX to create engaging and sustainable communications for its clients, developing valuable content and delivering truly integrated campaigns at a local and international level".

As previously reported, all four major record companies see brand partnerships as a key new revenue stream to compensate for the loss of traditional revenues like CD sales. However, many major artists already have such partnerships in place, normally negotiated by their managers or third party brokers. Manager have let it be known that if labels want a cut of sponsorship revenue they need to offer expertise and contacts in the consumer brand sector. New joint ventures like SBX, and similar initiatives set up by other majors, are part of their attempts to do just that.

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VERDICT RESEARCH SAYS GAMING ENABLING MUSIC RETAILERS TO SUCCEED
New research from London based retailer experts Verdict Research reckons that high street music stores like HMV and Zavvi will be successful in turning round their businesses, though mainly thanks to the continued boom in video game sales. The new Verdict report reckons that video game sales will grow 42% this year to be worth £4.64 billion, while music and DVD sales together will only come to £4.46 billion.

Music Week quote Verdict analyst Malcolm Pinkerton thus: "Though the music and video sector has enjoyed a boost from the rapidly growing digital download market, general trading conditions remain challenging. Music is suffering from piracy, a continual onslaught of price deflation, intensifying competition and the ongoing decline of physical format CDs. While the DVD market has shown robust volume growth, value growth is impaired by falling prices and heavy discounting".

Entertainment retailers are succeeding by diversifying out of music and DVD, Pinkerton says: "The two specialists [HMV and Zavvi] have made a point of diversifying their offers, cutting back on space in music in particular and re-allocating it to more lucrative areas such as MP3 players, books, clothing and video games".

The Verdict Research backs up a recent report from the Entertainment Retailer's Association, formerly the British Association Of Record Dealers, which was optimistic about the near future of entertainment retail but admitted music retailers were only succeeding when they expanding out of music.

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CANADIAN TRACKER ASKS COURT FOR CLARIFICATION ON LAW
This is interesting. We've long reported on the weak copyright laws in Canada, which have made it incredibly difficult for record companies there to use the courts in their battle against P2P file sharing, and where a royalty system for online music services was only introduced last month.

Well, the owner of a Canadian website that provides links to over a million BitTorrent sources of illegal content has asked the Supreme Court Of British Columbia to rule on whether what he is doing is against the law.

The role of IsoHunt.com and its owner Gary Fung, and similar tracker services, in the illegal distribution of content is, of course, one of much debate. When such sites have been accused of infringing copyright in lawsuits in the past they always plead the same defence - they don't actually host any illegal content, they merely provide links to other people hosting illegal content; those other people, and not them, are the infringers. They may also try the old Betamax defence (or Amstrad defence in British law) whereby they argue their service has legitimate uses - unsigned bands may legitimately provide links to their own content - and that therefore their website can't be blocked, even though the majority of people use it for illegal purposes, ie providing links to unlicensed content.

Both defences have succeeded in court in various territories, though in more recent years (and especially in the US post the landmark Supreme Court ruling on the MGM v Grokster lawsuit) the courts have tended to be less willing to protect such P2P and tracker services if the owners [a] fail to put in place appropriate measures to filter out unlicensed content or [b] make it pretty obvious through their communication with punters that the service exists to access illegal content (perhaps by calling your service The Pirate Bay).

But what about in Canada, where judges have often said current copyright law is too vague to be applied to the digital domain? With a lawsuit incoming from the Motion Picture Association of America and cease and desist letters from the Canadian Recording Industry Association, IsoHunt.com owner Fung has asked for clarification, once and for all, from the Supreme Court of British Columbia as to whether he is violating the country's Copyright Act.

Fung told reporters: "We filed the court documents because we were threatened by CRIA. Essentially they're saying that all we do is infringe on their clients' [the labels] copyrights". In his court papers, Fung says: "IsoHunt does not consider that its operations ... infringe or violate in any way the Copyright Act and therefore seeks the protection of [the court] in the form of declaratory relief in relation to clarification of its legal rights in respect of its operation".

As previously reported, Chinese search engine Baidu successfully defended itself against legal action from the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry in relation to its MP3 search service which provides easy access to illegal sources of music, though a subsequent change in Chinese law means the IFPI is confident of winning its case against the search firm on its second hearing. It will be interesting if the courts in Canada rule that they, by contrast, are unable to stop websites like IsoHunt from operating. Such a ruling would definitely send the CRIA into a lobbying frenzy, to persuade Canadian politicians to speed up the much needed reform (in the industry's eyes) of the country's copyright laws.

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XL PARTNER ON STUDENT VIDEO AWARD
XL Recordings has teamed up with the Design & Art Direction Student Awards to partner on the video category in the annual awards programme for design and art students interested in a career in advertising. Gorillaz types Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett will also be involved, and will provide students with a brief for a video for one of the tracks in their previously reported opera 'Monkey: Journey To The West', the soundtrack of which was released by XL.

Laura Woodroffe, D&AD Director of Education & Professional Development, told CMU: "For over 30 years, the D&AD Student Yellow Pencil has been one of the toughest student awards to win and one of the best first steps to a career in advertising and design. Our standards couldn't remain so high without the industry staying closely involved to help encourage the next generation".

XL chief Richard Russell added: "The D&AD Awards are an excellent platform for creativity and we are delighted to be playing a part in encouraging the next generation of visual artists".

There's more info on the awards at www.dandad.org/studentawards09.

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GOOGLE/YAHOO! AD PARTNERSHIP SCRAPPED
Google has announced it is scrapping its proposed advertising sales partnership with Yahoo! after the US Department Of Justice indicated it would move to block the deal over competition concerns.

The deal would have seen Yahoo! hand over some of its advertising space to the market leader Google, and take a cut of any ad revenue created. Yahoo! was hoping the tie up with Google would boost its overall ad revenues and help strengthen its business position, which was weakened earlier this year by Microsoft's previously reported attempted takeover. Although Yahoo! bosses successfully fought off Microsoft's takeover attempts, in doing so they pissed off many investors who supported the merger.

Yahoo! hoped that the Google advertising tie-up would provide some financial security and convince its shareholders that it had acted in their best interest by knocking back Microsoft's approach. Google were keen for a Yahoo! tie up to stop it merging with a Microsoft and, in doing so, creating a massive new competitor in the web services space. But the DoJ fear a combined Google/Yahoo! sales offer would give Google too much dominance in the internet advertising market.

Yahoo! said in a statement yesterday: "Google notified Yahoo of its refusal to move forward with implementation of the agreement following indication from the Department of Justice that it would seek to block it, despite Yahoo's proposed revisions to address the DoJ's concerns. Yahoo continues to believe in the benefits of the agreement and is disappointed that Google has elected to withdraw from the agreement rather than defend it in court".

Assuming Yahoo! can't continue without some kind of merger or strategic partnership with a competitor, some now reckon some kind of Yahoo!/AOL deal is most likely.

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MOJO RADIO CLOSES
Bauer Media has announced it is closing the Mojo radio station. In a statement, the publisher said yesterday: "Bauer Media is committed to investing in influential radio brands where distribution costs are cost-effective. Mojo enjoyed a loyal listening audience of 259,000 people. However, as a stand-alone station with no opportunities for distribution growth, we have reluctantly decided that the rising costs of broadcasting on Freeview and Sky now outweigh Mojo Radio's potential audience and revenue growth".

Bauer Radio MD of national brands Mark Story added: "We remain committed to digital radio where we can be satisfied that we have the right brands on the right platforms at the right time. Mojo will continue to deliver excellent content every month through the UK's leading Music Magazine and daily via www.mojo4music.com. We'd like to thank all our loyal Freeview and Sky listeners for their support over the last five years".

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CREAM'S BRUCE SAYS LED ZEPPELIN ARE CRAP
Cream bassist Jack Bruce is obviously as sick of all the Led Zeppelin tour speculation as I am, because he's had a sweary outburst criticising the band.

Bruce told Classic Rock: "Everybody talks about Led Zeppelin [reforming], and they played one fucking gig - one fucking lame gig - while Cream did weeks of gigs [during their 2005 reunion]; proper gigs, not just a lame gig like Zeppelin did, with all the [vocal] keys lowered and everything. We played everything in the original keys. Fuck off, Zeppelin, you're crap. You've always been crap and you'll never be anything else. The worst thing is that people believe the crap that they're sold. Cream is 10 times the band that Led Zeppelin is".

As you know, there's been a lot of talk about a Led Zeppelin tour. Seems safe to assume that Bruce won't be buying a ticket.

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COLE HAS NO PLANS TO RENEW HER VOWS
Cheryl Cole out of Girls Aloud has said that rumours that she is planning to renew her wedding vows are rubbish. The singer's spokesperson said in a statement: "Cheryl has no plans to renew her wedding vows", plus, according to Heat magazine, she's dead annoyed about all the talk. They quote a source as saying: "[Cheryl said] 'Why the hell would I renew my vows when I only got married a couple of years ago? It's ridiculous. It's as tacky as hell'".

The source adds that Cole regrets selling her wedding pics to OK magazine, saying: "[She] agreed to do it at the time because Girls Aloud hadn't made a lot of money and she didn't want Ashley paying for everything. But if she could do it again, she wouldn't have sold it to a magazine. She hates that she did".

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