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TODAY'S NEWS

Top Stories

Zavvi stores start to close
No Led Zep tour, with or without Plant
Drugs are bad, mmmkay? Lily defends comments
Reverend loses a Maker
Nine Inch Nails ask fans to edit live videos
Flight Of The Conchords clear up name issue
In The Pop Courts
R Kelly divorce finalised
Awards & Contests
Underwood wins twice at People's Choice Awards
Xfm New Music Award returns
Charts, Stats & Polls
Little Boots tops BBC Sound Of 2009 list
Freddie Mercury is rock god
Hit40UK will still count airplay stats
In The Studio
Skinner starts work on final Streets album
Release News
Kanye leaks new Peter, Bjorn & John track
The Edge on new U2 album
Timbaland on new album rumours
Courtney comments on unreleased album
Attic Lights could be so good for you
Mastodon start counting
Gigs N Tours News
Newton Faulkner postpones tour due to injury
Festivals News
Keane want to headline Glastonbury
Liverpool SoundCity plans announced
Reviews
EP review: The Gullivers - Ambulance EP (Self-released)
The Music Business
Live Nation ticketing is go, go, go
Death Row up for sale again
Sony appoint new A&R VP for RCA US
The Digital Business
Widget channel to bring social networking to your telly
Omnifone announce new cross-platform plans
The Media Business
Jazz FM chief moves to make it a stand alone company
NME Radio to carry Skins radio show
And finally...
Daniel Craig too good to play Noel
GM abandon production of Fiddy endorsed SUV

Britney in trouble for fuck song

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FRIDAY 9TH JANUARY

NANCY WALLACE
Born and raised in Suffolk, Nancy Wallace is a folk-girl through and through. Having grown up playing or watching gigs with her family Nancy has never stopped creating her own music. While also playing with The Memory Band, she has been working hard at her solo work. Braving the bright lights of the big city, Nancy now lives in London but hasn't lost her roots. Her debut album 'Old Stories', out on 26 Jan and a follow up to EP 'Young Hearts', is full of the dreamy folk you would expect from a lady from out in the sticks. Nancy has taken a few moments to answer the Same Six Questions.


 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
My parents were folk musicians so my mum had me playing guitar on her knee. We had a family band so I spent my childhood trawling around folk clubs, or sitting in pub car parks watching my dad morris dance. The house was full of instruments so I was really lucky.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
All sorts of things, and the same sorts of things that everyone writes about I guess - family, ex-boyfriends, hope, love, despair. And working in a bookshop. The songs were written over quite a long period of time so they cover all sorts of times and moods. Although none of them are particularly chipper, I admit.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
I always start with the instrumental part, followed by melody and then lyrics. I don't think I've ever written words without a specific melody in mind - the mood of the music comes first and then I write words to suit it. My stuff is pretty simple so it's just sitting down in my room with my computer and a microphone and recording. I used to try to make it more complicated but it wasn't really for me, although I should probably try and put some percussion at least on the next album!

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
My main ones down the years have been people like Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Richard & Linda Thompson, Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Shirley Collins, Anne Briggs. There are so many though, and not all of them folk. I love great songwriters like Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Judee Sill, and more recently artists like Nina Nastasia and James Yorkston. I'm influenced by artists who can make you listen without having to shout. And of course The Memory Band and The Owl Service.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
SHHH!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
God, I just hope somebody buys it! It's good to have something out at last, so whatever happens I'm happy - [record label] Midwich have done a lovely job with it. I'm hopefully going to start recording some new songs in January - it's been an interesting year so there's a lot of material! And then all things being well, lots of gigs.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/nancywallace

 

5TH ANNIVERSARY VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Fabric Live at Fabric
Yes, the Club Tip is five today. Five years of tipping quality club nights, the best DJs, the best tunes, the best venues etc etc. To celebrate, let's tip one of our frequent favourites, and a venue who will also celebrate a round numbered anniversary this year (a full decade in fact) - Fabric. Friday's Fabric Live has always been good, and normally attracts a youthful party crowd with its cutting edge drum n bass and beats, and tonight the Hospital Records crew will be taking over affairs so it should be extra special. In Room 1, DnB big hitters abound: Lincoln Barrett aka High Contrast teams up with Goldie, London Elektricity with Commix back to back with NuTone with Danny Byrd, plus comperes Darrison, Stamina, Script, and Rage. There'll be dubstep in Room 2 from Darqwan, Hatcha and Caspa and Rusko, with Hospital offshoot label Med School controlling Room 3 with stalwarts Marcus Intalex and Klute, Randomer and Icicle. Definitely gonna be one to shake off the freezing fog this weekend - this is one hot line up. Now, five years on, let's see if I can format these listings right...

Friday 9 Jan, Fabric, 77a Charterhouse Street, London, EC1M, 10pm-6am, £13/£10 NUS or £6 after 3am, more info from www.fabriclondon.com, press from Danna/Gin at Fabric PR.

 

 

NO. 7: BILLY CORGAN
So, it's a new year and we have more stories involving you, our much loved readers, being told to fuck off by musicians. This week sees the second appearance of The Smashing Pumpkins. Although, this time it's a solo effort - James Iha had Marilyn Manson bassist Twiggy Ramirez to back him up.

A reader writes: "I was 19 (31 now, you do the maths) and my friend was one of the tour managers for the Smashing Pumpkins. We jumped on the bus to the Brixton Academy with James Iha and Jimmy Chamerlain, while D'arcy and Billy went ahead in a car - they never really mixed with everyone else. Anyway, the gig was great and back stage I saw Billy talking to a group of about five people and I just walked up and said 'that was one of the best gigs I have ever seen'. He replied, 'Blah blah blah fuck off'".

Ever been told to fuck off by a pop star? Wanna get it off your chest? Send us your stories to peaceandlove@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

 

 

ZAVVI STORES START TO CLOSE
So, the first 22 Zavvi stores were closed yesterday as the former Virgin Megastore's administrators try to find a way to rescue the rest of the stumbling music seller which, as previously reported, went into administration following the collapse of its principle supplier, Woolies owned eUK.

178 jobs will go as Zavvi stores close in Ashford, Ayr, Bideford, Braintree (x2), Bridgend, Castleford, Chatham, Edinburgh, Hempstead Valley, High Wycombe, Huddersfield, Liverpool, Livingston, Manchester, Mansfield, Newcastle, Sterling Mills, Street, Swindon, Torquay and York (in the bigger cities it's generally the outer-city shopping centre stores that are going).

Confirming the closure, Tom Jack of administrators Ernst & Young told reporters: "Despite record consumer demand since Christmas, it is no longer possible to support continued trading across all of the Zavvi stores. Unfortunately, the current difficulties faced on the UK high street seem to be discouraging retailers from investing in a significant number of new stores".

He added that sixty different parties had expressed an interest in buying all or part of the Zavvi business, though even if a buyer could be found for the whole company it is unlikely that buyer would want to keep all 114 stores open, which is presumably one of the reasons why 22 have been closed now, so that a new buyer would not have to offload the poorer performers after acquisition.

Despite Jack's comments, some in the music industry are pessimistic that a buyer will be found for all but a handful of the former Megastores.

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NO LED ZEP TOUR, WITH OR WITHOUT PLANT
Despite reports to the contrary, Jimmy Page's manager has now stated that there are no plans for the band to record or tour, with or without Robert Plant on vocals. Speaking to MusicRadar, Peter Mensch said: "Led Zeppelin are over! If you didn't see them in 2007, you missed them. It's done. I can't be any clearer than that".

He added that Page, Jon Paul Jones and Jason Bonham had auditioned singers after Robert Plant made it clear last year that he would not be joining a reunion, but that they had failed to find the right person. He said: "They tried out a few singers, but no one worked out. That was it. The whole thing is completely over now. There are absolutely no plans for them to continue. Zero. Frankly, I wish everybody would stop talking about it".

As to what Jimmy Page is planning to do instead, Mensch said he was unsure of his client's plans. Well, what he actually said was: "Fuck if I know. I'm waiting to hear".

So that's that cleared up once and for all. Well, unless Mensch's statement is all an elaborate code through which he is attempting to tell us that the complete, original line-up of the band (including John Bonham, despite his deadness) will support Blur at their Hyde Park shows in July.

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DRUGS ARE BAD, MMMKAY? LILY DEFENDS COMMENTS
Lily Allen has defended those comments she made in an interview with Word magazine. As previously reported, speaking about a new song, 'Everyone's At It', she pointed out, rightly really, that the idea that anyone who uses drugs turns into a thief, prostitute, rapist and/or murderer - an idea often presented to the public by government and the press - is neither true nor helpful. Her comments have been criticised by Tory MP Dominic Grieve and David Raynes, head of the National Drugs Prevention Alliance.

Responding to their concerns, in a statement issued yesterday, Lily's publicist said: "At no point does she say that drugs are a good thing or that she condones drug use; in fact, she says that 'I can spot the signs [of people on drugs] and it terrifies me'. The song itself talks about a culture of both legally prescribed drugs like anti-depressants and also illegal drug use".

Just to be absolutely clear on the singer's stance, she added: "Lily Allen would like to state unequivocally that she does not condone illegal drug use and has every sympathy with individuals and families whose lives have been blighted by drugs".

Lily later spoke out herself, telling the NME: "It's such a big thing, drugs, such a taboo subject. Maybe it is just me and the environment I've grown up in, but literally everyone I know is on drugs, or has been. I haven't got a right to tell people to ease up on their views on it, or that taking drugs is a good thing or a bad thing. I'm not well-educated enough on the subject, but I can observe what I see, and that's what I've done".

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REVEREND LOSES A MAKER
Reverend And The Makers guitarist Tom Jarvis has quit the band, it has been announced. Frontman Jon McClure told the NME, quite simply, that he had decided to leave the band because he'd "had enough". He will be replaced by Milburn guitarist Tom Rowley.

McClure said: "It's a shame because [Jarvis's] guitars are mental on the new record. But now Tom Rowley is joining - he is cool, and in lots of ways one of the guys who got the whole Sheffield scene started. People have love in their hearts for him up north, and me and him together have something amazing. I want to get on album three straight away as he's a genius".

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NINE INCH NAILS ASK FANS TO EDIT LIVE VIDEOS
Trent Reznor has been alluding to a "gift" on the Nine Inch Nails website for a little while now, and yesterday it finally arrived: 400GB of raw, unedited, high definition live footage, filmed on the band's recent 'Lights In The Sky' tour.

As presents go, it's pretty impressive. All that remains now is for some more commited fans to edit it into some kind of presentable form so that those of us without futuristic supercomputers can watch some of it.

Announcing the download, Reznor said: "The internet is full of surprises these days. I was contacted by a mysterious, shadowy group of subversives who SOMEHOW managed to film a substantial amount (over 400 GB!) of raw, unedited HD footage from three separate complete shows of our 'Lights In The Sky' tour. Security must have been lacking at these shows because the quality of the footage is excellent. If any of you could find a LINK to that footage I'll bet some enterprising fans could assemble something pretty cool. Oh yeah, you didn't hear this from me".

For full details and to download the files, go here.

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FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS CLEAR UP NAME ISSUE
Comedy music duo Flight Of The Conchords have made it clear that they didn't name their act in reference to the Concorde crash that took place near Paris back in 2000. The pair, whose new series is shortly to start in the US, are quoted by Time Out New York as saying that they'd had to "soldier on" following the incident because people linked their name to the crash, which claimed more than a hundred lives.

Bret McKenzie said: "We had the name before the terrible Concorde crash. But we were worried that people would think it was a joke based on the tragedy. Which it had nothing to do with". Jemaine Clement concurred that "some people did think that", and McKenzie joked that they "just didn't play in Paris" following the crash.

McKenzie added that he's sorry that Concordes are now a thing of the past, saying: "It's a shame. I always wanted to do a photo shoot with us in the Concorde. We'll have to do that on Photoshop now". Someone should tell him that an old Concorde plane has been turned into a tourist attraction at Manchester Airport.

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R KELLY DIVORCE FINALISED
R Kelly's divorce from his wife Andrea has been finalised. The couple, who have been married eleven years, separated in 2005 after Andrea filed a restraining order against her husband, claiming that he had harassed and stalked her, as well as subjecting her to physical abuse. No details of a financial settlement have been released, but reports say the pair will share joint custody of their three children. Kelly, as you all surely know, was acquitted of child pornography charges back in June.

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UNDERWOOD WINS TWICE AT PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS
Carrie Underwood won three gongs at the US's People's Choice Awards this week, taking home the awards for Favourite Female Singer, Favourite Country Song for 'Last Name', and favourite star under 35 years old. Other music stars winning awards at the event, which took place in LA and was aired on CBS, included Kid Rock, who got Favourite Rock Song for 'All Summer Long', and Katy Perry, who got Best Pop Tune for 'I Kissed A Girl'.

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XFM NEW MUSIC AWARD RETURNS
Xfm have announced the return of their listener voted New Music Award, which selects a debut album of the year.

Eligible acts must a) be British, b) have released their debut LP between 1 Jan and 31 Dec 2008, and c) had their material aired on Xfm. Listeners will vote via Xfm.co.uk and a shortlist of ten will be announced, and those finalists will then be considered by a panel of industry judges which this year includes the likes of Xfm presenters John Kennedy and Clint Boon, and MTV Director Of Music Chris Price. The winner will be announced on 3 Feb, and will be given an Xfm residency as part of their prize. The Enemy won it last year, incidentally.

Here's what Xfm Head Of Music Mike Walsh says about it all: "Xfm has always been at the forefront of new music and especially new music from the UK. 2008 was another great year for new British artists and I am looking forward to seeing which debut albums the musically sussed Xfm listeners will vote into the short list this year".

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LITTLE BOOTS TOPS BBC SOUND OF 2009 LIST
The BBC have announced the final order of their Sound Of 2009 shortlist, which tries to predict which will be the biggest acts of the coming year, and electro-pop singer Little Boots, aka Victoria Hesketh, has come top, having proven most popular by the panel of so-called 'tastemakers' (magazine editors, DJs, heads of music, etc) whose votes create the list.

Last year's list featured Adele, Duffy, The Ting Tings and Glasvegas, and they all had pretty good 2008s, so this year is probably looking pretty good for the aforementioned Hesketh, as well as the likes of White Lies, Florence and The Machine, and Empire Of The Sun, who were also on the 2009 shortlist.

The top ten in order is as follows:

1. Little Boots
2. White Lies
3. Florence and the Machine
4. Empire of the Sun
5. La Roux
6. Lady GaGa
7. VV Brown
8. Kid Cudi
9. Passion Pit
10. Dan Black

Little Boots says this: "It is amazing that so many people want to write about me and give me opportunities, and I'm so grateful for that. For enough of those pundits to pick me as their favourite act is absolutely incredible and really mindblowing. I'm just so happy that it connects to those people. I hope it goes beyond that and translates and it isn't just some bubble".

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FREDDIE MERCURY IS ROCK GOD
Music fans have voted late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury their Ultimate Rock God in a new survey conducted by onepoll.com, which is interesting. Elsewhere on the list, as you might expect, you can find the likes of Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger and Kurt Cobain.

Here's the top ten:

1 Freddie Mercury
2 Elvis Presley
3 Jon Bon Jovi
4 David Bowie
5 Jimi Hendrix
6 Ozzy Osbourne
7 Kurt Cobain
8 Slash
9 Bono
10 Mick Jagger

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HIT40UK WILL STILL COUNT AIRPLAY STATS
A quick update on the story we ran yesterday that the commercial radio chart show Hit40UK was going digital only. As previously reported, the Hit40UK, in contrast to the main record sales chart aired by Radio 1, is compiled by mixing statistics relating to record sales (physical and digital) and stats based on what songs are most played on commercial radio.

Producers of the chart announced this week that they will be taking physical record sales out of their maths from this weekend on the basis CD single sales are increasingly irrelevant (except for Cliff Richard, of course).

We, and others, reported that airplay stats would also be dropped, given that they have long been a bit irrelevant because the playlists on participating stations are now all controlled by two or three heads of music in London (and therefore don't reflect the music most rated in the regions). This would make the Hit40UK a chart based exclusively on download sales, making it rather similar to the Official Chart Company's existing Download Chart.

However, we were wrong, airplay stats will continue to be factored into the mix on the Hit40UK, though only data from digital download platforms will be counted on the record sales side. So, consider that clarified.

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SKINNER STARTS WORK ON FINAL STREETS ALBUM
Mike Skinner has revealed that he wrote ten songs for the fifth Streets album, which he announced last year would be the project's last, over the Christmas holiday.

Writing on his blog, Skinner said: "I seem to have written 10 songs over the holiday. It's got something to do with the book I'm writing in. It is pink and feels nice. It makes me want to write things and rub them out again. ... New desk. New sounds. New album. All good. ... I really like the music I'm writing and I feel blessed that I'm able to write it".

He added that plans to tour in the US were off because poor sales of recent album, 'Everything Is Borrowed', mean he can't afford the flights. Or something. Anyway, he said: "I probably won't make it to America this time, though, as we can't afford it. Sorry all Stateside Streets fans. Not financially viable. Would have been nice, but we've had some great shows before. I guess that's the main thing. Doesn't stop me feeling sad but I've been getting paid to tour all over the world for years as a result of those over-priced CD things. It has to come to an end at some point".

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KANYE LEAKS NEW PETER, BJORN & JOHN TRACK
Kanye West has leaked a new Peter, Bjorn & John track after they sent it to him to listen to. Whether or not they actually wanted him to release it to the world is unclear. Presumably as, at the time of writing, it's still online, they're okay with it.

West wrote on his blog: "World premiere. They sent the song to me first! Peter, Bjorn & John... Shit is dope! Drums are crazy and I like the kids on the hook. Their new album is called 'Living Thing'. With all that said, I don't know the name of the song. LOL! I'm gonna assume it's called, 'Nothing To Worry About'".

Download the track here.

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THE EDGE ON NEW U2 ALBUM
More chat from The Edge now (you'll remember that yesterday we reported on what he's been saying about that new Spiderman musical), this time about U2's new album, 'No Line on the Horizon', out 2 Mar. He's revealed that the fact he's recently worked with Jack White and Jimmy Page influenced the style of the new U2 record. He's quoted by Rolling Stone as saying: "I was just fascinated with seeing how Jimmy played those riffs so simply, and with Jack as well".

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TIMBALAND ON NEW ALBUM RUMOURS
Timbaland has told fans not to expect a new album from him any time soon, despite the rumours and alleged tracklistings doing the rounds on the old interweb, though he does imply that a follow up to 2007's 'Shock Value' will be forthcoming at some point.

The busy producer joked: "Man, I'm so in demand that people are making up albums just to try and keep up with me. What people are reading out there is nonsense. I'm only just starting to think about 'Shock Value 2', just recording and putting some ideas together, so there are definitely no song titles, release date, or any other news related to the album".

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COURTNEY COMMENTS ON UNRELEASED ALBUM
Courtney Love has spoken about her failure to release her new album, 'Nobody's Daughter', on 1 Jan, as had been planned. Previously, all statements on the matter have come from the star's mysterious "official MySpace administrator". She revealed that she intends to release the album for free just as soon as the recordings have reached her high standards of quality control.

Love wrote on her MySpace blog: "There's millions of people worldwide waiting on this record. Well, maybe, there's 10! But in any case, I assume there are millions because in the past there have been millions".

She added, somewhat confusingly: "My strategy is to make it available to people in every country for free and for what you feel I deserve and due to the level of merchandise which has never been even approached before, respectful hot sexy well cut cool merchandise. Hell, I'd sell quail eggs if they didn't break ust things I like (I'm also gonna try this bloodroot perfume 'Coffin'. I know, I'm such a goth!)".

Apart from the first few words, I have no idea what that last paragraph means. I think it might have something to do with the album being good. That's a complete guess, though.

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ATTIC LIGHTS COULD BE SO GOOD FOR YOU
Attic Lights have recorded a new version of the old 'Minder' theme tune for the new series of the TV show, which will begin on Five in February and will star Shane Richie as Arthur Daley's nephew, Archie Daley.

The band's version of 'I Could Be So Good For You', originally performed by Dennis Waterman, the show's original minder, is released digitally on Monday and physically on 16 Feb, via Island.

Speaking about the new version of the song, series producer Sean O'Connor said: "We wanted to use the original theme tune to show that the roots of the new series are very much set in the original, but it needed to be updated for modern times. Attic Lights are a fantastic new band, who have hit just the right note with the new theme. Minder is one of the British comedy drama greats, and we want to satisfy fans of the early series, but have also added different elements this time round to excite new viewers".

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MASTODON START COUNTING
US metallers Mastodon are counting down to something on their website. What it is, we'll have to wait another 64 days to find out. Although the launch of a new website to announce the release date of their forthcoming album seems like a likely contender. It's either that or the end of the world. Or maybe it's counting down to the actual release of the album. Or world peace.

Anyway, if you like looking at numbers, go here.

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NEWTON FAULKNER POSTPONES TOUR DUE TO INJURY
Newton Faulkner has been forced to postpone his upcoming UK tour due to a fractured wrist he sustained over the Christmas holiday. The dates originally planned for January and February have now been moved to May and June. Tickets for the original dates will still be valid.

Rescheduled tour dates:

29 May: Liskeard, Carnglaze Caverns
30 May: Winchester, Royal Theatre
31 May: Isle Of Wight, Medina Theatre
2 Jun: Aylesbury, Civic
4 Jun: Reading, Town Hall
5 Jun: Bath, Pavilion
6 Jun: Wakefield, Theatre Royal
8 Jun: Buxton, Opera House
9 Jun: Cheltenham, Town Hall
10 Jun: Worcester, Huntingdon Hall
12 Jun: Stoke, Victoria Hall
13 Jun: Warrington, Parr Hall
14 Jun: Middlesbrough, Town Hall
16 Jun: Inverness, Eden Court
17 Jun: Dunfermline, Carnegie Hall

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KEANE WANT TO HEADLINE GLASTONBURY
Keane would like to headline this year's Glastonbury. Presumably most bands would. But the band's frontman, Tom Chaplin thinks Keane are ready to do it.

Speaking to the Daily Star, he said: "There are certain slots at festivals that are great to play - like the sun going down. It feels like we have become a lot more of a festival band. We always wanted to play in front of 50,000 people spellbound, and we felt that we managed to create that magic last year when we were playing festivals around the world. Glastonbury is such a great thing to take part in and there is so much to do that I really hope we play it this year. It's been a long time since we did".

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LIVERPOOL SOUNDCITY PLANS ANNOUNCED
Details of the second outing for Liverpool's SoundCity have been announced, with this year's four day cross-city music fest set to take place from 20-24 May (ie just after Brighton's The Great Escape, making for a busy couple of weeks for music types in May).

400 bands are set to play at over 30 venues across the Pool over the four days. Once again there will also be an industry element to the proceedings, with the team of LA music industry conference MUSExpo (who launched a European version of their own event in London last year, of course) getting involved with that this time.

One of the events being especially bigged up is 'The Trial', which will bring together punters and industry types, with the former putting the latter "on trial" to see if they really do understand the needs of the next generation of music makers. Or something like that. It sounds like fun, mainly because it will be staged in the city's old law courts in the St Georges Hall, which have become something of a tourist attraction of late, but which should be a suitably serious looking surrounding for holding record industry types to account.

On that event, SoundCity Director Dave Pichilingi told CMU: "The Trial' is a rare opportunity for young people to engage with the big decision-makers in the business and decide if they truly understand the needs of the next generation of music-makers. While we are not foolish enough to try to predict the future of music in this country, with SoundCity we would like to have a hand in shaping it".

Early bird tickets for the whole festival are on sale already for £35. Go check www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk. Press info from Idea Generation.

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EP REVIEW: The Gullivers - Ambulance EP (Self-released)
Three-piece Oxford indie whingers The Gullivers have a daunting concept for their latest self-released EP, 'Vemod', a Scandinavian term for concurrent feelings of both sadness and happiness. Amongst all the droning and slumping bass rhythm underneath it, 'Ambulance EP' could be something akin to Oceansize if it had a bigger space to grow and some fine-tuning. Melancholic and bitty, the EP is a combination of apathetic Britpop-esque male vocals (remember Menswear?) and could-be-pretty pedal effects. Track three 'Silhouette' evolves from a relatively listless lo-fi guitar-bass-drums track to something that skirts the edges of exciting as the haunting piano kicks in behind that standard wall of noise. It's good to hear that the band have employed a keyboard player since the recording of this EP - maybe that's what they need to add some texture to their flitting, lethargic sound. TW
Release Date: 19 Jan
More info: www.myspace.com/thegullivers [all]

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LIVE NATION TICKETING IS GO, GO, GO
Live Nation's new ticketing business went live in the US over the Christmas break as the live music conglom's long-term ticketing partnership with Ticketmaster comes to an end. Live Nation's business relationship with Ticketmaster is actually based on a number of different contracts which will all expire at different times, so there will be a gradual move of primary ticket sales for Live Nation events and venues from the Ticketmaster system to the company's new inhouse system.

Such a transfer is actually quite a big operation, but according to the firm's CEO Of Global Music, Jason Garner, things have been going well. He told Billboard: "Anytime you have a major rollout, you hold your breath and hope there are no major glitches. We went live over the [Christmas] break and I didn't hear one complaint from anybody about the system".

As previously reported, Live Nation's decision to take ticketing in house should have a big impact on the tickets market, given that it means Ticketmaster lose a valuable client and gain a new competitor at the same time. This alongside the continued rise of the secondary ticketing industry, which, as previously reported, is gaining more legitimacy as time goes on, even if they are still disliked by certain parts of the live sector.

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DEATH ROW UP FOR SALE AGAIN
If you were disappointed that you missed out on the opportunity to buy seminal hip hop label Death Row Records when it went on sale a couple of years back as a result of owner Suge Knight's bankruptcy, well good news, it's back on the market.

The original home of artists like Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg was bought by an investment group called Global Music in 2007, despite other potential buyers - Warner Music and Koch in particular - withdrawing their bids because they said the administrative affairs of the label had been so shambolic it was difficult to say for sure who really owned half of the master recordings offered in the sale.

But it now transpires that some of the money people behind Global Music's bid have got cold feet and their acquisition of Death Row's assets has collapsed, which is why the label is back on the market. It's due to be auctioned off on 15 Jan, which is my Dad's birthday. Perhaps I'll buy it for him.

There are reports doing the rounds that those Global investors who have backed away from the deal have done so out of fear of what Knight might do to them for participating in the acquisition (not that Knight has a history of violence or shady associates or anything). Death Row's assets are being sold off, of course, to pay Knight's many creditors, and in particular Lydia Harris, one of the label's co-founders, whose bitter legal battle for the share of the Death Row profits she claimed she was due led to the hip hop mogul going bankrupt.

Although Harris has been quoted by some as saying a fear of Knight is behind the collapse of the Global takeover, she's told Billboard: "It isn't about them being scared. It's about money and greed".

Harris continues: "Everybody wants to hide behind the fear of Suge Knight - the fear is something they are latching on to - but all them still do business with him. At the end of the day, he's still living, he made people a lot of money and opened doors for a lot of them. It isn't about them being scared. That's what people need to realise. These people still deal with Suge everyday. It's the money. It's the greed".

Harris who, of course, wants the Death Row purchase to go through more than anyone (in a bid to see at least some of the $107 million settlement awarded to her in her original legal action against Knight), and so is a bit angry that the Global deal has faltered and, in doing so, put off this matter being sorted another eighteen months. She even goes as far as accusing the people behind Global of "destroying" the Death Row legacy and turning it into "a joke", though I think that had happened long before Global got involved, mainly when the Harris/Knight dispute first went to court.

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SONY APPOINT NEW A&R VP FOR RCA US
Sony Music (and will you all stop using the SonyBMG name please, come on, it's 2009, get up to date people, just because everyone at Sony seems to be still using their sonybmg.com email accounts, get with the brand won't you?) have announced the appointment of Jeff Aldrich to the role of VP A&R at the US division of RCA. Aldrich comes to Sony from Warner, and will report directly to Barry Weiss, CEO of Sony's RCA/Jive division which, of course, incorporates all the old BMG labels, but stop talking about BMG will you?

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WIDGET CHANNEL TO BRING SOCIAL NETWORKING TO YOUR TELLY
So, from DRM chatter at the MacWorld conference in San Francisco to one of the big announcements at that other big American techy event that kicks off the year, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Yahoo and Intel are collaborating on a new TV venture called The Widget Channel which, they hope, will do that long talked about thing, bring the internet to the television. The new service would work through a special interactive bar at the bottom or side of your TV screen, and would allow viewers to use tools from various social networking and media websites like MySpace, Flickr, Twitter and online services from CBS, Disney and MTV, presumably using the remote control.

Yahoo's President Of Connected TV, Patrick Barry, told CES delegates: "By combining the key attributes of the internet, including openness, community, and personalisation, with the power of television, the MySpace Widget for TV users will be able to take new advantage of a device they are incredibly familiar with - the television - to access their important MySpace features and information".

The service is set to be made available via various TV sets, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players - though it's not clear if and how quickly it will expand out of the US market.

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OMNIFONE ANNOUNCE NEW CROSS-PLATFORM PLANS
Also making big announcements at CES were London-based mobile music service provider Omnifone who announced a new partnership with music data company Gracenote (probably best known for providing track information in iTunes) which will see the two companies launch a range of new digital music services, including some accessed by devices other than mobile phones, including PCs, home entertainment systems and in-car stereos.

Like Omnifone's mobile music services, most notably the MusicStation service made available in the UK via Vodafone, these services will be subscription-based, providing unlimited access to vast catalogues of music in return for some kind of subscription fee, possibly bundled in with other rental costs.

The principle idea is that the expansion of Omnifone's services to other devices will ultimately enable subscribers to access music from whatever music device is most convenient at any one time - on their stereo system when in car or at home, their PC at work, their mobile while on the move, etc etc. Gracenote's technology will help users synchronise their personal music library between devices, and to incorporate tracks from their own private digital music collections.

Gracenote sales and marketing VP Jim Hollingsworth told CMU: "We understand that consumers want access to all music content, as well as a consistent digital media experience no matter where they are - on the go, at home, or in the car. What we are demonstrating is a next-generation music solution to the industry that addresses this consumer demand. This is an example of the future digital entertainment experience, and exemplifies the direction that commerce, content and technology companies should be headed".

Omnifone boss Rob Lewis added: "Omnifone's partnership with Gracenote will make connected unlimited music services a reality in the living room, in the car, on mobile devices, and computers; everywhere we go our music collections, playlists, and recommendations will follow seamlessly, automatically and without wires. Historically, unlimited music service providers have focused on mobile and PC platforms, but consumers want access to music in the living room and the car, as much as the mobile and desktop computer. This announcement means music lovers will soon have the freedom to access and consume unlimited music legally, across a wide range of device platforms, with the most appropriate user interface and file format for each device, synchronized automatically rather than having to side-load, back-up or rip compact discs".

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JAZZ FM CHIEF MOVES TO MAKE IT A STAND ALONE COMPANY
Richard Wheatly, the former Executive Chairman of the Local Radio Company, is planning on buying Jazz FM, which was relaunched by LRC as a digital only service last year.

Jazz FM has had a long and mixed history since its launch as an FM station in London in 1990. Wheatly managed the station for a time before its acquisition by the Guardian Media Group in 2002. GMG subsequently relaunched the service as the easy-listening station Smooth FM, shunting jazz programming (which it was still obliged to air under the Jazz FM licence) into the graveyard shift and online.

After rivals GCap shut down its new digital jazz service theJazz early last year, Wheatly had the idea to resurrect Jazz FM. He persuaded GMG to give him a three-year licence to use the Jazz FM name, and launched the new digital only jazz service within the LRC group. He stepped down from the top job at LRC so he could take a hands on role heading up the new jazz channel, but stayed on as a Non-Executive Director of the parent company.

But now the plan is for Jazz FM to spin off as a totally separate company. Wheatly resigned his director role at LRC yesterday so he could spearhead what would essentially be a management buyout. Insiders say that Wheatly has managed to secure some lucrative sponsorship deals for his new station despite the gloomy advertising market, and is said to have investors interested in backing his buyout and in providing funds to further boost the service's profile.

Which could all be good news for jazz fans. That said, all the Jazz FM owners and managers there have been over the years have struggled to make a serious jazz music service add up commercially, with anything but the most mainstream jazz music attracting just a niche audience. Some reckon there is still a viable business in a jazz station based around Global Radio's Classic FM model (which was what Global, then GCap, had hoped to achieve with the aforementioned theJazz), but whether that is true, and whether this is the right time to try, given the slump in the advertising market, remains to be seen. Still, if they were to add the blues into their playlists they might find the British public will feel an affinity to their output as the recession really bites.

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NME RADIO TO CARRY SKINS RADIO SHOW
NME Radio, the digital radio spin off of the music mag, will next week air a daily show dedicated to Channel 4's yoof show 'Skins', which returns to our screens on 22 Jan, albeit with a brand new set of teenage characters, the old cast being surplus to requirements now they've learned to act.

Skins Radio will be presented by James Theaker and Daniel Kaluuya, and feature music and sessions from bands whose tracks have appeared in the show, including Dead Kids, Filthy Dukes and Young Fathers. Not The Gossip I don't think, despite them being for ever linked to the show thanks to that seminal trailer before the teen franchise's original launch.

On the Skins tie in, NME Radio MD Sammy Jacob says this: "It's really exciting to be able to create bespoke solutions for brands in this way. We've radically changed our schedule and have two dedicated Skins Radio presenters on board, creating fantastic and original content to support the lunch".

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DANIEL CRAIG TOO GOOD TO PLAY NOEL
Daniel Craig has said that he wouldn't be able to play Noel Gallagher in a film about Oasis because he's a better guitarist than the Oasis star.

Gallagher recently said that he would like Craig to play him if a movie about the band was ever made. However, when asked if he would like to do it, Craig told The Sun: "I can play the guitar better than Noel can so I don't know how that is really going to work".

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GM ABANDON PRODUCTION OF FIDDY ENDORSED SUV
US car giant General Motors has shelved plans for a new line of sports truck endorsed by 50 Cent, all because of that pesky credit crunch. That said, if the pesky credit crunch decreases the number of people buying large vehicles I can only think it's a good thing. Anyway, this truck, the Pontiac G8, was unveiled at New York's motor show last year, and was expected to be available at some point in 2009, but it's not going to happen. Ah well.

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BRITNEY IN TROUBLE FOR FUCK SONG
Weren't Australian mothers complaining about Britney's new album last year, saying its all round raunchiness was just too much for their kids? Well, they're at it again. Unless this is the same story coming round a second time.

The latest complaints are about the name and lyrics of Ms Spears next single from recent album 'Circus' which is called 'If U Seek Amy' or, if you say it fast, 'FUCK Me'. Clever hey? Or outrageous, perhaps, if you're a mother who objects to having her young pop fan daughters singing 'Fuck Me' on an afternoon.

Aussie mum Leona Barsenbach is one such mother. She told music website Undercover: "I was astonished and totally taken aback when I heard my five and seven-year-old-kids walking around the house singing 'fuck'. When I asked them what it was, they told me it was Britney Spears. I was horrified. I got them the 'Circus' album because little kids are Britney fans, but there was no warning on the album and none of the songs listed had fuck in the title. Listening to it, it is extremely blatant and offensive. I feel I have been deceived into believing that this was acceptable content for children but instead it is objectionable".

If you think outraged from Down Under isdeliberately choosing to misinterpret the title of the song, it does appear in the actual tune as follows: "All of the boys and all of the girls are beggin' to, If You Seek Amy", which only really makes sense when said aloud, ie using the phonetic interpretation to which Barsenbach objects.

Britney's Fuck Me song is released in the UK on 16 Feb. Children everywhere be warned.

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