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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
And that's the case for the prosecution: Spector trial update
I worked very hard thank you very much: a sort of Spector trial update
Is a Ticketmaster AEG deal in the pipeline?
Take That regret not spotting Robbie's problems
Unheard Mozart piece played in France
Fall Out Boy feature on Simpsons
In The Pop Courts
Oasis attacker charge upgraded
You are not a metal god
Pop Politics
Jay-Z and Arcade Fire play Obama gig
Obituaries
Guitarist Mickey Gee dies
Awards & Contests
Indian music makes Oscar shortlist
In The Studio
Steve and Jack to collaborate
Jay-Z planning to take his time with new album
Release News
Franz Ferdinand album streaming on MySpace
Yeah Yeah Yeahs name third album
Isis announce fifth album
Perry and Death Cab do valentine covers
Gigs N Tours News
Lil Wayne cancels another gig in Rochester
Reviews
Album review: Hot Panda - Volcano... Bloody Volcano (Mint Records)
The Music Business
Koch rebrands as E1
Lots of music services appointments at EMI
The Digital Business
Microsoft down, Apple up, Jobs health claims questioned
The Media Business
BBC and C4 may collaborate through UKTV partnership
And finally...
Lady Sovereign not copying Kanye, OK?
Morrissey acting a bit grumpy shocker
James turned down Coldplay

Keith on Lily: Shut up

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FRIDAY 23RD JANUARY

WOODPIGEON
Given they have a similar approach to fellow Canadian music collective Broken Social Scene, Woodpigeon are everything you'd expect; the members form parts of other bands, and friends from all over the place help them out with anything from playing instruments to stage visuals. The collective make folk-pop on an orchestral level, a sort of Arcade Fire with more acoustic instruments, starting with beautiful melodies which grow into apocalyptic climaxes. The band will release their debut album 'Treasury Library Canada' through End Of The Road Records on 9 Feb, plus go on a mini UK tour between 21-26 Feb. Here is what frontman and songwriter Mark Hamilton had to say in response to our Same Six Questions.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Two Swiss girls I was tutoring in English stole a Spanish guitar for me from a hostel in Edinburgh when I first moved there. I wasn't quite the filmmaker I thought I'd be, music provided a better way of telling stories, and since then I don't seem to have run out of steam with them.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
'Treasury Library Canada' is inspired by all of the forgotten books on one's shelf. It's a series of songs I didn't think would ever see the light of day. I decided they needed to be heard after going through some of the local library's collections on Canadian invention. Some of the books hadn't been signed out for over 30 years, and I imagined how happy those books would be (if books could be happy) to be flipped through again and re-read once more.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Typically they all start with myself and the producer, an acoustic guitar and some ideas. We flesh things out from there. The folks who play on Woodpigeon records typically know me well enough to get what I'm hoping for, or talented enough to come at it from an entirely different direction and creating a better idea.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I've never stopped listening to The Kinks. At the moment, I'm diving into the solo works of Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen and on the other end of the spectrum, I've been listening an awful lot to Sonic Youth and Deerhoof again.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Please come back.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
To continue making records we're proud of, inspired by, and that seem to get similar reactions from people who also love them. Our main goal has always been having a worldwide adventure, and it's definitely happening. I can't imagine asking or expecting anything more.

MORE>> www.woodpigeon-songbook.com and www.myspace.com/woodpigeon

 

NO. 9: DANNY RAMPLING
Okay, we're branching out with this section this week. We've always said it was for your stories about pop stars telling you to fuck off. But DJs are like pop stars, right? And anyway, I'm not sure how some of our previous entries would take to being called pop stars. They'd probably tell us to fuck off. So, this week, we have our first entry from a DJ - pioneer of the UK house scene and former Radio 1 presenter, Danny Rampling.

A reader writes: "When Danny Rampling announced to the world that he was retiring from DJing in 2006 all of us here couldn't quite believe it. We decided we'd give him one last interview to explain his reasons for hanging up his headphones for good. At the end of the interview we said we wanted to give him a carriage clock to mark the occasion. His reply; "Fuck Off". Just as well we didn't hand it over, despite retiring two years ago, you can still book Danny to DJ through www.imd.dj".

Has a famed musician, DJ or other relevant character told you to fuck off? Want to get it off your chest? Tell us all about it by emailing peaceandlove@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

 
ROYALTY ADMIN ASSISTANT
Cherry Red Records - one the of UK's longest established independent record labels - require a royalty administration assistant on a two days per week basis. Duties will include contract information databasing, dealing directly with artists and licensor's royalty queries, general royalty system maintenance and royalty run preparation. Previous royalty administration experience is preferred. Please send CV with covering letter to Matt Bristow - matt@cherryred.co.uk no later than Friday January 30th.
 

 

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: The End Closing Parties at The End / AKA
The End. And yes, it is. One of the capital's best venues - and one that holds a whole load of memories for me - sadly comes to an end this weekend as Mr C's smash banger of a club shuts the doors for the final time after fourteen years. God, fourteen years, wow, that was quick. There are rumours of a re-opening already being in the pipeline - but ignore such rumours. Yes, this complex may be reopened as a bar or club by new management, but The End team really are calling it a day, so this is your final chance to enjoy some of the best.

Tonight, Friday, it's a drum & bass finale. The End, of course, welcomed drum & bass with open arms back in the day, and tonight some of the best from the genre will return. Fabio, Grooverider, Hype, Friction, Zinc, Goldie, Red One, Bailey, Loxy and Ink will take to the decks, with MC support from Fats, Dynamite and IC3. A veritable who's who of drum & bass no less.

On Saturday we have Laurent Garnier, Layo & Bushwacka!, Mr C, Erol Alkan, Ben Watt, Jimpster, Will Saul, Rory Phillips, Don Mac and Frankie Valentine, so this is gonna be one night to never forget. Tickets are bloody steep, but, with no advance ticket sales, it's gonna be a roadblock anyways, as the clubbers with taste scramble to be part of history.

The Saturday proceedings run into Sunday afternoon, and after all that partying I reckon there may be a few tears on the dancefloor. The end of The End is not only a sad day for London clubbing, but for clubbing worldwide. The End was simply THAT good. So, End people. Thanks for the good times, and we hope you have the finale to, erm, End all finales.

The End/AKA, 16A West Central Street, London WC1A 1JJ
Friday 23 Jan, 9-6am, £20 no advance tickets
Saturday 24 Jan, 8pm-til Sunday afternoon, £40 no advance tickets, £20 after 6am
Info at www.endclub.com

 

ANDY'S CLUB TIP: No Fiction at Powers
No Fiction is back at Powers in Kilburn tonight with the usual eclectic mix of floor-shaking indie and electronic music from the resident DJs. There will also be live performances from 'skelectro' act The Skeleton Dance and CMU favourites Scarlet Soho to spice things up even more. How could one improve on this? Well, you could make it free to get in. And they have. So you really have no excuse for not being there. So be there.

Saturday 23 Jan, Powers, 332 Kilburn High Road, NW6 2QN, 8pm-2am, free entry, more info www.myspace.com/nofictionclub

 

CHRIS' CLUP TIP: Be 2nd Birthday Party at Proud Galleries
So, it's a busy weekend this one, but if you're looking for something Camden way, may we suggest the second birthday of Be At Proud, the electro, indie, disco mash up of a night which has been taking over the Proud Gallery (old and new) for two years now with all kinds of great tunes, some fab live sets, and lots of quirky nonsense in the South Gallery. Tonight residents David H, John Power and Clemence Lachance will be supported by live sets from Wave Machines and Shock Defeat, plus a guest DJ set from the one and only Annie, whose booking is worth the ticket alone.

Saturday 24 Jan, Proud Galleries, Camden, 8pm-2.30am, £10 (£5 before 9pm, £8 in advance), more at www.be-at.co.uk

 

 

AND THAT'S THE CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION: SPECTOR TRIAL UPDATE
Oh yes, the Phil Spector trial, what's going on there then? We all got very bored of that quickly didn't we? Not like the first time round where the media glare was on full capacity throughout. Though me thinks the media glare quickly looked elsewhere when it became apparent that this trial was going to be almost identical to the first, or at least certainly while the prosecution were in control.

I think I promised you a little update late last year and did start writing one, but every day seemed to be "oh, here's so and so taking the stand again and saying the same as what they said last time blah blah", and I quickly got bored of writing it. True, Spector's new defence lawyer Doron Weinberg is worth his no doubt exorbitant fee in mere entertainment value; he's been giving some of the prosecution's witnesses a real hard time these last couple of months. But, as far as I'm aware, there have been few revelations that we hadn't previously seen in SpectorTrial.1.0.

As much much previously reported, legendary producer Spector is accused of shooting dead former actress Lana Clarkson at his Beverly Hills home in February 2003. He claims she shot herself. When it first went to court in 2007 the jury reached a 10-2 deadlock after assessing a plethora of evidence from both sides, and as a result Judge Larry Paul Fidler declared a mistrial. The prosecution quickly let it be known they would have a second go at getting a conviction, but Spector's defence team from Trial.1.0 didn't want to have a second go at stopping them, so the second trial was much delayed while the producer appointed Weinberg, and he familiarised himself with the case.

As I say, the prosecution's new case against Spector has centred on the three main elements that appeared in the first trial. First, a string of former Spector girlfriends recalled how, in dark drunk moments, the normally charming producer can turn nasty and often threaten women with guns - the implication, it was only a matter of time until one of those gun-toting loony moments turned to tragedy. Second, there's the producer's former driver who claims Spector said "I think I killed somebody" just minutes after Clarkson had been shot. And third, there's the forensic evidence, mainly relating to blood splatters at the crime scene, and nasty things like that, which, the prosecution's experts swear, prove Clarkson could not have shot herself.

With a new legal team in place on the defence's side, it's not yet clear whether the second half of the trial will be so similar to the first. The defence, of course, will want to argue that just because Spector can be foul mouthed and bit sinister, it doesn't mean he's a murderer. They'll wheel out their own forensic experts who'll say the blood splatters show Clarkson did kill herself. And they'll probably revisit all the evidence that suggests Clarkson was deeply depressed prior to her death, and therefore could have realistically contemplated suicide.

It was presumably to combat those latter claims on the defence's side that the prosecution ended their presentation to court this time round by questioning Clarkson's mother Donna, who talked about their last day together, the day before she died. Clarkson senior says her daughter was talking about plans to return to acting - optimistic chatter that could, presumably, contradict other claims that Lana Clarkson was in a suicidal frame of mind.

Weinberg says the case for the defence, which will begin on Monday, should be done within three weeks. This part of the trial could garner more media interest, given there's a new man leading the proceedings. And especially if Judge Fidler allows Weinberg to take the jury to the scene of the crime, Spector's home, which he has requested to do so.

Arguably neither side presented particularly compelling cases in the first trial, which may be why the jury couldn't reach a unanimous decision. Though with reports that the majority vote in the jury room was towards guilty, the onus is on the defence to present the clearest case this time round. Spector's defence case in the first trial wasn't brilliant, mainly because lead attorney Bruce Cutler seemed to lose interest half way through (and eventually left the defence team), and then there was the whole distraction over allegations the producer's original legal reps had removed evidence from the crime scene, allegations that led to one of the defence's star witnesses, celebrity forensics expert Henry Lee, not testifying.

Weinberg, who has led the case single handedly so far, is seen as a stronger attorney for Spector, though it remains to be seen how his sometimes excessively confrontational style with witnesses plays with the jury. He'll take centre stage on Monday.

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I WORKED VERY HARD THANK YOU VERY MUCH: A SORT OF SPECTOR TRIAL UPDATE
No Spector news stories for months, then two come along at once. In related news, Robert Shapiro, the lawyer who represented Spector immediately after Clarkson's death but who was fired a year later, long before the case got to court, has given a sworn declaration that he turned down other high profile work in order to concentrate on the Spector case. The producer is re-suing Shapiro in a bid to reclaim a million dollar retainer he paid the legal man for that initial representation. He argues Shapiro failed to dedicate enough time to his case, and that had a negative impact on his defence. That, Spector says, is why he chose to sack Shapiro in January 2004. He originally tried to sue his former lawyer for breach of contract in summer 2004, but later withdrew that lawsuit. He began new legal proceedings in late 2007.

In a sworn declaration filed in support of a motion to dismiss Spector's latest lawsuit, Shapiro argues that he did dedicate a lot of time to the producer's case, that he turned down some other high profile cases to do so, and that he was the one who negotiated the bail that has meant Spector has been free throughout the drawn out criminal proceedings relating to the case.

According to MSNBC, Shaprio says: "After being retained by Mr Spector, I received an inquiry as to whether I would interview with the family of Scott Peterson for the position of Mr Peterson's defense counsel in the Laci Peterson murder case. I turned down the requested interview because of my representation of Mr Spector and my commitment to Mr Spector". He adds that he was then approached by actor Robert Blake regarding the murder charges against him in relation to the death of his wife Bonnie Lee Bakley. Shapiro adds: "I turned down that interview for the same reasons".

On what he delivered for Spector while working for him, Shapiro says he immediately made contact with the bondsman after the charges against the producer had been made to secure him bail. The lawyer says: "As a result, Spector was free on bail on the very day of his arrest and has remained free on bail to this day almost six years later, which is highly unusual in any murder case".

A hearing on Spector's lawsuit against Shapiro, and the lawyer's attempts to dismiss it, is due to take place on 1 Apr.

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IS A TICKETMASTER AEG DEAL IN THE PIPELINE?
Remember how last year there were rumours of some kind of merger between live music conglom AEG and ticketing giant Ticketmaster? I seem to remember TV firm Cablevision, who have a venues business, would have been involved in some way, making for some kind of complicated three-way corporate transaction.

Well, rumours are again surfacing that Ticketmaster is contemplating a merger with a big music promoter. The ticketing giant has had a diversification strategy for a while, of course, not least because former major client Live Nation is now a major competitor thanks to the launch of Live Nation Ticketing. If promoter Live Nation is getting into ticketing then why shouldn't Ticketmaster - which already has an artist management division thanks to its merger last year with Irving Azoff's Front Line - get into event promotion?

The new rumours seem less specific regarding which concert promoter Ticketmaster is thinking of acquiring or merging with, though gossipers are again speculating that some kind of AEG and Ticketmaster deal could as yet come to fruition, if only because they now share a key enemy, I mean competitor, in the mighty Live Nation.

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TAKE THAT REGRET NOT SPOTTING ROBBIE'S PROBLEMS
Take That have said that they feel guilty about not spotting Robbie Williams drink problem, which led to his departure from the band in 1995.

Speaking to The Sun, Gary Barlow said: "[There were] a series of events we should have spotted. That's my one regret. I missed the signs. I think we all did. Rob would go to Dublin or somewhere and get off his head. Then he'd come home and say 'I haven't slept for two days'. He didn't want to go home and face his mum so he'd come to me first. He's one of us still, so I feel sorry for him and my natural instinct is to help him. His life could be better".

Howard Donald added: "I spoke to Rob about it last summer. I said I was sorry I never took the time to notice he was drinking a bottle of vodka a day. Robbie was different. He has a more addictive personality, maybe, and he was unhappy".

Asked about the much discussed possibility of Robbie rejoining Take That, Barlow said that he thought it would be unwise for him to rush into a return. He said: "I don't think the way for him to come back would be the stage shows. If I wanted Rob to do something it would be on a creative level".

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UNHEARD MOZART PIECE PLAYED IN FRANCE
A previously unheard two minute piece of music by Mozart, discovered in a French library last September, has been performed for the first time in Nantes. A small audience assembled to hear the composition, found by the city's library staff, played by violinist Daniel Cuiller. The score itself is on display at Nantes Castle until 22 Feb.

The piece was authenticated by Dr Ulrich Leisinger of the Mozarteum University in Salzburg. He said of the discovery: "We immediately saw that this was Mozart's writing. However, it took more time to realise that this something completely new. It was a great surprise and great joy. The first four lines constitute a whole piece, and that's what is interesting. There are three lines of music missing. You can see traces of it, but we don't know where the missing part is today".

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FALL OUT BOY FEATURE ON SIMPSONS
A Fall Out Boy cover of the theme to The Simpsons will replace the usual song on a new episode of the animated TV series. Which is probably quite appropriate, given that the band is named after a fictional super-hero that featured in the show. The special version will play over the end credits of the programme, apparently.

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OASIS ATTACKER CHARGE UPGRADED
The man who attacked Noel Gallagher, as previously reported, as the band played a set in Toronto last year, has had the charges against him upgraded. Daniel Sullivan was originally accused of assault, and is now charged with one count of aggravated assault, which means he could receive a harsher sentence if found guilty; the maximum penalty for assault is five years, whereas it's fourteen years for aggravated assault. That would seem a bit too harsh, in my opinion, for running on stage and attacking Gallagher from behind. Though, to be fair, the Oasis man apparently suffered three broken and dislodged ribs because he fell onto his speakers in the incident. Sullivan will be back in court on 6 Mar for a pre-trial hearing.

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YOU ARE NOT A METAL GOD
Are you Rob Halford from Judas Priest? No? Well you might have to stop referring to yourself as a metal god soon, if Rob has anything to do with it. He filed a trademark application in the US last week in order to have the name all to himself. In fact, he has been referring to himself as such since the release of Judas Priests' 1980 album 'British Steel', which featured the song 'Metal Gods'. It's about gods made of metal.

But onto the serious business of this trademark application. It is in fact Halford's company, Rob Halford Entertainment Ltd, which has submitted the application and it relates specifically to the use of the words 'metal' and 'god' together in sequence in videogames. This has led to speculation that a game starring Halford may be in production, or that someone else is developing a game using that name.

But before you start thinking you're in the clear using the name for yourself because you don't make video games, you should be aware that Rob Halford Entertainment Ltd has already successfully secured the trademarks for the use of the name on shirts, transfers, and live music performances.

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JAY-Z AND ARCADE FIRE PLAY OBAMA GIG
Jay-Z and Arcade Fire have played at a private concert for Barack Obama's staff in Washington this week. Jay-Z and wife Beyonce have made a string of Obama-related appearances in the last week, of course. As previously reported, Beyonce reduced herself to tears when singing a song for Obama and his wife as they danced at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball.

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GUITARIST MICKEY GEE DIES
Welsh guitarist Mickey Gee died in hospital in Cardiff this week. He was in his sixties, and had been suffering from emphysema. A stalwart of the Welsh music scene, he was widely regarded as a great player who never got the recognition he deserved, and friends and colleagues have lined up to play tribute to the musician, who, over the years, played with the likes of Tom Jones, Bill Wyman, Joe Cocker, Dave Edmunds and Shakin Stevens.

So, let's let the tributes do the talking.

Shakin Stevens: "Mickey Gee will be remembered for his guitar playing by the public and true fellow musicians. He played on all my early records and toured with me. The guitar solos, for me, were very important, they weren't just filling. His solos were and are very memorable".

Kingsley Ward, of Rockfield Studios, near Monmouth: "Mickey Gee never got the recognition he deserved. He was purely a great guitar player, very individual. When I met famous people, they often asked me about Mickey Gee."He never received the acknowledgment of his true ability. He was the unsung hero of Welsh guitar playing".

BBC Radio Wales presenter Owen Money: "I'm absolutely distraught. He was one of the greatest guitarists Wales has ever produced. He did the intro on [Dave Edmunds track] 'I Hear You Knockin' but he started at the wrong time. If you listen to it, it's out of sync. He said he couldn't remember how he got back into tempo. He turned a mistake into a great track".

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INDIAN MUSIC MAKES OSCAR SHORTLIST
Contemporary Indian music accounts for several nominations at this year's Oscars, because of the success of new Danny-Boyle-directed movie 'Slumdog Millionaire'. There's also a nod for CMU favourite MIA - which is kinda cool. Of the three tracks nominated in the Music (Song) category, two are from the film - 'O Saya' and 'Jai Ho' - both by composer AR Rahman, and the former a collaboration with MIA. Rahman's score also gets a nod in the Music (Score) category.

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STEVE AND JACK TO COLLABORATE
According to reports, Seasick Steve and Jack White are to record together. Steve apparently revealed the news at the BRIT nomination party this week, after being named as a contender for Best International Male. He's quoted as saying: "I'm meeting up with Jack White to record soon, so things are going very well indeed".

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JAY-Z PLANNING TO TAKE HIS TIME WITH NEW ALBUM
Jay-Z has said that he plans to take his time over his next album, 'Blueprint 3'. He began work on the record last year and was expected to release it before 2009, but the rapper has now explained that he is enjoying not working to a deadline.

He told MTV: "For me, the process of making an album is difficult with so many things going on. And me, I wanna make it beyond and above. I'm gonna take my time with it. I don't have any quotas, and that's a good thing. It may be too freeing. It's a good thing and a bad thing. You know, I think I need some restrictions. 'Cause if I had restrictions, I would have done it in three weeks. I would have made what I believe to be a great piece of art".

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FRANZ FERDINAND ALBUM STREAMING ON MYSPACE
So you want to hear the new Franz Ferdinand album do you? Well, you can, because 'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand' is presently being streamed on MySpace - www.myspace.com/franzferdinand

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YEAH YEAH YEAHS NAME THIRD ALBUM
Yeah Yeah Yeahs have revealed that the title of their third album. The follow-up to 2006's 'Show Your Bones' will be called 'It's Blitz'. The album has been recorded in Texas and Massachusetts with producers Dave Sitek and Nick Launay and is set for release in the spring.

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ISIS ANNOUNCE FIFTH ALBUM
Epic metallers Isis have announced details of their fifth album, 'Wavering Radiant'. It will be released later this year via Ipecac. Lovers of digital music will have to wait until 5 May, but vinyl fans will be able to get their hands on it from 21 Apr. In the US, anyway. I would like it right now, please.

Speaking about the album, frontman Aaron Turner told Billboard: "[This album is] perhaps a little more orchestral in feel. There's more layers going on and more interplay between the instruments, rather than layering of parts. This is a better sonic representation of what the band actually sounds like. In the past I think some of the recordings were a little too clean in their final form. There was something about the energy that seemed to be lacking. It seems to feel more like us than anything else has".

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PERRY AND DEATH CAB DO VALENTINE COVERS
The likes of Katy Perry and Death Cab For Cutie are amongst artists contributing cover-tracks to a new Starbucks Entertainment Valentines Day compilation set to be released in the US on 30 Jan. Also appearing on the album are Richard Hawley, AC Newman of New Pornographers ( a band I very much like) and Jem, who I had not thought about for a couple of years, but whose tracks I began randomly humming whilst shopping at the Co-op earlier this week.

The album tracklisting (which the band behind the original in brackets, obviously) is:

Death Cab for Cutie - Love Song (The Cure)
Katy Perry - Black and Gold (Sam Sparro )
DeVotchKa - Hot Burrito #1 (I'm Your Toy) (Flying Burrito Brothers)
Department of Eagles - Love Me (Elvis Presley)
Jessica Lea Mayfield - Words of Love (Buddy Holly)
Ben Bridwell - Your Love Is Forever (George Harrison)
Kate Tucker - I'm on Fire (Bruce Springsteen)
Rogue Wave - Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
A.C. Newman - Take on Me (A-Ha)
Jem - Yellow (Coldplay)
Richard Hawley - Early Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot)
Daniel Martin Moore - I Hear Music (Billie Holiday)
She & Him - I Put a Spell on You (Screamin Jay Hawkins)
Lila Downs - My One and Only Love (Frank Sinatra)

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LIL WAYNE CANCELS ANOTHER GIG IN ROCHESTER
So, you're a Lil Wayne fan in Rochester, New York State, and your hero cancels a gig in your town for the third time in four months, this time at the last minute. Will you be happy with the explanation that the gig was cancelled because "travelling times" meant Wayne might arrive a little late and, as a result, deliver "less of a show" (artistically, rather than in terms of minutes, I think)? Well, you'll have to be.

Having walked out of his original October Rochester gig early on in the show because of problems with sound, and having then cancelled a rescheduled date in December because of "mandatory tour rehearsals", whatever they are, Wayne's management explained to AllHipHip.com yesterday that the second rescheduled show earlier this week was canned at the last minute because: "It would have been too difficult to travel with the entire band, then turn around and head to Calgary the next day. We didn't want the Rochester fans to get any less of a show because of logistics. We wanted to deliver the same calibre show we've delivered along the tour".

A fourth date is now expected to be scheduled for February or March. I'm thinking only alien abduction might be an adequate explanation if that one gets cancelled.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Hot Panda - Volcano... Bloody Volcano (Mint Records)
It's hard to compare a band to anyone else when their sound is, in fact, extremely unique to themselves. Hot Panda are one of those bands - raw, jagged and melodic, there are hints of Talking Heads here and Islands there, maybe a dash of Of Montreal in between, but ultimately, Hot Panda are distinct in their lack of ordinariness. Hailing from the magical, promised land of reliably excellent new music, the Canadian quartet have been together for three years and have finally delivered a debut album that showcases their wonderfully peculiar sound. Full of collaborative, shouty vocals and disorderly, raucous guitar bashing, 'Volcano... Bloody Volcano' is made soft (but only by a touch) by additions from accordions and twee, oft-times dance-worthy glam-pop keyboard melodies. Opener 'Cold Hands/Chapped Lips' lifts the album up to a brilliant, catchy start, while 'Chinatown Bun', near to the record's end, is a slightly more contemplative track that offers an uneven platform for frontman Chris Connelly's jarring, intriguing vocal style. 'Volcano... Bloody Volcano' won't be to everyone's taste, but for those who can listen to an Architecture In Helsinki album all the way through without wincing once, or perhaps just like a bit more innovation in their indie, it's sure to be welcomed with open arms and dancing, stamping feet. TW
Release Date: 9 Feb
Press Contact: Hermana [all]

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KOCH REBRANDS AS E1
Possibly bored of being referred to as Cock Records, America's biggest indie record label Koch Records is rebranding and will become E1 Records. In fact all the Koch music companies, including Koch Entertainment Distribution and Koch Publishing, will take the E1 name moving forward. It brings them inline with their Canadian parent company, E1 Entertainment, who have owned the Koch group since 2005. Michael Koch will remain as CEO of all three Koch-now-E1 companies.

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LOTS OF MUSIC SERVICES APPOINTMENTS AT EMI
More, yes, that's right, more executive appointments at EMI, this time at its Music Services division which, among other things, leads the major label's ambitions in areas other than traditional record releasing, including merchandising and brand partnerships.

It's with those areas in mind that two more appointments have been made from outside the traditional record industry.

First up, Peter Palmer from Universal Music's merchandising company Bravado has been recruited to the role of SVP Global Merchandising, while Violet Gonzalez, formerly a brand partnership exec at live music conglom Live Nation, will become Senior Director Of Sponsorship for EMI in North America. So, lots of co-branded t-shirts for EMI bands me thinks.

There were some other rejigs within the Music Services division announced yesterday too. First up in the 'Label Services' bit of the operation - basically EMI's indie label distribution company - Dominic Pandiscia, formerly SVP/GM for North America, will take on a global role, while Michael Roe will also expand his remit by becoming VP Europe for label services.

Elsewhere, Matthew Crosswaite becomes EVP, Sales & Commercial Development Europe. Tom Shoemaker becomes SVP, Sales & Commercial Development Europe, reporting to Crosswaite, and with specific responsibility for new channel and category development, whatever that means. Away from Europe, Darren Stupak, currently EVP, Sales & Commercial Development for North America, adds Mexico to his remit, while Stefan Blom becomes EVP, Sales & Commercial Development Everywhere Else, including Japan.

Chattering about all of this was Ronn Werre, who runs the Music Services set up. He told CMU: "Music Services is all about delivering revenues to EMI's artists, as well as to the independent label and artist community. We now have the industry's only one-stop shop for accessing a global marketplace of traditional and non-traditional commercial partners. This team has already shown that focus and solid execution can provide unique value to EMI's roster and associated artists in key functions like licensing, synch and distribution and we are now expanding that offering to include merchandising and sponsorship. With these new capabilities and experienced executives, EMI Music Services is responding to the needs of artists today and into the future. We have the relationships, the ability to execute globally and an overarching focus on driving revenues and access to new platforms".

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MICROSOFT DOWN, APPLE UP, JOBS HEALTH CLAIMS QUESTIONED
Wall Street was apparently stunned yesterday by Microsoft's disappointing financial results. The IT giant warned the investment community that both its revenues and profits are likely to fall in the next two quarters, and that it plans to make 5000 people redundant. Ha, anyone would think there was a recession going on. The Windows company's share price dropped 9 percent.

Other cuts will be made at the firm - in particular on travel expenditure - as it tackles tricky economic times, plus a new threat from the increasing popularity of economy line 'netbooks', the lower-powered lower-priced laptops designed for simple web and word processing tasks. Windows gets less money each time its operating is installed on one of the economy line computers compared to a proper PC or laptop, plus some consumers are opting for the even cheaper netbooks that run on Linux operating systems, whereby Microsoft earn nothing.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, their gloomy financial forecasts followed an upbeat report from rivals Apple. The iPod maker saw revenues rise in the last quarter of 2008, despite all the credit crunch collapse, and posted better than expected profits of $1.6 billion. That good performance was aided by the continued growth of iPod and iPhone sales. Apple CEO Steve Jobs remarked: "Even in these economically challenging times, we are incredibly pleased to report our best quarterly revenue and earnings in Apple history - surpassing $10bn in quarterly revenue for the first time ever".

If Microsoft are jealous of Apple's good financial performance in such a fragile economy, they might take heart at gossip that the firm is under investigation by the US's Securities And Exchange Commission over allegations they've been dishonest about Jobs' much previously reported ill health. As previously reported, rumours that cancer survivor Jobs is ill have been doing the rounds for months. It has bigger implications than just Jobs own well-being because City types see the CEO as being so crucial to the IT firm's success, just the thought he might have to permanently step down tends to send the Apple share price into a frenzy.

Apple denied anything was wrong with their top man, and then admitted he had a minor "hormonal imbalance" that had led to weight loss, and for which Jobs was receiving treatment. It was then announced his condition had become "more complex" and that he'd be stepping down from active duty for the IT firm until the summer while he recovers.

Companies are not obligated to reveal details about the health of their execs, but when they do so investment regulators like the SEC prefer official statements to be accurate. The regulator is reportedly investigating whether the initial "hormonal imbalance" statement was a bit dishonest - a bid to end gossip and falsely reassure investors all was fine - or whether that really was the medical opinion at the time. It's not clear what they could do if the initial health statement did prove to be some cover up spin.

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BBC AND C4 MAY COLLABORATE THROUGH UKTV PARTNERSHIP
Wow, that was quick. An idea created by OfCom, chosen by Dave. Within days of media regulator OfCom suggesting the BBC and Channel 4 might want to form closer relations to help the latter meet the challenge of providing commercially-funded public-service-based programming in an increasingly competitive advertising and sponsorship market, the two companies have announced they may join forces to buy Virgin Media out of the UKTV network, which includes digital channels GOLD, Dave, Alibi and Watch.

UKTV is a joint venture between the BBC's commercial division BBC Worldwide and Virgin, who acquired its stake in the channels when it bought out NTL (who had, in turn, acquired them when it bought Telewest). Virgin is expected to let it be known it is planning on selling its UKTV stake in the next week or so, and BBC Worldwide and Channel 4 are reportedly discussing the latter buying it, funded by C4's cash reserves and overdraft facility.

Such a move would be seen as the start of some kind of complicated partnership between Channel 4 and the Beeb's commercial division - which might result in the creation of a separate commercially-funded public service broadcasting organisation of which C4 and BBC Worldwide would be two divisions.

As previously reported, C4 bosses had been pushing for a share of the licence fee to supplement its declining advertising and sponsorship revenues, so to be able to continue to broadcast less commercially viable public service programmes. The BBC was very against that proposal, but reluctantly accepted some kind of deal that saw C4 benefit from its commercial operations might be a compromise. OfCom this week ruled C4 would not be getting any licence fee money, but suggested some kind of C4/BBC Worldwide partnership should be considered - alongside other proposals to merge Channel 4 and Five.

Following news of a possible BBC/C4 deal on UKTV, a senior Ofcom source was quoted as saying: "The BBC and Channel 4 are talking about a joint venture. It is very welcome and it is very significant".

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LADY SOVEREIGN NOT COPYING KANYE, OK?
Lady Sovereign would like it to be known that just because she's singing on the title track of her new album, 'Jigsaw', she's not copying Kanye West. So don't go saying she is. She says she sings on some of her new songs, as well as doing the rapping, because she enjoys doing so, adding that she doesn't care if her voice "doesn't sound perfect". That too is presumably a reference to Kanye, who was criticised for using Auto-Tune technology to fix his off notes on his album '808s And Heartbreak'. The Lady told Rolling Stone: "Kanye can't sing and everyone knows that. There's a reason why some people are rappers to begin with".

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MORRISSEY ACTING A BIT GRUMPY SHOCKER
Morrissey has been dissing Jamie Oliver and Victoria Beckham, and quite emphatically too. Though, he was kind of led into it, because he was asked in an interview about his last day on earth, and who he would most like to kick in the eye before he dies. He responded: "That meat-fed horror Jamie 'Orrible' Oliver, if he's a master chef, then I'm Miss Brazil 1970", before adding: "It will be worth being dead just to get away from Victoria Beckham".

He redeems himself slightly by his response to the question of how he'd like to die, as it's "concussed by a coconut". Which I find mildly amusing.

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JAMES TURNED DOWN COLDPLAY
Blur's Alex James has told The Sun how, while dabbling in the world of record label management in the 90s, he turned down the chance of signing Coldplay because he found their music "ordinary". He was forgetting, of course, that there's a lot of money in the ordinary. And the dull. And the tediously mediocre. Well, there is in the ordinary, dull, tediously mediocre Coldplay anyway.

James told the tab: "I went to see Coldplay with Damien Hirst and Joe Strummer - my fellow record company executives - and we all thought they were ordinary and passed on them. I think everyone did, except Parlophone".

He admitted that the A&R haggle often initially consider the big bands of the future as being "too ordinary" to sign, adding that it was only Parlophone who spotted the potential in The Beatles, and even his own band Blur. Though he adds: "Then again, I still think Coldplay are a fairly ordinary band, although the singer is good". Good at what he failed to elaborate.

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KEITH ON LILY: SHUT UP
If Keith Allen thinks you should shut up and stop saying outrageous things, it's probably a sign that you've gone a bit too far, even if you are his daughter.

In an interview with Spin, Keith said: "I don't mind saying this, because I've told her already: she needs to know when to fucking shut up. As a man, I could drink, snort, and fuck to my heart's content without any detriment to my career. A girl cannot do that. The tabloids are shameless in trying to create a race-to-rehab between any girl out there who has a drink. Lily's learning what daddy learned long ago: fame is a pain in the fucking arse".

Speaking of which, if you fancy listening to a mini-mix of Lily's new album, on which she talks frankly about drugs and sex and that, go here.

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