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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Isle Of Man speaks to Playlouder about blanket licence system
Send my wife flowers: Pirate Bay trial update
Calvin Harris video cut for TV
Ciara pulls out of Brown collaboration
In The Pop Courts
Jermaine seeks custody of kids
Obituaries
Pylon guitarist dies
Awards & Contests
Elbow lose NME Award, Calvin gets his
Reunions & Splits
Faith No More confirm reunion
More on Fortune INXS thing
In The Studio
Beastie Boys finishing "weird" album
Release News
Eminem beats Diddy for Dre's attention
Lightning Seeds are back
Chairlift re-release album, add tracks
Gigs N Tours News
Billy Bragg announces commemorative strike tour
Festival News
Blur probably headlining Glastonbury
New festival for under 25s gets creative
Festival line up update
Reviews
Album review: Micachu & The Shapes - Jewellery (Rough Trade)
The Music Business
Music Week Awards nominations out
Ticketmaster chief says AEG will leave if Live Nation deal is done
Another US Megastore goes
RIAA downsize
The Digital Business
Spiralfrog speculation
The Media Business
Topman CTRL sponsors Xfm X-Posure
Skins song too raunchy for Radio 1
And finally...

Noel Gallagher not keen on contemporary music

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FRIDAY 27TH FEBRUARY

CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone is the solo project of singer-songwriter Owen Ashworth. Mixing traditional Americana with synth-pop and hip hop, it's a curious but pleasing mix of sounds. Having released three albums of two minute minimalist pop songs recorded straight to tape, Ashworth's last album, 'Etiquette', saw him play with proper production, other musicians and a plethora of new instruments to high acclaim. Now he's back with a collection of rarities, 'Advance Base Battery Life', released on 2 Mar, and a new studio album 'Vs Children' in April. Despite clearly being very busy, Owen was kind enough to answer our Same Six Questions.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
For my 16th birthday, my uncle gave me a bass guitar and a karaoke machine that could be used as an amp. The karaoke machine had some really crazy echo that sounded great on everything. I started recording songs and noise collages by myself by bouncing sounds between multiple hand held tape recorders. This was strictly for my own amusement. It was another four years before I let anybody hear me sing.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
'Advance Base Battery Life' is a collection of tracks that were previously released on split singles, EPs, and compilations between 2004 and 2007. For the most part, these tracks were created specifically for each release, as opposed to being leftovers from album sessions or whatever. I liked having the challenge of writing and recording tracks with strict time restrictions, in regard to both production deadlines and the amount of music that can physically fit onto a 7" piece of vinyl. Making five minutes or even one minute's worth of music at a time is a very different process than writing for an album, where I would be constantly second guessing myself, worrying over how a certain song would to fit in amongst a dozen or so others. The whole process felt spontaneous and exciting, and I ended up with some of the best music I've ever been involved with, in my opinion.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Melody, lyric, beat, more lyrics, chords, different lyrics, new beat, some more lyrics, all over the course of a year or so while I'm working on a million other things. I don't always remember where or when the songs started, but I sure am happy on the days that something actually gets finished.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Lately I've been influenced by Irma Thomas, MF DOOM, J Dilla, Wu-Tang Clan, Willie Nelson, Mark Kozelek, Harvey Milk, Boduf Songs, and my brother.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I would remain completely silent so as not to interrupt the very good album they were listening to.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Since most tracks on 'Advance Base Battery Life' had previously only been available on very limited edition vinyl releases, I'm really glad that that these songs are finally available to anyone who wants to hear them. The skeletons are out of the closet. It feels like spring cleaning. There will be another album of brand new songs out in April. That album is called 'Vs Children' and it is mostly about bank robbery and babies.

MORE>> http://www.cftpa.org and www.myspace.com/cftpa

 

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Inspiration Information at East Village
The bar formerly known as Medicine is truly buzzing hard, and the line ups at East Village over the last year have been top rate, with the first birthday going down particularly well, according to reports. Moving from the Notting Hill Arts Club, the II night has perhaps moved away from the pretentious trappings of the Westside. Residents are the burly house maestro Phil 'Phlash' Asher, and eclectic Latin guru, Kiss FM's cosmic jammer Patrick Forge, who will storm the village with their mix'n'blen of finest soulful and jazzy house, broken beat, boogie, funk, Latin and other super cool business. They are joined tonight by Al Kent, with Development crew Mike O'Mara and Tom Lynch down from Manc. Should be a top one. Go East Village! Go.

Saturday 28 Mar, 9pm-4am, East Village, 89 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London. EC2A 3HX, £5 then £10 after 11pm, www.eastvillageclub.com, press info: Rosalia at Ferrara PR.

   

OFFICE SPACE
EMMS Publicity's spacious office boasting loads of natural light has one lovely desk available to rent, for £60 a week. It's a bright and airy corner office in Aberdeen House, a converted factory in Highbury. Shared facilities include WI-FI, Fridge, Water cooler, Microwave, Kettle, Toilets, Bike storage, 24/7 secure access to building. There's a cafe on site. Electricity and water included. Phone, printer, franking machine and photocopier negotiable. Contact Steve Rose 020 7226 0990 steve@emmspublicity.com

DESK SPACE
Leyline Promotions has two desk suites available in a well-appointed courtyard studio in Westbourne Studios, W10. Ideal for a small creative agency in a very friendly and professional environment. Rent includes: storage, broadband connections, business rates, insurance, 24 hr access, restaurant and bar, conference facilities, natural sunlight. 4 mins walk from Westbourne Park tube station. Call Adrian for more info on 07971 555 020 / adrian@leylinepromotions.com

ADVERTISE WITH CMU - classifieds £120 per week, job ads £100 per week, banner ads £150 per week, leader box £200 per week - call 020 7099 9050 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for information or to book.

 

 
 

 

ISLE OF MAN SPEAKS TO PLAYLOUDER ABOUT BLANKET LICENCE SYSTEM
London-based Playlouder MSP has confirmed it has been talking to the e-business division of the Isle Of Man about their plans to introduce a system whereby the music industry grants a blanket licence to all web-users for all their music, with a levy charged on each islander's monthly ISP subscription to compensate content owners. Such a system would mean, in theory, that the use of P2P file sharing networks would become legal on the island because all content shared would be covered by the blanket licence.

The Isle Of Man announced its intention to pilot such a blanket licensing system last month, and the boss of Playlouder has confirmed he has spoken to officials there about their plans. Playlouder has been advocating the blanket licence/ISP levy system for years, and has been in talks with various net firms about launching a premium internet package which includes a music levy which is redistributed to labels and publishers and which legitimises any P2P file sharing activity customers of that package participate in. Most recently Playlouder was known to be working with Virgin Media on such a proposal.

The problem, though, remains the major record companies. Although some in the industry, including some major label execs, see such a blanket licence levy system as being the long term future of online music, some at the majors still worry about the impact such as system will have on short term revenues, and in particular on the increasingly vital digital revenues that come in from a-la-carte download services like iTunes and licensed on-demand streaming services like YouTube and Spotify.

Others worry that introducing such a system via premium services with one or another ISP - rather than across the board - would confuse consumers and imply that P2P file sharing across the board was now legitimised. There are also concerns as to how money generated by the levy would be distributed to labels, publishers, artists and songwriters. All of which means that Playlouder have struggled to get all the majors on board, and that reportedly hindered the Virgin Media proposals.

Confirming he had spoken to the Isle Of Man's Inward Investment Manger, Ron Berry, the boss of Playlouder, Paul Hitchman, gave Billboard his opinions on the island's proposals, saying: "I think it has potential; I think there's a danger with any project like that, that something gets parked in a non-threatening space for two years while, in the meantime, the business gets destroyed. But I think the Isle Of Man is genuine about wanting to help move the process along and I think it could certainly play a role".

He continued: "It's going to require all parties - Manx Telecom, the Isle Of Man, a service provider like us and the music rights owners - to come together and make it work. And so long as there's good will on the part of all of those players, there's no reason while the Isle Of Man couldn't lead the way in this area".

Berry himself, who initially announced his plans for the blanket licencing system at MIDEM last month, says there has been a lot of interest in his proposals since he made his announcement. He told Billboard: "As with any business, if you're there to test a model and prove a model, then you have a role to play going forward. Going forward, it's good for e-business in the Isle Of Man and shows we have got a very innovative approach to business".

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SEND MY WIFE FLOWERS: PIRATE BAY TRIAL UPDATE
It was the turn of the academics to take to the witness stand in the ongoing Pirate Bay trial in Stockholm yesterday.

As previously reported, four men behind the rogue BitTorrent tracker are being tried for criminal copyright infringement, and could face fines, prison and damages claims if found guilty. They are pleading not guilty governor, claiming the extent of infringement committed by The Pirate Bay users is exaggerated, that they weren't personally involved in or aware of any major infringement, and that because they provide links to unlicenced content, rather than serving up the content themselves, they are no different than any other search engine.

The first professor to take to the stand (actually, he was on the phone) was Kristoffer Schollin, who is apparently an expert on copyright law, but spent much of his testimony explaining how BitTorrent file sharing works. That's possibly because he wasn't keen to give an opinion on the actual legality of The Pirate Bay. He backed the defence's claims that the Bay itself isn't actually involved in the file sharing process, and not even necessarily the actual 'tracking' process, because the whole BitTorrent mallarky is quite complicated. He also backed up the defence's point that many of the BitTorrents linked to by the Bay are also linked to by Google, albeit in a generally less obvious way. However, he didn't really comment on whether those facts were a useful defence against the actual infringement charges being made against the Pirate Bay Four.

The next professor on the stand came from Sweden's Royal Institute Of Technology, and was called Roger Wallis. Despite the name of his college, he wasn't there to talk about the technology of BitTorrent file sharing, but to give an opinion on the impact of P2P on the music business - possibly in his guise as chair of the Swedish Composers Of Popular Music association. He argued that file sharing, though perhaps a bad thing for record labels, could be liberating for artists, while also lining up the arguments we outlined yesterday as to why IFPI boss John Kennedy's claims that file sharing is single-handedly destroying the record business aren't necessarily true. Things got a bit heated when the prosecution started to question Wallis' credentials, to which he responded: "Can you use Google? Then you'll easily find my CV".

In the day's most comical moment, Wallis was asked, for reasons I'm not sure of, whether he wanted to be compensated for giving up an afternoon to the court. He joked that "You are welcome to send some flowers to my wife", leading to reports that over 100 Pirate Bay supporters following the trial online promptly ordered flowers to be delivered to Mrs Wallis. A generous gesture, though presumably Bay users can spare a pound or two, them not having to pay for their music and all.

PS: Today's interesting development in the Bay trial is The Register's report on the politics of one of the Pirate Bay Four - financial backer Carl Lundstrom. More liberal file sharers may not be so happy at the far right politicians also supported by the BitTorrent Tracker funder. Read more at this URL:

www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/26/pirate_bay_neo_nazi/

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CALVIN HARRIS VIDEO CUT FOR TV
According to The Daily Record, Calvin Harris has been forced to cut part of his new music video after being told that the promo would be banned from TV if it remained as it was. The scenes in question depict Harris holding a knife, and are therefore considered inappropriate viewing, presumably especially given the spate of knife crime in recent years.

Harris explained that he'd been told: "I'm holding an antique knife in one of the scenes, therefore encouraging knife crime". He adds that he's not really the type to ever actually use one, explaining: "The only ever time I was in a fight I fell down instantly and I believe they had only verbally challenged me to one at that stage. I fight like a girl."

Harris's label, Sony's Columbia Records, confirmed that the video would be re-edited, saying: "Calvin doesn't actually use the knife in the video but we need to cut the scene for any TV programme that wants to show the video. Rules are stricter and a lot of artist videos get edited for TV nowadays".

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CIARA PULLS OUT OF BROWN COLLABORATION
Reports claim that Grammy winning Ciara has cancelled plans to release a duet with Chris Brown following his much previously reported alleged beating-up of girlfriend Rihanna.

Her track 'Turntables' was due to appear on her new album featuring vocals by Brown, but she's now said that the song won't be "as expected", prompting speculation that his contribution has been ditched. She is quoted as saying: "Turntables will be on the album. Now you may hear it a little bit differently than what you've heard it, but in a cool way".

As previously reported, rap star Flo Rida has pulled a collaboration with Brown from his new album in response to the altercation.

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JERMAINE SEEKS CUSTODY OF KIDS
Jemaine Jackson has reportedly filed for sole custody of his two sons on the grounds that they are subject to physical abuse by their mother Alejandra, after he was notified by LA police that the children were being beaten. Jackson, who recently claimed that he was unable to afford child support payments for his offspring, was given custody of his sons by police after a school teacher reported that one of the boys, Jermajesty, had said that his mother had been "slapping him repeatedly across the face". The case will go to court next week. Jackson's lawyers say they are planning to allow Alejandra visitation rights, but will request that she only has supervised access.

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PYLON GUITARIST DIES
Randy Bewley, guitarist with influential New Wave outfit Pylon, has died at the age of 53 from a heart attack. He was apparently driving his van on Monday when the arrest happened, and the vehicle drifted off the road and turned over. He was taken to Athens Regional Medical Center, where he fell into a coma, and died on Wednesday.

Bewley co-founded Pylon in 1978 with fellow University Of Georgia art students Michael Lachowski, Vanessa Briscoe Hay and Curtis Rowe. The new wave band are notable for their influence on a new generation of acts, most famously REM, who, when named 'America's best band' by Rolling Stone in 1987, said that Pylon were in fact more deserving of the title. The group's activity over the years has been intermittent, but they had been active again since 2004.

Bewley also taught art, but in recent years had concentrated on his own projects. As well as playing with Pylon, he worked with two other Athens bands, Sound Houses and Supercluster.

He is survived by two sons.

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ELBOW LOSE NME AWARD, CALVIN GETS HIS
Girl Aloud Sarah Harding has apparently lost Elbow's Outstanding Contribution gong from the other night's NME Awards. I'm not quite sure how Harding came to be guardian of the Manchester band's award, but she seemingly lost it in the toilets at the aftershow party.

The Daily Mail quotes a source thus: "As she emerged from the toilets she said, 'Fuck, where's that award gone?' It dawned on her she'd left it in the toilets, but it wasn't there when she checked. Someone had nicked it. That's when things got a bit too much for her and she decided to leave".

No word on whether the award has since been found, though given how many gongs Elbow have been racking up of late, I'm sure they can do without this one.

Elsewhere in NME Awards news, the magazine's editor, Conor McNicholas, has apologised to Calvin Harris who, as previously reported, was rather pissed off that he wasn't invited to the awards despite the fact that his collaboration with Dizzee Rascal won Best Dancefloor Filler. He Twittered: "What kind of award ceremony has you win an award yet still doesnt invite you?", and claimed "They didn't invite me because I am the worst producer on the planet and also a cunt, their words".

But McNicholas says Calvin not being invited to his awards show was an administrative error. He Twittered yesterday: "Have just got off phone with Calvin Harris. Groveling apology from me. Administrative cock-up at NME. Quite boring, but email mix-up meant awards team thought Calvin had said he couldn't come. As far as I knew he'd been invited. All a very big oops. Calvin -- consider this a public apology. I owe you one. A physical NME Award will be sent very soon".

Calvin responded: "LOOKING FORWARD TO RECEIVING MY NME AWARD".

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FAITH NO MORE CONFIRM REUNION
A lot of effort goes into promoting bands, but sometimes all you need is an off-hand comment at the end of a press release about something else. The words "the highly anticipated reunion tour with Faith No More in Europe this summer" were all that were needed to spark hundreds of publications into action. Well now Faith No More have officially confirmed that they are getting back together.

As expected, original guitarist Jim Martin will not be involved, despite reportedly being contacted about rejoining and expressing an interest in doing so. Instead the band's most recent guitarist, Jon Hudson, who played on the band's last album 'Album Of The Year', will re-join the core line-up of Mike Patton on vocals, Billy Gould on bass, Roddy Bottum on keyboards and Mike Bordin on drums.

In a statement, Gould explained that since their split in 1998, no members of the band had stayed regularly in touch with each other and none had seriously considered the idea of getting back together, particularly as, he said, "throughout our 17 years of existence, the mental and physical energy required to sustain this creature was considerable and relentless".

However, he explained, a recent meeting changed their views of working with each other: "What we've discovered is that time has afforded us enough distance to look back on our years together through a clearer lens and made us realize that through all the hard work, the music still sounds good, and we are beginning to appreciate the fact that we might have actually done something right. ... When it all worked, it worked really well, even if the chemistry was always volatile".

The band are yet to confirm their exact plans, although Mike Patton's publicist has, as previously reported, revealed that the band are set to play a number of European festival dates this summer. As for anything beyond that, things seem unclear. Gould says: "We can only hope that the experience of playing together again will yield results erratic and unpredictable enough to live up to the legacy of FNM. Who know where this will end or what it will bring up... only the future knows. But we are about to find out!"

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MORE ON FORTUNE INXS THING
Aussie website Undercover has added an extra aside to the 'JD Fortune was sacked from INXS' story.

As previously reported, Fortune, who won the frontman role in the Aussie band through the 'Rock Star' TV show, claimed he was sacked at Hong Kong airport at the end of the their last world tour. But a sort of spokesman for the band (former manager, who has seemingly signed them to his new label), says they have no knowledge of the sacking.

But according to Undercover, the contract Fortune 'won' on the Rock Star show only covered one album and tour with the band, no more no less. So, in that respect, Fortune couldn't be sacked from the band because his contract with them was up anyway.

Fortune may, of course, have been hoping or expecting more, but when the band said "goodbye" at Hong Kong airport in the way they did, they may have been merely referencing the fact he was at the end of his contract.

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BEASTIE BOYS FINISHING "WEIRD" ALBUM
Beastie Boys have revealed that they are close to finishing their eighth studio album, which will be released later this year. Speaking to EW.com, Adam Yauch said: "It's a pretty weird record. [There's] a lot of rhyming and playing and sampling - all combined. We still have a good time working together. It's fun to be able to reinvent yourself every time".

He also also revealed that the album would possibly be called 'Tad Lock's Glasses'. Tad Lock being their tour bus driver and an owner of glasses. They can probably discuss this with Tad on their way to this year's Bonnaroo festival, where the band will be playing.

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EMINEM BEATS FIDDY FOR DRE'S ATTENTION
50 Cent has revealed that his new album, 'Before I Self Destruct', is currently being delayed by Eminem's comeback LP, 'Relapse'. The problem is Dr Dre, who is working on both albums in a producer capacity. It seems Dre can only cope with one protégé at a time, and he's prioritising Slim Shady.

Fiddy told Associated Press: "Right now I'm on the train and the Em choo-choo car goes first. See, what happens is, I think that people forget that I'm actually Eminem's artist because I've had so much success on my own and I moved away from it... I said my goal was to fit in with Eminem and Dr Dre. I didn't mean to fit in under Eminem and Dr. Dre - I meant to fit in as an equal party. And that's what I achieved over this time period. So, because Dre is mixing Em's album, Em will be completed entirely before we get a chance to finish up the pieces me and Dre did together".

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LIGHTNING SEEDS ARE BACK
The Lightening Seeds have announced that they're set to release a new studio album 'Four Winds' later this year, their first since 1999's 'Tilt'.

The tracklisting is as follows:

4 Winds
Things Just Happened
Ghosts
Said And Done
Don't Walk On By
The Story Goes
On A Day Like This
All I Do
I'll Be Around
I Still Feel The Same

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CHAIRLIFT RE-RELEASE ALBUM, ADD TRACKS
American electro-indie-pop types Chairlift will re-release their 2008 album 'Does You Inspire You', originally released by New York indie label Kanine Records, via Sony's Columbia label in April. There will be two new tracks on the re-release.

Frontwoman Caroline Polachek told NME: "We have the opportunity to add more material that really should've been on there in the first place. So we get to add two new tracks to it, which we're really excited about. Those tracks were really a part of the batch for 'Does You Inspire You' but we didn't have the chance to finish them. Now the complete era will be documented".

The two new tracks are 'Dixie Gypsy' and 'Le Flying Saucer Hat'.

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BILLY BRAGG ANNOUNCES COMMEMORATIVE STRIKE TOUR
Billy Bragg has announced that he's planning a tour of Wales to commemorate the miners' strikes of the early eighties. The singer, who will play nine dates in locations such as Brecon and Cardigan, explained that he thinks it's important to convey to younger people how those historical events are relevant to the current political and economic situation.

Bragg says: "My political education really was the twelve months of that strike. Once you go out into the coalfields and do these gigs and then go back and kip on someone's sofa, they rightly want to know if you're just some pop star from London who's come up to sell more records or if you can actually walk the walk as well as talk the talk. If we look again at our history we'll understand there are other ways to respond to this economic situation other than passively. Once, people resisted the layoffs and the cutbacks by organising. That message needs to be restated - it's a painful lesson to learn and each generation needs to be reminded of that".

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BLUR PROBABLY HEADLINING GLASTONBURY
Michael Eavis revealed at the NME Awards on Wednesday evening that he is close to confirming Blur as one of this year's Glastonbury headliners. He told BBC 6music: "Yeah, you can look forward to that, but it's not officially announced yet. Bit more work to do on that yet but you will not be disappointed, I can assure you".

Whether it was Blur he was referring to when he spoke to Teletext's Planet Sound isn't clear, but another headliner would seem to be in the bag. Eavis said: "I've booked the Friday headliner after talking to someone's agent an hour ago".

One thing's for sure, though, that Friday headliner isn't Lily Allen. Speaking to 6music again, the Glastonbury organiser said: "We've got Lily Allen of course and she was practically born at the festival anyway, because her parents used to come. It's gonna be lovely to get her back again with the new single. I think her new single is the best song she's ever made actually so she'll be very high up on the bill on the Friday night, not headlining though".

As previously reported, Bruce Springsteen has been confirmed as Saturday's headline act. As well as Blur, Neil Young is also rumoured to be a headliner.

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NEW FESTIVAL FOR UNDER 25S GETS CREATIVE
A new festival aimed at and programmed by under 25s will take place at the Roundhouse in London from 8-10 May. Zane Lowe, Noisettes and Tinchy Stryder are all booked to take part in the Turning Point festival, which will combine gigs and the like with daytime workshops on things like DJing, photography and fashion styling.

Amos Schonfield, one of the under 25s organising the festival, told reporters: "For us Turning Point represents more than just a chance to assemble a dream line-up of music and performing arts. As the name suggests, it represents a Turning Point in our lives as well as the lives of all the other young people that will be involved. This unique opportunity gives us the chance to create an experience that aims to both entertain and inform, and where better than the Roundhouse?"

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FESTIVAL LINE UP UPDATE

ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, Seaclose Park, 12-14 Jun: Stereophonics and Razorlight to co-headline Saturday night, joining a bill already including The Prodigy, The Ting Tings, Basement Jaxx and Pendulum. www.isleofwightfestival.com

V FESTIVAL, Chelmsford and Weston Park, 22-23 Aug: The Killers to headline. www.vfestival.com

BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Park, Isle Of Wight, 11-13 Sep: Kraftwerk, Massive Attack, MGMT to headline, plus Fleet Foxes, Seasick Steve, Bat For Lashes, Klaxons, Friendly Fires, Florence & The Machine and more CMU favourites than you'd care to mention also announced. www.bestival.net

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ALBUM REVIEW: Micachu & The Shapes - Jewellery (Rough Trade)
There are a plethora of interesting solo female acts at the moment and Micachu and her band The Shapes will undoubtedly be lumped in along with all the others. The singer and multi-instrumentalist, real name Mica Levis, is that rare thing in music - someone who sounds like nobody else. This is in no small part due to her wide range of influences, she's a classically trained musician, has composed for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, has compiled grime mix tapes and is currently touring with Late Of The Pier who share her "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to music. The 21 year old east Londoner produces arty experimental DIY pop and even makes her own instruments. Her album explores multiple genres, using unpredictable rhythms, androgynous vocals and some very strange sounds. 'Golden Phone' uses a loop of her breathing while 'Turn Me Well' uses a vacuum cleaner. Among the delights are the jolly whirring and wackiness of 'Vulture' and the shuffling rhythms of 'Just In Case'. Produced by Björk collaborator Matthew Herbert this is an unusual and eccentric album and makes for a fun listen. JW
Release Date: 9 Mar
Press Contact: Rough Trade IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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MUSIC WEEK AWARDS NOMINATIONS OUT
The short lists for this year's Music Week Awards have been announced and look people, here they are. The awards take place at London's Grosvenor House Hotel on 8 Apr. More at www.musicweekawards.com.

Regional Promotions Team of the Year: Sony/Columbia, EMI, Universal/Mercury, Universal/Polydor Records, Sony/RCA.

National Promotions Team of the Year: Warner/Atlantic, Sony/Columbia, Hungry & Woods, Universal/Polydor, Sony/RCA.

Music Sales Force of the Year: [PIAS], Proper Music Distribution, Sony Music, Universal Music.

Distributor of the Year: Arvato Bertelsmann, Consolidated Independent, Music Box Leisure (MBL), Proper Music Distribution, Sony DADC.

Music Retail Brand of the Year: Amazon.co.uk, HMV, Play.com, Rough Trade.

Music Retail Store of the Year: Avalanche, Edinburgh; Fopp, Covent Garden, London; Rough Trade East, London.

Music Venue of the Year: The O2, Brixton Academy, Leeds Academy, Shepherd's Bush Empire, Roundhouse

Digital Achievement of the Year: Bacardi Online Music Influencers - Espionage; Lost Tunes - Universal Music Catalogue; Nokia Comes With Music; Omnifone; Songkick.com.

Regional Radio Station of the Year: 102.5 Clyde 1, 97.4 Rock FM, BBC Radio Kent, London's Heart, Radio City 96.7.

National Radio Station of the Year: BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 1, Classic FM, Planet Rock.

PR Campaign of the Year
Barbara Charone from MBC PR for Duffy: The Rise of Little Big Voice
Richard Dawes from Universal/Polydor for Take That Album Launch 2008
Ben Harris from Run Music for Neon Neon
Duncan Jordon from Bella Union for Fleet Foxes
Sophie Williams from Some Friendly for Ladyhawke

Artist Marketing Campaign of the Year
Sarah Boorman & Warul Islam from Universal/Island for Paul Weller '22 Dreams'
Darina Connolly, Steve Milbourne and Matthew Reynolds from Sony for AC/DC 'Black Ice'
Liz Goodwin from Universal/Polydor for Elbow 'The Seldom Seen Kid'
Dan Duncombe and Claire O'Brien from EMI/Parlophone for Coldplay 'Viva La Vida'
Ben Townley from Sony for The Script

Catalogue Marketing Campaign of the Year
Sue Armstrong & Andy Street from Universal for Paul Weller At The BBC
Stephen Kersley from Proper Music Distribution for That's Proper Folk
Will Nicol and Hayden Williams from Sony for Michael Jackson at 50
Rachael Paley from Universal/Mercury for Stereophonics - Decade In The Sun - Best Of
Elyse Taylor from simplyred.com for Simply Red The Greatest Hits 25

Music & Brand Partnership of the Year: Bacardi & Groove Armada - Euro RSCG KLP; The Nokia Green Room - Whizz Kid Entertainment; Orange RockCorps; RoAR (Rock Against Racism) - Bauer Media; The Secret World of Sam King - Universal Music & Bebo; Vodafone TBA & Vodafone Live Music Awards.

Music Sync of the Year: Barclaycard - 'Waterslide' (Arlon Music, Leap Music, Minder Music), John Lewis Christmas 2008 Campaign (Sony/ATV), Boots 'Here Come The Girls' (Universal Music), Rexona 'Upside Down' (Warner/Chappell).

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TICKETMASTER CHIEF SAYS AEG WILL LEAVE IF LIVE NATION DEAL IS DONE
Ticketmaster chief Irving Azoff recently told a Senate hearing on his company's proposed merger with Live Nation that he expected some other major US promoters to look for other ticketing providers if and when the merger goes ahead. He made the admission in a bid to fight arguments the merger would give Live Nation/Ticketmaster too much dominance in the ticketing market, leading to a rise in prices. He argues that because Ticketmaster is likely to lose some of its clients as a result of the merger, the deal will, in fact, be an opportunity for their rivals, and motivate them to be even more competitive.

Anyway, in another hearing Azoff has confirmed that one of the promoters likely to drop Ticketmaster's services if they merge with Live Nation is their new business partner's biggest rivals, AEG Live. Azoff: . "AEG has notified us by letter that they believe they have the right to terminate our agreement in connection with this merger. Others will most certainly leave if this merger is consummated. If that's not competition, I don't know what is".

AEG have not commented on Azoff's remarks.

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ANOTHER US MEGASTORE GOES
Two more Virgin Megastores are to go in the US. As previously reported, Virgin offloaded its US record stores to Related Cos in 2007. While the shops continued to operate as Virgin Megastores (unlike in the UK, of course, where the store's new owners changed their names to Zavvi before jumping into liquidation), it's been widely known Related Cos saw the value of the chain it its property rather than its operations, and has been planning to close down the shops and lease out its outlets to other retailers. As a result the flagship Megastore in New York's Time Square is in the process of closing down. Now it's been confirmed the other New York Megastore, on Union Square, plus the Market Street store in San Francisco will now close by the end of May. That leaves three Megastores in the US.

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RIAA DOWNSIZE
The Recording Industry Of Association has reportedly initiated a not inconsiderable downsize which will see about thirty people leave the infamous trade body. The job losses may be the result of the recession, though the trade body has been under pressure to streamline for a while, in particular from EMI where owners Terra Firma questioned the need for both the RIAA and International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry after they acquired the London-based major. Plus, of course, the trade body recently announced it was ending its campaign of litigation against individual file sharers which had seen hundreds of music fans sued every month. They ended the litigation programme because, of course, file sharing had been successfully sued out of existence. Oh no, hang on, the lawsuits had made no different whatsoever. Yeah, that's it.

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SPIRALFROG SPECULATION
There could be some job losses coming up at US-based ad-funded download service Spiralfrog, though gossip to that effect seems to be linked to reports that the company has some big loan repayment commitments coming up. I think I'm right in saying that if Spiralfrog can't repay its loans it will have to hand its lenders equity. Assuming they'd want it. Execs at the firm though seem to be suggesting the upcoming repayment commitments are routine and should not impact on the company's operations.

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TOPMAN CTRL SPONSORS XFM X-POSURE
Topman will sponsor John Kennedy's X-Posure show on Xfm as part of its previously reported Topman CTRL promotion. As previously reported, the CTRL programme will see different artists take control of a music website owned by the retail brand, and curate Topman sponsored club nights. The promotion will be further publicised via the Xfm hook up.

Xfm Programme Director Adam Uytman says this: "We are delighted to be working with Topman again, especially on this campaign as we have a great track record of getting under the skin of new and exciting acts across the UK. The X-Posure sponsorship will activate and amplify Topmans' CTRL campaign perfectly, speaking to Xfm's passionate listeners in an engaging way".

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SKINS SONG TOO RAUNCHY FOR RADIO 1
The third series of 'Skins' is in full flow, and I've managed to totally avoid it this time. Well done me. Though I do now know that a recent episode featured a storyline where a fictional reality show were looking for members for a new girl group, and the fictional show was presented by Radio 1's Scott Mills. One 'Skins' character auditioned for the group by singing a rather raunchy song called 'Ass 2 Ass'. Mills reportedly planned to play the song when 'Skins' actors guested on his Radio 1 show but was overruled by station bosses because of the track's lyrics. The Guardian reports: "Apparently producers got cold feet because of its risque lyrics, which include the memorable line: 'He wants to see me going ass to ass with you'. Nice".

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NOEL GALLAGHER NOT KEEN ON CONTEMPORARY MUSIC
Noel Gallagher, currently on tour in Europe, has been blogging about how current rock and pop is crap, presumably because it was all better back in the day when he was a young man, or something.

He wrote: "Spent the day in bed yesterday nursing a bad head. For some reason I watched MTV's European Top 10. Fuck me, it was painful. Leona Lewis doing Snow Patrol? Ouch! Kings Of Leon doing U2? Ouch! The Killers doing fancy dress? Ouch! Lady Gaga? (I may be showing my age here but who's Lady Gaga?). It made my teeth hurt! MY TEETH!!"

You can see why he won an NME award for that blog, can't you?

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