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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
It was an SMS that started it: Rihanna/Brown update
Canadian officials to investigate Ticketmaster/
TicketsNow tie up
Kilimanjaro c'lebs reach the summit
Hall Of Fame plan Springsteen exhibition
In The Pop Courts
Universal win Shady tunes court fight
Coolio charged with drugs possession
In The Pop Hospital
Anti-flag cancel tour dates
Awards & Contests
Russia chooses Ukrainian Eurovision singer
Charts, Stats & Polls
Kings Of Leon sell lots of downloads
In The Studio
Albarn too busy for Blur, says Kano
Release News
Au Revoir Simone announce new album
New Patrick Wolf single
New Little Boots single
Gigs N Tours News
Ting Tings cancel gig
U2 tour to be announced today
More Jacko dates expected
Devo plan special gig
Festival News
Festival line up update
Reviews
Album review: Sebastien Grainger - Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains (Saddle Creek)
The Music Business
Media Village relocate to Soho
EMI to distribute Black Hole
The Digital Business
Merlin do deal with iMesh
Van Halen Guitar Hero in the pipeline
Fabchannel closes
The Media Business
Times to release Gallagher recordings
Local Radio Company announce share sale
Chart Of The Day
Chart update
And finally...
MIA's baby not called Ickitt, OK?
Fiddy offers tips to Pheonix
Miley Cyrus vows to "ruin" Radiohead
THE CMU WEBSITE...
CMU Daily Archives
Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
Advertise with CMU
 
MONDAY 9TH MARCH
THECOCKNBULLKID
Anita Blay, aka thecocknbullkid, has apparently been writing and recording music for 23 years now, so it's about time she started getting some recognition for it. Thankfully, she has been over the last few months, with various media outlets slowly clocking onto her sound, which has been described as a mix of Neneh Cherry and Morrissey. With her new single, 'I'm Not Sorry', out this week via Moshi Moshi, she looks set to take yet another big step towards the big time. So, without further ado, we hit her up with the Same Six Questions.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
It sounds clichéd but I have always been involved with music. I entered loads of talent shows and sent out demos to various places. Then at 16 I joined a studio where I learned to use software, took vocal lessons and wrote music every day. It was a great discipline to have, it taught me a lot of what I know now. I left after four years and put my stuff up on MySpace and it went from there really.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
That curious feeling of not feeling guilty about hurting someone. It happens and it's fascinating discovering more and more people who feel like you! I enjoy exposing my own flaws because people will usually open up about theirs. That's what I've always thought music should be about.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
There is no set process. But often I will have a stream of phrases or unrelated words, random thoughts and I'll scribble them down. Sometimes my lyrics come from misheard words I've heard off the TV or from passers by or even in songs. One of my songs, called 'Lovers Jeans', was inspired like that. I think 'The Antiques Road Show' was on and I thought I heard someone say "Lovers jeans". I liked the sound of it and based a whole song around it. Those are my favourite types, the accidental ones. Musically, sometimes I'll start something at home, sometimes it's structured, sometimes not. Mostly I'll try to do as much of it as I can until I realise "right this needs a chorus that's going to do this justice" and sometimes I just can't make that chorus, you need that honesty. So I'll take it to one of the guys I work with to make it into a record.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Oh god Björk, Morrissey, David Byrne, Peaches, Annie Lennox, MIA, Michael Jackson, Bowie, George Michael, Rufus Wainwright and Dolly Parton. I think the reason is because they sound like no one else but themselves and most importantly are all writers. True writers. That's the most inspiring thing for me.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I'm not instant. I'm a grower.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single, and for the future?
It's just meant to be a taster, something for you to feast on whilst I finish this album. Once that's done, I want people to hear it and like it. The long term plan is to become prolific, grow fearless, get better and pave the way for other artists. That's what we all want.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/thecocknbullkid

 
ROOTBEER
Solo artists Pigeon John and Flynn Adam (who had success as a producer for Black Eyed Peas and Madlib) hook up for this new project, Rootbeer. Claiming MGMT, A Tribe Called Quest and N.E.R.D as influences, it's the latter than smacks the most truth, with tribal percussion and squirming synth loops underlying the pair's vocals. Admittedly, they haven't yet created anything quite catchy enough to match the work of Pharrell and co, but they're certainly heading in the right direction.

www.myspace.com/rootbeersound

   

ACCOUNT MANAGER, DIGITAL
Espionage, the branded content and talent management agency, is looking for a talented, ambitious online specialist to help deliver music-led projects for a major global brand. The successful candidate will have 3-5 years' experience of delivering creative digital projects in an agency or in-house in an organisation with a strong digital focus, and be: highly motivated; extremely organised; a fluent, confident communicator, in person and in writing; obsessed with all forms of digital media, both at work and at play; versatile; and passionate about music. Salary and package will be dependent on experience. Contact: Graham Hodge: graham@thinkespionage.com

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CAMDEN FLAT
Bright and airy top-floor two bedroom flat in large detached period house on Camden/Kentish Town Border (corner of Camden Road / Camden Park Road). Very well appointed, clean and well maintained, with superb sitting room including open fire and working shutters, modern kitchen with washer/dryer & full size fridge freezer, and modern bathroom with bath & great power shower. Large double bedroom (9'x15') with built in wardrobes, second double bedroom (7'6 x 11'). Plenty of storage space including large loft space. 10 minutes walk to Camden Town and Kentish Town tubes, 253, 29 and 390 buses are 30 seconds walk. Secure cycle storage in building. Secluded shared garden for use. Ideal for young professional couple/sharers. Unfurnished. Available 1st April. £1275 pcm. For more information or to arrange viewing, please email camdenroadflat@gmail.com

NEW TO CMU - advertise any flats or rooms you are looking to rent out, or flats or rooms wanted, for just £25 a week. Call 020 7099 9050 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for information or to book.

 

 

IT WAS AN SMS THAT STARTED IT: RIHANNA/BROWN UPDATE
So court papers made available last week give us a little more insight, at last, as to what actually happened between Chris Brown and Rihanna after that pre-Grammy party last month. Brown, as previously reported, was in court on Thursday to be formally charged with assault. He didn't enter a plea to the charges against him.

The papers reveal that, as was rumoured at the time, it was a text message on Brown's phone that kicked off the violent row between the power couple of American pop. Rihanna, referred to as Robyn F in the papers (her real name is Robyn Fenty), apparently discovered a text message from another woman on her other half's phone. During the row that followed Brown allegedly tried to push his girlfriend out of the rented Lamborghini sports car they were in, shoving her head against the passenger window and repeatedly punching her in the face. Which was nice of him.

Brown was there to hear the charges against him last week. Rihanna was not present, but her lawyer was in attendance for the hearing. The LA court commissioner overseeing last week's session postponed the proceedings until 6 Apr and then issued a protective order against Brown, telling him: "Mr Brown, you are not to annoy, harass, molest, threaten or use force or violence against anyone". Rihanna's lawyer, Donald Etra, did not request any additional orders to be issued against Brown, telling the judge that his client did not feel a restraining order was necessary. Given the reports the couple are, in fact, back together, that would figure.

Those reports, and other rumours that Rihanna had stopped cooperating with offices investigating the crime, led to speculation that the singer would not testify against her possibly ex-ex. Etra, though, said last week his client would take to the witness stand if she was asked to do so, though he did add that she was legally obliged to anyway if subpoenaed, so that doesn't necessarily mean Rihanna is planning on providing the killer testimony that could put Brown in jail.

No mention at all in those court papers, by the way, of Eamon Holmes' role in this whole escapade. As you'll remember, back in January, when talking about American pop stars and their ridiculously large entourages, the former GMTV man told reporters: "Rihanna, for example, is a beautiful girl, but if she was your daughter, you'd give her a slap and tell her to wise up. She is surrounded by people who treat her like a little flower". Now, he isn't Rihanna's mother, but isn't it possible Chris Brown took Eamon's words too literally two weeks later? Isn't it possible the biggest star in US R&B is a big fan of the Sky/Lottery presenter? OK, no. No it's not.

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CANADIAN OFFICIALS TO INVESTIGATE TICKETMASTER/TICKETSNOW TIE UP
Ticketmaster's promotion of its US-based secondary ticketing website TicketsNow will again go under the regulatory spotlight following the news the Canadian government has formally asked its Competition Bureau to investigate.

As previously reported, Ticketmaster entered the secondary ticketing market (ie enabling online ticket touting) by buying TicketsNow last year, and started pointing customers in the US and Canada to it from their primary ticket sales site whenever they were unable to sell primary tickets to an event. Consumer groups complained that the ticketing firm, which makes a commission from both the primary and secondary sites, were not properly explaining the implications of buying tickets from the latter rather than the former, ie that the seller will not be official, and that there may be a large mark-up on the ticket, so that expensive tickets are not necessarily for the best seat in the house.

Initially Ticketmaster denied those claims, saying that the TicketsNow link up was an added value service, that it meant that their customers were more likely to get tickets for in-demand events, and that it gave some guarantees to people buying tickets from online touts. But then Bruce Springsteen complained about his fans being forwarded to TicketsNow for tickets to his gigs, and Ticketmaster quickly backtracked and said it would be reviewing the way it promoted its secondary service via its main website.

After the Springsteen protest, competition officials in the US state of New Jersey investigated the co-promotion that went on between the two sister companies and subsequently demanded that all weblinks between the two websites be removed for the time being, as well as insisting on various other measures, mainly linked to the resale of Springsteen tickets via Tickets Now. The ticketing giant agreed to the New Jersey officials' demands. Meanwhile in Canada one ticket buyer has begun civil proceedings against Ticketmaster after buying an overpriced ticket on TicketsNow.

While legal types don't reckon much to that civil action, Canadian officials may as yet make similar demands to those issued by their counterparts in New Jersey. Confirming he had ordered a formal investigation into the Ticketmaster/TicketsNow situation, Canada's Industry Minister Tony Clement told the country's parliament: "The government will not stand idly by when there is potential that companies are engaging in uncompetitive practices that are hurting consumers. And that's why I am referring this matter directly to the Competition Bureau for their review".

He added: "I want an investigation to determine whether Ticketmaster is abusing its position as a ticket seller by bumping people off their site to another site which sells the tickets at a multiple of many times higher than the original price".

Ticketmaster told Reuters it would be happy to participate in any review of its activities. It also said that some of the criticism regarding the tie up between Ticketmaster and TicketsNow was based on untrue allegations that the company diverted some of its primary ticket allocation to the resale site in order to sell them at a greater mark up. The ticketing firm stressed: "Ticketmaster goes to great lengths to ensure that members of the public have the most fair opportunity possible to buy tickets in the primary market".

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KILIMANJARO C'LEBS REACH THE SUMMIT
The posse of c'lebs who have been on that Kilimanjaro jaunt for Comic Relief have completed their mission. Girl Aloud Cheryl Cole, GMTV bloke Ben Shephard, Radio 1 irritant Fearne Cotton and telly-presenter-actress-type Denise Van Outen were the first of the celebrities in the Comic Relief team to make it to the summit of Africa's biggest mountain this weekend, with a Twitter feed seemingly submitted from the summit reading: "At the summit, God knows how". Surprisingly, given this was a BBC project, U2 weren't at the summit to provide a little congratulatory album plug, which was a bit of a poor show if you ask me. It's the Africans I'm thinking about here, Bono.

The rest of the celebs followed soon after, including Chris Moyles, Ronan Keating, Gary Barlow and that other Girl Aloud Kimberley Walsh. From what I hear, they all found it pretty hard going as the summit approached, which isn't surprising, it is a very high mountain. Alesha Dixon, the last of the celebrities to make it to the top, reportedly crawled her way to the summit as she really struggled with the whole low oxygen malarkey, poor girl.

Making up for all the torment a little, presumably, was the news that donations generated by the Radio 1 spearheaded Red Nose bonanza had already passed a million, the most money ever made by a Comic Relief project on the nation's favourite. Confirming that achievement, Radio 1's Head Of Programmes Ben Cooper told reporters: "This is fantastic news! We're overwhelmed by the generosity of our listeners. It's the first time Radio 1 alone has raised a million pounds for Comic Relief. Chris and Fearne and the rest of the team out in Kilimanjaro will be spurred on by this great news".

Participating celebrities will now return home to the UK before Friday's big Red Nose Day bash. Most media attention, tabloids anyway, is sure to be on Girl Aloud and 'X-Factor' judge Cole, whose other half Ashley was, as you no doubt know, arrested for being drunk and disorderly after a night out clubbing while his wife was in Africa last week, and after being photographed having what his PRs are calling an "intellectual conversation" with an unnamed woman. Perhaps they could sell tickets to the Cheryl/Ashley Cole showdown and raise another million for Comic Relief. Not that we'd want to encourage domestic violence or anything, we're no Eamon Holmes here at CMU you know.

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HALL OF FAME PLAN SPRINGSTEEN EXHIBITION
The US Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame are planning an exhibition devoted entirely to Bruce Springsteen. 'From Asbury Park To The Promised Land: The Life And Music Of Bruce Springsteen' will open on 1 Apr, three days ahead of the institution's annual induction ceremony. 'The Boss', who has just released his 24th album, was inducted back in 1999.

Previous exhibitions at the Hall have focussed on the likes of Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and John Lennon. Curator Jim Henke says: "He's someone we've always wanted to do a big exhibit on. So it's one of those things that I'd bring up with his manager from time to time. Last summer they said, 'Yes, it makes sense now'".

Springsteen has provided a number of items for the display, including a number of guitars. Springsteen's manager Jon Landau said: "Once he knew this was real, that it would really happen, he wanted it to have as much depth as it could possibly have. He is fully behind this exhibition and the effort the museum has made to really get things right".

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UNIVERSAL WIN SHADY TUNES COURT FIGHT
The Universal Music Group has won the previously reported and potentially landmark court case between it and FBT Productions, the company owned by producers Marky and Jeff Bass who were very involved in the early career of Eminem, and who have a royalty entitlement to Slim Shady's early releases via Universal's Interscope division.

As previously reported, the FBT v Universal case centres on the level of digital royalties that are due to artists and their collaborators. Record companies treat digital sales like physical sales, and pay artists a relatively modest cut of revenue as a royalty - 12% in this case. But FBT argued that digital sales are more akin to licensing deals where record companies licence the use of their recordings, normally to media or brands, rather than selling actual copies. It's a crucial distinction because most artists are due a much bigger cut of revenues generated by such licensing deals, 50% in this case.

Had FBT won this case, it could have had big ramifications across the record industry, because labels selling digital music by any artist whose record contract is too old to specifically reference downloads could argue they should be getting the higher licensing royalty rate for any digital sales. Coming as record companies rely increasingly on their own digital revenues to make the books balance, to suddenly have to pay out significantly higher royalties to artists could have been crippling.

So good news, for Universal et al, that the Federal jury in this trial sided with the major record company over the hip hop production outfit. Summarising their ruling, US lawyer Fred Davis, who was not involved in the litigation, told the LA Times: "[The jury is] saying that the digital download is the modern version of a record sale. And the economics to the artist are the same for a digital download as they were for the sale of a single, back in the glory years".

The Bass brothers' lawyer told reporters his clients were reviewing their options, adding: "We are very surprised by the jury's verdict. We don't understand it, and the fight's not over". Rulings made in a federal district court like the one that heard this dispute are not binding, so future similar lawsuits in other US courts could go another way - and, as previously reported, the Allman Brothers Band and Cheap Trick have an ongoing legal dispute with Sony Music on the same issue. That said, the ruling in this case will be persuasive and will surely be referenced by the labels in any future litigation on the matter.

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COOLIO CHARGED WITH DRUGS POSSESSION
Coolio has been arrested at Los Angeles International Airport and charged with drugs possession. No further details of the incident, which took place on 6 Mar, have been released, and according to reports, his manager Susan Haber claims she hasn't spoken to her client since it happened. The hip hopper and recent 'Celebrity Big Brother' star, real name Artis Ivey Jr, has been released on bail of $10,000.

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ANTI-FLAG CANCEL TOUR DATES
Anti-Flag have been forced to cancel all of their upcoming European tour dates because frontman Justin Sane broke his collarbone during the course of a gig in Norwich on Wednesday when a stage dive went wrong.

A message on the band's website read: "Tonight in Norwich Justin broke his collar bone. There was a scuffle in the crowd, he dove head first in, landed awkwardly and that was that. We hate to cancel the remaining shows with Rise Against and our own headlining shows in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Russia. But after [guitarist] Chris Head having to fly home from Glasgow due to a death in the family, Pat's [Thetic, drums] three broken ribs that he started the tour with and now this it's obvious the UK is trying to kill us. Fuck it, we'll reschedule it all, you may have won the battle, but we WILL WIN the war. Cordially yours. Anti-Flag".

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RUSSIA CHOOSES UKRAINIAN EUROVISION SINGER
Russia has chosen a Ukrainian performer to be its entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest. Anastasia Prikhodko's song 'Mama' only made the shortlist a couple of days before heats took place, but ultimately garnered the most votes from the judges and TV viewers. The 21 year old artist, who was disqualified from representing Ukraine after a voting dispute in which her people claimed that she had been treated unfairly by the judges, sings her verses in Russian but her chorus in Ukrainian. It would seem like quite an achievement to have won over the Russian population, given the recent dispute between the two countries.

Prikhodko is already a name in her native country, having won a TV talent contest in 2007. The singer, who won 25% of the TV audience's vote, said: "I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me, as well as all the judges. I do think I'll represent Russia well at Eurovision 2009".

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KINGS OF LEON SELL LOTS OF DOWNLOADS
Kings Of Leon's 'Sex On Fire' has been confirmed as the biggest selling download ever in the UK. They just overtook Leona Lewis, whose 'Bleeding Love' was the previous digital best seller. The Kings passed Lewis' 547,000 digital sales last week. Well done them.

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ALBARN TOO BUSY FOR BLUR, SAYS KANO
Kano has indicated that Damon Albarn has no time to work on a new Blur album, because he's too busy with a third Gorillaz record, says The Daily Star.

The grime star also told the tabloid that he's been working with Albarn on the new Gorllaz LP, saying: "I went into the studio with Damon a while ago. We worked on a demo idea that he came up with in Lagos in Africa. We went back and actually produced the idea. It just so happened that I added a little bit on a couple of tracks he gave me. It's all sounding good".

He continued: "The album's not wrapped up yet. I think the process Damon goes through is that he makes loads of demos, then cuts them down and starts getting into the production. He's at that stage now where he's finishing off the record".

It's no surprise that Albarn is prioritising Gorillaz. Despite their live plans, Blur have never promised new material. Plus the band don't seem especially committed to a full scale return; as previously reported Dave Rowntree apparently has his sights set on becoming a barrister.

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AU REVOIR SIMONE ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
Au Revoir Simone, the trio responsible for some rather fine vocals on 'Paris' by Friendly Fires and Shinichi Osawa's fantastic cover of The Chemical Brothers' 'Star Guitar', return with a new album of their very own later this year. 'The Bird Of Music' will be released by the band's own label Our Secret Record Company on 19 May. Yup.

Here's the tracklist:

Another Likely Story
Shadows
All Or Nothing
Knight Of Wands
The Last One
Trace A Line
Only You Can Make You Happy
Take Me As I Am
Anywhere You Looked
Organized Scenery
We Are Here
Tell Me

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NEW PATRICK WOLF SINGLE
Patrick Wolf has announced that a new single, 'Vulture', will be out on 20 Apr, ahead of the release of that upcoming new album 'The Bachelor' on 1 Jun.

Wolf says of the track: "Vulture is a collaboration between myself and the infamous electronic industrial genius, Alec Empire. I became a follower and fan of Atari Teenage Riot when I was 15 and it had always been a dream of mine to collaborate with Alec or one the amazing producers and noise makers that formed part of the Berlin Digital Hardcore Collective".

It'll be available digitally and via 7". As previously reported, the release of the new album has been funded via www.bandstocks.com.

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NEW LITTLE BOOTS SINGLE
Little Boots has announced the release of a new single, 'New In Town', out 25 May, to precede the release of her much-anticipated debut album. And that's it, really.

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TING TINGS CANCEL GIG
The Ting Tings were forced to cancel a gig at Brixton Academy on Friday. The band blamed a power failure in the Lambeth area and told fans to hold onto their tickets until the date can be rearranged. The duo said this: "It's a shame that it's the last night of our tour is postponed and we appreciate the support of all our fans who have turned up tonight. We will be coming back and can't wait for a rescheduled Brixton date!"

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U2 TOUR TO BE ANNOUNCED TODAY
U2 will today announce details of a new world tour that will kick off in Barcelona in June and be called the U2 360 Degree Tour, or so says Billboard. The 360, rather than being a reference to the kind of business deals that are much talked about in the music world these days, refers to plans to stage these shows in the round as it were (so stage in the middle, all of a stadium's seats used), complete with some kind of cylindrical video screen. Or something. The tour is due to be sponsored by Blackberry.

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MORE JACKO DATES EXPECTED
Given reports last week, ahead of Michael Jackson's shambolic appearance at The O2, that Jacko and promoters AEG planned to do as many Jacko shows at the Dome later this year as ticket sales demanded, it should be no surprise there are rumours Jacko will double the length of his residency from the current ten days to twenty days later this week. Of course he has to do 22 shows to beat Prince's record, though I seem to remember that Jacko/Prince rivalry was mainly manufactured by Smash Hits in the late 80s. It seems mad now that you'd pitch Jackson against Prince, but then again someone decided Oasis and Blur should be rivals in the 90s when they were clearly in totally different ball parks music wise. Anyway, I seem to have digressed. The news here is that promoters of the Jacko Freak Show should announce extra dates this week.

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DEVO PLAN SPECIAL GIG
Devo are to play the whole of their seminal album 'Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo?' at a gig at the Kentish Town Forum on 6 May. Tickets priced at £30 are available now.

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FESTIVAL LINE UP UPDATE

2000 TREES FESTIVAL, Upcote Farm, nr Cheltenham, 17-18 Jul: British Sea Power, Fightstar and Frank Turner to headline, with Amplifier, Wild Beasts, Dananankroyd and CMU favourites Rolo Tomassi also on the bill. www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk

WICKERMAN FESTIVAL, East Kirkcarswell Farm, nr Kirkcudbright, 24-25 Jul: The Zutons, The Human League, Billy Bragg and Dreadzone all confirmed. www.thewickermanfestival.co.uk

SONISPHERE FESTIVAL, Knebworth, 1-2 Aug: Nine Inch Nails, Anthrax, Airbourne and Killing Joke all added to the bill. www.sonispherefestivals.com

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ALBUM REVIEW: Sebastien Grainger - Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains (Saddle Creek)
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Missing in action for almost three years now, not counting his collaborations with the likes of Does It Offend You, Yeah? and work under alias The Rhythm Method, ex-Death From Above 1979 man Sebastien Grainger has finally rounded up enough material to release a solo album, and boy, what an album it is. "Insanely catchy", "frighteningly good" and the words "fuck" and "yes" are all phrases that come to mind after listening to 'Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains', a rip-roaring journey through classic rock, dance-punk and sheer huge-rock-sound-meets-huger-dance floor perfection. 'I Hate My Friends' is a prime example of Grainger's ability to mix big with soft, catchy with not-too-commercial - a bit like if you dressed Kings Of Leon up in Soulwax's clothing and told them to remove their heads from their bottoms. 'By The Cover Of Night (Fire Fight)' is another excellent addition to 'The Mountains', boasting Grainger's enormous, distinctive "whoa whoa" vocals to their max whilst remaining true to the sound he's created for himself since departing from DFA1979. Anthemic and just as catchy as his expanding back catalogue of work, 'Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains' is a fantastic, full-length and full-force start to a promising solo career. TW
Release Date: 16 March
Press Contact: Scruffy Bird [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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MEDIA VILLAGE RELOCATE TO SOHO
Music group Media Village, who, I think, have used offices in EMI's old Brook Green HQ of late thanks to their alliance with the major through the Relentless Records label, have announced they will be moving to new offices in Soho as EMI closes down its Hammersmith base. All of the Media Village companies, which include The Village Agency, Big Wheel Promotions, Outcaste Music Publishing, Stimulus Management and the Media Village marketing firm, will be based at the new office.

Media Village co-founder Paul Franklyn says the move will precede an expansion of the groups various businesses. He told CMU: "This is an exciting opportunity for Media Village. We are always looking for ways to evolve as a company and keep ahead of the game. The music industry is changing and being able to offer artists and managers a complete music service is an important step forward. We look forward to helping our artists on the road to success".

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EMI TO DISTRIBUTE BLACK HOLE
EMI's Label Services division has announced another tie up with an indie, this time Dutch electronic label Black Hole Recordings. EMI will handle the indie's physical distribution in the UK and Ireland.

Black Hole MD Arny Blink told CMU: "We're extremely happy to be welcomed into the EMI family and look forward to a long and prosperous working relationship. With their flexible approach and excellent infrastructure, EMI Music Services was the ideal partner for us to further develop our business in the UK".

EMI Label Services' Matthew Crosswaite added: "We're delighted that Arny, Tijs and all the team at Black Hole Recordings have decided to partner with EMI Label Services in the UK and Ireland. They're a great label that we've worked with in the past on a number of Tiësto projects and so we're looking forward to working with them again".

Among the dance music artists and producers to work with Black Hole are Andain, JES, Mr Sam, Cosmic Gate, Mark Norman, First State and, as aforementioned, Tiësto.

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MERLIN DO DEAL WITH IMESH
Globally-focused indie digital rights body Merlin has announced a deal with iMesh, who are, in case you wondered, the third biggest subscription-based digital music service in the US. The Merlin/iMesh deal means music from labels represented by the rights body will now appear on iMesh's services ahead of their planned expansion to Europe. Merlin will also support iMesh's efforts to legitimatise the Lphant P2P network.

Confirming the deal, Merlin top man Charles Caldas told CMU: "We are pleased that iMesh inherently recognised the value of the Merlin repertoire in expanding their footprint to the global market, and are happy to be involved in working with them to license and legitimise the Lphant P2P network. It shows again that the tremendous efficiency and global reach that Merlin provides those wishing to license the world's most exciting and commercially valuable independent repertoire has been recognised".

iMesh President and Chief Marketing Office Talmon Marco added: "We have long understood the importance of independent music. This agreement adds substantially to the availability of that content to iMesh users. The agreement is an extension of the understanding of iMesh and supporting labels, that music fans will maintain loyalty to a site when revenue is directed to content creators. In this instance, we add Lphant to the list of iMesh services".

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VAN HALEN GUITAR HERO IN THE PIPELINE
While rival pretend-to-play game 'Rock Star' gets ready for its Beatle release, the makers of 'Guitar Hero' are reportedly planning to follow up its own headline grabbing release - a Metallica version of the game - with a partnership with the mighty Van Halen. Game blog Joystiq makes the claim, saying songs like 'Jump' and 'Hot For Teacher' are expected to appear on that version of the game.

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FABCHANNEL CLOSES
Dutch live music streaming service Fabchannel.com, which streamed concerts recorded at a venue in Amsterdam as well as LA's Roxy Theatre, has closed down. The people behind the nine year old service say that they reckon continued economic hardships in the music industry and the advertising sector have made their short and long term prospects too gloomy to continue.

A statement from the company issued Friday says: "After an energetic start in 2008 with the introduction of video commercials on Fabchannel.com, media partnerships with renowned news sites like nu.nl and Spiegel.de as well as signing a worldwide partnership with Universal Music Group, in the last few months it has been getting ever more difficult to reach the set targets. The audience has not increased as planned, mostly due to the majority of major record labels giving no consent to record their artists. At the same time, the online advertising and sponsoring market has been put under big pressure due to decreasing budgets of advertisers and sponsors".

It continued: "The management and shareholders of Fabchannel expect that this situation is not going to change during the next years. Therefore, they have jointly taken the decision to stop all activities in order to avoid getting into financial problems and, for example, lose the possibility to use the archive they have been building in the future".

The Fabchannel website will go offline later this week. They are the latest in a number of attempts to get a live-music-based web service off the ground to close, though to be fair they stuck at it for longer than most. While many of the very early live music websites - which were invariably video based - failed because of the lack of broadband reach and a reliance on clunky player-based streaming, licensing problems have been a bigger problem for more recently launched services. There is also an argument that video recordings of live music, unless filmed in a TV studio environment, or filmed on numerous cameras and subsequently edited by an experienced director, don't actually really work and will therefore only really ever appeal to hard line fans of any one band.

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TIMES TO RELEASE GALLAGHER RECORDINGS
The Times - they're a newspaper - are set to release a selection of live recordings from Noel Gallagher made at his semi-acoustic show as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust gigs series back in 2007. The recordings include a number of Oasis classics plus some cover versions.

Tracks will initially be made available, for free, via iTunes - a special link will be published each day in the Times from tomorrow. Then a CD featuring eleven tracks will be given away with next weekend's Sunday Times, while a sixteen track version of the record will be available to buy via iTunes from next Monday. The Times promotion has been organised by covermount experts Upfront.

Although the Times downloads and CD will be given away, a donation has been made to the Teenage Cancer Trust as part of the campaign, which precedes this year's Royal Albert Hall gigs for the charity which kick off on 24 Mar.

In case you're interested, the songs available for download via The Times are as follows:

10 Mar: (It's Good) To Be Free
11 Mar: Talk Tonight
12 Mar: Cast No Shadow
13 Mar: The Importance Of Being Idle
14 Mar: Don't Look Back In Anger

While the freebie CD will feature the following:
Fade Away
Listen Up
Half The World Away
The Butterfly Collector
All You Need Is Love
Don't Go Away
Sad Song
Wonderwall
Slide Away
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Married With Children

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LOCAL RADIO COMPANY ANNOUNCE SHARE SALE
The Local Radio Company, which owns 21 local radio stations around the UK, is looking to raise an extra £1.5 million by issuing 600 million new shares. It wants the money to fund a restructure, having just posted pre-tax losses of £5.6 million for the last year. The restructure may include the acquisition of new radio stations in areas where the company already has a presence, the logic being that the economies of scale to be made from running a number of stations in one area could make existing stations more profitable.

In a financial statement to shareholders, the company's Chairman Anthony Gumbiner said: "The financial results for the year ended 30 September 2008, an extremely challenging year for the Group, have been disappointing. The Directors continue to believe in the long-term strategy of owning local radio stations and local media assets. The Directors intend to continue to support the Group's stations in regions where the Group has a strong presence and will also consider acquisition opportunities in areas where the Group already has a presence and where the Directors believe the Group can successfully operate these services at lower cost".

The financial report also revealed the company plans to revert back to its old name, Radio Investments Ltd, and also confirmed its intention to sell the recently relaunched Jazz FM digital station to a consortium led by TLRC's former top man Richard Wheatly.

In related news, those aforementioned 'economies of scale' that TLRC can make when it owns a number of radio stations in the same part of the country have been criticised, in a way, in Parliament. TLRC recently centralised the news operations of a number of its stations in the North West to reduce costs. Macclesfield MP Nicholas Winterton raised the resulting loss of journalists at his local TLRC station, Silk FM, as evidence that the media recession is having a negative effect on local news provision.

Winterton told the House: "My hon Friend the shadow Leader of the House raised the matter of the news journalists being made redundant by local newspapers and local radio stations. Silk FM, which is part of The Local Radio Company has recently got rid of both its news journalists in Macclesfield. One of them has been made redundant and the other has been transferred to a new centre - which will cover at least three local radio stations - in Burnley, 40 miles from Macclesfield. Will she find time for a debate, either on the Floor of the House or in Westminster Hall, on the problems facing local newspapers and local radio stations, and on their failure now to provide proper news coverage, which is affecting the information that is available to people in my constituency, among others?"

Winterton was responding to wider concerns that a number of local newspaper groups and radio firms, not to mention ITV, are increasingly centralising their local news operations to reduce costs.

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CHART UPDATE
What would a new week be without some kind of tally of the biggest selling singles and albums in the UK? It would be nothing, that's what, so it's pretty lucky there is one.

First, on with the singles, where The Saturdays have got themselves to number two with a healthy combination of charity and young ladies in their pants. Yes, indeed, following the success of The Spice Girls' pant-infused video for their Children In Need single, The Saturdays have taken their lead and gone with a theme irrelevant to the charity they're raising money for in the video for their cover of Depeche Mode's 'Just Can't Get Enough'. But even that's not enough to stop the onslaught of Flo Rida, who has elbowed them right out of the way, showing no regard for charity or underwear, and plonked himself down on the number one spot with his new single, 'Right Around'.

As for the rest of the top 10, it's just the normal shuffle around, although it's worth mentioning that Lady GaGa still has two singles in that bracket. Please make it stop. And when it comes to the remaining 30 places on the chart, frankly, everyone should try harder. Chipmunk is a new entry at 21, with 'Chip Daddy Chip', Kinds Of Leon rise up from 55 to 29 with 'Revelry', Beyonce makes a similar move from 88 to 40, and U2's woeful single 'Get On Your Boots' continues its plummet down the chart, settling this week at 30.

U2's single might have received a vote of no confidence, but the same cannot be said for their album, which has been bought in droves. In the UK anyway. But with the amount of publicity it's had from, er, all those publicly-owned broadcasters, you'd kind of hope it'd do well. And it has, because it's not only knocked The Prodigy down to number two and seen U2 equal The Rolling Stones and Madonna for the third highest amount of number one albums (10 of them in all), but it also sold more this week than rest of the top five put together. Apparently lazy songwriting is excusable, I was wrong.

You'd think with all that excitement there wouldn't be any room for any more new entries this week, but you'd be wrong. Red Light Company have gone in at 13 with their debut album, ' Fine Fascination', Tina Turner's 'Platinum Collection' follows at 14, and then down at 25 Irish rockers The Answer hop in with their new album, 'Everyday Demons', thanks in part to being AC/DC's tour support, but mainly it's down to being featured on BBC Breakfast last week, I reckon.

And that's it for the charts this week, which are deftly cut and pasted together by tiny elves at The Official Chart Company.

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MIA'S BABY NOT CALLED ICKITT, OK?
MIA has denied her new baby has been named Ickitt, as was rumoured last week. Writing on her MySpace blog, she wrote this weekend: "My baby is not called Ickitt, Pickit or Lickit thank you very much to all the Hollywood press. He's a baby, he dont need press! I didnt release the baby name because I didnt think it was news!!!! But I will be back with something news worthy soon, till then go pick on Apple, Satchel and Moon Unit".

She's referencing the children of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, Tonya Lewis and Spike Lee, and Frank Zappa and Gail Zappa there, in case you wondered.

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FIDDY OFFERS TIPS TO PHEONIX
50 Cent has offered Joaquin Phoenix some advice for his planned hip hop career. As previously reported, Phoenix says he's quit acting to become a rapper, though his career change has so far been met with mainly mockery and claims it's all an elaborate spoof. Fiddy says that if Joaquin wants to make a proper go of the rap lark that: "He should write about the things that he has real interest in, the things he has been influenced by. Because, when an artist writes something that's totally away from their experience period, it can't be embraced".

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MILEY CYRUS VOWS TO "RUIN" RADIOHEAD
A lot of rows have sprung up in the pop world in recent weeks and I have avidly been following all of them. This is by far my favourite, though: Miley Cyrus vs Radiohead.

Apparently Miley requested to meet Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood before they performed at the Grammys last month. She was left fuming when they declined (politely, I think) because she'd already sent text messages to everyone she knows telling them she was about to hang out with Oxford's finest.

Cyrus told WENN: "My manager asked and said, you know, 'Miley, she's really obsessed and she'd really like to meet them', and they were like, 'Yeah, we don't really do that'. I left 'cause I was so upset. I wasn't going to watch! I'd already texted all my friends, we were all freaking out. Stinkin' Radiohead! I'm gonna ruin them, I'm gonna tell everyone".

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