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Job ads
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United We Cope
Top Stories
Live music worth more than the record industry
Live industry: doing well but not recession proof, so let's collaborate
Radiohead considering other distribution innovations, though no decisions just yet
Reznor attacks ticketing industry
Madonna considering second Malawi adoption
Eminem collaborator may have been shot
In The Pop Courts
Guns N Roses leaker could get six months
Tupac's mum sues over biopic
Injunction to restrict Lily snappers
In The Studio
New Aphex Twin on the way
Release News
Green Day announce vinyl re-issues
Middle Class Rut announce new EP
Gigs N Tours News
Remix All-Nighter returns - this time at The Dome
Jacko plotting US and Japan farewells
Festival News
Corden and Horne to appear at IOW Festival
Festival line up update
Album review: The Rakes - Klang (V2)
The Music Business
AEG may self-insure Jacko residency
Coalition PR to close
Tiga's label do distribution deal with !K7
Infectious do distribution deal with [PIAS]
The Digital Business
Amazon's festive download offer better than intended
The Media Business
Grade may sue over Dyke's Times column
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Radiohead respond to Miley Cyrus

Someone called Brian says something

Synth-pop quartet My Toys Like Me have caused quite a stir with 'Superpowers', the first single from their debut album. Combining wide-eyed, neon pop with knowingly rebellious lyrics, they both are and aren't what they at first seem. Their debut album, 'Where We Are', is out on 4 May via Dumb Angel, and you can catch them in full live glory at Twisted Licks at The Macbeth in Shoreditch on 21 Mar (more info on that here). We caught up with founder members Frances Noon and Lazlo Legezer.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Frances: I had a paranoid, moody boyfriend who made beats in his bedroom. I used to write the vocal parts and that was the only fun we ever had... I kind of took that idea and ran with it (but left him obviously)!

Lazlo: I played drums from about seven to 13 but literally none of the kids around me played any instruments so I sold the kit to buy a skateboard. Later I was going to these mad raves (it was 1990) and making mixtapes from what they were playing on the pirates and this guy I knew who was the keyboard player in a band got really excited, decided to leave the band and we started working together. He had a sampler and a synthesizer and we started doing really raw breakbeat tracks.

Q2 What inspired your latest single, 'Superpowers'?
Frances: It embodies the childishly wise attitude of sticking your fingers up at those who try to give you rational reasons not to follow your instincts.

Lazlo: These are people who are hypnotised by money and don't see the inherent success in doing what you love

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Lazlo: It's a bit different every time as the tracks are very different from each other. We have started writing together as a four piece in rehearsals now, but the tracks on the album all started with me in my studio creating some sounds, playing about with them and following my instincts. There are no samples of anyone else's music on the album and every individual sound is hand crafted - no presets or sample library sounds. Then Aluna would come in and we'd mess around loads. I never use tuning correction on the vocals. Later Charlie joined the band and he'd come in and play guitar and/or bass.
Then it would all get pulled together. Mainly I just made sure I was always enjoying it cos that's the only way I'm gonna put in the ridiculous amount of work required to get to a final mix!

Frances: Well, it used to go like this. I get really paranoid that I can't do anything creative at all and sit on the floor being melodramatic. Then I boil an egg, stick it on the end of my thumb, dance to some Aliyah in my socks and start experimenting with Lazlo. But now there's four of us and if I do that first bit everyone wants to join in, which gets too out of hand, so I need to try something else.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Lazlo: Everything I've ever heard and loved influences me, but I forget it all when I am writing and just go off on one. In terms of people who made me realise what was possible, Brian Eno's work with Roxy Music and Talking Heads etc, Can, Faust, Django Reinhardt, Company Flow, Jiri Ceiver and all kinds of early rave music that was inventing itself as it went. Plus I love a good pop song.

Frances: I like the way PJ Harvey, Tom Vek, Thom Yorke, Jeff Buckley and Etta James do it. Plus I love a good pop song, too.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Frances: Take off your trendy hat and put on a wooly one... listen with your feet.


Q6 What are your ambitions for your album, and for the future?
Frances: I want to play every song in a totally different scene, like a play, with people in strange costumes and amazing projections. I think that would be special. It's OK playing songs one after the other on the same looking stage but why should we limit ourselves?

Lazlo: I'd be really happy if this was an album that people listened to all the way through and told their friends about. I'd be even happier if it influenced more people to make eclectic poptronica. And we're just going to keep polishing our skills and pushing the boundaries...


From his MySpace it's not clear whether he's removed the middle 'E' from his name, but the musician possibly still known as David E. Sugar has come on leaps and bounds in the past few months, pushing aside his chip tune fascination for, as he put in a BBC interview, an "improvised electronic thing". What this means is taut, familiar beats with floating, liquefied synth loops a la Royksopp and co on his first release of the year, 'Pater One'. Since that first one in January he's had one release per week, which will obviously total 52 by the year’s end, making 2009 on helluva productive year.


Highly motivated and creative person required to join fabric (a leading London-based club with affiliated record label and publishing company) to work on our growing roster of artists. Successful applicant must be able to put together a cohesive campaign strategy and implement from start to finish. Must have previous experience working in a marketing department. Salary commensurate with experience, private health care and other benefits.

Please send CV and covering letter to [email protected].


Take the next step in your career by joining the dynamic music PR team at Get In! We're looking for a confident PR Account Manager with at least two years experience to join our expanding company. Naturally, a passion and understanding of Electronic Dance Music is vital, as well as a flair for creative and interesting writing. Knowledge of Ibiza and current dance music trends, coupled with a determination and willingness to succeed, will put you in pole position.

Get In! - a London-based company that works the global market - is the leader in providing creative PR for the dance music industry. Our expanding roster is testament to our skills and commitment to providing the best PR service. Find more info about us at We're looking to fill this position immediately. Salary negotiable depending on experience.

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE APPLYING: To apply, send an email with your CV, recent picture and exactly 135 words telling us why you're perfect for the job to [email protected]


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 [email protected] for information or to book.

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Amazing duplex loft-style 3-bedroom house in converted school. Gated development in East Peckham/Old Kent Road with secure parking. 16' high ceilings throughout. Large reception room with beautiful exposed brickwork and oak floors, measuring 20’x11’ widening to 20’ with a mezzazine of 10’x10’ above. Dining kitchen (15’4” x 10’3”) with dishwasher, washer/drier, fridge freezer, double oven & gas hob; exposed glazed brickwork & parquet flooring. 3 Bedrooms (13’x10’ (+ ensuite), 20×10’ and 14’9) all with original period sash windows, original wooden floors and 16’ ceilings. Bathroom with shower over bath; downstairs cloakroom. Secure gated covered parking. Freshly decorated and floors newly sanded. Private garden and shared communal grounds. 10 minutes to Queens Road train, lots of buses on Old Kent Road. £1760 pcm on 12 month AST, four people max occupancy. Please email [email protected] for further details, photos or viewings, or click here for photos


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 [email protected]


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 [email protected] for information or to book.

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Does nothing in your life feel like it's under control? United We Cope.

Team CMU has joined a new online community designed to help us all COPE with modern life.

Each week a different 'modern dilemma' will be posed.

Suggest how you would COPE, and get some free advice from your fellow COPErs.

Tips may be practical, or wise, or just a bit silly. Either way, United We Cope.

This week: I want to buy Fair Trade, but I love a bargain, how do I cope?

The consensus so far among the COPE community is to "grow your own" or "bring down capitalism". We have sent a man out to try both. He'll be planting potatoes today, and then overthrowing capitalism on Thursday, I think.

Meanwhile, if you have any other suggestions for this one, get on over to and share. Suggestions can be practical, wise, silly or, like Iain Archer below, simply inspired...
Barry Ashworth from Dub Pistols
"Travel to the country and buy it cheaper there!"
Ben Myers
"Befriend Chris Martin and get him to pay for everything".
Iain Archer "Make a pie chart of the levels of importance these things have to you. Then make a pie that looks exactly like the chart. Eat the whole pie and take a nap. You're bound to be exhausted".

Read more and make your own suggestions - click on 'dilemmas' at

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So, the headline voxpop to come out of this weekend's International Live Music Conference in London, the big bash for the live music sector, was the claim that the UK's live industry is now bigger than the UK's record industry in terms of revenue. The stand out voxpop was delivered by the chief stats man at PRS For Music, Will Page, who sat on a realtively optimistic panel give the title of their debate was 'The Recession Session'.

PRS For Music, of course, have privileged access to some key live music stats because promoters have to pay a licence fee to the collecting society every time (well, in theory every time) an act at one of their shows sings a song owned by one of the songwriters and/or publishers PRS represents.

According to the BBC, Page told the event: "We've been doing some maths back at the office. We have all the data on live music at the PRS because we license all the live performances that go around the country, so we're actually able to put a number on how much live music is worth. And we found that recorded music's share of consumers' disposable income was going down, while the share for live music was going up".

Page estimates that live music in 2008 was worth about £904 million, while according to the BPI the trade value of the record industry was £896 million. And while the retail value of recorded music was an estimated £1,240 million, Page says that if you add in secondary ticketing mark ups (based in part on Tixdaq data) and other ancillary revenues in the live sector, he reckons it was worth £1,280 million overall.

Those figures do seem to back up the held-for-a-few-years-now opinion in some parts of the music industry that live is where it's at, and that the record industry is in a state of terminal decline - record companies have secured their decades of investments on the wrong thing, and new artists shouldn't worry about fans stealing their recordings, they'll make their cash through ticket sales.

Certainly the mainstream live industry has boomed in the last fifteen years, aided by the revival of rock at the turn of the century, the gentrification of the music festival, the happy fact music sponsorship money tends to be channelled more towards live than recorded music, and, for venue owners, the undeniable truth that while music fans can be fickle when it comes to buying records, they'll always buy beer.

Though, of course, revenues are all well and good, but what about profits? The cost of producing live music events, and running music venues, is always on the up, whereas the cost of producing, distributing and marketing recordings is falling, and will do so even more so if and when digital becomes the primary way of releasing music.

And profits are important - not just for the fat cats at the top and their shareholders - but because without the profits there is no money to invest in new artists. As it stands it's still record companies who generally make that initial investment, even though the value of what they sell is falling. In theory live music firms, if they are the future, could make those initial investments, though they'd need not only the inclination to do so, but a sufficient profit margin on those billion pound plus revenues to enable them to spend. I'm not sure that either the inclination or the profit margins are there just yet.

And anyway, if you're trying to decide which bit of the music business you should be dabbling in right now, remember the reason Page enjoys an insight into the fortunes of both the record and live industries. The publishers earn from both. So I think it's fair to say, music publishing is still the safest bet for the time being. Well, until Google take over the world it is.

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But for those working in, or perhaps considering throwing a few million in the direction of, the live industry, what was the overall conclusion of the ILMC's 'recession session'? Yes, the live sector may be in a healthier state than the record industry at the moment, but how will it fair as this tedious recession bites?

Well, while the panel noted Page's figures, and the fact that most major festivals and mega-tours by big name artists like Take That, Girls Aloud, Cliff Richard and, of course, Michael Jackson were selling out, despite the credit crunch, the chair of the panel, Kilimanjaro Live's Stuart Galbraith warned against compliancy, telling the room: "This recession seems to be deep-seated and longer compared to the one in the late 1980s. It means we're going to see an impact on our business".

And, according to Billboard, Phil Bowdery from Live Nation pointed out what many promoters at companies much smaller than his will tell you - that while the big artists and big festivals are selling out in record times, and punters are paying ludicrously marked up prices to get their hands on tickets for those shows via the secondary market, many small and even middle-sized artists are fairing less well. Bowdery: "The bigger acts seem to be getting stronger and are selling tickets. But the acts that used to mid-level are the ones suffering now".

Meanwhile, the good old recession will have a bigger impact on you as a gig promoter, it seems, if you go global. While the European live sector has been recession-proof to an extent so far, and is certainly fairing better than the accompanying record industry, the situation is some territories is not so happy, while unstable currencies can mean that international touring, even in territories where tickets still sell, can be a risky business.

Neil Warnock of booking agents The Agency Group: "Business in the major music markets like the UK, France and Germany continue to thrive. But countries like Russia, China and parts of south-east Asia, are real recessive territories".

Aussie promoter Michael Chugg: "Our [Australian] dollar has crashed. International acts that pull crowds of 4,000-5,000 did well when it was US$0.90 to one Australian dollar, but will suffer now that the Australian dollar brings in only US$0.64".

Given the uncertainty in both the live and recording sectors, it is unsurprisingly that other sessions at ILMC focused on increasing collaboration between different parts of the music business. And while talk of 360 degree deals between artists and labels is out of fashion, most present, from whatever music sector, seemed to agree companies in different bits of the industry should be working together to create new opportunities, and to overcome the combined challenges of declining record sales, new players taking profits without really investing in talent (secondary ticketing firms, YouTube et al) and the damn recession.

Who should broker these collaborations wasn't clear, though perhaps the artists themselves should take the lead. In another session Radiohead manager Brian Message observed: "We're experiencing an artists' revolution around the world. Artists need to make more decisions about what affects them, including in what's going on in secondary ticketing and peer-to-peer file sharing. If someone is making a profit [from their work], then we want a share of that".

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Talking of Radiohead and the artist revolution, the band's Ed O'Brien has told the BBC they are already considering how they might follow up their much hyped 'pay what you want' digital release of last album 'In Rainbows'. He told 6Music the band has already come up with a few ideas of innovative ways to distribute their next album, though said they were focusing on making said album as good as possible first, and will make decisions regarding its distribution once it's ready.

O'Brien: "We've got a few [new distribution and promotion ideas, But] the thing is with us, and as was the case with 'In Rainbows', make the music first see what the landscape is. In a year's time it could be very different. We might want to release two tracks only so we'll just have to see, once we've made the music, see what happens and decide then".

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Back to the live sector, and secondary ticketing (the resale of tickets at marked up prices, increasingly via the web), an issue much discussed at ILMC, and one on which Trent Reznor had a lot to say this weekend too. In fact he's written a long rant on the issue, and made some very interesting claims about how some promoters, managers and maybe even artists are using the secondary market themselves so they can make more money from ticket sales without being seen to hike up prices too much.

Reznor told fans: "The ticketing marketplace for rock concerts shows a real lack of sophistication, meaning this: the true market value of some tickets for some concerts is much higher than what the act wants to be perceived as charging". Because artists don't want to come across as "greedy pricks" by charging higher prices, he claims, "the venue, the promoter, the ticketing agency and often the artist camp (artist, management and agent) take tickets from the pool of available seats and feed them directly to the re-seller ... there is money to be made and they feel they should participate in it".

He adds: "I assure you nobody in the NIN camp supplies or supports the practice of supplying tickets to these re-sellers because it's not something we morally feel is the right thing to do. We are leaving money on the table here but it's not always about money. Being completely honest, it IS something I've had to consider. If people are willing to pay a lot of money to sit up front AND ARE GOING TO ANYWAY thanks to the rigged system, why let that money go into the hands of the scalpers? I'm the one busting my ass up there every night. The conclusion really came down to it not feeling like the right thing to do - simple as that".

Reznor adds that it is this growing practice that explains why the secondary ticketing market has been able to grow despite opposition from some in the live sector. He argues that big players in the legitimate market - Live Nation and Ticketmaster in particular - "could have (and can right now) stop the secondary market dead in its tracks by doing the following: limit the amount of sales per customer, print names on the tickets and require ID / ticket matches at the venue. We know this works because we do it for our pre-sales. Why don't THEY do it? It's obvious - they make a lot of money fuelling the secondary market. Ticketmaster even bought a re-seller site and often bounces you over to that site to buy tickets!"

Of course, Live Master and Ticketmaster are very involved in the upcoming Nine Inch Nails/Jane's Addiction, but Reznor says, despite his feelings about secondary ticketing and those companies failure to tackle the issue, he has no choice but to work with them. "In the past, NIN would sell the shows in each market to local promoters, who then 'buy' the show from us to sell to you. Live Nation happens to own all the amphitheatres and bought most of the local promoters - so if you want to play those venues, you're being promoted by Live Nation. I fully realize by playing those venues we are getting into bed with all these guys. I've learned to choose my fights and at this point in time it would be logistically too difficult to attempt to circumvent the venues / promoter / ticketing infrastructure already in place for this type of tour. For those of you about to snipe 'it's your fault for playing there' etc. - I know it is".

You can read Reznor's full rant at,548515

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Madonna is apparently considering adopting another Malawian child to be a "brother or sister" for David Banda, the Malawian boy who, of course, she and ex-husband Guy Ritchie adopted in 2006 (well, adopted in the legal documents sense last year).

She's apparently told Malawi newspaper Nation that she sees herself as a "role model" for people adopting children from the African country, but adds that she will only adopt from the country with the support of the nation's authorities. As much previously reported, at the time of David's adoption some groups in Malawi argued that Madonna had circumvented the country's adoption laws and misled the boy's living father regarding the implications of adoption.

She's quoted thus: "Adopting another child is something I have been considering but I would only do so if I had the support of the Malawian people and the government. Many people - especially our Malawian friends - say that David should have a Malawian brother or sister".

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US rapper and sometime Eminem collaborator Trick Trick may have been shot in the leg in the early hours of yesterday morning at a club in Detroit. I say "may have" - police reported that Trick Trick, real name Christian Mathis, became involved in an argument at Detroit's Esko Lounge at around 1.15 am, that shots were fired, and that he and a friend required treatment at a local hospital. A spokesman for the city's mayor told reporters Mathis told police that "he was Trick Trick". But then a man claiming to be the rapper called radio station WKQI-FM to say he was at home "restin and chillin" at the time the shooting took place, so who knows what's going on?

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The guy who leaked Guns N Roses' 'Chinese Democracy' onto the internet ahead of its release last year could get a multi-month jail term if the feds who have pursued the criminal copyright infringement case against him get their way.

According to court papers seen by Wired magazine, federal prosecutors want Kevin Cogill to get a six month prison sentence, which seems a bit extreme, though presumably they hope to make an example of him. Prosecutor Craig Missakian reportedly writes in the papers: "Making a pre-release work available to the worldwide public over the internet where it can be copied without limit is arguably one of the more insidious forms of copyright infringement". The uploader could also face a $371,622 fine.

There are reports that the prosecution may cite the long-awaited Axl Rose album's relatively disappointing first week sales - 261,000 - in their case, claiming the leak directly impacted on record sales. Certainly anyone who heard the anti-climax of an album before its release would have been less likely to go out and buy it - but there were official streaming previews before release any way. And surely the reason nobody bought the album in its first week of sale was because they were all too busy desperately trying to get through to the Dr Pepper website to claim their free drink.

On the up side for Coghill, some legal experts doubt the judge will opt for a custodial sentence, and reports suggest the Recording Industry Association Of America has agreed to accept much lower damages than it was originally demanding in relation to the upload, perhaps recognising that the leak and the reporting of it was a damn sight more exciting than the actual album.

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The mother of the late but still pretty damn prolific Tupac Shakur is suing a production company over their claims she had entered into but now reneged on an agreement regarding the making of a biopic about her son.

Afeni Shakur claims that independent producers Morgan Creek concocted a contract regarding them making a Tupac biopic, then tried to force her into signing it, and subsequently sabotaged her efforts to do a deal with a rival movie firm. Her legal papers accuse the production company of "concocting a nonexistent 'agreement' and engaging in heavy-handed threats, coercion and intimidation".

But Morgan Creek, who are filing their own litigation in relation to the dispute, claim that it was Shakur who originally approached them with the movie proposal, that her company provided a proposal that formed the basis of their agreement, but that now she was trying to back out of said agreement.

Shakur wants the courts to rule that the production firm's agreement with her regarding the biopic is not valid.

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Legal firm Carter-Ruck have got two injunctions from the High Court under the Protection From Harassment Act in a bid to stop the paps from following that Lily Allen chick.

The legal types went to court last week after one pap's car collided with Lily's own car as she left her London home. Having bumped into her car, the charming photographers then continued to pursue Allen by road.

Arguing that that activity amounted to harassment under the law, Carter-Ruck got two photo agencies, Big Pictures and Matrix Photos, and one specific photographer to make undertakings in court to not harass Allen in the future. Mr Justice Eady also issued an injunction "restraining further harassment" by other paparazzi photographers, which basically means that anyone considered a pap cannot approach Allen within 100 metres of her home, photograph her at her home or the houses of her family and friends, or pursue her by road.

Confirming the legal action against the paps, lawyer Mark Thomson told reporters: "My client, Lily Allen, has faced constant harassment over the last few months from the paparazzi. As a result of this and various incidents of harassment that took place in London on Thursday, my client has now been forced to take legal action. In a court hearing that took place on Friday afternoon, my client, Lily Allen, has resolved issues with two picture agencies and a photographer. She has also obtained from the high Court an injunction restraining further harassment of her by other unnamed paparazzi photographers. My client is delighted with the outcome of the hearing on Friday".

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Aphex Twin (Richard James to his mum) is set to release his first album since 2001's 'Drukqs' later this year, according to Warp Records boss Steve Beckett.

Beckett told BBC 6music: "It's definitely on its way. Hopefully it will be this year, if I can prise it out of Richard's hands. I don't know a single note or anything about it. It'll be a surprise to me too".

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Green Day are set to re-issue their entire back catalogue on vinyl over the course of this year, in the US at least (not sure about UK release yet).

They will begin with their first two albums, '39/Smooth' and 'Kerplunk', both of which have been out of print on vinyl for several years, next week. The band's first major label album, 1993's 'Dookie', will then follow in April, with the rest of the back catalogue, including their greatest hits album, 'International Superhits!', their rarities collection, 'Shenanigans', and live album 'Bullet In A Bible', hitting shelves between now and November. The band also release their new album, '21st Century Breakdown', in May.

Here's the full schedule for the US vinyl re-issues:

24 Mar: 39/Smooth (1990), Kerplunk (1992)
18 Apr: Dookie (1994)
12 May: Insomniac (1995)
16 Jun: Nimrod (1997)
14 Jul: Warning (2000)
11 Aug: International Superhits! (2001)
15 Sep: Shenanigans (2002)
13 Oct: American Idiot (2004)
10 Nov: Bullet In A Bible (2005)

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Middle Class Rut, whose last single, 'Busy Bein Born' is one of my new favourite tracks ever, have announced details of their new EP, '25 Years', which is also very good. Don't just take my word for it, though. Zane Lowe also recently described them as "legends of the near future".

'25 Years' will be released by Bright Antenna on 4 May on CD, 3 x 7" vinyl set, and a special iTunes package which comes with the video for 'Busy Bein Born'. The band will also be in the UK to support ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead for nine shows next month.

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Ah, an O2 event to be genuinely excited about. Though, those who read CMU's sister e-bulletin the Remix Update ( will already know all this, which is why you should subscribe to all the CMU media. But the very CMU recommended Remix All-Nighter is back, bigger and better than ever before, at its new home, the simply immense Matter at The O2 dome in East London. And as if that fact wasn't, in itself, pretty damn exciting, wait till you see the line up Remix-chief Eddy Temple-Morris has got together.

In room one you will have Adam Freeland, who is back with a brand new album, and who will take to the Remix stage with the latest incarnation of his Freeland band which includes no less than Twiggy Ramirez (Marilyn Manson), Tony Bevilaque (Distillers/Spinerette), Joey Santiago (The Pixies) and a certain Tommy Lee on drums. This is where you say "wow".

No, actually, this is where you say "wow". Because not only will you get Freeland on stage, you will also get live sets from Shy Child and Eddy-tipped MC Trip, plus DJ sets from Hervé, The Shoes, Rawkus Noise and Eddy TM himself, while in room two Joker, King Cannibal, N-Type, Arsequake and Youngsta will take to the decks.

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Back to more tedious O2 shenanigans, and assuming he makes it through his 50 date residency at the Dome (something promoter AEG's insurance company seem unconfident of - but more on that in a minute), Michael Jackson is rumoured to be planning similar 'farewell' residencies in Las Vegas in 2010 and Tokyo in 2011.

A source told The Daily Star: "Jackson's already plotting his next move after London. Vegas have been keen for a long while but we'll have to see who gets him".

Of course, if the rumour that the singer's London press conference was in fact handled by a stand-in is true, it may not matter if he's well enough to play any of these dates. Maybe he could just start a franchise and have various residencies running all over the world concurrently.

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Comedy duo du jour James Corden and Mathew Horne will reportedly appear at this year's Isle Of Wight Festival, though fans of fat gags and gay jokes shouldn't get too excited, they're not going to be doing comedy, rather they will appear in a band as part of a reality show called 'We Are Rock Stars' which will air on ITV and see the duo try and put together a band in five days.

One of those sources told the News Of The World: "James's experience of fronting music gigs extends to playing the cornet at school, so it should be interesting to say the very least. But Matt's a DJ these days so he's got a bit more of an idea. They're setting up a band from scratch, which is a hell of a challenge, so the set list is likely to include songs that aren't too taxing but will get everyone going".

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HOMECOMING FESTIVAL, Irvine Beach Park, Ayrshire, 2-3 May: Line up on the brilliant Remix Stage to include Reverend And The Makers, Evil Nine, Dan Black, Yves Klein Blue and Losers live, plus DJ sets from Snow Patrol, Pigeon Detectives, Utah Saints, Babyshambles' Adam Ficek, Teenage Fanclub and Eddy TM. Hurrah!

WYCHWOOD MUSIC FESTIVAL, Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, 29-31 May: Dub Colossus, The Men They Couldn't Hang, Red Light Company, Cara Dillon and Dhol Foundation added to Super Furry Animals and Supergrass headlined bill.

SUMMER SUNDAE, De Montfort Hall, Leicestershire, 14-16 Aug: Noisettes, Saint Etienne, Dan Black, Micachu And The Shapes, The Joy Formidable, James Yuill and Karima Francis all join The Streets and The Charlatans headlined bill.

WIZZARD FESTIVAL, New Deer, Peterhead, 28-29 Aug: The Charaltans and Buzzcocks to headline.

ALBUM REVIEW: The Rakes - Klang (Universal/V2)
Where have The Rakes been? Possibly not the question on everyone's lips but nevertheless, the answer: Planet Roc Studios in Berlin to record the follow up to their 2007 debut, 'Ten New Messages'. Back then they were almost a blueprint for what an indie band of the time should sound like, but a lot's happened since then - it appears the nation has grown rather fond of synths, bright colours and frontwomen. Not things The Rakes would generally be associated with. However, with that album title, 'Klang', possibly influenced by Kraftwerk's studio name, Kling Klang, could they be moving in the right direction? Well, frontman Alan Donohoe sounds more like David Bowie than ever, which is a good thing, and the lyrics are kitchen sink clever - about smoking outside, about flatmates, and a plea to a girl not to let him stay the night (although she possibly didn't ask him in the first place). The addition of synths is welcome in the band's sound, and the chorus of stand-out track 'That's The Reason' is pretty damn catchy. That said, the influences remain the same as before - Bowie, Gang Of Four and a hint of The Smiths - and in the end the album is simply instantly forgettable, over-intelligent, throwaway indie pop. If you didn't care about The Rakes before, there's nothing in here to make you start now. DJ
Release Date: 23 Mar
Press Contact: Universal IH [CP, CR, RP, RR, NP, NR] Radar Maker [O]

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Back to Michael Jackson, and following those reports that promoters and Dome owners AEG were struggling to find a insurer willing to insure all fifty dates of the star's planned O2 residency, presumably nervous the singer is not up to fulfilling such a long commitment and not wanting to face the £300 million bill a full cancellation may result in, news today that the live music giant might insure the dates themselves if necessary, which presumably means they'd put aside the £300 million (or some such figure) just in case. The Daily Telegraph quote AEG chief Randy Phillips as saying: "We would be prepared to self-insure to make up the dates. It's a risk we're willing to take to bring the King Of Pop to his fans". As previously reported, Phillips says talks with insurers are ongoing, and denies Jacko's health is potentially a problem, saying: "The insurance brokers sent doctors and they spent five hours with him, taking blood tests. He's a vegetarian, he's in great shape". And who ever saw an unhealthy vegetarian?

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Music publicity firm Coalition PR is to close at the end of the month following the sad death last year of its founder Rob Partridge. Those currently working at the firm will either take up jobs elsewhere, or launch their own publicity companies.

Steve Phillips and Jakub Blackman are starting up a new company to be called Big Mouth Publicity, and will employ Coalition's Carl Delahunty at it. They plan to work closely with existing digital PR firm La Digit.

Janine Bullman will launch Notorious PR, and work alongside existing digital marketing company Radar Maker, which means she'll get to work with Coalition colleague Liam McMahon, who is joining Radar Maker.

Tony Linkin, meanwhile, tells us he's "taking a break to ponder over things".

None of this affects the Coalition artist management company, which will continue as normal.

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Tiga's record label Turbo Recordings has announced a production and distribution partnership with !K7 which will see the German music group distributing releases from the Canadian indie, including new artist albums plus a retrospective compilation feature back catalogue hits and exclusive new material from the likes of Boys Noize, Chromeo and Tiga himself.

Confirming the tie up, K7's CEO, Horst Weidenmueller told CMU: "In the last year Turbo has established a big brand for dance events and I'm looking forward to doing the same for them in the recorded music market".

Turbo label manager Thomas Sontag added: "Since Tiga's 'DJ Kicks', we've had a great relationship with !K7. Everyone in this business knows that Horst runs a tight ship and the label is regarded with the highest respect. With their support I'm sure it's going to be a great year for us".

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The recently relaunched Infectious Records which, you'll remember, has been reinvented by Korda Marshall since his departure from Warner Music, has signed a pan-European distribution deal with [PIAS] which covers both digital and physical releases. The first releases distributed under the deal will be from Marshall's first new signing, Aussie band The Temper Trap, who have a single out on 20 Apr.

Confirming the deal, Marshall told CMU: "[PIAS] handled all the distribution for our label's former incarnation when we were Mushroom-Infectious Records. We had five great years together then, sold a lot of records and in the end it was an easy choice to hook back up with Pete Thompson, Kenny Gates and their team who have always done a great job for us. They are very transparent to work with, they know the European distribution market inside out and I'm delighted we are back in business together".

[PIAS] top bloke Peter Thompson added: "We're absolutely delighted to be working with Korda again. Our paths cross at frequent intervals and they've always been productive and fun. This looks like it could be the best yet and certainly Korda's first signing, Temper Trap, are an amazing band with huge potential. Everyone at [PIAS] UK is extremely excited about this band and the re-emergence of Infectious as a modern record label".

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A glitch in Amazon's promotional voucher system reportedly led to some customers being able to access unlimited free downloads via the retailer's MP3 store last Christmas.

It seems that a £3 digital voucher offered by Amazon, which provided customers with a special voucher code, could be used again and again - ie the code could be entered in an infinite number of times and it still worked. I'm not sure what three times infinity is, but that's potentially a lot of pounds worth of free downloads.

As customers discovered that their free download codes worked indefinitely they started to share them with others online, which is how Amazon got wind of the cock up pretty quickly. They reacted by turning off the whole promotion, which is how we know about it, because that led to some customers who hadn't got round to entering their codes at all to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority that the promotional vouchers stopped working before the advertised use by date.

Amazon has denied trying to defraud its customers, and argues that emailing the 2.8 million people who received the promotional voucher to explain what had happened would have been impractical. They will, however, credit £3 to the account of anyone who spent money with Amazon during the promotion but who was unable to use their voucher because of the early switch off.

Of course in theory it would be easy for Amazon to see who used their voucher codes a multiple number of times, and insiders say that according to the promotional small print they could go after those who did multiple free downloads for the money they in theory owe. However, it seems unlikely they will, instead investing their time into ensuring such a cock up never happens again.

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ITV chief Michael Grade has demanded an apology from The Times over an article by former BBC chief Greg Dyke that was published in the broadsheet under the headline "Grade's ITV is in a classic lose-lose situation", and which blamed Grade's management team for the commercial broadcaster's widely reported financial strife. Grade's people reportedly claim that some of Dyke's remarks amount to "serious defamation" though it's not clear which of Dyke's points they are alleging are libellous - though claims Grade gathered up intelligence about the BBC before jumping ship to ITV in 2006 are likely contenders. Insiders at The Times say they have no interest in falling out with Grade or ITV, but that they will defend the article. To that end, the offending piece is still online...

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It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend - New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream (Sony/Columbia)
2. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
3. AC/DC - Black Ice (Sony/Columbia)
4. Lamb Of God - Wrath (Warner/Roadrunner)*
5. Metallica - Death Magnetic (Universal/Mercury)
6. Guns n Roses - Chinese Democracy (Universal/Geffen)
7. Kid Rock - Rock - N Roll Jesus (Warner/Atlantic)
8. Guns n Roses - Greatest Hits (Universal/Geffen)
9. Bruce Springsteen - Greatest Hits (Sony/Columbia)
10. Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone (Warner/Roadrunner)
11. Linkin Park - Minutes To Midnight (Warner Bros)
12. Nickelback - All The Right Reasons (Warner/Roadrunner)
13. Disturbed - Indestructible (Warner/Reprise)
14. Fall Out Boy - Folie A Deux (Universal/Island)
15. Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (Universal/Geffen)
16. Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness (Warner/Atlantic)
17. Linkin Park - Road To Revolution (Warner Bros)
18. Led Zeppelin - Mothership (Warner/Atlantic)
19. Hinder - Take It To The Limit (Universal)
20. Paramore - Riot (Warner/Atlantic)

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Radiohead have responded to Miley Cyrus' claims that she planned to "ruin" the band after they failed to accept a request to meet her backstage at The Grammys last month.

As previously reported, Cyrus told WENN earlier this month: "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".

In a statement, Radiohead told US Weekly: "When Miley grows up, she'll learn not to have such a sense of entitlement". Ouch.

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Former Westlife member Brian McFadden isn't upset that his fans in the UK have forgotten him, because he's got a whole load of new fans who are even better than them anyway.

McThingummy told The Daily Star: "I now am a household name in Australia after touring with Delta [Goodrem]". Who?

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