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Job ads
Classified ads
Flat ads
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Much chatter as variable pricing approaches at iTunes
Madonna to adopt again?
Musicians and footballers to release Hillsborough single
In The Pop Courts
Jury time: Spector trial update
Police investigate Flo Rida animal cruelty claims
Britney concert tour workers arrested after fracas
Singer denies exposure
John ends legal action against Guardian's spoof diary piece
Pop Politics
Musicians debate modern life
Akon does anti-slavery song at United Nations
Obituaries
Dan Seals dies
Charts, Stats & Polls
Will early releases and poor supplies stop PSB from going top?
Reunions & Splits
Metallica to reunite with Jason Newsted
Soundgarden perform minus Cornell
Malcolm Middleton splits up
In The Studio
Winehouse and Ronson reunited?
Release News
Alexander Nut Rinse mix set for release
Black Sabbath go properly digital
Festival News
Festival line up update
Reviews
Live review: Mr Hudson at The Scala in London on 24 Mar
The Music Business
Culture minister says stuff
FAC outline their top priorities
CPA concerned about rise of ticket scams
The Garage to re-open
The Digital Business
Imeem deny multi-million royalty debts and pending closure
We7 to chart return
The Media Business
Blender gets liquidised
Global chief to address SRA
And finally...
Osbourne praises her, er, son

Timberlake not recording a new album

 

FRIDAY 27TH MARCH

MONO
Japanese post-rocking quartet Mono formed all the way back in 2000 and promptly set about creating their first EP 'Hey, You'. Nine years on they're set to release their fifth studio album. In between all that there's been some hardcore touring, musical collaborations and, of course, a honing of their art; predominantly layered guitar melodies, fused with pianos and strings. The aforementioned fifth album, the awesome 'Hymn To The Immortal Wind', is set for release on 30 Mar, and despite being on a European tour, founding member Takaakira 'Taka' Goto found a few moments to squeeze in our Same Six Questions.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I grew up in a really small, boring town in Japan that was not very interested in music. My brother played guitar at the time and although he didn't teach me, just having guitars around influenced me to start playing. Long after, [drummer Yasunori] Takada and I became friends and we played a show together one time before forming Mono. I knew [guitarist] Yoda from the music store so he joined us shortly after. Then, a mutual friend introduced us to Tamaki [Kunishi, bass] because we needed a bassist. We've never actually studied music. I'm lucky to have met each of them, one by one. It's like fate because we all work well together and share the same vision.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I collaborated with someone who shared the same vision as me for this album and she wrote the short story that became 'Hymn To The Immortal Wind'. Each song is a chapter of the story. Wind symbolises that which we cannot see but we know exists - traces of memory left in the soul, traces of the energy and movement of the universe. It is like what people can feel but not understand, and do not question until the moment of death.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating an album?
Each time is a bit different because we grow a little in between albums. It usually starts with a kind of emotion or story that I'm intrigued by, then a period of uninterrupted song writing, working with each other to make the songs come to life, sometimes arranging additional instrumentation like strings, deciding on artwork, recording - it's all a very collaborative process.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
A lot of our influence actually comes from our favourite films, books, stories - possibly even more so than musical influences. But as far as musicians, Beethoven is definitely an influence, as well as Ennio Morricone.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
That's a good question. I'm not sure if I would know what to say. Perhaps, just to let your imagination run wild and release.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
To keep progressing, to expand to new areas, possibly even film. We just want to find a way to continue our style and watch it grow. We don't want everything to begin and end in one place. Every chance we get, we want to try to take it to another level. But we'll see what happens.

MORE>> www.mono-jpn.com and www.myspace.com/monojp

 

VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: The Surgery at East Village
It may seem like I'm on the payroll for East Village, so often have they appeared in this slot of late, but their line ups are just so damn fine, and they ain't letting up any. This week it's a fave of mine, Dr Bob Jones, not an MD or MBBS, but a "doctor of soul music". Jonesy was one of the first DJs ever to bring jazz to a dance floor - way back in 1971 - and he's spent 40 years in the game championing soul and funk, both as a DJ and by co-founding Chilli Funk Records. I have seen him in action and the man's record bag is mostly packed with gems and stormers. Elsewhere on the bill here - from 2pm to 6pm it's pure Soul Food, which will feature a superb mix of eclectic black music, and there'll be real food too, which quality roasts served up until 8pm. The second sitting, between 6pm and 11pm, sees The Surgery kick in to full effect, where I am sure soulful house will be order of the day. Mark Webster will be assisting with some of the finest quality black gold too, and to top it all off, it's free entry, to what I am sure will be London's most soulful party this Sunday.

Sunday 29 Mar, 2pm-11pm, East Village, 89 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A, free, www.eastvillageclub.com, press info from Rosalia at Ferrara PR

 


 

SENIOR PR ROLE
This is a dream role in a small and exciting PR agency. We specialise in music, events and youth PR with clients ranging from corporate brands to underground recording artists, festivals and alternative art projects. We're looking for a senior member of staff to work across all areas of the business and as such we can only consider applications from people who have a proven track record in handling brand PR in a multi-agency setting. With an eye for detail and top-notch organisational skills, you'll be enthusiastic about working in a small team environment. You'll have 6 years of music and corporate PR experience, strong client servicing skills, and the highest communication skills. This is a full time role with a competitive salary and is based in our easily accessed central London offices. To apply, please email your CV and a covering letter to rhiannon@spring-pr.com

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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.

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INTRODUCING LEYLINE PUBLICITY
Leyline Promotions - better known as one of the capital’s leading independent promoters (The Remix, Kill All Hippies, Insomniacs Ball, Twisted Licks, Breaking Ground) - have created a new publicity department headed up by Nick Bateson and Adrian Leigh. The pair have worked on major campaigns including a-ha, Glade Festival, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Standon Calling Festival and Hervé amongst others.

In addition to their wealth of experience in the live arena, Leyline Publicity now specialise in bespoke PR services including online and offline music and lifestyle press, radio plugging, brand development, digital marketing and blogging. For further information please contact: nick@leylinepromotions.com or adrian@leylinepromotions.com t: 020 7575 3285

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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.

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FABULOUS TOWN HOUSE TO SHARE IN BRONDESBURY PARK NW6 
Bright double bedroom with adjoining bijous living room and bathroom to let in a very large three bedroom luxury townhouse in Brondesbury Park NW6. The house has a large and spacious modern kitchen, large living and dining areas and a southwest facing garden with barbeque areas. There is free access to an onsite fitness complex with gym, full size heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna! The townhouse is situated in a beautiful private development with gated access and comes with a free off road parking space and visitor parking. Queens Park village is just a five minute stroll with lively pubs, deli's and eateries, a Sunday farmer's market and the park itself. Queens Park Station (Bakerloo) and Willesden Green (Jubilee) are both a five minute walk. The space is ideal for a professional single/couple. Rent: £795 pcm - includes internet/service charge. Call Adrian on 07971 555020 or email adrian@leylinepromotions.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

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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.

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MUCH CHATTER AS VARIABLE PRICING APPROACHES AT ITUNES
There was much discussion online yesterday about what impact the new variable pricing system will have on iTunes, given assumptions the record labels will use the new system to hike up the price of the most popular tracks to $1.29. Apple revealed it would introduce variable pricing on single track downloads when it announced it finally had the deals in place to sell DRM-free music from all the majors back in January, though it was an LA Times report this week that that system will go live on 7 Apr that got everyone talking.

The major record companies have long disliked the fact that Apple essentially set the 99 cents (or 79p) per track download pricepoint, which has become the industry standard, without really considering a label's costs or budgets. They've also never liked the lack of flexibility in single track pricing - wanting the option to charge more for those tracks that are in demand, and less for those they are trying to push (usually in a bid to drive sales during one specific week so to engineer a higher chart position).

Apple long resisted calls for variable pricing, arguing that the one-price-for-all model was more user-friendly. I think it's fair to assume the new system was forced onto them by Sony, Warner and especially Universal, who had made their DRM-free catalogues available to pretty much every download store except Apple's market leading iTunes by the end of 2008. Having led the market on the introduction of major-label DRM-free downloads - EMI's DRM-free catalogue, the first to become available, was sold exclusively by iTunes at launch - Apple were increasingly eager to be able to offer all music without the very out-of-fashion digital rights management restrictions. Eager enough to give way on the variable pricing issue.

Some reckon that the labels are shooting themselves in the foot by pushing for the variable pricing model on the market leader download store, and caution major label execs about using the new system to hike up the price of half their catalogue - especially in the current economic climate. Former EMI exec, and now head of digital consultancy TAG Strategic, Ted Cohen, told the LA Times: "This will be a PR nightmare. It is for the music industry what the AIG bonuses are for the insurance industry".

Apple is sure to talk up the fact that under their new system some tracks will be available for the discounted rate of 69 cents, though it remains to be seen what kind of tracks are offered at the lower price. The consensus is that, actually, the vast majority of the iTunes catalogue will stay at 99 cents, but if the 69 cent offers aren't good, and some key tracks rise to $1.29, then there's bound to be some bad press for Apple, which they will almost certainly bounce back onto the music industry. Whether the price change will cause iTunes users to go elsewhere, and whether that means they'll got to rival stores like Amazon MP3, or illegal sources of downloads, or the increasing number of free on-demand streaming services like Spotify, all remains to be seen.

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MADONNA TO ADOPT AGAIN?
Reports claim that Madonna is planning an imminent trip to Africa to adopt a second Malawian child. An official at Malawi's Department Of Women And Child Welfare told the BBC that the singer is expected to arrive over the weekend and attend a procedural hearing at the High Court on Monday, having already filed adoption papers. The anonymous official later confirmed to Reuters: "We expect her over the weekend or earlier than that... but without a doubt she is coming before the end of this month".

It's seemingly part of a plan to provide David Banda - the Malawian child that Madonna and Guy Ritchie made moves to adopt in 2006 - with a brother or sister of the same nationality. The singer told Nation readers last week, in response to emailed questions: "Many people - especially our Malawian friends - say that David should have a Malawian brother or sister. It's something I have been considering".

The adoption of David Banda did cause some controversy, of course, with critics accusing the Malawian government of overlooking laws banning foreign adoptions in light of Madonna's celebrity status. She may run into trouble again this time, given that the country's laws don't, as a rule, allow for adoption by a single or divorced person, and, as much previously reported, Madonna is now very much divorced. It may, however, be another legal issue she can side-step, and presumably the providing-David-with-a-sibling argument will wash a bit.

No comment from the Madonna camp.

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MUSICIANS AND FOOTBALLERS TO RELEASE HILLSBOROUGH SINGLE
A group of musicians and footballers are to release a single marking the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. As you most likely know, 96 football fans were crushed to death in the incident, which took place during an FA Cup final on 15 April 1989.

The recording of terrace anthem 'The Fields Of Anfield Road' (adapted from folk ballad 'The Fields of Athenry') features John Power from Cast, James Walsh from Starsailor and footie-types Kenny Dalglish and Bruce Grobbelaar. A new verse has been added to the song, written by Peter Hooton, formerly of The Farm. It's a project spearheaded by Liverpool's Lord Mayor, Councillor Steve Rotheram, who said "It's important that 20 years on we try and do something".

The single is out on 5 Apr. A special memorial ceremony is to take place on 15 Apr at Anfield, where the Lord Mayor will present the CD to club officials.

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JURY TIME: SPECTOR TRIAL UPDATE
So, the Phil Spector murder trial v.2 is now in the hands of the jury. Summing up took a little longer than expected, but the prosecution delivered their rebuttal to the defence's closing arguments yesterday, and then Judge Larry Fidler sent the jurors into their room to consider the arguments and, hopefully, reach a conclusion as to whether or not it can be said, beyond reasonable doubt, that the legendary producer shot dead actress Lana Clarkson at his Beverly Hills home back in February 2003. As previously reported, if the jury are not convinced Spector behaved with sufficient recklessness to be guilty of murder, but they do believe he was holding the gun when Clarkson was killed, they, unlike the jurors in the original trial against the producer, will be able to convict him of involuntary manslaughter. Spector, of course, maintains that Clarkson shot herself.

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POLICE INVESTIGATE FLO RIDA ANIMAL CRUELTY CLAIMS
Two members of Flo Rida's entourage are wanted for questioning after witnesses claim they killed a rabbit in Lexington, Kentucky following an in-store performance by the rapper in the town on Wednesday.

According to witnesses, the two men got off the tour bus, "brutally" killed a rabbit for no obvious reason, and then got back on the bus again. Lexington Police, Kentucky Police and Lexington Animal Control officials have launched a joint investigation into the claims and are seeking to question the two men. However, it is thought that the tour bus had already left the area before police became involved.

As news of the bunny killing spread, Flo Rida denied involvement in the incident, telling AllHipHop.com: "While no one in my party was in any way involved in any incident, the media report that I saw was sickening," he said. "As an animal lover, I would never want to see cruelty inflicted upon them."

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BRITNEY CONCERT TOUR WORKERS ARRESTED AFTER FRACAS
Two employees of a contractor working on Britney Spears' current US tour were arrested in California yesterday after they allegedly assaulted police officers who tried to break up a fight.

Reports say that one Rockey Lee Dickey was hitting another man, who has not been named, on a Manhattan Beach pavement when a patrol car drove by. When the police intervened, Dickey took a swing at one of the officers, and his companion Alex Montes, seemingly put a second officer in a headlock. Neither of the policemen were hurt, however.

Anyway, it's all a bit far removed from Spears herself so I'm not sure that it should really be news. Spears' website posted a statement making it clear that the two men worked for a contractor, and not directly for the singer herself. The statement adds: "The two individuals have since been dismissed by their employer. The tour does not support or tolerate this type of behaviour".

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SINGER DENIES EXPOSURE
A Latin Grammy award winner called Elvis Crespo has denied exposing himself to a fellow passenger on board a flight from Houston to Miami. The 37 year old merengue singer was questioned by authorities in Miami after the flight's pilot contacted the control tower, and he claimed to have no memory of any such incident. Crespo, who got married earlier this month, was not arrested, and no charges have been made. No comment from his publicist.

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JOHN ENDS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST GUARDIAN'S SPOOF DIARY PIECE
Elton John has decided not to proceed with an appeal in relation to an earlier libel claim against the Guardian newspaper over a spoof diary piece that mocked the singer's famous charity balls.

As previously reported, John sued over an article written by Marina Hyde for the newspaper's weekend magazine. Pretending to be a diary piece written by the singer himself, the piece implied John's White Tie And Tiara Ball events were mainly an excuse for partying with celebrities, and an opportunity to boost the singer's ego, and actually raised very little money for charity. While the balls may enable the singer to party with celebrities, and probably do boost his ego, they do actually raise an awful lot of cash for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, hence the defamation lawsuit.

But Hyde and the Guardian argued that the piece was clearly a spoof, and that readers of the paper were clever enough to realise any claims in the article were not fact. Last December a high court judge sided with the journalist and paper and threw out the libel claims, but John appealed.

Last week a Court Of Appeal judge refused John permission to appeal the original ruling and ordered the singer to pay costs. Yesterday the singer's lawyers confirmed they would not appeal the appeal judge's ruling regarding the appeal. Or something like that. Which means that this particular pop court case is, I think, closed.

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MUSICIANS DEBATE MODERN LIFE
Sam Duckworth, aka Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, and Fionn Regan were present at The Boogaloo pub in Highgate on Wednesday to debate with the likes of former London mayor Ken Livingstone about the virtues of modern British life. It was the first Instigate Debate night, a concept which has the support of a number of musicians, including Jon McClure, Carl Barat and Drew McConnell - in fact one audience member at the event won a prize to have the aforementioned trio play a gig at her house. Following the debate, which touched on politics, war and strippers, reportedly, Duckworth and Regan both performed short sets. More events are expected to follow.

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AKON DOES ANTI-SLAVERY SONG AT UNITED NATIONS
Akon debuted an anti-slavery track at the United Nations in New York yesterday. 'Blood Into Gold', is a collaboration with Emmy-award winning musician Peter Buffett for the non-profit organisation, Culture Project, which aims to end human trafficking. The song's debut at the UN coincided with the International Day Of Remembrance Of The Victims of Slavery.

Akon, who is originally from Senegal, told the BBC: "A lot of my US friends are not aware of the history. [Slavery] is a big situation for us - the younger generation. It's very important for me because it was the slaves that opened the door for me personally. Seeing how far we've come, I'm honoured to be a part of it and I will do my part to spread that word. As people, we should stop using each other for money purposes".

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DAN SEALS DIES
Dan Seals, also known as England Dan, has died at the age of 61 after suffering from mantle cell lymphoma.

Seals, the brother of Jim Seals of Seals & Croft, was born in Texas to a musical family. His first output was as part of Dallas group Southwest FOB alongside high school friend John Ford Coley. They later became known as a soft rock duo, England Dan & John Ford Coley, for their worldwide 70s hit 'I'd Really Love To See You Tonight'.

Following their split in 1980, Seals began his solo work, initially sticking to the England Dan moniker, and over the course of his career released 16 studio albums, with 11 songs reaching number one in the Billboard country chart. Amongst his solo tracks are 'Meet Me In Montana' with Marie Osmond, 'Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold) and 'Three Time Loser'.

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WILL EARLY RELEASES AND POOR SUPPLIES STOP PSB FROM GOING TOP?
The Pet Shop Boys might miss out on the number one spot this weekend, it's been claimed, because of EMI's decision to launch their new album three days early on iTunes.

According to Contactmusic, the new PSB album 'Yes' went on sale last Friday on iTunes and 2500 copies were downloaded before Sunday. That's important because, word has it, despite 'Yes' leading the way in the initial midweek album chart, Ronan Keating's tedious 'Songs For My Mother' LP has now crept ahead by 1200 units. The 2500 copies of 'Yes' downloaded last weekend will not, of course, be counted in this week's chart, they have been included in last week's sales stats, but had those sales been included in this week's countdown Tennant and Lowe would take the number one spot by some margin.

It's also claimed that the label hasn't supplied online mail order CD sellers with enough copies to meet demand which, sources say, may also impact on chart position - though I'm never sure when a non-pre-order mail-order sale is actually counted, at transaction or dispatch. But presumably it is having an impact - because a spokesman for the band is quoted as saying: "Many people have been unable to buy it this week. Neil and Chris are very disappointed".

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METALLICA TO REUNITE WITH JASON NEWSTED
Considering the things that various members of Metallica have said about him over the years, and the fact that they refused to include him in their 'Guitar Hero' video game, you might be surprised to hear that the band are planning to appear on stage and perform with former bassist Jason Newsted when they are inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame next month. Or perhaps not, when you learn that they were inspired to make up and be friendly in order to avoid mirroring Blondie's famously awkward induction.

Guitarist Kirk Hammett has told Pulse Of Radio that he and the rest of Metallica witnessed the onstage spat between former Blondie members Frank Infante and Nigel Harrison and existing band members when they were inducted into the HoF in 2006. "It puts a really bad, sour note on the whole celebration itself", he said. "There was so many politics and so much drama that, you know, we collectively said to each other, 'We don't want any of that'. Jason Newsted will be there, and he will be playing with us at one point".

Metallica will be inducted into the Hall Of Fame by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea on 4 Apr.

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SOUNDGARDEN PERFORM MINUS CORNELL
Three of Soundgarden's four members reunited on Tuesday evening to perform a short set at the newly opened Crocodile Cafe in their hometown, Seattle. Frontman Chris Cornell is currently, of course, on tour promoting his much-derided new solo album, 'Scream', and so couldn't have been there even if he'd wanted to. Instead, the band was fronted by Tad Doyle of semi-legendary Seattle band, TAD.

Marking the first time the three Soundgarden members, Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron, have appeared on stage together since the band's split in 1997, Doyle reportedly screamed his way through three Soundgarden songs - 'Spoonman', 'Hunted Down', and 'Nothing To Say'. In between songs he reportedly told the audience not to be sad about Cornell's absence, before lifting his shirt to reveal his ample stomach and saying: "That's half a Cornell right there".

Tad wasn't the only guest vocalist during the six song set, though. They were also joined by Mudhoney's Mark Arm, Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello, and MC5's Wayne Kramer for a rendition of MC5's 'Kick Out The Jams'. Morello was then joined by Steve Earle to sing Bruce Springsteen's 'The Ghost Of Tom Joad' and 'Shake My Shit' by Morello's Nightwatchman project.

You're probably wondering what all that sounded like. Well, you can listen to the whole set here: www.earcandybeat.com/?q=node/38

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MALCOLM MIDDLETON SPLITS UP
Former Arab Strap man Malcolm Middleton has revealed that he plans to give up his solo career in favour of something different after the release of his next album in June. What that will be, I'm not sure.

He told Telextext's Planet Sound: "This'll be my last solo album for a few years. I've said enough for the time being. I'd like to try something new".

The album, 'Waxing Gibous', features guest appearances from King Creosote, Jenny Reeve and Mogwai's Barry Burns and will be released on 1 Jun.

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WINEHOUSE AND RONSON REUNITED?
Rumours about Amy Winehouse's new album anyone? Come on, we've already run with one dubious set of claims about it this week - though, as we expected, Island have subsequently denied that they've rejected songs she wrote in St Lucia for being "too dark", which puts this new rumour on slightly wobbly ground straight away. But, whatever...

The Sun reports that Mark Ronson has been drafted in to help Winehouse write some new songs, despite the rocky recording sessions they had last year while working on their aborted James Bond theme.

A source told the tabloid: "Mark does not have fond memories of collaborating with Amy last year. He said he wouldn't work with her again until she had her drug problems under control. He thinks she's much better now so has agreed to come on board and do a little work with her on some of her songs. Mark's now happy to give Amy the help she requires. They gelled while recording 'Back To Black' and he's hopeful some of that magic could return".

Mark Ronson is currently knocking about with The Rumble Strips, whose new album he did produce, and has been confirmed as the producer of Duran Duran's next LP. He's quite a busy chap.

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ALEXANDER NUT RINSE MIX SET FOR RELEASE
Alexander Nut presides over the eighth instalment of pirate station Rinse FM's compilation series, and said album is released on Monday. The DJ presents the radio station's Saturday afternoon show and specialises in the sound known as "wonky" by people who insist on making up new genre names for everything they hear. For now, let's just say it's dubstep with strong hip hop and soul influences. Or "dipsoul".

Here's the tracklist:

O.Boogie - Paper Chaser (feat. Tableek) (Tom Trago Remix)
Waajeed - Tron
Marco Polo - Relax
Black Pocket - Thank You And Credits
Morgan Zarate - M.A.B
Simbad - Soul Fever (feat. Steelo)
Bullion - Get Familiar
1000 Names - Melonball Bounce
Hudson Mohawke - Still On It
Frank-N-Dank - Clap Hands (Morgan Spacek Remix)
Flying Lotus - My Chippy
Roots Manuva - Do Nah Bodda Mi
Benga & Coki - Night (Digital Soundboy Remix)
Eric Lau - For The D (feat. Guilty Simpson) (Harmonic 313 Version)
2tall - The Most High (feat. Kashmere)
Joker - Digi Design
Zomby - Spliff Dub (Rustie Remix)
Floating Points - Peroration Five
Pattie Blingh - Brother: The Point (2562 Remix)
Pinch - Motion Sickness
Simbad - DNA Metamorphosis
Mr Beatnick - I Know All The Bitches (feat. Ahu)

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BLACK SABBATH GO PROPERLY DIGITAL
All of the pre-IRS-era Black Sabbath catalogue (which includes all the Ozzy Osbourne fronted seventies releases) will be available online as of Monday; apparently many of the legendary metal band's albums have not previously been available for download via legit digital music stores. From next week eighteen albums from the Black Sabbath catalogue, including various live and compilation albums, will be available from all the usual download stores, including iTunes, Amazon MP3 and 7Digital, and also for streaming via Spotify, We7 and Napster.

I know this because Brian Rose, the recently promoted MD of the Universal UK Commercial Division, told me this: "The Black Sabbath catalogue is one of the most iconic catalogues to be missing from the digital market. We are delighted that from 30th March music fans will finally be able to download and stream Black Sabbath's music from our digital partners. This is a significant step for us, and will be happening alongside the physical release of 'Paranoid' as a deluxe edition, showing our commitment to providing music fans with the very best both physically and digitally".

In case you're curious, the albums set to go digital on Monday are: Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master Of Reality, Black Sabbath Vol 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage, Technical Ecstasy, Never Say Die!, Heaven And Hell, Live At Last, Mob Rules, Live Evil, Born Again, Seventh Star, The Eternal Idol, Past Lives, The Singles and We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll.

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FESTIVAL LINE UP UPDATE

ROCK NESS, Dores, Loch Ness, 12-14 Jun: Pendulum with MC Jakes, Annie Mac, Just Jack, Kissy Sell Out, Mylo, Alabama 3, Layo & Bushwacka!, Chase & Status, The Aliens, Sneaky Sound System, The Cuban Brothers, The King Blues, The Baddies, Frightened Rabbit, The Whip, Dubfire, Japanese Popstars, The Wave Pictures, Tommy Reilly, Tulips, Scratch Perverts, Jaymo, and Andy George confirmed to perform. www.rockness.co.uk

WICKERMAN, East Kirkcarswell Farm, Kirkcudbright, 24-25 Jul: Candi Staton, Utah Saints, The Dickies, Kid British, Pearl & The Puppets, Luva Anna and We Were Promised Jetpacks join the line-up. www.thewickermanfestival.co.uk

RELENTLESS BOARDMASTERS, Watergate Bay, Newquay, 5-9 Aug: Cypress Hill to headline Saturday night. Roots Manuva, Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, The King Blues and Master Shortie added to Friday's bill. www.relentlessboardmasters.com

SOUTH WEST FOUR, Clapham Common, London, 29 Aug: Sasha and John Digweed to headline. www.southwestfour.com

BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Country Park, Newport, Isle Of White, 11-13 Sep: Lily Allen (who will also judge the fancy dress contest), Orbital (DJ set), La Roux, Jack Penate, Just Jack, Crazy P, Pretty Things, The Big Pink, The Penguin Café, Esser, Maps, Dinosaur Pile Up, The Baddies, Frankmusik. Filthy Dukes, Fight Like Apes, George Pringle, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, Delphic, Lucky Elephant, They Came From The Stars I Saw Them, Man Like Me, Speech Debelle, The Shutes, 2020 Sound System, Coopers Rage, Cordelier Club, The Dawn Chorus, Workhouse, Rox, Wave Machines, Dent May, Annie Nightingale, Bloody Beetroots, Chase & Status, Tinchy Stryder, Plastician, Goldie Locks, Caspa, Coki, Joker, Price, DJ Food, Caged Baby, Riva Starr, DJ Dan & Propaganda, Kry Wolf, Beat Boutique, DJ Charge, Gaz's Rockin Blues, Russ Cuban, Brian Monaco and Tim Boogaloo all confirmed. The festival will also play host to the Tru Thoughts label's 10th birthday celebrations. www.bestival.net

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LIVE REVIEW: Mr Hudson at The Scala in London on 24 Mar
Much like Gloria Estefan's consignment of her Miami Sound Machine to the waste basket of Latin-tinged pop, Mr Hudson has re-emerged onto the scene without the extended "Library" moniker (although the band is still intact). The new songs that opened the show, possibly written while hanging out with Kanye West last year, got a mixed reaction from the crowd, not immediately taken by the electro direction or the ego on show. Well, I say mixed, but I think it was pretty clear which side of the fence the guy who shouted "disgrace" was on. Things got onto a better footing when the band started playing songs from debut album 'A Tale Of Two Cities', though - the shift to older material reminding us that the first album did definitely have some great songs on it. The real treats of the night came when Library member, and solo artist in her own right, Joy Joseph was more heavily involved on backing vocals and steel drums - it adds such a different dimension and her input on the new stuff seems unfortunately limited. Hudson is obviously a talented chap and has worked with a lot of people since the first album, I got the impression that he isn't quite happy with the new record, though - in a move guaranteed to annoy fans the length and breadth of the country, the rest of this tour has been postponed in order to finish it off. IM

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CULTURE MINISTER SAYS STUFF
The government's culture man Andy Burnham has again told the music industry that illegal downloading is an international problem and that he was ready to travel the world to talk to his counterparts in other governments to see what could be done to combat the rise of online piracy. Which is very nice of him. And for him. Less so for his carbon footprint.

Having made various implied promises last year of new laws to force UK internet service providers to in turn crackdown on illegal file sharers - promises his colleagues IP Minister David Lammy and Comms Minister Stephen Carter seem less than keen to deliver on - Burnham has been stressing the international dimension of the piracy problem for a few months now.

Of course he's right that file-sharing is a global problem that crosses borders and jurisdictions, though I can't help thinking the sudden prioritising of tackling this problem globally is a bit of a distraction to hide the fact that the government isn't actually that keen to force ISPs to do anything when it comes to piracy, especially if it involves cutting off voters' internet connections in the run up to a General Election.

Anyway, according to Music Week, at a UK Music hosted event this week Burnham reaffirmed his commitment to discussing anti-piracy measures with culture ministers around the world, adding that he has already spoken to political types in the US and across Europe about the issue.

He also said he would continue to lobby for an extension of the recording copyright when it comes up for discussion at the EU Council Of Ministers, though, of course, the aforementioned Lammy is set on a 70 year term conditional on measures to boost the revenue incomes of musicians over labels, which isn't necessarily the aim of the label men who were at the Westminster gathering this week, who want 95 years and as few commitments to give up royalties to featured artists and session musicians as possible.

In return for his European lobbying and world travel, Burnham asked the industry types and artists at the event do more to help youngsters get a leg up in the industry through apprenticeships, which I think is a way of reducing unemployment figures, but don't quote me on that.

The amassed industry types clapped, I think. Bring on the revolution I say. Apparently it might start just down the road from CMU's on-the-edge-of-the-City HQ this weekend, so I'm looking forward to it.

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FAC OUTLINE THEIR TOP PRIORITIES
Talking of copyright extension and it benefiting artists over labels, the Featured Artists Coalition has announced three of its top priorities and one of them is very much in that domain.

As previously reported, the Featured Artists Coalition launched at last year's In The City, and properly launched at a meeting in London earlier this month. This week they confirmed their full launch board, who will take over from the previously reported 'steering group' and run the bands' trade body moving forward. Blur's Dave Rowntree will chair, while other board members will include Kate Nash, Billy Bragg, Radiohead's Ed O'Brien, Marillion's Mark Kelly and a certain Howard Jones.

It's Jones who told reporters this week about the three big issues which the Coalition will prioritise.

First up, file sharing, an area where the artists will seemingly work alongside those on the business side of music. Although they stress that they don't want to "criminalise" kids who share unlicensed music online, they say they do want "government help to go after the people who are facilitating the illegal services". That presumably includes the internet service providers, which means the FAC, like record label trade body the BPI, wants government to force the ISPs to be more proactive in policing illegal file sharing. Though I don't think the FAC support the three-strike disconnection approach, though neither do the BPI officially.

Second up, education. Like all the other music business trade bodies, the FAC wants to educate young people about the music industry. Though they want to prioritise educating aspiring bands and artists about the danger of restrictive record contacts, and to advise new bands to avoid, where possible, signing away their rights to a record company in order to secure that first deal. I don't think such advice has ever appeared high up in a BPI 'making it as a band' guide.

And third, copyright extension. Like everyone else in recorded music, the FAC say they support extending the recorded copyright term, though they propose that after the current fifty year term is up the copyright reverts to the artist, so that all revenue generated from recording sold or licensed out after it's initial fifty year term is complete goes to the artists, even if they haven't recouped on their original record contract. A proposal which might appeal to IP Minister David Lammy who has already said "I'll extend the term for the artists' benefit", though, of course, his real concern seems to be jobbing session musicians who wouldn't necessarily benefit from copyrights returning to featured artists after fifty years.

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CPA CONCERNED ABOUT RISE OF TICKET SCAMS
Rob Ballantine, the chair of the UK's Concert Promoters' Association and director of promoters SJM, has warned that he expects a rise in the number of online ticketing scams in the next year. And by that he doesn't mean people re-selling tickets at a massive mark up via secondary ticketing websites, but people taking money for tickets they don't have, and then running off into the night shielded by a wall of binary code. Or at the very least unofficial agents who take money for tickets they hope to acquire on the secondary market, but which they then can't, sometimes sending them into liquidation. Either way the result is the same: music fans part with cash for tickets they don't get.

His comments follow those incidents last year when trading standards types had to step in after hundreds of people bought tickets for big music events - the Reading and Leeds festivals in particular if I remember rightly - from unofficial online 'agents', only to never receive any tickets.

Speaking to Billboard, Ballantine said: "It's terrible because these are kids, the next generation of fans, that are so enthusiastic about seeing these acts that they will send their money to anybody who seems to be promising them a ticket they can't find elsewhere. Take That, Oasis, Madonna, U2, all the big ones this summer, they're all going to have huge problems".

He adds that one of his company's recent tours, The Killers UK arena tour, experienced problems with rogue ticket sales at every gig. Some tell punters to pick up their tickets on the night - possibly hoping to get the tickets themselves off real world touts outside the venue - but if there's problems they just don't show up to meet their customers. Ballantine: "People are so desperate to see the artists they want to see and they get promises of front row seats or a golden ticket you can't buy anywhere else, they just hand over their details".

Presumably Ballantine would quite seriously recommend that music fans always opt for official sellers when buying their tickets, just to be certain. Even if that means buying them off Ticketmaster, who I'm pretty sure Trent Reznor said were evil the other day.

Ballantine also spoke about the CPA's recent move into the secondary market themselves, with the launch of OfficialBoxOffice.com, a resale site that promises extra controls to protect those buying tickets, and which positions itself very much as a place where people who bought tickets with the intent of going to an event, but who can no longer make it, can resell their tickets, rather than being a new home for online touts.

Ballantine says that many of his trade body's members are still against the growth of online ticket touting, and still want the government to introduce new laws to restrict it, but given that the government - despite regularly expressing concern about the boom in touting - has done basically nothing, he felt the trade body should try to at least provide a more responsible secondary ticketing service. He told Billboard: "We're not looking to push it [the site] because we still don't feel the secondary market is something that should exist. But it is there if people want to do genuine transactions and to buy with some sort of safety".

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THE GARAGE TO RE-OPEN
Much-missed Islington venue The Garage is to be re-opened after a not inconsiderable refurb in June this year, as part of MAMA Group and HMV's previously reported joint venture, which is operating under the Mean Fiddler name in corporate terms, but which brings the HMV brand into the live space as far as the sign above the door is concerned.

As previously reported, MAMA and HMV announced their JV back in January, with the creation of a new company that takes the Mean Fiddler name MAMA acquired in 2007, and eleven of the venues previously wholly owned by MAMA (many of which it also acquired off the old Mean Fiddler - now Festival Republic - in 2007). A number of the venues have already undergone rebranding - most notably the HMV Apollo in Hammersmith and the HMV Forum in Kentish Town (which does now sound a little bit like a slightly dull online message board). The Garage is the first previously closed venue to re-open as part of the new venue network.

Confirming the re-opening, MD of MAMA's live division, Steve Forster, told CMU: "The Garage has always been a great rock and roll venue, our intention is to take what made the building special and develop the space as a 21st century, multi-room operation, one that works as both a live and club space. With the addition of a new seated format we can really stretch the scope of the venue's capability to offer and deliver a real alternative to venues such as Bush Hall".

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IMEEM DENY MULTI-MILLION ROYALTY DEBTS AND PENDING CLOSURE
Much speculation doing the rounds about music-based social network Imeem following a report earlier this week on Techcrunch which claimed the service was in danger of shutting down after failing to raise new funds or find a buyer to help pay millions in unpaid licensing bills from the record companies.

Imeem, of course, initially faced lawsuits from the record companies for its role in helping kids share music, but they eventually entered into licensing deals with the majors, and Warner Music even became an investor. But Techcrunch says bosses at the service have struggled to make their social networking service add up commercially, despite the support of the record companies and an ever-growing user base, and that they now face royalty bills of $30 million with little money in the bank to pay them with. Techcrunch cited some sources as saying shut-down of the service was now "imminent".

But the company's VP of marketing, Matt Graves, has denied the gloomy report, telling reporters: "TechCrunch's $30m number is not only wrong, it's preposterous. We don't now owe, nor have we ever owed, that amount of money to the labels". But, according to Music Ally, Graves did admit the company are hoping to renegotiate their deals with the record companies and publishers, observing: "The economy and the world have changed, and just as we've renegotiated our bandwidth bills, ad-serving deals, etc, to take into account the new economic realities, it makes sense to do the same with our content deals".

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WE7 TO CHART RETURN
Ad-funded music service We7, which has moved very much into the on-demand streaming domain after initially also dabbling in the ad-funded download model, has announced it will be participating in that previously reported new music chart which will track the music being most streamed across the UK. We7, which is the first streaming service to officially sign up to planned streaming chart I think, will also start filing stats for music sold by their a-la-carte download service.

Confirming its new chart initiatives, We7's SVP of Digital Content, Clive Gardiner, told reporters: "We believe in actively sharing data and insights with our partners and are delighted to be integrated with OCC. We have worked really hard to improve our music promotion tools on We7's website so that fans can instantly see exciting music whichever genre they enjoy. Our redesigned home page can point to more 150 titles every week, and our multilayered promotions can bring uplifts of 25%. Being part of OCC's data capture can prove the effectiveness of what we are doing".

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BLENDER GETS LIQUIDISED
The April edition of American music mag Blender will be its last, as its publisher Alpha Media Group (who bought the title from Dennis Publishing a couple years ago) closed it down yesterday. Some sort of web presence will remain.

Staff at the title were apparently only informed of the decision at a meeting yesterday morning, which coincides with a number of changes at Alpha Media, including the departure of co-CEO Glenn Rosenbloom. Blender's editorial staff will now work for the company's sole remaining title, Maxim, and its online offshoot, Maxim Digital.

Alpha Media's remaining CEO, Stephen Duggan, said in a statement: "Since 2001, Blender has provided unmatched music coverage and entertainment news in its unique voice to a profoundly dedicated audience of music enthusiasts. We are particularly grateful to the sales team and to the tremendously talented editorial staff for their hard work and commitment to Blender".

He blamed the move on the global recession, but remained positive for the future, saying: "Alpha Media Group is weathering the current economic difficulties, and we are confident that with the changes we are implementing, the company is in the strongest position possible to continue moving forward".

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GLOBAL CHIEF TO ADDRESS SRA
Organisers of the Student Radio Association conference have confirmed that Global Radio chief Ashley Tabor will speak at this year's event, which takes place at the University Of Leeds next month. Ashley, who heads up the company that, through acquiring both Chrysalis and GCap, has become the powerhouse of British commercial radio, will "share his vision for the future of commercial radio". As previously reported, CMU will also be at the SRA event heading up a panel on the music business and offering lots of career tips for those wanting to work in the ever downsizing media.

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OSBOURNE PRAISES HER, ER, SON
Sharon Osbourne has had some glowing words to say about her son, Jack, in response to allegations that her family are unsuitable people to make TV appearances because of their addicted ways. Talking in advance of upcoming new Fox variety show 'Osbournes Reloaded', Sharon says that, on the contrary, her family are an inspiration to other people trying to overcome their demons. She told Reuters: "All my family are examples of being truthful about their condition and working though it and trying to better themselves", adding that son Jack has now been sober for six years, and therefore is a "beacon of hope to every young person in this country who is struggling with addiction. We live in the real world, and this world is tough".

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TIMBERLAKE NOT RECORDING A NEW ALBUM
Justin Timberlake has said he's not working on a new album and has no plans to do so for the time being. Why? Because he thinks it's better to write and record music when he wants to, rather than mindlessly knocking out a new set of songs every year. This is the correct way to approach things, well done Justin.

He told Entertainment Weekly: "Right now, I like the idea that things can just kind of pop up and if they feel right I can do them. Committing to my own sort of project, that's like, 'Okay, let me block out two years of my life and do it'. I was heavily fulfilled with the last one and I always have this thing with myself that if I can't sleep because I need to do it, then I'm gonna do it. But if I'm not losing sleep over it then..."

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