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Job ads
Classified ads
Top Stories
Jacko memorabilia auction cancelled
Post-verdict Spector chatter
Australia gets two Record Store Days, on the same day
Madonna still planning to adopt Mercy
In The Pop Courts
Spanish man jailed for running illegal music links site
TI bodyguard sentenced
German star accused of spreading HIV
Saxophonist Johnny Roadhouse dies
Awards & Contests
Observer give away Damien Hirst's Hours artwork
In The Studio
Leona Lewis to work with Xenomania
Winehouse writes Blake baby song
Arcade Fire man says they are ready to work
Release News
Delphic invite remixes
Wave Machines free download
Depeche Mode album streaming on NME/We7
Films N Shows News
Pearl Jam movie in the works
Gigs N Tours News
Little Boots tour dates
Von Bondies dates
Festival News
Festival line up update
Album review: Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career (Beggars/4AD)
The Music Business
Now Live Nation VIP ticket scheme is criticised
Warner appoint former manager to artist partnerships role
The Digital Business
Prince to release purple iPod
The Media Business
TLRC director urges shareholders to sell to chairman
Radio 1 axe £350k promotional vid
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Dylan says Stones don't cut it without Wyman

Snoop stood up by Dre and Eminem

Jagz Kooner started his musical career as a DJ while still at school, and later began working with fellow DJ Andrew Weatherall, first as a remixer and then as a member of Sabres Of Paradise and The Aloof. Since then he has branched out on his own, and has remixed the likes of Oasis, Massive Attack and Primal Scream, as well as producing Radio 4 and CMU favourites Infadels. Most recently he has produced the second album by Reverend & The Makers, 'A French Kiss In The Chaos', which is due for release later this year.
Jagz will DJ at Twisted Licks at The Macbeth in London on 25 Apr following live sets by Cats In Paris, Crystal Fighters and Hot Silk Pockets. For more info on that go to

We caught up with Jagz to ask our Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started out as a DJ when I was a kid, playing at the school disco. I was very heavily inspired by Grandmaster Flash and Kool DJ Herc. I used to cut up records and mix and scratch when I was a teenager (a very long time ago!). Then acid house came along and I saw my calling. I then proceeded to start making music with drum machines and synths.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I've just finished producing the new Reverend And The Makers album entitled 'A French Kiss In The Chaos', which I will describe as a post apocalyptic psych album with heavy beats and bass. It was inspired by 60s psychedelia and movie soundtracks by composers like Ennio Morricone, John Barry and Lalo Schifrin.

Q3 How do you go about creating a track?
That's a big question! Inspiration and ideas come from all sorts of places. The main source this time round was Jon McClure's songwriting, which has developed immensely. Also, The Makers have had a line up change and this has made a massive difference to the sound of the band.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I have a varied and extensive taste in music. I suppose my greatest influences are from dance music (drums and synths) but I also love the sonic qualities of rock music (heavy guitars) as well as reggae (for bass and production effects). I wouldn't want to mention artists by name as it would take forever because I don't want to leave anyone off the list!

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Don't be scared, it's only music

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
My ambitions for the latest album would be to see Jon McClure (aka The Reverend) recognised as the genius songwriter he really is. And the future? To carry on doing what I'm doing!


I own every seven inch from Nine Black Alps' debut album, 'Everything Is', including the limited one they did on Manchester indie Melodic. I even got the t-shirt from the tour. The second album though. I sold my copy of 'Love/Hate' after just a few listens, its toned-down, placid rock having no place in my record collection. Since then they've parted ways with their label, Island, and found the volume control again, with new release 'Buy Nothing' manage a return to their former selves, but even louder, angrier and with more shuddering walls of guitar. In all probability it's a damning polemic of the major label system they're out of, notably on the lines, "Reject the target market, focus on control / Abandon advertising, selling all your soul", but I could - though it's unlikely - be reading it all wrong. Either way, it's all free at the link below, which ties in nicely with the song's title of course.
DeSylva PR is the freelance venture of Holly de Sylva who has spent 5 years at leading music and festival agencies across London. A young, hard working and dynamic PR looking after 4 festivals, plus leading, innovative venues and bands and i need an assistant now! Someone who can hit the ground running, loves mucking in, will work across all accounts on admin, press releases and negotiating press plus doing mail outs to journalists. Other tasks include assisting managing interview schedules on site at festivals, assisting managing guest lists and much more besides.

This is an amazing opportunity for a dedicated, ambitious and enthusiastic person to gain hands on and invaluable contacts and experience in music PR. Main requirements are: focus, creative and clever ideas, happy to muck in, enthusiasm, capacity of working and thinking quickly, excellent social skills, excellent organisation skills and time management, keen dedication to learning skills of Music PR, reliability and an interest in Climate and political issues and urge to change the world for the better using events and positive, call-to-action PR. (we look after some green / eco events). Applicant will be expected to work unsupervised sometimes and a sense of responsibility and desire to work with 100% reliability is necessary.

Based in Shoreditch this Full-time freelance contract runs until September. Applicants will be expected to work at the festivals as part of the full time position, expenses will be paid.

Please send CV's and intro email 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.



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: [email protected] or [email protected] t: 020 7575 3285


Leyline Promotions has two desk suites available in a well-appointed courtyard studio in Westbourne Studios, W10. Ideal for a small creative agency in a very friendly and professional environment. Rent includes: storage, broadband connections, business rates, insurance, 24 hr access, restaurant and bar, conference facilities, natural sunlight. 4 mins walk from Westbourne Park tube station. Call Adrian for more info on 07971 555 020 / [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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The planned sale of nearly 1400 items belonging to Michael Jackson has been cancelled after that previously reported dispute between the singer and the auction house which was staging the sale.

As previously reported, after initially supporting the Jacko memorabilia fest planned by Julien's Auction House in LA, and indeed making most of the items up for grabs available to the auctioneers, the singer then accused the company of reneging on a promise to let him personally approve the list of items for sale before publicising the auction. Darren Julien argued that he'd done everything by the book, and that Jacko's people had signed off all announcements, adding that he therefore planned to proceed with the sale.

Legal action followed, though a judge blocked initial attempts to halt the sale earlier this month. Another hearing was due this week ahead of the planned sale, which was due to begin on 22 Apr. However, yesterday the auction house, which claims to have spent $2 million putting the auction together, announced it had reached an out of court settlement with Jackson's people and as a result the sale would now not go ahead.

A joint statement from the auctioneers and Jackson's rep, a Dr Thome R Thome, implied that the goods that had been for sale will now be exhibited instead. The told reporters: "There was so much interest from so many of Jackson's fans that instead of putting the items in the hands of private collectors, Dr Tohme and Julien's Auction House have made arrangements that will allow the collection to be shared with and enjoyed by Jackson's fans for many years to come".

Confirming the deal meant the auction was cancelled, Julien told reporters: "It's been our hopes to resolve this in the beginning, when the lawsuit was filed. It was in our best interest to resolve it. We continue to have great respect for Michael Jackson ... I guess you could call it the greatest auction that never happened".

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A former girlfriend of Phil Spector, one of the exs who testified against the legendary producer with a tale of how he once held her at gun point, has said she is "over the moon" about this week's verdict in his murder trial. As previously reported, Spector was found guilty of murder on Monday and now faces 15 years plus in prison.

Devra Robitaille was a prosecution witness at both Spector trials. She worked for Spector's record label in the mid-seventies, and says that one night when she tried to leave the producer's home after a party he forbid her from leaving and pointed a gun to her head to reinforce his point. The prosecution said that Robitaille's testimony, and other similar stories provided by other former girlfriends of the producer, proved that Spector had a "long history of gun-related violence directed at women". That, they argued, suggested Spector was holding the gun that killed actress Lana Clarkson that night in 2003, and even if he never intended to shoot any of the women he pointed guns at, such reckless behaviour was bound to end in tragedy.

Recalling her time in the witness stand, and the media coverage of her testimony, Robitaille told WENN: "I've got a daughter. She's only 15; when we first started this dance [ie the first trial], I think she was 12 or 13. That's what kept me co-operating, the thought that anybody would do anything like that to her. It's an outrage and it can't be condoned and it must not slip through the cracks. That's what's motivated me all the way through. I got into a lot of trouble on the stand for talking to the press. I was humiliated and dragged through the mud and made to look like some stupid schmuck... but I stand by my convictions. I talked because I thought that the truth should come out and people should know".

Commenting on Spector's conviction, she continued: "I'm over the moon with the verdict. It's symbolic that people can't get away with it, and the fancy footwork of the lawyers doesn't always mask the truth. I think [prosecutor] Alan Jackson and his crowd should really be commended. They were awesome. They were all true gentlemen".

Elsewhere in random post-verdict Spector quotes, James Walsh from Starsailor, the last band to ever work with the producer (and ever likely to now, unless there's a prison band in need of some production guidance), has been recalling his time working with the man. Starsailor recorded two tracks with Spector just before Clarkson's death.

Walsh: "Recording with Phil Spector was an amazing experience at the time. I had grown up with 'Imagine' and was just getting into the brilliant [Spector-produced Dion album] 'Born To Be With You' when we got the call. The two tracks, 'Silence Is Easy' and 'White Dove,' were recorded in the first week of working with him. He then returned to LA and came back to England some weeks later a different character. The outgoing, charismatic producer we had met previously had become withdrawn and hard to communicate with. We persevered as long as we could out of respect for the man and his reputation, but we had to call it a day after a while. Some weeks later, while the album was being mixed, we heard he had been arrested for murder. It is hard for me to pass judgement on whether he is guilty or innocent. We certainly never saw an aggressive side to him while we worked with him, but like everybody else, we do not know exactly what went on inside that house".

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It's Record Store Day this weekend, the worldwide celebration of independent record shops. In Australia, though, there will be two separate Record Stores Days, but on the same day, after a dispute over what 'independent' actually means.

The Australian Music Retailers Association, sort of the Aussie equivalent of our Entertainment Retailers Association, will stage Record Store Day Australia. Their programme was initially affiliated to the organisation behind the US-based Record Store Day programme, but the US body decided to break its association with the AMRA events after discovering major Australian music retailers Sanity and JB Hi-FI, the latter a publicly listed company on the Australia Stock Exchange, were involved. That, they felt, went against the spirit of the proudly independent celebration. One of he US Record Store Day founders, Michael Kurtz, wrote on his website: "It is with some regret, that the organisers of Record Store Day will not be able to work with AMRA on this year's Record Store Day event".

With 300 record shops already signed up when the split occurred, AMRA has decided to continue with its programme under the Record Store Day Australia banner, and as the big day approaches 400 record shops are now signed up. The trade body's treasurer, Gavin Ward, told reporters: "I don't think the US issue is a great deal at all. They objected to the fact our members and the people involved in the Australian event sell things other than recorded music, and they objected to the involvement of Sanity and JB Hi Fi's involvement. As far as we're concerned it's all about getting people into the stores and enjoying being in a store and having fun".

However, some smaller independent stores in Australia have broken ranks with the big boy involving AMRA programme and decided to stage their own events directly affiliated to Record Store Day USA. About forty stores are taking part in Record Store Day proper, with a handful signed up to both versions.

No such split here in the UK. For details of the stores participating over here, check this URL:

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According to reports, Madonna hasn't given up on the idea of adopting Malawian child Chifundo (aka Mercy) James. As previously reported, a court in Malawi recently refused the singer permission to take the child out of the country, claiming that she failed to meet residency requirements that specify that a prospective adoptive parent should have lived in the country for at least eighteen months before applying for custody, as opposed to jetting in the weekend before a hearing on the Friday. Of course, those rules didn't stop her adopting a first Malawian child, David Banda, so Madonna is presumably confident that she can change the court's mind when she appeals against its decision.

The star told African newspaper The Nation: "I want to provide Mercy with a home, a loving family environment and the best education and healthcare possible. And it's my hope that she, like David, will one day return to Malawi and help the people of their country".

Meanwhile, Madonna has apparently been busy buying a £22.7m home in New York. The Upper East side Georgian style town house has thirteen bedrooms, a lift, a wine cellar and grotto, and a 3000 square foot garden. The singer is planning extensive renovation of the property to improve its security, reports the New York Post.

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The Spanish courts have not been especially kind to the record companies in their fight against online piracy, often arguing that the country's copyright laws are too vague to do individuals who are involved in unlicensed file-sharing for infringement. Past court cases in the jurisdiction have centred very much on whether users have profited by making unlicensed content available, with the logic being that if there is no profit being made then there is no case against a defendant, even if they are distributing content without a content owner's permission. However, that could all be about to change.

First, the country's new Culture Minister, Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, previously headed up the country's Cinema Academy, and is therefore likely to be much more pro the content owners' interests in copyright debates. And now a Spanish court has jailed a man for operating a website that provided links to unlicensed sources of content.

It could be a landmark ruling. It's true that Adrian Gomez Llorente did make a profit from his website, though that profit was from advertising and SMS services and not direct pay-per-download fees, suggesting the Spanish courts, while still looking for profits when considering infringement claims, are willing to take a wide view with regards how a defendant may be profiting.

It's also interesting that Llorente's site seemingly provided links to rather than actually hosting unlicensed content. This is, of course, a big issue in many jurisdictions, and is at the heart of The Pirate Bay trial in Sweden - ie should the principle of authorising or contributory infringement be extended to websites who enable infringement by simply providing links. A previous Spanish case ruled that providing links did not in itself amount to infringement, though that was in relation to the non-profit making Sharemula website. In this case the judge ruled that, because a profit was being made, providing simple links to unlicensed content was sufficient to amount to infringement.

Llorente received six months in jail and a 4900 euro fine for operating his website, which is in itself pretty substantial, and all of which means that, while the profit-making test remains, music companies in Spain have reasons to be hopeful that both law makers and law enforcers could be working more in their favour in the future regarding online piracy issues.

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TI's former bodyguard Corey Williams has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for his role in purchasing illegal weapons for his employer. As previously reported, the rapper, real name Clifford Harris, has previously been convicted of the crime of possessing said illegal weapons, and sentenced to a thousand hours of community service as well as, like his employee, a year and a day in prison.

Williams began working for TI in July of 2007, and, because he had a completely clean record, soon engaged in buying arms for the hip hop star, who was barred from possessing weapons because of previous criminal convictions. Williams was apprehended when he attempted to purchase a machine gun without registering it - required by federal law - and following that arrest, agreed to wear a wire during his meetings with TI, which led to the rapper's own arrest. It was this cooperation which meant that Williams was given a shortened sentence for his crimes.

TI would similarly have faced a lot longer in prison (up to ten years) had he not secured a plea deal, which in his case, allowed him to perform the aforementioned community service in lieu of doing time. He has completed those hours already, by speaking at schools and community centres as well as filming the MTV reality series 'Road To Redemption'. Which sounds very, very tough.

TI will begin his custodial sentence sometime next month. Corey Williams has already begun his sentence, like normal people do.

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A member of Germany's biggest-selling girl group has been arrested on suspicion of deliberately spreading the HIV virus. Nadja Benaissa was arrested on Saturday in Frankfurt shortly before she was due to go on stage to perform a solo concert.

Prosecutors in the town of Darmstadt said in a statement that Benaissa had been detained because they suspected that she had unprotected sex with three men between 2004 and 2006 without informing them that she is HIV positive. At least one of the men subsequently tested positive for the virus. She now faces possible charges of grievous bodily harm and may face up to 10 years in prison.

Benaissa is a member of No Angels, an all-female pop group formed on the German version of TV talent show, 'Popstars'. They went on to be the country's most successful girl group of all time, racking up over 5 million record sales, and representing Germany in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. Benaissa has also released a solo album and is reportedly in the process of recording a second.

Her manager declined to comment on the arrest, according to Spiegel Online.

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Saxophonist Johnny Roadhouse has died in his sleep at the age of 88. The influential musician was also behind Johnny Roadhouse Music, of course, the famous music superstore on Manchester's Oxford Road which has counted the likes of Oasis and Joy Division as its customers. A statement on the shop's website said: "He will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by all his family, friends and staff".

Meanwhile, former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce has paid tribute to Roadhouse, saying: "Every single band in Manchester has gone through Johnny Roadhouse Music at some stage - it's impossible not to. Music shops come and go, but Johnny Roadhouse stays. It's synonymous with Manchester music".

Roadhouse's name may by now be more associated with his shop than with his musical career, but as a performer he appeared with the likes of Elton John and Bob Hope.

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The Observer Music Monthly is giving away the original Damien Hirst painting created for the front cover of The Hours' second album, 'See The Light', to coincide with a special issue of the magazine starring the artist and the band on 19 Apr.

You can register to win one of 20 prints of the artwork at, which will also get you an exclusive download of the track, 'These Days'. Details of how to win the original artwork (valued at £125,000) will be revealed in the Observer Music Monthly on Sunday.

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Pop production outfit Xenomania are reportedly to work with Leona Lewis on material for her new album. The team, who have previously worked on tracks for various successful pop acts of course, including Girls Aloud and Gabriella Cilmi, have apparently worked on five tracks for the 'X-Factor' singer.

The Daily Star quote Xenomania songwriter Miranda Cooper as saying: "We are not going to change Leona's style but it's interesting for us to do something downbeat - tragic songs with a twist".

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The Sun claims that Amy Winehouse has written a track inspired by rumours that her estranged husband Blake Fielder Civil is expecting a child with another woman, Gilleen Morris, having impregnated her during a recent period in rehab. The tabloid alleges that Winehouse went into a St Lucia studio hours after hearing the reports and got to work on a track called 'The Ultimate Betrayal'.

A source is quoted as saying: "Amy still felt they had something between them and that one day they'd be together again. But this news destroyed her. She sat down with her guitar and started writing 'The Ultimate Betrayal' She keeps repeating the line: 'Blake a baby, no, no, no.' It's very haunting".

Winehouse is apparently back on the Caribbean island specifically to focus on recording her third album. That said, if the Mirror is to be believed, she's not focusing enough.

They report that execs at Universal are furious that Amy, way behind schedule on her own new album, has now agreed to collaborate with Gorillaz. Their source says this: "They were not happy to say the least. They want Amy to get cracking on her new album, but the results have so far not been up to scratch. Imagine how they felt when they realised she had agreed to work with Gorillaz? They couldn't believe it. It's an unnecessary distraction. They think she should invest all her energy in her own music. She should be knuckling down and delivering the goods".

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Arcade Fire's Win Butler has said that the band are ready to begin working on their third LP, following a year's hiatus. Butler told the Montreal Gazette: "We feel really creative right now. We're in a really good space as a band. This last year was the first break we've had in five years. Everyone feels really rejuvenated and excited. I'm happy to play music".

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Manchester newcomers Delphic are inviting fans to remix their debut single, 'Counterpoint', which is out this week. The band have made the individual parts of the track available on their website in MP3 and WAV format.

To have a crack at it yourself, go to

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Lots of people are talking about Wave Machines, aren't they? It's probably about time you formed an opinion on them. Luckily, the band have just made their next single, 'Keep The Lights On', available as a free download. To grab it, head over to

'Keep The Lights On' will be released on 7" vinyl on 20 Apr. The band will also be headlining Islington Bar Academy on 18 May.

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You can listen to Depeche Mode's new album 'Sounds Of The Universe' via a We7 widget on right now. It's part of NME's tie up with the streaming music service. The album is out next week, but can be streamed at this link now.

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Do you think when he directed 'Almost Famous', Cameron Crowe considered the fact that he'd be known as "Almost Famous director Cameron Crowe" for years afterwards? It always sounds like people are saying "not quite good enough director Cameron Crowe". Maybe this new film chronicling Pearl Jam's 20 year together will change all that. Although not if they go with my first choice title: 'Almost Irrelevant Since The Mid-90s'.

Anyway, apparently the band have hired Crowe to help them assemble their massive archive of concert, backstage and studio footage into some kind of meaningful and engaging story. Guitarist Mike McCready says: "We're building up to our big 20th anniversary... We're trying to do a movie with Cameron Crowe with all of our existing footage".

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Little Boots is set to play four headline dates around the UK next month, ahead of the release of her debut album, 'Hands', in June.

Tour dates:

12 May: Leeds, Cockpit
13 May: Manchester, Club Academy
14 May: Glasgow, King Tuts
28 May: London, Heaven

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The Von Bondies, remember them? Well, they are back with their third studio album next month, and a single, 'Pale Bride', on 27 Apr. They are also back on tour and, as well as an appearance at this month's Camden Crawl, will also play at the following dates:

23 Apr: Kings College - London
25 Apr: O2 Academy - Birmingham
26 Apr: King Tut's Wah Wah Hut - Glasgow
27 Apr: The Ruby Lounge - Manchester

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SOUTHPORT WEEKENDER, Southport Pontins Holiday Centre, 8-10 May: Roy Ayers And Bah Samba, Ms Dynamite, Ann Nesby, Montell Jordan and N'Dambi have all been confirmed to perform at the three-day event, alongside Kaidi Tatham, Stephanie McKay, Nate James and Marc De Clive with Phish And Friends.

ONE BIG WEEKEND, Lydiard Park, Swindon, 9-10 May: Lily Allen, Franz Ferdinand, Scouting For Girls, Akon, Ne-Yo and Alesha Dixon have all been confirmed to perform at Radio 1's big bash. The Enemy, Maximo Park and The Gossip have also been added to bill, along with Enter Shikari, Tinchy Stryder, Chase And Status, Ladyhawke and White Lies.

WYCHWOOD, Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, 29-31 May: Oojami Sound System have been announced as headliners in the Big Top, joining previously confirmed Red Light Company. The Beetroot Kings, Goldheart Assembly, The Long Notes, Attila The Stockbroker, Rook And The Ravens, Dakota and Orchid Star have also been confirmed to perform.

LOUNGE ON THE FARM, Merton Farm, Canterbury, 10-12 July: Edwyn Collins has been confirmed as the Sunday night headliner. The Aliens, Dub Pistols, Bent, Portico Quartet and The King Blues are also set to perform.

WAKESTOCK, Abersoch Bay, Wales, 10-12 July: NERD have been announced as headliners along with Dizzee Rascal, Calvin Harris and Super Furry Animals.

T4 ON THE BEACH, Weston Super Mare beach, 19 July: Calvin Harris, Dizzee Rascal, Alesha Dixon, The Saturdays and Metro Station are among the first acts to be confirmed for this year's beach bash.

THE WIZARD FESTIVAL, New Deer, Peterhead, 28-29 August: The Levellers, have been confirmed as Friday night headliners for the Scottish festival, joining previously announced headliners The Charlatans.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career (Beggars/4AD)
Three years after their last release, Glaswegian five-piece Camera Obscura delve into the shadowy side of their introspective, whimsical indie-pop. "It's intense and quite dark," frontwoman Tracyanne Campbell says of the new record, which was recorded in Sweden with producer Jari Haapalainen, also responsible for producing material for the likes of The Concretes and Ed Harcourt. She's half right - though 'My Maudlin Career', while filled with doleful and at times joyless lyrics, has another side to its coin - sunshine, spritely melodies, and Tracyanne's unmistakable, unrivalled sweet-sounding voice. 'James', a song that Tracyanne herself agrees is not typically Camera Obscura-esque, is ironically the album's highlight: a gentle and sweeping torch song that manages to sound both atrociously depressing and beautifully mournful. 'My Maudlin Career' is interchangeable throughout, a kind of yin and yang record - dark and light, happy and sad. It doesn't waver, though - there are no apologies, and for an album that seems to have covered a difficult break-up for its entire play, it doesn't get tired or wet. A fine fourth release au fait with the tribulations of a heavy heart. TW
Release Date: 20 Apr
Press Contact: 4AD IH [All]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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As Ticketmaster's dabblings in the secondary ticketing market get analysed and criticised in the US, now a ticketing scheme operated by the live music conglom with which they hope to merge, good old Live Nation, is being slated.

It's one of those premium ticketing schemes which offer gig goers priority booking, premium seats and other benefits in return for an upfront fee. The New York based VIP Nation programme costs $1500 a year to join, but promises an "exclusive, personalised service" and the "right to purchase hard-to-get tickets". I think that means members get sent an email skewed towards their musical preferences listing upcoming gigs, and they can then buy tickets direct from the programme, sometimes getting priority access to certain tickets. None of which sounds like it's worth $1500, but whatever.

The scheme is coming under criticism because some of the people shelling out the upfront cash think that it will guarantee them top seats at any Live Nation gig. The problem is that, despite the dominance of Live Nation in the live music marketplace, it's often artists, their managers and their agents, who control the distribution of premium tickets, and bigger artists can opt out of VIP Nation type schemes, normally because they have their own fan club type operation making similar promises about access to premium tickets.

All of which means that some Live Nation VIPs don't feel very important at all when they find out what tickets they've been allocated. A recent New York Post story on the programme included a number of disgruntled members, one of whom said: "You don't think I could get tickets to the top row of the mezzanine by myself? The best attraction of the service was that you could bypass Ticketmaster so I was willing to pay the upfront fee, but after all this I just want my money back".

Live Nation stress that no false promises are made in the blurb for the VIP Nation programme, and that the scheme is designed to provide information and convenience rather than guarantee access to the best seats in the house for every single gig. They're probably right, and I have little sympathy with anyone who signs up to a glorified mailing list for $1500.

But the report criticising the programme is interesting in that it is another example of Live Nation and Ticketmaster's operations coming under increased media scrutiny as their attempts to merge work their way through the regulatory process. The combined Livemaster is going to have to work hard to convince the world they're not screwing the consumer at every turn.

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Warner UK have promoted Paul Craig, previously GM of Atlantic Records, to the new job of SVP Artist Partnerships, which will see him getting involved in any '360 degree' style relationships the major's UK labels have with their artists, which means he'll be working on live, merchandising, brand partnership and sync right type projects. Those are traditionally areas that artist managers might have more involvement in, which is presumably why Craig has been chosen for the role. Prior to joining Warner he managed the likes of Then Jerico and INXS, and also co-founded the now MAMA Group owned management agency Supervision.

Warner UK top bloke John Reid says this: "As soon as we identified the need for this role, it was obvious to us that we already had the ideal candidate. Paul has spent his whole career finding and developing creative and commercial relationships for his acts. Over the past 18 months, his unique perspective has been invaluable in helping us to formulate our artist services strategy. By allowing him to focus on that full-time, I believe we will unlock even greater potential to create career-defining partnerships with our artists".

Craig himself added this: "I'm extremely excited to be leading our cross-label artist partnerships efforts. Since I arrived at Warner Music in 2007, the company has demonstrated a clear commitment to building skill-sets that create added value for our acts. By tapping into the network of specialists we now have around the world, and by harnessing what has already been put in place here in the U.K., we have a solid foundation for growth in this area. I look forward to building on that and helping to take the company to the next phase in its evolution as an artist services company".

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Prince will be releasing a special purple iPod that will come pre-loaded with a 15-song video filmed at his O2 London residency back in 2007. It's not being done through a tie up with Apple, though, so presumably he's buying the players off the IT firm, decorating them, loading up the content, and then reselling them himself. There will be just 950 of the devices sold, and reports suggest they may sell for over $2000 each, there still being stupid people in the world, despite the credit crunch and all that. The iPod will be launched alongside a collection of photos taken at the aforementioned London residency.

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So, it's all go at that most imaginatively named of local radio companies, The Local Radio Company, which, as previously reported, is currently subject to two takeover bids.

Rival radio firm UKRD, which has a 13.5% stake in TLRC, is trying to buy out its fellow shareholders, presumably to enable the merger of the two radio companies. However, another shareholder, Hallwood, which, it turns out, is led by TLRC's chairman, has made a rival higher bid. It remains to be seen if UKRD are willing to match Hallwood's offer. Hallwood actually seem quite happy to keep TLRC as is, trading on the Alternative Investment Market, so presumably only want to actually buy out UKRD and/or any other shareholder likely to sell to the rival radio firm.

Anyway, a director of the company, John Perriss, has written to shareholders urging them to take Hallwood's pound, rather than selling out to UKRD. Given they're currently offering more money, presumably they will.

The currently loss making TLRC owns 21 local radio stations around the UK, while UKRD owns 13.

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The BBC have reportedly shelved a lavish promotional video it planned to screen on its TV networks to promote Radio 1 because of fears its lavishness will piss off licence-fee payers because of the recession.

The promo wasn't shelved, though, until most of the station's presenters had been filmed at Pinewood studios in OTT costumes, and Muse had been commissioned to record an exclusive song for it. Some reports say £700,000 was spent on the promo which now won't see the light of day.

The BBC argue that they only spent £350,000 on the promo, and that they will use some footage from it for various promotional whatnots later this year. So that's alright then. And you wonder why the commercial radio sector complain that the tax-payer funded pop station has an unfair advantage. Bosses at commercial pop stations dream of being able to waste that kind of money on nothing.

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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. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
2. Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream (Sony/Columbia)
3. Mastodon - Crack The Skye (Warner Bros)*
4. Lamb Of God - Wrath (Warner/Roadrunner)
5. AC/DC - Black Ice (Sony/Columbia)
6. Metallica - Death Magnetic (Universal/Mercury)
7. Papa Roach - Metamorphisis (Universal/Interscope)*
8. Pearl Jam - Ten (Sony)*
9. Kid Rock - Rock - N Roll Jesus (Warner/Atlantic)
10. Blue October - Approaching Normal (Universal/Island)*
11. Theory Of A Deadman - Scars & Souvenirs (Warner/Roadrunner)
12. Chris Cornell - Scream (Universal)
13. Static-X - Cult Of Static (Warner Bros)
14. Guns n Roses - Chinese Democracy (Universal/Geffen)
15. Linkin Park - Minutes To Midnight (Warner Bros)
16. Nickelback - All The Right Reasons (Warner/Roadrunner)
17. Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (Universal/Geffen)
18. Disturbed - Indestructible (Warner/Reprise)
19. Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness (Warner/Atlantic)
20. Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone (Warner/Roadrunner)

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Bob Dylan has said that The Rolling Stones aren't really The Rolling Stones without Bill Wyman. He told MTV: "I'm not saying they don't keep going, but they need Bill. Without him they're a funk band. They'll be the real Rolling Stones when they get Bill back". Wyman left the Stones in 1992, of course.

However, on a more complimentary note, he added: "The Rolling Stones are truly the greatest rock and roll band in the world and always will be. The last too. Everything that came after them, metal, rap, punk, new wave, pop-rock, you name can trace it all back to The Rolling Stones. They were the first and the last and no one's ever done it better".

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Snoop Dogg was left to perform on his own at the Our World Live concert in LA last Tuesday, after his "surprise guests" Dr Dre and Eminem both pulled out of the show. According to New York Daily News, Dre bailed after his bodyguards were involved in a car crash and he was advised not to attend the show without them. Eminem then refused to take to the stage without Dre. It's not clear whether or not this is because Dre is now working as Eminem's bodyguard.

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