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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Sony catalogue tracks added to eMusic
Morgan denies Cowell overworking rehabbed Boyle
Nude Madonna and Guy picture fails to sell
In The Pop Courts
Lauper sued over cancelled tour
Reunions & Splits
Molko on Hewitt's Placebo departure
In The Studio
Elbow on album number five
Books News
Roadie claims Hendrix was murdered
Gigs N Tours News
Morrissey to resume tour
Jackson wants Britain's talent
Nas explains Canada no-show
Wavves apologise for rubbishness, cancel European tour
Calvin Harris tour
Fever Ray announces UK tour dates
Festival News
Download to announce secret bands
Reviews
Live review: Patrick Wolf at The Classic Grand in Glasgow on 29 May
Brands N Stuff
Universal to sell lyrical t-shirts via Asda
Energy drink to sponsor revamped Garage
Pearl Jam announce Target alliance
Jay-Z's Rocawear to expand into Chinese market
The Music Business
Warner relaunch Elektra
New Birmingham Academy to open in September
Knight launches label to self-release album
The Digital Business
Seatwave secures ten million in new investment
More details revealed about Beatles game
Last.fm goes into early summer meltdown
The Media Business
MTV writer admits Bruno's Eminem attack staged
Spice Girl gets permanent shows on Heart
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Manson just a dopey clown, says Reznor
Jarvis "not proud" of Jacko attack
GaGa would enjoy Jonas foursome
Birdsong FM fans mourn 'station' demise
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TUESDAY 2ND JUNE


SPARROW AND THE WORKSHOP
Sparrow And The Workshop drummer Gregor Donaldson once played drums along to the 'Star Wars' theme on 'Blue Peter'. Do I need to tell you anything more? Okay, how about the fact that vocalist Jill O'Sullivan came third in the Women's category at the 2008 World Stone Skimming Championships (she really did, I looked it up)? Oh, and they make music, too. Obviously. They are a band. And though they are most definitely are a folk band, they also draw on rock and pop influences to bolster their sound. Their new EP, 'Sleight Of Hand' is out this week and they are currently touring with Broken Records. We emerged from the water, avoiding all flying stones, to ask Jill our Same Six Questions.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
We all have played since we were small. I started with classical training on violin because my school gave free lessons, and then I taught myself guitar when I finished college. Nick was taught cornet but then taught himself guitar as a young kid, and piano, accordion and anything else he got his hands on. Gregor learned drums as a child after he spent an entire night in front of a bass drum at a wedding feeling it rumble in his chest, and went on to enjoy drumming fame on 'Blue Peter'! He also taught himself guitar. So I guess we all really wanted to play music and be in bands from young ages.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
When we all started making music together it felt magical right away. I had a couple of songs and played them for Gregor, and he started interpreting them really uniquely on drums, in a way I couldn't have imagined. Then he started harmonising and I've never seen anyone who can harmonise so nicely. He also has a compelling voice, so the duets were born. Nick first got involved when we needed some bass on a song, but it quickly became evident that his amazing slide riffs, guitar parts and interesting bass lines elevated the music and sort of stretched our possibilities for playing and songwriting. So the three of us went ahead and started making music based on our individual strong points and shared love in music. So this first album combines elements of our earlier and more recent efforts. ‘The Gun’, for instance, is performed by just me and Gregor, but the guitar melody to 'I Will Break You', for example, was written by Nick. So we're finding our feet and working more as a three-piece.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
For the most part, I come up with melodies and my guitar chords, but we tend to decide on the structure together and we also make combined decisions on who will play what instruments on what tracks. We also decide on the pace, dynamic and swing of the songs together. Whatever emotion we're feeling for a particular track, that goes into the songs. It's hard to describe, a lot of trial and error and sharing of ideas.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
This is always a difficult question to answer because we all have different tastes in music, but generally we all love a bit of old country, Motown, folk... but that said, we listen to all sorts, regardless of it's genre, things like Max Tundra to Dinosaur Jr to Fairport Convention...

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Don't judge us.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
We hope that people enjoy our music, of course, and we want to be able to play as much as we can. As far as songwriting goes, or direction, for that matter, a lot of my melodies and the lyrics I write are the result of pent up emotions. And I still have a hell of a lot to get out!

MORE>> www.myspace.com/sparrowandtheworkshop

 
BLACK CHERRY
This rather fine and little bit buzzy London-based electro-indie foursome are following up the acclaim they garnered for both their self-released debut single 'Radio' and a recent performance at this year's SxSW by releasing a digital EP this very week, via iTunes, called 'This Is Control'. And it's really rather good. But don't take my word for it. First, you should go check out the player at the MySpace link below. But more importantly, get on down to the official EP launch party at 229 in London tomorrow night, 3 Jun, from 7.30pm. The Black Cherry boys and girl will play themselves, as will guests Akala and Boy In The Box, with DJ sets from Arveene, Jamie Skillz and Miss Meg. You can get in for free if you guest list yourself in advance - send your details to info@229thevenue.co.uk.

www.myspace.com/blackcherrymusic




 

 

 

SONY CATALOGUE TRACKS ADDED TO EMUSIC
Sony Music will add some of its catalogue recordings to eMusic's subscription-based download service, which is pretty big news because eMusic has focused exclusively on independent label music since its entrance into the digital music space in 1998, mainly because its policy throughout has been to provide music without digital rights management technology embedded, which, until relatively recently, ruled out the participation of any of the then DRM-obsessed majors.

Music more than two years old from Sony's various catalogues will be made available to eMusic subscribers, initially in the US. Although the deal doesn't include new releases, for the older and more passionate music fans that make up much of the eMusic subscriber base, the opportunity to include some classic Sony-owned recordings in their monthly downloads will, I imagine, be welcomed by many.

As much previously reported, eMusic subscribers basically buy downloads in monthly bundles, where a fixed monthly subscription allows them to download permanent MP3 copies of a certain number of tracks from the eMusic catalogue.

Confirming the addition of Sony artists to their catalogue, eMusic boss Danny Stein told CMU: "We're excited to bring Sony Music's vast catalogue of music to eMusic's customers. First and foremost, eMusic is about a quality customer experience. We are eager to bring eMusic's in-depth approach and curatorial excellence to these incredible recordings - as we've done for independent labels for the last ten years".

Sony's digital man Thomas Hesse added: "We welcome the opportunity to expand the reach of Sony Music catalogue artists online to include eMusic's large and passionate subscriber base. We look forward to working with them to promote discovery and sales of all the great music available from Sony Music's recent past and legendary history".

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MORGAN DENIES COWELL OVERWORKING REHABBED BOYLE
Piers Morgan has defended Simon Cowell against allegations that the 'Britain's Got Talent' chief had worked Susan Boyle too hard in the run up to the talent show's final on Saturday, and that that had, in part, led to the showtune warbling Scot's admission on Sunday night to the London branch of The Priory.

As everyone in the world must surely know by now, the 'BGT' runner up was admitted to the rehab clinic on Sunday night after staff on the talent show and at the London hotel where the finalist was staying became concerned about her mental well-being. Although a gallant loser on screen, insiders say Boyle was devastated by her surprise defeat on the talent show to London-based dance troupe Diversity. Already seemingly suffering under the intense media spotlight placed upon her in the run up to last week's 'BGT' final, the whole ordeal resulted in Boyle behaving a bit weird.

As the media reported on Boyle's voluntary admission to The Priory yesterday morning, 'BGT' judge Morgan insisted the singer was just exhausted and needed some time out of the spotlight.

In response to allegations that Cowell had been pushing the singer too hard in a bid to maximise the potential of her expected record deal with the 'BGT' producer's record company, Morgan added: "The idea that Simon is totally oblivious to the whole thing and just wants to make money out of her couldn't be further from the truth. Simon, like everyone, is very concerned about Susan. No one could have predicted this".

Actually, I seem to remember a number of people predicting it. And although some in the blogosphere joked about Boyle's somewhat premature (in career terms) admission to London's celebrity rehab facility, most on the net seemed sympathetic towards the singer, whose meteoric rise from complete unknown to global megastar in less than two months is pretty much unprecedented.

Despite losing the show, Boyle is expected to get a multi-million pound record deal with Cowell's Sony imprint SyCo, and given the worldwide media coverage of her story her debut album is expected to shift millions, especially in the all important US market.

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NUDE MADONNA AND GUY PICTURE FAILS TO SELL
That nude painting of Madonna and Guy Ritchie has failed to sell at auction. Presumably because, as we noted last week, it's hideous. Although it was estimated it would sell for around £22,000, the work created by Scottish artist Peter Howson in 2005 failed to reach its reserve price of £15,000.

Brian Clements, director at McTear's auction house in Glasgow, said: "The auction was very successful, however, surprisingly Peter Howson's controversial piece 'Madonna & Guy' did not sell on the day. The painting is still for sale and we would be delighted to hear from anyone who is interested in this much talked about piece of Scottish art history".

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LAUPER SUED OVER CANCELLED TOUR
Cyndi Lauper has reportedly been sued by a German tour promoter because the singer pulled out of a planned tour a week after agreeing to perform seven dates in Germany next month. The promoter, Moderne Welt, reportedly claims that Lauper's agent had already given them the go ahead to publicise the dates before they were told the tour was off because of "film and television commitments". The promoters say they had already incurred costs by that point, and are suing for $800,000 in damages. Lauper's people have not as yet responded.

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MOLKO ON HEWITT'S PLACEBO DEPARTURE
Brian Molko has spoken to Music-News about Placebo Steve Hewitt's 2007 departure from the band, and says that although devoted fans took the split quite hard, it was necessary for the health of the group.

The singer explained: "I think the die-hards took it quite badly and I think there was a certain amount of anger surrounding Steve Hewitt's departure. A lot of die-hards had become very attached to what they considered to be the classic line-up, but really [by that point] we were nothing more than a rudderless ship with a hole in it".

While the band may possibly have lost some of those 'die-hards' as a result of Hewitt's departure, Molko says he's always surprised how many new fans the band picks up with each release. He continued: "Every time we release a record there's a whole new generation of 16-year-olds down the front and the people that were there in the front two or three years previously are now in the back five rows. So somehow, even as we've gotten older, we still manage to somehow connect with young people".

The band's new album, 'Battle Of The Sun' is out on 8 Jun.

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ELBOW ON ALBUM NUMBER FIVE
Elbow's Guy Garvey has been talking to Billboard about the follow-up to 'The Seldom Seen Kid', the Mercury Prize-winning fourth album that catapulted the Manchester band to a whole new level. Basically, work has already begun, but the boys don't want to rush anything, so you're probably looking at a 2010 release.

Garvey: "It's tempting to try and capitalise on this one's success but I think it's more important that we make sure it's a good record. We've got a bunch of stuff that we've been writing on tour that we're very slowly knocking into shape. We're trying to do just five or six days of writing every few weeks, and then we're going to collate it, and do the same thing again for a year and half. So it's well on its way".

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ROADIE CLAIMS HENDRIX WAS MURDERED
Now, it might appear cynical of me to say this, but it does seem that every rock biography written by a little known figure in the music industry comes with its very own revelation about how a now dead rock star they once knew was murdered.

The latest to do this is 'Rock Roadie', by former Jimi Hendrix roadie James 'Tappy' Wright. In it, Wright claims that the guitarist's manager Michael Jeffery drunkenly admitted to offing him as part of a life insurance scam. Wright alleges that Jeffery was the sole beneficiary of a $2 million life insurance policy taken out by Hendrix, and, in order to get his hands on the cash, he visited the London hotel room of Monika Dannemann, where Hendrix was staying the night he died, and force fed him pills and alcohol, which caused him to choke on his own vomit.

In the book Wright says: "I can still hear that conversation, see the man I'd known for so much of my life, his face pale, hand clutching at his glass in sudden rage. [He told me:] 'I had to do it, Tappy. You understand, don't you? I had to do it. You know damn well what I'm talking about. I was in London the night of Jimi's death and together with some old friends... we went round to Monika's hotel room, got a handful of pills and stuffed them into his mouth... then poured a few bottles of red wine deep into his windpipe. I had to do it. Jimi was worth much more to me dead than alive. That son of a bitch was going to leave me. If I lost him, I'd lose everything'".

We tried to contact Jeffrey to get his side of the story but he died in a plane crash in 1973 and our ouija board is broken.

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MORRISSEY TO RESUME TOUR
Morrissey has announced via his MySpace blog that he will recommence his world tour later this week, following those previously reported cancellations. As previously reported, the singer was forced to postpone a number of concerts after he was advised by doctors to rest and recover from throat trouble.

The singer wrote: "I am very pleased to confirm that we will resume at Luxembourg this coming Friday, absorbed and collected. I have been reconstructed by a Wiltshire hospital and I am as close to good health as I'm likely to get. I apologise to everyone caught up in the to-ing and fro-ing, but the disappointment of postponement is less than the disappointment of hearing me sing on one engine... I've endured a titanic struggle against an intolerable virus lately, and although Hull, Hartlepool and Manchester were nights that comprised a whole life, the physical limits were reached. False notes crush the soul".

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JACKSON WANTS BRITAIN'S TALENT
According to The Mirror, Michael Jackson wants 'Britain's Got Talent' winners, dance troupe Diversity, to appear at his upcoming O2 residency. A source told the tabloid: "Everyone knows Michael's performances are as much about the dancing as they are his music and Diversity would only add to the magic. They are the hottest thing in the country at the moment, and if everything goes well and Michael takes them on they could be one of the hottest things on the planet".

Elsewhere in Jackson comeback news, the singer has said that his decision to perform was motivated by the age of his children. Contact Music quote Randy Phillips, of promoter AEG Live, as saying: "When I asked him why he was doing this tour now, he said it was because his kids are old enough to appreciate it and he still felt young enough to do it. He's told me that whatever profit he makes from these shows will go into a trust fund for his children". That'll please Jacko's many creditors. Unless "profit" means after he's paid off his debts. Which might not leave much for the trust fund.

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NAS EXPLAINS CANADA NO-SHOW
Nas has explained why he failed to appear at a scheduled performance in Canada last week, saying that it was the concert's promoters who were to blame.

According to AllHipHop.com, Nas said of the aborted gig, which was set to take place in Torbay, Newfoundland: "We decided, let's do it real quick and get warmed up for Rock The Bells! So, I didn't expect no fuckery but was quickly reminded how things like this still happen to people in the game! Bad business is bad business! Every now and again artists are asked to travel to another country to do their thing! But instead they arrive and are met by some strange people and instead of doing real business, these 'JPs' [janky promoters] are saying they have insufficient funds!"

He continued: "After three hours at customs and once I finally get to them I'm told they have an insufficient amount of money. Now I don't usually leave my crib unless all the business is handled first. But I love my fans in Canada so I said cool. But of course it wasn't cool. [They] had no paper and they cancelled our rooms and left us at the airport stranded. So what we had to do and did was get up out of there. But to all of Canada make sure you know I roll with ya hard! It's all love".

As he mentions above, Nas is due to head out with Damien Marley on the Rock The Bells tour, starting on 27 Jun in Chicago.

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WAVVES APOLOGISE FOR RUBBISHNESS, CANCEL EUROPEAN TOUR
Following a performance at the Primavera festival in Barcelona last week that can only be described as disastrous, Wavves frontman Nathan Williams has apologised to fans, blaming a mixture of ecstasy, Xanax, Valium and alcohol on his erratic performance.

According to reports, the audience was already pissed off when the duo were still soundchecking 15 minutes into their allotted time. When they did start playing, Williams only managed to strum a collection of random chords and play something that sounded a bit like their song 'Weed Demon' before drummer Ryan Ulsh lost his patience and left the stage, throwing his drumsticks at Williams, who nonetheless briefly tried to continue with the show.

In a post on his blog on Saturday, which was subsequently removed, Williams said: "I think in the back of my head I knew I wasn't exactly mentally healthy enough to continue to tour the way I have been since February. Honest truth is this has all happened so fast and I feel like the weight of it has been building for months now with what seems like a never ending touring and press schedule which includes absolutely zero time to myself. I'm sorry to everyone who has put effort into this and to everyone who supported me. Mixing ecstasy, Valium and Xanax before having to play in front of thousands of people was one of the more poor decisions I've made (duh) and I realise my drinking has been a problem now for a good period of time. Nothing else I can do but apologise to everyone that has been affected by my poor decision-making. I made a mistake. Not the first mistake I've made and it for sure wont be the last. I'm human. Don't know why I chose the biggest platform I could imagine to lose my shit, but that's life. You live and you learn".

The band cancelled three dates at the end of last week following the Primavera debacle and have now announced that they are pulling the remainder of their European tour in full, which included a string of UK dates. In a brief statement, Williams told reporters: "I'm sorry to everyone who has put effort into this and to everyone who supported me".

And just in case you'd like to know what you're missing, here's a snippet of the Primavera show: www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3IxqXgchto

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CALVIN HARRIS TOUR
Calvin Harris has announced a UK tour. Yay! Here are the dates:

15 Oct: Norwich, UEA
16 Oct: Bournemouth, O2 Academy
17 Oct: Oxford, O2 Academy
19 Oct: Bristol, O2 Academy
20 Oct: Preston, 53 Degrees
21 Oct: Leeds, O2 Academy
23 Oct: Newcastle, O2 Academy
24 Oct: Manchester, Academy
25 Oct: Nottingham, Rock City
27 Oct: Brighton, Corn Exchange
29 Oct: Birmingham, O2 Academy
30 Oct: Sheffield, O2 Academy
1 Nov: Aberdeen, Forum
2 Nov: Inverness, Ironworks
3 Nov: Dundee, Fat Sam's
4 Nov: Glasgow, O2 Academy
6 Nov: Dublin, Academy
7 Nov: Portrush, Lush!
8 Nov: Belfast, St Georges Market

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FEVER RAY ANNOUNCES UK TOUR DATES
The Knife's Karin Dreijer Andersson has announced the first UK tour dates for her Fever Ray solo project, which will precede a new single from Fever Ray's eponymous debut album, 'Triangle Walks', on 20 Jul via Rabid Records/Cooperative Music.

Tour Dates:

11 Jul: Loop Festival
12 Jul: Oxegen
13 Jul: Bristol Academy
14 Jul: Manchester, Academy 2
16 Jul: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
17 Jul: Latitude Festival

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DOWNLOAD TO ANNOUNCE SECRET BANDS
Organisers of the Download Festival will announce the two 'secret' acts on this year's bill this week, which will ruin the secret a little, but there you go.

Something of a tradition at the festival, past 'secret' acts have included Metallica, who surprised fans by playing an acoustic set at the very first Download in 2003. It seems the promoters have decided to reveal this year's 'secret' bands ahead of the event in a bid to manage expectations - basically this year's secret additions are not as exciting as everyone thinks they're going to be.

Festival Director Andy Copping said via Twitter: "We're revealing the 'secret' bands so that people don't get bent out of shape when they discover it's not AC/DC or Led Zeppelin".

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LIVE REVIEW: Patrick Wolf at The Classic Grand in Glasgow on 29 May
Some might argue that it may have been a little ill-advised to send CMU's resident Patrick Wolf superfan (that would be me, Teri, hello - nice to meet you, I think we've met before) to review his latest show. But I can assure you that I will crawl out of his bum long enough to provide a fair, apt and unbiased account of his most recent appearance in the dear old city of Glasgow. Strapped with a Flying V guitar and a Britney Spears-esque microphone, bleached-blond to the max and looking like the bastard child of Lady GaGa and David Bowie, Wolf brings on a bigger (and louder) band than usual; the crowd and I know that this gig is set to be like no other Patrick Wolf show before it. Playing roughly eighty-percent of his new material - including 'Blackdown' and 'Damaris', which are hauntingly excellent and absolute pleasures to hear live - with some old favourites (I have never been to Patrick Wolf gig where he hasn't played 'Tristan', nor have I ever grown sick of hearing it), Patrick doesn't alienate his old fans nor the new ones he seems to have picked up ever since his dabblings with all that is black, shiny, and Alec Empire-esque. However, those old songs do get 'The Bachelor' rework - the normally spritely 'Accident & Emergency' is played as a heavy, scuzzy industrial track, yet it still boasts optimism as intended, and 'The Libertine', underlined with a romantic and heart-thumpingly energetic Yiddish beat, sends the crowd into a bizarre, vigorous frenzy. Like every other Patrick Wolf show, entertainment can also be found through a host of odd onstage happenings and banter as well as the music he's come to play. From stripping down layer after layer of sticky leather clothing and various bondage belt-things I don't even know the real names of, to pole dancing against a potted palm tree off of the stage, Wolf yet again reminds us that he is very much the entertainer, inside and out. The smile on his face and the twinkle in his eye is enough to tell us he's happy with that - then again, it could be the rhinestones. TW

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UNIVERSAL TO SELL LYRICAL T-SHIRTS VIA ASDA
Those who know me will be surprised to hear this, given by worldwide reputation as a leader in the latest cutting edge fashion trends, but as I write this I am wearing a George jumper. And George trousers. And some George trainers. Oh dear, I've only just realised by entire outfit is from Asda.

Well, good news for those who only buy clothes on their weekly grocery shop, you will soon be able to buy yourself clothing from the music publishing industry's latest foray into fashion. Yes, Universal Music Publishing is the latest music publisher to see the cash potential of printing lyrics from popular pop songs onto t-shirts and whatnot, and they have entered into a deal with Asda to bring their lyrical clothing to the masses.

Lyrics from The Cure's 'Lovecats', Thin Lizzy's 'The Boys Are Back In Town', Hard-Fi's 'Living For The Weekend' and Steppenwolf's 'Born To Be Wild' are among those that will appear on the lyrical clothing to be stocked as part of Asda's George range. And with this partnership, people who buy the lyrical t-shirts will be able to download a copy of the featured song via the George.com website for free.

Confirming the new partnership with the supermarket giant, Universal Publishing's business development man Simon Mortimer told reporters: "We are delighted to have entered into this unique partnership with the hugely successful George at Asda range. Working with one of the best known, mainstream fashion brands is great news for the writers and artists we represent and this concept, which gives consumers a range of highly original clothing as well as a free song download, is a very compelling offering".

George's Fiona Lambert added: "Slogan t-shirts are extremely popular with all our customers especially our male shoppers. We are offering them a piece of nostalgia through lyrics from their favourite artists like Kiss and Hard-Fi, making the ideal Father's Day gifts".

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ENERGY DRINK TO SPONSOR REVAMPED GARAGE
The revamped Garage venue in London will be called the Relentless Garage when it reopens later this month following a sponsorship deal between the venue's owners, Mama Group, and the makers of the Relentless energy drink. The partnership will also see the drink's brand have involvement elsewhere in the Mama Group's Mean Fiddler venue network, and at one of the group's festivals, Lovebox.

Confirming the partnership, Mama's MD of Music & Media Solutions, Rory Bett, told CMU: "Relentless has a very different approach to business, and so do we, so this has been an extremely satisfying and fruitful relationship. This is just the beginning of what we believe will be a very enthusiastic and collaborative partnership with a variety of benefits for music fans to enjoy, listen to this space!"

Sam Grant at Relentless Energy, meanwhile, added: "We are really excited to be an integral part of the re-birth of the Relentless Garage. Relentless will bring creative content to the venue as well as hosting monthly nights showcasing the best of British emerging music talent which is at the heart of our brand ethos".

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PEARL JAM ANNOUNCE TARGET ALLIANCE
Pearl Jam have announced a partnership with US retail giant Target, what is expected to the be the first of a number of brand alliances for the band, who plan to release their next album without a US record deal, utilising its brand partners as a distribution platform instead. The band have recorded an ad for the US retailer, and will have some sort of exclusivity deal regarding the physical release of their new long player when it comes out in the Autumn. Similar deals are expected with an online retailer, a mobile firm and a gaming company. Some sort of promotion via a network of independent music retailers may also be in the pipeline.

The brand supported self-release of the band's next album, the first since the end of their 18 year relationship with Sony Music, is being spearheaded by their manager Kelly Curtis. He told Billboard: "This is an ongoing experiment, every time we do something it's new for us, and we're not trying to tackle the whole world at once. All we've been searching for forever is independence and control over our own stuff. The way of releasing records is changing every day. This is the best way we could do it ourselves in America. Right or wrong, we'll figure that out and make it better the next time".

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JAY-Z'S ROCAWEAR TO EXPAND INTO CHINESE MARKET
Jay-Z has confirmed that his business partners in the Rocawear fashion brand have secured a deal to help expand the hip hop clothing range into the Chinese market. The Chinese division of fashion brand firm Iconix, itself a JV with Novel Fashion Holding Limited, has done a deal with another company called Bosideng International Holdings, that will help it launch Rocawear in China.

Confirming the deal, Jay told reporters: "When Iconix purchased the Rocawear trademark two years ago, [Iconix CEO] Neil Cole and I made a commitment to building Rocawear into a global lifestyle brand. Our expansion into China is a validation of our joint efforts to bring an authentic interpretation of American fashion to young people around the world".

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WARNER RELAUNCH ELEKTRA
The good thing about the recent trend for major record companies to relaunch the imprint labels they previously shut down, is that they'll have a whole load of extra divisions ready to close the next time a bout of streamlining is called for.

The latest major label imprint to be reborn is Elektra Records, the US division of the Warner Music Group which only shut down first time round five years ago. It is being relaunched as an imprint of Warner's Atlantic division, and will be headed up by the founder of New York-based and Atlantic-distributed indie Fueled By Ramen, and existing Atlantic A&R exec Mike Caren.

Although the new division's chiefs will be looking for new talent, their launch roster will consist of artists already working with Warner - Little Boots, signed to Atlantic over here; Cee-Lo Green, who has worked with Warner via the Gnarls Barkley project; and Justice, whose previous Ed Banger releases were distributed by the major.

Confirming the Elektra releaunch, the bosses of Atlantic US, Julie Greenwald and Craig Kallman, told Billboard: "When Elektra merged with Atlantic five years ago, we always knew the right moment would come to bring it back to life. The great news is that we have found the perfect people to do it. John and Mike are two of the most passionate, creative, forward-thinking young executives in our business. They both started their careers as teenagers and have gone on to champion some of the most exciting new music of the last decade. The independent, entrepreneurial spirit that long defined Elektra is in great hands, and we are truly thrilled to see the label take flight once again".

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NEW BIRMINGHAM ACADEMY TO OPEN IN SEPTEMBER
The Academy Music Group has announced it will open an all new O2 Academy Birmingham in September, to replace the venue network's existing base in the city at Dale End, which is set to be demolished.

The new Birmingham Academy will be based on Bristol Street in a building previously occupied by the Dome nightclub. It will have three performance spaces within it, with the main space boasting a 3000 capacity. Dizzee Rascal, Bloc Party and The Maccabees have all been confirmed to play gigs at the new facility.

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KNIGHT LAUNCHES LABEL TO SELF-RELEASE ALBUM
Beverley Knight has secured a reported six-figure investment from a venture capital fund called Icebreaker to help her set up her own record company in order to release her next album, the first since the singer parted company with EMI. The label, to be called Hurricane Records, will be run by Knight and her co-managers, Alan Edwards and Dave Woolf.

Speaking to Music Week, Woolf said: "We had an absolutely open mind [about label deals] but having seen [other] people do it themselves we thought it seemed like a sensible option for someone who had a fanbase and a brand. More people are choosing this route, which doesn't say it is right for everybody but it is for Beverley, who wants to be in control of her career and destiny as much as possible".

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SEATWAVE SECURES TEN MILLION IN NEW INVESTMENT
Secondary ticketing service Seatwave has secured ten million pounds in new investment, which is nice. For them. The new investment, which includes new money from original backers Atlas Venture plus cash from Mangrove Capital Partners, Fidelity Ventures and Adinvest, follows the ticket resale service's recent rating by investment bank GP Bullhound as "Europe's fastest growing digital media company".

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MORE DETAILS REVEALED ABOUT BEATLES GAME
More details about the Beatles edition of 'Rock Band' were revealed at videogaming conference E3 yesterday, with Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr all in attendance to reveal a list of the songs that are set to feature in the game. I'm not sure it needed all four of them to do that, but there you go. If you're interested, 'I Saw Her Standing There', 'I Want To Hold Your Hand', 'I Feel Fine', 'Taxman', 'Day Tripper', 'Back In The USSR', 'I Am The Walrus', 'Octopus's Garden', 'Here Comes The Sun', 'Get Back' and the whole 'Abbey Road' album will appear. Pretend-to-players will be able to pretend to play Beatles songs in a variety of virtual venues, including digital reconstructions of the Cavern Club, the Ed Sullivan Show studio, New Yorks' Shea Stadium and the Budokan Arena in Tokyo. The game is out on 9 Sep.

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LAST.FM GOES INTO EARLY SUMMER MELTDOWN
Last.fm had some rare downtime yesterday when its servers, hosted in the Level 3 data centre in London, went into meltdown after a cooling unit failed and temperatures in the capital rose. Last.fm's website and scrobbling service was down for about four hours as a result of the meltdown, I think. Users were directed to the Last.fm Twitter feed while the service was offline, which reported "Apologies for the downtime, our datacenter appears to have landed on the sun., more updates soon", and later reassured users "Your scrobbles should be cached by your clients, so none should be lost".

Here's a picture to strike fear into all you system administrators out there: cdn.last.fm/rj/heatfail.jpg

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MTV WRITER ADMITS BRUNO'S EMINEM ATTACK STAGED
Confirmation it seems that Eminem was in on the Sasha Baron Cohen routine at this weekend's MTV Movie Awards which saw the character comedian, as his latest (or, technically speaking, original) TV persona, gay Austrian reporter Bruno, making a dramatic but deliberately fucked up entrance on wires above the auditorium half-dressed as an angel.

The routine ended up with Bruno falling onto Eminem, so that the rapper-with-an-album-to-sell ended up with a naked arse in his face. Slim Shady and his D12 mates then dramatically stormed out of the auditorium, though, and this is why it seemed staged from the start, without first beating Baron Cohen to a pulp.

As the routine became the latest internet phenomenon, one of the movie award show's writers, Scott Aukerman, posted on his blog yesterday: "Yes, the Bruno/Eminem incident was staged. That's all anyone wants to talk about, so let's get it out of the way. They rehearsed it at dress and yes, it went as far as it did on the live show then. Okay, you can stop reading this blog now!"

The stunt certainly paid off for MTV (and the album-plugging Slim Shady and movie-plugging Baron Cohen), winning their awards show news media coverage the world over, and sending much traffic to the MTV website, where the clip was viewed some 800k times yesterday. Interestingly the clip was taken down on YouTube, leading some in the blogosphere to speculate that a pissed off Eminem had had his people order it be removed. Though the take down was surely more to do with MTV's ongoing litigation against the video website over allegations of copyright infringement.

You can enjoy Bruno's mid-air assault on Eminem, albeit with the knowledge it was all staged, though confident you're not violating anyone's copyright, at this URL:

www.mtv.co.uk/artists/eminem/news/122823-watch-bruno-eminem-at-mtv-movie-awards

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SPICE GIRL GETS PERMANENT SHOWS ON HEART
Global Radio have signed up former Spice Girl Emma Bunton to become a regular presenter on their Heart FM network of stations. Bunton has filled in twice on the station's breakfast show, and will get her own Friday and Saturday afternoon shows as a result of the new deal.

Bunton told reporters: "I love doing the breakfast show so much that when I was asked to present my own shows, it was really exciting and felt completely natural. I'll be kick-starting the weekend with Feel Good Friday and then back on Saturday - I can't wait to be part of the Heart team!"

Global Radio's Director Of Broadcasting Richard Park added: "I am delighted to welcome Emma to spice up the Heart family from mid-June. Emma reflects what Heart is all about - she's great fun, she's down-to-earth and she's a hard-working mum who lives life to the full".

Bunton will start her new shows next week.

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TOTAL ROCK WORLD ALBUM CHART
It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend - www.totalrock.com. New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
2. Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (Warner Bros)*
3. AC/DC - Black Ice (Sony Music)
4. Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know (Warner/Roadrunner)
5. Theory Of A Deadman - Scars & Souvenirs (Warner/Roadrunner)
6. Metallica - Death Magnetic (Universal/Mercury)
7. Pearl Jam - Ten (Sony Music)
8. Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness (Warner/Atlantic)
9. Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream (Sony Music)
10. Daughtry - Daughtry (Sony Music)
11. Kid Rock - Rock N Roll Jesus (Warner/Atlantic)
12. Lamb Of God - Wrath (Warner/Roadrunner)
13. Mastodon - Crack The Skye (Warner Bros)
14. Disturbed - Indestructible (Warner/Reprise)
15. Lacuna Coil - Shallow Life (Century Media)
16. Papa Roach - Metamorphosis (Universal/Interscope)
17. Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (Universal/Geffen)
18. Guns n Roses - Greatest Hits (Universal/Geffen)
19. Nickelback - All The Right Reasons (Warner/Roadrunner)
20. Gallows - Grey Britain (Warner Bros)*

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MANSON JUST A DOPEY CLOWN, SAYS REZNOR
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has spoken about his former protégé Marilyn Manson, claiming the former "Antichrist Superstar" is now nothing more than a "dopey clown".

Reznor told Spinner: "He is a malicious guy and will step on anybody's face to succeed and cross any line of decency. Seeing him now, drugs and alcohol now rule his life and he's become a dopey clown. He used to be the smartest guy in the room. And as a fan of his talents, I hope he gets his shit together. During the [Downward] Spiral tour [in 1994-95] we propped them up to get our audience turned on to them and at that time a lot of the people in my circle were pretty far down the road as alcoholics. Not Manson. His drive for success and self-preservation was so high, he pretended to be fucked up a lot when he wasn't".

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JARVIS "NOT PROUD" OF JACKO ATTACK
Jarvis Cocker has admitted that he's not proud of his stage invasion during Michael Jackson's performance of 'Earth Song' at the 1996 Brit Awards. Which is a shame, because I was hoping he'd reprise it at the King Of Pop's O2 shows.

Cocker told Spin: "That one action transported me to a kind of tabloid fame, which I couldn't have imagined. My whole set of values had nothing to do with that kind of tabloidy thing. It took me a long time to work through. I just pushed it too far with that thing, because it wasn't, 'Jarvis Cocker played an amazing song at the Brit Awards last night'. It was, 'Jarvis Cocker titted about at the Brit Awards last night'. I had been in a band 15 years, and in 15 seconds, I became more well known. All that bloody work! Thrown away!"

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GAGA WOULD ENJOY JONAS FOURSOME
Lady GaGa has said that she wouldn't mind having a foursome with The Jonas Brothers. She must be joking, because the youngest one is barely legal. And she wouldn't have a chance, anyway, not with that virginity clause in the way. Perhaps she's interested in the challenge. Anyway, here's what she apparently said: "I love the Jonas Brothers, they're very talented. I met them once. I'd like to have a foursome with them".

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BIRDSONG FM FANS MOURN 'STATION' DEMISE
Following the launch yesterday of Amazing Radio, that new unsigned bands radio station on the national digital radio network Digital One, there's been quite a bit of chatter about the fact the new service replaces the constant birdsong output that has been airing on that particular DAB channel since the demise of digital talk station Oneword back in January 2008.

The birdsong recording on a loop was originally used for test transmissions by Classic FM, but had been used to fill empty channels by the Digital One team on and off also. When it went back on permanent loop at the start of last year it got quite a lot of media coverage, mainly because it was amusing to claim the constant birdsong was getting more listeners than the speech radio service it replaced, even though such claims were always unsubstantiated.

With some media criticising the closure of the birdsong loop to make way for the new unsigned music service yesterday, the acting CEO of Digital One, Glyn Jones, was forced to comment, telling reporters: "When the [birdsong] channel went on air, back in January 2008, we warned that the transmission could cease at any time. Many journalists have suggested that as many as half a million people listen to Birdsong each week. But sadly there's no evidence for that, as the channel's audience has never been measured. There's never going to be a good time to pull the plug on what some regard as a national treasure, but we're hoping that at this time of year many people will find an alternative simply by opening a window or taking a walk in the park or countryside".

The man who made the original birdsong recording, Quentin Howard, however, has criticised the decision to close so called 'Radio Birdsong', saying: "I am surprised the popular Radio Birdsong channel was removed without warning. There was really no need because Digital One has at least two spare and unused channels available. It didn't cost them anything, and I'd always allowed Digital One to use the famous recording without charge".

But there's a happy ending to this story people. Howard revealed: "To let people continue listening, I will now make this original recording available to buy on CD or download".

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